The timing and size of repetitive, internally generated, automatic sequences of movements are particularly affected in Parkinson’s disease. The most evident consequence of this deficit is the alteration of gait patterns, with a loss of rhythmicity, shorter steps, slower walking, and trunk instability. Several studies have highlighted a potential benefit of listening to music on the normalization of walking patterns. However, most of these studies investigated the effect of a single specific music. We hypothesized that different musical genres may induce different modifications of spatiotemporal parameters and trunk oscillations during walking. In this study, we enrolled healthy young subjects, healthy elderly, and patients with Parkinson’s disease. They were asked to walk listening, by a wireless headset, one of six different music tracks (related to four different musical genres) while wearing an inertial measurement unit at pelvis level used to assess their walking patterns. The main effect of music tracks resulted statistically significant in all the gait parameters (p < 0.05), but for symmetry of lower trunk movements. This effect was independent by group. The only significant interaction between music and group, in fact, was found for pelvis obliquity range of motion (p = 0.019). Post hoc analyses showed as classical music reduced speed and trunk tilting (p < 0.01), whereas the range of pelvic obliquity movements in frontal plane were increased by rock, motivational, and heavy metal songs (p < 0.015). In conclusion, the gait patterns were altered by listening music depending by the musical genre, and these adaptations occurred similarly among the three groups, including patients with Parkinson’s disease.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Xia R, Mao ZH (2012) Progression of motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease. Neurosci Bull 28(1):39–48
Jones D, Rochester L, Birleson A, Kwakkel G (2008) Everyday walking with Parkinson’s disease: understanding personal challenges and strategies. Disabil Rehabil 30(16):1213–1221
Morris M (2006) Locomotor training in people with Parkinson’s disease. Phys Ther. 2006; 86:1426 – 1435
McIntosh GC, Brown SH, Rice RR, Thaut MH (1997) Rhythmic auditory-motor facilitation of gait patterns in patients with Parkinson’s disease. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 62(1):22–26
Hass CJ, Buckley TA, Pitsikoulis C, Barthelemy EJ (2012) Progressive resistance training improves gait initiation in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Gait Posture 35(4):669–673
Wearden JH, Smith-Spark JH, Cousins R, O’Boyle DJ (2008) Stimulus timing by people with Parkinson’s disease. Brain Cogn 67(3):264–279
Plotnik M, Hausdorff JM (2008) The role of gait rhythmicity and bilateral coordination of stepping in the pathophysiology of freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease. Mov Disord 23(S2):S444–S450
Staum MJ (1983) Music and rhythmic stimuli in the rehabilitation of gait disorders. J Music Ther 20(2):69–87
Thaut MH (2005) The future of music in therapy and medicine. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1060:303–308
Rochester L, Rafferty D, Dotchin C, Walker RW (2010) The effect of cueing therapy on single and dual-task gait in a drug naive population of people with Parkinson’s disease in northern Tanzania. Mov Disord 25:906–911
Ashoori A, Eagleman DM, Jankovic J (2015) Effects of auditory rhythm and music on gait disturbances in Parkinson’s disease. Front Neurol 6:234
Bukowska AA, Krężałek P, Mirek E, Bujas P, Marchewka A (2016) Neurologic music therapy training for mobility and stability rehabilitation with Parkinson’s disease–a pilot study. Front Hum Neurosci 9:710
Wittwer JE, Webster KE, Hill K (2013) Music and metronome cues produce different effects on gait spatiotemporal measures but not gait variability in healthy older adults. Gait posture 37(2):219–222
Reychler G, Fabre J, Lux A, Liistro G (2016) Influence of different kinds of music on walking in children. Rehabil Nurs.
