Psychology of music


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The psychology of music rocks! The information in this slideshow is taken from Goosebumps, Earworms And The Power of Music - chapter 7 of the Incredibly Interesting Psychology Book.


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  • Music and Emotions

    The most difficult problem in answering the question of how music creates emotions is likely to be the fact that assignments of musical elements and emotions can never be defined clearly. The solution of this problem is the Theory of Musical Equilibration. It says that music can't convey any emotion at all, but merely volitional processes, the music listener identifies with. Then in the process of identifying the volitional processes are colored with emotions. The same happens when we watch an exciting film and identify with the volitional processes of our favorite figures. Here, too, just the process of identification generates emotions.

    An example: If you perceive a major chord, you normally identify with the will 'Yes, I want to...'. The experience of listening to a minor chord can be compared to the message conveyed when someone says, 'No more.' If someone were to say these words slowly and quietly, they would create the impression of being sad, whereas if they were to scream it quickly and loudly, they would be come across as furious. This distinction also applies for the emotional character of a minor chord: if a minor harmony is repeated faster and at greater volume, its sad nature appears to have suddenly turned into fury.

    Because this detour of emotions via volitional processes was not detected, also all music psychological and neurological experiments, to answer the question of the origin of the emotions in the music, failed.

    But how music can convey volitional processes? These volitional processes have something to do with the phenomena which early music theorists called 'lead', 'leading tone' or 'striving effects'. If we reverse this musical phenomena in imagination into its opposite (not the sound wants to change - but the listener identifies with a will not to change the sound) we have found the contents of will, the music listener identifies with. In practice, everything becomes a bit more complicated, so that even more sophisticated volitional processes can be represented musically.

    Further information is available via the free download of the e-book 'Music and Emotion - Research on the Theory of Musical Equilibration:

    or on the online journal EUNOMIOS:

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    Bernd Willimek, music theorist
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Psychology of music

  1. The Power of
  2. "One good thingabout music, whenit hits you, you feelno pain. "(Bob Marley)(Photo Credit : Monosnaps)
  3. According to Richard Parncutt,Professor of Systematic Musicology atthe University of Graz.
  4. Music psychology investigates whyhumans spend so much time, effortand money on musical activities.
  5. The Psychology of Music RocksResearch into everyday musiclistening and respondingemotionally to music hashighlighted some incrediblyinteresting things that we can allrelate to.
  6. I Got Chills Theyre Multiplying!Things like listeningto a tune so goodthat it gives yougoosebumps.(Photo Credit : MaryLane)
  7. These musical frissons like otherhappiness inducing experiences (sex,food etc) are as a result of adopamine rush.Dopamine is a chemicalneurotransmitter that helps regulatethe reward and pleasure centers inthe brain.
  8. Which Song or Piece of Music Gives YouGoosebumps? (Some Replies)• Clare Island - The Saw Doctors• L Olimpiade (Sinfonia Allegro) in facsimile - Vivaldi• The Sound of Silence - Simon And Garfunkel• Eulogy - Tool• Nessun Dorma – Pavarotti• Never let me go - Florence and The Machine• Lovesong - The Cure
  9. The Psychology Of Tunes That Stick In Our Heads"Youre suffering from acondition known as"Earworm..." when your brainbecomes stuck on a catchytune."(SpongeBob Square Pants: Season 8, episode 9, 2010)(Photo Credit : Eli Carrico)
  10. The earworm phenomenon is alsoknown as tune in the brain syndrome,sticky music, cognitive itch andinvoluntary musical imagery.
  11. In a survey of over 12,000 people 91%of respondents reported experiencingearworms at least once a week. (Dr.Lassi A. Liikkanen, Aalto University,Finland).
  12. Why Studying Earworms is Important"By learning about earworms we can understandmore about: 1) how our involuntary memorysystems work in both positive (creativity) andnegative (rumination and PTSD) ways; and 2) howwe can learn to use memory more effectively, forexample using music to help children learn moreeffortlessly or aid those who are suffering frommemory problems." (Dr Victoria Williamson)
  13. Alive Inside: A Story of Music andMemoryDuring the making of this profoundly movingdocumentary a clip of Henry a 94 year oldman with dementia was posted on YouTube.The clip went viral and within a week 7 millionpeople had seen it.
  14. If you can, watch the clip rightnow via the following
  15. "Music can lift us out of depression or moveus to tears - it is a remedy, a tonic, orangejuice for the ear. But for many of myneurological patients, music is even more - itcan provide access, even when no medicationcan, to movement, to speech, to life. Forthem, music is not a luxury, but a necessity."(Dr. Oliver Sacks)
  16. The information in thisslideshow is taken from chapter7 of the Incredibly InterestingPsychology Book. See followinglink for full book