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    Mozart Effect Essay (3037 words)

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    Although it is only in recent times that scientists have started to document theeffects of music, the qualities of music were understood even in earliest times.

    Evidence suggests that dance and song preceded speech, which means that music isthe original language of humans. Researcher’s have found that about two-thirdsof the inner ear’s cilia resonate only at the higher frequencies that arecommonly found in music (3,000 – 20,000 Hz). This seems to indicate thatprimitive humans communicated primarily through song or tone. The ancient Greekphilosopher Pythagoras, best known for his work in mathematics, thought thewhole universe was comprised of sounds and numbers.

    There has long been anawareness that music affects us, even if the reasons are not clear. Around 900B. C. , David played the harp “to cure Saul’s derangement” (Gonzalez-Crussi).

    One os the world’s oldest medical documents, the Ebers Papyrus (circa 1500B. C. ), prescribed incantations that Egyptian physicians chanted to heal thesick. This is perhaps the first recorded use of music for therapy.

    The positiveinfluence of music may have also saved Beethoven’s life in the early eighteenthcentury. In a letter he wrote, “I would have ended my life-it was only myart that held me back” (Kamien). Every human civilization has developedsome sort of musical idiom and has used it as a form of tranquilizer, as alullaby. Great civilizations have developed without the wheel, without a writtenlanguage, without money, but the use of soothing sounds seems to be a very basiccomponent of human physiology. There are distinct differences betweencompositions of different societies, but in spite of this, they can convey thesame moods, the same feelings, in all people.

    As Louis Pasteur’s Germ Theory ofIllness launched the era of scientific medicine, music largely faded from formalmedical settings. Fortunately, it never completely disappeared. Americanmedicine first started experimenting with the therapeutic use of music duringthe nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As early as 1804, Edwin Atlee,wrote an essay in which he hoped to show that music, “has a powerfulinfluence upon the mind, and consequently on the body.

    ” Modern musictherapy began to develop in the 1940’s when psychotherapists used music to calmanxious patients, and music therapy programs were established in severaluniversity psychology departments. The relatively new field of neuro-musicologyhas been developed to experiment with music as a tool and to dissect and shapeit to the needs of society. The auditory sense The visible portion of the earconsists of an external shell, with an aperture known as the meatus or auditorycanal in the lower half. At the other end of this canal, about an inch insidethe head is a small membrane of skin about 3/1000 of an inch thick.

    This pieceof skin is stretched tightly over a framework of bone much like skin isstretched over a frame of wood to make a drum, and hence the name eardrum. Justbehind the eardrum lies a chain of three small bones known as ossicles. Thefirst ossicle is in contact with the eardrum, and the last presses against theoval window that leads to the cochlea. The ossicles serve to amplify the tinychanges in air pressure. The oval window passes the motion on to the fluidinside the cochlea. The neural tissue in the cochlea lies on the basilarmembrane.

    The basilar membrane holds the auditory receptors, tiny hair cellscalled cilia. Waves in the fluid of the ear stimulate the hair cells to sendsignals to through the thalamus to the temporal lobes of the brain. Soundreaches the ear in the form of waves which have traveled through the surroundingair. When the waves reach the ear, they exert varying pressures on the ear-drumand it is sent into motion.

    This motion is eventually detected by nerves andsent to the brain (as described above). The ear-drum is a remarkably sensitiveinstrument, an air displacement of only a ten-billionth of an inch is enough tosend a signal to the brain. This is far more sensitive than the best barometersthat scientists have today. Although the ear is very sensitive to minute changesin air pressure, it is only when these pressure changes are repeated in rapidsuccession that the messages are passed to the brain.

    Music Therapy HeartAttacks The latest research demonstrates that music therapy has a variety ofhealing effects. A study was conducted on three separate coronary care units inhospitals. One group received only standard care, the second group practiced aform of meditation, and the third group listened to sedative classical andpopular music. The patients who received only the standard care all showed highlevels of stress hormones in their blood, and rapid heart rates.

    These are bothundesirable reactions that can impair the immune system and slow healing. Themeditation and music groups showed significantly lower heart rates and levels ofstress hormones. The music group was the least stressed. Cancer In a study atthe Montefiore Hospital in Pittsburgh, fifteen adults suffering from a varietyof cancers were receiving chemotherapy. Common side effects of chemotherapyinclude nausea and vomiting. A music-imagery program significantly reduced thenausea and the amount of vomiting.

