The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Can classical music cure cancer? Increase intelligence or IQ? Relieve pain? It may be worth considering at a time of New Year’s resolutions for healthy living. | January 2, 2015

By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear recently came across a compilation of the health benefits of listening to classical music.

Leonardo da Vinci man

Some of it seems farfetched.

I, for one, am dubious about the claim that you can cure cancer by listening to the Fifth Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven (below top) or that you can enhance intelligence and mental alertness to a specific section of a specific work, such as the “Spring” section of “The Four Seasons” by Antonio Vivaldi (below bottom).

Beethoven big


And there are other claims relating to disease and intelligence, like The Mozart Effect for young children, that seem dubious or exaggerated.

But these studies seem to come from some prestigious journals and organizations as well as some careful studies and experiments or trials.

You can read the methods and results, then decide for yourself. Here is a link:

And here is a link to one of the works that is supposed to relieve pain — the Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, performed by Radu Lupu and Murray Perahia in a popular YouTube video:

Have a Happy New Year though listening!

1 Comment »

  1. Music doesn’t cure or or improve Squat. What DOES have these effects are neurochemicals produced by the brain in response to various kinds of stimuli, one type of which is music listening and performance.
    Sound waves have their own physiological and biochemical effects on the human body and brain. Apparently, even plants seem to have responses like this. So does the processing of musical performance criteria in realtime by performers.
    So, music and sound have power, no secret there. But, lots of other types of stimuli have strong effects as well, both positive and negative, to say nothing of the actual and conscious cognitive changes that result from a steady diet of Classical period, Impressionist French, or speed/death metal “music”.
    Someday our science will catch up to the mysteries of these subtle and pervasive phenomena with an ability to measure and analyze this sort of slow but steady response pattern. Until then, listen, heal, but don’t delay going to the doctor for listening to WPR!

    Comment by 88melter — January 2, 2015 @ 10:56 am

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