Piano, cellos, moving voices or jerky rhythms… For some people, listening to certain music can provide strong sensations, sometimes very intense.

Celine Dion, Adele or Rufus Wainwright… Violins, deep piano melodies and even rock! Did you know that listening to certain artists or certain music can provide sensations that can be compared to a discharge of pleasure?

This is a question that a team of researchers from the American Wesleyan University in Connecticut looked into. According to their work published in July 2015, reported by the specialized site Frontiers in Psychology, 5% of music listeners experience this feeling when listening to certain rhythms.

“The skin orgasm or musical thrill is a sensation of pleasure that is both universal and variable, it affects different parts of the human body and depends on the person and the circumstances in which it occurs. A sensation that has certain characteristics of orgasm”, explain Psyche Loui and Luke Harrisson, the authors of this study, quoted by France Musique.

According to them, this phenomenon is due to several factors, including certain elements of a piece of music such as powerful crescendos, abrupt changes in harmony or appoggiaturas (notes added to a main note to emphasize it). To this 2015 study is added another, older one, conducted in 1991 on professional musicians and non-musicians. It revealed that about half of all respondents experienced tremors, hot flashes and sweating, and even sensual excitement.

But then, what music are we talking about? Scientists have cleared several pieces that can cause these intense pleasures. They evoke in particular Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. To this first example are added those cited by David Robson, a BBC journalist, who has compiled a playlist specially designed to trigger these sensations, which you can listen to above. It includes eight tracks, including Someone Like You by Adele, Hallelujah by Rufus Wainwright or My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion.