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Author Topic: Why does music elicit emotions?  (Read 3244 times)

Offline annie123

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Why does music elicit emotions?
« on: 19/12/2011 01:12:52 »
What is happening in the brain when music triggers great emotions? I have no  belief in the notions expressed in the words of the Messiah  at this season but I just have to hear a bit of it and feel  very emotional. And ecstasy - not the drug - of all kinds - is it just explained by chemical rushes in the brain?
And how does print - like a great poem - trigger emotion?
« Last Edit: 07/01/2012 11:16:34 by chris »


 

Offline Geezer

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Dunno! But it's a great question, because lots of things seem to be able to trigger profound emotional responses. Certain music does it for me.

I don't have any evidence to support this, but I suspect it's because of an association with some remembered event, or circumstance.
 

Offline RD

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There is a stereo effect called "binaural beats" which allegedly changes brainwaves via resonance,
(cf photosensitive epilepsy).

Quote
There have been a number of claims regarding binaural beats, among them that they may simulate the effect of recreational drugs
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binaural_beats

If the change of mind is due to a stereo effect, rather than some conditioned response, it won't work if you plug one ear'ole. 
« Last Edit: 19/12/2011 07:47:16 by RD »
 

Offline cheryl j

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On the Science podcast Radio Lab they did a piece about language and music. This researcher noticed when her tape recorder got stuck in a loop and the same sentence played over and over, the words started to sound more musical the longer she listened. I'm not sure what that has do with your question. But it made me think about the connection between speech and music. If you heard some one getting very angry in a language you didnt understand, you wouldnt know what he was talking about, and parts of your brain could not respond to the content of what he was saying, but you'd probably know immediately that he was upset. Maybe music is uplifting or sad, because it replicates some of the emotional qualities of speech, minus the content. Of course that doesnt really explain the aesthetic qualities,  what makes a piece of music better than another, or impressive in that respect.

Just some ideas.
 

Offline annie123

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Thanks, but the main problem for me is what happens between the sound waves and the brain itself that activates the chemicals we know are responsible for certain emotions? If this could be documented then people could make up tunes that targetted these triggers/chemicals to make hte most evocative music ever just mechanically. It would even have to ahve a melody - just a succession of notes that focused on those triggers. Sometimes I think some of the pop music I hear has done that - no meaning, no melody, no nothing except some particular notes that target these chemicals. When I hear ALleluia sung - what do the words mean for heaven;'s sake? It's the music that jerks the tear ducts so successfully. SOmeone should analyse such things  and come up with a formula to show what's going on and relate it to brain imaging that shows the amygdala going berserk.
 

Offline RD

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SOmeone should analyse such things  and come up with a formula to show what's going on and relate it to brain imaging

Someone has ... http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303848104576381823644333598.html
« Last Edit: 23/12/2011 23:09:14 by RD »
 

Offline cheryl j

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The other reason I think the emotional response to music is connected to language is that other animals dont seem to groove to it. Where as primates, and even dogs, seem to share many of our other emotional responses.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Certainly I think there has been some research in what kinds of music conveys the ideas of BUY....  BUY MORE....

I would agree with Cheryl that there are certain Holiday/Festive songs that one almost starts to sing to, whether or not they contain the words. 

It is less meaningful to have a foreign language song that one has no idea what they are talking about...  but some do have a good beat!!!
 

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