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A study of the type and characteristics of relaxing music for college students

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Abstract

It is believed that music has the power to soften emotions and alleviate pains. The essence of the power has being encoded by researchers. This study was aimed to explore the effects of music preference and stress-associated responses of college students when they listen to music. The objectives of this study were (1) to survey the music types of relaxing music for college students, and the difference in gender and study majors; (2) to investigate the effects of musical preference, music expertise, and awareness of musical content on their perceptivity of relaxation; and (3) to analyze the relativities of musical emotions with musical characteristics, such as tempo, mode, and dynamic range. Participants were asked to listen to selected music pieces, and to rate their three-dimensional emotional responses, pleasant-unpleasant, calm-arousal, and relaxing-stress, on five-point Likert scales. Data collection of music compositions and personal music taste was acquired using surveys. The findings are expected to (1) understand college students' listening habit, (2) collect repertoire suitable for university students in terms of stress releasing, and (3) offer advices for music appreciation teaching, psychological consultation personnel, and clinical therapist.

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... Through this autonomic reflex, music modulates arousal levels (e.g. anxiety, relaxation) and emotions in a way that can optimize or impair subsequent behaviors (Juslin and Sloboda 2001;Gabrielsson and Lindstrom 2003;Rickard 2004;Ilie and Thompson 2006;Wang 2014). ...
... Additionally, high volume levels and fast tempo, which increase arousal and motivation levels, may lead to increased psychoactive substance consumption (Juslin and Sloboda 2001;Gabrielsson and Lindstrom 2003;Rickard 2004;Ilie and Thompson 2006;Wang 2014) as well as excessive consumption (e.g. binge; Engels et al. 2012;Buvik and Rossow 2015). ...
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... These contradictory findings suggest the relationships amongst these factors are complex. Indeed, several studies have observed the interactions between arousal and familiarity (Iwanaga, Ikeda, & Iwaki, 1996), between arousal and music preference (Jiang, Zhou, Rickson, & Jiang, 2013), and between music type and music training (Wang, 2014). For example, Jiang et al. (2013) found that listening to lowarousal music induced significantly lower tension and state anxiety levels than listening to high-arousal music when music was not preferred. ...
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This study took popular music from the Top 30 charts and, in a pretest, evaluated its energy and joyfulness as musical qualities. The findings were used to create sets of musical selections that were either low or high in these qualities. In the experiment proper, respondents were placed in states of bad, neutral, or good moods and then, in an ostensibly independent study, provided the opportunity to freely choose from the sets of musical selections. The selections were offered by computer software that recorded individual exposure times by selection. To ensure selectivity, exposure time was limited to about one third of the total running time of all available selections. Consistent with predictions from mood-management theory, respondents in bad moods elected to listen to highly energetic-joyful music for longer periods than did respondents in good moods. Respondents in bad moods, moreover, were more decisive in exercising their musical preferences. Following the listening period, respondents' moods did not appreciably differ across the experimental mood conditions.
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Recent studies of music performance have shown that systematic variations in tempo, sound level, articulation, and timbre may be used by the performer to communicate representations of specific emotions to listeners. However, although performance analyses show that performers use certain cues to communicate emotions, they cannot explain how listeners use these cues to decode the expression. The purpose of this study was thus to examine listeners' cue utilization. This was done in two listening experiments using synthesized performances of a short melody. In the first experiment, an attempt was made to recreate representative cue profiles of five emotional expressions; happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and tenderness. The cues manipulated included tempo, sound level, spectrum, articulation, attack, vibrato, and timing. Listeners made forced choice judgments regarding the intended emotional expression. The results showed that (a) listeners were successful in decoding the intended emotional expression of the synthesized performances, (b) decoding accuracy was as high for synthesized performances as for live performances, and (c) reversal of the sequences reduced decoding accuracy to a larger extent for live performances than for synthesized performances, suggesting that live performances were relatively more dependent on prosodic contours. In the second experiment, five cues – tempo, sound level, spectrum, articulation, and attack – were systematically varied in a factorial design. Listeners were instructed to describe the emotional expression of each cue combination by ratings on adjective scales. An attempt to describe the listener's judgment policy was made using multiple regression. The results showed that (a) listeners used all of the available cues in their judgments, (b) none of the cues had more than a probabilistic (i.e., uncertain) relation to the listeners' judgments, (c) the predictive strength of each cue varied a lot depending on the emotion judged, and (d) the hypotheses based on our earlier studies of emotional expression in music performance (e.g., Gabrielsson & Juslin, 1996; Juslin; 1997d) were supported.
