“I was in a friend’s dorm room in my third year as an undergraduate,” Psyche Loui says “Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 came up on the radio and I was instantly captivated.” A feeling akin to electricity flashes down her spine, her heart races – the music creates the same feelings today as it did back then. “There are these slight melodic and harmonic twists in the second half that always get me!” she says.
Psychologist-musician Psyche Loui and Wesleyan student Luke Harrison explor a phenomenon wherein music causes powerful sensations that mirror sexual orgasm in their paper Thrills, chills, frissons, and skin orgasms: toward an integrative model of transcendent psychophysiological experiences in music.
The Beeb’s David Robson has explored their fascinating work in which they try to connect specific musical features such as harmonic changes, leaps and melod appoggiaturas that seem to cause these sensations, with the areas of the brain and mechanisms that correspond with them
(Rachmaninoff’s compositions are said to be one of the most conducive to these feelings)
“Musical frisson elicit a physiological change that’s locked to a particular point in the music,” says Loui. Below is a playlist with songs that especially create these feelings – just for your weekend!
Why not play some of it for yourself (or others) here: bit.ly/1OEUM45
You can read more about it here on the BBC.