No. 26 in D-Minor

In an effort to continue my search for knowledge, I explored a topic which I have always believed to be true – the positive effect of classical music on intelligence. The Mozart Effect has been studied and publicized for years and has yet to be explained.

The term, “the Mozart effect,” was created by Alfred A. Tomatis, to describe the increase in brain development among children under three years-old, while listening to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Neurological studies of the brain have continued since 1993, when the idea for the Mozart effect originated at UC Irvine.

A physicist, Gordon Shaw, and a then-retired concert cellist found scientific proof of the Mozart effect in 1997. Through experimentation, they demonstrated that piano and singing instruction are more beneficial to a child’s abstract reasoning skills than computer instruction. Children who received the instruction in music and singing showed 34% higher spatial-temporal ability than the children who received computer lessons.

Now you know there is scientific evidence of orchestral music’s effect on higher brain functions related to mathematics, chess, science and engineering.

Also, rest assured that I am currently listening to a generous sampling of Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and Chopin (my personal favorite).

I could not find any direct claims explaining how this type of music does so many positive things for the brain, however I do have my own hypothesis.

Most of the modern music we are exposed to has a set structure. You hear a song with a 16-beat cut that repeats between matching choruses. The beat is predictable. You can follow along and tap your no. 2 pencil to it, and most of us do. Classical music, on the other hand, does not allow you that luxury.

Find a song by Wolfgang or Ludwig and try to predict it – you can’t, (unless you already know it). Not only is it unpredictable, but the lack of lyrics allows your brain to wander freely. Your ears can hear and not have to listen. With other music, words have to rhyme and contain a cognate amount of syllables to match a beat – classical music contains no lyrics and the noise is allowed to vary in tempo, tune, tone and direction.

The next time you feel like you’re lacking inspiration I recommend you give Chopin a spin.

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1 Comment

  1. Florella on May 15, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    My personal favorite as well.

    Familiar with any studies on the relation of jazz to abstract reasoning skills development? Greater/less than classical?

    What are you listening to now? I can hear it down the hall.

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