Science News

How Music Is Good For The Heart

Sun, 2nd Oct 2005

Part of the show Science of Lasers, Light, Kung Fu and Archimedes

We've all heard the saying "music soothes the savage breast", and now scientists in Oxford have been studying how different types of music can affect your breathing and circulation. The researchers tested twenty four young men and women with different types of tunes, including raga (Indian classical music), Beethoven's ninth symphony (slow classical), the Red Hot Chilli Peppers (rap), Vivaldi (fast classical), techno, and a piece by modern composer Anton Webern (slow "dodecaphonic" music). The team found that faster music speeded up the circulation and breathing, regardless of whether it was techno or Vivaldi. Also, Indian raga music had the opposite effect, providing the greatest amount of relaxation. Intriguingly, the researchers found that during gaps in the music, people became more relaxed than they were before listening to any music at all - especially if they were musicians. Music has also been found to have unusual benefits in the past, such as boosting milk production in cattle. But I'm not sure how good cows are at dancing.


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