Music and emotion are closely related and connected to each other. This is why music is considered as one of the most intimate form of expression. In one of the most criticised definition, music has been described as a fabrication that uses mathematical manipulation of sounds being put together to provoke emotional response.
Love songs or romantic music has been used in courtship because it is deeply associated with emotions. It can effectively communicate the lovers’ feelings. Just like poetry, music uses well crafted lyrics to either give hope, pleasure and joy. There are also music that can uplift you on times of sadness and disappointment. It can also stir up your faith, love, joy and other emotions.
Science has also found a meaningful relationship between music and emotions. Hence, music is currently utilised as aid to treat children with communication disorders. Some of these disorders include autism in children and Alzheimer’s disease in adults. According to research conducted by Northwestern University, it was found that a human’s brain responds to music in a particular manner. Music plays a critical role in perceiving emotions.
The ability of perceiving emotions in music is thought to develop early in children. It improves significantly as the child matures. It is largely associated with culture and is influenced by cultural inclinations. There are two schools of thoughts that have given their approaches to music. According to Cognitivists approach, music displays emotions but does not allow the listener to display his emotional feelings. However Emotivists argue that music affects and elicits emotional responses in the listener.
There are specific features of music that are associated with particular emotions. Tempo is one of the features that is considered very important. There are also other factors such as melody, mode and loudness which influence emotional valence of any piece of music. Tempo creates excitement and can cause anger as well. Slow tempos are associated with serenity and sadness.
Harmonies too affect emotions. If they are complementing they bring happiness, serenity and relaxation. However, if the harmonies are clashing, they can create anger, excitement and unpleasantness. Smooth rhythm offers happiness and peace while irregular and rough music can elicit uneasiness. Varied rhythm on the other hand elicits joy.
The way a piece of music is executed by a performer determines how it will impact on the emotions of the listeners. If the performers have the ability to be physically present in their performance, they can elicit some reasonable amount of emotions. The performers’ reputation and skills play a role in motivating the listeners. It affects them emotionally. That is why you will often find listeners singing alongside the performer.
There are also some features in the individual listener that contribute to how a particular music impacts on him emotionally. Similarly, the occasion and the location such as funeral or wedding determine the amount of emotions that a particular music will elicit. The presence of certain factors may also influence and affect the emotions of a child. Thus, emotions may be high if more factors are present. Similarly, the absent of these factors may reduce the emotions associated with a particular piece of music.