Scientists at the Tokyo University of the Arts and the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have found that listening to sad music can actually help to alleviate negative emotions, as well as inducing “romantic emotions”.
According to Science Daily, the scientists asked 44 volunteers, both musicians and non-specialists, to listen to two pieces of music and rate their emotional state, with the first piece being a sad, minor key piece and the other a happy, major key piece. The study found that the sad piece evoked a range of contradictory feelings in the listeners, including romance.
The authors of the study said that if sad music only induced negative emotions in listeners, we wouldn’t want to listen to it, and that sadness experienced through art actually triggers a pleasing feeling, with the head of the study Ai Kawakami saying:
“Emotion experienced by music has no direct danger or harm unlike the emotion experienced in everyday life. Therefore, we can even enjoy unpleasant emotion such as sadness. If we suffer from unpleasant emotion evoked through daily life, sad music might be helpful to alleviate negative emotion.”
There you go. Next time someone accuses you of listening to depressing bastard music, you can claim that it’s actually inducing pleasant emotions – science has got your back.