Text size
  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large
  • Standard
  • Blue text on blue
  • High contrast (Yellow text on black)
  • Blue text on beige

    Tempo and Autonomic Control of the Heart

    Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2015)

    London, UK, 7 - 9 July 2015


    Beatrice Bretherton, Luke Windsor & Kia Ng



    Music is a powerful stimulus and has been found to influence cardiovascular activity, including heart rate, blood pressure, respiration and heart rate variability. Previous research has used complex pieces of music which render it difficult to determine whether changes in a particular musical parameter are associated with the observed variations in cardiovascular activity. This study uses simple musical stimuli to overcome this issue, with the aim to investigate the effect of sudden changes in tempo on autonomic control of the heart. Heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate, heart rate variability and baroreflex sensitivity are measured in four experimental conditions. The musical background and health status of all participants are ascertained to explore individual differences in cardiovascular responses. Preliminary findings demonstrate that heart rate during the four conditions is mediated by prior exposure, gender and age at which an individual starts formal music training. Relationship between music and physiology is complex. This study concludes that more controlled and simple musical stimuli can be used to examine the impact of music on autonomic control of the heart.


    PDF file PDF Version of this Paper 327(kb)