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Why do certain singing voices make us cry?


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#1    SpiritWriter

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 02:42 PM




Sometimes I hear a song and when they hit a certain note or string of notes I actually cry. I can get teary eyed but sometimes it leads to sobbing (I've never went overboard with it but like a brief sob). I can feel it deep in me like something of real sadness or joy. So what are your thoughts about why this happens?

I think its a mixture of a pride for the person singing, realizing how talented humans actually are and can be, but the actual notes and the certain way they are administered, I think also do something to us chemically...

Edited by SpiritWriter, 13 September 2013 - 02:43 PM.

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#2    MacsMom

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 02:50 PM

Oh, girl, I have experienced body wracking sobs with some songs.  And basically, the entire final 10 min of Les Mis does that to me without fail.  It was a very embarrassing experience for my two best friends who took me to see the film Les Mis.  :blush:   I warned them, but they had no idea how bad I can actually be. :no:

For me, it's the tune, combined with the lyrics.  The beauty of the voice is secondary because I cry at Kid Rock's "Amen".  When the message pulls at your innermost emotions and frustrations, and you can identify with it on a deep personal level, it shakes your very soul.

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#3    Taun

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 02:51 PM

Yoko Ono's voice would make anyone cry... for a different reason...


#4    Ealdwita

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 03:19 PM

View PostTaun, on 13 September 2013 - 02:51 PM, said:

Yoko Ono's voice would make anyone cry... for a different reason...

Plenty more where she came from too!

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#5    freetoroam

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 03:47 PM

I cry everytime I watch "gone with the wind", nothing to do with Vivien Leigh or Clarke Cable, just a very good story line and good acting on their parts.

Edited by freetoroam, 13 September 2013 - 03:48 PM.


#6    BiffSplitkins

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 03:54 PM

View PostTaun, on 13 September 2013 - 02:51 PM, said:

Yoko Ono's voice would make anyone cry... for a different reason...
Her voice makes me cry until I throw up in mouth a little. :whistle:

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#7    SpiritWriter

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 06:31 AM

But what about the philosophy/psychology of the whole thing? What's your interpretation of the reason it happens?

Do certain songs make you cry, or certain voices? When I hear a song that makes me feel that way I get an instantaneous deep feeling of sadness and joy and the tears come quickly. I will sob but then stop myself. This could turn in to a real cry if I let myself. These types of cries are good to have on occasion but they are usually caused by pain, sometimes also as a release of the spirit, these are often seen as spiritual experiences, that's why there is so much falling out in the church.

I agree that it has much to do with the message and I don't think I could feel that way about a song that was against anything that I thought was song-worthy, but more than that it is a certain range of singing. I think this is expressed most often in opera music. It could be also that this range is different for different people.

When I hear a stranger sing, there is nothing sad. Why would I cry?

The letter kills but The Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:6

Non-ambiguity and non-contradiction are one sided and thus unsuited to express the incomprehensible. -Jung

#8    Still Waters

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 02:41 PM

A friend of mine used to cry when she heard the song 'Edelweiss' from 'The Sound of Music' film. That's because it always reminded her of her mother, it was the last film she took her to before she died. If we think hard enough I'm sure a lot of us can relate to music we hear in one way or another, happy or sad.

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#9    lightly

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 07:16 PM

It does seem like some voices convey more emotion .. not sure if it's because it's coming more from the heart of the singer, or due to their singing technique  .   I think both.

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#10    dlonewolf85

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 06:14 PM

I don't know but I when I watched The School of Rock movie for the first time, I did feel a lump in my throat, like I wanted to cry. I think the OP's on to something here...

Edited by dlonewolf85, 16 September 2013 - 06:15 PM.

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#11    rashore

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 06:24 PM

All the senses can trigger emotional response. Don't know the science of why though.

Your ad hominem connotes your sciolism. Now that is some funny commentary.

#12    SpiritWriter

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 06:37 AM

I was listening to Whitney Houston today and I do have to say she is still my favorite singer and her voice makes me cry.

