Opera and jazz fans among ‘happiest’ of music genres, study finds

8 March 2021, 14:43

Pictured: US jazz saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin / Mexican tenor Javier Camarena
Pictured: US jazz saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin / Mexican tenor Javier Camarena. Picture: Getty

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

A study claims to have identified the ‘happiest’ music fans – and up top, are jazz lovers.

Opera and jazz fans are among the ‘happiest’ of music genres, new research has claimed.

For the study, two million Reddit comments from the subreddits of 27 different music genres were analysed, and the team calculated the number of times positive or happy expressions were mentioned.

Jazz lovers were found to be happier than any other genre – twice as happy as pop fans, in fact. Within the r/jazz subreddit, the study found 77 positive words mentioned for every 100 comments on average.

The second happiest fans are those of metal (62 positive statements per 100 comments), with opera lovers in third place (56 per 100).

Weighing in on the study, psychologist Şirin Atçeken said: “Jazz and metal are emotive and allow us to express our emotions whilst we listen to the music, but it’s two extremes.

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“Jazz is a major stress buster and causes positive effects. It physically changes the body, and lowers heart rate and pulse, making us feel calmer and relaxed.”

Previous research has found the relaxing effect of jazz music can have a healing influence, improving verbal memory, focus, and mood.

Following as the fourth happiest, according to social media, are the smaller community of folk music fans with 55 positive words mentioned per 100 comments.

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Beethoven's 'Für Elise' in the style of jazz standard 'Take Five'

Classical lovers were found to be the 10th happiest, with a high volume of positive words (21,000) on the r/classicalmusic subreddit but a higher volume of comments (49,000), leading to just 43 positive mentions per 100 comments.

For Atçeken, jazz and metal are also “notoriously” good at nurturing communities.

“People who listen to these genres are more likely to find common ground with other listeners and become part of the community,” she added.

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“These communities provide kindness, relatability, friendship, and a space to share feelings, ideas, and a safe space to just be. This support increases happiness, positivity and feelings of love and acceptance.

“One final reason that jazz and metal fans may be happier, is that many of them, especially in older years have accepted who they are as individuals and are more assured of themselves. Acceptance, and understanding, is the key to happiness after all.”

Want to vote for opera or classical music in world’s biggest survey of classical music tastes? Cast your votes before 14 March for the chance to win an iPad, smart speaker or luxury hamper.