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BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 12 January 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:104
  1. Harvey Marcovitch (, BMJ syndication editor

    Silence soothes the savage breast

    Different types of music (and silence) have a detectable effect on blood flow, blood pressure, and breathing characteristics. Twelve musicians and 12 controls listened in random order to six types of music: slow and fast classical, dodecaphonic, techno, rap, and raga. They were monitored throughout for heart rate, blood pressure, cerebral artery blood velocity, respiratory movements, and end tidal CO. In all subjects, breathing rate, heart rate and blood pressure increased proportionally to the tempo and, perhaps, complexity of the rhythm. Music style or personal preference had little effect. Musicians had slower baseline breathing rates but breathed faster than controls at faster tempos, presumably because they are trained to breathe in synchrony with music.

    Pauses for silence reduced all the variables so that the subjects were …

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