What is the name of this calm feeling
musical research Music and emotion
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Music can make us cry. It can drive us to peak performance in sport. It calms us down, makes us happy or anxious. There is only one thing that music never does: it never leaves us indifferent.
Status: March 1st, 2021
The relationship between music and mood has long been the focus of various disciplines. Neuroscientists are interested in what happens in the brain when we listen to music, while psychologists study the effects of certain musical genres on our emotions. Studies have shown that mood regulation is actually an important motivator for us to listen to music. But it is often chosen that suits the mood.
Other research suggested that certain songs had a positive effect on self-esteem. And further studies have shown that the music of our youth is particularly formative for us and we remember it particularly well. Despite these approaches, however, it remains unclear how the interaction between music and mind works exactly and whether the connections found apply globally.
How music preferences differ around the world
Emotions and music belong together: Just think of the shrill violin sounds that ring in creepy horror movie scenes. Or the soft tones that accompany a romantic film. But do we choose certain pieces to influence our feelings or do we look for the music that suits our mood? A study by Cornell University in the state of New York now provides a picture of when people prefer which music.
According to a Spotify analysis, music fans from Asia prefer quiet music, while South Americans prefer salsa.
The researchers examined millions of online streams from the Spotify music platform around the world in order to find time-of-day and seasonal patterns. As they reported in the specialist magazine "Nature Human Behavior" in January 2019, people across cultural and national borders tend to listen to relaxing music in the evening, while energetic pieces are preferred during the day.
But there were also clear regional differences. People in Asia chose relaxing music, while listeners in Latin America mostly chose stimulating pieces. In total, the team around the social scientist Minsu Park from Cornell University evaluated 765 million pieces of music that were streamed by almost a million people from 51 countries on the music platform Spotify.
In general, according to the analysis, younger people in particular listen to more intense music - a finding that does not surprise Gunter Kreutz. What is new for the musicologist at the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg is rather the possibility of depicting "continental sensitivities": "It corresponds to the stereotype that Far Eastern philosophy draws its strength from calm. Quite different in South America, where the people's attitude towards life is evidently calls for more exciting rhythms. "
All in all, however, the current study cannot answer whether music influences our emotions or whether we choose music that suits our mood. The authors of the study write that there is likely to be an interplay. Another weakness of the analysis is that only the data from people who use Spotify were evaluated - a criticism that Kreutz also makes. The users would have to have a minimum of wealth in order to be able to afford Spotify.
The emotional side of making music
It's not just the sound that makes the music, passion and creativity are also important for an artist's expression.
Anyone who learns a musical instrument has to deal with two things: On the one hand, there is the technical accuracy that is to be striven for in order to make "good" music. But that's only one side, the formal side. Much more important, because it is more distinctive, is the emotional side of making music. Only those who can combine technical perfection with great feelings will master music-making. Because music is first and foremost a language of feeling. There is no other way to express emotions as clearly as with the delicate bow stroke of the violin or the distorted sound of the electric guitar.
Child prodigies and their musical intelligence
So-called child prodigies have an isolated musical intelligence.
Sometimes very young musicians express feelings with their instrument that they could not possibly have already experienced in this depth. They are then often called child prodigies. Nothing comparable is known from the literature. The British neurologist Oliver Sacks speaks of an isolated musical intelligence in this context. The musical mind of this person is highly developed, but this does not have to be in other areas.
Fans cheer for their stars on stage; music is pure emotion. No wonder it doesn't keep anyone quiet during a pop concert. This is the rhythm that everyone has to go along with: dancing, jumping, clapping - anything is allowed to get rid of the tingling sensations in your hands and feet.
"Anyone who observes children playing music knows that they can be joy in life that has come alive. As a counterbalance to virtual reality, children and young people need countless experiences full of amazement, open to every pore, they need aha experiences with themselves, their naturalness and nature, as if the windows were opened in a stuffy room and fresh air was drawn in. Children should and can see more, smell more, feel more, taste more and hear more, they need music like the air they breathe . "
Prof. Dr. Hans Günther Bastian (1944 - 2011), music teacher at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main and founding director of the Institute for Talent Research and the Promotion of Talented Children in Music at the University of Paderborn
This is music to my ears
Singing together in a choir promotes social behavior.
Nice side effect of making music: Nowhere are people asked to do such complex things at the same time as when playing the piano, for example. And making music also has a positive effect on a person's social behavior, for example when a large orchestra performs a symphony. If music has so many positive effects, so the thought, it could also be used specifically in the medical field. And that is exactly what has recently been increasingly done.
A sense of music anchored in evolutionary history
Music does not only touch and move us in a positive way - it can also have a negative influence. Reinhard Copyz from the Hanover University of Music has studied the goose bumps over a number of years. He explains, among other things, that the sense of hearing has functioned as a kind of "alarm system" since ancient times and warns of unpleasant situations:
"Certain sonic patterns reliably evoke a feeling of threat and the low frequencies are particularly suitable for this, i.e. the grumbling and trembling of the earth when the dinosaurs come, this has the consequence of disorientation for us, we have no way of finding the source of the sound to be located if it contains very low tones. "
Prof. Reinhard Copyz, Professor of Music Psychology, Hanover University of Music and Drama
The goosebumps effect
Music can increase tension to the point of unbearable.
Distorted sounding music triggers fear and sadness in us. Daniel Blumstein and Greg Bryant of the University of California in Los Angeles suspect that they have an effect similar to cries for help in the animal kingdom. These sound effects are used, for example, for film music in the event of impending disaster or for car chases in order to create tension. Famous example: the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's thriller "Psycho".
There is no such thing as universal goosebumps music that affects everyone equally. Whether and when the goosebumps occur depends very much on listening habits and preferences. The sudden start of a choir or a solo voice gives many listeners goose bumps - and plays with their listening expectations.
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