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Music videos affecting our moods

How perceptual cues might or might not affect our moods from music videos



Music can have an impact on individuals’ emotions and feelings (Goldstein & Brockmole, 2017). In 2018, I worked at a behavioral health hospital and ran the adolescent partial hospitalization program. During my unit of emotions and feelings, I would run a unit that I would play ten different songs of different genres, such as country, rock, rap, classical, screamo and many more. I would then have my client’s write down what they thought of the song, what type of feelings it invoked as well as where did the physical feelings react in their body. Majority of the time, the same response would occur for the same genres, such as screamo would bring up feelings of anxiety and anger for majority of the clients, while a select few would report being relaxed and calm. Only once did I do this activity with the visual aspect, such as allowing the music video to be played but found that it would become overstimulating for many of the clients. It would overwhelm them, and it would take more time to regulate their emotions if the song provoked a particular emotion or memory within them. The purpose of this activity was to help clients realize they could cope and regulate with music and bring awareness that some music might encourage them to stay in an emotion too long.


“Depending on the song and the meaning to the client, different clients would respond and react differently depending on the type of music that was played.”

While I did this activity, I tried to focus on most of my songs in which client’s were more than likely not familiar with. This is one song that would bring up more conversation than most songs would for a variety of different reasons. The song is called One Last Dance by Us the Duo (Bahl, 2016). You can find the song here. The song is a simple piece of it just being a piano playing with a male voice and a female voice singing. The music video then shows images of a house that appears empty and well-lived in. The camera then begins to scan through the house showing photos of the couple from when they were young and slowly begins to move through the house. As the house is scanned through by the camera, the images begin to start to change of the couple and appears to follow their life together. This video for me invokes happiness, sadness, and hope that true love can still exist. It starts to tell the story of a couple that were married when they were young and how they essentially passed away together. The video tells a story that matches the lyrics and allows for the words and the video to pair together to tell the story. It invokes a bit of nostalgia for me as it appears as if the couple doesn’t get lost in today’s world and ever-changing technology. It reminds me to slow down and embrace the little things and the people that matter, as we might never know when they are gone.

For the purpose of this blog, please go watch the video now and write down your notes of what this video and music suggests for you. In the next section of this blog, we will talk about how the cues that the producers made to help encourage or discourage the feelings that might be produced for you.


Perceptual Cues


A perceptual cue is a way to place objects or scenes in which the objects and scenes suggest a setting or feeling so the observer can make judgements about what is going on (Goldstein & Brockmole, 2017). This music video allows for a very simple story through visual ques and through audio cues. The first perceptual cue that one might receive that the house belongs to an older person, or couple is the opening of the video with a record player. Yes, record players appear to be making a comeback with some of the younger kids, however, this record player that is depicted appears to be an older one. The wall is also wallpapered, something that seems to have faded out in many of the decades and is not found in many homes these days. The video then depicts an old landline phone, another item that is slowly becoming obsolete in many homes.



Not only are the items perceptual cues, but the photos also then become suggestive themselves. The photos appear older and encourage this as being presented through black and white images. When the photo is presented of the man and woman getting married, the table then changes and has white flowers, a bottle of champagne and wine glasses. The scene then changes quickly and the record player has now disappeared, with the table clear and now there are photos to the left that are in a picture frame insinuating they have had some memories together to place on the wall. The scene then changes again, to focus on another photo being projected on the wall, but prior to showing the photo, there is a stuffed animal and then shows a baby bottle.

The wallpaper then changes to wood paneling and the photos then transition from black and white to color. The video continues to progress with these small changes, as technology continues to upgrade with the music player, as well as other objects within the home. While there is no actual motion in the home, the camera continues to show changes over time with the technology changing, objects changing, and new objects being presented as children and grandchildren are being presented in the home. Towards the end, the camera then shows a wheelchair that then progresses towards an image of the man sitting in the wheelchair facing a bed. It is hard to see in this frame, but there is the woman laying in the bed as the man looks over the bed. The last and final screen is of a white space showing nothing, with two glass blue birds on the table. There is then words that show that state “End of Record” suggesting that this is the end of their story, end of the song and end of the video.



This particular video is simple, does not offer any motion and just a camera moving around a still scene. The audio is also simple as it is just a piano with no stacking of drums, guitars or any other instrument. After running this song with my adolescents within this activity, they reported feeling calm, however, those that listened to the lyrics reported feeling sad and hopeful for their own love life. I’m curious to see if the responses provoked these same feelings for you? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.


Conclusion


Our senses, vision, hearing, taste, touch and smell, are connected to our emotions and nervous system (Antypa, Vuilleumier, & Rimmele, 2019). The purpose of this blog is hopes that you will begin to start looking at how music affects your emotions. Also, do the lyrics match what the genre you are listening to? Finally, when I was trying to find the right video for this blog, there are many music videos in which their lyrics don’t match the video story being told. For example, one of my favorites is Switchfoot’s popular song Dare you to Move. They released two different videos for this song. You can find the original video on this link. And to find the alternative video, please follow this link. It is the same song, but two different versions. The first version feels a little bit more, end of the world if you will, while the second video shows more about people helping people in physical accident. How does each visual presentation send a different message or story?

I encourage you to think about the different types of music you listen too. Do they impact your mood? If so, how? Does certain music encourage you to stay in a mood? Does other music help you feel better? Music has even been proven to show you that you can get up and dance and move your body. The visual of the music video can more than likely add or take away to the over all sensual experience. Be mindful of your own emotions, what you are taking in and even the smallest changes in the video of the cues can add so much more to the story of what the producer is trying to present.


References

Antypa, D., Vuilleumier, P., & Rimmele, U. (2019). Suppressing but not intensifying emotion decreases arousal and subjective sense of recollection. Emotion, 19(6), 950–963. https://doi.org/10.1037/emo0000493.supp (Supplemental)

Bahl, E. (Director). (2016). One Last Dance [Video]. Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axnQugFtB0g

Goldstein, E. B., & Brockmole, J. (2017). Sensation and perception (10th ed.). Independence, KY: Wadsworth-Cengage.

Foreman, J. (Writer). (2009) Dare You to Move (Alt. Version). [Video]. Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jE-Krlqi4fk

Foreman, J. (Writer). (2009) Dare You to Move (Alt. Version). [Video]. Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOTcr9wKC-o

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