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How Music Affects You Emotionally?

How Music Affects You Emotionally?

We all perceive one music differently, and we perceive another the same. Our emotions, associations, and mood are to blame. Let’s see how music affects our emotions.

How Music Affects You Emotionally?

Physically or emotionally


Music occupies an important place in our hearts, and many people do not even imagine life without it. She is able to cheer us up in difficult times and remind us of happy moments. Some people see their personal history, which immediately resonates with their souls.

The sensations that we experience when listening to music differ from each other.

If we had to answer the question of how the sound of a tuba differs from the sound of a flute, then we could say something like that: the sound of the flute is high and gentle, and the sound of the tuba is low and rough. From the point of view of musical theory, we would define these sounds as different in pitch, timbre, and loudness.

Research conducted by record companies in the 60s and 70s proved that music affects the listener in the same way from a physical point of view: for this reason, crowds of people at festivals react to the same song in the same way. However, what about emotional perception?

Musical color


Rimsky-Korsakov perceived the coloring of different tonalities in colors characteristic of various natural phenomena. About the tonality in A major, he said: “This is the tonality of youth, spring – and not early spring, with ice and puddles, but spring, when lilacs bloom, and all the meadows are strewn with flowers; this is the tonality of the morning dawn when the light is not almost dawning, the whole east is already purple and gold. “

The coloring of the key in E-flat major – “dark, gloomy, gray-bluish; tone of cities and fortresses ”. F major – “clear green, pastoral; the color of spring birches ”. A minor – “pale pink; it is like a reflection of the evening dawn on a winter, white, cold, snowy landscape. ” B major – “gloomy, dark blue, with a steel, perhaps even a grayish-lead tint, the color of ominous thunderclouds.”

G minor – “without a certain color, has an elegiac-idyllic character.” A-flat major – “grayish-violet, has a gentle, dreamy character.”

The Theory of Musical Equilibration


So how does music affect us? Bernd and Daniela Willimeck, music theorists, answer this question.

Music cannot convey any emotions, it can only evoke them if the listener has any associations with it.” This happens when watching a movie when the viewer starts to worry about the main character.

These German researchers developed the Theory of Musical Balancing (die Strebetendenz-Theorie), which provides the first viable hypothesis about the emotional effects of music, offering important contributions to psychological research. In simple terms, their theory states, for example, that a minor key does not sound sad by itself; instead, the person listening to the music identifies with a process of will which conveys the idea, “No more.” Identifying with the content of this will is what fills the minor key with a sense of sorrow.

To date, scientists have tried unsuccessfully to establish a direct connection between music and emotion. However, musical balancing theory explains the emotional impact of music as a general process in which the listener identifies himself with the content of the will encoded in the music. The theory of musical balancing creates a structure in which even complex and special processes of will can be depicted musically, based on the many variations that result from harmony, both during their reproduction and in anticipation. Other musical parameters such as tempo, timbre, and volume also play a role. The Theory explains why a minor chord played at increasing volume does not seem sad, but rather angry: it expresses the same message, “No more,” but now appears to be full of energy and aggressive. Hearing this chord at a louder volume is similar to identifying with a person loudly screaming “No more.”

To obtain statistical confirmation of the emotional impact of harmonies, the researchers conducted extensive tests with over 2,100 participants from four continents; Members of the famous Vienna Boys’ Choir and the Regensburg Cathedral Choir also took part. The tests showed an astoundingly high correlation of 86%, confirming that some harmonies are preferred over others in certain contexts, a phenomenon that is determined and explained by theory. For example, a diminished seventh movement is ultimately associated with a sense of despair, while an enhanced chord conveys a sense of surprise. In addition, Bernd and Daniela Willimeck provide many examples from the music literature that show that over the centuries composers have deliberately used these harmonies to evoke certain emotions.

In Music and Emotions – Research on the Theory of Musical Equilibration, they base their arguments on the musical repertoire itself, and their precise analytical descriptions of harmony are compelling as an accepted parameter for making music.

How Music Affects You Emotionally?

Anneli Haake also notes that it is important to understand the difference between how music evokes feelings and what emotions it expresses. For example, to make a person feel sad, a sad melody alone is not enough. The opposite is also true – a person will not begin to rejoice, barely listening to a cheerful melody, since he may have his own, even negative, associations with this song (for example, breaking up a relationship with a loved one).

Ethan Hein, professor of music at Montclair State University, says the perception of music depends entirely on the cultural background of the listener. There is hardly a melody that will make the same impression on everyone. As an example, Ethan recounts his story: “I really liked the Hebrew tune Der Gasn Nigun, which I thought was a funeral song. Later I found out that it was a wedding hymn. “

In Western culture, it is believed that if a song sounds in a major tonality, then it is funny, and if in minor tones, it is sad. The same goes for rhythm. A fast pace is associated with some kind of activity – running, jumping, enthusiastic dancing. A slow pace is associated with sleep, rest, or fatigue.

