Although the association of music and health has been discussed for centuries, the interest in scientific studies of this topic is still quite low (1, 2). We therefore welcome the many positive responses and reactions to our study of the cardiovascular effect of different musical genres (3). Although we confirmed an effect on blood pressure and heart rate for the music of Strauss and Mozart, many unanswered questions remain that should be the subject of future studies. Especially neurophysiological studies are of interest—for example, using multichannel EEG—and especially in patients with (chronic) pain or insomnia (4). Further studies of the heart rate variability (HRV) at rest and of the effect of music and subjective perceptions are exciting and crucially essential in terms of assessing musical styles as a “musical pharmacy” (5). The fact that music affects psychological (learning performance, attention, memory), biological, and cortisol-affected parameters is well known and should certainly be the subject of further studies (6). Although our prospective randomized studies showed unequivocally positive effects on blood pressure and heart rate, it is too early to draw conclusions along the lines of “music as medication” for the purpose of blood pressure lowering. The phenomena of blood pressure lowering by means of music have also been observed by other authors in clinical studies and animal experiments. However, one publication cannot possible reference all other studies on the same subject, especially as Deutsches Ärzteblatt places great importance on up-to-the-minute reference lists.
The subject of music and medicine will certainly also be of great interest in future and is likely to gain in importance in conservative and operative medicine. In this setting, music needs to be understood as a multifactorial phenomenon, which achieves its effects by means of very diverse mechanisms. It remains to be seen whether there will be “music as medication”—for example, in pain therapy/management or arterial hypertension.
On behalf of the authors
Prof. Dr. med. Hans-Joachim Trappe
Medizinische Universitätsklinik-Klinik II,
Marien Hospital Herne
Conflict of interest statement
The authors of all contributions declare that no conflict of interest exists.
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