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Impact of Music on Mood: Empirical Investigation

Research on Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484 (Online)
Vol.5, No.21, 2015
Impact of Music on Mood: Empirical Investigation
Nawaz Ahmad
Visiting Professor at Iqra University, Karachi
Afsheen Rana
Graduate Student at AIFD, Iqra University, Karachi
The research entitled Effect of Music on Mood. This research was initiated by collecting primary data through
questionnaire filled in by volunteers. This primary data was further processed, analyzed and evaluated to obtain
certain interesting outcomes. For instance, the purpose of this research is to examine the listener’s response to
music. This research also indicated that people get inspired by listening to music. Music is a source that can get
them into the other mood. People think that music has strong impact on their mood and behavior. This research
found that people are pretty much interested in listening to music and they believe music influence them in
positive and negative both ways. In the light of this research it can be safely concluded that specific music has
specific impact on mood and people take interest and feel good after listening to music.
Key Words: Music, Mood
1. Introduction
1.1 Background of the Study
Music is one of the few aspects of human culture which is thought to be universal. Since we are all human
beings we all experience joy, anger, sadness and other feelings like those. We all have a ton of emotions that
control how we act and what we say. Our emotions are triggered by many things. One of those things is Music.
Music has the potential to influence mood, feelings, and thoughts; it has the ability to change the emotional and
physical status of people, whether they are in bad, good, or sad moods.
Music is considered as a way of expression in which freedom is a privilege. It has many features and purposes
like an extraordinary way of communication through art. Music can be a universal language that invokes
different aspects of people until it grows on them.
Emotion is a complex set of interaction between the subjective and objective factors, which may lead to
emotional experience such as feelings, excitement, pain, pleasure and sadness. Humans are able to experience
wide range of emotional states. Emotions, sense of humor, passion and excitement interchangeably, although
each is unique and distinct from others. People can be divided into several categories according to how they
express and present themselves as an individual. Investigating the relationship between music and mood is an
important topic of study as people are constantly surrounded by music which they choose to listen to as well as
music they are exposed to involuntarily in their daily lives.
There have been many psychological studies conducted throughout the past century relating to music and
emotion, and as a result there exist many different representations and interpretations of human emotion and its
relation to music. The objective of this thesis research is to find out the effect of music on mood and human
behavior. Webster and Weir (2005) attempted to gauge interactive of mode, texture, and tempo in a single
An emotional state is often the result of many interrelated and underlying influences and one of them is music.
Music is a tool that can influence the emotion; it can change the mood and also leaves it effects on human
emotions. And this effect can be shown in some ways. Like it can be shown visually, through facial expressions
and also audibly through vocal expressions. It has been proved by many researches too.
As emotions are influenced by music in the same way activities are also influenced by music. A huge difference
in one performance and task can be seen after and before listening to music. It is said that people work much
better after listening to music than those who sit in silence or with no music.
1.2 Objectives of the Study
The specific objectives of the study are to find out:
To evaluate the effect of music on mood.
To find out the interest and views of the people toward music.
To gain feedback on this issue.
1.3 Statement of the Problem
What is the effect of music on mood, what are the different views of the listeners about music? What determines
music to be positive or negative? Does all kind of music will affect feeling? Is it right that People who listen to
classical and pop music would report more positive moods, and those who listen to heavy metal and violent
music would report more negative moods?
1.4 Hypothesis
Research on Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484 (Online)
Vol.5, No.21, 2015
All kind of music effect mood, feeling and emotions, and People who listen to classical and pop music will show
more positive effects, and those who listen to heavy metal will show more negative moods
2. Literature review
According to Ganser & Huda (2010) Music has the power to influence mood in both ways positively as well as
negatively. Antisocial lyrics and annoying music can cause negative effect on mood whereas uplifting music and
pro-social lyrics can bring positive effects in mood.
The studies show that anxiety and depression can be reduced by classical music, and the music which is liked by
the listener will invoke more positive state, one of their study shows when surgeon enjoyed the music their
performance came to be improved, and autonomic reactivity was reduced. (McCraty etal, 1998)
According to the studies of Hill (2007), the listener enjoys listening to soft rock because they feel happier, less
angry, sad, disgusted, etc. Likewise, the listener does not like listening to hard rock because they feel angrier,
sadder, and disgusted. The negative hard rock music was positively correlated with negative emotions and the
soft rock music was positively correlated with positive emotions.
According to the study of Tropeano (2006), the violent music brings aggression in human behavior, it is
considered to be a severe problem in society. The mood changes as the music like nonviolent music results in
completely different behavior. Listening to violent music has a strong effect on violent tendencies.
According to the research of Rea etal (2010) which was conducted on three subjects, they were given a task to
listen to music for 10 minutes and the categories of music were pop, heavy metal and classical. And it was
concluded that who listened to classical and pop music reported in more positive way and who listened to heavy
metal music reported in more negative way. So their hypothesis that was Music would affect mood was
According to the studies of Webster and Weir (2005), Music in major keys was rated happier than music in
minor keys. Non harmonized, simple melodies were rated happier than more complex harmonized music. As the
tempo of music increased, ratings of happiness also increased.
