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Music and Negative Emotion

Levinson’s essay explores the emotion of music and how it can bring about a range of emotions which most often find pleasurable. Music can evoke a certain emotion but on a depersonalized level. It serves to represent the emotional state one would feel or is slated to feel toward the rhythm of a song. Levinson referred to this as a mirroring effect, stating that music triggers an emotional reaction to the listener that is congruent to feeling the actual emotion in real life scenarios.

Levinson gave a few explanations as to why there is an undeniable connection between music and emotions and he has stressed that it is rooted on the fact that music is a work of art. Creativity usually takes hold of emotions to produce something that is aesthetically appealing to the senses, whether it projects a positive or a negative representation of life (Levinson, 2006). In the text, Levinson further analyzes the complex connection of artistic creations and humans by ascribing the benefits or rewards as to why human beings would find listening to sad music pleasurable.

One of the rewards that he mentioned, and to which I have experienced, was the capacity of humans to gain emotional reassurance from a musical piece. According to the essay, many find that music releases the tension accumulated in their system, which allays their emotional needs. Levinson postulates that humans use music to reassure themselves of the depth and complexity of human nature, supporting our common need to feel.

I have been able to grasp Levinson’s concept of emotional assurance when I listen to certain songs when I want to vent out my frustrations in life. It really does help me unburden tensed emotions which would likely hinder my day-to-day tasks (Levinson, 2006). I believe that Levinson had articulated the thought of music and emotion quite well in the essay as one must keep in mind that music is an art form, and art unearths the depths of the humanity.

Reference: Levinson, J. (2006). Music and Negative Emotion. Contemplating Art. New York: Oxford University Press.

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