There is surprisingly little information regarding how music affects our ability to lucid dream. Although it seems to be a basic question – music has been used for meditation, trance-induction and other mind state alternating practices for millennia – there is still no agreement as to whether music can induce lucid dreaming.
To answer this question, first we have to understand how auditory signals affect our dreams.
Experiments concerning the use of external cues in order to induce lucidity have been held by various researches. Particularly, LaBarge in 1981 tried to apply auditory clues to a group of oneironauts in the beginning of each REM-phase. His experiment showed no significant change in lucid dreaming frequency or intensity.
Later, in 1983, Price and Cohen have been monitoring a dreamer for 28 nights, during which audio signals were applied during REM-phases. By the end of the period the frequency in lucid dreaming increased. However, the pattern was completely consistent with that obtained by LaBarge.
As the researchers point out, there may be several reasons to the number of lucid dreams. It is possible that the auditory signals induced the subject’s involvement with the environment and thus his awareness in dreaming. But it is also very likely that the subject’s increased motivation and additional lucidity inducing techniques influenced the result.
Anyway, the use of auditory signals requires careful monitoring and proper equipment to be applied in just the right moment, limiting the technique to laboratory use only.
The researchers, however, used specific auditory signals, such as phrases: “You are dreaming” or “Remember, this is a dream”. Which means, not only had the subjects to hear the message in their sleep, but also decipher it and react to it.
It is not that we are incapable of receiving auditory information from the “outer world” in our sleep. However, our dreaming mind usually incorporates sounds into the dream events as a mechanism preventing us from waking up just yet. The sound of alarm becomes a church bell or a voice of an alien. I remember once being woken up by my parrot, whose voice transformed in my dream into broad stripes of cello-tape being ripped off a wall with the characteristic screeching sound.
In other words, any sound and, of course, music, is likely to be incorporated into a dream, without making us aware of dreaming. Even if music from outer source enters our dreams, it can be easily dismissed as a creation of our own mind, thus making the use of music as an external auditory cues during the sleep unreliable, if not completely futile.
There is, however, another technique that lately becomes very popular.