A few months ago, Japanese scientists explained how listening to sad music can actually trigger positive emotions. The study is "Sad music induces pleasant emotion." And it's published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. You can check out the study's abstract.
Also, you may wish to check out the article, "Study: You Listen to That Sad Song Because It Makes You Happy." Researchers found that the music-art-literature-motivated sadness is not the same kind of sadness that results from a tragic event. If the music is in minor key and makes you feel sad, as if your guts are being ripped out, some researchers say that type of emotional pulling caused by the melody actually can feel pleasurable or even relaxing to some. "If we suffer from unpleasant emotion evoked through daily life, sad music might be helpful to alleviate negative emotion," the scientists wrote.
Music also can have a calming effect
Certain songs can distract us while also decreasing our levels of stress hormones. But what songs are the most soothing? to see a list of popular songs, check out the September 5, 2013 Huffington Post article, "Stress Relief Songs: Music That Reduces Anxiety."
Sad music might actually evoke positive emotions reveals a new study by Japanese researchers published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Psychology. The findings help to explain why people enjoy listening to sad music, say Ai Kawakami and colleagues from Tokyo University of the Arts and the RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Japan, says the July 11, 2013 news release, "Why do we enjoy listening to sad music?"
Kawakami and colleagues asked 44 volunteers, including both musicians and non-specialists, to listen to two pieces of sad music and one piece of happy music. Each participant was required to use a set of keywords to rate both their perception of the music and their own emotional state.
The sad pieces of music included Glinka's "La Séparation" in F minor and Blumenfeld's Etude "Sur Mer" in G minor. The happy music piece was Granados's Allegro de Concierto in G major. To control for the "happy" effect of major key, they also played the minor-key pieces in major key, and vice versa.
The researchers explained that sad music evoked contradictory emotions because the participants of the study tended to feel sad music to be more tragic, less romantic, and less blithe than they felt themselves while listening to it.
"In general, sad music induces sadness in listeners, and sadness is regarded as an unpleasant emotion.
If sad music actually evokes only unpleasant emotion, we would not listen to it," the researchers wrote in the study. "Music that is perceived as sad actually induces romantic emotion as well as sad emotion. And people, regardless of their musical training, experience this ambivalent emotion to listen to the sad music," added the researchers, according to the July 11, 2013 news release, "Why do we enjoy listening to sad music?"Why do we enjoy listening to sad music?"
Also, unlike sadness in daily life, sadness experienced through art actually feels pleasant, possibly because the latter does not pose an actual threat to our safety. This could help people to deal with their negative emotions in daily life, concluded the authors.
"Emotion experienced by music has no direct danger or harm unlike the emotion experienced in everyday life. Therefore, we can even enjoy unpleasant emotion such as sadness. If we suffer from unpleasant emotion evoked through daily life, sad music might be helpful to alleviate negative emotion," they added.