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Music Soothes the Savage Beat

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In a small study published by the journal Heart (September 2005), scientists at the University of Pavia in Italy played music to 24 healthy people in their 20s, half of whom were accomplished musicians

In a small study published by the journal Heart (September 2005), scientists at the University of Pavia in Italy played music to 24 healthy people in their 20s, half of whom were accomplished musicians. Researchers monitored their heart rates, breathing, blood pressure, and other vital signs (including during a 20-minute rest period).

The study's play list:

  • Raga (Indian classical music): "Sitar Music Meditations" by Debabrata Chaudhuri
  • Slow classical music: an adagio from Beethoven's 9th symphony
  • Fast classical music: a concerto by Antonio Vivaldi
  • Techno music: "You Spin Me Round" by Gigi D'Agostino
  • Rap music: "The Power of Equality" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Dodecaphonic (12-tone) music: a slow, modern orchestral piece by the late composer Anton Webern

The results:

  • Fast tempos increased heartbeats, breathing, and blood pressure.
  • Slower tempos were relaxing.
  • The style of music didn't affect the results; only tempo mattered.
  • Musicians showed more heart sensitivity to music, likely because of their musical training.
  • During pauses between music types, heart rates, breathing, and blood pressure improved beyond that measured before the participants listened to any music.

The researchers concluded that any type of music fast or slow may have beneficial effects on the heart. The same researchers, in past studies, have also shown that music cuts stress, upgrades athletic performance, and improves movement in nerve-damaged patients.

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