Algorithmic music for therapy: Effectiveness and perspectives

Alfredo Raglio, Paola Baiardi, Giuseppe Vizzari, Marcello Imbriani, Mauro Castelli, Sara Manzoni, Francisco Vico, Luca Manzoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study assessed the short-term effects of conventional (i.e., human-composed) and algorithmic music on the relaxation level. It also investigated whether algorithmic compositions are perceived as music and are distinguishable from human-composed music. Three hundred twenty healthy volunteers were recruited and randomly allocated to two groups where they listened to either their preferred music or algorithmic music. Another 179 healthy subjects were allocated to four listening groups that respectively listened to: music composed and performed by a human, music composed by a human and performed by a machine; music composed by a machine and performed by a human, music composed and performed by a machine. In the first experiment, participants underwent one of the two music listening conditions—preferred or algorithmic music— in a comfortable state. In the second one, participants were asked to evaluate, through an online questionnaire, the musical excerpts they listened to. The Visual Analogue Scale was used to evaluate their relaxation levels before and after the music listening experience. Other outcomes were evaluated through the responses to the questionnaire. The relaxation level obtained with the music created by the algorithms is comparable to the one achieved with preferred music. Statistical analysis shows that the relaxation level is not affected by the composer, the performer, or the existence of musical training. On the other hand, the perceived effect is related to the performer. Finally, music composed by an algorithm and performed by a human is not distinguishable from that composed by a human.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8833
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • Algorithmic music
  • Human/machine composition
  • Melomics-Health
  • Relaxation
  • Therapeutic music listening


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