Friday, September 30, 2011


In today's class we talked a lot about the idea of catharsis, the idea of an emotional release by means of evoking unconscious feelings. This is a much spoken topic in the psychology realm. The idea of catharsis as it relates to music would say that listening to a scary song will release the fear that is deep inside of you, listening to a sad song will release sadness from you, and listening to an angry song will in some way release anger. I've never been a big fan of the idea of catharsis, it seems a bit pseudo scientific for my taste. Although I am considering the idea and how it relates to music.

I will make the argument that if you are sad and listen to a sad song, you will probably feel worse not better at the end of it. Another emotion that some people may think catharsis works for is anger. Many people have a go-to song that they listen to when they are angry and when it is over they feel better. I will make the argument that they are probably not just sitting there listening to it. They are singing along, punching something, or pacing around. If you are angry you are not going to just sit there and listen to an angry song, you are going to do something else physically along with it, and that is what releases the tensions.

Questions: Can you think of a situation or argument where catharsis is valid?


Kristina said...

i've been thinking and thinking about this, and trying to come up with an example, but i think you're right. :)

Kristina said...

doing something you are afraid of can be cathartic, i know that to be true.
with music, there may be extenuating circumstances that cause you to be happier, or less angry or sad, but isn't it the music that speaks to you about those circumstances, and that's why it makes the difference?