Music triggers feelings

The subjective experience of music can be mapped within at least 13 overarching feelings: amusement, joy, eroticism, beauty, relaxation, sadness, dreaminess, triumph, anxiety, scariness, annoyance, defiance, and feeling pumped up.

Research findings on music can have potential applications:

  1. informing psychological and psychiatric therapies to produce certain feelings.
  2. helping music streaming services adjust their algorithms to satisfy their customers' audio needs.
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Music can evoke many nuanced emotions. We don't always pay enough attention to what music is saying or how it's being understood. For instance:
  • Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” make people feel energized. 
  • The Clash’s “Rock the Casbah” pump people up. 
  • Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” evoke sensuality.
  • Israel (Iz) Kamakawiwoʻole’s “Somewhere over the Rainbow” elicits joy.
  • Heavy metal is widely viewed as defiant.

In a study, people from different cultures mostly agreed on general emotional characterizations of musical sounds, such as anger, joy, or annoyance. They agreed that a song is angry but differ on whether the feeling is positive or negative.

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There are six basic emotions

In the 1960s, researchers started to study facial expressions that matched six basic emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust.

Some researchers now say there are fewer than six basic emotions, and others say there are more (up to 21). But the idea remains that emotions are biologically universal to all humans, and displayed through facial expressions.

Basic Emotions

There are many different types of emotions that have an influence on how we live and interact with others. 

The choices we make, the actions we take, and the perceptions we have are all influenced by the emotions we are experiencing at any given moment.

During the 1970's, pyschologist Paul Eckman identified six bacis emotions that he suggested were universally experienced in all human cultures.


Music benefits us

One study showed that people with Alzheimer's disease handle their stressful emotions better when they listen to music.

Other studies revealed that certain types of music may change our perception, and cheerful music can foster creativity.

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