Music is a universal language

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.

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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.

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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When asked to explain in words what emotion is, we may come up with ideas that feel right, such as "sensitivity to events," or "your mind's reaction to experience," but fundamentally, emotions are intangible and the definitions offered are not good enough for science.

Words like "joy" and "rage" describe a set of complex processes in the brain and the body that are not always related.

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Sadness

Sadness is another type of emotion often defined as a transient emotional state characterized by feelings of: dissapointment, grief, hopelesness, disintresst, and dampened mood.

Like other emotions sadness is something that we all experience from time to time, in some cases, people can experience prolonged and severe periods of sadness that can turn into depression.

Sadness can be expressed in a number of ways:

  • Crying
  • Dampened mood
  • Lethargy
  • Quietness
  • Withdrawal from others


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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