Classical Music Effects on the Brain and Body: Backed by Science

Published Categorized as Vinyl 101

There have been some misconceptions regarding what classical music does to our brain – some people think that particular composers were able to figure out certain magical notes, while others think that this sort of music genre is kind of magical on its own. So you might be wondering does classical music affects the brain positively.

I am here to demystify rumors and statements, backing only raw facts with science, so there’s no magic – every feeling, every sensation you get while listening to this kind of music can be explained via science.

Table of Contents

Listening to classical music will lower your blood pressure

Now, most people are well aware of the fact that listening to your favorite music calms the nerves. That’s basically what happens when listening to classical music as well.

The notes used in numerous pieces are all but random – apart from sounding good, classical music is intended to calm the listener, which is just one of the many reasons why music halls were always full, as people wanted to come back for their daily (or weekly) taste of clarity.

Classical Music Effects on the Brain and Body

Now, let’s get to the science part – what exactly happened here? The most direct route was to test out this thesis on groups of participants – one group would listen to nothing but classical music while the other would either listen to their favorite tracks (classical music excluded) or nothing at all.

The participants of the first group appeared to be less affected by stress, their heart was beating at a slower pace, although there were a couple of isolated cases – we can’t make rules out of exceptions, though, so it’s safe to deduce that listening to classical music will most certainly lower your blood pressure.

Classical Music Effects on the Brain: Emotions

This one’s not as obvious as you might think. Most people think that rock ballads and melancholic piano music were to “blame” for emotional breakdowns and those vehement feelings of sadness (or worse), but getting all emotional has a lot to do with classical music as well.

Most notably, we all know that music is good if we get our skin crawling in the form of goosebumps, right? Well, let’s see how classical music pieces make us feel slightly more mellow.

First of all, let’s take modern music for example. There are only a couple of instruments present in the vast majority of songs (experimental music excluded), particularly in mainstream pop culture. Now, what was different about classical music back then is the sheer opposite – there were plenty of instruments, each captivating our senses in a different way. This study talks about the direct effects classical music can have on your mood.

Some people might even feel a bit confused, even disoriented when they start listening to certain music – especially on a pair of the best headphones for classical music – on higher volumes.

Classical music improves your sleep

Sleepless nights won’t be an issue for you if you start listening to classical music, that’s guaranteed. Now, this particular statement is actually the result of combining the aforementioned two – your blood pressure will be lowered a bit, and you’ll feel slightly more emotional all the while. What does that have to do with your night’s sleep? Well, everything.

Classical Music Effects on the Brain and Body

Certain people suffer from sleeping disorders due to particular medical conditions, and even if that’s the case, this kind of music might help you feel a bit better, if not heal you altogether.

On top of that, let’s observe the average case scenario where a person is about to simply fall asleep without any notable biological or psychological problems. There are two things we should pay attention to – first, classical music seldom has percussions, and second, most pieces don’t feature any singing (opera excluded).

The sheer lack of words or sung text means that you don’t have to pay as much attention as you would to, for instance, have hip-hop vinyl songs, or a rock song. On another hand, the lack of percussions makes it a bit more pleasant and not as aggressive to listen to.

This study paper did an investigation of the effects of soft music on sleep quality in adults. And the results were clear: Music resulted in significantly better sleep quality in the experimental group, as well as significantly better components of sleep quality

Listening to classical music helps your brain cope with pain

Most people don’t exactly even think about listening to music while they’re in pain. As a matter of fact, people who are hurt in any way are most likely to search for a way to get rid of it, or at least have some rest without thinking about anything at all if possible.

Classical Music Effects on the Brain and Body

Now, what you probably didn’t know is that this type of music can actually help you fight off some of the pain you’re feeling. The science behind this statement is quite basic – classical music isn’t aggressive by nature, it soothes the nerves, and your entire system will gradually start to feel more relaxed as the piece progresses.

That’s just one of the reasons why numerous medical clinics advise listening to it to their cancer patients, as well as people who’ve undergone certain surgeries.  In the end, classical music is more effective at fighting psychological pain (such as anxiety, depression, etc), but it can help out with physical pain in terms of calming down the nerves.

Becoming smarter with classical music

This is, by far, the biggest misconception about classical music – you are, in fact, not getting any smarter by simply listening to it permanently, although something is definitely happening.

Now, what happens when you listen to classical music is quite simple – it’s often referred to as the so-called “Mozart Effect”, as scientific studies mainly used his pieces as best-fitting representatives of this music genre. Namely, his music was so perfectly orchestrated and written that all of the aforementioned “benefits” came to full light, but there’s more.

Listening to classical music, according to several studies, results in a temporary IQ boost. That, however, doesn’t mean that the person who’s listening to it will be permanently smarter, but the effects are supposed to last even after the songs (pieces) have finished – what we know as spatial-temporal reasoning is enhanced with the listeners.

Simply listening to it in the background might make your daily chores easier, you might be able to solve those math problems that were bugging you, and so on.

By Robert Halvari

My name is Robert Halvari - audio engineer and a total audiophile. I love vinyl because it has that natural character which brings music to life. I've been using and testing vinyl record players for around 15 years and I'm sharing my love and knowledge of vinyl by publishing all I know at Notes On Vinyl

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