Music and Medicine Vol 14, No 1: Article Feature and Table of Contents
Temporal changes in electroencephalographic power spectrum on passive listening to three selected melodic scales of Indian music on healthy young individuals – a randomized controlled trial – Kirthana Kunikullaya, Arun Sasidharan, Rakshith Srinivasa, Jaisri Goturu, and Nandagudi Srinivasa Murth
Music is said to affect the brain in different ways. To the best of our knowledge, research on the effect of passive listening to different melodic scales of Indian music on Electroencephalogram (EEG) power spectrum is rare to find. In this randomized control trial, 137 healthy subjects were randomly divided into 4 groups (A to D, n~32 in each group), of which A (raga Ahir Bhairav), B (raga Kaunsi Kanada), C (raga Bhimpalas) received music intervention while group D was the control arm. 19 channel scalp EEG was recorded for 30 minutes [10 min for each condition, before (BI), during (DI) and after intervention (AI)] and conducted power spectral analysis of waveforms in standard frequency bands. Two-way ANOVA was performed across conditions and groups, to determine the scalp regions showing significant changes, for each frequency band separately. Music seemed to induce a relaxation effect with scales B and C causing maximal effect. In line with existing literature, it may be concluded that listening to these melodic scales was associated with mind wandering effects and probable visual imagery/recall.
- Can you provide an overview of the article and the topics it explores?
The article explores the effect of listening to music on the brain waves. To the best of our knowledge, research on the effect of passive listening to different melodic scales of music, particularly Indian music on Electroencephalogram (EEG) power spectrum is less. The study explored whether the brain oscillatory dynamics differed between different melodic scales (called as Ragas) of Indian classical music. It found that these dynamics were indeed different, especially in frontal alpha and beta bands, which could be related to mind wandering and visual imagery/recall during listening to music. In that, raga Kaunsi Kanada and Raga Bhimpalas were found to produce a relaxation effect compared to raga Ahir Bhairav. Furthermore, the changes were influenced by factors independent of the music intervention, like the state of baseline power and temporal drop in EEG power of such oscillation.
- What was the impetus for writing this article?
Music being a complex combination of various features that include, pitch, tempo, dynamic contrasts, melodic scales, and so on, it is important to understand the effect of systematically combined musical features, in order to create the music that best suits one’s need, for therapeutic purposes. Importantly, how the brain responds to passive listening to different melodic scales, irrespective of training, remained to be elucidated in detail. To the best of our knowledge, not many studies have assessed the effect of passive listening to specific melodic scales on the EEG power spectrum, and scientific studies on Indian melodic scales are meagre. Most of studies have explored listening to music for about 2 – 3 minutes, in order to analyse the brain wave changes. But often music unfolds over time, and thus it is important to understand the temporal sequence of changes that may occur on listening to music over a longer time (such as for 10 to 15 minutes). These were the points that we wanted to explore in the current study. Thus, in the present study, pre-recorded instrumental music in three different scales (melodic scales/also called as ragas in Indian music) were played to a young healthy group of participants in India, and the changes in the power spectrum on EEG was analysed.
- What future research or areas of exploration would benefit the field and application of what was discussed in this article?
To the best of our knowledge, this being the first of its kind article, similar research should be done across other musical genres and relevant Indian musical scales to generate a chart of brain oscillatory influences that could aid in music therapy applications. A correlation time-locked analysis of music with the different physiological parameters may also further confirm these results. Further research is also required to identify brain oscillatory and network dynamics that are time-locked to musical features in the musical pieces of such Indian melodic scales, which would aid musicians in creating neuroscience-informed therapeutic musical pieces. We also plan to explore, in future, if a person trained in music reacts differently than a person untrained in that music / trained in a different genre, and all such factors that may affect the response to music.
- How do you think this article impacts the current understanding of music and medicine?
As the current study finds a direct association between brain oscillatory changes and the type of Indian classical music, the findings could benefit in the selection of appropriate musical pieces for brain oscillation-based therapeutic interventions like Neurofeedback, especially in culturally relevant populations.
Table of Contents
Temporal changes in electroencephalographic power spectrum on passive listening to three selected melodic scales of Indian music on healthy young individuals – a randomized controlled trial
Kirthana Kunikullaya, Arun Sasidharan, Rakshith Srinivasa, Jaisri Goturu, and Nandagudi Srinivasa Murth
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