Understanding the Interactive Process between Music and Feelings

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzshe said “without music, life would be a mistake”.  Music is the medium with which a musician creates his artwork.  That masterpiece might be a classical piece, a Russian waltz, a hardcore metal composition, or a deep blues song that resonates with a person for days to come.  Music, in all of its differences, creates a canister of emotions.

What cannot be said in common words, can often time be expressed poetically through a song.  People relate song to periods throughout their lives.  Some recorded mixed tapes as teenagers, brides carefully select every song for their wedding, and parents spend hours listening to, and singing, lullabies.

Which songs do you recall that made rainy days suddenly sunny?  Do you remember your favorite songs that played in the car as a teen?  What song did you dance to at your wedding?  These songs invoke a certain set of emotions for every person.  No matter what language someone speaks, or where someone lives, music links us together.  We can all relate to how it feels to dance, to sing, to feel the beat of a drum.  In fact, music is quite often used as an aide in working with individuals with special needs because of its ability to create special feelings within us.  Music also creates neural activity that combines rhythm and language development, making it an ideal component when working with individuals that are language impaired.

A study published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, stated that music has general benefits for cognitive deterioration, and specific benefits for stroke victims.  David Soto, a neuroscientist at Imperial College of London said, “Our ability to select information, and perceive information, and be aware of what’s going on in the world depends on how we feel”.  This makes sense when considering how much impact music has on people.

Some songs have been deemed as timeless, whether by their artist or their lyrics.  These include:

“Hey Jude” – The Beatles “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” – James Baskett “Mr. Tambourine Man” – The Byrds “Whole Lotta Love” – Led Zeppelin “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” – The Rolling Stones “Let’s Stay Together” – Al Green “Purple Haze” – Jimi Hendrix “Respect” – Aretha Franklin “Bridge Over Troubled Water” – Simon and Garfunkel

Of course this list could go on forever with all of the genres of great music that have been around for years.  Most people have a certain preference for the type of music they enjoy based on environmental factors like where they were raised, songs they listened to as children, and exposure to a variety of different genres.  There is also a scientific method as to why music moves us.  Scientific study has shown that rhythmic music helps people initiate, and coordinate, movement.  This is what makes people want to dance. 

Finally, music is the means by which every person can express themselves.  It is freedom personified.  Song is something we carry within us.  Music inspires, motivates, calms, and inspires joy.  It sets a mood, it lifts our spirits.  It helps us remember.  It allows us to dance.  Music is a powerful mechanism that spans the globe like water that soothes our thirst in ways that bring us all together.