Music that brings chills, or tears

What music makes you stop whatever you’re doing and listen? What songs make you cry?

I’d love to know. Leave me a comment at the end of the post.

One song that undoes me every time is “Silent Night” by candlelight on Christmas Eve. My family knows that I’m a puddle during that hymn, every time. It takes me back to childhood services in a small town church, and to the birth of my daughter on Christmas Eve, and to my father who died shortly before Christmas twenty years ago. The simple hymn ties everything together from my past and gives me hope for the future.

Some songs move us because they remind us of someone we love — a father, mother, grandparent, child or friend.

 “You’ve Got a Friend” James Taylor, written by Carole King

Songs that are haunting and sad and then optimistic and hopeful, acknowledge the lows and highs and tells us to look for the triumph after the despair.

“Bridge Over Troubled Water” Simon and Garfunkel

“Nights in White Satin” The Moody Blues

The music of our youth can instantly transport us back to a certain time and place. Where were you when you were listening to The Moody Blues, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles . . .? This Loggins and Messina song takes me back to my days working for Wilderness Tours Whitewater Rafting.

“Watching the River Run” Loggins & Messina

A couple of friends of mine are opera fans. Listen to this selection from Dialogues des Carmélites and see if the metallic slice of the guillotine makes your hair stand on end.

Dialogues des Carmélites (final scene – Salve Regina)

Music moves us when it gives us something to believe in even if we don’t want to. Music connects us with something greater than ourselves. I’ll leave you with this combination of “Scotland the Brave” and “Amazing Grace.” It gives me chills AND brings me to tears.

“Scotland the Brave” and “Amazing Grace” at an Andre Rieu performance

13 thoughts on “Music that brings chills, or tears

  1. marianbeaman

    In the line up here, I identify most with Bridge Over Troubled Waters and Andre Rieu’s Amazing Grace. In my opinion, musical lyrics bypass the brain (at least the critical thinking parts) and go straight to the heart.

    Interestingly, our daughter was born 3 days be before Christmas on December 22. We named her Crista Joy.

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Oooh, I love her name. How beautiful. I think you’re right about the words. We talked about music in a church group I’m participating in, and it was interesting to discover that for some people the words are very important when it comes to favourite pieces of music. For others, the words didn’t matter as much as the music. We all process differently. That’s why there’s so many different kinds of music, I guess.

  2. roughwighting

    Oh my gosh, you hit a musical nerve here (for me) Arlene. When I was in my 30s and 40s I’d visit my dad and smile at him gently as he listened to his records – he loved jazz and patriotic music, and at the end of each record tears would flow down his face. My dad was a man’s man, but the older he got, the more tearful he got (only with music). Well, guess what? Now when I hear a beautiful song orchestral or voice, I get teary. The songs you mention here? Absolutely. It’s embarrassing for me to go to any musical concerts (including my 3rd grade grandkid’s) because I start crying (as unobtrusively as possible). Last weekend my guy and I went to a memorial service of a man we didn’t know (but we know his wife). I figured I’d be safe from emotion, but then his granddaughter (20) sang a beautiful ballad about love, and yup, I “lost” it. There is something about music that “hits” a spot in our souls, don’t you think?

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Yes, and sometimes we can use it to change moods. I was baking the other day, and that’s not something I love to do. I put on some upbeat Beatles music, and it energized me for the morning. I find it helps to get me motivated for cleaning too.


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