Berlin brouhaha: piping in “atonal” music in train stations to deter drug users

Posted on: August 24, 2018

“In public transit stations from London to New York you often hear the sound of gentle classical music … piped in as an easy way to calm angry passengers, and discourage teenagers from hanging around,” writes Alex Marshall in Wednesday’s (8/22) New York Times. “Deutsche Bahn—Germany’s national train operator—has come up with a different, slightly more confrontational approach. This autumn, it will try piping ‘atonal music’ into a Berlin railway station … to make the station less comfortable for drug users…. It will not play the music on platforms and risk annoying passengers waiting for trains, the spokesman said.… ‘In Berlin there is a problem with noise already—it’s so noisy sometimes you cannot hear the announcements,’ … said Matthias Gibtner, the [Berlin Passenger Association’s] deputy chairman. The trains are really loud, he said. So are people talking on their cellphones.… A Deutsche Bahn employee had … told them that the program would not actually involve playing [Arnold] Schoenberg pieces, Mr. Gibtner said. Instead, it would be discordant electronic tones.”

Posted August 24, 2018