Why Do We Like Listening To Sad Music So Much?
Elton John said it best, sad songs really do say so much! I’ve always wondered why we tend to gravitate towards songs that are depressing, especially if we’re in a bad mood! If sad music makes us feel sad, then why put ourselves through that torture? Well, turns out that sad music actually evokes positive emotions… Wait, what? Read on.
A recent study in Japan sat down 40-some odd volunteers, some of which who were musicians and some who were just recreational listeners and had them listen to a couple of minor (sad) classical pieces along with a Major (happy) one and had them rate their feelings.
“Music that is perceived as sad actually induces romantic emotion as well as sad emotion. And people, regardless of their musical training, experience this ambivalent emotion to listen to the sad music,” said the researchers.
“Emotion experienced by music has no direct danger or harm unlike the emotion experienced in everyday life. Therefore, we can even enjoy unpleasant emotion such as sadness. If we suffer from unpleasant emotion evoked through daily life, sad music might be helpful to alleviate negative emotion,” they added.
Well there you have it, so when some people get dumped, lose their job or a loved one, they throw out the chick flicks (and their radios) and head for things that are the opposite of how they feel. But, some run straight to the sad songs and tear-jerking movies to help them cope, and research says they’re not crazy or wallowing in self-pity. Apparently, we do that to replace the romantic emotion we felt when things were running high and the more personal the loss, the more we head for the tissue-eating music instead of keying cars to heavy metal after a less emotional loss like a sports one or something.
Most romantic songs incidentally are minor or sad in nature too anyway because somehow it just evokes more powerful emotions. Crazy right? Speaking of crazy, the researchers also had the sad songs played in a happy key and vice versa just to see what would happen and the results were no different. Just for fun, here’s a sad song played in a happy key… And it works! Kinda changes the whole meaning doesn’t it?
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