It’s the end of Relax-a-Week, and hopefully it’s opened your eyes to some truly chill tunes or at least made you think about what music helps you to relax!
Today I’ll be talking about what actually makes music relaxing what what music is relaxing.
Scientifically Created Relaxing Music
A study commissioned by Radox created a song so relaxing, they’ve warned people not to listen to it while driving. Sound Therapists and Manchester band Marconi Union collaborated to create a song that was meant to be so in-tune with the human brain that it would relax listeners to such an extent. Not only is it pretty cool that it’s possible to create a song for that purpose, but according to this article by The Telegraph:
“Scientists played the song to 40 women and found it to be more effective at helping them relax than songs by Enya, Mozart and Coldplay.”
The song was pieced together by looking at physiological factors of humans, such as heartbeat, and combining them with known musical factors that induce calm. Liz Cooper, founder of The British Academy of Sound Therapy said:
“The song makes use of many musical principles that have been shown to individually have a calming effect. By combining these elements in the way Marconi Union have has created the perfect relaxing song.”
Have a listen below, and see if it helps you into a state of calm!
Relaxing Music In The Charts
Now you might argue that a scientifically created song isn’t ‘naturally’ relaxing, and you may also argue that it’s more a piece of music or soundscape than a ‘song’… so let’s have a look at some music that’s been in the charts. Generally we think of chart music as upbeat or grand and emotional – not often something to fall asleep to. What popular music do we look back on as being truly relaxing?
Following on from the idea that a song with a ‘heartbeat’ helps to tune our brains with the music, Teardrop by Massive Attack definitely fits the bill. It’s a great chill-out tune although this could be because it’s associated it with popular American TV show ‘House’, so it evokes a nostalgic feeling in us too. Below is the video for Teardrop – in the video it shows a foetus in the womb, adding to the idea of a heartbeat.
Another factor in chill-out music is often repetition. There’s a familiarity with a song that’s in cycles or with reputation of riffs / sections, which helps our brains feel happy and comfortable, and this also links with nostalgia. Familiarity for both those reasons can make a tune a relaxing one, even if it technically isn’t. Remix to Ignition chills me out because it’s familiar and comforting…. yet you probably won’t see it on any ‘Top 10 Most Relaxing Tunes’ lists!
Another song that relaxes me (and makes more sense than Remix to Ignition) is Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Feats – video below.
Some other songs from the charts that the study found most relaxing include:
- All Saints – Pure Shores
- Adele – Someone Like You
- Mozart – Canzonetta Sull’aria (the song Andy plays through the prison speakers in Shawshank Redemption – perhaps it was chosen for a reason!)
- Coldplay – Strawberry Swing
Some songs on the list were questionably relaxing to me, which just shows perhaps what we relax to and what are physiologically relaxing to our brains may be different!
What do you like to relax to at home?