power of music over our emotions

“We never just hear music”

Music profoundly changes our emotions. Sound has the potential to turn our feelings inside out.

In September, I committed to bringing my mother to the theatre. Local theatres do a lot of film screenings, I found with disappointment. Among them, I spotted The Graduate. I don’t understand why, but I love the film.

The events and characters are grim. The atmosphere is anxious. The ending is certainly filled with angst. But that’s not the aftertaste it leaves.

I rooted out The Graduate in college. Third year of medicine, a year dedicated to learning ginormous amounts of information, weighed heavy on my mind.

It was the weekend. Alone, I had nothing to do other than study and the mood dwindled. Somehow The Graduate lifted me out of melancholy.

I reckon it is down to the soundtrack. Amazing.

In an essay filled to the brim with reference to science, a music cognition scientist (yes, that’s a thing), says:

We never just hear music. Our experience of it is saturated in cultural expectations, personal memory and the need to move.

The revelation reminded me of something a friend said. She shocked me with a simple truth: you start having sex long before you enter the bedroom.

So yeah, our perception runs away from reality at the first chance it gets. I am sitting here imagining: in a film about Macbeth, what soundtrack would I choose? And when you think about it like that, you see that music manipulates emotion like nothing else.

Published by

Dr Martina Feyzrakhmanova

I am a hospital doctor and founder of an education platform. Avid reader and writer of introspective blogs.

5 thoughts on ““We never just hear music””

  1. “We never just hear music. Our experience of it is saturated in cultural expectations, personal memory and the need to move.”
    ~ Totally agree! Lots of my memories of events and people in my life are tied to music or songs. Movement to the rhythm is an automatic response 🙂
    ~ In my day and region of the world, The Graduate was released for “adults only.” When I was finally able to watch the movie, I couldn’t understand what the fuss was all about. Social norms change over time.

    Liked by 1 person

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