    Immune system Stress triggers the release ofcertain hormones that suppress the immune system. In one study of night-shiftnurses who suffered from health problems, a twenty-minutes tape of sedativemusic and guided imagery reduced their levels of stress hormones. BloodPressure/Heart Rate A study at the State University of New York suggests thatmusic could help prevent the rise in blood pressure that some people experiencewhile performing potentially stressful tasks. The study tested the effects ofmusic on 50 male surgeons as they performed mental arithmetic tasks. Thesurgeons performed this task under three conditions: while listening to music oftheir own choice, listening to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D”, and insilence.

    Blood pressures increased the least when the surgeons were listening tomusic of their own choice. Blood pressure rose when the surgeons performed thetask while listening to Pachelbel, and increased the most in complete silence. The average heart rate followed a pattern similar to the blood pressure. Speedand accuracy was the best while listening to Pachelbel. The type of music thatthe surgeons selected for themselves did not seem to affect their outcomes. Forty-six of the participants selected classical music, two selected jazz, andtwo selected Irish folk.

    This study gives strong evidence that a soothingenvironment can help reduce blood-pressure elevations that result frompsychological stress. The entrainment effect offers one other explanation forthe physiological effects of music. Entrainment is the bodies ability tosynchronize its rhythms with the rhythms of vibrating bodies around it. Forexample, babies in neonatal care units have been known to synchronize theirnatural rhythms with those generated by nearby computer monitors, matching theirheart rate to the monitor’s beeping. Studies on adults have also been able toduplicate this effect with music.

    When volunteers were subjected to stress,their heart rates rose as expected. However, when they listened to a simulatedslow heart beat, their tension levels decreased and their heart rates slowed. Itis possible to change a person’s heart rate with music that is written in aspecific tempo. When patients with a racing heart listen to music with about 50to 60 beats per minute, their heart rate usually slows down to synchronize withthe slower rhythm of the music.

    Autism Nonverbal communication between andautistic child playing the drums and a therapist on the piano can serve to bringa child out of isolation, the Journal of the American Medical Associationreported. Clive E. Robbins, Ph. D. , says “it’s a way of reaching into thechild’s mind. ” He compared the musical interaction to verbal communication.

    “As we speak, we improvise, you ask a question, I respond. So it is withmusic. It can be used as flexibly as we use speech to reach children withlanguage problems. It bypasses those difficulties. Neurologic research isdiscovering that the brain comes into synthetic activity in response to music. Some say the brain is fundamentally programmed so that the organic connectionsare symphonic rather than mechanistic.

    ” Exercise Light rock music is oftenused in various exercise programs. It helps the body to move to an even rhythm,and the muscles to work more smoothly. It also has the effect of increasingstamina, boosting endurance and lowering heart rate. Memory The right hemisphereof the brain, which has to do with feelings, imagery, and the unconscious, isactivated by music.

    Janalea Hoffman, a therapists works with a lot of adults whohave experienced major gaps in their memories of childhood. Using music, theyare often able to recall lost or suppressed experiences, which in turn mayeliminate the emotional underpinning for their physical ailments. Paul Newham,founder of the International Association for Voice and Movement Therapy inLondon, explored the therapeutic difference between speaking and singing. Whereas Sigmund Freud pioneered the talking cure, in which patients freeassociations offered a “royal road” to the unconscious mind, Newhambelieves that the singing voice offers a more direct route to the unconsciousmind. He says, “the whole purpose of psychoanalysis is to disable thecontrolling domination of the conscious, particularly the superego, to see whatemerges when the language of the unconscious is allowed to speak.

    Freud did thatthrough language, through free association. I think that it’s one stage furtherto strip away verbility itself and to allow the voice to speak directly throughsong. ” States of Consciousness It has been repeatedly demonstrated thatbrain waves can be modified by both music and self-generated sounds. Ordinaryconsciousness consists of beta waves, which vibrate from 14 to 20 Hz. Beta wavesoccur when we focus on daily activities in teh external world, as well as whenwe experience negative emotions.

    Heightened awareness and calm are characterizedby alpha waves, which cycle from 8 to 13 Hz. Periods of peak creativity,meditation, and sleep are characterized by theta waves, from 4 to 7 Hz. Deepsleep, and deep meditation and unconsciousness produce delta waves that rangefrom . 5 to 3 Hz.

