Music is a fundamental part of our lives. Most of us listen to music on a daily basis. It can evoke feelings and emotions we didn’t even know we had to begin with. As a part of our Feel Good Festival, we have created a few playlists for different moods so be sure to check them out over on our Spotify channel CarbonOnCampus! We also spoke to Jenna Barker, a Senior Lecturer at Solent University, DJ and producer, to give us some insights on how music can affect us.
Why do we like music?
Music often makes people feel good, as it triggers dopamine release. It can also provide a relatable connection helping provide a sense of belonging, relating to songs, artists, genres etc. But this question is interesting, as, in my opinion, everyone has their own unique ‘relationship’ with music.
Can music affect our mood? How?
Music can most certainly affect our mood. Nostalgic songs or tracks can take us back to a time of memories relating to experiences, people, places, feelings, etc. I think it’s an interesting relationship between mood and music, as in music can affect people’s mood, but we also tend to listen to music that is fitting with the mood we find ourselves in.
In theory, could a composer use combinations of specific music structures to induce or manipulate specific emotions in listeners?
Yes, musical motifs and devices are often used by composers to portray emotions within music. The most obvious is using major keys to represent happiness and minor keys to represent sadness, however there are many examples. There are various debates with regards to whether some of these motifs and devices are intrinsically within us (nurture) or learnt through society, etc, (nature).
What is music therapy?
My understanding of music therapy is music being used in a therapeutical context to improve a person’s life quality. Music therapy can also provide means for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words.