Trappe and Voit’s article picks up an interesting old topic but has methodological limitations (1). The slight changes in blood pressure are of questionable relevance even though they reached significance, especially as the method for measuring blood pressure was not described. In spite of being described as Riva-Rocci (auscultatory) measurement, the values—some of which were reported to two decimals—imply that the actual measuring technique was oscillometry, whose precision is suspected to be only ± 3 mm Hg. The effect of the measuring procedure itself was not considered.
The discussion attempts to explain the effects primarily by means of the characteristics of the composition, although hardly any published data exist to support this and, furthermore, this was not the subject of the study. We conducted an earlier study of the cardiovascular, hormonal, and psychological effects of the music of J Strauss (2), and we found fewer objective stress-reducing effects by comparison.
In another study using the same pieces of music, we found stress-reducing effects in patients with hypertension especially for the meditative music of Ravi Shankar, although this music was not consistent with the kind of music the participants habitually consumed (3). We agree that elements of the composition are important, but we would also consider the factor of distraction (for example, from worries) as a further important component of the effect.
On the basis of these insights, we tested specifically composed music with a high degree of periodicity as receptive music therapy in a coronary sports group. We found that the patients benefited from the music intervention in terms of a lower degree of worry and anxiety, lower β-endorphin concentrations, and lower systolic blood pressure, in spite of physical exercise/activity (4).
It is regrettable that Trappe et al. did not make reference to these and further studies that investigated the effect of music on (psycho)physiological parameters.
Prof. Dr. med. Martin Möckel
Dr. med. Jörn Ole Vollert
Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, email@example.com
|1.||Trappe H-J, Voit G: The cardiovascular effect of musical genres—a randomized controlled study on the effect of compositions by W. A. Mozart, J. Strauss, and ABBA. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2016; 113: 347–52 VOLLTEXT|
|2.||Möckel M, Rocker L, Stork T, et al.: Immediate physiological responses of healthy volunteers to different types of music: cardiovascular, hormonal and mental changes. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 1994; 68: 451–9 CrossRef MEDLINE|
|3.||Möckel M, Stork T, Vollert J, et al.: [Stress reduction through listening to music: effects on stress hormones, hemodynamics and mental state in patients with arterial hypertension and in healthy persons]. Dtsch Med Wochenschr 1995; 120: 745–52 CrossRef MEDLINE|
|4.||Vollert JO, Stork T, Rose M, Möckel M: [Music as adjuvant therapy for coronary heart disease. Therapeutic music lowers anxiety, stress and beta-endorphin concentrations in patients from a coronary sport group]. Dtsch Med Wochenschr 2003; 128: 2712–6 CrossRef MEDLINE|