Music has a long history of giving listeners a “feel-good” vibe, but now a new project is exploring the potential therapeutic benefits of listening to symphony-style music. This new musical experiment used instruments tunned at a frequency of 432Hz – lower than the standard tunning of symphony instruments, placed at 440Hz.
“The idea around this is to examine the therapeutic benefits of a specific frequency combined with a deep listening experience of ethnological instruments along with a symphony orchestra tuned to 432hz,” said Creative Director and Composer Tenille Bentley.
The En`coda Symphony Orchestra Experience is the brainchild of Ms Bentley, who joined forces with Musical Director Mark Coughlan and Composer Stuart James to create this innovative musical experience.
“I have witnessed the impact and results of music and sound for therapeutic purposes. It has become an increasingly essential and unique tool that is being used to alleviate rising stress levels, mental health and anxiety in the busy world we live in today,” Ms Bentley told Medical Forum.
What is the music like?
According to En`coda, the musical experience involves a “unique orchestra blends of the rich sonority classical strings with the exotic colour of traditional instruments and enchanting vocal lines.” In practice, the orchestra includes traditional instruments, like violins and cellos, but also native drums, crystal bowls, a Shruti Box and vocals.
The musical output is described as a “unique and extraordinary whole-of-body musical journey”. But, don’t take their word for it. A sample of the music is available here: Music | Encoda (en-coda.com).
Now, the En`coda team is asking about the science behind their novel musical approach. This is the first time such joined effort has taken place to evaluate the therapeutic effect of music at this specific frequency.
The science behind the music
To evaluate the potential health effects of this innovative music, En`coda has partnered with scientists from the Perth Brain Centre to gain some solid insights into the effect this music might have on the brain.
Scientists from this Centre are using special brain scans known as Quantitative Electroencephalogram or QEEG to evaluate brain activity in listeners. In a recent concert, held at Montgomery Hall in Mt Claremont, several members of the audience had their brain assessed with a QEEG, to establish if the music had any effect on their brain function.
“There is no doubt that music touches the heart, mind and body. There is also growing evidence that specific types of music can have specific effects on the brain and can help people with chronic health problems,” said Daniel Lane, Clinical Director, Perth Brain Centre.
“We anticipate that the results from these experiments will shed some light on the effects of this type of music on the brain – information which we hope may in turn be used to help people suffering from chronic health problems in the future,” he added.
Previous research has shown that listening to Mozart can have anti-epileptic effects, as reported recently in our Weekly Forum. Studies have also shown benefits of listening to music in people with Parkinson’s Disease, discussed in this recent article, as well as for people with dementia, where a recent review concluded that music could be “a powerful treatment strategy”.
“What we hope to accomplish with this project is to bring together some quantitative data combined with qualitative data from all the performances that we tour to begin to examine what happens to the brain during these therapeutic musical experiences in a group setting,” Ms Bentley said.
For more information, learn about the new documentary “Does Sound Heal”, currently being developed by Ms Bentley. “The documentary invites you to query and to explore the power of sound, frequency and its effects on the human body,” Ms Bentley said.