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(Español) ¿Por qué Freud odiaba la música?

Music is art, culture and a reason to enjoy life. Already said Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900): “Without music life would be a mistake.” What did Freud think about? Currently the culture occupies only part of our free time, is a form of entertainment rather than a more essential part of our lives. Now it behaves like a luxury for Western societies, for example the rise of Value Added Tax (VAT) practiced in Spain on culture.

For music lovers, it accompanies us beyond where we’re going is already working, driving, traveling, doing housework or music therapy for various problems and disorders. Many psychologists believe that music helps escape from reality. Perhaps they are right in part, but as one of the functions performed music. If you’ve had a bad day and you get your list of favorite music it is a way to “escape” of the problem and enjoy the musical moment. What happens is that the problems we have to face them, not avoid them, and that’s how music helps us, accompanies us in our reality more than we think.

Freud hated music

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), father of psychoanalysis, was a person with a great culture. It was the first of its kind and learned several languages ​​(Hebrew, English, French and even some Spanish and Italian) autodidact. Freud had as Shakespeare and Goethe favorite authors and even he was awarded the Goethe Prize for literature. He loved sculpture and painting. However hated music. In his article “The Moses of Michelangelo” he recognizes that it is unable to obtain pleasure through music. Why?

Freud was so immersed in his psychoanalytic theory that it influenced their references to the artists. One of the main Freudian ideas is that the body is constantly seeking the release of disturbing stimuli. For Freud, the nervous system was responsible for eliminating external and internal stimuli as quickly as possible. For him, the ideal mood is based on a tranquility that is free of all tension. This state of tranquility is representing a happy child. It is the mother-child interaction that happens when the child falls asleep with his mother after fill in the breast of his mother, is what is transmitted later in adult life when sexual orgasm is reached. In short, for Freud the first source of pleasure is sexual satisfaction.

However, culture is oppressive and not allowed to express certain instincts that humans tolerate some difficulties. Freudian theory says that people to abide by the standards of civilization transform sexual impulses nonsexual expressions. It’s a defense mechanism.

Freud believed that artists had a higher risk of becoming neurotic because all art forms are based on fantasy exercise, which meant depart from reality, supplementing with their art form not overcome children’s activities.

An artist is essentially introverted near the neurosis. It feels oppressed by a powerful instinctual needs in excess. Yearns to get honor, power, wealth, fame and favor of women, but lacks the means to achieve such satisfaction. Consequently, like any other unsatisfied man, escapes from reality and transfers all his interests and his libido, the illusory creations of his fantasy life, which can lead to neurosis.1

Freud considered his theory of human nature on two instincts: the sexual and survival. For this reason, considered as secondary creativity, either from an artistic or scientific. For Mr. Freud, if sexual satisfaction could be achieved by adapting to reality through the use of art (including music) would be useless. They sublimate their impulsiveness artists through their creations.

Freud barely made references to music in his writings. His nephew Harry Freud wrote in his book “My Uncle Sigmund” (1956) on this fact:

Music despised and considered a mere intrusion! For that reason, the Freud family was so little musical.2

Psiconalistas later believed that the emotional effects of music could be explained in terms of regression. That is, the music could be the expression of the first important sounds in the intimate relationship between mother and son and hence partly meet the people listen. In this sense, another famous psychoanalyst, Pinchas Noy (1968), said that the need for some patients to listen to music is that transports its initial period of maternal tranquility.

We may agree or disagree with the Freudian theory but what seems clear is that there is a free satisfaction of tensions, similar to that experienced after a sexual orgasm. Music causes people in a state of emotional well-being, a linked often the desire for physical movement emotional stimulus. When the music stops, when you leave a concert, or when you finish your favorite song seems to enter a state of tranquility and satisfaction, we are made and in peace. The same applies if presences an activity you enjoy, like a football game, a state of relaxation occurs. However, it is difficult to prove that it is a substitute for sexuality, relaxation states are present in many more activities of human life.

The term of oceanic feeling of Freud spoke for the feelings of eternity or infinity unattached, it could be compared to what they describe some musicians to feel possessed by music, but does not produce a feeling of absolute tranquility as the term describing Freud.

What would Freud if he were alive today and saw that there reguetton? Nothing good safe, and quite rightly, by the way;)

Let’s enjoy music!



  1. Sigmund Freud, Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis, in James Strachey and others (eds.), Standard Edition, London, Hogarth Press, 1963, vol. XVI, p. 376 (Castilian translation: Introduction to Psychoanalysis, Madrid, Alliance, 2005).
  2. Harry Freud, “My Uncle Sigmund”, 1956, in Freud as We Knew Him, editing and introduction carto Hendrik M. Ruitenbeek, Detroit, Wayne State University Press, 1973, p. 313.
  • Freud, Sigmund. Three Eassays on Sexuality, in James Strachey and others (eds.), Standard Edition, London, Hogarth Press, 1953, vol.VII, p. 182 (Castilian translation: Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, Madrid, El País, 2002).
  • Noy, Pinchas, “The Development of Musical Ability” in The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 1968, vol. XXIII, p. 332-347
    Storr, Anthony, “Music and the Mind”, Collins, London (1992)

Iván Pico

Director y creador de Psicólogo Colegiado G-5480 entre otras cosas. Diplomado en Ciencias Empresariales y Máster en Orientación Profesional. Máster en Psicología del Trabajo y Organizaciones. Posgrado en Psicología del Deporte entre otras cosas. Visita la sección "Sobre mí" para saber más. ¿Quieres una consulta personalizada? ¡Escríbeme!

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