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Music on prescription could help treat emotional and physical pain
Date:9/9/2010

New research into how music conveys emotion could benefit the treatment of depression and the management of physical pain.

Using an innovative combination of music psychology and leading-edge audio engineering the project is looking in more detail than ever before at how music conveys emotion.

The project, at Glasgow Caledonian University is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The research could lead to advances in the use of music to help regulate a person's mood, and promote the development of music-based therapies to tackle conditions like depressive illnesses. It could help alleviate symptoms for people who are dealing with physical pain and even lead to doctors putting music on a prescription that is tailored to suit the needs of an individual.

"The impact of a piece of music on a person goes so much further than thinking that a fast tempo can lift a mood and a slow one can bring it down. Music expresses emotion as a result of many factors," says audio engineering specialist Dr Don Knox, project leader. "These include the tone, structure and other technical characteristics of a piece. Lyrics can have a big impact too. But so can purely subjective factors: where or when you first heard it, whether you associate it with happy or sad events and so on. Our project is the first step towards taking all of these considerations and the way they interact with each other on board."

Raymond MacDonald, Professor of Music Psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University, is also playing a central role in the initiative.

You can find out more about the research from the team involved on our Youtube channel.

The team has already carried out an unprecedentedly detailed audio analysis of pieces of music, identified as expressing a range of emotions by a panel of volunteers.

Each volunteer listens to pieces of previously unheard contemporary popular music*
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Contact: EPSRC Press Office
pressoffice@epsrc.ac.uk
44-179-344-4404
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

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