One night, on her own, the musician Jiménez was forced to sing a song by Brazilian singer-songwriter Roberto Carlos who had expressed his support for Pinochet at a performance in 1975. When she refused, she was forced to spend the whole night in the rain.

But for some, like Jiménez, there was an extra element of torture: music, says Chornik.

The Valech report indicates that music was used as a medium for torture in eight detention centers, but Chornik's work shows that the use of music was more prevalent. she found evidence of its use in 30 centers.

That's your brain on music

The favorite songs at Villa Grimaldi were "One Million Friends" by Roberto Carlos and "Gigi the Amoroso", made popular by Dalida, according to Chornik.

The lyrics of "Gigi the amoroso" praise the male character. The guards "sang the song and they loved to feel like they were Gigi," Jiménez explained. While they came to torture prisoners, they would announce, "This is Gigi the man of women," she said. The guards also put the song to full volume while playing physical torture, she said.

The use of the song in torture, as experienced by Jiménez, is linked to the "systematic use of sexual violence against women held by guards," wrote Chornik.

The slang word "Gigi" was used to describe the device that generated electric shocks to torture the prisoners.

Jiménez remembers listening to others punished and being subjected to music day and night at full volume, which was "unbearable". she said in her account.

Once someone goes through a torture center, it's never the same again, Jimenez said via Chornik.

Is music and happiness related?

"Physically, I still have a lot of problems: cardiovascular, respiratory, post-traumatic alopecia, kidney problems, serious dental problems," she said. And then there is fear – "that terrible feeling that never leaves you completely," Jimenez explained. "You still think that you can be attacked.We sleep with a lot of scares.The anguish of what is happening in Chile marks you deeply and you live with a lot of anxiety or even panic attack at some opportunities. "

"Even in this case, you are trying to overtake yourself and continue the struggle for justice, the truth and the punishment of the torturers, to the extent possible," she added.

Jiménez founded a choir in 2013 with other survivors, which occurs regularly at commemorative events in Santiago and the surrounding area.

The ability to cause great pain – and humiliation

Music has been used as a means of torture throughout history because it can cause us great pain, said Morag Josephine Grant, musicologist at the Reid School of Music's University of Toronto. Edinburgh in the United Kingdom.

The goals were different, including political re-education, punishment or, in the case of Pinochet, the empowerment of dictatorships.

Music can cause pain because of its emotional and psychological functions, greatly affecting our identity and our emotions, victims of torture, explain Grant, adding that no particular type or structure of music is more effective for torture.

"It's usually music that resonates in a particular political and cultural situation," she said. "The types of music used in torture contain a strong component of degrading and humiliating humans."

Where does your taste for music come from?

One example is that of Jewish female musicians forced to perform in marches and classical music composed by artists such as Schubert and Bach at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

This evoked new emotions such as anger, rage and shame, redefining the relationship of musicians to music, explained study by Juliane Brauer, researcher at the Center for the History of Emotions of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.

The first use of orchestras in Nazi concentration camps took place in the summer of 1942, Brauer wrote. The musicians were housed in separate barracks and received more food as a reward for their work.

Some female musicians played at the gate of the camps when new prisoners entered. What musicians most often recalled, according to Brauer, was the desperation created by this situation.

The personal stories of musicians recorded by Brauer show the contrast between their fond memories of playing music and the use of their talent by "the machinery of camp death".

According to Brauer's research, this has resulted in depression, serious physical illnesses and suicides, our body linking music to our memory, meaning and emotions.

Overloaded by music

It has also been shown that loud or scary sounds reinforce the effects of other methods of torture, such as sleep deprivation. They can drown the inmates' inner thoughts, resulting in loss of orientation and even hallucinations, according to research by Suzanne Cusick, professor of music at the University of New York.

Studies show that this type of "sensory overload" – playing very loud music for long periods of time – can be a quick way to "break up" a prisoner, as the loud noise stops the psychological process of orientation, which which makes it difficult to distinguish between reality and to resist the questions of the kidnappers.

