We’d be lying if we said music hadn’t impacted us in some shape or form during our lives. It’s been proven that it has been impacting humans for a very, very long time (we’re talking thousands and thousands of years). This leaves us with the annoyingly unanswered question; why do we love music? Sure, it makes painfully dull bus journeys bearable, deafens us from the sound of parents nagging and gets parties started, but how and why does its improve our mood?
The answer’s simple really, it gives us ‘The Chill’. It’s true, call it what you will: goosebumps, thrills, shivers. If you’ve ever experienced ‘The Chill’ you will know what I mean; your hairs will begin to stand on end and you’ll experience shivers down your spine. This reaction isn’t controllable – it’s 100% involuntary. There isn’t a specific genre of music that activates these musical chills as a study from Valarie Salimpoor and her colleagues show. They coincide with changes within the music, so things such as a change in key, vocals or harmonies are possible triggers.
Ah, so this explains the ‘Mexican Wave’ of goosebumps down my neck during the instrumental bridge in Foals – Spanish Sahara, the ‘Lets Tessellate’ vocals in Alt J – Tessellate and the chilling piano instrumental and Robert Cole’s falsesetto in Little Comets – Intelligent Animals. I’ll sleep better tonight knowing that it’s not just me!
Let me know of any more ‘The Chill’ moments!