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Does your own music make you cry?


Senior Member
god i guess i'm a big softy so. one of the main reasons why i write is because of the emotional response it gives me. i find it such a buzz. i can get an emotional response from a simple chord progression if done right. usually thats my barometer when i write, if it is not moving me some way emotionally i keep revising. it doesnt have to be crying, just any notable emotion. often when i get a brief to write its described in terms of emotions rather than musical speak so you kinda have to learn how to communicate these certain emotions in your music including sadness.



There is a rare instance where I feel like I get a glimpse into who I am and I feel compassion (maybe even a little love) for myself. This can bring tears of both empathy and joy.


protect your ears!
Interesting. I'd say no, but it wouldn't be that strange a thing. What if you had written the piece about a loved one? that could probably loosen up a few tears in most of us.

I remember hearing in an interview Antonio Santoro made a comment about crying for one of the cues for The Last Of Us...but I think he was referring to the music in context of the story.

Rodney Money

On V.I. avoiding work.
Tough topic for me personally, and talking about being personal, I have this theory that it may depend on your age, well, at least in my own personal experience. In my youth, teens and 20's, I was more emotional about my compositions. I still remember this one premiere of a piece of mine that literally "destroyed me" emotionally the very first time I heard the entire choir come in at the tutti while at the same time gripping my beloved's hand. Now, I can barely stand listening to that composition of my youth.

In my 30's that same "beloved" destroyed my heart as we divorced. She told me I would always be her first love. I told her she was dead to me. That night I listened to Bach's Partita No. 2, Chaconne, and wept for nearly that 20 minutes mourning the lost of my wife. The very next piece that played was Aria or "Air on the G String" cleansing my soul of the darkness and the light of never having to weep over her again. Later that night I looked up the date of the Chaconne and just as I thought it coincided with the date of Bach's first wife's passing. It was as Bach himself telling me, "Mourn now, but move on. Your wife is dead, and you have work to do."

Years later I remarried, and at 35 I became a father. The last time I had tears in my eyes was at the birth of my baby girl. I named her Aria after the Bach piece that gave me tears of joy and washed my sadness all away.

Now at 40, I have honestly not shed a tear since her birth, but I know that my music has moved others emotionally. I perform a lot in public performing in churches, concerts, and guest lectures and recitals. I recently gave a lecture/ recital to over 300 high schoolers on the topic of "Music and the Soul" where I had the chance to demo parts of my trumpet concerto titled "The 7 Stages of Grief," and I could see members of the audience wiping their eyes. Plus, one of my coworkers told me that while he was in his room preparing for his next class all of a sudden a wave of melancholy came upon him and he knew Mr. Money must be playing.

Just this past Monday I also played at a funeral. For me, there is no greater honor than being asked to play at a funeral. As soon as I showed up the funeral director greeted me, but I soon realized that the service did not have a piano or organ player for accompaniment. She told me that the family wanted "How Great thou Art." I said, "My pleasure." (Originally I thought and prepared "Amazing Grace.") I simply asked for a hymnal to transpose and if I could used the Yahmaha digital piano. When it was my time to play for the family for special music I started at the digital piano, mixed an organ sound with slow evolving strings, added reverb, played 8va Bb's, took the piano bench placing a leg on the sustain pedal producing a mellow, soft pedal drone, then took out my flugel and played a very emotional, rubata version of the hymn. Adaptation is definitely part of the gig, and sometimes that change has a more lasting impact than the original idea. I was not in tears, but I heard heartfelt cries out loud as I was playing. My trumpet/ flugelhorn playing has always been more voice-like than trumpet like, think "Tina Guo on trumpet." Later the daughter of the mom that passed away embraced me as her own thanking me, but it was my complete honor.

Through my grandfather I first became aware of the emotionalism of the elderly especially during holidays. In midprayer of the blessing over the food he would start breaking into tears of love ones we have lost and perhaps his own mortality. Now that he has gone, I see it in my own father at his age of 73. I can only expect I will become more emotional also in my later years but for now the well is dry with feelings of overworked and exhaustion rather than feelings of emotion.

But as I write these words my thoughts go to Brahms as an old man in tears as an audience of joy gives him his last standing ovation before days later passing away. I pray, and hope, that you all on this forum will experience that emotional joy and the assurance also one day that your life's work had true purpose. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share.
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C.R. Rivera

Popper @ his favorite toy.
Thank you Randy Money for sharing your story. I am a historian and there are many moments that break my soul in class. But one of the most emotional moments is relaying the story of BB King when he played the first time before a large white audience at the Fillmore. He heard noise coming from the crowd and peaked thru the curtain, only to realize that they were chanting for him to come out to play. At that moment, and it always brings me to tears, King started to cry as he did not realize that his MUSIC was known to people outside of the so-called chitlin circuit. I am 62, and there is nothing like feeling moved to real emotion, and people who assume you are weak, a child, or, a pathetic individual are denying themselves the full range of humanity.......


n trepreneur
Yes, a lot with real music (band, playing, singing)
No, not yet with VIs (but it is the quest and an obvious barometer of success for me)

...this does suggest I should step away from the machine and play-perform!


