Wendi Shi, MT-BC

(Click on the image to read more about the author(s).)

In the 1990s, experiments that attempted to “retrain” the brain using music began to emerge. Alfred A. Tomatis, a French otolaryngologist, was one of the pioneers in designing listening tests and using music to promote healing and development of the brain. His particular usage of the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart led to the term “Mozart Effect.” In 1993, a study by Frances Rauscher, Gordon Shaw, and Catherine Ky showed that participants who listen to ten minutes of Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D major K. 448 experienced a temporary boost in spatial IQ reasoning. Subsequently, numerous studies replicated the original experiment in an attempt to prove or refute the “Mozart Effect.” Though these studies took a scientific approach, they neglected musical analyses that may have provided greater insight regarding the outcomes they reported. What is lacking in all previous studies using Sonata in D Major is an actual understanding of the music itself. Drawing on score evidence, literature journals, and scientific publications, I argue that it is the unique usage of rhythmic pattern in the first movement of Mozart’s Sonata in D major that induces a temporary boost in spatial-task abilities.

In order to watch the video recording of this presentation or access the livestream link, please log in to the user account you used to register for IAMM2022 or go back to explore our conference page or register here.

Do you have any questions about this presentation?

Fill out this form and join us for our four Q&A Sessions in which we will discuss these presentations and all your questions! Find out the times for the Q&A sessions here: iammonline.com/iamm2022library.

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Please type your message.


The International Association for Music & Medicine is a registered non-profit organisation formed in 2009 to encourage and support the use of music in medical contexts including research into the benefits of music, and its specialised applications in healthcare.


Stay Up to Date

© 2023 International Association for Music & Medicine. All Rights Reserved.