Music’s ability to manipulate human emotions in film and TV for decades. It’s been used to raise spirits, promote introspection, and signal mood for centuries in theater, weddings, church services and funerals. Stores play music to promote spending, films communicate the mood of a scene, foreshadowing events through music. Elevators … Actually, I don’t know what elevator music is supposed to do – maybe help keep us from killing one another when confined in a small space.
In 1993 Kim and Areni of Texas Tech demonstrated the power of music:
As part of a field experiment … the background music (classical versus Top-Forty) in a centrally located wine store was varied over a two month period. The results … indicated that the classical music influenced shoppers to spend more money. Additional findings suggest that, rather than increasing the amount of wine purchased, customers selected more expensive merchandise when classical music was played in the background.
I know the effect music has on my mood. Yet, I’m drawn inexplicably to a certain type of music when I’m depressed. Specifically, it’s music that lulls me deeper into depression (at least somewhat) – but that’s a very subjective statement. Let’s say that when I’m depressed I gravitate to a certain genre of music may possibly re-enforce those same depressive feelings. Or perhaps it’s just music that I relate to better when my mood is so.
This behavior is not unique to me. Many people suggest that they self-select depressing music when they are sad in order to raise their mood – yet, evidence suggests that this is a counter-productive behavior. Last year (2013) a University of New South Wales, Australia group assessed the mood of a number of people before and after listening to just this type of music.
It was found that both [subjects] had significant increases in depression after listening to self-selected sad music … [These R]esults support the hypothesis that listening to sad music is related to maladaptive mood regulation strategies in some listeners.
That is, it’s not helping us, but we seek it out anyway. It’s exactly why I have my stations ‘Down notes’, ‘Pity me not’, and ‘Fire walk with me’ (among others) on Pandora. Each approaches depression from a slightly different angle, like my own musical version of 50 Eskimo words for snow.
the Inuit dialect spoken in Canada’s Nunavik region has at least 53 [words for snow], including “matsaaruti,” for wet snow that can be used to ice a sleigh’s runners, and “pukak,” for the crystalline powder snow that looks like salt.
Perhaps it’s just the hair of the dog.
the man who was mercilessly tortured by thoughts kept on thinking