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Music generates vicarious emotions in listeners without real-life implications. Music helps to channel one’s frustration or purge negative emotions like anger and sadness. It's cathartic. When we listen to sad music (or watch a sad film), we are disconnected from any real threat or danger that the music (or movie) represents. When we cry at the beauty of sad music, we experience a profound aspect of our emotional selves (Kawakami, et al., 2013).
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Sadness is a primary emotion that is expressed and perceived equally across cultures. Basic emotions such as anger, happiness and sadness are innate and universal. Understanding basic emotions in music is very quick and does not require musical training. For instance, hearing a sad cello performa...
Sad music produces psychological benefits via mood regulation. Sad music enables the listener to disengage from distressing situations (breakup, death, etc.) and focus instead on the beauty of the music. Further, lyrics that resonate with the listener’s personal experience can give voice to feeli...
Sad music is a powerful trigger for nostalgic memories of foregone times. Such reflective revisiting of nostalgic memories may enhance mood, especially if the memories are related to pivotal and meaningful moments in life (i.e., high school, college). We enjoy the sweetness of these memories thro...
Empathy plays a significant role in the enjoyment of sad music. Empathy can be broadly defined as a process by which we can come to understand and feel what another person is experiencing. Expressions of sadness and grief are likely to rouse support and help in others. Similarly, listening to sad...
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