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Dansedescygnes's avatar

Has music that wasn't even sad ever triggered a tearful or otherwise emotional response?

Asked by Dansedescygnes (2881points) May 9th, 2009

I don’t know why, but I react strongly sometimes to the finales of epic classical music; sometimes it just makes me feel like I’m going to cry, not in a sad way, just because it’s so ridiculously spectacular. Sometimes pieces I know that aren’t sad (not necessarily a finale) conjure up sentimental images in my mind and that’s part of the reason why that happens.

One such example of a piece that has done this to me multiple times (at the end of the piece) is Pines of Rome by Respighi. If you’ve ever seen Fantasia 2000, it’s the “flying whale song” (that’s what my friend called it…lol) and it’s just so grand…and it’s a piece of music about trees. For me, at the end I picture someone standing on top of a mountain looking down at all creation…lol…I don’t know, I’m weird like that.

This is the finale to Pines of Rome here:

The Fantasia 2000 version is better, though. You should see me at the symphony when there’s epic music like that…my heart is beating a mile a minute…it’s actually kind of annoying and I really wish it didn’t happen, but oh well…

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21 Answers

KatawaGrey's avatar

The song “I Fought the Law” reminds me of my dead uncle. He had been in and out of jail a few times in his life so it was a little family joke that the song was Uncle Stu’s theme song. When I hear it now, I miss him.

Dansedescygnes's avatar


There’s a whole collection of music (mostly choral music) that makes me think of my dead grandmother and her house that I loved so much and visited so many times as a kid…. :(

FGS's avatar

I have LOTS of songs that remind me of friends that have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most I can’t hear anymore…the memories are just too harsh.

knitfroggy's avatar

When ever I hear Enter Sandman by Metallica I get nostalgic for high school. That was like our school theme song for some reason. Every time we had some sort of assembly, they would play that song while we all filed into the auditorium or gym.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

I have trouble with songs that I associate with certain people or events, like James Taylor’s Carolina in My Mind. Classical music and opera is some of the most emotive music, so an emotional response is perfectly warranted. I think the composers would be glad that you had an emotional response – music is meant to evoke emotion with the tempo, pitch, intensity, crescendos, loudness, etc.

peyton_farquhar's avatar

I think that this song may pass as sad, but “Love Song” both the original by the Cure and the cover version by Tori Amos can make me cry like an autistic child.

Supacase's avatar

“You Are My Sunshine” has always made me sad. When I was young I couldn’t understand “so I hung my head and I cried.” All I could picture was someone hanging themselves up by the neck on a coat rack. It has always felt like a sad song to me.

knitfroggy's avatar

@Supacase That is a cute story! I love that song. My grandma and I always used to sing it when I was a kid. We’d also sing “Let me call you sweetheart”...kinda makes me misty thinking about it…

mcbealer's avatar

Carmina Burana does that for me. Your description of this phenomenon complete with pounding heart is very poignant and holds true for me as well!

filmfann's avatar

My father used to sing “How Great Thou Art”, while kissing himself on the arms. It was a cute little thing he did, and we all loved it.
When my dad died, one of the songs played at the funeral was “How Great Thou Art”, and it was a good thing no one in the crowd could see the family, because they wouldn’t understand why we were all laughing.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Yes. Every few weeks a new treasure appears in my e-mail and most times makes me teary in good ways.

Strauss's avatar

I was sharing this story with a friend just yesterday

I was at a music festival when I heard of my father’s death and the birth of my niece on the same day. It was Saturday, and I couldn’t catch a plane until the next evening. Sunday morning, there was a prayer service, with music performed by many of the artists that were there to perform on stage. Tom Chapin, who had heard about my father and my niece, sang his brother Harry’s All My Life’s a Circle. I started crying, and felt many many arms surround me with hugs of comfort. For years I coul not sing that song without crying, and now I include it almost every time I perform.

Pcrecords's avatar

Elbow playing “one day like this” at the end of their Blackpool show brought a lump to my throat… happy crying, its an experience.

hearkat's avatar

Music is an outlet for me… I have cried tears of anger and rage singing along with some Alice In Chains songs (for example) and purging pent-up emotions towards people who have hurt me.

Like others, there are songs that are associated with people or times in my life that can render me misty or mournful.

And there are some occassions when I am moved by the beauty of a piece of music and/or awed by the gift people have to create such works.

arnbev959's avatar

This song always gives me a strange feeling. I’ve never heard another song that sounds quite like it. Since it’s so unique I think whatever emotion it was that I had the first time I heard it always sort of comes back when I listen to it.

Strauss's avatar

Another song that for a long time moved me to tears every time is The Living Years by Mike and The Mechanics. Again, I first heard it shortly after losing my dad.

hearkat's avatar

“To Zion” by Lauryn Hill
About the joy of having her son (an unplanned pregnancy just as her career was taking off). My son was born unders similar circumstances, in that he was not planned (I was on the pill) and I had started Graduate School 2 days prior to learning that I was pregnant.

Being a mom has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. But it has also been tough, and the hardest things I’ve had to do in my life have been to protect my son. He and I have been through a lot together.

Bittersweet tears stream from my eyes every time I listen to that song; because he is my greatest joy, but I wish it didn’t have to be so hard for him.

iquanyin's avatar

certainly. music is powerful, and goes straight to the emotions. (does this in movies, too.)

smack's avatar

“So Much Love” by the Rocket Summer. Such a happy song, but it makes me want to punch through a window because of the emotional association.

Nullo's avatar

Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World. Once, it existed in my mind as a happy song about how nice everything is, nearly guaranteed to put me in a good mood.
Then I read Hotel, which chronicles a gene bank computer’s struggle for survival through the fall and rise of Earth’s biosphere (including mankind’s last gasps in the tale – aggravated by the deliberate exclusion of human genes in the bank, meaning that there was no coming back. This is portrayed as a good thing, which is insulting.). They called the computer ‘Louis,’ and this was his theme song – he was the only one that was going to get to see the wonderful world.

Now I can’t hear the song without feeling bummed out.

Earthgirl's avatar

The song that probably makes me cry the most when I hear it is is (I’m Everything I am)Because You Loved Me sung by Celine Dion. There is more than one person I could apply it to, and thinking of those people when I hear it really makes tears stream down my face. But they’re tears of happiness that I have been blessed with that love.

A close second would be Unforgettable sung by Nat King Cole. It was my parent’s song and I can’t count the times I saw them dance to it so that’s what I see in my mind’s eye .
Those are sentimental reasons for crying but really any music that elicits a strong emotional reaction or that achieves artistic heights of perfection can do it to me. The music doesn’t have to be sad music but I’m more likely to cry if I am feeling either very happy or very sad when I hear it.

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