How music affects psychology and vice versa

Music! A powerful tool which can affect your psychology so much. It is true that music has psychoacoustic properties which can activate any of your emotions, most of the times, instantly. But, how can music affect your emotional world so much?

It’s all about vibrations. In reality, music is just a combination of sounds. Sound is a group of waves which are produced from a sound source and transmitted through the air until they reach our ears. These waves are basically alternations of the air pressure. When a sound source starts to vibrate, it pushes the air around it back and forth causing it to repeatedly increase and decrease its pressure. These vibrations (increasing and decreasing of the air pressure), when they arrive to our ears, they are being translated into sound. Now, you might wonder why these vibrations affect our psychology.

These vibrations are repeated in a specific amount at a specific time, according to the ability of the sound source to vibrate. The more flexible the sound source, the lower the amount of repeats. The less flexible the sound source, the higher the amount of repeats. This is what we call frequencies. In music, a variety of frequencies are produced simultaneously. When these frequencies are matching, the sound is harmonious. When they are not, the sound is disharmonious. When a sound is harmonious the psychology of the listener is good. This happens because human brain works also with frequencies. Frequencies which match, make the brain to receive a clear message from the outer world. This is translated to: “everything is under control”. When everything is under control our psychology increases because more positive emotions appear. When the brain receives frequencies which doesn’t match, the message it receives is confusing. A confusing message means that “something isn’t right”. When something goes wrong our psychology decreases because more negative emotions appear. I have already talked to another article about our negative emotions which are our protectors. You can check it out!

This is how music affects psychology. Confusing vibrations means something is wrong. Clear vibrations means everything is under control. So simple!

How this applies to music? The scales, the chords, the rhythm and the performance of the musicians are all factors which affect the vibrations which are produced through their music. A positive music has a smooth wave of vibrations. A negative music has a clumsy wave of vibrations. When these vibrations arrive to your brain it activates the required emotions according to the situation. When the message of the vibrations is clear, it activates positive emotions that help you relax and be joyful. If the message is confusing it activates negative emotions which help you prepare for fight, running, hidding or anything is needed to protect yourself.

The same applies to the music according to the psychology of the performer or the composer. When the composer experience negative emotions, the vibrations inside him are confusing. That’s why he uses the music tools (scales, rhythms etc) in a way that he can send a message that «something is wrong». When he experience positive emotions he wants to send a clear message that everything is ok. That’s why he choose to use these tools in that way.

As you clearly see, it’s all about the message you send (as a musician) or receive (as a listener). This message can be sent with vibrations through the air. These vibrations is what we call “sound” and many sounds together produce “music”!

Fotis De Tao


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