Music therapy articles /in general, not my special weekly heretic version/

Music has special effects on the soul:  Laurence O’Donnell



Language is primarily processed in the left side of the brain whereas music is processed by both sides. This leads to different reactions in both infants and adults.

Also music is much more pleasant to listen to.



This eight minute song is a beautiful combination of arranged harmonies, rhythms and bass lines and thus helps to slow the heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress.The song features guitar, piano and electronic samples of natural soundscapes.

A study was conducted on 40 women, who were connected to sensors and had been given challenging puzzles to complete against the clock in order to induce a level of stress. Different songs were then played, to test their heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and brain activity. The results showed that the song Weightless was 11 per cent more relaxing than any other song and even caused drowsiness among women in the lab. It induced a 65 per cent reduction in overall anxiety and brought them to a level 35 per cent lower than their usual resting rates. 

According to Lyz Cooper, founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy, the song has been created using various scientific theories and make use of musical principles that are known to have individually calming effects. Hence these elements have been combined together by Marconi Union to make the perfect relaxing song ever. The song comprises of a sustaining rhythm that starts at 60 beats per minute and gradually slows to around 50. Thus, while listening to the song, your heartbeat automatically comes to match that beat. She even adds that it is necessary for the song to be eight minutes long because it takes about five minutes for entertainment to occur. The gaps between the notes have been chosen to create a feeling of euphoria and comfort. In addition, there are no repetitive melodies in the song which allows one’s brain to completely switch off since one is no longer trying to predict what is next. The random chimes in the song help induce a deeper sense of relaxation and the final element in the song is the low, whooshing sounds and hums, those like the Buddhist chants.

Moreover, sound therapies have been used for thousands of years to help people relax and improve health and well-being. Among indigenous cultures, music has been the heart of healing and worship. The song, weightless is ideal for unwinding and putting an end to a stressful day.

According to Dr David Lewis-Hodgson, from Mindlab International, which conducted the research, this song induced the greatest relaxation, higher than any other music tested till date. In accordance to the Brain imaging studies, music works at a very deep level within the brain, stimulating not only those regions responsible for processing sound but also ones associated with emotions. The song Weightless can make one drowsy and hence should not be heard while driving.

Richard Talbot, from Marconi Union, was fascinated to work with a therapist to learn how and why certain sounds affect people’s mood. Though he always knew the power of music, they had previously written songs using only their gut feeling.






Crime Rate reduction with a third:


Music and crime rate

by Benji Ross


The introduction of speakers playing classical music in City Mall in June 2009 has led to a steep fall in petty crime and anti-social behaviour, say mall managers.

The figures are staggering:

The number of anti-social incidents attended by city centre security guards, known as ambassadors, fell from 77 a week in October 2008 to two for the same week this year.

The number of drug and alcohol-related incidents fell from 16 in 2008 to zero this year.

The number of times the ambassadors helped shopkeepers with troublesome customers has fallen from 35 to nothing.

Originally, Central City Business Association manager Paul Lonsdale intended to play easy listening music like Barry Manilow, but found classical music more calming.

“The classical music is soothing on the ear. We try not to play anything with a beat because that is more noticeable. Classical music is known for reducing anti-social behaviour,” he said. “It is much more pleasant now. People sit in that area now because they feel safer.”

The statistics include all incidents attended by the ambassadors between Oxford Tce, Manchester, Hereford and Lichfield streets, but most incidents were in City Mall. The ambassadors were introduced in September 2007.

Senior Sergeant Gordon Spite, officer in charge of the city centre police beat section, said the music has helped transform the mall.

“The music has certainly had an effect during the day. It has created an environment that is conducive to good behaviour,” he said.

“If you go into an area that is uncared for and knocked around there is a clear message that no-one cares and you can do what you like. There are no rules. The music has had quite a calming affect on things. A more diverse group of people use it now than before









How Classical Music Can Reduce Crime, Benefit Your Mood and Increase Your Spending


To classical music enthusiasts, the genre needs no help in extolling its virtues, but researchers have come across some rather surprising benefits of classical music anyway. Among them is the finding that classical music has a penchant for deterring crime.


Armed with only a CD player and speakers, police units in the United States and the UK are fighting crime with classical music.

Robberies Cut by 33 Percent

In 2004 in London, England, the British Transport Police piped classical music into London Underground stations in some of the area’s most dangerous neighborhoods. After playing the music for six months:

  • Robberies were cut by 33 percent
  • Staff assaults decreased by 25 percent
  • Vandalism went down 37 percent

This is not the first time that classical music has been used to deter crime. In 2001, police in West Palm Beach, Florida installed a CD player and speakers on an abandoned building in a crime-ridden neighborhood. After playing classical music — mostly Mozart, Bach and Beethoven — 24 hours a day for about three months, shootings, thefts, loiterers and drug deals decreased.

