Don’t you just feel fantastic when you tune in to a classical music station and take in an opera or a symphony by a great composer like Mozart? Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of the most famous child prodigies in history. At only 12 years old he produced his first real opera and his musical genius was evident from the beginning. Some suggest this genius could almost be considered contagious, when heard through the sound of Mozart’s musical creations.
The idea that listening to classical music can increase your brainpower has become so popular that it’s been dubbed “the Mozart effect.” A recent study conducted by researchers from the Sapienza University of Rome showed that listening to Mozart caused an increase in brain wave activity, which in turn caused an increase in memory retention, problem solving abilities and overall comprehension.
These researchers stated, “the results may be representative of the fact that Mozart’s music is able to ‘activate’ neuronal cortical circuits (circuits of nerve cells in the brain) related to attentive and cognitive functions.” This study was made of up a group of 30 adults who ranged in age from 33 to 85 years. Their brain activity was measured before and after the study with an EEG (Electroencephalography) machine. During the study, the participants listened to Allegro con spirito from the Sonata for Two Pianos in D major, K448 by Mozart and Fur Elise by Beethoven.
But, the results of listening to Beethoven showed little to no difference within brain wave activity of the participants compared to data after listening to Mozart. Therefore, the study suggests classical music alone does not increase brain waves, causing some to believe that this is a result of listening to Mozart’s music specifically.
While this is a contentious issue within the scientific community, we can all agree that a little Mozart can make anyone’s day. Have a listen to the Sonata below and tell us what you think. Then test “the Mozart effect” for yourself Saturday, November 28 at Totally Mozart.
The full study can be found in the journal Consciousness and Cognition.