Music: you have the mind in mind to change your brain

Daniel Levitin, professor of neuroscience and music at McGill University, added that this prevents the brain from organizing and making sense of information. "The brain is constantly trying to find patterns and put order into chaos.When it is presented to something that it does not know, it becomes frustrated."

Music is often applied as part of a combination of methods, such as stress position – a position, such as standing or sitting uncomfortably, occupied for a long time, causing "excruciating pain" – restricting food or water, and exposure to cold or heat extreme, according to Grant.

From 1967 to 1974, Greece experienced a military-type dictatorship in which culture was used to control the population. Prison camps were set up for communist "enemies" and prisoners were bombarded with folk and patriotic music.

Patriotic songs, such as the folk song "Gerakina", were used to "re-educate" Greeks who were on the path of communism and who had lost their "Greekness", says one report Anna Papaeti, research fellow at the University of Göttingen in Germany.

Personal accounts of prisoners describe sensory overload techniques, such as playing music continuously for 12 hours. The "re-education" was aimed at making the prisoners "so demoralized, confused, upset and desperate" that they would sign declarations of loyalty to the government, according to Papaeti.

Fact: During the Greek military junta, political prisoners were forced to listen to Greek folk songs to "re-educate" them, as Communists were considered to have lost their "Greekness".

"It did not even have anything to do with brainwashing, it was disrupting people's sense of self," Grant said of this form of musical torture. "It was humiliating, very degrading and very, very physically harmful. It's also something to remember.

Cultural war

The personal accounts of Guantanamo Bay or Afghanistan detainees, recorded in Cusick's research, describe how psychological torture through music, using techniques such as "sensory overload", is more difficult to overcome than any physical torture, because the prisoners know what to expect in physical situations.

How do you feel about this song?

Fact: If this song is unfamiliar to you, it could have more negative effects. Unknown genres are used during torture as they can be disturbing.

Psychological torture is so "destructive to the subjects … because they are so powerless in these situations," Grant explained.

Torture also: if the music is unknown to the prisoner. "The unknown tone and structure can be disturbing," said Levitin, comparing it to a room where everyone speaks an unknown foreign language.

Foreign prisoners in places such as Bagram Prison in Afghanistan have been subjected to heavy metal music and hip-hop, which represents harsh and unknown sounds and causes distress, according to a story by one. former prisoner in Bagram and Guantanamo Bay.

Some music is chosen because it particularly shock the beliefs and religions of prisoners. Here, it's not "an irritating sound, but the relationship you want to express with that sound and the context in which you're forced," Grant said.

A prisoner from Guantanamo Bay, Muhammad al-Qatani, was attacked for several weeks for "his ability to perform the embodied practices that define a good Muslim man", such as fasting, during an interrogation, according to Cusick's research.

The journal of interrogations on the methods used for Al-Qatani shows that the music, which he considered "sinful", was used to agitate, to disturb or to keep him awake.

The Qur'an does not contain any passages prohibiting music, but Al-Qatani said that he felt so because of the ninth-century teachings or hadith of an Islamic teacher, Ibn al-Qur'an. -Dunya, according to Cusick's report. The hadith states that listening to music is a force that moves the spirit away from devotion and away from God's thoughts, the research says.

Another theological teaching says that listening to music composed by a woman is unacceptable, says Cusick's report. These teachings, which clash with the Quran, have already been interpreted, especially by the Taliban, who banned music for religious reasons, says Cusick's writing.

The newspaper specifically refers to Christina Aguilera's songs, which were used with additional techniques, such as forced disguise, during the interrogation of Al-Qatani.

Through his own research, Grant met with people who trivialized the use of music in torture situations and refused to accept it as a serious problem.

She thinks that international standardization agencies and documents do not help people to be complacent on this topic. For example, the famous Mandela's rules, on the minimum standards that inmates can expect, make no mention of sounds or music.

"Music torture" occurs in many places, not just in far-off places, "said Grant. It has been used as part of punishment tactics and humiliation "since the earliest you can think of".