Watching music – revealing expressions (2023)


Spotify is released every year in DecemberSpotify package, a summary of each user's music trends throughout the year - and into the decade of 2019, or as long as you're a Spotify user - this summary lets you know which artists you've listened to the most, how many different countries your music comes from from, and a whole lot more Facts that a computer can read from big data. Some Twitter reactions for reference for people's reaction.

Watching music – revealing expressions (1)

For my personal project I wanted to look at my Spotify data. I have to admit it wasn't a very original thing at first, but as I hit more hurdles it grew into much more than just a data visualization project and I like to think it has now wrapped a data humanities approach at . Spotify.

I was able to get all my Spotify data in JSON format from their website through a much more detailed process than I thought. I had to request it, wait about 4 days, and then the file was available for download for a maximum of 14 days. My original intent was to take all my streaming data and see how many songs I've played by each artist and how long I've been streaming those songs. I think my music is very diverse, but is it really? Do I listen to the same songs by different artists or different songs by the same artists?

I decided to use RAW for visualization, but quickly realized that it was a lot of data to process. So I narrowed it down to months, to no avail. I have tried 10 days extract but still not quite. After that it took 3-5 days, but it was difficult because some days I really spent a lot of time on Spotify and it messed up the visualization. So I decided to use itGoogle random number generatorto select days from each month.

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Then I started playing around with the possible charts and settled on two. The circle pack makes it possible to clearly see the diversity of artists, as each artist is represented by a circle, and how many times I have listened to them, as the size of the circles represents milliseconds played (Spotify uses the very small unit ms, I'm not sure). Why, but I suppose it's possible to convert ms to seconds if you then convert seconds to hours, 100ms to a second, 60 seconds to a minute, 60 minutes to an hour, etc. Anyway, that's beside the point. ). Then I used the cluster dendrograms which again restores artist diversity but also allows me to see how many songs there were by each artist and in some cases how long it took which actually allows me to tell where diverse my music was.

Rounding out the narrative is a heading I added and a short one-pager describing what amused me the most that day.



Today I forgot that I am bilingual.

I didn't hear a single English song all day and listened to a lot of music. Did I just avoid music in different languages? I also see many one hit wonders in the dendrogram.


One soul for a multitude of souls?

English artists appeared, but my number one artist, Yuri Buenaventura (both according to Spotify Wrapped and my heart), is nowhere to be seen. This is probably one of the very special dates that I have not heard any of his songs.


evil who?

The circle package suggests that I am tallbad rabbitdamn, but it seems I actually really liked one of his songs. It's quite funny to think about your stage name and how I use it in an academic setting. I didn't realize how much I was interested in this song. That was probably the day I played his song in the car four times because my brother said I was too obsessed with it.


It looks more like me

Artist-wise, this is how I imagine my usual Spotify day, but so far I don't think it's quite right? do i really know myself When I look back at how long I've been playing them, I feel like I haven't really enjoyed the songs.

One of the songs says it played 0ms? It raises a lot of questions, e.g. B. are all the songs I'm skipping here? This will mess up my dates so I'll keep an eye on it.

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Am I going through a Shakira phase today?

Shakira listens a lot these days and only realizes that I can tell if I've played some songs at different times in the same day, which I seem to have done a lot that day.


I'm taking a shower

Several things indicate that I only listened to music while bathing that day, and that was it. I don't know how I feel about being able to tell what I've done just by looking at my music data. Here are hints:

Duration is 10-15 minutes, songs were listened to in full and not skipped, so they were probably handpicked, which I usually do before a bath.


The one where Myke Towers sang

I completely forgot how obsessed I was with the song.Si se da” (embedded on this page not just for space), Shakira is also part of the party again.

I tend to refuse to listen to reggaeton much, but it looks like Spotify is proving me a liar.


It was definitely another shower

It just made me realize that I"how I love her"A lot in the shower, why is that?" Doesn't exactly sound like a shower song to me, but it is?



The day I tried Latin jazz as studio music

I noticed that my friends were playing jazz music to study, so I tried to do the same with Latin jazz, but it didn't go well.

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Nothing to see here?

When I look at this day, I see nothing worth mentioning, nor does it trigger any memory or concrete thought. I guess that embodies the problem of small amounts of data. It doesn't really allow me to see everything, but I think it's ok.


Who are all these people whispering in my ear?

I don't know who half of these people are or how I ended up listening to them. My best guess is that at some point I picked a particular song and listened to itRadiobuilt around it and now I have no idea what the algorithm was playing.



