I have written a new blog post on my music blog where I attempt to clarify my understanding of how (and why) music acts on daydreams.

The full post is at http://whatismusic.info/blog/MusicTheThirdReality.html, but I can summarize the essential points that would be of most interest to all the day-dreamers here:

  • Music is like an alternative reality that causes us to have a "special connection" to it. (Music is a mutated copy of part of our speech-learning instinct that causes our brains to have a similar "special connection" to spoken language when we are infants.)
  • Music itself has no meaning at all; the content satisfies certain constraints, but that content does not provide any useful information about anything. (In contrast to spoken language, which does have attached meaning.)
  • When we "connect" to music, we also partially "disconnect" from our normal sense of reality.
  • This disconnection is the primary purpose of music.
  • The disconnection from normal reality allows us to more fully feel the emotions in imagined scenarios, ie in daydreams.
  • There actually is some value in feeling these imaginary emotions. (However, we can reasonably assume, for people who daydream "too much" while listening to music, that their daydreaming has gone beyond the point of diminishing returns.)

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Comment by Amanda Lewone on June 25, 2015 at 3:50am

In all the times that I tried quitting daydreaming, the most successful were times were when I quit music too. Sometimes I would quit for several days, zero fantasy. Then one day as a reward I listen to music and I'm gone. Just like that. I mean pop music, actually anything I enjoy including rock and folk.  

I was obsessed with music as a child and I guess the reason has to do with the disconnect you mentioned. 

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