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Heart Rate Variability During PianoPlaying: A Case Study of ThreeProfessional Solo Pianists Playing aSelf-Selected and a Difficult PrimaVista Piece
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Psychosocial oncology and supportive care. (Psykosocial onkologi och stödjande vård, Psychosocial oncology and supportive care)
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2011 (English)In: Music and Medicine, ISSN 1943-8621, Vol. 3, no 2, 102-107 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of the study was to examine self-rated emotions and psychophysiological reactions during two contrasting professional experiences of piano playing. Three internationally well-known professional solo pianists were the study participants. They performed a self-selected piece and a difficult prima vista piece. Heart rate (HR) and its variability (HRV) as well as breathing were measured. Psychological reactions were assessed before and after the performance by means of visual analogue scale (VAS). There was a higher HR during the self-selected piece than during the prima vista piece. Respiration rate on the other hand was higher and End tidal CO2 (ETCO2) was lower during the prima vista piece. The difficult playing was characterized by an increase in breathing and by an initially more pronounced (but not sustained) activation of the vagal nerve as well as a more sustained activation of the sympathetic system in the assigned piece than in the self-selected situation. In this study of 3 cases, there were indications that professional piano players may activate the parasympathetic system during a cognitively demanding task. Further studies should investigate the physiological differences between attention with mental effort and effortless attention during music performances.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 3, no 2, 102-107 p.
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-230681DOI: 10.1177/1943862110387158OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-230681DiVA: diva2:741331
Available from: 2014-08-27 Created: 2014-08-27 Last updated: 2014-09-24Bibliographically approved

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Olsson, Erik
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