Cardiologists at Oxford University have found that some classical pieces can significantly lower the listener’s blood pressure.
The findings were presented by Professor Peter Sleight at the British Cardiovascular Society conference this month.
In the study, participants were played music of different styles while researchers analysed their pulse and blood pressure.
While some classical pieces lowered a listener’s blood pressure, rap and pop music was found to have the opposite effect.
Speaking at the conference, Professor Sleight explained that some composers, including Verdi, seemed to have managed to mirror the natural rise and fall of blood pressure in the human body.
“Verdi may well have been a physiologist,” he said, “he hit on this ten-second rhythm in blood pressure and you can see it in his music.”
“Our research has provided improved understanding as to how music, particularly certain rhythms, can affect your heart and blood vessels. But further robust studies are needed, which could reduce scepticism of the real therapeutic role of music.”