All my life I have heard horror stories about rock and metal music; that it will rot the brain or that it causes increased aggression and leads to violent acts. At the time I had always thought that these were just the rants and myths created by traditional Catholics who thought rock was the Devil’s music, but I grew curious. I began to wonder if there was some truth to these myths, that the loud and fast-paced music that I loved actually had some detrimental effects and, when I researched it, I found some surprising information.
As this is not the first time I have researched music’s effects on the brain, I know that it does have some influence as it is one of the few activities that require the full use of the brain, which, in itself, is incredible. As I have written about in prior articles, music is being used in many medical practices due to its incredible benefits on both the mind and body, but it does much more than I originally thought. Researchers from Pavia University in Italy found that the heart actually beats in time with the music it is exposed to.
It was found that when music with fast tempos and loud, varying pitches, like those of rock music, cause the listener to breathe faster which in turn caused their heart rate and blood pressure to increase, something that happens when one becomes agitated. On the opposite side, slow and consistent music (i.e. classical) causes the heart to slow to a relaxed state. In other words, the way music affects the heart is equivalent to that of a conversation: a calm and casual conversation causes the heart to beat calmly while an argument causes the heart to speed up in response to increased frustration or anger.
So, it would appear that rock music does indeed play some role in causing agitation and anger or at least has similar symptoms. However, this study does not mean that rock music is detrimental. In fact, there is a myriad of positives that heavy and fast-paced music, such as rock and metal, can cause. Such music can help dull pain experienced through physical exertion. It can leave the listener energized and awake, making it a great stress reliever. It can even boost vascular health, as found by the Institute of Cardiology in the University of Nis.
I have found that music can do all sorts of things for and to the human body. It has been proven to promote health in listeners, both mentally and physically, and is just nice to listen to. Stereotypically, all the benefits seem to stem from classical music and that rock music only seemed to have negative effects, but that is clearly not the case. It is nice to know that, in a less than stellar world, I do not have to stop listening to my favorite genres for health purposes.