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Thesis (M.M. Ed.)--University of Kansas, Music Education, 1971.
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ALTHOUGH STILL CONTROVERSIAL, studies suggest that music therapy can be an effective nursing intervention in stressful situations for decreasing anxiety, blood pressure, and heart rate. This article (1) reviews research related to the effect of music on anxiety, blood pressure, and heart rate; (2) proposes a potential physiological framework for the effects of music; and (3) suggests clinical implications for the use of music therapy in acute- and chronic-care settings by clinical nurse specialists (CNSs). Findings from clinical research suggesting that music may facilitate a reduction in the stress response include decreased anxiety levels, decreased blood pressure and heart rate, and changes in plasma stress hormone levels. Findings from laboratory research using animal models, provide beginning, although speculative, support for a physiological framework of music's influence on the stress response. Music therapy may be useful in a wide range of clinical settings with patients experiencing health problems as diverse as hypertension/cardiovascular disease, migraine headaches, and gastrointestinal ulcers. Suggestions for development of a music therapy procedure and for areas in need of additional research are offered.
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Results of physiological responses to music are inconclusive considering results of several studies, probably due to the insufficient control of the musical stimuli. The present study aimed to examine the effects of music type and preference on subjective and physiological responses using controlled stimuli by subjects' evaluations for music activity and preference. Subjects were 47 undergraduate students selected from a pool of 145 undergraduates. Results of evaluations of music activity and music preference for musical stimuli in preliminary research determined participation in the study. The music used in this study included the 4th movement of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 as an excitative piece and the 3rd movement of Mahler's Symphony No. 6 as a sedative one. The excitative music aroused feelings of vigor and tension more than did the sedative one, while sedative music eased tension. Favorite music, regardless of music type, lowered subjective tension. Physiological responses (heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure) were greater during excitative music than during sedative music. Music preference did not, however, affect physiological responses. These results indicate that the dominant factor affecting emotional response was music type but not preference.
Article
To assess the potential clinical use, particularly in modulating stress, of changes in the cardiovascular and respiratory systems induced by music, specifically tempo, rhythm, melodic structure, pause, individual preference, habituation, order effect of presentation, and previous musical training. Measurement of cardiovascular and respiratory variables while patients listened to music. University research laboratory for the study of cardiorespiratory autonomic function. 12 practising musicians and 12 age matched controls. After a five minute baseline, presentation in random order of six different music styles (first for a two minute, then for a four minute track), with a randomly inserted two minute pause, in either sequence. Breathing rate, ventilation, carbon dioxide, RR interval, blood pressure, mid-cerebral artery flow velocity, and baroreflex. Ventilation, blood pressure, and heart rate increased and mid-cerebral artery flow velocity and baroreflex decreased with faster tempi and simpler rhythmic structures compared with baseline. No habituation effect was seen. The pause reduced heart rate, blood pressure, and minute ventilation, even below baseline. An order effect independent of style was evident for mid-cerebral artery flow velocity, indicating a progressive reduction with exposure to music, independent of style. Musicians had greater respiratory sensitivity to the music tempo than did non-musicians. Music induces an arousal effect, predominantly related to the tempo. Slow or meditative music can induce a relaxing effect; relaxation is particularly evident during a pause. Music, especially in trained subjects, may first concentrate attention during faster rhythms, then induce relaxation during pauses or slower rhythms.
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