Do you get the chills?

December 11, 2010 at 2:07 am | Posted in Concerts | Leave a comment

Do you find yourself getting chills when you listen to certain pieces of music? Earlier today, I read and posted an interesting article on my facebook that deserves a read!

Here is the link for the article, called “Messiah give you chills? That’s a clue to your personality.”

Essentially, it covers an interesting phenomenon whereby a specific piece of music or song induces the sensation of chills in a pleasurable sort of way. These chills, sometimes called aesthetic chills can happen all over the body in response to music.

The article goes on to discuss the how/why of this occurrence. Basically, the music that gives you a reaction is stimulating your hypothalamus which is basically the pleasure center of the brain. (But also controls involuntary responses like blushing and goosebumps) When something connects with you emotionally for whatever reason, it’s stimulating the hypothalamus and hence  inducing the goosebump reaction.

For me, what I found very interesting about the study done is two-fold:

1) The genre of music doesn’t matter, only the emotional connection does. If you have an emotional connection to something, whether it’s David Hasslehoff, Stravinsky, or Sting it generates the same reaction of the skin/body.

2) Some people have never experienced this reaction, and their personality may be to blame! Yes,  in fact among all the factors taken into account, being someone who is open to enjoying art, music, theater, etc, seemed to make these chills more common.

I know as someone who is clearly a musician and music lover, I have experienced these aesthetic chills lots in my life. Usually they coincide with large, impactful moments in music or sometimes a simple dissonance with a stress and release. Just recently, I’ve experienced this with Whitacre’s October as I had the chance to conduct the Butler University Wind Ensemble. For me the big climax point just connects with me emotionally, along with many other spots.

So, my question is: Have you ever experienced aesthetic chills? If so, are you a musician/not, and what song or genre do you notice it most with?

Posted by Angelo


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