Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Power of Goosebumps

If you regularly read this blog you'll know that I love music. It's a powerful mood setter, transcending time and place, and has the ability to evoke memories made yesterday or thirty years ago. We all know that music makes us feel, but what is it about music that gets us pensive, or full of life and on our feet and dancing?

British psychologist, John Sloboda, conducted a study where he asked participants to identify the parts of a song they thought were most powerful. The results showed that a significant number of the 'powerful song parts' were created by appoggiatura – a process which creates emotional tension in the listener.

If appoggiatura doesn't sound familiar, you'll be able to relate to it when I say it's the moment in a song when you feel shivers down your spine. If you've heard "Someone Like You" by Adele, you'll know what I mean. Appoggiatura creates an emotional connection with our brains which leads us to think that these are the most powerful parts of a piece of music.

What's really interesting is that listening to emotionally charged music, whether happy or sad, releases dopamine which makes us feel good. The more goosebumps you feel when listening to a song, the more your brain craves it.

1 comment:

Celso said...

Actually, appogiatura means , literally, a "lean" into something....so, when you sing the note above the final note one step above, you are leaning toward the note...also, in 18th century style, and it carried over into later styles, one never sang a downward third, without filling in that space...it happens all the time in Mozart recitative. It really had much to do with the rule of composition of the day, which were much more strict than a modernist would ever dream of! So, that's the word, and you can research it now more, and you'll let me know the true skinny on it!