Classical music lovers get in perfect harmony – mentally and physically – during live concerts, suggests a new study.
Researchers found that movement and some physical responses – such as heart rate, breathing and the electrical conductivity of skin, suggesting excitement – may “synchronize” between audience members as musicians perform symphonies.
People rated more highly for personality traits such as agreeableness or openness were more likely to synchronize with other audience members, according to the study.
“Synchronisation can be used to describe the coordination of two unrelated processes at a statistically significant level, although the processes do not have to be occurring simultaneously,” said Study author Professor Wolfgang Tschacher.
“Between humans, synchronization is usually observed in physical responses such as breathing.
“Most synchronization in humans is caused by a direct social interaction with another person.
“However, synchronization can also be induced by non-social external factors.
“Previous studies have shown that music may be able to induce synchronization in listeners, but there has been little investigation into whether concert audiences become synchronized.”
Tschacher and his colleagues at the University of Bern in Switzerland observed 132 people whilst they listened to a concert consisting of three classical music compositions played by a string quintet.
The pieces were Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Op. 104 in C minor”, Brett Dean’s “Epitaphs”, and Johannes Brahms’ “Op. 111 in G major”.
The research team monitored the participants’ movement with overhead cameras and their physical responses with wearable sensors.
They also asked the participants to fill in questionnaires about their personality and mood both before and after the concert.
The team observed “significant” synchronization between audience members for movement, heart rate, breathing rate, and the electrical conductivity of skin – which indicates arousal of the sympathetic nervous system.
The greatest level of synchronization was seen in the breathing rate, according to the findings published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The personality traits of a listener were also associated with their likelihood of synchronizing physical responses – those with agreeable or openness traits were more likely to become synchronized, whilst those with neurotic or extravert traits were less likely to become synchronized.
“The findings suggest that music may be able to induce synchronization in physical responses between audience members and that personality traits may have an effect on the likelihood of an individual becoming synchronized with other audience members,” said Tschacher.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager
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