Also, the level of “emotionality” depends on musical intervals. Lucky intervals are the most consonant and are based on simple proportions – octaves (2:1), fifths (3:2), major thirds (5:4). However, all this, again, depends on the cultural background of the listener.

This is due to the fact that, in general, the musical tastes of different peoples of the world were formed independently of each other. “For Western listeners, Korean music sounds sad, but for Koreans themselves, it sounds festive and beautiful,” said composer Michael Sidney Timpson.

A Circumplex Model of Affect


To explain the influence of Western music on a person, the circular model of James A. Russell is well suited – this is the so-called model of emotional experience, where emotions are arranged in the following sequence: pleasure (0 °), excitement (45 °), activation (90 °), distress (135 °), displeasure (180 °), depression (225 °), drowsiness (270 °), relaxation (315 °). Check out A Circumplex Model of Affect.

How Music Affects You Emotionally?

Vertically – this is the scale of “emotion intensity”, horizontally – the scale of “valence”

It turns out that fast music has a high intensity, and slow music has a low intensity. As for the keys, the major key is the positive valence, and the minor keys are the negative

Music can send us on an exciting adventure and tell our own story. It can intertwine consonances and rhythmic syncopations that tell of peace and well-being, which will replace various dissonances that express a certain conflict.

Music accompanies us all our lives in sorrow and in joy. Thanks to her, people for many centuries are happy, sad, resting, or concentrating their attention on what they love.

Don’t forget that the SoundAudio site provides a library of background music to download and use. The site has Royalty Free Music and No Copyright Music. You can always find the right music for your project.

Have a good mood!

Ed Solovey

SoundAudio Music Creator

What Does Music do to the Brain?

What Does Music do to the Brain?

To the question “What is the role of music in human life?” there are many answers. Today we invite you to familiarize yourself with a number of new scientific studies that have shed light on another little-known aspect – the effect of music on the work of the brain.

What Does Music do to the Brain?

Can music make us happier?


According to the American music theorist Jerrold Levinson, the musical language is a no less expressive system of communication than ordinary human language as a subject of linguistic study.

Since music carries a much more powerful emotional charge than real-life events, modern psychologists are increasingly resorting to the use of music therapy. Its positive effect on the human condition can be explained at least by the fact that the reactions of our nervous system to cheerful and sentimental musical works are completely different. For example, participants in a recent experiment, after listening to a short song, interpreted a neutral facial expression as happy or sad, depending on which melody they heard.

The emotions that arose under the influence of music can be roughly divided into two types – perceived and felt. This means that a person is able to understand the mood of a piece of music, even if he never had to experience such sensations in real life. So, with psychological disorders of a depressive nature, cheerful music only aggravates a person’s condition, while sad motives, on the contrary, return bright colors to life.

How does background noise affect creativity?


In order not to go crazy with boredom while working on some painfully familiar task – for which you, quite possibly, get a solid material reward – you put on headphones, set the desired volume, select the required playlist and press the “play” button, it is so? Be that as it may, when it comes to work that requires activation of the right hemisphere, loud music is unlikely to help.

As it turns out, the average noise level is a kind of creative catalyst. By complicating the process of processing information, background noise stimulates abstract thinking and attunes the human brain to a creative work mode. That is why public places – cafes, summer grounds, embankments, parks, etc. – so attract creative people.

With a high level of noise, the human brain is too overloaded, as it tries not only to abstract from all the distractions, but also to process information as efficiently as possible.

Is it possible to determine the character of a person, knowing his musical preferences?


The results of this study, conducted by scientists at Heriot-Watt University (HWU), proved for the first time that there is a definite relationship between a person’s preferred musical genres and his character.

In the first part of the experiment, 36,518 young people from around the world were asked to rank 104 music genres based on their personal preferences. The next stage of the study was somewhat more difficult: the participants had to pair up and try to determine the character traits of their partners, based on their list of 10 most listened to songs. Five qualities were chosen for the analysis: openness to new experience, extraversion, politeness, conscientiousness, and emotional balance.

Scientists have come to the following conclusions:

  • blues fans are creative, outgoing, polite, and arrogant;
  • among jazz lovers, the most common are creative, friendly people with high self-esteem;
  • fans of classical music are of an introverted type of personality, but despite this, they have a high sense of dignity and outstanding creativity;
  • rap fans are sociable and slightly selfish;
  • opera lovers include polite, open, creative personalities;
  • fans of country and western are distinguished by their hard work and ability to easily find a common language with others;
  • reggae fans have high self-esteem, are creative and sociable, but hard work is definitely not about them;
  • lovers of rhythmic dance music belong to the extroverted type of personality, have certain creative abilities, but do not differ in good manners;
  • indie fans have low self-esteem, are not hardworking, and are often poorly educated;
  • Bollywood fans (music from Indian films) are very helpful and friendly;
  • very often the lovers of heavy music – heavy metal, hardcore, etc. – have low self-esteem, but they have great creative potential.

