Choir singers harmonize their voices as well as their heartbeats.
Singing can also improve your health by lowering blood pressure.
When we're listening to music, the brain releases a chemical to produce a good mood.
Musical training can improve children's ability to learn.
Writing in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, the scientists believe the synchronicity occurs because the singers coordinate their breathing. They found that the more structured the work, the more the singers' heart rates increased or decreased together. Slow chants produced the most synchronicity. Choral singing had the overall effect of slowing the heart rate.
Even to the untrained ear, choir boys' and girls' distinctive voices create a magical sound. The young singers have been enchanting congregations for centuries. Some say it is their pure tone, others an angelic shimmer, and then there are those who just cannot put their finger on it at all.
The researchers now want to investigate whether singing could have an impact on our health.
Yoga breathing is very close to this. It generates long-terms effects on blood pressure and can bring it down. It is possible singing could also be beneficial in the same way.
Using MRI scans, a Canadian team of scientists found that areas in the reward centre of the brain became active when people heard a song for the first time. The more the listener enjoyed what they were hearing, the stronger the connections were in the region of the brain called the nucleus accumbens.
An earlier study, reported in Nature Neuroscience, shows that music releases a chemical in the brain that has a key role in setting good moods. The chemical is released at moments of peak enjoyment.
Researchers from McGill University in Montreal said it was the first time that the chemical dopamine had been tested in response to music. Dopamine increases in response to other stimuli such as food and money. When volunteers listened to music they enjoyed, levels of dopamine were found to be up to 9% higher.
The report authors say it's significant in proving that humans obtain pleasure from music (an abstract reward) comparable with the pleasure obtained from more basic biological stimuli.
Teaching stroke patients to sing rewires their brains, helping them recover their speech.
By singing, patients use a different area of the brain from the area involved in speech.
If a person's speech centre is damaged by a stroke, they can learn to use their singing centre instead.
Musical training seems to enhance the ability to perform other tasks, such as reading.
The insights into how the brain responds provided evidence that musical training was an important part of children's education.
All the studies show that we should sing along to music. Each person's brain responds to different styles according to their experience. Now I know why I feel happy when I hear an old song. Chemicals flood my brain and I'm transported back in time.
Sing and listen to music. Your brain responds to the stimulation.