Music for Migraines

I’m writing this on the train from Hamburg to Mannheim. I can’t take any migraine medicine, but I really wish I could. If I could write my brain an email right now it would go something like this: “Dear brain, I HATE YOU. DIE! Love, Katie” (Love because I’m polite and I don’t really want my brain to die. In fact, I promised Paul last night that I would wear a bike helmet – not that I ever don’t – at least until I finished my doctorate. Them brainz must stay intact. Then zombies can eat them. They will probably be yummier after all the knowledge.)

Anyways, one of my magical non-medication solutions for migraines is music. I thought I’d written about this before, but I can’t find any record of it. So I write it again.

Last night, I was at a fantastic King’s Singers concert. It was in Meldorf, Germany and was at the Cathedral or Dom. It was a HUGE deal, locally. The concert programme was called Pange Lingua and was centered around Gregorian chants and then accompanying music by Bruckner, Duruflé, Gesualdo, and de Victoria. I forget how much I love hearing concerts like that, in the setting they were meant to be heard in.


And this picture is just for my mom. Because it was specially requested 🙂 Although it’s a terrible shot. Sorry mom!


But that’s not exactly why I’m writing. Although it is in part. Because some of the music, as it was sung, all I could think was “I need to add this to my migraine mix.” Yes, I have a migraine playlist. Right now it’s pretty boring. (In it’s lack of diversity, that is.) Currently it consists of the entire “The Golden Age – Siglo de Oro” album of Spanish Renaissance music from the King’s Singers. The idea behind this music is that it has to be very interesting musically: this almost always means polyphonic choral music. In addition, it should be fairly steady dynamically and also in terms of range. If it is too loud or high, it won’t work in my mix. This generally means that King’s Singers music comes out on top in my mixes.

The music has a calming influence on me and is especially good if I am high strung or needing to sleep. On a day like today, it actually doesn’t work very well. There’s too much external noise and commotion. Today, I’m just putting my ipod on shuffle and when a song starts playing that won’t work, I immediately press next.