Effects of Gandharva Veda Music on Mood States, Health, and Brain Functioning

  •  Frederick T. Travis    
  •  Paul Morehead    
  •  Niyazi Parim    


Background and Objectives: This paper explores effects of Gandharva Veda music--traditional North Indian music-- on emotional and physical well-being. Hypothesis: Gandharva Veda music balances the mind and body. Materials and Methods: A professional Gandharvan performed 16 live and two online concerts.  Mood states were assessed with the Profile of Mood states (POMS) at the live concerts, emotional and physiological balance were assessed during the online concerts using a traditional Ayurveda diagnostic technique called “pulse diagnosis,” and the EEG of a single Gandharvan was recorded while she played a raga. Results: In the first study (n=1,800), Gandharva Veda music led to significant decreases of negative emotions and significant increases of positive emotions. In the second study, 78 Ayurveda students reported significantly higher levels of vibrant health and significant lowers level of physiological blockages after the ragas. In the last study, high theta1 and alpha1 coherence patterns were seen both during  meditation practice and when the Gandharvan played the ragas, along with higher 12 – 50 Hz coherence during the ragas. Discussion: The responses on the POMS and pulse reading support the prediction that Gandharva Veda music creates a healthy influence for the listener. Also, the coexistence of higher alpha1 coherence, a marker of inner silence, and higher 12-50 Hz coherence, a marker of goal-oriented performance suggests that playing Gandharva Veda music may culture inner silence as the performer plays complex musical passages. Conclusion: Future research is warranted to explore the application of Gandharva Veda music across a wider population of healthy and clinical patients.

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