A new scientific study carried out on a large panel and published at the end of July confirms that listening to classical music, and particularly Beethoven, has a positive effect on heart rate, blood pressure and morale; the participants reacted to the 5th Symphony and at the Moonlight Sonata
Through their study entitled “The Effect of Classical Music on Heart Rate, Blood Pressure, and Mood” and whose results were published by the medical journal Cureus, the 6 researchers (4 professors from a private institute in Illinois, an associate professor of cardiology at Loyola University Medical Center and a rheumatologist) in charge of this project wished to confirm and validate the results of previous studies on the same theme but which had been carried out on small and heterogeneous samples.
For their study, the researchers called on 100 people (47 women and 53 men) whose average age was 39.8 years. 40% of these participants were musicians, 62% already enjoyed classical music and 35% were taking medication. Equipped withan electrocardiography system and a blood pressure cuff which recorded various parameters, the participants had to listen to a minute of the 1st movement of the 5th Symphony (Fast music) and the same duration of an extract from the Moonlight Sonata (Slow Music), two iconic pieces from Ludwig van Beethoven’s repertoire. After a short rest period, they also had to complete a questionnaire based on the emotions felt during these listening sessions.
After analyzing the results, the scientific team concluded that this study suggests that “Classical music has a positive impact on the cardiovascular system and obvious potential emotional benefits, including the autonomic nervous system and the vagus nerve which responds to musical vibrations by triggering relaxation in the body. Music also affects other parts of the brain, which in turn affect mood through the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine (the feel-good hormone). It is also certainly the release of dopamine which made it possible to note in particular that 83% of the subjects found fast music positively motivating (compared to 56% for slow music). Finally, almost all subjects (around 99%) think that classical music can help manage stress. Researchers even believe that listening to classical music “may be a potential therapeutic method for reducing anxiety and depression”.