    The slower the brain waves, the more relaxed, contended, andpeaceful a person feels. Music with about 60 beats per minute can shiftconscouisness from the beta toward the alpha range, enhancing alertness andwell-being. While most people respond physically and emotionally to music, a fewgo beyond that. For some music therapy is mystical experience used to transportthem into altered states of consciousness. Patients sometimes reporttranspersonal experiences with music, and the impression it leaves may lingerfor months or even years.

    These experiences can have a therapeutic effect bychanging the individual at a deep spiritual level. Effects of various types ofmusic Gregorian Chant – creates a sense of relaxed spaciousness, reduces stress,deepens breathing Baroque – invokes sense of stability, order, and safety andcreates a mentally stimulating environment, increases rate of learning andmemory retention Classical – can improve memory, concentration, and spatialperception Romantic – enhances sympathy, love, and compassion, invokes theme ofindividualism or mysticism Impressionist – evokes dreamlike images, can unlockcreative impulses Jazz and Blues – helps to release deep joy and sadness BigBand – inspires light movement, creates sense of well-being Rock – stimulatesactive movement, may increase tension and stress New Age – increases sense ofspace and time, induces state of relaxed alertness Heavy metal – stimulates thenervous system. It is typically an outward exhibition of inner turmoil Country -has been known to increases suicidal tendencies The Mozart Effect Alfred Tomatis,M. D. , a French physician has spent five decades studying the healing andcreative effects of music, particularly that of Mozart. He has tested over100,000 clients in listening centers all over the world.

    Lately, researchershave learned that the music of one composer in particular rises above all othertypes in its ability to heal, namely that of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The uniqueability of this music to heal the body, and strengthen the mind is known as theMozart Effect. One of Tomatis’ patients included the well-known French actorGerard Depardieu. Early in his career, the man struggled to become an actor. Depardieu could not express himself, the more he tried, the worse his stammeringbecame.

    Tomatis traced the cause of Depardieu’s voice and memory problems todeeper emotional problems. Depardieu’s treatment consisted of listening toMozart two hours a day for several months. Soon his appetite improved, he sleptbetter, and eventually he began to speak more clearly. He went on to become apopular actor known for his mellifluous voice.

    Tomatis consistently found thatregardless of a listener’s tastes or previous exposure to the composer, themusic of Mozart calmed listeners, improved spatial perception, and allowed themto express themselves more clearly. He found that Mozart achieved the bestlong-term results. In 1993, Frances H. Rauscher, Ph. D.

    , demonstrated that tenminutes of listening to Mozart can temporarily increase intelligence. He hadthirty-six students stake a standard intelligence test after listening to eithersilence, a relaxing guided imagery tape, or Mozart. After the period of silence,the average student score was 110. After the guided imagery tape, the averagescore was 111.

    After listening to Mozart the score significantly increased to119. Even people who said they did not like the music had higher scores. Rauscher says that, “listening to complex, nonrepetitive music like Mozartmay stimulate neural pathways that are important in thinking” (Castleman). Rauscher used the same experimental design to test other types of music. In alater study, Rauscher was able to duplicate the effect of Mozart’s music.

    Healso tested compositions by Philip Glass and other highly rhythmic dance pieces. No increase in students IQ was observed after listening to this type of music. This seems to suggest that hypnotic musical structures will not enhance mentalabilities. In a different study, scientists explored the neurophysiologicalbases of this enhancement.

    Spatial intelligence was tested by projecting sixteenabstract figures similar to folded piece of paper on an overhead screen for oneminute. The exercises tested whether seventy-nine could tell what the shapeswould look like when they were unfolded. Over a five-day period, one grouplistened to Mozart, another to silence, and third to mixed sounds. The studiesshowed that all the groups improved their scores from day one to day two, butthe Mozart group’s score rose 62% percent, compared to 14% for the silent group,and 11% for the mixed-sound group. The Mozart group continued to achieve thehighest scores on subsequent days. Rauscher also conducted a study that showedthat music lessons or listening to music can enhance spatial reasoningperformance.

    The spatial reasoning of 19 preschool children who received eightmonths of music lessons far exceeded the spatial reasoning performance of 15preschoolers who did not receive music lessons. A variety of other people havebeen discovering the benefits of Mozart’s music. For example, in monasteries inBritain, monks play music to the animals in their care, and have found that cowsserenaded with Mozart give more milk. In Washington State, Department ofImmigration and Naturalization officials play Mozart and Baroque music duringEnglish classes for new arrivals and reports that it speeds up their learning.

    The city of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada plays Mozart’s string quartets into thecity squares to calm pedestrian traffic. Officials have found, in addition toother benefits, drug dealings have decreased. Many theories have been proposedto explain the Mozart Effect. According to Gordon Shaw, a theoretical physicist,Mozart’s music may give the brain a warm up.

