Study of Raga Hansadhwani, Malkaus and Silence on Heart Rate Variability

Prepared By: Mistry Mahima A., Mourya Laxmi S., Thakkar Akshar S.

Guided By: Prof. Bhavesh Parmar, Gunjan Y Trivedi


Lifestyle choices (such as alcohol and tobacco consumption, induced stress, poor diet) impact human health, eventually, leading to chronic disease. Chronic disease conditions (such as diabetes, cardiovascular or hypertension) impact the quality of life.  These conditions are marked by imbalance in nervous system, endocrine system and immune-inflammation processes of the body.  Nervous system is the first system impacted by poor lifestyle choices (marked by conditions such as decreased heart rate variability e.g. increased sympathetic nervous system activity). This work explores use of Indian Classical music to enhance parasympathetic nervous system activity, thereby facilitating homeostasis in autonomic nervous system. The evidence (classical music, specific sound patterns etc) demonstrates that music and sound impact the mood, emotions and also on some physiological parameters.


As imbalance in mental and physical states of the human body matters for better life of self and society, we here have tried to make a bridge to create the balance between the influence of the sound on some physiological parameters  like heart rate variability.  Hence,to observe  and analyse the effect and relationship of Indian classical music on physiology.


Figure 1: The study methodology

The study used ear oximetry (PPG HRV Device by Heartmath, Inc) for RR interval (i.e. beat to beat heart’s interval) recording and hence derived spectrum of heart rate variability (HRV). The procedure is performed with all ethical and technical standards. Data recording of subject is conducted in comfortable supine position and the device is clipped on the earlobe of subject. Kubios Heart Rate Variability software tool is used for HRV analysis.

The protocol used for data acquisition includes following readings (Figure 1):

  • Baseline readings for 5 mins before the intervention
  • The intervention, for 15 mins (Raga Hansadhwani with positive valence, Silence, Raga Malkauns with negative valence)
  • Readings after the interventions for 5 mins

Emwave Pro device (HeartMath Inc.) was used to HRV measurements. The average age of the participants was between 20 to 22 years.

Raga and various notes

Figure 2: Source Avantaka Mathur Research [1] indicating the change of notes (Flat, Sharp or Normal).  


Heart rate variability (HRV) is the phenomenon of the difference of time between two heart beat signals. The time between two heart beat signals is basically analysed by difference of time in RR beat interval. We here have taken heart rate variability as a significant factor because it is directly related to our autonomic nervous system.

If the variation of the time between two heart beats is less, than the subject is said to have low heart rate variability and if the variations between two heart beats is more, the variability is high (indicating better emotional resilience and autonomic health). Many parameters are available, and following were chosen for the project.

RMSSD is the root mean square of successive differences, the square root of the mean of the squares of the successive differences between adjacent intervals. RMSSD is strongly backed by research and is considered the most relevant and accurate measure of Autonomic Nervous System activity over the short-term. Baevskey’s stress index is an established method to measure the stress index based on the patterns of RR intervals.

HRV parameters during Hansadhwani, Malkaus and Silence

Figure 3: Changes in Heart Rate, RMSSD and Stress Index

The impact of two different Raga on Stress as compared to silence

Figure 4: Raga Hansadhwani had the most significant impact on the stress levels as measured by HRV (compared to Malkaus or Silence)


From the experimental data analysis we conclude that Indian classical music plays an important role in increasing the heart rate variability and in reducing stress.  However, the Raga with positive valence (Raga Mhas much bigger impact compared to silence or Raga with negative valence (both on stress and heart rate variability).  Therefore, the selection of classical music has significant impact on the physiology, stress levels and the mind.


1.Avantika Mathur, Suhas H. Vijaykumar, Bhismadev Chakrabarti and Nandini C. Singh, 2015- Emotional responses to Hindustani classical music : the role of  musical structure.

2.Mara Mather and Julian F Thayer, 2018- How heart rate variability affects emotion regulation brain networks.

3.Fred Shaffer, J.P Ginsberg, 2017-An overview of Heart Rate Variability metrics and norms.

4.Gianfranco Cervellin and Giuseppe Lippi, 2011- From music beat to heart beat: a journey in the complex interactions between music, brain and heart.

5.Karuna Nagarajan, Thaiyar M. Srinivasan, Nagendra Hongasandra Rama Rao, 2018- Immediate effect of Indian music on cardiac autonomic control and anxiety: A comparative study