When life has got you down whats the thing you go for? A bit of chocolate or ice cream? Maybe something a little more destructive? Do you immediately think of sad songs? Music has a strange ability to amplify feelings or wash them away, and sometimes you just need to wallow in some sadness. So you go to iTunes and throw on some [easyazon-link asin=”B0002SGAZ4″ locale=”us”]sad songs[/easyazon-link], but why those in particular? You don’t have to be a musician to know what sorts of songs to put in each playlist. Everyones got their go-to songs for partying, sunny days, rainy days, being alone, post-breakup, you name it. Because well, some music just sounds sad, and some just sounds happy. And oddly enough, theres nothing better than throwing on some sappy song to make us feel better. Misery loves company I suppose. But getting down the science of it… what makes While My Guitar Gently Weeps somber and powerful? What makes O-Bla-Di O-Bla-Da so happy (and so annoying)?
A listener called this question into WRTC 88.3FM Pittsburgh’s I Wonder program, and I Wonder hosts Daniel Tkacik and Ellis Robinson promptly answered with this fascinating investigation into the intriguing emotional qualities music (and sounds in general) can convey. They found that tempo and key are the most defining factors in the “feel” of a song, but we individually tend to attach certain memories and emotions to songs regardless, creating our own [easyazon-link asin=”0974320625″ locale=”us”]emotional[/easyazon-link] associations. With your interest piqued we’ll let them take it from here, its really a great listen. Much thanks to Daniel and Ellis.
[soundcloud url=”http://soundcloud.com/iwonderpgh/episode-5-what-makes-a-sad” comments=”true” auto_play=”false” color=”ff7700″ width=”100%” height=”81″]