The Effects of Indian Classical Music on the Brain

The Effects of Indian Classical Music on the Brain  

  1. Abstract

Music is an essential part of people’s culture globally. It has for many ages been used to convey certain emotions and reactions to listeners. The effectiveness of music in inducing certain emotions or reactions in the listeners is confirmed by the fact that the human brain and musical frequencies are compatible. Therefore, to comprehend the effect of music on the brain, this paper has analyzed classical music’s impact on brain performance. By leveraging scholarly reviews, the study successfully discovered that music, such as an Indian classical genre, increases the brain’s effectiveness in healing body infections, mental illnesses, body pains, cognitive development problems, sleep disorders, and low levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine.

  1. Introduction

It is perceived that music has diversified effects on the brain. Scholars define music as the projection of emotions and ideas produced by musical instruments and voices in an enticing melody, harmony, and rhythm. Therefore, music serves a vital role in society. As seen, most people in the community admit that music helps them build harmonious interactions, attract tranquility, improve body immunity, and cultivate emotional ecstasy. However, most people listening to various genres of music, such as hip hop, rock, classical, electronic dance music, and jazz, confess that music has healing power. Thus, to vividly understand the effect of music on the brain, this study analyses the impact of Indian classical music on the listeners’ brains. Specifically, the study analyzes how Indian classical music affects the brain’s activities, i.e., the brain responds to healing body infections, mental illness, body pain, cognitive development problems, sleep disorder, and low levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine.

  1. Overview of classical music

Classical music is among the oldest musical genres. Musicologists project that classical music was first invented in Asian and Western countries. Classical music is unique from other styles of music since it is rooted in Asian and western cultures’ traditions, such as chatting and yoga practices (Mansukhani 20). Additionally, its simplicity makes it unique. Indian classical music is simple as traditional musical instruments, such as flutes, orchestras, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, oboe, and clarinet are used to produce relaxed and calm melodies. Compared to other forms of classical genres such as Korean, American, and Buddhism, Indian classical music is the most popular. Indian classical music is famous for the presence of traditional “raga” melodies played using orchestras and flutes to create a quiet and peaceful environment, thus relaxing the listeners’ minds.


  1. Methodology

Secondly, research resources are widely used for conducting qualitative and quantitative studies. Likewise, this study analyzes the effect of classical music on the brain by leveraging secondary data sources, particularly scholarly reviews. For accuracy, the study has used scholarly sources unveiling how Indian classical music impact listeners’ brains’ responses to body infections, mental illness, body pain, cognitive development, and sleep; the above studies’ variables are among the core functions of the brain. For reliability purposes, the study furthermore leverages scholarly reviews conducted by the scholars-medical practitioner, therapists, teachers, and physicians- learning institutions, and medical institutions; these researchers have enriched knowledge on how the functions in different environments.


  1. Empirical review
  2. Classical music vs. body infections

Many types of research carried out by scientists, philosophers, scholars, and sociologists have proven empirically that Indian classical music plays a significant role in lowering high blood pressure levels. Based on Jawaharlal medical college’s research on the impact of Indian classical songs on blood pressure, Indian classical songs help lower high blood pressure levels for adults below 40 years (Chatterjee, Samarpita, and Roan 4). To quickly lower the high blood pressure levels, Jawaharlal medical college’s researchers recommend that classified adults listen to favorite Indian classical songs for at least 20 minutes daily for 30 days while continuing to take hypertension-based medications. Sona’s findings also statistically conclude that the null hypothesis that Indian classical music reduces high blood pressure levels should not be rejected. In his study, he found a positive relationship between listening to classical music and lowering blood pressure (Chatterjee, Samarpita, and Roan 4). Specifically, a regression coefficient of 0.925 was obtained from his research studying how various Indian classical songs affect blood pressure levels of pre-hypertensive adults aged 35 to 40. Furthermore, he recommended that pre-hypertensive adults listen preferably to Indian/Hinduism classical songs for 20 minutes daily for the next 40 days.

