Bristol Theatre News

Why Does Live Music Give You Goosebumps? It’s In The Meaning And The Volume

A team of researchers from Harvard have been researching exactly what it is that gives people goosebumps when listening to live music.

Matthew Sachs is leading the research and will be conducting on-site physiological studies at two UK music festivals this summer.

So far his research shows that the meaning of a song, lyrics, modulation, crowd participation and the volume it is performed at live is what gives audiences goosebumps.

Previous studies of Sachs monitored the heart rates and skin conductance of people who listened to three of their favourite pieces of music giving him enough data to create an equation: Pgoosebumps = CF (Sc + Id+Ap)

Id stands for the individual differences such as the engagement with the music, Ap is the music’s acoustic properties and Pgoosebumps is the percentage chance of getting goosebumps.

The study was carried out to mark the launch of Barclaycard’s Entertainment partnership with Live Nation.

‘’Many studies have attempted to investigate what causes the emotion we feel while listening to music, but these have typically taken place in a lab setting,” Sachs said.

‘’We’ve never before been able to explore how multiple factors influence the likelihood of experiencing goosebumps in a real-world context.

‘’It’s hugely exciting to be able to explore the physiological correlates of aesthetic emotions for the first time during live performances this summer.”

According to opinion results, seven in ten people think getting goosebumps is a marker of good live entertainment. But, 13 per cent wrongly thought it was caused by a romantic attraction and nine per cent thought it was because they were just cold.

Findings also showed that audiences were more likely to experience goosebumps after 5pm, with rock music most likely to cause them.

More from Chopsy Baby
Subscribe on YouTube:
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook at
Follow us on Instagram
Like our Sensory Space ideas on Facebook at
Go Home