Ode to Joy

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Lauren Minco / www.laurenminco.com

Feeling blah? Try some Bach.

That’s the implication of new depression research out of the University of Oaxaca, according to the website of Miller-McCune (Aug. 2, 2010). Investigators there conducted an eight-week study of 79 people suffering low to medium levels of depression. Half the group participated in weekly talk therapy sessions; the other half listened daily to 50 minutes of classical music (Bach’s Italian Concerto, Corelli’s Concerto Grosso, and Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos). Participants charted their symptoms weekly on a standard scale for measuring depression.

The result: Music trumped talk. At the end of the experiment, 29 music listeners showed improvement compared to only 12 in the talk therapy group. The findings, which were first reported in the medical journal The Arts in Psychotherapy, support previous research indicating that music can increase dopamine levels in listeners.

Interestingly, not all the participants were classical fans at the outset, but by the end of the study many were asking where they could find more good classical music.

The lopsided results led researchers to conclude that depressed people “can use music to enhance the effects of psychological support.” In other words, music indeed has charms to soothe a savage breast.

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