The results obtained allowed scientists to develop a unique model that reflects the relationship between musical preferences and a person’s character:

What Does Music do to the Brain?

Should you listen to music while driving?


There are countless hypotheses about the amazing power of music on driving, but unfortunately, none of them provide an answer to the question of whether it is safe. The results of a recent study conducted by scientists from Ben-Gurion University (Beersheba, Israel) raised doubts about the correctness of generally accepted assumptions about the positive effect of music on driving behavior while driving a car.

Scientists have tested how drivers are influenced by their own music, the “safe” compositions proposed by the researchers, and the complete absence of any musical accompaniment. As a result, the assumptions made by the scientists before the start of the experiment were fully confirmed: the drivers made the greatest number of mistakes while driving accompanied by their chosen compositions, a little less dangerous situations arose in the absence of musical accompaniment, but the music proposed by the researchers had the most favorable effect on the drivers.

Is there a connection between music and logic?


As you know, learning to play musical instruments at an early age has a beneficial effect on the further development of the child. In 2008, Mary Forgeard, Ellen Winner, and Andrea Norton, faculty members at the University of St. Andrews, found that children who practice music for about three years outperform their peers on four indicators at once: perception of information by ear, motor skills, vocabulary, and logical thinking. Thus, the scientists came to the conclusion that long-term intensive musical practice has a positive effect not only on the interhemispheric organization of auditory and motor functions but also on the process of redistribution of mental functions between the left and right hemispheres of the brain (lateralization).

How does classical music affect stroke victims?


A small study, the results of which were published on the website of the American Association for Occupational Therapy, showed that classical music has some rehabilitative properties.

The experiment was carried out with the participation of 16 patients who had suffered a stroke in the right hemisphere of the brain. For one week, the researchers monitored how classical music, white noise, and silence affected the attentiveness and visual perception of each patient. The results were recorded by scientists using specially developed visual analog scales (VAS, usually used to determine the degree of pain intensity). As with creativity and driving, the silence did not live up to scientists ‘expectations, but classical music significantly increased patients’ attention span and improved their visual memory.

Why is eavesdropping on telephone conversations harmful?


There is a sign on the Tokyo subway warning that telephone conversations are disturbing the rest of the passengers. As it turned out, there is a scientific explanation for this.

According to a study conducted by scientists at the University of California, San Diego, if a person unwittingly witnesses such a “semi-dialogue”, then his attention is scattered more than if he heard a full-fledged conversation.

“According to the results of a social survey, 82% of people find telephone conversations downright annoying. We were curious to know what kind of mental influence passive listeners give in, because today each of us has to try on this role several times a day, ”says research leader Veronica Galvan, assistant professor of psychology.

During the experiment, 164 volunteers were asked to decipher several anagrams. During this time, the researchers themselves were actively communicating with each other or talking on the phone, while the participants did not even suspect that the inappropriate behavior of psychologists was also part of the experiment.

After finishing the assignment, those students for whom the telephone conversation served as the background admitted that this significantly reduced their speed of work and concentration of attention, while the other half of the participants with grief remembered in half what the scientists were talking about and whether they talked at all.

How can you make your workouts more productive?


Scientists have been researching the effects of music on exercise for years. For example, in 1911 the American scientist Leonard Ayres discovered that cyclists pedal much faster when listening to rhythmic music than when they ride in silence.

This is because music simply drowns out the signals of fatigue. The body, feeling physically exhausted, sends to the brain the appropriate impulses that the muscles need time to recover. Music, in turn, predetermines such signals and motivates a person to exercise longer. It should be noted that musical accompaniment is especially useful during training with low to moderate intensity since the pain that occurs during heavy exertion is almost impossible to ignore.

Musical accompaniment also helps a person manage their energy reserves in the most efficient way. A 2012 study found that cyclists listening to music while exercising consumed 7% less oxygen, even though the load remained the same.

Some psychologists have argued that humans have an innate preference for a 2-hertz rhythm, which is equivalent to 120 beats per minute (bpm is the number of quarter notes per minute that determines the speed of a song), although, for cardiovascular equipment – treadmills, ellipticals, exercise bikes, and etc. – more rhythmic music is suitable. According to the researchers, the so-called “motivational ceiling” that ensures the peak of human productivity are compositions with a frequency of 145 bpm.

Don’t forget that the SoundAudio site provides a library of background music to download and use. The site has Royalty Free Music and No Copyright Music. You can always find the right music for your project.

Have a good mood!

Ed Solovey

SoundAudio Music Creator