I had completely forgotten about that day, but when I looked at it, it came back to me. I was a little homesick and missed my mom, so I played the more upbeat songs of her favorite artist, Ricardo Arjona, who I also liked.



A gym full of strangers

I saw these data sets and the amount of circles immediately made me think: Who are all these people? But when I went to the second visualization, I recognized the song names. I realized these were from the various gym playlists I'd been hearing lately.


Jorge Drexler gave me the algorithm

The unusually large circle with the name Jorge Drexler put me off because I only hear one of his songs. So why was it so prominent? Turns out I wasn't wrong. I listened to each song and remembered how much I liked it. When I saw this, it hit me how many songs I really like, I hardly ever listen to because I've flooded my Spotify with things I moderately enjoy, and so the odds of getting a particular song are lower.


I'm going on autumn holiday

When I saw the number of circles, I just thought: How long have I been listening to music? I checked my google calendar and found that I was flying away for fall break that day and that's why I've been listening to music for so long. In fact, I realized I heard some songs I usually skip, which means they were probably playing while I was sleeping.


The algorithm gave me Jorge Drexler... again?

I think that's kind of a counterexample to my last claim. It made me realize that I just skip so many songs and end up only listening to the songs I really like.

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Another shower



I am officially listening to my first podcast

Two recent graduates from my school, one of them a recent NYUAD graduate, Sebastian Rojas, have been recording a podcast for a while. I had never heard of it, but they were interviewing one of my teachers, so I thought I would listen. That was the day I got hooked and I still hear it.


Another shower

To be honest, it felt less fun and scary after the third part.


Looking at the general patterns that were forming, I could see that my Spotify Wrapped was building up, but I liked even more the patterns that I could see beyond that. It was interesting to find that every time I showered I would hear a certain song that had an interesting pattern and I realized I didn't know the name which was a sign that I had a new playlist or that I left my music "comfort zone".

Seeing my music habits was actually a very good way to remind myself how my semester went. The appearance of some specific artists reminded me of different phases I went through, like when Post Malone came on because my roommate showed me the new album, or when I actually went through a Shakira phase. While it was nice to be able to see certain patterns because they were random days, how random they looked to me was the whole point.

When I realized I was taking a shower, I realized I could recognize a lot of my music. Those days were easy to spot because they were isolated. I only listened to music while taking a shower. It's harder to see in larger data sets, but if I listen carefully to them, I can end up telling a lot more about it every day.

The last thought about seeing myself was triggered by the things I didn't remember when I realized that it was quite difficult for me to remember the reasons I did something or listen closely to someone had and it made me to think about it really philosophically. The main question it raised was: How can I claim that this person is or was me when I meet my quantified self? Without knowing him, I can't say why he (recorded in the data behind me) did anything. So who am I and who is he?


This is a zip file containing the days broken down in the analysis and my entire streaming history from July to December.

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QS_sliced-dataPick up


Why do I express my feelings through music? ›

Whenever we're making music, we leave the realm of social conditioning and conscious thought. Instead, we're in direct contact with our emotions. Whenever we're engaged in creativity, such as music-making, we're present in the moment. This presence allows us to get in touch with our emotions and express them.

What are the 7 Microexpressions? ›

He traveled the world studying emotions in other cultures and found that there are seven human facial expressions called microexpressions that are universally understood – happiness, sadness, anger, disgust, contempt, fear, & surprise. After even more study, Dr.

What do facial expressions mean in music? ›

Facial expressions communicate a song's intentions to the audience. For example, if a song is rageful and dark, angry facial expressions can alert onlookers to the undercurrent of fury in the music. And vice versa, if a piece is light and airy, singers can indicate this through smiles and softer expressions.

What is it called when music makes you feel a certain way? ›

Frisson (UK: /ˈfriːsɒn/ FREE-son, US: /friːˈsoʊn/ free-SOHN French: [fʁisɔ̃]; French for "shiver"), also known as aesthetic chills or psychogenic shivers, is a psychophysiological response to rewarding stimuli (including music, films, stories, and rituals) that often induces a pleasurable or otherwise positively- ...

Do I have musical anhedonia? ›

Musical anhedonia is a neurological condition characterized by an inability to derive pleasure from music. People with this condition, unlike those suffering from music agnosia, can recognize and understand music but fail to enjoy it.

Why does music evoke memories? ›

Music also often captures our attention, due to the way it affects our minds, bodies and emotions. When music draws our attention, this increases the likelihood that it will be encoded in memory together with details of a life event.