    He suspects that complex musicfacilitates certain complex neuronal patterns involved in high brain activitieslike math and chess. According to David Sobel, M. D. , “At least part of thethrill of music seems to come from the release of endorphines, the powerfulopiate-like chemicals produced in the brain that induce euphoria and relievepain.

    Administering drugs that block endorphin production significantly bluntsthe joy of music” (Castleman). Sedative music reduces the levels of stresshormones, such as adrenaline, and has a calming effect on the limbic system ofthe brain, which plays a key role in emotion. Using special instruments, Tomatisdiscovered that burnout, fatigue, and the debilitating effects of stress comewhen the central gray nuclei cells of the brain run low on electrical potential. These cells act like small batteries, they generate the electricity for brainwaves that can be detected on EEGs. Before and after brain maps made from EEGs,show that the brain is stimulated by high frequency sound.

    Interestingly, thesecells are not recharged by body metabolism. These cells are charged up bysomething outside the body, namely sound. In particular, high frequency soundsfrom 5,000 – 8,000 Hz. Interestingly, before babies are born, they hear theirmother’s voice at frequencies of about 8,000 Hz as a result of the distortionwhen sound travels through fluid. After checking the music of many differentcomposers, Tomatis found that the music of Mozart was richest in these higherfrequencies.

    In Cymatics, Hans Jenny, a Swiss engineer and doctor, describes thescience of how sound and vibration interact with matter. Jenny shows thatintricate geometric figures can be formed by sound. He has produced oscillatingfigures in liquids and gases. The forms and shapes that can be created by soundare infinite and can be varied simply by changing the pitch, the harmonics ofthe tone, and the material that is vibrating. Sounds, especially music, can havea similar effect on cells, tissues and organs. “Vibrating sounds formpatterns and create energy fields of resonance and movement in the surroundingspace.

    We absorb these energies, and they subtly alter our breath, bloodpressure, muscle tension, skin temperature, and other internal rhythms”(Campbell). Through this type of research, scientists and physicians have becomeaware that the vibrations transmitted by music can have positive effects onpatients (or negative effects if the wrong type of music is used). A great dealof music has a rhythm analogous to the average human heart beat (70-80 beats perminute). We know the rhythms of music affect the rhythms of the autonomicnervous system, which regulates a vast a array of systems in our body.

    Therefore, we can understand the physiological and psychological importance ofmusic. BibliographyCampbell, Don. The Mozart Effect. New York: Avon Books, 1997. Campbell, Don. “The riddle of the Mozart Effect.

    ” Natural Health January-February1998: 114. (Reprinted by Information Access Company) Castleman, Michael andSpangler, Tina. “The Healing Power of Music. ” Natural HealthSeptember-October 1994: 68. Gonzalez-Crussi, Frank.

    “HearingPleasures. ” Health March 1989: 65. Hoffman Janalea. “Tuning in to thepower of music. ” RN June 1997: 52. (Reprinted by Information AccessCompany) Jeans, James.

    Science and Music. New York: Dover Publications, 1968. Kamien, Roger. Music: An Appreciation. New York: McGraw, 1994.

    Long, Synthia. “Doctors Find Music Works Well With Sedatives and Anesthetics. “Medicine 23 December 1996: 41. Marwick, Charles. “Leaving concert hall forclinic, therapists now test music’s -charms’ (Medical News andPerspectives).

    ” JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association 24January 1996: 267. (reprinted by Information Access Company) Ostrander, Sheilaand Schroeder, Lynn. Superlearning 2000. New York: Dell Publishing, 1994. Pert,Candace B.

    Molecules of Emotion. New York: Scribner, 1997. Ramo, Joshua Cooper. “Music Soothes the Savage Brain: Listening to Mozart Improves IntelligenceTest Scores. ” Newsweek 25 October 1993: 51. Rosenfeld, Anne H.

    “Music,the Beautiful Disturber. ” Psychology Today December 1985: 48. Uretsky,Samuel D. “Music Therapy. ” Independent Living ProviderJanuary-February 1996: 32. ( reprinted by Information Access Company) Weiten,Wayne.

    Psychology Themes and Variations. Pacific Grove, CA:Brooks/Cole, 1997. Whitmore, Barbara. “Musical Birth: sound strategies for relaxation. “Mothering Fall 1997: 56. (Reprinted by Information Access Company)

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