The appeal of sad music: A brief overview of current directions in research on motivations for listening to sad music
After happiness, sadness is the most common emotion attributed to music. A recent proliferation of research has provided intense focus on the reasons why sad music is so popular. The research presented in this paper aims to summarize the results of recent studies. The findings indicate that many people report that they choose to listen to sad music when experiencing sadness, and after experiencing negative events. A range of motivations have been found as to why people choose to listen to sad music, these include the role of music in; validating emotions, providing solace, providing rewarding emotional experiences, and aiding reflection and relaxation. For people who listen to sad music as an adaptive way to cope, some evidence in this review indicates that this may be a healthy strategy more applicable for psychologically healthy people, rather than those who are depressed or anxious. Findings indicate that depressed individuals, and ruminators, can use sad music adaptively, but also maladaptively. Sad music has also been shown to provide support when people are experiencing negative life events, as it enables the expression, identification, and understanding of the situation, which in turn aids the experience of consolation, and, ultimately, acceptance coping. Future directions for research, and the potential uses of sad music listening in therapeutic settings are discussed.
Highlights • Sad music is listened to more commonly in sad moods and negative situations. • Motivations for listening to sad music include validating emotions, providing solace, providing rewarding emotional experiences, and aiding reflection and relaxation. • Listening to sad music might be particularly helpful when people are experiencing negative life events. • Listening to sad music may be more adaptive for psychologically healthy people who are also more like to apply healthy coping strategies. • Depressed individuals and ruminators use sad music both adaptively and maladaptive. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
Citation : van den Tol, A.J.M. (2016) The appeal of sad music: A brief overview of current directions in research on motivations for listening to sad music. The Arts in Psyccotherapy, 49, pp. 44-49
Peer Reviewed : Yes