A very powerful set of theories around our propensity to bury ourselves in morbidity when we’re feeling miserable. Many people have spoken about the greater emotional power of the minor key as opposed to major…the emotional range of sadness is perceived to be considerably greater.
But I’m a creep.
I’m a weirdo.
What the hell am I doing here?
I don’t belong here.
Why would anyone want to listen to this?
Radiohead’s song Creep is not the exception in being a heartbreaking but nonetheless successful song. According to Wikipedia , of the ten best-selling music singles ever several are clearly sad songs: Elton John’s Candle in the Wind, The Ink Spot’s If I didn’t care, or Kenny Roger’s Lady. Music does influence one’s mood. For that reason some psychological experiments even use it as a mood induction technique. But given that people generally strive for happiness, why would anyone willingly opt for sad music?
This is exactly what Van den Tol and Edwards asked people online (article in press at Psychology of Music). The most important function they identified in the responses was (re-)experiencing affect, i.e. listening to sad music
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