Differential effects of Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 3 on blood pressure and heart rate - a prospective controlled study


  • Hans-Joachim Trappe University of Bochum, Germany
  • Irini Maria Breker University of Bochum, Germany




Background There is little known whether music of different styles can directly alter blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) in humans. We studied the potential effects of Bach’s orchestral Suite No. 3 in comparison to silence (S [“controls CO]) on BP and HR.

Objective To analyse the effect of different music styles (intervention group) on BP, HR and C compared to S (control group).

Methods 120 volunteers aged 25-75 years were randomly assigned in the intervention group (n=60) or to a control group (n=60). Interventional music styles were the different parts of Bach’s Suite No. 3, BWV 1068 [Ouverture, Air, Gavotte, Bourrée, Gigue]). Sixty healthy volunteers served as “control group” (CO): they underwent an identical study protocol but without music application.

Results In studied volunteers, systolic, diastolic BP (mm Hg) and HR (min-1) decreased when Bach was played compared to CO (p<0.001). Prior to the study BPsyst was 128.3+11.3 mm Hg, BPdiast was 81.9+7.9 Hg and HR was 75.3+12.0 bpm. After sound exposure or in CO the following results were observed (table). *p<0.001, ap=0.01, bp=0.08

                        BPsyst (mm Hg)                  BPdiast (mm Hg)                 HR (min-1)

Ouverture        120.9+12.4*               76.9+8.8*                   69.8+11.2*

Air                  121.1+12.4*               77.1+7.9*                   68.4+9.4*

Gavotte           120.9+12.6*               77.0+8.9*                   68.5+9.8*

Bourrée           120.6+13.7*               76.5+9.4*                   66.4+8.4*

Gigue              120.4+15.2*               78.5+11.1*                 68.1+9.2*

Controls          120.6+8.7a                  75.4+5.5b                    78.8+11.9*

Conclusions The results provide clear evidence for the potential of Bach’ music styles to influence cardiovascular parameters. All parts of the Suite No. 3 lead to decreased values of BP and HR. In the control group we could not observe similar findings.

Trial registration German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS00009835)

Funding: None




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