Thursday, November 8, 2007

Rock-a-bye Baby...A Guide to Sedative Music

Confusion abounds about what kind of music to use to aid in relaxation! I generally suggest using your preferred, sedative music. Finding your preferred music is not difficult, but finding sedative music that you like and music that is truly sedative will take some consideration. Relaxation will be much easier with a combination of sedative music that you enjoy.

Truly sedative music can be found by examining the rhythm, tempo, melody and dynamics in a given selection. Although these elements may change throughout a musical piece, the overall impression of each element should be similar, without abrupt changes or dramatic differences across the whole song. The tempo for sedative music is generally agreed upon to be between 60 to 80 beats per minute. The underlying rhythm and pulse at this tempo should be constant, without speeding up or slowing down. A repeating melodic pattern over this foundation is another key element. The melody can vary some for beauty and taste, but it should not contain unusually high or low notes and sudden changes in articulation, syncopation or untraditional leaps in pitch. The dynamics throughout the musical selection should be gently rising and falling, without dramatic swells or significantly soft or loud passages.

Beautiful music does exist within these parameters. Although music with these characteristics is usually a smaller section of a larger work or perhaps one song from an album of other selections that do not fit the requirements to be sedative music. The advent of Windows Media and other music file players has made things much easier in collecting an appropriate assortment of sedative music selections to use effectively in facilitating relaxation. While an entire symphony may not be a good choice, it is now possible to extract an appropriate Adagio section from a symphony and pair it with other sedative music selections in preparation for relaxing. Special care should be taken when using Adagio sections from symphonies since they are often written in minor keys with a melancholy mood. I suggest that the sedative music be chosen for its ability to uplift the spirit and create a sense of light and beauty. Two Adagio sections that work well are from Mozart's Sonata in E-flat and Henry Purcell's Adagio from the Fairy Queen. New Age artists such as Enya, Jim Brickman, George Winston and Yanni also have a variety of songs that fit into the category of sedative music.

So, find some sedative music that you like, turn off the phone, find a comfortable place to recline and take a deep breath...exhale slowly...

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