Geek Trivia

The Chills You Get When Listening To Music Are Known As?

Early Actors Imitated The Murmur Of Crowds By Repeating The Phrase?

Answer: Frisson

Frisson, French for “shiver”, is a sensation some people get in response to emotional stimulus (as opposed to shivering in response to actual cold). The experience typically lasts around five seconds and usually feels like it is radiating out from the lower back and/or base of the skull. Most people report feeling a tingly wave of stimulation on their scalp, feelings of pleasure, and the experience of goosebumps while otherwise comfortable and unchilled. Some studies have found that when people experience frisson, their bodies release endogenous opioid peptides similar to those released during other pleasurable activities

Although frisson can happen in response to a variety of stimulus, the most common kind of frisson is known as musical frisson and occurs in reaction to the auditory stimulation of a piece of music that evokes an emotional response in the listener, is loud, or contains unexpected or non-traditional musical arrangement. It should be noted that the frisson experience is a physical experience and while the song might have emotional impact on the listener, the frisson itself is the feeling of being chilled, the tingles, and the goosebumps.

As such it’s not uncommon for people to have frisson responses to things like the national anthem of their country, music that accompanies traditional funerary rites in their culture (such as bagpiping), or other songs with which they have a strong emotional connection.

Image courtesy of George Kelly.