It’s no secret that music has the ability to create an atmosphere and shift moods. We’ve all experienced that magical moment during a sublimely perfect set when we look around at the sea of blissful people grooving together as one. There might be more power behind this than originally thought, due to a fully encompassing and visceral experience called entrainment. This occurs when organisms sync up with external rhythms, much like an entranced crowd bouncing in time to the beat.
The Manchester band Marconi Union recently partnered with the founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy to harness the power of this natural occurrence. Marconi Union’s goal was to create a song proven to affect listeners’ state of being, so their anxieties dissipate significantly. The eight-minute long track Weightless works by using a continuous rhythm of 60 BMP, eventually slowing to 50 BMP around the five-minute mark. This is important because it takes around five minutes for entrainment to take place.
Along with a lowered heart rate and blood pressure (due to the carefully crafted elements of the piece) your brain is allowed to switch off because of the stark lack of a repeating melody. This means that your brain isn’t trying to anticipate what is coming next, allowing you to completely tune out.
For centuries, Sound therapy has been a viable way to provide powerful and positive experiences. After Mindlab International conducted a study, this piece by Marconi Union proved to be the most relaxing song in the world. The study asked participants to attempt to solve difficult puzzles while connected to sensors that measured stress levels as different songs played throughout. In conclusion, the study claimed listening to Weightless resulted in a reducing 65% of overall anxiety and 35% of physiological resting rates. Some say Weightless is so effective that it’s dangerous to listen to while driving, as it can cause you to become drowsy and doze off.
Music has some astonishing capabilities. Do you know any other songs capable of immediate relaxation? Does Weightless deserve the title of the most relaxing song in the world? Tell us what you think in the comments!