While studying the positive effect of Indian Classical music, a few researchers discovered that Indian classical songs also lower the listeners’ heart rate. For example, World Health Organization (WHO) research showed that Indian classical songs such as ragas lower heart attack risks among people with diabetes (Chatterjee, Samarpita, and Roan 4). The WHO emphasizes the need for diabetic people, irrespective of age, to regularly listen to classical songs to help lower heart rate by improving cardiovascular health. Lastly, a study by Sri Lankan similarly concluded that Indian classical songs play a core role in reducing heart rate and heart attack cases. Anchored to the study findings, the heart rate of 80 out of 100 people listening to Indian or Hinduism classical songs was very healthy (60 to 90 beats per minute). As a result, such findings have popularized Indian classical music globally as its perceived cardiovascular benefits significantly lower breathing and pulse rates. The Indian classical music’s relaxing nature justifies why the listeners’ heart, blood pulse, and breathing rates are lowered.

Medical practitioners highly appraise classical music for its positive mental healing impact. Medical research carried out by India’s Tertiary Hospital revealed that popular Indian classical genres, namely Raga Todi, Hindola, and Kalyani, speed the brain healing process, especially for patients with traumatic brain injury (Chatterjee, Samarpita, and Roan 5). To conduct the research, the doctors played three Indian classical music; Hindola was played in the morning, Kalyani in the afternoon, and Todi in the evening. By comparing core parameters- heart rate, blood pressure, pupillary movement, and respiratory rate- before and after playing these Indian classical songs, the doctors observed that the patient with traumatic brain injuries – concussions and anoxic brain injuries- recovered faster. Therefore, the doctors agreed to leverage Indian/ Hinduism classical music to treat various brain injuries. Studies have shown that traumatic brain injury’s healing processes are faster in an atmosphere playing classical music


  1. Classical music vs. mental illnesses

Stress is a prevalent mental illness. Irritability, poor performance, anger, and panic are commonly stress symptoms. Classical music, such as the Indian classical genre, has successfully reduced cognitive stress. The ability of Indian classical music to relieve stress is confirmed by a university study aimed at studying the relationship between music and stress among students (Nierman and Maddie 8). During the study, the students were subjected to a cognitive stressor, namely a sudden presentation of complicated speech. One group was placed in a room with a background environment playing Indian-based classical music, while the other group prepared their presentation in a room with no music background. Based on the survey results, the group preparing their presentation in the background by playing Indian classical music reported experiencing low-stress levels. In another medical-oriented experience, the results showed the imperative role played by music in reducing stress among the patients awaiting intensive medical operations. During the experiment, the doctors grouped 28 subjects scheduled for surgical operations. After that, the experimental group was availed of musical-based therapy playing Indian classical genres, while the other control group was not availed of musical therapy sessions (Nierman and Maddie 7). Interestingly, the doctors surveyed that the patients in the experimental group felt less stressed compared to patients in the control group who were deeply stressed. Therefore, the two experiments empirically show that music, mostly Indian classical music stabilizes the students’ and patients’ glucose, blood pulse, and skin temperature, making them less stressed despite being aware of technical tests and surgical operations.



Classical music vs. Body Pain

Studies show classical music relieves body pain. According to a study conducted using patients suffering from spiral epidurals, it was found that music lowered body pain among the patients. For the study to be carried out effectively, the medical practitioner played Indian classical music during and after surgery sessions. The researchers observed that the experimented patients had shorter induction time than patients in the control group; shorter induction time made the surgical sessions quicker. Similarly, the study found that patients in the experimental group required less medical attention than those in the control group who complained of body pain. Thus, the study shed insight among the surgeons that music, preferably classical genres, increases anesthesia’s effectiveness in reducing body pain for surgical operations.

Music vs. Cognitive development

Music is a lucrative tool for cognitive development. Cognitive development comprises brain functions, such as thinking, learning, and storing information. Affirmatively, studies have shown that music help patients with chronic mental problems characterized by low learning abilities, memory loss, poor thinking, and abnormal behaviors develop better cognitive habits (Meenakshi and Ruma 33). Schizophrenia is an example of a prevalent chronic mental condition that has been proven to be treated by Indian classical music. A famous study of a woman aged 20 years is prevalently used to justify the use of music for treating chronic mental disorders. After her therapist introduced Indian classical music, the woman began recovering from her previous abnormal behaviors, namely irritability, hallucination, and incoherent thoughts (habits, Meenakshi, and Ruma 33).

