Readers’ response: Why is it pleasant to listen to music? | life and style

We might not agree on genre or volume, but almost all of us enjoy listening to music. Why? Esther Hayes, Bradford

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readers reply

It can really depend on what music you’re listening to. Some music would make me confess to horrific crimes to make it stop. (In that sense, some artists should be arrested for crimes against humanity.) Gazthegardener

Certain frequencies are known to release serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. Minor and major chords can also evoke certain emotions in the listener. jazz anorak

I like to divide music into two camps – music that can only be heard when you are in a certain mood and music that is able to change the mood for the better. The latter is more difficult to find, especially since I want to relax. indyfornorth

string theory? Random2Ratio

There isn’t a human culture that doesn’t have some kind of music. Even small babies who cannot walk yet move their bodies to a musical beat and seem to enjoy it.

What I don’t understand is why anyone enjoys deafening music, no matter the genre. Not just because I’m getting old – I’ve always hated it. Surely that means that a part of the brain is affected in a completely different way than the music itself? Bluebell Wood

For the same reason we love to hear birds or streams or the rustling of leaves in the wind… the sound helps fill our emptiness. smell the coffee101

There is a very deep connection between music and communication that is fundamental to all species. This is obvious in the case of the blackbird I hear while writing, but it’s also true for humankind – different vowels are formed by different mouth shapes, producing different pitches. And rhythm is inherent in animal life in the form of a heartbeat. So there is something very original about music.

We are the only ones among the species that have taken this basic communicative ability and layered it with the ability to create novel sounds, learn and share melodies, and layer the communicative melodies with other melodies to create songs. We also invented new ways to create sounds with instruments and new ways to amplify sounds with dance. So there is something intellectual about music.

Add the original to the intellectual and you have a recipe for evoking emotion in your audience. It is not surprising that out of all the emotions that music can evoke, people – players and listeners alike – often choose music that they enjoy. SRW647

The brain responds to patterns it knows. Some enjoy it and are a pleasure to hear. New versions that are similar give intense pleasure. New versions that match what we didn’t like don’t.

That explains the taste in music and the taste for repetition (favorites) – and also the music that we grow fond of over time. Slightly pleasant at first, repetition increases the pleasure. JamesValencia

By default, music is neither pleasant nor unpleasant. Any so-called “pleasure” is usually unlocked by having the freedom to listen on favorable terms. Being forced to listen to any type of music, even music you find pleasant, can easily turn into a form of psychological torture, as can being forced to listen to unwanted irritating noises. NewMe359

In normal sound, the combined waves are random. In music, they are carefully chosen to form a harmony that soothes your ears and mind. Whatever the style of music, they all have that in common. It satisfies our natural desire for order and harmony and creates a sense of security. Music was originally invented to make noise all night to keep the man-eating animals at bay. Drumming and singing is obviously easier than banging and screaming all night. When the band plays, we know we can sleep safely. JemimaC

If the sound makes you and others feel good, you have a community. Even if you don’t like it and others don’t, the same applies. Music evokes memories and dreams of better times – past, present and future. When I hear a certain song, I’m 13 and in the back garden of my parents’ house; another and it’s the day I got married; another and it’s the day I said goodbye to my parents. Music reminds us of who, what, where and when – and sometimes how and why. Jimthescot

I’ve asked myself this question since I was a kid, a long time ago. I don’t see an answer here. The absolute power of music remains a great mystery to me. bad prints

I have absolutely no idea, but I’m so, so glad it is. Nktonga

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