• Louis Parker

Does Techno Music Stress You Out?

Photo by Antoine Julien on Unsplash

A new study found techno to be the most anxiety-inducing genre of music, increasing 78% of participants blood pressure.

By Louis Parker

People listen to music for a number of reasons; some nostalgia, some to dance, some to chill out, but rarely one would listen to music to increase their anxiety...

Doctor Ömer Avlanmış conducted a new study for the Vera Clinic of 1540 people aged 18- 65 which found that 78% of the participant’s blood pressure increased from listening to techno music. The volunteers had heart rate and blood pressure monitors and were played a variety of genres of music.

From Avlanmiş’ studies, it seems techno is the isolated anxiety-driver - whilst techno music was found to increase 78% of the volunteers' blood pressure, eighties hits were found to reduce blood pressure in 96% of the participants, reducing their heart rates by an average of 36%.

On his research, Doctor Ömer Avlanmış said: ‘Medically they make a lot of sense, 80’s pop hits could have positive nostalgia attached to them for many people, and their upbeat, party-like sounds can induce the release of endorphins and serotonin in the brain, both increasing feelings of happiness and calm.’

Shadi Seifouri is a student of music at King's College London who is set to study for a masters in music studies at Cambridge next year. She has also done research into music and mental health and the correlation between the two:

“I think music has the capacity to be incredibly positive, it can trigger memories, provide comfort, inspire, and surprise. It's particularly powerful in creating a sense of community. Concerts and gigs are the lifeblood of many, and have brilliant effects on mental health.”

She believes that many people who aren’t in the electronic music scene can’t connect to techno music due to its ‘abstract sound world’ as the instruments are often largely electronically modified and there are no clear vocals or melodies which people may find difficult to process.

“I also think techno has a bad wrap because of the perennial class debate: western art music negates any genres that deviate from convention, which makes techno difficult for many to stomach.

“That isn't to say it's bad at all, it's just consumed differently,” She explains, “I also think it is a genre that is contingent on specific spaces. Techno often is a club genre, and its lack of narrative direction may make a demographic of classical music or even popular music fans stay away.”

The Craft asked a handful of participants why they think techno music was discovered to be

the genre that causes the most stress/anxiety:

‘The continuing beat and its speed, and tone can be dissonant... it depends on the genre. I personally like to listen to techno to focus on assignments, but certain types can be too and be anxiety-inducing’ said one participant.

So, are techno lovers a small minority, or does techno’s negative image damage its perception to non-listeners?

Another participant wrote:

‘People don’t give it a chance. They just think it’s a repetitive beat and that it’s too intense. It’s also associated with drugs/raving etc. so it’s just got a bad image. I personally love it. I listen to it when I wake up, when I’m cooking, when I’m on the tube.’

George Lionakis, 23, DJ from the Greek Techno collective ‘Omerta’ says that he believes that techno has a bad name, and possibly this is why it was found to increase the blood pressure of listeners:

“For me when I listen to techno it is making me happy, not anxious. Different songs take me to different places and for me techno usually makes me think of nightclubs and my last performances I have done so maybe that is why I love it. Maybe some people don’t have the same experience as me and this is why it is making them anxious, for many people nightclubs are remembered as bad or dangerous places and techno is then associated with this.”

70’s rock and Dubstep were the two types of music below techno which increased blood pressure, whilst heavy metal and 80s to early 2000s pop were the genres to decrease their blood pressures - another surprising statistic, who would’ve thought heavy metal would be a great way to relax? Doctor Ömer Avlanmış explains:

‘In terms of heavy metal, I’d observe that angry music can help listeners process their feelings and as a result lead to greater well-being.’

Answer our short survey to give your opinion on this - what music do you use as an escape? We’d love to hear what our Craft readers have to say.