Music and emotion

Music can arouse strong emotions. Besides nice music you play in the background, there are songs that reinforce your memories of certain moments. Or memories of a person or a place in which a specific song or music has played a part.

You are often thrown back in the past or to a certain place where you were when you heard this music. It can evoke pleasant feelings about great events, about a loved one or about a particular atmosphere. But it can also bring back in mind bad feelings or a bad event.

When I hear the song ‘Photograph’ by Ed Sheeran I directly think about the MH17 air-crash, because that is when I heard it first and the lyrics were appropriate at the time. Especially the pleading repetition of the phrase ‘waiting for me to come home’ still gives me goose bumps. The whole country was empathizing with the victims’ families, who wanted the bodies to be brought back home; and that took so long.

At funerals

That is why music plays an important role at funeral ceremonies. It can bring consolation, it can evoke memories of the one who has passed and it can help to process your emotions. In order to guide those emotions during a funeral ceremony, music fulfills what can’t be achieved with words. Somebody’s favorite song; the song you first danced on together as a couple; ‘your song’ or music that represents the feelings that exist among others.

Music and emotions

I think most people have had this experience: playing a certain song to be reminded of an event or an experience. If it makes you happy you could repeat it endlessly. But even when it makes you feel sad, helpless or angry: music does something to you and gives you an outlet.

Photo credits: Mirjam van Klink