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Sad music makes people happy

Did you know that listening to sad music actually makes you happy?


A recent study conducted by researchers from the Tokyo University of Arts has revealed that sad music does, in fact, invoke ‘pleasant emotion.’

When you’re down, chances are you’ll most likely look for something that is uplifting to help you cope with whatever sad bits of reality that is hitting you.  More likely than not, though, people will also tend to look for something that can relate to how they feel during hard times, and music often offers such an escape.

What about when you’re totally content?  Should sad music also provide the same type of positive emotions that you feel when you’re down?  These Japanese researchers seem to think so.

To begin, the researchers recruited 17 professional musicians or students majoring in music, and 27 ‘non-musicians’ and let them listen three short classical arrangements.  (Participants were not familiar with the clips.)

(1) Glinka’s La Separation (F minor), (2) Blumenfeld’s Etude “Sur Mer” (G minor), and (3) Granados’s Allegro de Concierto (C sharp major)

After listening to the 30s clips, the participants were then asked to jot down how they felt while listening to the tunes.  After all the data were gathered, the researchers analyzed it and came to the conclusion that “although sad music was perceived to be more tragic, listening to sad music actually induced participants to feel more romantic, blither, and less tragic.”

“Thus, the participants seemed to experience ambivalent emotions when listening to sad music. This is possibly because the emotion induced by music is indirect, that is, not induced by personal events, which somehow induces participants to feel pleasure as well.”

**Regardless of musical experience, the participants all reported (through the researchers’ analysis) that they felt something positive despite the ‘gloomy’ nature of the tracks.  Experienced musicians will tend to judge scores based on their ‘aesthetics’, but the music’s influence on them will tend to be the same as non-musicians.

Source: frontiersin | Image: funlava

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