Science Questions

Why does music move us to tears?

Mon, 25th Feb 2008

Listen Now    Download as mp3 from the show The Power of Sound and Music

Question

Connie, Godmanchester asked:

Why does music move us to tears?

 

 

Answer

We put this to Dr Ian Cross:

A whole variety of reasons but music does seem to have profound affective effects.  That is, it works deeply on our emotions.  Daniel Levitin was talking previously about some ways in which limbic centres in the brain are activated by experiencing music. A lot of this probably depends on prior experience. You probably wouldnít be moved to tears by hearing either of those two previous clips [Ndroje balendro and Wonga].

Chris: I was! Ian: For thirty-six hours, perhaps. But you could be moved to tears simply on the basis of association between a piece of music and a particular episode of your life and a particular previous position or preference to use a particular type of music to do things like move yourself to tears.Chris: Itís stimulating a memory which is itself associated with some emotion and thatís why itís making you feel happy or sad. Ian: Most likely.

Multimedia

Subscribe Free

Related Content

Not working please enable javascript
EPSRC
Powered by UKfast
STFC
Genetics Society
ipDTL