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Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2016 May 20;113(20):347-52. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2016.0347.

The Cardiovascular Effect of Musical Genres.

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Medical Clinic II - Cardiology and Angiology, Marienhospital Herne, Ruhr University Bochum.

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The effect of different musical styles on serum cortisol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate is currently unknown.


60 subjects were randomly assigned to three groups that listened to various compositions by W. A. Mozart, J. Strauss Jr., or ABBA for 25 minutes. Their serum cortisol concentrations, heart rate, and blood pressure were measured before and after the listening session. The same variables were measured in a control group of 60 subjects who did not listen to music but rested in silence.


Music by Mozart and Strauss markedly lowered the subjects' blood pressure (systolic: -4.7 mm Hg, 95% confidence interval [-6.9; -2.5] and -3.7 mm Hg [-6.1; -1.4]; diastolic: -2.1 mm Hg [-3.8; -0.4] and -2.9 mm Hg [-4.9; -0.9], p<0.001), while music by ABBA did not (systolic: -1.7 mm Hg [-3.9; 0.6]; diastolic: -0.1 mm Hg [-2.0; 1.8]). Similar findings were made with respect to heart rate. There were no such changes in the control group. Serum cortisol levels decreased in all groups (Mozart: -4.56 μ/dL [-5.72; -3.39], Strauss: -4.76 μg/dL [-5.94; -3.58], ABBA: -3.00 μg/dL [-5.28; -2.69], silence: -2.39 μg/dL [-3.26; -1.52], p*lt;0.001). The observed effects were not correlated with the style of music individually preferred by the subjects.


Music by Mozart and Strauss lowered the subjects' blood pressure and heart rate, while music by ABBA did not. Mozart's music had the strongest effect; the piece used was his Symphony No. 40 in g minor (KV 550).

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