There’s A Word For Why Adele’s Music Makes Us Cry

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Year after year, one thing remains constant with Adele’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.

What is the word for why Adele’s music makes us cry?

Surprisingly, it’s not the lyrics that are really making us 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’s tension, too. Cue the water works.

Her lyrics probably don’t hurt, either. Or, rather, they do. They hurt a lot.

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