The Anatomy of a Tear-Jerker

If you are interested in music, and you haven’t seen it already, I suggest you drop everything, and read the WSJ article “Anatomy of a Tear Jerker. It explains how scientists have categorized a musical phenomenon that affects human psychology in such a way as to make a piece of music cause goosebumps, tears, and emotional spikes.

Tristan chord analyzed as a French sixth with ...

The phenomenon is known as “appoggiatura,” and is the musical version of creating emotional tension, or excitement, and then release.
When a song does this, it usually causes an emotional response in the listener.

For me, it finally helped me understand why I can love an Adele song (or any emotionally overwrought song) and yet not want to have it sprung on me over the radio at odd moments when I am not ready for it. It is possible to feel some music so deeply, that to have it hit you out of the blue is sort of irritating. 

Even worse, when radio stations play these songs ad infinitum (and frankly ad nauseam), ultimately, it “ruins” those songs for me. I can only suppose that eventually, I have to sort of hut down to those songs emotionally. It’s just too much drama for the morning commute, before my coffee. But it’s also a shame, because these are great songs! And modern radio is making society (yes, I am speaking for all of us here) tired of them.

Generally speaking, during commute hours, I want radio to waft back and forth between upbeat/energizing songs, and something that can be easily absorbed or ignored while it plays in the background. 

(By the way – ten points, if the little rant of mine made you think about this. We should hang out some time.)

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