Music is one of the most powerful forms of self-expression in the history of civilisation. It changes how we perceive the world around us, gives voice to our most complex feelings, and unites entire generations. We celebrate those who create good music, lifting them up to the highest echelons of our society and transforming them into icons.
Music dominates and shapes virtually every aspect of our lives, including how we work, shop, speak, and make love. Music is more than just a form of expression - it's something which can have an immediate and tangible effect on our feelings. Music has been well-known to affect our moods throughout human history, which is why we have sub-genres such as "breakup songs" or "pride anthems".
However, little has been said about how specific genres can have a direct impact on your mood. Read on to find out how different styles of music influence your mood and thoughts in different ways.
Classical Music and Motivation
The soothing compositions of Bach, Beethoven, and Bizet often feature frequently in study playlists, and for good reason. Numerous studies have shown that classical, lyricless music have a strong positive impact on motivation, increasing focus and fuelling a positive attitude about the tasks at hand. Even beyond cramming for exams, classical music can help out, with numerous athletes citing classical composers in their workout playlists.
Rock Music and Stress
When considering how music is good for your health, the most commonly-examined metric is stress and wellbeing. Few music genres are actually thought to increase stress levels, but there are some surprising ones which have been proven to reduce them. Rock music, despite its reputation, has actually been shown to have a hugely positive impact, with studies from the University of Queensland linking the genre to better anger management and general wellbeing among listeners.
Dance Music and Euphoria
The entire genre of dance music is predicated on the notion that it can set you free and transport you elsewhere. Whilst the utopian lyrics used in iconic dance tracks such as Set You Free and Faded might seem like fluff, the DJs behind them may be onto something. Several examinations of the genre and those listening to it on the dancefloor and beyond have shown a link between the music and feelings of general euphoria and elevated moods. It seems the ravers may be right, after all.
Sad Music is Good for Sad People
Contrary to popular belief, forcing a sad person to listen to endless Lana del Rey tracks isn't going to send them into a spiral. Researchers have actually posited that sad music acts as a kind of catharsis for sad listeners, which explains why we are drawn to the genre when we're feeling blue. Listening to the sorrow of a singer helps us process our own feelings and allows us to relate to someone else, which is intrinsic to the healing process. Now you know exactly what to listen to next time you're feeling lazy, sad, or stressed. Just plug your headphones in and lets the sounds wash over you.