Music is more than just sound waves

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Ty Mcphee, Columnist

It’s been around since the first century A.D. according to From simple melodies and Hymns to rap, rock, and everything in between, music has been a central part of a lot of societies and shaped cultures. Being able to put on a pair of headphones and sit down to listen to what someone has put their heart into is a very intimate moment.

Feeling the music both emotionally and physically is an experience that can’t often be described. The music taking over all of your senses and feeling deeply connected to it is something I wish I could experience for the first time again and again. It’s like watching your favorite movie for the first time or meeting the love of your life, you want to relive that moment over and over again because of how empowering it is. 

Music is able to give you so many different kinds of feelings, it can frighten you, entice you, give you strength, make you cry for hours, and even reflect on life itself and your purpose here on the planet. 

I talked with my girlfriend about it before and was surprised to find that she didn’t share the same sentiment for music. Sure, she’ll get pumped up by a song and be able to feel envirograted whenever a song like “Party Rock Anthem” comes on but it’s not to the same level as me. A song like “Just for Loving You I Pay the Price” by Cindy Lee will make me sit in bed and just reflect or “Deep Cover” by Sun Araw will make me feel like sea grass blowing in the salty breeze. 

A study at UC Berkeley surveyed 2,500 people in the US and China about their emotional responses behind music. Their responses varied, most would agree a song is angry but wouldn’t collectively agree if it’s positive or negative. “Music is a universal language, but we don’t always pay enough attention to what it’s saying and how it’s being understood,” said study lead author Alan Cowen.

People often listen to music when they’re distracted or use it as background noise, but the next time you have the opportunity to sit down alone without anything going on and listen to your favorite song. What sort of emotions do you feel? Are the lyrics and the music itself telling different stories? Just feel the music.