Psychoacoustic effects of lyrics and music without lyrics

Psychoacoustic effects of lyrics and music without lyrics

Here are some observations about the psychoacoustic effects of music with and without lyrics. The effects are different.

The psychoacoustic effects of lyrics affect emotion. The psychoacoustic effects of instrumental music affect mental disposition with less emotional impact than lyrics do.

Musicians who play instrumental music do not usually cry while playing at concerts but the audience sometimes does. Singers who sing songs with lyrics can become emotional and can be overcome by the emotion brought on by the lyrics. Their emotion interferes with their singing. Both the singer and the audience cry.

(1) Lyrics affect one’s emotion and they reinforce emotions.

(2) Music with lyrics and music without lyrics produce different psychoacoustic effects.

(3) Negative, hateful lyrics including lyrics of gangster rap reinforce negative biases and hateful emotions.

(4) Lyrics expressing lament, nostalgia, longing, bring on overpowering memories.

(5) Instrumental versions of a song without lyrics produce a different reaction. Their emotional impact is less than that of the same song sung with lyrics.

(5) The mind processes the instrumental version of a song differently than the version sung with lyrics.

Lyrics bring out memories and conscious thinking. Instrumental versions evoke memories but conscious thinking is somehow kept at bay. The mind seems to bypass thinking when enjoying instrumental music. However, the mind seems to be unable to bypass thinking when lyrics are heard.

Two mental processes seem to happen when lyrics are heard. Memory kicks in, and we consciously try to recall the lyrics and we want to sing along. Memory and thinking both become active.

When listening to instrumental music, the mind is more relaxed. It remains in a responsive mode rather than in an active mode. It is not actively and consciously recalling the lyrics.

By not having to actively recall the lyrics, the mind and the brain waves remain in a more restive state than when the mind is actively recalling lyrics.

(6) A song with lyrics brings out memories. The memories trigger conscious thinking and conscious remembering, and this conscious remembering can overwhelm and bring out more pronounced emotions.

(7) Instrumental version of the same song without lyrics also brings out memories, but the music itself seems to dampen conscious thinking, and lessens the emotional impact of the memory.

(8) Hateful lyrics bring out hateful emotions, and the negative emotions reinforce the general feeling of hate. This becomes a process of repetitive reinforcement of biased and negative emotions.

(9) Lyrics reinforce memory, and lyrics reinforce memorization. Those who are in the process of learning a foreign language often listen to songs sung in the foreign languge one is attempting to learn to reinforce their memorization of foreign vocabulary words. Prior memory of new foreign vocabulary words does not exist yet, so listening to the lyrics reinforces memorization.

(10) Instrumental music and instrumental versions of songs trigger memories but they have a noticeably lesser effect on the reinforcement of conscious or active remembering.

(11) Lyrics seem to bring about a feeling of personal involvement whereas instrumental music seems to create an “observer” state in the mind towards the memory brought out by the music. Without lyrics, the listener seems to be less involved in thinking about the memory or in actively remembering, and without lyrics, the listener seems to be less involved in or engulfed by the emotion brought on by the music.

(12) The psychoacoustic effect of Buddhist chanting

I already talked about the physiological effects of low pitch monotone Buddhist chanting. The psychological effect of low pitch monotone Buddhist chanting is a clearing of the mind of mental chatter and bringing about an unthinking state of mind. It has a psychologically tranquilizing effect. Low pitch monotone Buddhist chanting also eases anxiety. It brings mental relaxation and mental harmony that override mental chaos.

Low pitch monotone Buddhist chanting can also enhance mental focus. The chanting shuts down emotional responses.


About masterchensays

Victor Chen, herbalist, alternative healthcare lecturer, Chinese affairs analyst, retired journalist
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