Music can be an incredible way to express emotions, and listening to emotional instrumental songs may help alleviate your depressive state. Unfortunately, however, it may not always be easy finding the appropriate tune to fit our moods and express ourselves properly.
Studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) demonstrate that when listening to music that provokes happy or sad emotions without words, your brain activates structures associated with those emotions – including amygdala, claustrum, and putamen.
1. John Bayless – “Sono Andati?”
John Bayless is an award-winning self-taught pianist and composer, adept at merging classical training with cutting edge technologies to produce dynamic improvisations that reflect his talent for musical experimentation. The Puccini Album: Arias for Piano marks John’s crowning achievement.
“Sono Andati?” from Puccini’s La Boheme is unquestionably one of the granddaddy pieces in music history, as it stands as an outstanding example of classical pieces being turned into modern instrumental masterpieces. This powerful music will transport you instantly to another world; perfect for meditational and relaxing sessions alike – perfect either alone or shared among family and friends!
2. Edward Elgar – “Nimrod”
Edward Elgar composed this symphonic variation as one of his final works before his death in 1920. It has become a signature piece representing Englishness, often featured at patriotic events like opening ceremonies of London Olympics or National Services of Remembrance.
In 1899, Elgar wrote to August Jaeger of Novello & Company and described how he had started sketching variations on an original theme. Each variation bore its own name – some with initials while others remained more subtle – with one dedicated specifically to Alice – the composer’s wife at that time.
Elgar dedicated each variation, “Hew David Steuart-Powell”, Richard Baxter Townshend” and William Meath Baker”, to one or more friends such as Hew David Steuart-Powell, Richard Baxter Townshend or William Meath Baker; Nimrod” was dedicated specifically to Jaeger, whom Elgar greatly respected for both advice and criticism.
Elgar would often experience periods of depression and lack of trust in his own compositions, turning to Jaeger for advice during these trying times – reminding him of Beethoven’s beauty even during such difficult moments.
Although the variation is serene, it does feature powerful emotional moments that will cause its audience to reach for tissues. These come via long phrases with swelling dynamics and undulating melodies which lead to an emotionally charged climax.
Through the piece, musicians are encouraged to perform variations as though their lives depended on it – a testament to its uplifting power that often makes its way onto funeral and other solemn occasions.
3. Claude Debussy – “Clair de Lune”
Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” is one of his best-known works, beloved by pianists worldwide and widely considered one of his masterpieces. Composed in 1890 as part of his four-movement piano suite called “Suite Bergamasque,” Debussy revised and refined it multiple times before publishing it in 1905.
This piece was inspired by Paul Verlaine’s poem, “Clair de Lune,” which captured his romantic dreams as well as capturing longing and exhilaration only experienced through dreams. The imagery captured captures that part of love which can only be experienced within dreams.
Debussy used poetry extensively in his musical compositions. He found great inspiration for many of his compositions from poetry he loved so much during his lifetime. This piece stands as an exceptional example.
Influences included Baroque music, which originated in the 1600s, and Impressionism – a style of music which began emerging after 1840s – which focused on creating an atmosphere related to its subject rather than disrupting tone-pictures.
Clair de Lune by Debussy is an exquisite example of how composers can use music to convey emotion in an eloquent and emotive manner. His use of moonlight and water to convey feelings of love, ecstasy and regret in both beautiful and tragic ways.
Debussy’s classic of French impressionism, this piece has become immensely popular in various contexts such as film and video game soundtracks. He wrote it shortly before his death in 1918; thus it holds great importance to him personally.
4. Eugene Ysaye – “Poeme Elegiaque”
Eugene Ysaye was an internationally-acclaimed violinist and composer born in Liege, Belgium. Though initially studying under his father (also an accomplished violinist) as well as being expelled from the Liege Conservatoire due to poor attendance records, Ysaye managed to develop into one of the greatest talents ever seen onstage.
His playing career was cut short due to diabetes’s effects on his hands, yet later he turned to conducting and went on to lead the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra as its music director from 1918-1922. His legacy can still be heard today through numerous works he left behind such as six Solo Sonatas for violin op 27 which are played and appreciated today.
The Poeme Elegiaque by Ysaye was his inaugural string instrument and orchestra piece, embodying an expansive sense of melancholy that would come to characterise much of his music and setting the scene for later works by him.
Marie Cornaz, an expert on Ysaye and its music, writes in her preface to this edition that Poeme elegiaque “has always been an essential component of my editing practice due to both its distinctive quality of sound and richness of its musical structure.” Ray Iwazumi’s expertise as both performer and scholar proves particularly helpful for creating fingerings for accompanying marked parts.
Although Ysaye’s works for violin and orchestra may not be as widely performed or encountered as his Solo Sonatas, there has been increasing collector interest in them. David Oistrakh recorded some of these grand works himself while more recently David Raskin has recorded some as well.
5. Frédéric Chopin – “Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2”
Chopin wrote his Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2, an exquisite composition written at 20 years old and now widely recognized, when he was just 20. Featuring intricate repeats of its main melody thrice with each repetition adding more ornamentation than before.
Chopin excelled at using traditional song structures to his advantage, and this composition exemplifies this. Like many composers, he took popular radio and TV songs and turned them into something truly original with just minor changes here and there.
Nocturnes are romantic piano pieces inspired by the night. Short and sweet works with character themes are typically included. When performed on violin instead of piano, nocturnes become even more captivating as violinists can bring out all of its emotional depth.
Nocturnes are so widely loved because they can be played in so many different ways, from soft, delicate melodies to louder, dramatic ones. Additionally, Nocturnes provide background music when characters recall memories or express deep emotions.
The piece is written in 12/8 time, creating a slow and delicate melody with an almost waltz-like structure to maintain its mood throughout. Listening to it can help relax you before bedtime. It makes an enchanting piece to listen to before sleep comes.
This piece is perfect for both novice and seasoned pianists alike, offering an incredible, breathtaking piece to enjoy over and over. Additionally, its rich compositional structure provides an invaluable opportunity to hone your writing abilities.