Active Member
Occasionally when writing, yes. But it pretty much vanishes during mixing. Repeated listening while thinking in technical terms isnt stimulating like that.

I do have testament that audiences gets emotional, though, so my mixing doesnt ruin my first emotional response at least.

I wouldn't say more than other music, though. There is a lot of good works out there. But I agree that you should get a satisfying emotive response from your own music. It can be a good way to know if you are on to something worthwhile.
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Active Member
Sometimes my own songs will heavily move me emotionally. Not because I think it is some fantastic accomplishment of music, but because I think they can act as an emotional mirror and it will show me things that I have buried inside me, or how strongly I feel about a particular thing or situation, and that will make me sad, or happy depending on the context. Sometimes your songs just show you who you really are.


I don't think i've ever cried by music, but goosebumps is a different story.
Extremely rare that it happens with my own music though :unsure:


Active Member
When you play a long time on your instrument (in my case: the piano), you feel what phenomenology philosophers call "touchant-touché", a kind of way to explore your sensibility by acting on it. You can actually discover things about yourself this way. But the "touching" part of you and the "touched" part of you never perfectly match. They can reverse roles, but it's like a recto-verso situation. So you'll find yourself quickly stuck in a dead-end. "They touch in the untouchable" write Merleau-Ponty. "Additional emotional layer or not, it's definitely masturbation", would I add.

True challenge is to stop touching oneself and try touching others. "In music, there is mysticism, ek-stasis, going out of yourself and achieving unity", would said pedantic philosophers. "Orgy is the finality", would I add.


Christopher B.
I have actually never been moved to tears by music sadly, but thats more because I find it very difficult for myself to cry. Strongly emotionally moved and touched, but I just can’t cry for some reason. I have gotten goosebumps from some of my compositions, which is a pretty magical feeling to be emotionally touched by something ive created, but I will say its more difficult and doesnt happen as often with my own music, just because I think as musicians we are so critical of our own work that we find it difficult to pull ourselves back from our critical analysis to fully appreciate our own work.


Being touched by your own work is a feature of a worthwhile music, because if you aim to touch the others, you first have to get something to share.


I was young once
but thats more because I find it very difficult for myself to cry
I used to be that way. Then I decided to just let myself go and allow myself to feel everything without holding back, even if it's sometimes painful. I live in a society that tends to mock those who cry, especially men. But the release of tears is a wonderful, healing release. So these days I find myself crying at the oddest moments over the oddest things. And I welcome it.


Active Member
Being touched by your own work is a feature of a worthwhile music, because if you aim to touch the others, you first have to get something to share.
Possibly. I mean, it occurs most of the time. But not necessarily. It's the old "absolute or thematic" music debate. As Stravinsky wrote in Chroniques de ma vie (An Autiobiography): you can do great things only by solving problems which are musical by nature. His example : you're on the piano, you have limited options to get from point A to point B, it's a technical process. He adds: this is what the greatest composers do, they solve problems. Which is to say: even an abstract, tension/release work, can create an incredible response from the audience. If you want to say something in the first place, of course you can, but you can't bypass the "materiality of music", as Stravinsky would say. Conclusion: the absolute quality of music is essential, the thematic quality of music is accidental.

Another point: Bach didn't try to share "what he feels" to God, though he encrypted his music and struggled with great constraints to speak to God (to celebrate his glory in a worthy way), in the same manner cathedral builders encrypted forms only God's eyes would see from the skies. Listen to the Musical Offering's Ricercar a3: you can deeply touch your audience, even if it was not your main purpose, because your craft achieves perfection.

We can move the debate on the perspective problem. When you feel an emotion, listening to a work you spent hours and hours crafting, does an audience who discovers the work for the first time can be struck in the same manner as you?

Two ways out of this matter I guess:
- Mike Verta's "write on paper, spend as little time as possible on the piano" way
- reach excellence

In my opinion, both can link your emotion to your audience in an adequate way. I don't say it's easy. Both ways are out of my league! But if I wanted to share what I feel with my music, I would consider these paths, take a breath, and recognize there is no shortcut.
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Active Member
I exaggerated to emphasize on the "you have to fasten things fast, to settle things before losing too much objectivity".
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