Classical Music Makes Troublemakers Disperse

A supermarket chain in the UK has also used classical music to stop gangs of youth from congregating outside their stores.

“It is mostly easy listening music that we are playing such as Bach, Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi and Mozart. It is a novel concept, but it does work and does move people on,” said regional loss prevention manager Steve Hogarth.

After playing the classical music at the front of the store, reports of troublemakers and graffiti were dramatically reduced.

“The fact that youths hang outside the store is not a crime in itself, but the perception among staff and customers is that it is intimidating. It seems to make it a ‘less cool’ place to hang out if there is classical music playing,” said Hogarth.

Benefits for the Mind and Body

Hospitals are also exploring the use of classical music for patients, surgeons and visitors.

“Waiting rooms get one sound, a chapel gets music that’s very beautiful and reflective with a spiritual context, such as instrumental pieces from a Bach cantata. In the maternity ward, tempos will be a bit faster, and we’ll create a gentle atmosphere with cute instruments like the oboe and the harp, and include lots of lullabies. There’s documentation that the effects of classical music on mind and body are remarkable,” says Marc Rynearson, a classical programmer at DMX Music.

Soothing music like classical, for instance, is known to reduce stress and anxiety. One hospital study even found that heart patients received the same anti-anxiety benefits from listening to 30 minutes of classical music as they did from taking the drug Valium.

Some surgeons also report that classical music makes for a relaxed, efficient operating room.


Marketing experts have figured out a sneaky tool to get you to linger in a store and lose some of your ability to critically analyze your decision to make a purchase: classical music.

“I find classical music makes for a great environment in the OR,” says Dr. Sidney Stapleton. “Often, when the music’s playing, there’s less chatter, and everyone’s more efficient, you can concentrate when you need to, and the time passes quickly.”

Classical Music Increases Spending

If you walk into a store that’s playing classical music, be careful: the music is likely being played on purpose, as a tool to get you to buy more, as consumer advocate and columnist Brian Vaszily entertainingly explains in How Stores are Secretly Using Barry Manilow to Rob You.

“Music can help shape customers’ time perception, lower sales resistance and increase willingness to spend,” says James Kellaris, a marketing professor at the University of Cincinnati.

The complexity of classical music can actually make your brain work harder, causing it to overcompensate and make you feel like you’ve been in the store for less time than you actually have. Meanwhile, the music can make it more difficult for shoppers to use critical thinking in deciding whether to buy a product. The end result is spending more time in the store, buying more, and spending more money.

If you’re interested in checking out how classical music will








07/08/2001 – Updated 02:32 PM ET







Classical music on West Palm corner deters crime

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A free concert of Mozart, Bach and Beethoven is being played 24 hours a day on a blighted street corner, not to enlighten the masses but to reduce crime.

Police say drug deals, shootings and thefts have dropped since the department mounted a set of speakers and a CD player on an abandoned building and started playing the music in April.

There also aren’t as many loiterers, who used to number up to 200 on weekend nights on the residential corner in Rosemary Village near downtown.

The music, sort of a “greatest hits” compilation of the three composers’ melodies from three CDs that are played in constant rotation, can be heard clearly up to a block away.

“Our main concern was, were we going to disturb some people with the noise,” said West Palm Beach Assistant Police Chief Bob Van Reeth, who heads the community response division.

But resident Mamie Durham doesn’t mind, and the neighborhood has improved. Her home is a block south of the speakers at Seventh Street and Tamarind Avenue and she can hear the music at night when the streets are quiet.

“If someone ever told me Tamarind would look like this I wouldn’t believe them,” said Durham, 80, a 60-year resident of the neighborhood. “I remember when you used to have to walk in the street because (loiterers would) be on the sidewalk. It’s cleaned up.”

Businesses have played music for years, choosing selections to attract a specific clientele or even to keep teen-agers from hanging out. But it wasn’t until recently that police used the approach to keep troublemakers away from an area.

The troubled corner has been a problem for 15 years and police occasionally increased patrols in the area for weeks at a time.

Police Chief Ric Bradshaw demanded a permanent solution after a murder in the area in March. Two Pennsylvania men took a wrong turn and one was fatally shot.

Sgt. Ron Ghianda had learned at a seminar about music being used for nuisance abatement in Texas, and he and Sgt. Patrick Flannery decided to give it a try.

