The Emotional Power of Music

Stevie Wonder sang, "Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand...." Music is like a language, all on its own, with or without words. Music has been described as "the language of the soul".

Music springs from the deepest emotions within the soul, and with or without lyrics, music conveys a message, deepest feelings and emotions. It is a world beyond our world. It is a reality, at the same time, a fantasy.

Of course, the musical experience goes beyond simply listening to it; as an exercise in creativity and as a social activity, music involves considerable emotional and cognitive investment, whether it be composing music or performing it. Despite its widespread presence and importance in many cultures, music's effects on the human mind are only just beginning to be understood.

The search for answers into music’s impact on the human mind has attracted scholars and researchers from a wide array of disciplines, including computer science, musicology, anthropology, and psychology. From its effects on depression and social attitudes, to research on its benefits in education, music psychology is an exciting exploration of the magic that is music, and its influence on the mystery that is the human mind.

Given the amazing ability of music to express the complex emotions of human beings, it is not surprising that music plays an important role in the creation and maintenance of social groups and subcultures. Throughout history, people with common goals, ideas and belief have bonded together, and the music of this subculture is an important rallying point for them, and often expresses their beliefs.

Examples are too numerous to mention, but the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s inspired many anthems of freedom that will be forever associated with it, such as "We Shall Overcome" and "Blowing in the Wind". The hippie movement of that same decade revivified interest in folk music, as young people harkened back to a more innocent time, and the intense grooves and loudness of rock 'n' roll music echoed a younger generation’s desire to be heard and seen.

Music's Effect on Emotions, Mood, Mood Disorders, Transmitting Ideas and Ideals

Research has shown that music has a very strong influence on moods and emotions. Music can certainly change our current emotional state, create different trains of thought, and even convey ideas to its listeners. This is true for people of all ages and walks of life.

Our moods are deeply affected by the type, intensity and amount of music we listen to. People with volatile temperaments often become calmer after listening to relaxing music. Conversely, more phlegmatic people can be energized by upbeat music. For example, pop music is used in exercise classes to maintain energy flow and interest. The motivational force of influence of music on mood cannot be overstated.

Music can also make us sad, or even depressed. Depending on the emotional state of the listener or composer, music can even be a negative influence. It is interesting to note that many famous composers showed an enormous range of emotions. The composer Ludwig Van Beethoven was known to pound the piano so passionately that he broke its strings! Genius personalities such as Beethoven often show intense emotional sensitivity, and one might speculate that this great emotional range is needed to compose great music.

The correlation between creativity and bipolar disorder (artists, musicians, and writers being more likely to have bipolar disorder) is a further illustration of the fascinating link between music and human emotions. The psychology of music is deeply emotional. We internalize what we listen to, allowing the emotions of the composer and the musicians to become our own, thus establishing a connection with the composer and performers.

Both the lyrics and the music itself are involved in this bonding process. The more we listen to a piece, the more we begin to internalize and identify with it.

As this process of listening to and identifying

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