(Twenty years ago, British psychologist John Sloboda conducted a simple experiment. He asked music lovers to identify passages of songs that reliably set off a physical reaction, such as tears or goose bumps. Participants identified 20 tear-triggering passages, and when Dr. Sloboda analyzed their properties, a trend emerged: 18 contained an appoggiatura. According to, Martin Guhn, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia this musical dissonance generates tension in the listener and when the notes return to the anticipated melody, the tension resolves, which the listener an emotive sensation. In the lead up to Valentine’s day I guess lots of us will be listening to appoggiaturas.)
An appoggiatura, is a musical device, a note or tone that is not normally part of a chord but appears in a melody that precedes an essential melodic note or tone. It clashes with the melody just enough to create a dissonant sound.