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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Jul;1169:359-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04788.x.

Emotion-related changes in heart rate and its variability during performance and perception of music.

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Morinomiya University of Medical Sciences, Suminoe-ku, Osaka-Shi, Osaka, Japan.


The present study investigated the differential effects of emotions evoked by music on heart rate (HR) and its variability (HRV) during the playing of music on the piano compared to those in persons listening to the same music. Thirteen elite pianists underwent experiments under expressive piano playing, nonexpressive piano playing, expressive listening, and nonexpressive listening conditions. The expressive conditions produced significantly higher levels of HR and low-frequency component of HRV, as well as a lower level of its high-frequency component. A greater modulation of these was also revealed for performance than perception. The findings suggested that musical performance would lead to a greater effect of emotion-related modulation in cardiac autonomic nerve activity than musical perception.

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