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Community Article - May 2023
May 2, 2023

Music and it's connections to our emotions

Music is an artform expressed by sounds, either by instruments, voice, synthesizers, computer generated or all of the above, and fueled by human creativity. It comes in many forms and genres, and some may be contested by groups of people of being the best kind of music, while others simply detest those genres.

I can honestly say that I have never met anyone who hated music in general. There was always some kind of sound that they would enjoy, even if it was a small sampling of the overall music in the world. Even those who are deaf can enjoy music by feeling the hum and vibrations caused by music.

Music can convey all kinds of emotions, either with the lyrics used, or with the rhythm of the sounds and instruments, or a combination of both. An example of music that can evoke emotions without lyrics is classical music. Let's take the symphony of "In the Hall of the Mountain King" by Edvard Grieg. It begins slowly, feeling like a journey, with repeating notes that increase in speed and volume. You can picture yourself heading down a path, avoiding dangers and finally encountering the "Mountain King" as the music culminates to it's end. This song would imply adventure, action, and motivation.

Let's take Chopin's Nocturne op.9 No.2's symphony. A very different feeling can be had from listening to it. A very calm, relaxing pace, and some could even say romantic. Something you can hear at a fancy restaurant playing while you're having a dinner with your date. It has a hint of potential. With most classical music, it is up to interpretation of the listener on what emotion it invokes in them. It's one of the many reasons why movies use instrumental soundtracks for the background sounds, to try and convey emotion to us subconsciously.

Let's move on from classical music and head into the lyrical songs that most of us listen to. The sounds used in lyrical music need to be different to the classical versions due to having vocalized words to match the rhythm, timing, and overall feeling of the song. It would be jarring to have a song that is calm and soothing in beat, while the lyrics is talking about something more upbeat, and requiring action, or adventure.

Let's take Linkin Park's One More Light's song. (If you haven't listened to it, I'd recommend it). If you were to just listen to the song without the lyrics, the tone of the music is sad, but it has a hopefulness within it. The lyrics lend themselves beautifully to the emotions, as stated in the chorus of the song;

"If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone's time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We're quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do"

The song becoming more hopeful in tone with the instruments nearing the end, as the chorus is repeated, bringing in more hopefulness to the emotions of the song. The lyrics add to the emotion of sadness and hope to our consciousness, and the instrumental adds to our subconscious.

Music can help in time of stress, by creating a different emotion with the use of the instrumental and lyrics, whereas it could also make it worse by listening to the wrong song.

You can view the songs listed in the article by clicking the title of the songs, Hall of the Mountain King, Chopin's Nocturne op.9 No.2's symphony, Linkin Park - One more Light. These links will take you directly to YouTube.

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