A new research studying the effect of different musical genres on the cardiovascular system suggests that listening to instrumental music from the classical and romantic period can help lower blood lipid concentrations and the heart rate.

The study, published in the journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, revealed that classical music is better at lowering blood pressure and heart rate compared to pop music. This suggests that classical music can be more effective in preventing hypertension.

For the study, researchers enrolled 120 cardiologically healthy and medication-free individuals. Out of those, 60 participants were divided into two groups and were exposed to certain music for 25 minutes. The first group listened to either Symphony No. 40 in g minor (KV 550) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or dances by Johann Strauss Jr. while the second group listened to popular songs of the Swedish pop band ABBA.

On the others hand, the remaining 60 participants served as the control group and spend their time in silence. All the participants in different scenarios spend their time in a study room, where the participants lie in a lounger in a relaxing environment with a room temperature of 23 degrees Celsius.

Researchers measured blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol concentration of each participant before and after listening to their assigned music or spending their time in silence.

According to a press release, the blood pressure and heart rate of participants listening to either Mozart or Strauss were notably lower, while participants listening to ABBA have no substantial change in their blood pressure and heart rate. Participants in the control group also experience lowering in their blood pressure and heart rate, but have less pronounced effect compared to the classical music.

Researchers noted that the effect of music genres in cortisol levels might have been influenced by the sex of the participant. They observed that drop of cortisol levels in participants listening to classical music is more pronounced in men than in women. When compared to the control group, the effect of music to cortisol level is far greater than silence.