Leow LA, Rinchon C, Grahn J (2015) Familiarity with music increases walking speed in rhythmic auditory cuing. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1337(1):53–61
Buhmann J, Desmet F, Moens B, Van Dyck E, Leman M (2016) Spontaneous velocity effect of musical expression on self-paced walking. PloS one 11(5):e0154414
de Bruin N, Kempster C, Doucette A, Brown LA (2015) The effects of music salience on the gait performance of young adults. J Music Ther 52(3):394–419
Bernatzky G, Bernatzky P, Hesse HP, Staffen W, Ladurner G (2004) Stimulating music increases motor coordination in patients afflicted with Morbus Parkinson. Neurosci Lett 361(1-3):4–8
Hausdorff JM, Lowenthal J, Herman T, Giladi N (2007) Rhythmic auditory stimulation modulates gait variability in Parkinson’s disease. Eur J Neurol 26(8):2369–2375
Roerdink M, Bank PJ, Peper CLE, Beek PJ (2011) Walking to the beat of different drums: practical implications for the use of acoustic rhythms in gait rehabilitation. Gait posture 33(4):690–694
Taylor KSM, Cook JA, Counsell CE (2007) Heterogeneity in male to female risk for Parkinson’s disease. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 78(8):905–906
Antonini A, Abbruzzese G, Ferini-Strambi L, Di Stasio F (2013) Validation of the Italian version of the movement disorder society—unified Parkinson’s disease rating scale. J Neurol Sci 34(5):683–687
Ottonello M, Pellicciari L, Giordano A, Foti C (2016) Rasch analysis of the fatigue severity scale in Italian subjects with multiple sclerosis. J Rehabil Med 48(7):597–603
Hazzard A, Benford S, & Burnett G (2014, April) Walk this way: musically guided walking experiences. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 605-614). ACM.
Moens B, Muller C, van Noorden L, Leman M (2014) Encouraging spontaneous synchronisation with D-Jogger, an adaptive music player that aligns movement and music. PloS one 9(12):e114234
Krout RE (2007) Music listening to facilitate relaxation and promote wellness: integrated aspects of our neurophysiological responses to music. Arts Psychother 34(2):134–141
Giladi N, Shabtai H, Rozenberg E, Shabtai E (2001) Gait festination in Parkinson’s disease. Parkinsonism. Relat Disord 7(2):135–138
Prochazka A, Bennett DJ, Stephens MJ, Jhamandas JH (1997) Measurement of rigidity in Parkinson’s disease. Mov Disord 12(1):24–32
Gainotti G, Antonucci G, Marra C, Paolucci S (2001) Relation between depression after stroke, antidepressant therapy, and functional recovery. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 71(2):258–261
Paolucci S, Antonucci G, Pratesi L, Lubich S (1999) Poststroke depression and its role in rehabilitation of inpatients. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 80(9):985–990
Baker F, Roth EA (2004) Neuroplasticity and functional recovery: training models and compensatory strategies in music therapy. Nord J Music Ther 13(1):20–32
Schiavio A, Altenmüller E (2015) Exploring music-based rehabilitation for Parkinsonism through embodied cognitive science. Front Neurol 6:217
Iosa M, Fusco A, Morone G, Paolucci S (2014) Development and decline of upright gait stability. Front Aging Neurosci 6:14
Huang TL, & Charyton C (2008) A comprehensive review of the psychological effects of brainwave entrainment. In Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet]. Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).
Iosa M, Morone G, Fusco A, & Peppe A (2016) Loss of fractal gait harmony in Parkinson’s disease Clin Neurophysiol, 127(2), 1540-1546.
Vinciguerra C, De Stefano N, & Federico A (2019) Exploring the role of music therapy in multiple sclerosis: brief updates from research to clinical practice. Neurol Sci. 2019 Jul 12.
We thank Castellucci R., Cianti E., Pollio S., and Lupo A. for having helped in the data collection. We also thank the Italian Society of Neurological rehabilitation (SIRN) for the BTS-SIRN 2018 prize for the best scientific work on the theme of Neurological Rehabilitation that allowed us to use the G-Walk in this study.
This study was funded by the Italian Ministry of Health, Line D of Current Research of IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia, project: “Golden gait: pattern frattali nel movimento umano, valutazione e riabilitazione nei soggetti con danni cerebrali e cerebellari.”
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Independent Local Ethical Committee of Santa Lucia Foundation approved the study and all the participants signed the informed consent.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
De Bartolo, D., Morone, G., Giordani, G. et al. Effect of different music genres on gait patterns in Parkinson’s disease. Neurol Sci 41, 575–582 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10072-019-04127-4
- Dual task
- Music therapy