Why Do We Listen to Sad Music?
Self Help

Why Do We Listen to Sad Music?

Songs are an integral part of our lives. More than songs, the music itself is an integral part of our lives. The day in our life starts with many different types of music. For example, the chirping of birds which makes us feel fresh and calm in the morning. We all listen to songs. The purpose of listening may differ from person to person. Some people listen to songs for entertainment, some listen to express their own emotions or feel those emotions, and some listen to relax. We often like to listen to sad songs when we feel sad. Even if some people avoid feeling negative emotions. We do not know, or we do not understand why we listen to sad songs while feeling sad. Listening to sad songs feels relevant and makes us feel the emotion more.

Who and Why Do People Enjoy Listening to Sad Songs?

Eerola and Vuoskoski (2011) conducted a study with 116 participants who evaluated 110 film musical pieces based on perceived emotions, preferences, and beauty. The study showed a strong correlation between beauty and sadness ratings and happiness ratings. The study suggested that there can be a significant role of the enjoyment of sad music with aesthetic appreciation and beauty (Vuoskoski et al., 2012).

Finding also suggests listening to sad music does not make an individual experience any negative or unpleasant emotions. The emotions experienced due to real-life sad events. (Vuoskoski et al., 2012) observed that people experienced more nostalgic feelings, peacefulness, and a feeling of wonder rather than negative emotions.

The research also indicated that a connection between the aesthetic attractiveness of sad music and the strong emotional response may exist. Three findings support this statement:

  1. Sad music evoked a range of positive-toned, aesthetic emotions with sadness.
  2. The majority of those who were more open to new experiences favoured melancholy music.
  3. Researchers found that those with high degrees of empathy had strong emotional reactions to sad music, and that empathic persons preferred sad music.

Researchers have also found that listening to depressing music causes the same alterations in memory and evaluations as remembering a depressing real-life event. Listeners with empathy exhibited these consequences more often. According to findings from other studies, listening to music produces emotional states that are similar to those that people encounter every day. Simply we can say that sad music is most preferred by individuals with high responsiveness to newer experiences, individuals having intense emotions towards sad music and individuals with enhanced sensitivity towards art and beauty (Vuoskoski et al., 2012). As per the statistical data, approximately 25 % of listeners enjoy listening to sad music or music which has complex and dark emotions. These dark emotions include feelings of loss, or nostalgia (Ter Bogt et al., 2021).

Positive and Negative Effects of Listening to sad music

Many people use music as a medium of mood regulation. Studies show that reducing anxiety, fear, and pain is a result of listening to music. Music therapy is also considered effective for depression and anxiety-related disorders, particularly when individuals self-select the music, which improves their mood. When we experience sad events, passive voice is often used It was reported by Kawakami et al. (2013) that listening to sad music also gives the listener romantic and blithe feelings. According to finding sad music is a blended mixture of positive effects (Ter Bogt et al., 2021).

The music with which sadness was experienced seemed to be pleasurable for the listeners because while listening to the music they felt as if they were a different individual. But even if it has positive effects, it can be problematic. Research suggested that sad music can also intensify negative emotions. Which cannot be controlled voluntarily which leads to worsening of the mood. Around 10-17% of the participants of the study responded that sad music gives a feeling of irritability. And make them feel tired or anxious (Ter Bogt et al., 2021).

The power of sad songs

Songs are important in our lives. But why do we listen to sad songs while feeling sad? Listening To sad songs or music has its own positive and negative aspects. It can make us feel romantic and blithe feelings. Whereas it can also be negative and make us feel more depressed. People who listen to sad songs are mostly empathetic. People who are open to new experiences and who like to feel emotions. Sad songs have been proven to give a feeling of nostalgia, peacefulness and Wonder.

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