The prevalence of unrelieved postoperative pain is high and may lead to adverse effects including prolonged hospitalization and delayed recovery. Distraction may be an effective pain-relieving strategy, and can be implemented by several means including affective imaging, games, and possibly music. The aim of this study was to explore the effect of music therapy on postoperative pain. Fifty-seven patients (24 females, 33 males; mean +/- SD age 39.9 +/- 14.35 years [range 15 to 69 years] were matched for age and sex and then nonselectively assigned to either an experimental (n = 27) or a control (n = 30) group. Music was played intermittently to members of the experimental group during the first 24 hour postoperative period. Pain intensity was measured using the Pain Verbal Rating Scales (VRS). Significant decreases in pain intensity over time were found in the experimental group compared to the control group (p < 0.0001). In addition, the experimental group had a lower systolic blood pressure and heart rate, and took fewer oral analgesics for pain. These findings suggest that music therapy is an effective nonpharmacologic approach for postoperative pain management.