Beat COVID-19 woes with Western classical music: A guide to finding them

The researchers suggest that, in order for any music to reduce blood pressure, it should have no lyrics, have few changes in volume or rhythm and have harmonies

It has been proved that listening to Western classical music can reduce stress and soothe the mind. Photo: iStock

Just a few days into the lockdown and one would already say it feels like we are running out of things to do at home or surf on social media.

Horrid times like these can induce stress and anxiety among people. With some working out, some cooking, there are a few people who try to keep themselves busy in a more sedentary fashion by listening to music.

Talking about which, have you ever wondered why the tunes played in elevators and lounges are mostly popular compositions of Beethoven, Bach, Vivaldi or any other western classical music?

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It is because it has been proved that listening to Western classical music can reduce stress and soothe the mind.

The claim is backed by the study published in the journal of Deutsches Arzteblatt International, which found listening to music by Mozart and Strauss for 25 minutes lowered blood pressure (BP) in humans.

The researchers also suggested that, in order for any music to reduce blood pressure, it should have no lyrics, have few changes in volume or rhythm, have harmonies that ‘are not rousing’, and that certain parts of the music should be repeated in intervals.

Western classical music checks all those boxes.

Now that we know the benefits, what do we do? In the infinite pool of the internet, how does one find the original tracks by the composers, without getting lost?

Fret not, here’s a list of websites and apps where one can dive right in without having to scrounge wikipedia or google or having to take a history lesson:

1.IDAGIO


IDAGIO is a paid streaming service for classical music based out of Berlin, Germany. This is by far the best portal to easily access a huge library of carefully curated and cataloged masterpieces.

It has the slickest Mobile app and the only service with a standalone desktop app. The app has options to browse by composers, performers, period and instruments.

The best part of the service is the carefully curated dynamic mood playlist. With a simple UI, navigating and finding the track of your choice is very easy.

You will need a credit card for sign-up which you can cancel before the end of the trial. You can listen to all of their songs in their collection free for 14 days after which you will be charged $10 for a premium+ subscription.

2.Primephonic

Founded by classical music lovers, it is a Dutch-American start-up. It also has an extensive collection of pieces curated by music lovers who have come together from more than 20 countries.

For a 14-day trial period, no credit card is required and it is available only as a web-player and an app. After that $10 is needed for a premium subscription.

It houses an extensive library which you can browse by Composers, Conductors (for the super nerd), ensembles, soloists and period, by different genres of Classical music.

3. Musopen.org

Musopen is a non-profit company that provides access to a world of classical music to the public for free without any riders.

You can select through Composers, Instruments, period, mood and rating. This is also a place where one could download sheet music and learn about the piece and the composer while listening to it.

If you want to impress your friends by taking names and dropping movements, this is the site for you.
It is also available on the Playstore, iOS and Apple TV as a Classical radio app.

You have options to contribute which gives you more access like higher quality audio and HD radio, unlimited downloads a day and up to two-week early access to new releases.

4. Apple music


The elite list is over and now we enter the realm of popular services. In that category, Apple music is the readiest to access music streaming service since almost every third person has an iPhone.

Regardless of the access, apple music has a good playlist of popular and interesting pieces of classical music.

Free to try for 3 months after which Rs. 99 a month is asked to continue. Need a credit card to start a trial.

5. Spotify

A late entrant into the Indian market, Spotify comes out guns blazing with an amazing collection of pop, rock and Indie music.

But their classical music suggestions are as tasteful as the other genres. This gives a very tough competition to Apple music in terms of playlists, suggestions and totally delectable UI.

Free to listen with ads. You can subscribe to Spotify premium for Rs. 119 a month or Rs 39 for 7 days.

6. Amazon music

When there is no escaping Amazon Prime, might as well give this a shot. It has a very scattered and confusing collection to sift through but will work for starters.

You can listen to this if you already have Prime and would not want to venture away. But there are some believers too.

So dance with some Schubert, feast with some Chopin, rest your eyes to some vivaldi one lockdown a day and we can get through this period stress-free.

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