• Listening to classical music gets hearts of an audience at a concert in sync
  • They can even start breathing at a similar rate and move similarly in their chairs

Listening to classical music can get the hearts of an audience at a concert beating in sync.

Their emotional response to a symphony can even cause classical musical fans to start breathing at a similar rate and move similarly in their chairs.

Researchers recruited 132 concert-goers in Berlin, aged 18 to 85, who listened to a string quintet playing music from Beethoven, Brahms and the London Philharmonic Orchestra's current composer-in-residence, Brett Dean.

People's breathing rates, measured by a belt with sensors inside, became most synchronised in response to the music.

This was followed by their heart rate and their apparent level of excitement, measured by tiny increases in sweat on their fingertips.

Researchers recruited 132 concert-goers in Berlin , aged 18 to 85, who listened to a string quintet (pictured) playing music from Beethoven, Brahms and the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s current composer-in-residence, Brett Dean

Researchers recruited 132 concert-goers in Berlin , aged 18 to 85, who listened to a string quintet (pictured) playing music from Beethoven, Brahms and the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s current composer-in-residence, Brett Dean

People's breathing rates, measured by a belt with sensors inside, became most synchronised in response to the music

People's breathing rates, measured by a belt with sensors inside, became most synchronised in response to the music

People who described emotions like feeling 'inspired' or 'emotionally moved' by the music from Brahms and Dean were more likely to have synchronised heart rates.

Professor Wolfgang Tschacher, who co-led the study from the University of Bern in Switzerland, said: 'It is fascinating that people at a concert, who do not know each other and do not even speak to each other, seem to have a shared experience, based on measurements like their heart rate.

'When we see synchrony, we know people are really engaged in the music, as they are reacting to it emotionally in the same way.'

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, asked people to rate various experiences at the concerts.

Those who rated having a good time with their companions as an important part of their experience were less likely to synchronise their physical response to the music with other people.

That might suggest being too interested in hobnobbing with other cultured types may distract from the uplifting experience of the music.

People who described emotions like feeling 'inspired' or 'emotionally moved' by the music from Brahms and Dean were more likely to have synchronised heart rates

People who described emotions like feeling 'inspired' or 'emotionally moved' by the music from Brahms and Dean were more likely to have synchronised heart rates

Extroverts and people who were more neurotic were also less likely to have synchronised responses in their fingertip sweat - suggesting they were less engaged with and excited by the music.

People whose responses to questionnaires showed they have agreeable personalities, and enjoy new experiences, appeared to respond more deeply to the music, based on their synchronising with other people.

The authors note that people's movements became generally synchronised even though they sat apart in dim lighting - meaning audience members were caught up in the music in the same way without consciously realising it.

Synchronisation means coordination at a statistically significant level - with the processes not necessarily occurring at the exact same time.

It was seen less when people listened to Beethoven's Op. 104 in C minor than when they listened to Brahms' Op. 111 in G Major and Dean's Epitaphs composition.

Previous research has found musicians and conductors also synchronise their physical reactions to music.

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