Additionally, the findings from classical music therapists show similar results: music nourishes the listeners’ cognitive thinking. The therapist believes that classical music, commonly the Indian and Hinduism helps relax the brain tissues, thus increasing concentration. The higher concentration justifies why great classical musicians are excellent cognitive thinking manifested by high creativity, analytical, problem-solving, critical, and learning skills.

Music vs. sleep

Classical music induces a sleepy atmosphere. To study the relationship between classical music and the release of melatonin- a sleep hormone, the Institute of Behavioural Science at Semmelweis University selected two groups of students with the sleeping disorder for the experiment (Harmat et al. 333). Anchored on the finding, the insomniacs’ students in the experimental group where Indian classical music was played in the background slept quickly and peacefully, unlike the students in the control group whose sleep difficulties remained unchanged (Harmat et al. 333). The study concluded that most Indian classical songs induce a sleepy atmosphere as the relaxed melodies lower the nervous system’s activities, blood pressure, and anxiety, thus making the brain quickly release the sleep hormone- melatonin.

Music vs. Dopamine

Physicians have discovered the use of classical music and other relaxing music genres to treat people with deficit hyperactivity disorder (AHD). Deficit hyperactivity disorder (AHD) is a medical condition characterized by low levels of neurotransmitter dopamine (Nguyen and Andrea). Before the discovery of classical music to boost in treatment of hyperactivity disorders among children, physicians used traditional natural techniques such as physical exercise. However, since discovering a positive relationship between dopamine release and classical music’s relaxed melodies, physicians have used saga or Indian classical music to stimulate higher dopamine for these children with deficit hyperactivity disorder (Nguyen and Andrea). The relaxed nature of Indian classical music’s melodies and rhythms create a happy mood that triggers the brain to release the dopamine hormone.


  1. Conclusion and Recommendation

Therefore, it can be concluded that music positively affects the brain. As seen, Indian classical music makes its listeners’ brains respond effectively in lowering the high blood pressure levels, thus aiding them in fighting against body infections, such as hypertension and heart attack. Additionally, Indian classical music is relaxed rhythms significantly lower glucose, blood pulse, and heart rate, making their bodies resistant to mental illness, such as stress and anxiety. Furthermore, classical music increases the effectiveness of anesthesia in numbing the body during surgical operations, thus helping patients reduce body pain. Moreover, classical music increases brain-cognitive development, helping the public fight against cognitive disorders such as hallucination, irritability, and inconsistent behaviors. Lastly, Indian classical music helps the brain solve sleep and low levels of neurotransmitter dopamine disorders as the relaxed melodies trigger the brain hormones to release melatonin and dopamine, thus addressing the two disorders, respectively.





  1. Hospitals should play Indian classical music inwards filed with patients with hypertension and heart attack infections.
  2. The public should be sensitive to listening to classical music with the explicit goal of fighting mental illness.

 Works Cited

Chatterjee, Samarpita, and Roan Mukherjee. “Evaluation of the effects of music therapy using Todi raga of Hindustani classical music on blood pressure, pulse rate and respiratory rate of healthy elderly men.” Journal of Scientific Research 64.1 (2020).

Harmat, László, Johanna Takács, and Róbert Bódizs. “Music improves sleep quality in students.” Journal of advanced nursing 62.3 (2008): 327-335.

Mansukhani, Gobind Singh. Indian classical music and Sikh kirtan. New Delhi: Oxford & Ibh, 1982. (pp. 23-5).

Nguyen, Andrea. “Using classical music to increase productivity in elementary school students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.” (2014).

Nierman, Maddie. “Music and the brain.” The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences 12.1 (2018): 12.

Ravi, Meenakshi, and Ruma Chakravarty. “IMPACT OF CARNATIC MUSIC THERAPY INTERVENTION ON A PATIENT WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA–A CASE REPORT.” International Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2021): 33-39.



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