What is contemptuous body language? ›

Posture of contempt

It's common to “puff up” one's chest, have upright posture, look “down your nose” at others, and/or roll one's eyes.

What is a Duchenne marker smile? ›

The Duchenne smile is an expression that signals true enjoyment. It occurs when the zygomaticus major muscle lifts the corners of your mouth at the same time the orbicularis oculi muscles lift your cheeks and crinkle your eyes at the corners.

What are the six basic emotions that facial expressions reflect? ›

Specifically, the universality hypothesis proposes that six basic internal human emotions (i.e., happy, surprise, fear, disgust, anger, and sad) are expressed using the same facial movements across all cultures (4–7), supporting universal recognition.

What do facial expressions reveal? ›

Facial expressions are also among the most universal forms of body language. The expressions used to convey fear, anger, sadness, and happiness are similar throughout the world. Research even suggests that we make judgments about people's intelligence based upon their faces and expressions.

What do facial expressions tell you about someone? ›

Facial expressions of emotion are probably the most important signal of the face because they tell us about people's personalities, emotions, motivations, or intent. They are not only signs of people's internal states; they are also signals to others to act in certain ways, providing messages for social coordination.

Do facial expressions show emotion? ›

Emotional faces communicate both the emotional state and behavioral intentions of an individual.

Can music convey sensations? ›

Music and Mood

The limbic system, which is involved in processing emotions and controlling memory, “lights” up when our ears perceive music. The chills you feel when you hear a particularly moving piece of music may be the result of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that triggers sensations of pleasure and well-being.

What is it called when music changes your mood? ›

Emotional Mimicry.

Music doesn't only evoke emotions at the individual level, but also at the interpersonal and intergroup level. Listeners mirror their reactions to what the music expresses, such as sadness from sad music, or cheer from happy music.

What is it called when music turns you on? ›

By definition, auralism means that you are aroused by sound. How this looks, though, can vary from person to person. "People that are specifically aroused by sounds are practicing mindful sensuality without even realizing it.

What causes music agnosia? ›

Music agnosia is most commonly acquired; in most cases it is a result of bilateral infarction of the right temporal lobes. In his article, Satoh states "when pure word deafness, auditory sound agnosia, and receptive amusia occur simultaneously, the state is called auditory agnosia" (Satoh 2007).

How rare is musical anhedonia? ›

Musical anhedonia is rare, affecting approximately 3% of the population. Psyche Loui's lab found structural differences between the brains of those who consistently get a physiological response to music, such as chills or goosebumps and those who do not.

Why do I have musical intelligence? ›

This intelligence includes sensitivity to the rhythms, melodies, and tones of a piece of music. Children may show musical precocity due to being exposed to musical instruction or if, for example if they are born into a musical family. The more exposure children have, the more it will develop.

What is it called when a song reminds you of a memory? ›

An earworm, sometimes referred to as a brainworm, sticky music, stuck song syndrome, or, most commonly after earworms, Involuntary Musical Imagery (INMI), is a catchy or memorable piece of music or saying that continuously occupies a person's mind even after it is no longer being played or spoken about.

Why does music make me reminisce? ›

Music helps because it provides a rhythm and rhyme and sometimes alliteration which helps to unlock that information with cues. It is the structure of the song that helps us to remember it, as well as the melody and the images the words provoke.

Is it normal to associate songs with memories? ›

This ability of music to conjure up vivid memories is a phenomenon well known to brain researchers. It can trigger intense recollections from years past — for many, more strongly than other senses such as taste and smell — and provoke strong emotions from those earlier experiences.

What are signs of a contemptuous personality? ›

Although contempt often surfaces as an emotion, it can also be a personality trait, namely that of being contemptuous. People who are contemptuous have a greater tendency than others to look down on, derogate, or distance others whose standards or values are appalling to them.

What is dismissive body language? ›

Dismissive behavior can be a smirk that suggests irritation or a furrowed brow to show confusion or dislike, or rolling of the eyes to convey disapproval, annoyance or anger. It can be a hand gesture to brush you away, or someone turning their back to you.

What is a contempt smile? ›

The 'contempt smile' indicates a mixture of disgust and resentment and is disconcertingly similar to a smile of true delight, except for the corners of the lips which appear tightened.

What is the rarest smile? ›

The rarest smile type is the complex smile, with only an estimated 2% of the population possessing this smile. This smile is rare because it requires three muscle groups to work simultaneously when smiling.

What is a dolphin smile? ›

Dolphins aren't smiling.

