In My Feels – Music for When I Feel ANGRY

Sometimes it can be hard to identify certain feelings, let alone experience them! But did you know that listening to music is a great way to experience our emotions fully?

“Where words fail, music speaks.”

— Hans Christian Andersen

Music offers a safe space to explore joy, sadness, excitement, anger, contentment, fear, and everything in between without judgment. Music can paint an even richer and more comprehensive picture of how we perceive emotions by using sounds rather than words to describe feelings.

Think of music as a friend accompanying you on a ride at a theme park. Sometimes the ride looks fun; sometimes, it seems terrifying. But no ride lasts forever, and often, you learn something about yourself from the experience.

In this series, we will explore emotions and use music as our guide.

Music for When I Feel ANGRY

While it might seem counterintuitive, leaning into your anger, in a safe way, can be incredibly cathartic. A cathartic experience is an emotional release, typically brought on by doing something to help fully experience what is most troubling you. Participating in art, such as listening to music that matches your feelings, is a great way to experience catharsis. And as poet Robert Frost once stated, “The best way out is always through.”  

Anger, like all emotions, can take on many shades. Here are a few other words to describe what it feels like to be angry:

  • Furious
  • Enraged
  • Irritated
  • Heated
  • Stormy
  • Vexed 

With this music, you’ll have the perfect soundtrack for stomping, shaking, dancing wildly, and processing your anger. Be careful not to harm yourself or anyone around you 😊.

“Dance of the Knights” from Romeo and Juliet by Sergei Prokofiev

The most famous movement from Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev’s ballet, Romeo and Juliet, is massive, declamatory, and even menacing at times, making it the perfect piece for processing anger. The music for this point in the story portrays the masked ball in which Romeo and Juliet first meet. You can certainly sense the underlying tension around the imminent chaos between the warring families. Since this piece is a dance, why not try moving along with the music and creating your own dance?

“Ritual Fire Dance” from Love, the Sorcerer by Manuel de Falla

Spanish composer Manuel de Falla originally wrote Love, the Sorcerer as a Zarzuela, a Spanish theater piece incorporating singing and spoken dialogue. The composer eventually revised the work into a traditional ballet depicting an Andalusian woman haunted by the ghost of her deceased husband. Interestingly, the subtitle of this piece is “to chase evil spirits.” Can you visualize the stormy atmosphere created by the music?

2nd Movement from String Quartet No. 8 in c minor by Dmitri Shostakovich

Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich assigned the following dedication to his dramatic eighth string quartet: “In Remembrance of the Victims of Fascism and War.” The composer lived amid a nightmarish political regime full of turmoil. Uncoincidentally, Shostakovich evoked anger, frustration, sorrow, and many other big emotions in his music, as heard in this piece. Sometimes anger can feel like chaos, which is amply illustrated in the music.

“In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg

Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg composed “In the Hall of the Mountain King” as part of his incidental music for a play called Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen. Incidental music means music written to accompany a theatrical work. The story of Peer Gynt is based on a Norwegian folktale following the irresponsible wanderings of the title character. “In the Hall of the Mountain King” portrays the momentous point at which, as the title suggests, Peer Gynt enters the troll Mountain King’s hall.     

The Queen of the Night’s Aria from The Magic Flute by W. A. Mozart

In the opera community, The Queen of the Night’s famous Act II aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute is considered one of the ultimate “rage arias.” The Queen’s voice reaches the stratosphere as she seeks revenge on the man who stole her power. In this aria, the Queen orders her daughter to rid of the man in question, threatening to disown her if she doesn’t obey. You can imagine the vocal writing for this piece to be the operatic version of shrieking. If you’d like, follow along with an English translation of the German aria text here.

You can listen to all these pieces, plus a few extras, on our Spotify playlist – Music for When I Feel ANGRY.