Blog Post #5 – Inquiry Research Round #3 – How Does Different Genres of Music Affect Different Living Beings?

“How Does Different Genres of Music Affect Different Living Beings?”

How Does Music Affect Animals?

By: Karen Zoulau

Music seems to be just a human art form [1], but it is so much more. It gives strong effects on human brains [1] and can be a little addicting [1]. But it turns out that humans are not the only ones who love music [1]. Animals are empathetic when they listen to cross-species music [1]. They react with emotions and behaviours similar to us, humans [1]. Dogs in kennels are less stressed when listening to classical music [2]. In 2012, a study was published in The Journal of Veterinary Behaviour [2]. This study was written by a few researchers from Colorado State University [2]. They monitored some behaviours of 117 kennelled dogs [2] including: activity levels, vocalization and body shaking [2]. Researchers then played a few different types of music for the dogs to hear [2]. They played classical, heavy metal, and tried without music [2]. There were different results in each genre of music [2]. When the researchers played classical music, it helped the dogs relax, and in terms, they were able to sleep more [2]. They tended to bark and vocalize less than other tests [1]. Heavy metal made the dogs bark more [1], sleep less [1], and increased body shaking [2]. They were more nervous [2] and seemed more frightened. It seems that dogs and people share similar reactions to classical music [2]. Just like humans and dogs, cows also seem to prefer classical music [1]. Cows produce more milk when listening to slow classical music (under 100 beats per minute) [1], and seemed to produce less milk when listening to fast classical music (over 120 beats per minute) [1]. They also seem to be very curious about human music [1], even if the music evokes good or bad reactions [1]. Animals are able to identify rhythms and similarities between songs [1]. Horses,, sea lions and bonobo chimpanzees all have the ability to synchronize their pace with different rhythms in music [1]. Therefore, the effect of music runs deeper than just sounding pleasant [1]. Tamarins, a species of small monkeys, live in Central and South American rainforests. They were the first species of animal that was studied by researchers in exhibiting different behaviours wen listening to different types of music [1]. A cellist (also known as a person who plays cello,) teamed up with a psychologist to create 4 songs based off of tamarin vocalizations [1]. 2 song mimicked their distress calls [1] while the other 2 mimicked their safe calls [1]. When they played the distress call compositions, the monkeys displayed signs of distress [1]. The monkeys were shaking their heads [1], sticking out their tongues [1], and looked around [1] in panic. But when the team played the safe call compositions, the monkeys showed signs of calming [1] and enjoyed the music [1]. A similar experiment was done for cats. Cats really don’t care about humans music, but scientists are able to create music that cats enjoy [2]. Charles Snowdon, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, David Teie, a composer at the University of Maryland, and Megan Savage, a P.H.D. student at SUNY-Binghamton developed music that contains frequencies and tempos that are similar to the ones cats use to communicate [2]. Snowdon and Savage went to 47 households with cats and played them music [2]. 2 of the songs were classical, and the 2 other songs were developed for felines [2]. When the researchers played the second option, the cats were more likely to move towards the speaker or even rub up against it [2]. An interesting fact was that young and old cats seemed to react more positively [2] while the middle-aged cats tended to react the least to the music [2]. These experiments prove the point that strangely, vocal communication like shrieks and calls can excite animals [3].

Works Cited:

  1. Sloan, J. T. (2014, July 02). Scientific Studies on Animals Reveal Just How Much Music Shapes the Natural World. Retrieved December 11, 2020, from
  2. Danko, M. (2015, November 04). 7 Scientific Studies About How Animals React to Music. Retrieved December 13, 2020, from
  3. Bryant, G. (2013, December 11). Animal signals and emotion in music: Coordinating affect across groups. Retrieved December 13, 2020, from

4 Replies to “Blog Post #5 – Inquiry Research Round #3 – How Does Different Genres of Music Affect Different Living Beings?”

  1. Hi Karen! I really enjoyed reading your post! It was interesting to learn how cows can produce more milk when listening to slow classical music compared to fast classical music. I also really liked the photos you put on your post. Overall, I really enjoyed reading all three rounds of research as I have learned so much! Great job on all three rounds of your research, I can’t wait to read your future posts.

  2. Very interesting post! I wonder what type of classical music they used in those experiments, as there are many, many types. Great job on your project!

  3. Hi Karen! I really enjoyed reading your research! It’s very well explained and interesting. I had no idea animals react to music just like humans do. I should try playing music to my cats and look at their reactions 🙂 I can’t wait for your next research! Good job!

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