What are the effects of music on animals?

01-08-2020
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For animal ears, human music can be stressful, but some researchers have succeeded in “animalizing” it by creating versions tailored for each species.

We have always been curious about whether music has any effect on animals. Although it is easy to experience it with our own pets, only science has managed to reveal how some animals react to the musical stimulus.

Despite the existence of several studies which are based on different research strategies with several animal species,  there is not yet a clear answer on this subject.  Now let’s see some interesting examples and think about them.

The Beautiful Blue Danube, number one in canine music

A study with 161 dogs living in a shelter evaluated the effect of different melodies and genres on canine behavior. Specialists have found that classical music, and particularly Strauss’ Beau Danuble bleu, reduced anxiety.

A beagle asleep thanks to the music

They observed a significant increase in sleep time and a decrease in barking. By the way, the effect of  heavy metal  didn’t seem to be so positive. We could indeed see an increase in barking, a shorter sleep time and constant shaking. In short, all the symptoms that a true metal lover might not get when listening to their favorite kind of music before going to sleep.

Music for their ears

Like dogs, cows prefer classical music. Significantly shorter milking times were noted when cows listened to great classics.

The Symphony No. 6 Pastorale  Beethoven and  Bridge over troubled water  Simon & Garfunkel were very successful in milking sheds.

These melodies produced modest increases of about 3% in milk production . Also, when we played loud songs to the cattle, like  Tigerfeet  by Mud and  Size of a Cow  by Wonderstuff, there was no increase in milk production.

For quails, the taste is found in the variety

In 2016, a Filipino group published a study on how different musical times influenced the yield, egg quality , behavior and economics of Japanese quail farming.

In this study,  a total of 165 chicks, divided into 5 groups, were subjected for four months to twelve continuous hours of music.  The groups of the study were: control (without music) and mixtures of several genres: classical,  heavy metal, reggae.

Analysis revealed that  quails exposed to random and classical music displayed a greater final body weight,  compared to the other groups. Egg quality was also better in groups with random and classical music.

Mozart suitable for rodents

The effect of music on animals

Recently,  a study proposed to determine the effect of music on memory and learning. The work relied on forty mice. It consisted of making them listen to music ten minutes a day for ten weeks.

For this, a “rodent” version  of Mozart’s Sonata for two pianos in D major  has been created. This version was twice as fast and an octave higher than the original.

Groups of mice received the musical stimuli before (A), another during (P) and the third before and during (AP) the memory test. The group of control mice (C) remained silent.

The animals’ spatial learning and memory capacity were tested in an eight-armed radial maze.

In the end, the authors noted that mice exposed to music before and during (PA) showed significant improvement in task acquisition.

A temporary improvement

It is interesting to know that the effect of the music was only fleeting. The observed improvement disappeared four hours after treatment in the winning group.

It is clear that music modified to suit the auditory level of the rodents improves the learning ability of the labyrinth and the performance of memory if the mice received musical stimuli before and during the tests.

The results are promising  because they allow the development of a mouse model to study disorders of human memory.

Music can be a positive stimulus

In conclusion, this body of studies highlights the fact that music can be a universal force of expression and care. It can shape the emotions of humans and animals.

It only remains to wait for what will reveal the next research that will come out on the relationship between animals and music. Especially the one that is suitable for their ears.

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