Writing about World Music

Section X, Fall 2016

Music and its Effects on People

I am really interested in the point Will proposes in his final project, that live music affects the mood of audience. Actually, I think not only live music, but all music plays certain role in regulating people’s mood. An amusing example is that if we listen to some comedy music when watching horror movies, the film will be much less scary and even funny to some extent. The horrible atmosphere of these movies are set up by some musical elements in the background music as well.

Thus that is not weird that people can hear various kinds of music in different occasions. Music represents the characteristics of a certain place, and this could affect people in it. During Christmas all shopping malls plays Christmas music, which makes the shopping area cozy and warm, potentially make customers to consume more. Restaurants often play some soft and elate music, creating a comfortable atmosphere for customers and leaving them good impression of the place, while modernly decorated restaurants tend to play some soft but electronic songs, catering its characteristic and needs of customers. In party people have more chance to hear rock because rock and pop music generates people’s energies for the party, but in good hotels people generally hear classical music, because this usually shows the loftiness and quietness of the hotel, and further demonstrates the connoisseurship of the customers.

The reciprocate process of music between musical players and audience by Will also worth discussing. During the Thanksgiving Break, I took a trip to DC. When riding a bike around the city, I was listening to some music with fast tempos. I was happy that time, and with some extra music, I felt more happiness. I felt refreshed and celebrated. Then I changed my songs to maybe several of my favorite songs, and after listening to them, I became more elated. I am not sure which one happened first, the music affected my mood, or my mood made me choose the coordinate music, but finally they became reciprocal. One the contrary, when I first break up, I kept listening to songs on breaking up. The lyrics and rhythms are depressing, and they remind me some bad things, which makes me even more gloomy.

However, there are some opposite examples of this reciprocal process. People love songs on breaking up. From Adele to Taylor Swift, many of their hottest songs are on this topic and have received millions of responses. The melodies of these songs are sad, or at least not positive, not to mention the lyrics. I always hear these songs when hanging out with friends or on the car to dinner outside. It is confusing, because though they are depressing, these do not affect the atmosphere at all.

When writing this blog, I accidently click on a playlist on Christmas songs in Spotify. As the peaceful and light-hearted melodies arises, I suddenly feel energetic and cheerful. To some extent, music is magical to people’s mood.


  1. I would agree with your standpoint. I think that music plays a huge role in the atmosphere and the mood of different places and settings. I think the point that you brought up with movies is an especially good example. The musical score in movies is a significant part of the way a scene is perceived. Like you said, certain music provokes a certain mood when you listen, and as a result, by playing music that fits a certain mood, it may increase the suspense or evoke a mood that would not be evoked otherwise. It is interesting to see movies that do not have music or even sound. If you study film history, the development of music accompanying picture shows proceeded dialogue being included in films. Talkies were innovations that followed the archetypal image of silent films and the Charlie Chaplin age of film where there was only a music player in the theatre as opposed to music that came with the film. It is even interesting to think about what you suggested about playing music that does not fit the visual images.

  2. I agree that music plays a large role in shaping a person’s mood in a particular instance. Music has a really strong connection to emotion and memory. For example, I often have memories associated with certain songs, and when I hear those songs, not only am I reminded of a certain instance, but I also feel the emotions associated with the memory and with the song. I think it is interesting that many times, people will use music to escalate an emotion they are feeling. For example, if someone is feeling sad, they will listen to depressing music, even if it makes them feel even sadder. Similarly, people will use music to boost their energy or morale if they want to feel more energetic.

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