Music And Depression

Music And Depression

Depression and suicide are important issues in the twenty-first century. According to the World Health Organization, over 800,000 individuals die by suicide each year, with the 15-29 age group being disproportionately impacted. Surprisingly, music appears to play the most essential part in our lives when we are in our teens and twenties. According to studies, teenagers listen to music for two to three hours each day, especially when they are upset. Because of the relationship between music and sadness in young people, music has been blamed for the suicides of numerous teenagers.

My Chemical Romance and other bands developed passionate and sad punk-rock influenced music, informally categorized as 'emo.' Listening to music – even music conveying negative feelings like grief or rage – may be a useful approach for most individuals to deal with their emotions. Several studies involving over 1,000 participants have found that people may utilise sad music to help them feel better in a variety of ways.



Transient melancholy is a so-called basic emotion that may be recognised in humans regardless of culture. Sadness is characterized by poor physiological and physical activity, fatigue, diminished interest in the outside world, low mood, rumination, less language communication, and retreat from social situations.

Levinson studied this topic in philosophy, proposing reward as a fundamental notion to explain the appeal to unpleasant emotions, particularly melancholy, in music. He argued that eight different sorts of rewards contribute to the enjoyment of music-evoked sorrow. Two are contributions from outside sources: The first, apprehending expression, is related to the fact that negatively valences responses to music aid our understanding of the expression in a musical piece. The second is an application of Aristotle's notion of catharsis to the musical world. According to this idea, the negative emotional tone of sad music allows listeners to purge themselves of a certain quantity of a bad feeling that is bothering them.



Dessa, the host of the podcast Deeply Human: ‘Sad Music’, chats with a composer on what makes sad music ‘sad’. She argues that there is something particular that happens while listening to sad music vs listening to joyful music. To qualify as either, the chord progression must be in a specific order. When you're unhappy, you pull inward, you're silent, and you don't necessarily want to talk to other people, she explains. A 2019 study looked at the predilection of depressed persons towards melancholy music. Participants reported feeling better after listening to sorrowful music, rather than feeling worse, as previously assumed. The researchers discovered that people who favoured sad music did so because it was "relaxing, calming or soothing" This idea of easing depressive symptoms with sorrowful music seems to be hitting the mark.



Sad music inspires a wide spectrum of complicated and somewhat pleasant feelings in addition to grief. The average number of feelings expressed by participants in reaction to sad music was more than three. This implies that sad music's visual appeal is enhanced by the varied emotional experience it elicits. According to the GEMS model, these emotions are associated with the component of sublimity, whereas melancholy is associated with uneasiness. In this regard, the current study shows that the paradox of sad music has been primarily explored in an oversimplified manner, focusing solely on the happy-sad dichotomy. Sad music, rather than eliciting delight, stimulates a wide spectrum of "sublime" emotions.



Concentrating on broad cultural differences, namely Western vs Eastern, since a huge and well-established body of research demonstrates a variety of West-East variations in psychological processes such as cognition and emotion, Western individuals experience melancholy more consistently than Eastern participants due to memory-related mechanisms. In reaction to sorrowful music, Western participants identified nostalgia as the most prominent music-evoked emotion. Peacefulness, on the other hand, has a similar meaning to nostalgia for Eastern participants. This implies that memory may assist to foster an autonomous construal of the self and is thus more common in individualistic Western societies.



Continuing the discussion of music and emotions, Music therapy is currently available, albeit it is not widely used. Music therapy is practised by skilled professionals who use singing, listening to, or playing music as part of their therapeutic approach.

Historically, this type of treatment for mood disorders has relied on music's capacity to change mood by releasing endorphins, dopamine, and oxytocin. However, if more research, such as that conducted by Yoon and Rottenberg, can build on the concept of the sad paradox - and how sad music may enhance the mood of depressed people - this might open up new avenues for music to be included into talking therapies in novel ways.


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