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October 2021

The effect of music amplitude on the relaxation response

Author(s): Brotons, M.

Journal/Book: J Music Therapy. 2000; 37: 8455 Colesville Rd, Ste 1000, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA. Natl Assoc Music Therapy Inc. 22-39.

Abstract: The purposes of this study were (a) to ascertain how 3 different volume levels of music affect the relaxation response both psychologically (preference scores and self-report) and physiologically (heart rate), (b) to determine the amplitude preference for relaxation among young adults, and (c) to compare differences in preference response between music and nonmusic majors and between the genders. One hundred forty-four college-age music and nonmusic majors were participants in this study. Subjects listened to 27 minutes of music while relaxing. The amplitude of the music was changed every 3 minutes in a randomized order so that each subject received loud (80-90 dB) medium (70-80 dB) or soft (60-70 dB) music 3 times each during the experimental period for a total of 9 amplitude changes. A sample of subjects wore a small heart rate monitor on their wrist and chest during the procedure. Simultaneously with the selected listening, they were encouraged to turn a dial on a Continuous Response Digital Interface (CRDI) indicating their amplitude preference for relaxation. Self-report information was gathered at the beginning and end of the experiment Results of the CRDI analyses indicate that overall, subjects showed overwhelming preference for the soft music in comparison to medium or loud. Males, however, preferred the loud music more than females, and music majors preferred softer music over non-majors who preferred louder music. There were no differences attributed to amplitude level in the analysis of heart rate data. Analysis of the self report data yielded a wide variety of responses concerning their individual preferences, not always consistent with the empirical measures. Overall, there was an increase in relaxation reported over the duration of the experiment. Response differentiation to loudness levels indicates a long line of useful research not only on relaxation and stress reduction in health related fields, but also on the effects of background amplitude of music while studying, driving, and engaging in other cognitive and motor tasks.

Note: Article Staum MJ, SUNY, New Paltz,NY USA


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