The Effects of Instrumental Music on Us

Elly Zulaikha
May 6, 2020
3 minutes

If you’re one of those people who enjoy or appreciate instrumental music, chances are you might’ve noticed the effects it has on you. We’re here to provide you the exact reasons for its effects and why it’s actually beneficial for you.

What’s instrumental music?

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Instrumental music comprises musical instruments being used and played in an elaborate musical arrangement, often without the presence of vocals. There is notably one of the earliest forms of instrumental music that we know like sonata, in which it became a staple during the Baroque era, whereas the symphony, which consists of several or large instrumental players that perform musical pieces. 

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In modern times, instrumental music became an integral part of culture and society, mainly through it being widely used in movies, modern songs, and more. Without the accompanying instrumental music in songs, movie soundtracks, and even video games, it would be meaningless or half the enjoyment that vocals alone can’t provide enough. 

Take for example the backing instrumentals in Coldplay’s Viva La Vida or the ever so epic and iconic theme song of Game of Thrones by famous movie composer, Ramin Djawadi, instrumental music plays an important role in storytelling and reaching out to our emphatic emotions, among its myriad of benefits we can think of. 

How it affects us

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The more certain music sounds pleasant, the higher the level of entrainment in us, according to research. To put in simpler terms, if you listen to a fast-paced song, be it an instrumental or with vocals, your heart rate and breathing increase to match the beat. This means you’ll naturally feel upbeat and motivated and vise versa. 

So if you’re working on a repetitive task, upbeat instrumental music with no vocals helps in improving your efficiency and accuracy. If you’re looking to improve your work/study performance involving your cognitive function, then listening to relaxing, repetitive, and low-information-load instrumental music can help. 

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If you’re listening to music with lyrics and accompanying loud beats, chances are, you’ll be slightly distracted especially involving complex tasks and reading comprehension. Of course, it’s important to note that these effects differ from one person to another. 

Why it’s good for us

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Just like listening to any type of music, our brain releases dopamine, which is a feel-good chemical reaction that results in an elevated feeling in ourselves, the same way eating and sex makes us feel good. Plus, instrumental music also helps people with anxiety or depression due to its relaxation and relief effect. 

Instrumental music is also important for early brain development as people who have been training and exposed to instrumental music excelled in manual dexterity, music perception skills as well as verbal and mathematical performance. 

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It is, without a doubt, listening to music has a profound effect on us. Especially instrumental music, it’s like a mood maker for us where, depending on the type of instrumental music you’re listening to, it can influence whether you’ll be in a happy mood or otherwise.