Adele, whose single “Hello” debuted at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 list in 2015, will be performing at this year’s Grammy Awards. Year after year, one thing remains constant with the Grammy winner’s music: It makes the tears flow.
You may think her soulful lyrics are the reason songs like “Hello” and “Someone Like You” turn on the water works, but there’s a whole lot more going on in Adele’s music.
Surprisingly, it’s not the words that are really making you cry: Adele makes ample use of appoggiaturas, or grace notes. Literally meaning “a propping up,” appoggiaturas are notes that are not essential to the harmony or the melody of a song, but that create tension. According to music psychologists, returning to the melody from appoggiaturas relieves that tension, relieving the listener, too.
And that’s when you cry.
Her lyrics probably don’t hurt, either. Or, rather, they do. They hurt a lot.