Asking why people listen to music is like asking why do we eat, breathe or sleep. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there isn’t a scientific explanation behind our inclination towards listening to music. We find out what makes listening to music so appealing to humans.
It’s an evolutionary instinct
Music essentially comprises of patterns of sounds in all kinds of pitches, tones and rhythms. When the human ear listens to music, it stimulates various regions of the brain including the ones that can pick up symmetry and the ones that are responsible for finding identifiable patterns pleasurable. Evolutionarily, this ability to find patterns and responding to it led to the development of speech as well.
Music is an expression of culture
Throughout history, music has been a reflection of the times. Any given period of human history has its own style of music that was distinguishable from that of another era. Also, every culture has its own form of music which reflects the artistic side, creativity and abilities of the people of that culture.
Music can alter one’s state of mind
It has been scientifically proven that listening to music can help alter one’s state of mind. For example, if you listen to a song about death, you begin to feel low and even morbid, if you listen to a song about breaking conventions like “We don’t need no education”, the angst within you begins to surface even if you had been perfectly content before listening to it.
It has incredible nostalgia value
The mindset that a person has while listening to a new song for the first time essentially leaves a timestamp in their brain as they process the rhythms of the music and lyrics of the song. If that first timestamp is associated with a strong emotion like love, anger, hatred, frustration or sadness, the song would evoke the same kind of feeling in the listener every time they listen to the song. That is the reason why listening to particular songs takes us down memory lane.
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