How heart rate changes with music

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Listening to music is a widespread habit amongst many people because of its emotional effect, relaxation, and anxiety. One major factor attributed to the impact of music on human emotions, tension, and relaxation, is tempo. Increased and decreased tempo in music has some effects on human body functions, as the brain and the heartbeat. A study by Krumhansl (2002) in their experiment concluded that, while participants were listening to a particular type of music with the different tempo, their tension increased as tempo increases and could decrease with the moderate tempo. Thus, music can be attributed to the change in human emotions, relation, and anxiety. The report is, therefore, aimed at evaluating the research hypothesis that music can increase or decrease individual’s heart rate depending on the music genre.

Definition of terms used

Tempo, as applied in the introduction of the research, refers to the speed or pace at which particular music genre is playing.

There are numerous studies conducted to examine the effect of music on the heart rate. Listening to music can change the rate at which a person’s heartbeat (Edworthy & Waring, 2006). In most studies on the same topic, there is an emphasis that fast tempo music may return an individual’s heart rates to baseline slower than music with a slow tempo. Thus, the physiological effect of music may depend on the tempo as well as the speed of the same music. It is through these idea that most of the hospitals in their therapies have used music in the treatment of many people with stress and anxiety issues.

In the study by Armon, Goldfarb & Milton (2011), they managed to document a comprehensive report in which they concluded that their participants while listening to rock music maintained a high heart rate as compared to their baseline. This was also noted to be higher than when listening classical music or when not listening to music at all. In addition to the effects that music may have on the heart as concluded by the same researchers is that higher systolic blood pressure was recorded from participants listening to classical music than those listening to rock music. Blood pressure is a result of the rate of heartbeat. Therefore, as concluded by the experimental study, different music genres such as jazz, classical or pop has some significant impacts on the heart rate which also translates to blood pressure.

Music has also been attributed to lessening pain in some hospital experimentations. In addition to lowered blood pressure and the rate of heartbeat, studies have found out that listening to music can also reduce the perception of pain in some patients. According to an article published on the Livestrong website, a report from the Minneapolis hospital suggested that heart patients felt less pain when listening to music. Also, the patients are said to have felt less pain as compared to those who were not listening to music. Patients listening to music are less worried about their therapeutic conditions, which therefore asserts that listening to music brings psychological relation and a lowered and a leveled heart rate.

Based on these studies from different kinds of literature, it is thus concluded that there is a relation between different music genres and the heart rate. As shown by the experimental studies, different people listening to particular music genres experiences different physiological effects. For instance, people listening to high tempo music genres may have an increased heart rate, as compared to those listening to low tempo music. Further, the emotional changes, as well as the relaxation of an individual, is affected by the type of music that they listened to. Like in the experimental studies from different patients with heart disease, listening to cool music genres lowers pain unlike from the patients with heart disease and could not enjoy music.

This is also supported by Trappe & Voit (2016) who used music by Mozart and Strauss and that of ABBA. In their conclusion, Mozart and Strauss’s music lowered the blood pressure of the participants while the ABBA music did not affect. Thus, it is grounded in such studies that the hypothesis of music, depending on the genre, have different effects on the heart rates. As in the examined experimental studies, it is evident that there are different music genres with the different tempo. This variation also translates to the different impacts that they have on human’s blood pressure and hence various heart rates.

In conclusion, therefore, the hypothesis “music can increase or decrease individual’s heart rate depending on the music genre” is validated. As examined by different experimental studies, it is asserted that there is the possibility of fast tempo music returning an individual’s heart rate to baseline slower than slow tempo music. Thus, different music genres have different effects on human physiological functions such as brain, heart and blood pressure. Regarding the heart rate, the different music genres with different tempo have different effects on the rate at which heartbeats.

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  1. Armon, R., Goldfarb, B., & Milton, C. (2011). Effects of Music Tempos on Blood Pressure Heart Rate and Skin Conductance After Physical Exertion. Report, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 12.
  2. Edworthy, J., & Waring, H. (2006). The effects of music tempo and loudness level on treadmill exercise. Ergonomics49(15), 1597-1610.
  3. Krumhansl, C. L. (2002). Music: A link between cognition and emotion. Current directions in psychological science11(2), 45-50.
  4. Roth, E. (2017). Relationship Between Music and Heart RateLIVESTRONG.COM. Retrieved 26 November 2017, from https://www.livestrong.com/article/75323-relationship-between-music-heart-rate/
  5. Trappe, H. J., & Voit, G. (2016). The Cardiovascular Effect of Musical Genres: A Randomized Controlled Study on the Effect of Compositions by WA Mozart, J. Strauss, and ABBA. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International113(20), 347.
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