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The Neuroscience Of Music

Why does music make us feel? On the one hand, music is a purely abstract art form, devoid of language or explicit ideas. The stories it tells are all subtlety and subtext. And yet, even though music says little, it still manages to touch us deep, to tickle some universal nerves. When listening to our favorite songs, our body betrays all the symptoms of emotional arousal. The pupils in our eyes dilate, our pulse and blood pressure rise, the electrical conductance of our skin is lowered, and the cerebellum, a brain region associated with bodily movement, becomes strangely active. Blood is even re-directed to the muscles in our legs. (Some speculate that this is why we begin tapping our feet.) In other words, sound stirs us at our biological roots. As Schopenhauer wrote, “It is we ourselves who are tortured by the strings.”

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Cat2145d ago

Man, I love Wired!

"According to Meyer, it is the suspenseful tension of music (arising out of our unfulfilled expectations) that is the source of the music’s feeling."

Fascinating, when i'm listening to a great song, or a new favorite song, I've always marveled at how it creates that climbing the hill of the roller coaster feeling.

UnSelf2144d ago

i completely side wit u on this cat. theres a tuned thats played in the game Split/Second everytime u win a seasonal race. the song itself raises my spirits so high for some reason and i didnt kno any better i would think i can actually fly

toaster2144d ago (Edited 2144d ago )

This is a great article. I have a passion for music; I listen to pretty much every genre, I play multiple instruments and I record my own. I agree with Meyer here, a song that keeps me on my toes and makes me think about the next stanza is more interesting and immersive than a song with the same 3 chords and repeating lyrics and patterns. If the mind anticipates and can easily predict the outcome of the flow of music then you would get bored quickly. Some people may like this kind of music because it is simple though, and they don't necessarily have bad taste (except if it's Bieber, LOL then yeah it's bad taste) but their brain has more pleasure from knowing how the song will go.

AuToFiRE2144d ago

It is quite beautiful that the same 7 notes can make such a diverse range of music, such beauty and complexity in a seemingly simple range of notes can create any feeling, any emotion