Webster and Weir said according to Garadi and Garken (1995), people associate descending melodies with
sadness whereas ascending melodies with happiness. but kids do not make it reliable their level of association is
different they do not respond in the same way but youngsters do.
According to Thompson et al (2001) people perform special activities better after listening to music composed
by Mozart than those who are sitting in silence. In their research task The music Mozart sonata was appeared to
be very pleasant to participant whereas the other participants were given a very slow and sad music but the
results of Mozart were better and those participants scored higher on mood arousal and significantly lower on
negative mood as Mozart effect itself is an artifact arousal of mood.
According to Schäfer and Sedlmeier, (2009) music is a valuable mean for induction of emotions. In addition
music is considered to be a diagnostic tool for investigating the development of adolescents their emotions i.e
what they need, what they believe, what they feel and also their problems are mirrored in the music they listen
to. Thus it can be said that music has a strong impact on our emotions and activities.
According to Panksepp and Bernatzky (2002) said through music person can be guided toward common social
activities and the other task they perform in a social environment.
Thaut and de l’Etoile (1993) found that people induced to a happy mood by inducing music scene with a piece
composed in the major mode showed a significant increase in memory compared with people who had not been
led to an experimental mood.
A study by Stout, Leckenby, and Hecker (1990) on viewer reactions to music in television commercials found
that ads with music in the major mode had more positive reactions than ads with music in the minor mode. The
commercials with music in the minor mode were resulted as more irritating and the commercials with music in
the major mode were resulted as much relevant and newsworthy. And also, the products introduced with major
mode music were found to be as more purchase worthy than those of a products that introduced with minor mode
3. Research Methods
3.1 Method of Data Collection
The data required for the search purpose was primary data.
3.1.1 Primary Data
This type of data consisted of the observations, results and comments of the stakeholders concerned with the
search process such as the responses of the audience who volunteered their opinion on various issues related to
the topic of effect of music on mood.
3.2 Sampling Technique
Convenience sampling technique has been used for primary data collection.
3.3 Sample Size
A sample size of 110 was collected for this research. Response rate was 73.33% as 150 questionnaires were
Research on Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484 (Online)
Vol.5, No.21, 2015
3.4 Instrument of Data Collection
Close ended Questionnaire has been used as the instrument of primary data collection based on logical questions
with options of ‘Yes’ and ‘No’.
3.5 Statistical Technique
Descriptive statistical technique of modal frequency has been adopted as followed by Nasir, etal (2012).
4. Result and discussion
4.1 Model Frequency Table
No. Variable name Sub
Variable Frequency % of
01. Music_can_effect_mood Yes 101 91.8
02. Calm_music_leave_positive_effect Yes 96 87.3
03. Heavymetal_music_makes_you_angry No 58 52.7
04. Music_can_sooth_the_soul Yes 99 90.0
05. Music_copes_with_sadness Yes 92 83.6
06. Sad_music_makes_you_sad Yes 96 87.3
07. Calm_music_increase_calmness Yes 73 66.4
08 Happy_music_makes_you_happy Yes 94 85.5
09. Favourite_music_brings_positive_changes Yes 92 83.6
10. Music_makes_mood_better Yes 66 60.0
11. Music_works_wonders Yes 101 91.8
12. Music_liven_up_a_party Yes 99 90.0
4.2 Discussion
Based on the results of question no.1,it can be concluded that music is a tool that has an impact on
human mood and behavior regardless what of kind of music it is, it effects in either good or bad ways
and 91.8% of people agreed that they get influenced by the music
In question no.2 87.3% people said that listening to calm music put them in a calm state and it leaves a
positive effect on their mind and mood. Music is something that everyone enjoys listening to. And all
get inspired of it so; obviously a calm music will always leave positive effect on its listener.
It is said that watching a violent movie can make your child violent and aggressive, in the same way
listening to heavy metal music people can put themselves in an angry state but 52.7% people agree with
this problem in question no.3.
The 90.0%agreement of the people that music can sooth the soul in question no.4 states that listening to
music keep people in a relaxed state, people love listening to music. When people are tired most of
them prefer listening to music because music is a tool that can keep us relaxed and it sooths the soul.
83.6% people agree in question no.5 that music copes with sadness. So it can be concluded that
maximum number of people think that they can take themselves out from sadness and sorrow by
listening to music. Music refreshes the soul and keeps our mood high, people love listening to music
and enjoys it.
In question no.6, 87.3% people agreed that sad music makes you sad. So it can be said that when one
listens to sad music he eventually gets sad. It can also be said that music has such a strong effect that a
particular kind of music can suddenly change your mood, no matter in which state you were before, but
as you listen to sad music, a listener get sad too.
Calm music increase calmness in people and 66.4% people agreed with this issue in question no.7. It is
always said that every action has some reaction, in the same way when we listen to calm music we get
calm to.
85.5% agreed in question no.8 that happy music makes them happy. So it can be concluded that when
people listen to music that has happy lyrics, the music that has fun. People enjoy this music and they
also associate their feelings with that music and make themselves feel happy.
