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Study says classical calms

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EKG mgstanton / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A new German study has found that classical music calms the body even more than simple silence does — and significantly more than pop music, in particular ABBA.

Researchers at Ruhr University Bochum measured the blood pressure and heart rate of 60 subjects who listened to a randomized mix of music by ABBA, Mozart, and Johann Strauss II.

Blood pressure decreased markedly when subjects were listening to classical music; control subjects who sat in silence also saw a blood pressure drop, while those listening to ABBA had their blood pressure stay about the same.

All three types of music had a calming effect on heart rate, but classical music much more so — in particular the Mozart, due perhaps (researchers speculate) to the dancelike nature of Strauss's waltzes.

Interestingly, the researchers asked subjects whether they normally listened to the type of music they were hearing, to see whether familiarity would alter the effects; it did not.

Mozart's "Symphony in G Minor is particularly beneficial for the cardiocirculatory system," write the researchers, "because of the special arrangement of its compositional elements."

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