Impact of Musical genres

Physical, mental and emotional impact of musical genres

Genre Impact


Sacred, hymns, gospel, shamanic drumming



Grounding, deep space, spiritual awareness, transcend and release pain


Gregorian chants



Regular breathing, openness, lowered stress, contemplation



New age


Expansion of space and time, calm wakefulness, gentle detachment from the body



Slower baroque (Bach, Vivaldi)



Security, precision, orderliness


Classical (Mozart, Haydn)



Lightness, visionary, regal, three dimensional perception



Romantic (Tchaikovsky, Chopin)



Emotion, warmth, pride, romance, patriotism



Impressionist (Debussy, Ravel)



Feeling, dream images, day dreaming


African American – Jazz, blues, Dixieland, reggae


Joyous, heartfelt feelings, sly, playful, ironic


Latin – Salsa, rhumba, samba



Sexy, heartpounding, body stimulating


Big band, pop, country/western



Centered, feeling of goodness, contained movement






Aggressive movement, building or releasing tension



Heavy metal, punk, grunge, rap



Animating the nervous system, rebellious behaviour



  • These impacts might change considering the audience cultural background
  • Can be used conversely and create a sense of decontextualisation

Related effects: Emotional inventory
Related induced effect: Film modes and genres
Related inductor effect: Context variables; Narrative

(Sonnenschein, 2001)

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