Sep 10, 2013

By Michael Kramer

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Many musicians experience a lot of pain in order to give the audience pleasure.

That’s the conclusion of a new study that found 84 percent of orchestral musicians in Australia have experienced performance-impairing pain at some point.

The study also discovered a complicated relationship between physical pain and depression.

The University of Sydney asked all musicians in Australia’s eight premiere orchestras to participate – and 70 percent, or 377 signed on.

A group of musicians making up 25 percent of the sample denied experiencing any symptoms of depression but felt the most severe pain. The study leaders speculate that repressed negative emotions may be taking the form of physical pain.

They say it would be ironic if the people who stimulate the emotions of so many listeners are repressing their own negative feelings and paying a physical price for doing so.

The study is published in the journal Pychology of Music .

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