Category: How music effects mood

Effects of different types of music on mood, tension, & mental clarity

By , December 14, 2009 9:18 am

This study investigated the impact of different types of music on tension, mood, and mental clarity. A total of 144 subjects completed a psychological profile before and after listening for 15 minutes to four types of music (grunge rock, classical, New Age, and designer). With grunge rock music, significant increases were found in hostility, sadness, tension, and fatigue, and significant reductions were observed in caring, relaxation, mental clarity, and vigor. In contrast, after listening to the designer music (music designed to have specific effects on the listener), significant increases in caring, relaxation, mental clarity, and vigor were measured: significant decreases were found in hostility, fatigue, sadness, and tension. The results for New Age and classical music were mixed. Feeling shifts among subjects were observed with all types of music. Designer music was most effective in increasing positive feelings and decreasing negative feelings. Results suggest that designer music may be useful in the treatment of tension, mental distraction, and negative moods.

You can view the full report in PDF format by clicking on the icon below


HeartMath –

Music improves mood

By , October 3, 2009 4:30 pm

No matter what kind of music you listen to, it makes your mood better.

At least it works for college students, report Valerie N. Stratton, PhD, and Annette H. Zalanowski, of Penn State University, Altoona. The researchers — Stratton teaches psychology and Zalanowski teaches music — studied their students’ moods in response to music.

The psychology and music students kept two-week music-listening diaries. They also reported their moods before and after each musical episode. The results appear in a recent issue of Psychology and Education: An Interdisciplinary Journal.

“Not only did our sample of students report more positive emotions after listening to music, but their already positive emotions were intensified by listening to music,” Stratton says in a news release.

It didn’t matter whether the students listened to rock/pop, soft rock/easy listening, oldies, classical, or new-age music. It also didn’t seem to matter whether the music was played during an activity — such as dressing or driving — or whether it was played while socializing.

After listening, the psychology students were more optimistic, joyful, friendly, relaxed, and calm. They also were less pessimistic and sad. Music, however, did not entirely soothe the frightened beast in student breasts. After listening, they did not report being less fearful.

For the music students, music did not seem to be the food of love.

“Every positive mood except loving rose in intensity after episodes of listening to music,” Zalanowski says in a news release. “Meanwhile, most of the negative moods showed a drop in frequency — except sad, hateful, and aggressive, which either stayed the same or increased slightly.”

But the psychology students and the music students were more alike than they were different. When it came to listening preferences, both overwhelmingly chose rock.


Stratton, V.N. Psychology and Education: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 2003; vol 40: pp 1-11. News Release, Penn State University

Web MD –

How music affects our moods

By , September 1, 2009 11:30 am

Music has been called ‘The International Language’ – a very simple thought with much meaning behind it. Even if you can’t speak the language of a country, you can move, sway, dance and most of all, enjoy the music of the country. We may not understand the words of a musical selection but we do understand the beauty.

Have you ever heard the saying, ‘Music soothes the savage beast?’ It’s true. Music can calm and revitalize us in ways even a lengthy nap can’t. Music holds the power to elevate our moods above our worries and relieve debilitating depression. It can also perk us up if we use it with exercise or dance.

Try listening to classical music for a sense of power. Soft lullaby-like music to unwind. Medium-fast to fast selections for exercise and housecleaning.

Putting more music in your life is a powerfully enriching tool. But other than turning on the car radio in our busy lives, what other ways can we do this? One way to do this is to take advantage of your public library’s collection of music. It’s fine to have a personal favorite type of music such as rock, or jazz, but discover other music you may have not thought of. Try country music. And if you decide you don’t like that, try opera or alternative music. You won’t believe how many types of music you’re going to find once you start looking. You don’t have to like it. Just learn to appreciate it on its own.

Give it a chance.

When listening to music, listen to the words and rhythms as well as the melody. You may find something to like about a type of music that previously you didn’t like at all.

Learn about music. Find out who wrote the pieces you like to listen to and when. What was going on in the rest of the world at the time the melody was written? Does it reflect what was happening at the time or could it have been used as an ‘escape’ – a more pleasant alternative than what current events dictated?

