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Why does music make us want to dance?

Posted by tinythoughtguy on November 6, 2013 at 10:40 PM

I have no idea what scientific field of study this may fall under; however, if somebody reading this has done any research as to why we dance when we hear certain sounds, or if somebody has simply read about a scientific explanation as to why we do this, please let me know.


Heck, even if it isn’t a scientifically researched explanation, I would enjoy hearing your opinion this phenomenon; why do certain sounds motivate us to move our physical bodies in a rhythmic (and in some cases spastic =;0) movement?


I know is that sound is a vibration that occurs at a specific range of frequencies, and I know that at a fundamental level subatomic particles etc. are also just vibrations, yet I do not see a “logical” reason as to why certain sounds cause us to move a rhythmic fashion, yet others have no effect or even make us cringe. When we hear a helicopter going overhead I doubt that many of us feel the urge to dance & when we hear nails on a chalkboard the furthest thing from our mind is to don our white polyester suit and gold chains while we bust a move on the dance floor.


On the other hand, it seems that regardless of our origins, regardless of our age, gender etc., when we hear the sounds emanating from a precisely shaped oil drum, harp, flute or electric guitar, many of us will have the desire to dance (predicated on the fact that the person playing it has some talent). So, in spite of the fact that we all have a unique history, different demographics, experiences etc., some sounds resonate with us, almost universally, and make us want to physically move our bodies in conjunction with this “music.” What is it in this “vibration” that is “moving” us?


If we take this a step further, it is my understanding that even when a baby is in the womb certain sounds will be picked up by the baby and cause it to move. Apparently there have also been numerous studies indicating that plants will react differently to different music. It seems then that certain vibrations transcend the logical mind and will somehow illicit pleasurable movements/responses from all sorts of living organisms exposed to it.


So my question is why do some sounds “resonate” with living organisms and, in the case of humans, make us want to dance, and yet when we are exposed to other sounds we are indifferent or we cringe? 

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