With tact: hearts beat in sync among choristers

With tact: hearts beat in sync among choristers

Controlled inhaling and exhaling is also healthy and can have a similar effect to yoga, the researchers report. Other studies have already shown that choral singing synchronizes the movement of muscles and nervous activity in large parts of the body, reports bjorn vickhoff of the sahlgrenska academy at the university of gothenburg. Now the evidence has been produced that this also applies to the heart.

For their experiments, the scientists love to hear 15 young people in chorus – from monotonous humming to a swedish song to a slow mantra. In each case they documented the heartbeats. The researchers found that song structure and melody are reflected in heart activity. Pulse rate dropped on exhalation, rose on inhalation in between. When singing together, the effect was that the pulse of the singers beat synchronously.

Singing is a form of controlled breathing, says vickhoff. "Exhaling activates the vagus nerve in the brain. This causes the heart rate to drop and the heart to beat more calmly."When you breathe in, your pulse rises again. Singing is healthy because you breathe calmly and evenly, he emphasizes. Songs with long sentences had a similar effect as breathing exercises in yoga. Even the mental state can be influenced by singing.

The background to the study was the question of how music and health are connected. The scientists wanted to uncover new ways in which music can be used, for example, in rehabilitation – or for the prevention of illnesses. The positive health effect of choral singing had already been suspected earlier, the researchers report. So far, however, there have been few scientific studies on the subject.

The researchers now want to investigate whether synchronizing heartbeats also helps choir members improve their ability to work together more effectively. Singing together is often the expression of a collective will, for example in soccer stadiums, at work songs, religious choruses or military parades, says vickhoff. The scientists now want to investigate whether choral singing can also improve cooperation in schools.


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