Music is a drug

As if you—our faithful readers and listeners—didn’t already know that. But Discovery posted a piece on how dopeamine is released in your brain when you hear that climax in a tune you love. Think of all that tension at the end of A Day In The Life as you wait for the resolution (and subsequent compressor noise as the piano fades out). The obvious example, of course.

“It is amazing that we can release dopamine in anticipation of something abstract, complex and not concrete,” [Valorie] Salimpoor said. “This is the first study to show that dopamine can be released in response to an aesthetic stimulus.”

Does this explain why teenagers are so passionate about their music? Why Grateful Dead fans followed the band from town to town? Why a devoted opera buff will see endless productions of Wagner’s Ring Cycle? It certainly seems like a step in that direction.

Whereas this may not fully explain why Dead fans followed them around—pretty sure most reports point to a different set of drugs—I can certainly pinpoint the feeling they are describing while listening.

Thanks to buddy Ray for passing on that story.