The influence of music on human movement

We have recently observed that one of the concepts on which philosophy has been most deeply rooted in history is that of movement. Everything in this universe is subject to continuous evolution, which has to do with the formal aspect of what composes it, as well as with the essence of everything. From planets to cells, from stars to our feelings, everything moves, literally, and everything changes, changes, disintegrates and reforms. A liveliness of which we are witness, as we have seen, in the first instance by the arts, and whose becoming is perceived, again, in a different way by those who live in that state of trance that psychology indicates as flow. Music is particularly linked to the concept of movement. It is used to indicate each section of a musical form, but also the time, the structure of the composition, the number of parts in which it is structured, the character of its interpretation, the target instrument and finally the tonality of the music itself. And it is based on the different types of movement that a music can give us a feeling of aggression - "I can't listen too much to Wagner, you know. I already feel the urge to occupy Poland! says Woody Allen in Mysterious murder in Manhattan - or peace, or even push us to improve our performance in sports.

Classic airs

An interesting study on listening to classical music associated with fitness was conducted by a British neuroscientist, Dr. Lewis-Hodgson, who managed to demonstrate how listening to it is able to perfectly align the heartbeat with the movements performed. The same researcher, over the years has managed to show how listening to some songs can reduce stress by as much as 65%.
Dr. Lewis-Hodgson, together with the staff at Mindlab (a research centre based in Brighton, UK), created a playlist of ten songs, in which, for each song, a specific heart rate is associated with a specific training. It has been discovered, for example, that the already mentioned Beethoven Symphony number 4 leads our heart to stabilize around the threshold of 140 beats per minute, making it, therefore, perfect for the heating phases.
The playlist of the 10 most relaxing songs in the world according to the Mindlab Institute.

Music boosting, music doping

According to psychologist Costas Karageorghis, a researcher at Brunel University in London and author of the essay Psychophysical Effects of Music in Sport and Exercise: An Update on Theory, Research and Application, there are three aspects of a musical track that can influence the listener during training.

1. The first of these is rhythm, because our body adapts to that of the piece we are listening to (especially with regard to the time and speed of our movements);

2. The second is musicality, as a combination of notes and melody;

3. Finally, there are extra music associations, that is to say everything that the music listened to is capable of evoking in the listener.

Playing sports with music is convenient because it is easier to get results by listening to the tracks that best suit your type of activity.
Of great importance, according to Karageorghis, is the cultural impact that the diffusion of a musical genre, in relation to a specific sport, is capable of provoking. For the researcher at Brunel University, music can:

1.Activate positive mental states;

2. Reduce negative sensations - such as tension and sadness;

3. To change the perception of fatigue, apparently making very long fatigue periods shorter.

According to Karageorghis, music would help to reduce problems such as burning in the legs (in the case of running), excessive heart rate and lactic acid production, ultimately reducing the feeling of fatigue by an estimated 10%.

It is no coincidence that since 2007, the New York Marathon has banned the listening to music during the race, considered as a real doping substance.

App for fitness

Over the years, technology has also evolved in favor of these theories. So, today, different mobile applications allow you to train listening to your favorite music; the principle of these apps is the same for everyone: you create playlists, enter your data and, depending on the type of activity, you can find, from time to time, the best soundtracks for that type of movement.

Some disciplines have made music the central point of their existence. Among them is Thai Fit: a mix of three martial arts, fitness and, indeed, music. Created to make the practice of some combat sports more attractive (kick boxing and boxing), this discipline has then turned into a real "musical" sport, within which the practice of martial arts is guided by melody, giving rise to a series of combined movements that give rise to real choreography rhythm, with precise gestures, fast and intense (typical of martial arts).

Music & fitness group history

In the United States, at the end of the 1950s, aerobics was born, a sport that involves the upper and lower limbs, and which, in the 1970s, saw the addition of the musical element. In this form, aerobics has spread all over the world becoming a real mania and giving way to a series of activities characterized by the union between fitness and, indeed, music - remember all the film "Perfect" with John Travolta and Lee Curtis that, in the 80s, became a real cult, addressing the theme of meetings between singles in health clubs.

Many of these activities are "free body" activities, such as zumba, spinning, step: disciplines generally accompanied by pop, rock and sometimes metal soundtracks - all genres that tend to cause a rise in heart rate, in parallel with physical effort.

There are also many activities accompanied by music that take place in the water, the best known are aquagym, water fitness and hydrobyke. They are also performed, generally, with the use of pop music, electronic or otherwise high frequency, to stimulate the heartbeat.

Other sports may offer a more varied use of music. In synchronized swimming, for example, the soundtracks used range from classical to hard rock, depending on the feelings that you need to arouse, for artistic purposes, in those who observe the choreography.

Dance, dance, dance

But the athletic discipline that, par excellence, makes music a fundamental element of its own remains dance. There is classical dance, modern dance, contemporary dance. All, however, are united by music and each style has its own soundtrack. A variety that has had an influence on other sports, such as skating or gymnastics, which has become rhythmic and artistic. It is from the latter that new and bizarre disciplines have come to life, such as Twirling, which mixes rhythmic and artistic gymnastics, providing for the insertion of a stick for the creation of figures and aerial drawings of great beauty.

If in sport it is possible to identify the strongest, fastest, most technical, most ingenious athlete, in an exercise of rational analysis based on objective factors, music, on the contrary, it is not possible to provide a unique interpretation

Two parallel universes, in short, those of music and movement, destined, however, to intersect very often, maintaining, however, a fundamental difference. If in sport it is possible to identify the strongest, fastest, most technical, most ingenious athlete, in an exercise of rational analysis based on objective factors, music, on the contrary, it is not possible to provide a unique interpretation. Each motif is able to communicate differently with each individual. Each piece can, at the same time, reassure us about our fears, make us feel less alone, allow us to share our joys and accompany our pains.

As Baricco says in his "twentieth century": "We played because the ocean is great, and it's afraid, we played because people didn't feel like spending time, and they forgot where it was and who it was. We played to make them dance, because if you dance you can't die, and you feel God.

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