How Does Music Change A Mood?
As I was running out of topics to discuss over Youth Voices, I started to acknowledge the fact that I was in somewhat of a weird mood. I wasn't happy, but I wasn't sad. At first I blamed the weather, but that was pointless being as I love rain and clouds. So then I turned my thoughts to what kind of music I was listening to. It was Breaking Benjamin's new album, Dear Agony.This is an incredible album, and it gets better the more I listen to it, but the music and lyrics are somewhat dark. They even have a song titled "Hopeless." So then I started to wonder if it was music that affected my mood. And of course it is. On a warm summer day, I will play something like Collective Soul, and I will feel completely happy. When I need motivation for something, I'll listen to songs such as "Push It" by Rick Ross or "Obsessed" by Mariah Carey. Anything with a really loud beat and a mediocre tempo. And think about a really suspenseful movie, would the moments be as suspenseful without the creepy violin music? So how does music affects emotions?
According to the Psychology Press Music is a complex acoustic and temporal structure that induces a large variety of emotional responses in listeners.
The nature of emotions created by music has been a matter of much debate. Preliminary practical investigations have demonstrated that basic emotions, such as happiness, anger, fear, and sadness, can be recognized in and created by musical stimuli in humans.
Although this quote does not fully explain why music affects us, it begins to. The author of This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obession, Daniel Levitin says:
Music activates the same parts of the brain and causes the same neurochemical cocktail as a lot of other pleasurable activities like orgasms or eating chocolate -- or if you're a gambler winning a bet or using drugs if you're a drug user. Serotonin and dopamine are both involved.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter found in the brain that regulates movement, emotion, motivation, and the feeling of pleasure. It's connected to the reward system of the brain. Serotonin is another neurotransmitter in the brain that includes mood and behavior, physical coordination, appetite, body temperature, and sleep. So it makes sense that music gets those neurotransmitters to work and either change or keep our mood the way they are. Another theory I read was that certain types of music bring back memories that trigger emotions, which sound like a really good theory. Personally I never gave too much thought to this, I just figured it was the minor and major scales used in a song that affected moods.