There is lots of vocabulary in the text to do with relaxation. Find out what they mean in the glossary below.
A band from Manchester, Marconi Union, have composed a song that has been described as the most relaxing song ever written! The band worked together with sound therapists to create the soothing tune, Weightless which helps listeners slow down their breathing and reduce stress levels and brain activity (which is what keeps you awake at night).
Motorists have been warned to not listen to the tune while driving as it could make them drowsy and cause road accidents!
Scientists carried out a study with 40 women and the results were that Weightless was 11% more soporific than any other peaceful songs that were tested: these included tunes by Enya, Coldplay and even Mozart.
Why is Weightless so sleep-inducing? Well, the song combines lots of elements that are known to have a calming effect. It has a rythym that starts off at 60 beats per minute (bpm) and slows down to 50 bpm. Just to compare, catchy dance/pop songs normally have around 120 bpm, so this shows that Weightless is much more slow-moving. When you listen to music, your heartbeat speeds up or slows down to match the beat. It is important that the song is 8 minutes long because it takes 5 minutes for this process to happen. This phenomenon is known in science as entrainment.
In Weightless, the gaps between the notes (intervals) are designed to be comforting. Also, there isn't a repeating melody (like with a chorus in normal songs) so your brain can switch off from its alert state because it is not trying to predict what is coming next.
What do you think of the tune?
You can find thousands of chill-out Youtube vids to put you in a meditative state like this below. To me though, this just sounds like someone who is playing with all the weird noises on their new synthesiser! :)
When I am trying to concentrate on work and want to be relaxed, I find it really difficult to listen to music. I can't understand people who can listen to music and study at the same time. Maybe it's because I am also a musician and I can't block out the music from my brain - it always takes priority, so my work suffers. However, if I put Albinoni's Adagio in G Minor on repeat then sometimes I can ignore it and it goes round in a loop and it gives me a tranquil state of mind.
To be honest, Weightless doesn't really do anything for me and it doesn't make me sleepy. If I want to slow my brain waves down, I like listening to some of my favourite relaxing songs like this below. It's by Gil-Scot Heron, who definitely has a mellifluous voice...this tune also has heavy use of the Rhodes piano which is just a beautiful sounding instrument...one of my faves.
Which is your favourite piece of music for chilling-out to?
Let me know in the comments section below.
Vocabulary about Relaxation
- sth that makes you become less anxious or tense, e.g. a hot bath or a long holiday
- to gently calm sb e.g. the mother sang a soothing song to help her baby go to sleep
- you behave like you are half-asleep, this can happen if you take medicine at the same time as alcohol
- sth that makes you sleepy, e.g. travelling on a gently rocking train
- calm e.g. I walked home at 5am and everything was so peaceful
- sth that makes you go to sleep
- to make sb quiet and relaxed
- sth that gives you satisfaction in a gentle, relaxed way e.g. It's really comforting to go home for Xmas and to taste your Mum's cooking again
- A type/genre of music made especially for relaxing to
- Meditative state
- being 100% focused in meditation
- Tranquil state of mind
- to be extremely relaxed and calm
- a voice that is sweet, soothing & pleasant to hear