Classical Music Audiences May ‘Feel’ The Music Together, Study Suggests

Jonathan Lambert

The Messenger



Concerts can be emotionally moving experiences for music-lovers, stirring deep feelings of awe, joy, melancholy or excitement. But they are also literally moving, prompting heads to bob, hearts to flutter and breaths to catch in synchrony, according to new research.

A classical music concert synchronized heart rate, breathing and movement across 132 audience members, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports. The find underscores the power of music to influence our minds and bodies in ways that might be fundamental to the human experience.

Past lab-based studies have demonstrated music’s power to shape someone’s physiology, but few have involved people listening to music in the real world. In this study, researchers looked at 132 audience members at three classical string quartet concerts in Germany and measured their heart rate, breathing, skin conductance (a measure of arousal), and recorded their movements using overhead cameras as the music played. Study participants also filled out questionnaires about their personality and mood before and after the concert. (…)