Solomon Addo Siau Creative Page

Some types of music can relax us. After a stressful work day, classical music, certain types of jazz, or our favorite ballad singer can physically relax our bodies and distract our minds from the cares of the day - at least for a while. On the other hand, loud, fast music with a strong beat can exhilarate (or bother) us. In fact, sometimes we may prefer one kind of music or artist, and at other times that's the last thing we want to listen to.

So we have all experienced music's physical and mental effects on us at one time or another. In fact, the mental effect is so strong at times, a few lines from a song can keep running through our minds despite our efforts to ignore them or make them stop.

There are other ways music affects us emotionally. One way can be most clearly demonstrated by movie music. Music signals us when something scary, threatening or ominous is about to happen. If you close your eyes in an action, horror or thriller movie, you can pretty much tell what's happening on the screen by the music alone.

The same is true for a romance. Film composers such as John Williams get paid big money for their ability to shift your emotions from moment to moment. Movie theme music - such as Williams' Star Wars theme - can make us practically march out of the theater, our shoulders thrown back, determined to vanquish our own foes. (And sometimes we just hope one will show up right then so we can spring into action.) Our self-confidence has been affected, and it is as much due to the movie music as the movie story and visuals.

So what's going on between us and this music? What is the emotional hook music has on us all about? There is something going on here besides sound waves, the mechanism of the ear, and synapses firing in the brain. Apparently, music and mood are intimately connected in some non-physical way.


Updated:  February 6, 2012

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