Bach makes us reach for the biscuit tin, new classical music study shows

13 September 2021, 17:15 | Updated: 13 September 2021, 17:21

Bach makes us reach for the biscuit tin, new classical music study shows
Bach makes us reach for the biscuit tin, new classical music study shows. Picture: Getty

By Rosie Pentreath

Feeling ‘suite’ toothed? Must be the Bach...

A study has been published showing how classical music makes us crave chocolate biscuits and other sweet treats.

No, we’re not going crackers. This music-fuelled exploration of food consumption, led by researchers at Miyagi University in Japan, has proven a link between Bach, Beethoven and the like – and a proclivity for reaching for the biscuit tin.

Nearly 800 participants listened to 20 tracks from four music genres – classical, jazz, hip-hop and rock/metal – and after listening to each, they were asked to rate their preference for eating 16 specific food items.

Rating how much they fancied eating the items after hearing the music – from “not at all” to “very much” – it was found that the classical music inspired something of a sweet tooth in listeners.

Read more: Chopin and Beethoven helps students pass exams, classical music study reveals

Yo-Yo Ma plays Bach's Cello Suite No. 1

Indeed, the researchers found a significant correlation between participants feeling calmer and preferring sweet foods like chocolate biscuits, and listening to classical music.

Read more: Study reveals children who play a musical instrument have better memory and attention span

“Restaurants and stores that mostly sell sweet foods (think ice-cream parlours) might want to choose classical music,” the researchers said in their findings, which were published in the academic Food Quality and Preference journal. “It seems possible that sounds in food advertisements can be well-designed based on our findings.”

The researchers also found that indulgent savoury foods like burgers were least preferred when listening to classical music, compared to the other genres.

The music the participants heard included Bach’s Air on the G String and Elgar’s Salut d’amour in the classical camp, Dave Brubeck’s ‘Take Five’ and Miles Davis’ ‘Walkin’’ for jazz, and popular hip-hop tracks ‘California Love’ by 2Pac and Dr Dre, and ‘Thrift Shop’ by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

Read more: This is why fast food restaurants play classical music at night

A previous study has showed a connection between Bach’s exalted music and higher spending, and when it comes to food and music, fast food chains have exploited the calm association of classical music to prevent excitable crowds descending late at night.

So there we are. The Beethoven’s sounding good this afternoon – could someone pass us a biccy?