March 23, 2009

Universal Language of Song

Forget English or Spanish. The real universal language is music!

A new study reveals the emotions communicated in our Western music can be understood across cultural and language barriers. Researchers traveled to the Northern region of Cameroon, Africa to see whether native Africans who had never been exposed to the Western musical style before could appreciate the emotional aspects of the music.

They found listeners could recognize emotional expressions of happiness, sadness and fear more often than could be explained by chance.

"This indicates that these emotional expressions conveyed by the Western musical excerpts can be universally recognized, similar to the largely universal recognition of human emotional facial expression and emotional prosody," study authors wrote.

SOURCE: Current Biology, published online March 19, 2009