Document Type


Publication Date



“Even the darkness has arms,” sings the band Barr Brothers.[1] Depression is a mental disorder defined as persistent feelings of sadness that result in decreased energy and lack of interest in activities. Depression affects about 6.7% of people in the U.S.[2] One of the most difficult aspects of depression is figuring out how to cope with it. Therapy is one step, but what can a depressed person do when they are alone to feel better? Depression necessitates a healthy outlet that allows the individual to purge intrusive feelings. Listening to sad music can help ease the intensity of depression. It seems contradictory that depressed people would want to listen to music that makes them sadder, right? However, it is my belief that sad music has become a cathartic way to express negative feelings. A quick search on Google provides you with countless websites offering advice on how to help a loved one with depression because no one really knows how. A slip of the tongue can actually do more harm than good. Sad music is important to our modern culture and lives because it validates the invalidated. One of the major symptoms of depression is feeling lonely. The depressed individual feels as though those close to them do not understand what they are going through. To an extent, they are right. Depression is very hard to comprehend by someone who has not experienced it. This invisible barrier between the depressed person and their loved one isolates the two from each other. Music gives a voice to the silent and a peek into what they are really going through. Specifically, sad music can provide support and acceptance when others cannot. In this way, sad music promotes social progress because it lends a voice to those silently struggling with mental health issues. Through my research, I will argue that sad music is a form of validation for people with and without depression because it provides catharsis and comfort in times when both are needed. I will support my argument by referring to specific studies on the effects sad has on people.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.