Why do we get goosebumps listening to music?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Michael R Price, Jun 19, 2002.

  1. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    It's strange. It's not cold in my room, but playing music even at medium volume occasionally gives me goosebumps. (I'm sure movies would too.) I've heard the occasional mention of this being caused by the sound. Does anyone know? Thanks.
     
  2. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    Whatever it is, understand that you have a system that 90% of us do not have. Don't try to break it down into pieces and analyse it, rather enjoy what you have.
    I know that didn't help [​IMG] As far as I'm concerned, it's an emotional reaction to music. Again, as far as I'm concerned, that's the holy grail that I think an audio system should strive for. I know mine isn't there yet.
     
  3. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    Michael:

    You raise an interesting question which has been pondered by many a philosopher. From an evoutionary standpoint, there is no apparent "survival" advantage to music. As such, it is particulary puzzling why we respond so intensely to it.

    In reference to Saurav's comment, I will add that while I have had the privilege of hearing what are almost certainly some of the best audio sytems in the world, such systems are not required to experience the goose bumps you spoke of. Despite our interest in high fidelity, the simple fact is that music can profoundly move us even when played back through a transistor radio. Go figure!

    Regards,

    Larry
     
  4. Hartwig Hanser

    Hartwig Hanser Second Unit

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    measurements of metabolism in brain showed recently, that while you have those feelings, the same Brain regions change their firing pattern as it is the case during sex. By the way the same also fire, if you eat chocolate...
    Obviously music causes a biological lust response. Concerning evolution, music may have been of service in early mankind for communication (even pre-speech) and coordination of ensemble word (think of songs that accompagne marching, harvesting, builing in non technological cultures).

    Hartwig
     
  5. Ned

    Ned Supporting Actor

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    Maybe you're a goose. I can't say it has happened to me but some nice floor rumbling bass does makes me feel warm inside.
     
  6. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Interesting, I was thinking how nice it would be if this is because the system is good (which it is, to an extent). But I don't think it's only that because even listening to a not so good sounding song, I still had the goosebumps. I even wrapped myself in a blanket to make sure it wasn't temperature related.

    I'm thinking its just a subconscious emotional reaction or something and it happens when your brain is into the music, regardless of the quality of sound. I also wonder if it has to do with any particular aspect of the sound, such as low bass or soundstage realism, etc.

    Saurav - "Don't try to break it down into pieces and analyse it, rather enjoy what you have." I do both. My strange logic goes like this: if I can analyze and understand how something works, then I can make it better. I don't think this is a 'Holy Grail' but rather a curious side effect.
     
  7. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  8. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    Hartwig:

     
  9. Marc H

    Marc H Second Unit

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    I haven't got goose bumps yet but certain tunes will bring a tear to my eye which I find very wierd. I'm not an emotional type really.
     
  10. Doug BW

    Doug BW Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I have an experience from just a few days ago that fits into this thread very well. I just started auditioning speakers over the last month, and have been listening to a lot of different speakers. This is the first time I’ve ever auditioned other than “budget” speakers, and I’ve been really amazed at just how good “good” speakers can sound.

    Anyhow, the dealer I went to last Saturday had me listen to a couple of brands he thought I might like before the brand I had actually gone there to hear. The first speakers were okay…I could hear that they did a lot of things well: they seemed to do a good job of reproducing instruments, but the overall sound just wasn’t that involving.

    Then he set up a second set of speakers and played the same track that I had just listened to with the other speakers. The music I heard then … and my reaction to it…really caught me off guard. It was amazing. This may sound silly, and it’s hard to describe, but I felt this huge wave of emotion pass through me. The music sounded so beautiful, and the contrast with the previous speakers, was so stark. It was so weird and completely unexpected. I’d never had that kind of reaction to music before. I remember thinking at the time about how chocolate supposedly contains chemicals that are similar to chemicals released by your brain (called endorphins), and that these chemicals trigger pleasurable emotions. It seemed as if whatever gland it is that produces endorphins had been given a kick by the music I was hearing.
     
  11. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Oh yes Doug, when you put on a certain song and you get absorbed into it and then you know something special is happening in your room. I only wish I could get that effect more.

    By the way, what speakers did this?
     
  12. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    'cause it sounds nice or hits an emotional high.[​IMG]
    Seriously, I get goose bumps with really good vocals or violins.
    I also get goose bumps listening to my stock car stereo on certain tracks that have some meaning to me. All over...legs, arms, back of neck, etc. Music really is my drug of choice.
     
  13. Cam S

    Cam S Screenwriter

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    Hmmm, I get these goosebumps too, usually on really loud passages in a movie, or in some good music. I also get it when peeing, ya know, the "shivers" [​IMG]
     
  14. Doug BW

    Doug BW Stunt Coordinator

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  15. ling_w

    ling_w Second Unit

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    Get some serious class-A amps and you won't be getting those goose bumps anymore. In fact, you will be stripping to your underwears when you listen to your music.
     
  16. Greg Haynes

    Greg Haynes Supporting Actor

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    Michael R Price,

    What kind of audio system do you have?
     
  17. Mark Tranchant

    Mark Tranchant Stunt Coordinator

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    Larry B: maybe we didn't evolve from sludge, then, but were put here. There are plently of Biblical references to God liking music.

    Yes, I am serious, and no, I don't live in Kansas.
     
  18. Larry Seno Jr.

    Larry Seno Jr. Supporting Actor

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  19. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    Mark:
     
  20. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Greg, another reason I posted this thread was because my system wouldn't seem like one to induce such an emotional reaction (however, with me it succeeds). Adire Kit281s, Audiosource Amp One, Denon DCD-1520. So how do I get goosebumps listening to an old Japanese CD player and cheap class AB solid state amps? (Okay, that is a bit exaggerated but still true.) I don't know. This is what led me to believe the effect is purely psychological and having little to do with the actual sound.

    I think I'll try my hand at DIY class A amps this year. However, I might not if Ling's prediction is true. (There are windows in my room.)
     

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