Can music feed our love of food?

Many people like a little music while they dine, but does music have the potential to improve the meal itself? A delve into the CAB Direct database shows that there have been many studies on the impact of playing music to animals, but little consistency in the results, other than a general negative response to very loud music.

"Music has charms to soothe the savage breast", according to dramatist William Congreve, and playing music to stressed rabbits reduced serum lipids. Lambs exposed to music were calmer and more docile than lambs exposed to random noise. Several studies have indicated that playing slow classical music appears to alleviate stress in cows, making them more docile and boosting milk yield. However, playing rock music reduced milk yield and country-and-western music reduced it even more. In contrast, a study involving music by the Italian classical composer Manfredini or by the rock group 'Police', a long sound on a trombone or the staccato sound of a hammer on an anvil to cows found milk yield differed significantly among cows and weeks but did not differ significantly among sound treatments. It has been suggested that the effects some have observed may be to make the humans handling the animals treat the animals more gently and sympathetically, and this is what causes the observed changes.



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