View Full Version : Music and Speech Share Code for Conveying Sadness

06-20-2010, 11:19 PM

Russell Nash
06-21-2010, 12:50 AM
The article names "Greensleeves", but I thought that the saddest melody was Adagio in G minor by Albinoni. I also found Gnossienne No1 by Satie, and Oboe Concerto in D minor by Alessandro Marcello absolutely depressing and beautiful. Sad melodies, probably, but also evoking mystery. Arvo Part's Tabula Rasa, Fratres, and Fur Alina are among the best candidates for saddest melodies. What I found was that some people find these examples boring other than sad. However, it might be interesting to have the exact musical formula for conveying sadness.

Adagio in G Minor (Albinoni) - YouTube

06-22-2010, 12:15 PM
I was informed by my music instructor many moons ago that the use of minor chords and the tritone conveyed sadness (as well as evil in the case of the tritone), along with slow tempii. Still not sure I totally agree with him nowadays, but that is all I can remember.

'Sadness' in music must be difficult to quantify since the musical experience can be so subjective.

Russell Nash
08-31-2010, 02:07 PM
Amazes me to think I discovered Albinoni's masterwork through James Morrison's often klutzy poetry. Hey, I was a teenager...

The Psychology of Music: Effects on Behavior, Intelligence, Learning, Pain and Health (http://psychology.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_psychology_of_music)


A student named David Merrill devised an experiment to discover how music would affect the ability of mice to learn new things. Merrill had one group of mice listen to classical music 24 hours a day and another to heavy metal music. He then timed the mice as they ran through mazes to see if the music affected their speed of learning. Unfortunately, he had to cut the first experiment short because the heavy metal mice all killed one another. In a second experiment, mice that listened to Mozart for 10 hours a day dramatically improved their maze-solving abilities, while the heavy metal mice actually became worse at solving mazes than they had been at the beginning of the experiment.


On a stranger note, sociology professor James Gundlach found higher rates of suicide among those who listen to country music.