In question no.9 the level of people who agreed that favorite music brings positive changes is 83.6%.
The result concludes that listening to favorite music put people in good mood. Music always effect in
some ways but when it’s your favorite music it effects more strongly because the favorite music is
always the one we familiar to and we respond more to the things we have already known.
It is said that music makes mood better and 60.0% people agreed in question no.10. When people are in
a bad or average mood and when they tune in to music immediately they start feeling better, its fun
listening to music and people prefer listening to music in their leisure time.
Research on Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484 (Online)
Vol.5, No.21, 2015
Music works wonders and 91.8% people agreed with this problem in question no.11. Music helps in
creating certain atmosphere. Music can take ourselves out from certain state and can put us in certain
state of mind where we want ourselves to be, like our mind can be peaceful and relax. I think it is not
more than a wonder.
Any party is considered to be incomplete without music. Music is a tool that can liven up a boring
party, low atmosphere, or sad environment. Music can high the happy and fun level of anyone’s mood
and uplift their sad or boring state of mind with happiness and 90.0% people agreed with this problem
in question no.12.
5. Conclusion
Music listening has become a ubiquitous phenomenon in our modern world. Music is also thought to be a
medicine of souls. For most people, the importance of music as a leisure time activity can hardly be
overestimated. People love listening to music, music is a source to sooth the soul. It has been proved by the
research the people who listen to music are more relaxed.
Music is also thought to be a way to communicate with others; it can also work as a romantic ambiance, people
like listen to soft music during their emotional states like love. Specific music induces specific feelings in
listener. Almost all the subjects of my study agreed that music affect them in many ways. When they listen to
sad music they respond in same manner. And when they listen to happy music they feel themselves happy.
It has also been proven through the research that people enjoy more when they listen to familiar music or their
favorite one. I think the power of music to induce positive emotions may be a reason why one listens to a piece
of music again and again. Music is increasingly being used to enhance well-being, reduce stress and distract
patients from unpleasant symptoms.
Gancer, J. & Huda, F. (2010), Music’s Effect on Mood and Helping Behavior, UW-L Journal of undergraduate
research, XIII, 1-5.
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Undergraduate Research, 27-33
McCraty, R., Barrios-choplin, B., Atkinson, M. & Tomasino, D. (1998), The effects of different types of music
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Nasir, F., Herani, G. M. & Ahmad, N. (2012). Identifying Factors Affecting Patients’ Satisfaction against
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Panksepp, J. & Bernatzky, G. (2002). Emotional sounds and the brain: the neuro-affective foundations of
musical appreciation. Behavioural Processes 60, 133-55.
Rea, C., MacDonald, P. & Carnes, G., (2010), Listening to classical, pop and metal music: An investigation of
mood, Emporia state research studies, 46(1), 1-3
Schäfer1, T. & Sedlmeier, P. (2009), What makes us like music. Proceedings of the 7th Triennial Conference of
European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (ESCOM 2009), Jyväskylä, Finland, 487-490.
Stout, P. A., Leckenby, J. D., & Hecker, S. (1990). Viewer reactions to music in television commercials.
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Thaut, M.H., & de l'Etoile, S.K. (1993).The effects of music on mood state-dependent recall. Journal of Music
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Tropeano, E., (2006). Does rap or rock music provoke violent behavior? Journal of undergraduate psychology
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Tempo. Motivation and Emotion, 29(1), 19-39.
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Using projective and objective measures, effects of rock music on emotion were investigated. Sixty students were randomly assigned to three conditions: hard rock, soft rock, and no music. One group listened to hard rock music while taking a projective test with five ink blots and an objective test with an Emotional Assessment Scale (EAS). The same procedure was used for the second group while listening to soft rock. A control group was given the same procedure with no music. Two one way analyses of variance and a Pearson's correlation were used to determine if types of music affected one's emotions using projective and objective measures. Significant differences were discovered comparing music with: projective measures, F (2, 59) = 4.41, p < .05, the preference of soft rock over hard rock, r (40) = .37, p < .01, and six of eight emotions on the EAS. Data analyses revealed significant differences between types of rock music and their effects on emotions. ABSTRACT
Although much research has explored emotional responses to music using single musical elements, none has explored the interactive effects of mode, texture, and tempo in a single experiment. To this end, a 2 (mode: major vs. minor) 2 (texture: nonharmonized vs. harmonized) 3 (tempo: 72, 108, 144 beats per min) within-participants experimental design was employed, in which 177 college students rated four, brief musical phrases on continuous happy-sad scales. Major keys, nonharmonized melodies, and faster tempos were associated with happier responses, whereas their respective opposites were associated with sadder responses. These effects were also interactive, such that the typically positive association between tempo and happiness was inverted among minor, nonharmonized phrases. Some of these effects were moderated by the gender and amount of musical experience of participants. A principal components analysis of responses to the stimuli revealed one negatively and one positively valenced factor of emotional musical stimuli.
Music's Effect on Mood and Helping Behavior
  • J Gancer
  • F Huda
Gancer, J. & Huda, F. (2010), Music's Effect on Mood and Helping Behavior, UW-L Journal of undergraduate research, XIII, 1-5.