Why Do We Love Sad Songs?

11.13.2011
(was 12.12.2010)

Are you a sucker for a sad song? “Greensleeves.” “Yesterday” by the Beatles. For some reason, we love a melancholy tune. But why?  In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll explore our love of sad music. We’ll look into the effects the minor third has on our brains and we’ll delve into the saddest music ever written: Barber’s Adagio for Strings.

  1. Thomas Larson on The Saddest Song Ever Written

    The saddest music of all to many people is Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.”

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    Average: 4.6 (23 votes)
  2. Meagan Curtis on the Science of Sad Songs

    According to psychologist Meagan Curtis, the inherent sadness of the minor third is what we hear in music.

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    Average: 5 (17 votes)
  3. Bill Malone on the History of Country Music

    There are sad songs in rock, and sad songs in jazz, but the resting place for the saddest songs is clearly in country music.

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    Average: 4.6 (8 votes)
  4. Eric Siblin on The Cello Suites

    No matter what genre you’re writing for, adding a cello can increase the melancholy.

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    Average: 5 (10 votes)