How music can brighten your day

The relationship between music and mood is so evident that its effects can be used to improve emotional and mental health in clinical profiles of depression, anxiety and neurosis.

It is said of the Greek poet and musician Orpheus who had such skills for singing and playing the lyre that with his melodies was able to appease the wildest animals. Hence the popular expression that music calms the beasts, something that, according to the most recent studies in music therapy, has more of scientific than of legend.

The influence of music is on our genetics

Music and mood are two aspects that historically have always been associated, although it has not been until relatively recently that the subject has begun to be approached from a scientific perspective.

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The Greeks had great confidence in the potential of the music. They assured that with calm music it was possible to alleviate the pain of the sick and to contain the anger of the violent ones. 122/5000 That intuition that some kind of connection between music and mood existed was transmitted between generations, and even Cervantes himself refers to it when in the words of Dorothy ensures in Don Quixote that "music composes the decomposed moods and relieves the works that are born of the spiritt".

But from a romantic point of view we could describe how musical sensitivity is not something so ethereal or ideal. It has been shown that this relationship between music and mood is in our genetics and that it is responsible for re-modulate emotions in relation to sounds that it captures from the outside.

The D2 gene, one of the dopamine receptors, is the one in charge of establishing these relations between the sound that perceives in the environment (not only music, also the noises) and the moods that are generated through brain activity. The influence of music in the creation of neuroimages that are transformed into sensations together with the behavioral information of each individual is what, finally, determines their response to these sound stimuli.

Positive music to lift the spirits

1815/5000 Although we are all prepared to establish this connection between sounds and feelings, we do not all perceive and interpret music in the same way. When we listen to a song it is as if we move through the score unconsciously looking for the correspondence between each note and a certain emotion.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates, among other things, brain activities such as learning, the pleasure, sleep and also mood. As we have commented, the D2 gene is one of the receptors for dopamine, but it is not exactly identical in all people but there are variations. Recent studies at the universities of Bari (Italy) and Helsinki (Finland) have served to demonstrate that this genetic diversity is what determines that each person reacts differently to a musical stimulus.

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The studies were performed subjecting the subjects to a magnetic ressonance while listening to the same piece of music. The analysis of their neuronal response revealed that it was possible to transfer subjects from one state to another through musical variations, although not all responded equally to those changes.

From the point of view of Musicology, these investigations have been a very important advance in the development of new techniques of treatment more adjusted to the needs of each patient. While it is true that the quiet music can induce them to a State of While it is true that calm music can induce them to a state of relaxation that is very conducive to anxiety, or that positive music to lift mood is more effective than many drugs, it is important to adapt this tool to the previous emotional state of the subject, to know their desires and establish the most suitable therapeutic regimen in each case.

And to you, what kind of music makes your day?

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