We found that everyone – regardless of factors such as age, gender and income – were positively impacted by listening to just a few seconds of Beethoven’s classic work, Fur Elise
May 16, 2017
A new study that looks at the relationship between music and wellbeing found a remarkable result – listening to just 5 seconds of music can help improve people’s psychological wellbeing on markers such as happiness, satisfaction and general contentment.
The study, conducted by iMusicRain, a music services company, randomly selected 700 participants to listen to varying lengths of Beethoven’s Fur Elise, while gauging how they felt before and after listening to the piece.
“We found that everyone – regardless of factors such as age, gender and income – were positively impacted by listening to just a few seconds of Beethoven’s classic work, Fur Elise,” says Yurina Shin, iMusicRain’s creative director and lead composer. “What’s more, we also found that listening to more of the piece generally had a greater impact on the listener’s wellbeing.”
Another interesting take away from the study was that those already familiar with the piece exhibited more positive reactions to listening to it than those who were less familiar with it.
“Our study suggests that music’s beneficial properties are amplified when the music is familiar and presumably, already something you expect that you will enjoy,” says Shin.
According to Shin, while this finding has clear and deep implications for the fields of music therapy, it also speaks directly to the commercial music industry, as the data suggests that the success of new music is at least partly dependent upon how familiar it is to the target market.
“The danger for the commercial music industry is to hitch its success and record sales on producing music that is already familiar to the audience, thereby sacrificing new talent and experimentation,” says Shin. “There is a fine balance to be struck when creating commercial (mass market appeal or pop) music, in that you can easily get stuck in a rut of sameness that audiences will quickly come to reject.”
According to the company, this is the first phase of its research delving into the correlation between music, psychological wellbeing and how these factors intertwine to impact the larger commercial music industry.
“We know that studies have already been done looking at some of the questions we looked at in this study,” says Shin. “However, much remains unanswered. We are taking a unique approach to answer a unique set of questions that we want to better understand for very specific applications. Just like different music draws a different attention and different focus, we are doing the same with our research. “
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