Music, in this sense, actually refers to the audio perception from your favorite songs, remixes, or renditions. It can affect the brain significantly, and vicariously through that may influence the body. Euphoria or de-stressing to tunes should be evidence of this.

This page features 11 unique references to scientific papers.

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Music is best defined as an abstract stimulus that we perceive with our ears, and then form patterns with our minds that results in a completely unique experience.

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Things to Note

Music can induce any feeling of stimulation, anxiolytic, or calming effects. This effect is dependent on the music itself and one's own preferences.

Loud and to your liking, but not enough to destroy your ear drums.

Looking at the studies, many of the differentiate music between either ones own preferences or via BPM (Beats per Minute). A good summary of the beat ranges used are (Karageorghis et al. 2011):

  • Tempi bands consisted of slow (95-100 bpm), medium (115-120 bpm), fast (135-140 bpm) and very fast (155-160 bpm)

Not sure whether one's own preference or the BPM would win out if we look at effects on performance, but the same study also noted that one's own preferences switched to the faster BPMs during exercise. Win-Win I guess.

Many studies on exercise also note drops in heart rate and blood pressure during exercise, and also use cycling. Not sure if these effects can be extrapolated to the weight-lifters who get pissed off at their music.

Kurtis Frank

Table of Contents:

Edit1. Music and Dopamine

Music has the ability to release dopamine. The effect of this seems to be via a calmodulin-dependent system.[1]

Dopamine release from the nucleus accumbens occurs during peak emotional arousal (the best part) and from caudate (another brain organ) during periods of anticipation for the peak emotional arousal.[2]

Edit2. Effects on Blood Pressure

Via a calcium/calmodulin-dependent dopamine-synthesizing system, dopamine can potentially reduce blood pressure.[3] Via this mechanism, music has been shown to reduce blood pressure (albeit in lab animals) and has more potency at higher frequencies (albeit still being calming music).[4] This effect may be only applicable to those with higher blood pressure in the first place (and hopefully not only rats).[5]

Edit3. Music and Pain Relief

Music has been found reduce the intensity of pain experienced.[6][7][8]

Edit4. Music and Exercise

Music administered during exercise has the ability to increase time to exhaustion during aerobic exercise while reducing blood pressure and heart rate, hypothesized to be via relaxation mechanisms.[9] Differences in adrenaline between the two groups were noted. These changes in adrenaline stop upon cessation of music, are dependent on the tempo of the music, and do not seem to be causative of the changes in performance during exercise to a significant degree.[10]

Listening to motivational music (music that encourages motion and activity) encourages enhanced blood lactate clearance possibly via unintentional additional movement.[11]


  1. Sutoo D, Akiyama K. Music improves dopaminergic neurotransmission: demonstration based on the effect of music on blood pressure regulation. Brain Res. (2004)
  2. Salimpoor VN, et al. Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music. Nat Neurosci. (2011)
  3. Sutoo D, Akiyama K. Regulation of blood pressure with calcium-dependent dopamine synthesizing system in the brain and its related phenomena. Brain Res Brain Res Rev. (1997)
  4. Akiyama K, Sutoo D. Effect of different frequencies of music on blood pressure regulation in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Neurosci Lett. (2011)
  5. Lemmer B. Effects of music composed by Mozart and Ligeti on blood pressure and heart rate circadian rhythms in normotensive and hypertensive rats. Chronobiol Int. (2008)
  6. Nilsson S, et al. School-aged children's experiences of postoperative music medicine on pain, distress, and anxiety. Paediatr Anaesth. (2009)
  7. Bradshaw DH, et al. Individual differences in the effects of music engagement on responses to painful stimulation. J Pain. (2011)
  8. Cepeda MS, et al. Music for pain relief. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. (2006)
  9. Szmedra L, Bacharach DW. Effect of music on perceived exertion, plasma lactate, norepinephrine and cardiovascular hemodynamics during treadmill running. Int J Sports Med. (1998)
  10. Yamamoto T, et al. Effects of pre-exercise listening to slow and fast rhythm music on supramaximal cycle performance and selected metabolic variables. Arch Physiol Biochem. (2003)
  11. Effect of Motivational Music on Lactate Levels during Recovery from Intense Exercise

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