It being the month of love and all,
I found it fitting to incorporate this ‘love’ business into my blog post, but since I’m not currently ‘in Love’ and I’m not really an expert at this sort of thing, I thought I’d compare it to something I do know a bit about, and that’s Music.
Science tells us that it’s completely normal to feel out of your mind when falling for someone, and even to feel butterflies in your stomach, and goose bumps on your arms. A recent study by the Kinsey Institute found that when studying the brain of someone falling in love it looks very similar to the brain of a person who has taken cocaine. This is the result of a chemical called Dopamine being released in both instances, basically a feeling of euphoria.
Have you ever felt a chill run up your spine or felt goose bumps on your arms when listening to a great piece of music? For the longest time I thought I was unique, and that I was some sort of music loving unicorn, turns out that I was in fact wrong (not something that happens very often I might add) and that this feeling occurs in about two thirds of the population when listening to a great tune.
There have been studies, loads of studies and this experience even has a fancy French name, it is called ‘frisson’, which means aesthetic chills, and it feels like waves of pleasure running over your skin. These researchers have concluded that listeners were experiencing frisson as a result of a deeply emotional reaction they were having to the music. And that this deep emotional reaction also releases dopamine in the brain at moments of peak enjoyment, you see where I’m going with this…
Yet, MUSIC is not concrete or palpable, you can’t see it, and you can’t eat it, drink it or mate with it. It offers no protection against nature’s elements, nor does it mend broken bones, yet we humans have always loved it. This poses the question, why does this ‘thingless’ thing hold such infinite intrinsic value and make us feel the chills?
It was the great Bob Marley who said “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain”…
If I had to muster a guess it would be because we feel it, it evokes emotions. Music brings people together, it makes everything better, basically it reminds us what a gift it is to be alive and breathing. Music inspires laughter, tears, song and dance, it tells stories, captures complex emotions and breeds diversity. It expresses the inexpressible, making bad times bearable, and good times even better.
Music makes us remember times gone by, it promises good times to come and just hearing a song can take you back to a specific moment it time, flooding your brain with memories. It’s soothing and emotive at the same time, It works its way down from your head to your toes and can breathe new life into every fiber of your being.
To sum up, both love and music make us feel good, like we can conquer the world, so if you haven’t had a romantic February, listen to a few of your favourite songs, maybe something you haven’t heard in a while, maybe that will give you the chills, and as the great Will Shakespeare said, ‘If music be the food of love, Play on’….
Written by Margaret Whitfield • DJ Magpie • our in-house Music Maven