What musical instruments are played? What do you know about those instruments? Experience new musical artists. Many worthwhile musicians and vocalists go unnoticed to the general public because of a ‘stuck in a musical rut’ listening technique of those that only listen to a certain genre of music.

Free musical events are listed in the local newspaper. Some may turn up with names such as ‘brown bag’ concerts or recitals. ‘Brown bag’ refers to the fact they will be held during the noon hour and usually in a public place such as a park where you can bring your lunch. Recitals are usually given by music teachers to showcase their student’s budding talents and also an advertisement for the teacher’s own abilities. Colleges sponsor several free musical events every semester and they are worth looking into.

Other ways to incorporate music into our lives are waking up to a musical alarm, bathing to soothing, relaxing music and even dining with soft music playing in the background. Listening to music is such a basic pure pleasure that many of us forget the tremendous value of it. And dance whenever you get the chance.

Organize a music appreciation group and post notices at the public library and other spots around town. These groups get together to discuss music and musicians, listen to music and go, as a group, to musical events together.

Volunteer to share your acquired musical knowledge with others. Do this by visiting hospitals and nursing homes, senior citizen’s centers and organizing talks for elementary, middle and high schools. Special interest groups are always appreciative of speakers with interesting topics.

If you play an instrument, you’ll find you’ve stumbled onto the best audience in the world. Go back often to visit and play. In this way, you’ve not only made the lives of other people brighter through your music, but you’re going to find yourself in much better spirits.


Essortment –

Music, your mood, and what it says about you

By , August 24, 2009 11:47 am

The type of music you listen to has a lot to do with how you approach certain situations. After listening to a Joni Mitchell album, a colleague remarked that we have very different music tastes. She said that my tastes were too “soft” and “whiny”. I explained to her that, while working, I prefer a relaxing album to counterbalance my frustration as a writer/programmer.

In fact, music has a tremendous influence on our life. From the songs used in television commercials to what we listen to for pleasure, our auditory senses are overloaded on a daily basis. If we can manipulate ourselves similar to the way commercials do, we can ease the emotional tension inherent in our daily routine. From road rage to romance, our lives can run a little more smoothly.

I have a friend who has a bad case of road rage. He can’t drive more than a block without his face turning red. Children run for their lives when they see him barreling down the street in his two-tone pickup. When he’s not in the car, however, he is a tolerant, respectable person. What gives?

Metallica. All he had in his car was loud, blood pumping music. It pushed his virtual testosterone level to the point of a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal. When I popped in a little Wes Montgomery, his road rage all but disappeared. He didn’t notice much of a difference, but all the passengers quietly remarked at his drastic change of face.

On a larger and more important scale, our relationships can slip into routines that we don’t see as unhealthy before it’s too late. Once we establish a history with our partner, we also develop patterns that are very difficult to get rid of. Maybe one of you developed aggressive tendencies when playing around, such as hitting or biting. These actions are manifestations of deeper problems.

One way to counteract these patterns is to consciously go against the natural flow. For example, if you and your partner listen to stimulating music and have a contentious relationship, perhaps you should try a more mellow sound. On the other hand, if the relationship is passive to a fault, louder more wrenching music might be in order.

Don’t underestimate the power that music has over your emotions. Why do you think they call certain styles “romantic” and others “fight songs”? Think of what was played the last time you were at a sporting event. Elvis Costello’s “Pump it Up” is not a song that will put your infant child to sleep. Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” is an obvious choice for seduction, but you can get creative with what works for you and your partner. Sit down and talk about how certain music makes you *feel*, and you can build and personalize your own soundtrack.

Try to remain open minded and broaden your horizons in order to maintain a stimulating environment. This doesn’t mean you have to radically change your life; in fact, gradually changing your environment will manifest bigger and better changes in all facets of your life. Having choices in your life enables you to approach trying situations with a plan. My friend now has only calming music in his car in anticipation of his road rage.

Our personalities are constantly shaped by the environment. Some of that is uncontrollable, but some of it can be regulated to achieve a desired result. If you find yourself constantly aggravated, tired, or depressed, change the station. Pop in a new CD. Control your environment with hopes of controlling yourself.


Road Island Roads –