Depressed teen girl in black clothes playing guitar sitting on bed in her room.

Why Do We Listen to Sad Music?

Scientists investigate the emotional and physical effects of sad music, in an ongoing quest to explain the "paradox of pleasurable sadness."
Vintage engraving of an old fisherman drinking a cup of tea, 1900

What’s the Difference between a Shanty and a Sea Song?

“Soon May the Wellerman Come” is the heart of ShantyTok—but it’s not a sea shanty at all. Two authoritative essays roil the waters.
Actress Maria Callas as Violetta in La Traviata, 1958

Why Verdi Wrote an Opera about Sex Work

Giuseppi Verdi's 1853 opera La Traviata was a shocker when it was first performed. Nineteenth-century audiences didn't expect to watch a sex worker die of tuberculosis at the opera.