Why Some Songs Make Us Sad

Oscar-winning song "Glory" tugged at our heartstrings, but what is it about sad songs that touch us?
2:13 | 02/25/15

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Transcript for Why Some Songs Make Us Sad
We all watched as Hollywood titans teared up listening to "Glory" at the oscars, but everyone has that particular song that puts a lump in your throat. It can even summon waterworks. The question is, why. Here's ABC's David Wright. Reporter: An oscar-worthy anthem, "Glory", from "Selma", moving the star-studded audience in the Dolby theater to tears. How is it that great songs trigger our emotions? The music itself inspiring us or inviting our empathy. ? Nevi'll find someone like you ? Reporter: Any Adele song, or Whitney Houston singing the national anthem, music has always had that power, but why? This is a music professor at Columbia university. He was able to pull apart "Glory" on the spot, just after listening to it once. This particular song, that's a minor song. That's a major chord. Reporter: One of the tricks they use is something called the appogism ism appogiatura. It's something Adele uses. It's not just that songs are happy or sad, more that they take us along for a ride. Even pharrell's "Happy." "Happy" is -- Reporter: A full range of happy. Happy and sad together, like salt and caramel, that's why it feels so good. Salted caramel indeed. What makes your lip quiver? Let us know what makes you weepy. World news is coming up soon

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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