Why do major and minor chords in music affect us the way they do?

Analogous

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Why does music played in major chords and keys tend to be more uplifting, whereas minor chords are more poignant and sad? Is this an innate reaction? Or is it a learned, cultural reaction and therefore not universal to all human societies?

 

k-pad

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Why does music played in major chords and keys tend to be more uplifting, whereas minor chords are more poignant and sad? Is this an innate reaction? Or is it a learned, cultural reaction and therefore not universal to all human societies?

A question I have asked myself after having watched so many movies where the scene is stupid but the music is rising from inside the pits of my stomach!
Maybe we should ask Illayaraja and Vishal B straight up if any south/bolly film journalists are around here!

Edit: Guardian is copying forum style. I thought some expert would have answered.

Edit 2: I am tone deaf, but any decent violin chord moves me to tears despite my nature :(
 
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alpha1

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Most of the emotions are based on our exposures and experiences - since we have become accustomed to listening to a particular music associated with a particular emotion right from childhood.

However, some of the emotional response to music does have evolutionary angle to it. In fact music's origin is also a part of human evolution (social gatherings, bonding, intermingling etc).

E.g. lower frequencies are associated with "sadder" emotions whereas higher frequencies are associated with "happier" emotions. Higher frequencies with distortion/overtones is associated with anger, sudden start/stop is related to surprise. IF you observe this mirrors closely with the human voice/sounds. And this has evolutionary (hence universal) basis.
 
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Anurag

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there are energy centers in our body and they have their frequency of vibration.. people have different level of activeness of these.. in fact the Indian Classical music was devised or originated as an outer expression and enhancement of many such things
 

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I seriously doubt anybody would be qualified to answer this other than someone who practises music , or knows music theory. We had such a forum member , Asit , who is a practising classical musician and a Phd in theoretical physics , currently professor at Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata , besides being a veteran audiophile.

He was very active on the forum till 3-4 years back and his posts were very educative.
Unfortunately he decided to stay away due to attitude issues on the forum of some members.
 
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