Dolphins may look like they're happy to us, but their “smiles” are illusions. When humans smile, we signal happiness, contentment, and enjoyment to each other. But a dolphin's toothy grin is not an expression of joy – this is simply an anatomical anomaly.

What is a downward smile? ›

A downward smile is where the Depressor Angular Oris which is a triangular shaped muscle that pulls downwards giving an individual a sad look to the mouth as the corners are downturned.

What do sad eyes look like? ›

With sadness, the eyes look heavy, droopy. With anger, the eyebrows straighten and the eyes tend to glare. With confusion, the skin between the two eyebrows can wrinkle briefly. There's a connection between what your emotions and body language.

What are the 7 primal emotions? ›

Brain research supports the existence of at least seven primary-process (basic) emotional systems - SEEKING, RAGE, FEAR, LUST, CARE, GRIEF (formerly PANIC), and PLAY - concentrated in ancient subcortical regions of all mammalian brains.

What is the most universally recognized human emotion? ›

These original universal emotions are: Joy (Sometimes referred to as 'Happiness') - symbolized by raising of the mouth corners (an obvious smile) and tightening of the eyelids. Surprise - symbolized by eyebrows arching, eyes opening wide and exposing more white, with the jaw dropping slightly.

How do autistic people see facial expressions? ›

Autistic people find it harder to identify anger in facial expressions – new study. Autistic people's ability to accurately identify facial expressions is affected by the speed at which the expression is produced and its intensity, according to new research at the University of Birmingham.

Are autistic people expressive? ›

New research by UT Dallas scientists suggests that individuals with autism spectrum disorder can have very expressive faces, but the emotions conveyed can sometimes seem overly intense and unusual.

What is exaggerated facial expressions? ›

Abstract and Figures. Exaggeration of facial expressions is used in animation and robotics to intensify emotions. However, modifying a human-like face can lead to an unsettling outcome. This phenomenon is known as uncanny valley.

Do facial expressions reflect inner feelings? ›

Facial expressions do not reflect our innermost feelings, new research suggests. It might be more accurate to say we should never trust a person's face, US scientists say. Facial expressions have generally been thought to reliably reflect a person's innermost emotions but new research indicates otherwise.

What is the psychology of facial expressions? ›

The ability to understand facial expressions is an important part of nonverbal communication. If you only listen to what a person says and ignore what their face is telling you, then you really won't get the whole story. Often, words do not match emotions, and the face betrays what a person is actually feeling.

Can you see emotions in eyes? ›

Combined ratings from the 28 participants showed that the eyes really do provide a strong signal of emotional state. People consistently matched the eye expressions with the corresponding basic emotion, rating “fear” as a strong match for the fear eye expression, for example.

What facial expressions show empathy? ›

Facial expressions of sympathy were characterized by “eyebrows pulled down flat and forward over the bridge of the nose, furrowing in the centre of the brow…, eyelids not pulled in tight or raised, head and body oriented forward, bottom eyelids sometimes raised slightly, and lower face relaxed” [11].

How do facial expressions influence feelings? ›

Facial expressions do not just give us away; they may also allow us to experience our own emotions more fully. This process is still not well understood, but it is possible that forcing your face to express happiness, sadness or anger may help you feel those emotions.

How does music affect human behavior? ›

Active music-making positively affects neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, that influence mood. Dopamine influences focus, concentration, memory, sleep, mood and motivation. Likewise, serotonin impacts mood, sleep patterns, anxiety and pain.

How does music connect people? ›

With music's deep connection to the limbic system, people tend to find connections in music through memories. Certain songs have a way of taking you to certain time or a specific place in your life. Because of this, we feel a reminiscent connection to music to go along with the emotions it already arouses in us.

How does music impact mental health? ›

Research shows that music can have a beneficial effect on brain chemicals such as dopamine, which is linked to feelings of pleasure, and oxytocin, the so-called “love hormone.” And there is moderate evidence that music can help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Does the music you listen to affect your personality? ›

Music is such a core part of culture and everyday experience that it has long been believed to be connected to one's personality. Music, more than any other media, has strong ties to our emotions: music communicates emotion, stirs memory, affects mood, and spurs creativity.

Why does music spark emotions? ›

Especially when it's music we love, the brain releases dopamine while listening. Dopamine is a chemical messenger that plays a role in how we feel pleasure. It also helps us to think and plan, helping us strive, focus, and find things interesting.

Why do I get so emotional listening to music? ›

The facilitator for these physical reactions occurring while music wreaks emotional havoc on us, is the area of the brain called Heschl's gyrus (in the temporal lobe, for those familiar with mapping out their noggin) which – as scientists put it – “lights up like a Christmas tree” when we listen to music.

