Physiology of music lovers synchronizes at classical concerts.

Physiology of music lovers synchronizes at classical concerts.

The Synchronizing Power of Classical Music: A Symphony of Heartbeats

Have you ever felt a sense of unity and connection with the people around you while attending a classical music concert? A recent study suggests that concert-goers may not only experience the beautiful melodies of a symphony, but their breathing patterns and physiological responses may also synchronize as they are captivated by the intricacies of the performance.

In previous studies, researchers have explored how music can induce synchronization in listeners. However, little investigation has been done on whether concert audiences truly become synchronized. The findings of this new study shed light on the phenomenon, revealing that heart rate, breathing rate, and even the electrical conductivity of skin, which indicates excitement, may synchronize among audience members during classical concerts.

Led by Wolfgang Tschacher from the University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in Bern, Switzerland, the study involved 132 participants. These individuals were observed while they listened to a concert featuring three classical music pieces performed by a string quintet. The repertoire included Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Op. 104 in C minor,” Brett Dean’s “Epitaphs,” and Johannes Brahms’ “Op. 111 in G major.”

To gather data, the research team employed different methods. Overhead cameras tracked the participants’ movements, while wearable sensors measured their physical responses. Additionally, the participants completed questionnaires regarding their personality and mood before and after the concert.

The results were remarkable. The study revealed synchronization in various measures, with the highest level of synchronization observed in breathing rate. It appears that as the music envelopes the audience, their breaths intertwine, creating a collective rhythm that resonates throughout the concert hall.

Interestingly, the study also found a correlation between personality traits and synchronization. Participants who scored higher in agreeableness and openness were more likely to synchronize with other audience members. However, individuals with neurotic or extraverted traits were less likely to become synchronized. This suggests that our personalities may influence our ability to connect with others through music.

While the findings provide valuable insights into the profound effects of classical music on audience synchronization, the study does acknowledge some limitations. Due to prioritizing wearer comfort over data quality, there were gaps in data collection from the wearable sensors. The study authors recommend developing more reliable data collection methods for future studies.

Published online in the journal Scientific Reports on October 5, 2023, this research demonstrates the potential power of music to bring people together in more ways than we previously imagined. It highlights the ability of classical symphonies to unite individuals in a shared experience, transcending language and cultural barriers.

So, the next time you attend a classical music concert, take a moment to tune in to not just the music but also the collective heartbeat of the audience. Let the melodies guide your breath and allow the symphony to synchronize your soul with those around you, creating a harmonious connection that transcends the boundaries of everyday life.


The abbreviated term ADHD denotes the condition commonly known as: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

More information: The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has more on music and health.

Source: Scientific Reports, news release, Oct. 5, 2023.