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Sad Music

Sad music has become increasingly popular according to a recent study, but why do people choose to listen to it?

Helena Merriman asks why people listen to sad music. A recent study has shown that sad music has become increasingly popular, but why do people choose to listen to it, and what goes on in the brain and the body when they do so?

Helena speaks to Japanese pianist and music researcher Dr Ai Kawakami who has some surprising answers about some of the positive feelings people experience when they listen to sad music. American writer Amanda Stern tells Helena why she regularly listens (and cries) to sad music and British composer Debbie Wiseman, known for her moving TV and film scores, explains what makes a piece of music sound sad.

You’ll also hear pieces of sad music suggested by BBC listeners from all over the world.

(Photo: A woman with headphones on, listening to sad music. BBC Copyright)

Available now

18 minutes

Last on

Mon 23 Sep 2013 08:32GMT

Music Played

  • Billie Holiday

    Gloomy Sunday

  • James Taylor

    Riding on a Railroad

  • Joni Mitchell


  • The Beatles

    I Want to Hold your Hand

  • Kylie Minogue

    Can't Get You Out Of My Head

  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Prelude in B minor, number 24

  • Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka

    La Separation

  • Felix Mikhailovich Blumenfeld

    Etude Sur Mer

  • Arvo Pärt

    Spiegel im Spiegel

  • Djivan Gasparyan

    I Am Outcast By You

  • The Rankin Family

    Chi Mi Na Morbheanna

  • Oliver Mtukudzi


  • Víctor Jara

    Te Recuerdo Amanda

  • محمدرضا شجريان


  • Chris Isaak

    Wicked Games

  • Samuel Barber

    Adagio for Strings


  • Fri 20 Sep 2013 18:32GMT
  • Sat 21 Sep 2013 22:32GMT
  • Sun 22 Sep 2013 11:32GMT
  • Mon 23 Sep 2013 01:32GMT
  • Mon 23 Sep 2013 08:32GMT

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