There's evidence that listening to certain songs can slightly increase your IQ, for a short time. So you might as well give it a shot. Here are 15 classical music songs you should listen to if you want to become smarter for fifteen minutes.
The idea that listening to classical music—Mozart's "songs" in particular—makes you smarter is surprisingly embedded in the public imagination. Heck, we even believe playing this kind of melodies helps plants—organisms notorious for lacking ears—grow. The phenomenon is so captivating it even has a popular name: "the Mozart effect." But how come classical music has such magical properties? Is it even true that it does?
Well, yes and no. It's complicated. Some songs might actually allow you to become "smarter"… for a time. Several studies have shown that listening to certain music provides certain unexpected advantages, mostly at some sort of spatial reasoning (like handling origami shapes). It won't make you good at math if you weren't before, but it does enhance focus and overall concentration as well, it seems.
And it's not only Mozart that helps. Any kind of focus-inducing music will do, depending, as it appears, on your particular tastes. Universally, classical music works well, but there might be other genres for different people. The thing is, the effects are short-lived. On average, they last for about fifteen minutes before disappearing, and then it's back to business as usual. Still, a lot can happen in fifteen minutes, right?
Regardless of duration, the effect has some interesting, if mild, benefits. So, you might as well give it a shot. It definitely can't hurt. And who knows, you might find you become a veritable genius when doing so—if only for a short while. Here are 15 songs to become smarter for fifteen minutes.
On a related note: 10 Songs That Will Cheer You Up, According to Science
Mozart - Requiem in D minor
One of the most beautiful pieces by Mozart, and that's saying a lot! The requiem mass was the final composition by the genius, but he died before he could complete it.
Bach - Cello Suite No.1 in G
One of my personal favorites, Bach's famed Cello Suites are one of the most recognizable compositions ever written for the Cello and the epitome of the Baroque period.
Chopin - Nocturne Op. 27 No. 2
One of the finest solo works for piano, you'll sure be familiar with this one. It's perfect for relaxing, filtering out everything else, and just get to work.
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Vivaldi - The Four Seasons
These four concerto are Vivaldi's most famous and celebrated work, each written for a particular season of the year. Winter is particularly exhilarating.
Ravel - Bólero
This one-movement orchestral work by French composer Maurice Ravel is a fun, easy-going piece perfect for that work session in dire need of an uplifting song.
Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake (Ballet Suite), Op. 20: I. Scene (Swan Theme)
The opening movement for Tchaikovsky's famous ballet. This one's amazing for the epic feels.
Beethoven - 7th Symphony, Movement No. 2
This is, without a doubt, my single favorite movement of any composition in history. Beethoven was a master of capturing the rollercoaster of human mood.
Debussy - Suite Bergamasque L. 75: Ill Clair de Lune (Moonlight)
A beautiful, if somewhat melancholic, piano suite by Claude Debussy. You can't go wrong with it.
Also interesting: 10 Songs That Will Give You The Best Sensual Rhythm
Mozart - Sonata for Two Pianos in D, K. 448
One of Mozart's few compositions for two pianos, he wrote it for a performance he would give with a fellow pianist. Imagine playing this with Mozart himself!
Schubert - No. 4 Standchen from Schwanengesang D 957 (Serenade)
Schwanengesang, or "Swan Song," is a collection of songs by Franz Schubert written by the end of his life. These mark the most mature work by the legendary composer.
Beethoven - Moonlight Sonata Op. 27 No. 2-1, Adagio sostenuto
Beethoven dedicated "Quasi una fantasia," generally known as the Moonlight Sonata, to an Austrian countess, apparently without being commissioned to write it. He was in his thirties when he wrote it.
Satie - Gymnopedie No. 1
A key precursor to modern ambient music, Gymnopedie is a beautiful piece perfectly suited for focusing on those endless hours of hard work.
Pachelbel - Canon in D
If you've ever been to a wedding, you probably have heard Pachelbel's Canon. An incredibly famous piece, its origins are ironically shrouded in mystery. No one knows why or when he wrote, but after it was rediscovered in the 20th century, it simply, shall we say, went viral.
Bach - Goldberg Variations
This is one of the few works by Bach that were published during his lifetime, and remain among his most popular pieces.
Mozart - String Serenade No. 13 in G, K. 525 (Eine Kleine Nachtmusik), Mov. 1
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik means "A Little Night Music," a peculiarly charming name for a particularly endearing composition. You probably know it by heart, don't you?
We hope you enjoy your fifteen minutes of intelligence. Let us know if it works for you in the comments down below!
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