Sad Piano Music

Sad Piano Music Blog
April 1, 2016 – 02:27 pm
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A suggests that listening to sad music when you’re feeling down doesn’t make you feel worse but actually improves your mood.

The study, carried out by scientists Liila Taruffi and Stefan Koelsch from the Free University of Berlin, asked participants to name the emotions they have experienced when listening to sad music from a given list of feelings, which includes ‘nostalgia’, ‘sadness’, ‘wonder’ and ‘power’. They were instructed to complete the survey individually and, interestingly, in a quiet environment without listening to any music.

The most common feeling described was ‘nostalgia’, followed by ‘peacefulness’ and ‘tenderness’. These feelings belong to the emotional category ‘sublime’ rather than ‘unease’, which is the group that 'sadness' is placed in.

The average number of feelings reported was above three, which suggests that the emotional response we have towards music is much more complex than may often be assumed.

The research also indicated that many people feel they gain specific emotional rewards through listening to sad music. These rewards include imagination, emotional regulation and empathy. This could explain why the study found that people are more likely to listen to sad music when already feeling sad.

Taruffi and Koelsch collected the views of 772 people – 408 from Europe, 364 from elsewhere in the world – through an online survey and published their findings in the peer-reviewed journalPLOS ONE.

As well as responding to the given music, participants were asked to name the compositions they considered to be sad. Among the most popular responses were ’s Adagio for Strings, Mahler’s Symphony No.5 and Purcell’s Dido’s Lament.

The authors have suggested that their findings could have implications for the use of sad music within musical therapy, specifically that inducing these emotional rewards may play a positive role in a patient’s wellbeing.

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Even though I love all styles of classical and contemporary musics, there is just something special about piano music. The tones that the instrument makes are so pure that it allows such complex writing that would otherwise sound like noise if composed for many other instruments. The delicateness of the sound allows such complex, lilting melodies to unfold. It simply touches my heart in a way that very few other instruments can.

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There has always been a recognized trinity between the mind, the body, and the therapeutic qualities of music. And the piano, specifically, has been a long-recognized source of remedy for those seeking escape and creative expression. But recent years have also offered a wealth of scientific studies that demonstrate our instincts have always been correct: playing the piano offers proven benefits—from physical and intellectual to social and emotional—to people of all ages.

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In addition to the proven body benefits of regular play, piano practice can also boost cognitive and intellectual abilities. Playing piano, in other words, makes us smarter. Research through the years has demonstrated that musical training taps into similar areas of brain function as those used in spatial intelligence and even math. In fact, kids who continue their playing through their teenage years average about 100 points higher on the SAT. In 1994, research revealed, undergraduates who majored in music had the highest acceptance rate into medical school, at 66%.

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