Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Passive Music and Anxiety

Passive music listening and anxiety
By Elizabeth Oosthuizen

“Music is the essence of humanness, not only because man creates it, but because he creates his relationship to it. Music is an essential and necessary function of man. It influences his behaviour and condition and has done so for thousands of years” – Gaston

Some elements of music:

• Rhythm: Man is essentially a rhythmic being. There is rhythm in his breathing, speech, movement, heartbeat, and brain activity. By man living in a rhythmic world it improves his response to the rhythm in music.

• Tempo: The speed of a composition or a section thereof, ranging from vary slow to very fast, as indicated by tempo marks such as largo, adagio, andante, moderato, allegro, presto & prestissimo.

– Apel. This is the most important factor to bring forth emotion to man.

• Pitch: High pitch – can result in emotional irritation. Medium pitch – result in feelings of vitality and excitement. Low pitch – result in feelings of relaxation and calmness.

Regulatative (adjusting) music therapy (a specific form of passive music listening)

This type of music therapy focuses on psychophysical self-regulation. The individual will teach himself to relax while listening to music. Concentration therefore is focused on the music and not the physical experiences. Some results are as follows:

- Various mental conditions can be created

- Alleviate internal anxiety/stress

- Facilitate self expression

Although an individual will sit passively listening to specific music, the holistic process is in actual fact not passive. The individual does react to the music, because elements of music such as rhythm, tempo and pitch influence the listener. (Altshuler). It can change the listeners’ frame of mind, improve concentration, and can bring forth physical changes. Physical changes such as breathing rhythm, heartbeat, and pulse, is directly influenced by the type of music the listener, is listening to.

The relaxed state that a certain type of music, will bring to the person that are experiencing anxiety, results naturally, through the physical rhythm of the body (pulse, heartbeat) that naturally follows the rhythm of the music.

Characteristics of music to be used by individuals experiencing anxiety for relaxation:

- Largo tempo (slow)

- 60 beats per minute

- Simple harmonies

Examples of music:

Vivaldi (largo from “winter” – Four Seasons); Mozart (Eine Kleine Nachtmuzik);

Beethoven (Simphony Nr. 8); Tschaikowsky (Symphony Nr. 6) & any Baroque Music.

In general:

Structured music experiences do improve the level of functioning of client e.g. music can be used to become more relaxed, lift your depressive mood, can help you to concentrate better.

“There is no doubt that music is one of the best means of getting rid of your anxieties. It certainly requires no complicated measures to listen to good music. It is the most pleasant way to keep your emotions untroubled.” – Podolsky

“It can speak to us in deeper ways, that words can feel” – Bonny

Elizabeth Oosthuizen



• Violin Concerto K.216 by Mozart

• Violin Sonata no. 9 in A Major, op. 47 “Kreutzer” by Beethoven

• Violin Sonata no. 5 in F Major, op. 24 “Spring” by Beethoven

• Sonata in A Major for Violin and Orchestra by Franck

• “Ave Maria” by J.S. Bach and Gounod


• O Jerusalem by Hildegard van Bingen

• Voice of the Blood by Hildegard von Bingen

• Mandolin concertos by Vivaldi

• Guitar Quintets by Boccherini

• Harp Concerto by Handel


•Serenade from Quartet in F Major, Op. 3 No. 5 by Haydn

• Trio in B Major by Schubert

• Nocturnes and Walzes by Chopin


• Goldberg Variations by J.S. Bach

• Well-Tempered Clavier by J.S. Bach

• Any piano sonata by Mozart

• The Four Seasons by Vivaldi

• Brandenberg concertos by J.S. Bach

No comments:

Post a Comment