Sad=Happy?

After every band concert I always like to ask people who were there, which song was their favorite. It’s an easy question, one that doesn’t require any musical knowledge. You simply decide which song you enjoy the most. No choice is right or wrong, because everyone has their own personal preference on what they do or don’t like on everything, including music. In addition to asking what a listener’s favorite song is, I also like to hear why the listener chose that particular song as their favorite, and how the song made them feel.

After the All-State concert I was talking to my parents about the songs that we had played and which were their favorites. My mom’s favorite was the Children’s March by Percy Grainger, which is completely understandable. It’s a cheerful song that could make anyone happy. In fact, every time I hear it, I think of children skipping through a meadow. Another song we played was called Give Us This Day by David Maslanka (I’m seriously obsessed with this song now, it’s amazing). My dad had decided that he didn’t like it as much because it was depressing. However, I really liked the song, and the reason being that it was depressing!

sad

I know this sounds crazy, but I really love sad or depressing music. Often times when talking with my friends about music, they always think I’m weird for liking the sad songs. This made me curious, and I began to look up on the internet why I enjoy dark and melancholic music so much. It turns out that I’m not as much of a freak as I thought! According to a study done by some Japanese students which was published in Frontiers of Psychology, listening to depressing music can actually evoke positive emotions. The reason for this, is that the sad or tragic feelings from music are only being perceived. You aren’t actually experiencing real emotional pain that one would have from a breakup or loss of a loved one. Music is art, and often times when art is sad, we consider it to be beautiful. This beauty is what gives us positive emotions. If you think about it, this is the same exact reason why we love reading books and watching movies that are sad. Not all sad songs will have this effect, however. Some songs will never fail to bring your mood down, because of a sad memory that you have connected to the song.

So, I’m not saying that the only kind of music I like is the gloomy and depressing kind. I love a lot of really upbeat fun music. It all depends on how it makes me feel, though. In my opinion, the best kind of music, is the kind that makes you feel something.

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