Rice raised on classical music harvested

Taipei, Nov. 25 (CNA) Rice that has been grown to the strains of classical music by such maestros as Beethoven and Mozart over the past four months in eastern Taiwan was harvested Tuesday. The "rice listening to the music" program, initiated by Poca A Poca Music Education Foundation, started in July, with a giant "rice music box" set up by the side of the famous Mr. Brown boulevard in Taitung's Chihshang Township. Every day, music by Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky was played to "nourish the rice" in the township, which is famous for its namesake rice. The foundation then invited the children of Wan'an Elementary School to join farmers in harvesting the crop. One farmer said he originally thought the rice, like himself, could only appreciate songs by famous Taiwanese singers such as Chris Hung and Jody Chiang, but after more than 100 days of listening to the maestros, he said proudly that "I now also know Beethoven." The rice, harvested from a 3.2-hectare paddy, has been packed into 7,000 bags that will be auctioned off, with the proceeds going toward the promotion of classical music in remote areas. According to the foundation, playing classical music to rice is like letting unborn children listen to Mozart or playing music to dairy cows. Athough the effects on the rice are unknown, the project has created an environment of musical culture. "We don't need to dress up in suits and ties and go to the National Concert Hall to appreciate classical music. We can also put sound systems beside rice fields and enjoy the music while watching the dancing ears of rice," said You Chao-ming, chairman of the foundation. (By Tyson Lu and Lilian Wu)