University of Michigan Life Sciences Term Paper
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This is not to say however, that all classical music is soothing and therapeutic. In fact, the majority of traditional classical music are not therapeutic because this is not the intent of the original masters. Concertos by Beethoven, Bach and Brahms for example all focus on arousing strong emotion rather than harnessing the power of strong therapy, therefore the physical presence and rhythmic are not necessarily therapeutic. Mozart's no. 23 however, is an ideal example of therapeutic music. This is because the affects of entrainment is easily observed through studies on the affect of this music on others. While listening to the music, people say that it "relaxed and soothed," upon monitoring with medical equipment it is observed that the music lowered both their blood pressure and heart rates. The reason is that Mozart's concerto affects individuals in both a psychological and physical sense. While the classical music made people feel extremely happy emotionally, the emotional response mirrored by the physiological response. The shifting tempo and structure of the music caused the body as well as the mind to attain entrainment, causing the full therapy of classical music.
The therapeutic value of classical music is a proven commodity. Mozart's music is particularly noteworthy within studies, so much so that the therapeutic affect of classical music is often termed the "Mozart Effect." Classical music can severely lower blood pressure and heart rate as well increase concentration and overall emotional uplifting.
The therapeutic affect of classical music has become an increasingly strong presence within American society. While traditional visions of musical halls and classical concerts as the conventions of the rich and elite, this culture has changed significantly to include mainstream classical music lovers. The current projection of Americans who attend classical music concerts, art museums and other strongly elitist activities have increased to a full 100 million, nearly half of all adults within the United States. Several reasons
can be attributed to the acceptance of classical music into mainstream cultural traditions. The first is that education has now become a widespread and more egalitarian commodity. No longer restricted to the rich and power, the implication is that more people are now aware of classical music as a cultural and historical tradition, as well as understand its therapeutic affects. Another major contributor to classical music's emergence into the mainstream has been the greater depth of musical historiography among musicians. This is evidenced by modern classical music that is now a blending of modern musical traditions as well as traditional mediums. These musicians have taken the traditional medium and significantly changed it to fit their own musical tastes. The ability of taking traditional ideas and modifying it, has helped spread the acceptance of classical music into the American tradition. Finally, the American populace has begun increasingly to focus on culture as a methodology to understand history and heritage. The increased inclusion of classical music within public education curriculums and strong emphasis on their historical, cultural and psychological significance creates a strong infrastructure of interest within modern youth movements.
The combination of all of these factors makes classical music an emerging and large contributor the contemporary musical traditions. The American culture itself has turned back to what was formerly perceived as an aristocratic enjoyment, into a reflection of their heritage and appreciation for the healing powers of music as well as historical and cultural value.
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