They spent less than $500 for a CD player and speakers. The department also installed better lighting and cut down trees that provided shade in the daytime.

“It’s not practical to have a cop sitting there all day long,” Ghianda said. “So what do you do? How do you change the scope of the neighborhood?”

Police chose classical music because they believed it would drive away people who didn’t appreciate it and relax others enough that they would keep out of trouble.

West Palm Beach police don’t know of any other Florida law enforcement agency playing music to deter crime, but several businesses and police in Fort Pierce and Delray Beach have called the department for information.

Recent statistics indicate crime is down on the corner. Drug-related calls dropped to four from February through June, compared to 20 during the same period in 2000, according to the police department. Calls for service were down to 83 from 119 last year during those five months.

Durham and others might like the music, but not everyone shares their opinion. The music was silenced for three weeks when vandals pulled out the speaker wires and used a sledgehammer to smash the electricity meter on the side of the building.

Copyright 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.









Interpersonal distance  and music



I-Space: The Effects of Emotional Valence and Source of Music on Interpersonal Distance

  • Ana Tajadura-Jiménez mail,


  • Galini Pantelidou,


  • Pawel Rebacz,


  • Daniel Västfjäll,


  • Manos Tsakiris



Listening to emotion-inducing music significantly shifts the margins of personal space in relation to unfamiliar others approaching us. Our results show that when listening to music that induces positive emotions, emanating from an embedded source (music delivered through headphones), our personal space “shrinks”, allowing others to get closer to us. In contrast, our results also show that when listening to music that induces negative emotions, emanating from an external source (music delivered through loudspeakers), our personal space “expands”, resulting in a larger interpersonal distance. Opposite effects of positive and negative emotion-inducing music in personal space were observed for both headphones and loudspeakers listening conditions when the experimenter approached the participant, but not when the participant, wearing headphones, approached the experimenter. This finding seems to indicate that the emotional context does not alter comfort distance to others when one is in control of keeping this distance.

An ample body of research has provided with evidence of the existence of boundaries between one’s near, personal space, and the space far away from the body. Neuropsychological, neurophysiological and psychophysiological studies have evidenced that sensory information is processed differently for the space near and far the body, and that there exist brain areas specialized for the processing of sensory information emanating from events occurring in the immediate vicinity of the body [27][30]. This specialization of brain areas for the near space has been considered the result of a need for larger visuomotor control in this space [31][33], but also of a need for sustaining a margin of safety around one’s body, by keeping distance between self and other individuals seen as potential predators [10][25][34][35]. In addition, far and near space are mentally represented differently. For instance, people often show a lateral attentional bias, which shifts from left to right when increasing distance from one’s body[36][38]. This rightward shift in bias from near to far space is often used to estimate the “size” of near, or personal, space [3]. Recent studies have shown that these representations of personal space are not constant, but that they are continuously updated in response to the current flow of multisensory information; for instance, tool use may result in an expansion of personal space [39]. Similarly, the representations of personal space may also be updated by emotional states; for instance, the feeling of being in a potentially threatening situation may result in an expansion of the personal space [40]. Our results provide empirical demonstration of this relation between the listeners’ current emotional state and personal space when interacting with other people. Our findings are supported by previous studies showing that personal space is influenced by claustrophobic fear, which is a pathological emotional state [3], and that the sense of one’s personal space is regulated by the amygdala [19], a brain region known for playing a key role in emotion [19][21].

Importantly, in the present study, changes in the participants’ emotional state were induced by music listening, which was not explicitly involved in the task participants were required to perform. Still, the incidental emotional state participants experienced was reflected in the change in comfort distance between participant and experimenter. A high correlation was found between the participants’ self-reported emotional state when listening to the positive emotion-inducing music and the behavioral changes in interpersonal distance both when the experimenter approached the participant and when the participant approached the experimenter: the more pleasant the experience of listening to music, the smaller the preferred interpersonal distance between participant and experimenter. This finding is consistent with the notion of emotion signals that suggest that positive emotion signals a safe environment (and hence allow for a smaller personal space) while negative emotion signals an unsafe environment (and thus calls for a larger personal space). A related interpretation comes from the emotion-as-information perspective in social psychology [10]. On this view, experienced emotions provide us with information about objects in our environment, with positive emotions pushing us towards others and negative emotions pulling us away from others [8][10], and as such, emotions can shift the boundaries of our personal space: negative emotions seem to pull us away from the individuals invading our personal space, as reflected in the increase of the comfort distance between participant and experimenter; and positive emotions seem to push us towards the individuals invading our personal space, as reflected in the decrease of the comfort distance between participant and experimenter.ImageMusic 

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