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Music and Mood 

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The relationship between music and mood can be really powerful but how does music affect our mood? There are many different types of mood and the way different music affects our brain can affect how we feel.

Music and mood are strongly related and music can affect certain moods such as happiness, or sadness. Different genres of music can also have different effects on your mood. Remember, this all happens in your brain so it can affect also your behaviour. 

It’s simple and easy to explore the helpful relationship between your mood and music. By gaining a better understanding of the psychology behind it, you can use your favourite music to brighten your day.

Can music affect your mood?


Music can affect your mood in a handful of different ways. It can range from cheering up the flattest of moods to acting as ambient music whilst studying. It can also allow an emotional release if a little cry or mope is simply just what you need.  

Music can have this impact because it is capable of having a positive influence on how our brain functions. In fact, music can improve skills such as memory, speed and focus.

The correlation between music, psychology and neuroscience (the science behind our brain) is growing quickly. Our mood is important for how we function each day. Essentially, our mood, mind and music all link together to create much of who we are and what we do.  

Our mood can be affected by certain situations, leaving us feeling either super happy, simply content or feeling a little grumpy and down. Music can be positive if both your mood and music are coordinated in the right way. However, sometimes music can hinder and it’s also knowing how to avoid this when necessary.

How different genres of music affect your mood  

music and mood

Different genres of music can most definitely affect your mood, but not always in the way you’d expect. A cheery and bright track that springs you straight into your morning is great, but not all uplifting songs will pull your mood up to a perfectly happy place.  

It’s been researched and shown that your relationship with music as an individual can guide how a song alters your moodTo shed some light on how genres can affect your mood, it’s been suggested that downtempo jazz can leave you feeling peaceful and relaxedAlso, pop music can give you that extra push needed when doing some all-important fitness. Pop usually has a punchy tempo and bright instrumentation, triggering those endorphins (happy hormones) even more.

What different types of moods are there?  

Mood is a generalised and internalised state of how you feel and relates to your emotions. For example, you could have occasional unhappy emotions over the course of a week. However, if you have been active, productive and generally happy then this would be a better description of mood.

There is a never-ending collection of different moods. But just some of the main, core moods that most of us definitely experience are:

  • Frustrated 
  • Sad 
  • Irritated   
  • Calm 
  • Happy  
  • Excited 
  • Good  
  • Loving 
  • Silly 
  • Optimistic  
  • Angry 
  • Annoyed 
  • Bad

Music has so many different elements and sounds that it could potentially have you feeling any of these common moods and more.

Are there different moods within music? 

music and mood

Music has an almost endless amount of moods. Obviously, music’s mood doesn’t function in the same way your mood comes about, but it’s certainly a way to describe the sound of a piece to someone.   

Music’s mood can be defined by its tone and qualities such as instrumentation, tempo, style, rhythm and more. A great example is a marching parade. In order to set a regal and grand mood, the march is predominantly played by booming drums with a strict rhythm and some bold brass.  

If you are exploring different moods within music as a singer, you could think about when you cover or song write a soft and emotional ballad. You are careful to make sure your lyrics are heartfelt and that maybe the piano is slow and gentle, setting a sombre mood for your music.  

Just to list some musical moods, this ranges from airy, atmospheric, bright, dreamy, majestic and poignant to romantic, scary and uplifting.  

What does music do to the brain?  

Both sides of your brain will be working at the same time when music is played or if you are playing music yourself. In fact, studies show that a musician’s brain, on a scan, looks very different from a person’s brain who doesn’t play an instrument. 

The scans highlight that those who are singers or musicians have larger and more well-connected brains than those who do not take part in practising music (Be Brain Fit).   

So, imagine how much better your brain will be getting every time you make sure you’ve completed your daily vocal warm-up. 

Now you are completely clued up on why music is really important for keeping your mood well-looked after and your brain functioning healthily, you can get crafting a playlist to help all moods, or study until your heart’s content with chilled background music.  

Understanding how you can guide your mood with music will open up your connection with understanding yourself, and its really good knowledge to apply when writing or performing songs.

The music and mood experiment 

music and mood

There have been some fascinating experiments on how music and mood are related. One experiment by Durham University has been carried out with 2,400 people from the UK and Finland. They found that most relate emotional and memorable experiences within their life to certain sad songs. The link between music and mood is obvious in this case, on a very big scale.  

Interestingly, according to Huff Post Australia, there are two important reasons that enable music to affect our mood. These two triggers are how pleasant, or unpleasant the song is and how active or sleepy the song is. So if you are searching for a bopping playlist to make the morning walk a more chirpy one, these two impacting reasons are definitely things to consider.  

There are some brilliant and bright playlists on Spotify such as ‘Happy Pop Hits’. In fact, Spotify has a whole ‘Mood’ section so you can indulge in some self-help listening.

How music can affect your mood for studying

Writing essays and revising for exams is long and tiring, right?

And they are not something that can be easily avoided. It’s quite often that we turn to our most-treasured playlist or favourite soundtrack in order to victoriously make it from introduction to conclusion.  

And quite rightly so. Research has proven that listening to the right type of music improves our cognitive function (area of the brain we need for studying and essays), such as upbeat and punchy music helping to increase our study speed 

In particular, it’s been noted that listening to music as background music whilst you’re studying is helpful in steering your mood towards a focused state. Music can be peaceful and soothing, which is great for building your study stamina if you need to complete an essay quickly.

The science behind music and mood  

music and mood

Your mood relates to music because of the ‘reward system’. This is the role of an important body chemical called dopamine. Not only is music enjoyable to listen to and perform but it can also help release this chemical in our brain.

Interestingly, in 1956 Leonard Meyer listened to an iconic musical piece of Beethoven’s. As he listened to the music and analysed it carefully, he noted that any parts of the music that were held in suspense led to an unfulfilled mood. If the tension in the music was resolved, a sense of fulfilment could be identified. Essentially, the music caused emotional triggers, linking mood to music.  (Cloud Cover Music).  

Studies have also shown that listening to a short piece of happy music in front of someone’s neutral face changes our perception. After listening to the music, we are more likely to say they are happy due to the impact of what has been played.

It’s clear that there is a lot more science to music than most people realise. Considering we spend so much time listening to music, it’s really important to understand how it affects our mood.

Related Questions:  

How many moods are there?  

There are many different moods that each of us experience, and many of them we can move through in just one day.  

Some of the primary moods are happiness, sadness, excitement, worry, nervousness and determination. As you delve into the ever-growing selection of moods, there are far more.  

Sometimes we may feel a mood that we struggle to identify, or it may be a mix of multiple moods rather than just one. But it’s really helpful to understand what mood you may be experiencing.  

If it’s a cheerful feeling, you can work hard to remember what made you feel that wonderful.  

And if it’s a sad feeling then it’s helpful to consider what triggers may have made feel that way. This can help you find the music that might break your irritable mindset.

What are mood and tone?  

In regard to music, the tone can be approached via a couple of different avenues. Firstly, if you are looking at tone theoretically, you call notes tones such as; whole tone or semitone.

But, if you are describing the vibe of the song your learning or writing, the tone can mean the overall feeling or mood of the lyrics and instrument such as a chirpy pop hit having a happy tone.

Mood, if describing music, is also the overall feeling that the song or piece of music causes you to feel. Or the overall feel of how the track sounds. The terminology is all depending on whether you are describing your own mood, or the songs musical mood. 

What are the basic moods?

The basic moods are described as:

  • Happiness  
  • Sadness 
  • Fear  
  • Disgust  
  • Anger  
  • Surprise  
  • Excitement 

Show us your favourite music for lifting your mood in the comments below.