Our heart reacts differently to funny and sad music. Doctors from the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) studied the reaction of the human heart to various melodies. Moreover, they claim that certain melodies can cure cardiovascular diseases, writes “EurekAlert!” with reference to ESC.
If you play the same melody to two people, then their hearts will react in completely different ways. Pioneering research by cardiologists has shown how music has an individual effect on the heart. According to doctors, this is the first and vital step to developing personalized music recipes to treat common diseases or to help people stay alert or, conversely, relaxed.
“We used accurate methods to record the response of the heart to music and found that what calms one person can cause another to have a completely different reaction”, says Professor Elaine Chu of the French National Center for Scientific Research.
Previous studies on physiological responses to music measured changes in heart rate after listening to various recordings classified as “sad,” “happy,” “calm,” or “violent”.
This study used a more accurate approach. Three patients with mild heart failure who require a pacemaker were invited to a classical piano concert. Since they all wore a pacemaker, their heart rate could remain constant during the performance. The researchers measured the electrical activity of the heart directly from the pacemaker before and after those places where there were sharp changes in the tempo, volume, or rhythm of the music.
In particular, they measured the time it takes the heart to recover from a fast heartbeat. “Heart rate affects this recovery time, therefore, by keeping it constant, we could evaluate the electrical changes in the heart based on the emotional response to the music,” said Professor Chu.
“We are interested in heart recovery time (rather than heart rate) because it is associated with electrical stability of the heart and susceptibility to dangerous heart rhythm disturbances,” explained Project Medical Director Professor Pier Lambiase of University College London. – Some people have life-threatening heart rhythm disturbances, and they can be caused by stress. Using music, we can study with a low risk of how stress (or light tension caused by music) changes this recovery period. ”
The researchers found that changing the recovery time of the heart is significantly different from person to person at the same moments in the music. If the recovery time is reduced by 5 ms, this indicates increased stress or arousal. And if it is extended by 5 ms, then relaxation occurs.
A person who does not expect a transition from quiet to loud music can experience stress, which leads to a reduction in heart recovery time. For another person, this could be a solution for long-term growth in music and, therefore, for liberation, which led to an increase in the recovery time of the heart.
Professor Chu adds: “Understanding how a person’s heart responds to musical changes, we plan to develop individual musical interventions to evoke the desired response”.