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Mozart effect

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Medical practitioners and modern scientists agree that some forms of music can be therapeutic. Experments have shown that some people respond well to reggae or jazz, there are others who feel positive or even healed after listening to Gregorian chant, or heavy metal. This form of healing was popularly referred to as music therapy.

Lately, researchers unanimously agree that the work of one composer in particular -- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -- mysteriously rises above all other forms of music in its power to heal the human body. This special ability of Mozart's music to heal is called the Mozart Effect.

Mozart effect is the observation that a brief stint of Mozart, but not other music, may improve learning and memory.

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[edit] History

The Mozart effect first came to light in 1993, when Fran Rauscher, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, US, and colleagues showed that college students who listened to Mozart's Sonata for 10 minutes performed better on a spatial reasoning test than students who listened to new age music or nothing at all.

[edit] The impact of Mozart's music

Scientists argued over whether the phenomenon had a relatively simple explanation, such as just improving a person's mood, or if the effect was tied to a unique quality of the Mozart's compositions. One study reported that the particular rhythmic qualities of Mozart's music mimic some rhythmic cycles occurring in human brains.

It has been found that regardless of a listener's tastes or previous exposure to the composer, the music of Mozart invariably calmed listeners, improved spatial perception, and allowed them to express themselves more clearly. It was found that Mozart indisputably achieved the best results which were long term in nature irrespective of region and culture.

[edit] Did You Know?

  • In monasteries in Brittany, monks found that playing Mozart in front of cows made them give more milk.
  • A renditon of Mozart and baroque music during English classes for new arrivals from Cambodia, Laos, and other Asian countries speeded up their learning.
  • The city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, pipes Mozart string quartets into the city squares to calm pedestrian traffic. Officials found, in addition to other benefits, drug dealings have lessened.
  • In northern Japan, Ohara Brewery finds that when Mozart is played near yeast, that yeast makes the best sake. The density of yeast used for brewing the traditional rice wine -- a measure of quality-increases by a factor of ten when the yeast "listen" to Mozart.

[edit] Why does music heal?

To understand why music in general can heal -- and why Mozart is particularly therapeutic for many people -- one must understand sound and its effect on physical matter. In Cymatics, Hans Jenny, a Swiss engineer and doctor, describes the science of how sound and vibration interact with matter. Jenny shows that intricate geometric figures can be formed by sound.

The forms and shapes that can be created by sound are infinite and can be varied simply by changing the pitch, the harmonics of the tone, and the material that is vibrating. When chords are added, the result can be either beauty or chaos. A low Om sound, for example, produces a few concentric circles with a dot at their center, a high EEE many circles with wobbly edges.

[edit] Effectiveness of Mozart's effect

For decades, research has been conducted on the relationship of learning and music with conflicting results. Music is typically associated with mood, feeling, emotion, and subjectivity. However, it is difficult to prove the specific effects of music because it is difficult to measure emotions in lab experiences. It is even more difficult to quantify and prove music's ability to enhance intelligence.

[edit] References

  • Molecular basis for Mozart effect revealed
  • The riddle of the Mozart Effect - music therapy for illness care and prevention - includes related information
  • The Power of Mozart, Time Magazine
  • How effective is the Mozart effect?

[edit] See Also