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The Mozart effect

Identifier

005859

Type of spiritual experience

Background

The Mozart effect referred to in this paper describes either:

  • A set of research results indicating that listening to Mozart's music may induce a short-term improvement on the performance of certain kinds of mental tasks known as "spatial-temporal reasoning"
  • A belief that benefits far beyond improving spatio-temporal reasoning or raising intelligence are obtained by listening to specific forms of music, "an inclusive term signifying the transformational powers of music in health, education, and well-being."

The term was first coined by Alfred A. Tomatis who used Mozart's music as the listening stimulus in his work attempting to cure a variety of disorders.

The full paper is available via the link in Pubmed - see PMID reference number

A description of the experience

Yale J Biol Med. 2011 Jun;84(2):161-7. Harmonic medicine: the influence of music over mind and medical practice. Kobets AJ. Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA. andrew.kobets@yale.edu

The Yale Medical Orchestra displayed exceptional talent and inspiration as it performed a timeless composition to celebrate Yale School of Medicine's bicentennial anniversary during a December 2010 concert. Under the leadership of musical directors Robert Smith and Adrian Slywotzky, the richly emotional meditations of Mendelssohn, Dvorak, Schubert, and Yale's own Thomas C. Duffy filled the minds and hearts of an audience as diverse as the orchestra.

I intend to retrace the steps of that melodic journey in this essay, fully aware of the limits imposed on me to recreate the aural art form through the medium of text. While these symbols can be pale representations of the beauty and complexity of the music, I hope they will be the building blocks for the emotional experience of the audience.

I describe the works' inception and their salient musical features and then review what we know about the effects of melody, meter, and timbre on our brains. My intentions are to provide evidence to encourage the further use of music as a tool in medical practice, provide interest in the works explored by the Yale orchestra, support the orchestra itself, and investigate a personal passion.

KEYWORDS:

Mozart effect, Yale Symphony Orchestra, music therapy, primary auditory cortex, sound perception

PMID: 21698051

The source of the experience

Scientist other

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

 

Activities