What Makes a Song ‘Happy’?

The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.

What Makes a Song ‘Happy’?


Michael Bonshor’s recent article in The Conversation examines the many reasons why certain music makes us feel good. Surprise: it’s all tied to individual preferences. His article dispels the common assumption that certain types of music have a blanket therapeutic effect. In fact, if we hear a piece of music that we don’t like, it can actually have a negative impact on our health. Musical preferences are culturally informed as well; the positive feeling you associate with a major chord may not be experienced by someone from another country. If you want to use music effectively to support the wellbeing of others, make sure you know your listeners!


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