Are we just lab rats?
Fascinating article in the WSJ about how certain music sets off physical reactions, like chills and goosebumps, and keeps listeners coming back for more.
From the article: "Chill-provoking passages, they found, shared at least four features. They began softly and then suddenly became loud. They included an abrupt entrance of a new "voice," either a new instrument or harmony. And they often involved an expansion of the frequencies played. In one passage from Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 (K. 488), for instance, the violins jump up one octave to echo the melody. Finally, all the passages contained unexpected deviations in the melody or the harmony. Music is most likely to tingle the spine, in short, when it includes surprises in volume, timbre and harmonic pattern."
The article considers Adele’s pop hit Someone Like You as a "textbook example."
Do certain ITM tunes have similar devices? Is there a particular sequence of notes that’s somehow more compelling than most? And do we have any choice but to like them, because our brains start dumping dopamine?
For me, one example is the B part of Star of the County Down, the waltz not the reel. I know this tune has reached cliche status for many, but I can’t help it. Goosebumps every time. At least now I know why.