Why music moves us

Posted on: Sunday, Jul 12, 2009

As a blues fan I have often wondered how universal the emotional response to a bluesy musical phrase might be.  For example, do other cultures that have not been exposed to the Western musical tradition recognise the release of tension moving from the dominant 7th chord to the tonic (that’s G7 to C for example)?  Can other cultures feel the “pain” and sorrow in some mournful slide guitar, for example “Dark was the night, cold was the ground”?

This article in Scientific American does not answer these questions specifically however it does shed some light on the universality of the responses to music and leads to the conclusion that these reponses are universal and are hard wired into our brains from a very early age in all cultures.


Thanks to Chuck Nevitt for posting on the Blues-L mailing list.

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