Take Twenty Minutes of Mozart and Call Me in the Morning

From a study by Ruth McCaffrey and Edward Freeman:

Sixty-six participants over 65 years of age with osteoarthritis were divided into two randomized groups, and the experimental group listened to a tape of relaxing music for twenty minutes a day, over a period of fourteen days.

The tape consisted of three musical selections by Mozart: (1) Andantino from Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra in C, K.299; (2) Overture A Le nozze di Figaro, K.492; and (3) Sonata Symphonie No. 40 [sic], first movement. The first and third selections were at 60 beats per minute and the middle selection was somewhat faster at 72 beats per minute. Music with a tempo between 60 and 80 beats per minute is considered relaxing (Ortiz 1998). All of the participants in the study stated that they found the music enjoyable.

I don’t know what they mean by that third selection; I’m guessing it’s Mozart’s Symphony 40.

And the result?

Participants in the experimental group had steadily decreasing pain scores on both the Pain Descriptor Scale and the VAS over the 14-day study period. Thus, listening to 20 minutes of relaxing music daily resulted in less chronic osteoarthritis pain than sitting and resting without music at each of the three data collection points. The experimental group continued to have further decrease in pain perception across the whole study period, while the control group remained at relatively the same pain level [emphasis added].


Mozart “Andantino” from Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra in C, K. 299:

“Overture,” Le nozze di Figaro, K.492″

Symphony no. 40:

Based on other studies of pain control and music, it seems clear that listening to twenty minutes per day of classical music is an inexpensive, noninvasive method of pain control. Moreover, it seems to be effective, as well. There are many free sources of classical music on the Internet, at the library, and on the radio, and so it seems simple enough. There’s absolutely no reason why someone suffering from pain shouldn’t try this; there’s nothing to lose.

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