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Participants in the study revealed that most of the sad songs they listen to are slow in tempo and some of the most popular titles chosen, included: Beethoven’s Midnight Sonata, Ah Bing’s Moon Reflected in the Second Spring and Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. Mr Barber is pictured left and Beethoven is illustrated right.
  • Researchers at the Free University of Berlin discovered that nostalgia rather than sadness is the most frequent emotion evoked by sad music
  • Melancholy music can improve a person's emotional wellbeing, they said
  • People experience more than three emotions when listening to sad songs
  • Most of us choose to listen to sad music when feeling lonely or distressed
Turn up those tearjerkers and dig out your Radiohead albums, because scientists claim that melancholy music can actually lift your spirits. A new study has revealed that listening to sad songs can improve a person's emotional well-being as well as make us feel at peace and nostalgic.

It found that most people experience more than three emotions when listening to sad songs, which provoke a more complex reaction than happy pop songs.

Music and brain researchers Liila Taruffi and Stefan Koelsch, of the Free University of Berlin, surveyed 722 people across the globe to understand how often they listen to miserable tracks and how they feel at the time. 'For many individuals, listening to sad music can actually lead to beneficial emotional effects,' they wrote in their study, which is published in the journal Plos One. 'Music-evoked sadness can be appreciated not only as an aesthetic, abstract reward, but [it] also plays a role in well-being, by providing consolation as well as regulating negative moods and emotions.'

The study says that sad music stirs up a mixture of complex and 'partially positive' emotions, including nostalgia, peacefulness, tenderness, transcendence, and wonder, Pacific Standard reported. 'Results show four different rewards of music-evoked sadness: reward of imagination, emotion regulation, empathy, and no "real-life" implications,' the study says. Surprisingly, nostalgia rather than sadness is the most frequent emotion evoked by sad music. Nostalgia was the most common emotion experienced by listeners in Europe and the US, while people in Asia mostly reported feeling a peace.

'The average number of emotions that participants reported to have experienced in response to sad music was above three,' the researchers wrote in the study. 'This suggests that a multifaceted emotional experience elicited by sad music enhances its aesthetic appeal.' The study uncovered that most people choose to listen to sad songs when they are feeling lonely or distressed.

'For most of the people, the engagement with sad music in everyday life is correlated with its potential to regulate negative moods and emotions, as well as to provide consolation,' the researchers explained.They believe that listening to sad music improves people's well-being and helps people vent negative emotions when they are feeling distressed. The experts also say that sad music has pleasurable effects and can stimulate people to express their emotions. Participants in the study revealed that most of the sad songs they listen to are slow in tempo.

Some of the most popular titles chosen included Beethoven's Midnight Sonata, Ah Bing's Moon Reflected in the Second Spring and Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings. 'Appreciation of sad music follows a mood-congruent fashion and is greater among individuals with high empathy and low emotional stability,' according to the study.