The letter kills but The Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:6

Non-ambiguity and non-contradiction are one sided and thus unsuited to express the incomprehensible. -Jung

#13    sutemi

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 07:21 AM

I have always loved music, it has always been important to me. I love all kinds from heavy rock to classical, Western and Eastern. I can hear a particular piece of music and feel  a sort of tingling at the base of my neck and some music makes me shed a tear, music seems almost a language in its self, a communication beyond words. The words spoken by Morgan Freeman say it probably better than I could.

Music has been my best friend and at some times in my life my only friend. Why music does this I am not sure, a few things come mind like String theory for instance, the universe vibrating? Is it a fundamental element?The first Mahatma I heard talk called ‘Ashokanand ‘ way back in the 70s talked about a universal vibration that was centred in our hearts, that all other vibrations come from. The ‘Shabd’ the deep inner sound of the soul heard through deep meditation? Pythagoras called it ‘the music of the spheres’ seems there maybe far more to music than we can imagine. But beyond any (mad) theory I may have I can and do experience the beauty of music every day, such a great pleasure. I have had a week of Classical music since talking to a friend about the music we like and she shared some Mozart with me. Here’s a couple I have been blasting this week.
the flower duet. Sorry both clips are classical but its been a classical week of music for me.

Edited by sutemi, 19 October 2013 - 07:22 AM.


#14    longhairlover

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 02:42 AM

Sometimes, the sound of the singing translates almost literally into a physical expression of emotion. When you sob or laugh, it is a musical sound with a rhythm and a melody. It starts out high and goes down in steps as you go ah-haa-haa-haa, not like laughing or giggling, which starts low and bubbles upwards. The sobbing melody seems to be in a minor key, and the giggle melody is a major key (although I'm not 100% certain of this and would have to analyze a lot of recordings to prove it). A giggle is like an upwards-moving arpeggio in a major key, and a sob a downwards-moving minor arpeggio.

If you hear foreign people talking, and you don't know their language, you still recognize their tones of voice, and you recognize their laughter and their crying. The sounds of laughter and crying are universal to people of all cultures and all languages, so this musical 'melody' is somehow hard-programmed into our brain, unvarying and unchangeable. We also automatically recognize the cry of a whimpering dog or other animals.

When you hear a sound, your body tries to imitate the sound in your own voice box, and sometimes the sound requires a kind of strain which is like crying. It's a way of empathizing with the person who made the sound - you try to do the same thing they're doing, and you remember the emotion you felt the last time you made that type of sound. Making the same sort of movement in your throat triggers the memory of emotion.

I was reading a book called 'The World Until Yesterday,' by Jared Diamond. In the past, before people traveled a lot, before there were roads and cars, it was normal to have small tribes of people who spoke many different languages living next to each other. If you encountered a random stranger in the woods and you didn't speak each other's language, you could still recognize the sounds of their emotions in their tone of voice. This could save your life. Your life depended on knowing whether this stranger was a friend, or an enemy who was going to kill you. You could read their emotions in the sound of their voice if they talked to you and you didn't understand their language. You could understand the universal music of their voice.

You can also hear a 'nervous' or 'distrusting' tone of voice too, but I don't know its melody. I think it is a downward moving pitch.

When a song makes me cry, I feel like I hear the faint echoes of something I desperately need and cannot find in this life. I feel like it's something I lost a long time ago in my childhood. It's something that I cannot express, but others can.

Different people are moved by different songs because our personality types are different. Some people love songs that I hate, and I love songs that other people hate (this is a problem at my workplace, because other people decide what we get to hear on the radio all day long!). I cried with Les Miserables too. For me, the words have to match the emotion that I am struggling to express but cannot express. I haven't gone hunting for music in the past few years, long story, but I desperately need to - I don't have any music to listen to at the moment. I know I cried when I listened to 'We Will Become Silhouettes' by The Postal Service. '...where the light bends at the cracks, and I'm screaming at the top of my lungs, pretending that the echoes belong to someone, someone I used to know.'  But I'm sure other people will hate that song and won't feel the slightest emotion from it at all.  People are different.
I need to write my own music, but don't have enough free time at the moment.


#15    Teuta

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 02:52 AM

Music that you find pleasing is known to trigger the release of dopamine in the brain hence why people can get goosebumps listening to certain music.

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