Why does music turn people on? ›

Listening to music prompts the release of dopamine. For many, that chemical response of pleasure acts to stimulate arousal and elevate a sexual interlude when music and sex are combined in a singular experience.

What is it called when music goes through your head? ›

Scientists call it other names, like “stuck tune syndrome” and “musical imagery repetition.” But the creepy image of an earworm crawling into people's brains caught on. There is even a musician known as DJ Earworm. Recalling a favorite song in our imaginations can bring a private smile. But an earworm is different.

Is music a form of manipulation? ›

Music is an emotive manipulator that influences attitude, motivation and behavior at many levels and in many contexts.

Why do I feel music in my soul? ›

I personally think that this phrase refers to an energetic sound frequency that matches the individual frequency of a person's soul. Essentially, the energy of the music and the person are in sync with one another and this creates a deep, spiritual reaction within them.

Are frissons common? ›

Maybe a tingling sensation at the back of your neck? All these unique emotive reactions to music fall under the definition of 'musical chills', also termed frisson, thrills and shivers (and apparently, and intriguingly, 'skin orgasms'!) Not everyone gets this sensation and some people get it very frequently.

What does it mean when we say music is psychological? ›

Music psychology, or the psychology of music, may be regarded as a branch of both psychology and musicology. It aims to explain and understand musical behaviour and experience, including the processes through which music is perceived, created, responded to, and incorporated into everyday life.

Am I an emotional empath? ›

You may be an empathic person if you have a lot of empathy for others and good intuition but have difficulty setting boundaries. You also may be highly sensitive, overly aware of others' feelings, or experience sensory discomfort.

Why do I feel music so deeply? ›

The limbic system, which is involved in processing emotions and controlling memory, “lights” up when our ears perceive music. The chills you feel when you hear a particularly moving piece of music may be the result of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that triggers sensations of pleasure and well-being.

What is the spiritual side of music? ›

Music and spirituality are intricately related, with spirituality often being the inspiration for the creation of music, and music so often creating the desired atmosphere for a spiritual occasion.

Can a song touch your soul? ›

Music touches our soul because it expresses at times what we can't verbally express ourselves or that it expresses nearly exactly how we feel. Music touches a cord within us that resonates with our heart, mind, and spirit. At times, music helps us to forget our troubles for a moment and lifts us to another dimension.

What does frisson say about your brain? ›

If you can experience frisson it means your brain has strong connections between its auditory processing and emotional centres. Your neural connections are strong and sounds can touch you deeply.

What is the psychology of frisson? ›

Frisson is a physically felt signature of an emotion, a somatic marker. Like nausea and disgust, or a rapid heartbeat and anxiety, this feeling in the body coincides with an emotion in the mind (and thus makes the body-mind distinction much more blurry).

Is frisson a dopamine? ›

Frisson can come from a song, a painting, a tear-jerking movie scene, or even a beloved memory—pretty much anything that causes the release of pleasure-soaked dopamine in your brain.

Can music show emotions? ›

The subjective experience of music across cultures can be mapped within at least 13 overarching feelings: amusement, joy, eroticism, beauty, relaxation, sadness, dreaminess, triumph, anxiety, scariness, annoyance, defiance, and feeling pumped up.

Can music affect your subconscious? ›

Music can do miraculous things and much of its work is done in the subconscious realm. It can make its listeners feel better, forget worries, lift our spirits and more. Following are ten ways that music and the subconscious engage in their cosmic dance.

Can music define your personality? ›

Music is such a core part of culture and everyday experience that it has long been believed to be connected to one's personality. Music, more than any other media, has strong ties to our emotions: music communicates emotion, stirs memory, affects mood, and spurs creativity.

Which zodiacs are empaths? ›

Empath Zodiac Signs: The 3 Most Empathic Signs
  • Pisces (February 19 – March 20) Pisces are extremely empathic signs, who almost can't stop themselves from taking on the feelings of others. ...
  • Cancer (June 21 – July 22) ...
  • Scorpio (October 22 – November 21)
Sep 24, 2019

What is a dark empath? ›

Dark empathy is characterized by emotional distance disguised as charm and understanding. It is usually motivated by personal gain. Dark empathy is related to the dark triad personality traits. The dark triad refers to the malevolent personality types of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy.

Who are empaths attracted to? ›

An curved arrow pointing right. Empaths and narcissists are often drawn to each other. This is because empaths have a lot of compassion and understanding to give, while narcissists thrive on someone worshipping them.


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