The aim of this study was to systematically review the literature on the neurochemical aspects of the modulating effects of music on emotion. Of a total 355 identified through a database search, 20 studies that met the selection criteria were finally selected. Data were extracted with a focus on neurochemical and musical variables, and the quality assessment for the selected studies was conducted using QATQS. The characteristics of the music used and of the research participants were comprehensively analyzed. As for the results of the study regarding neurochemical variables, there were 4 dopamine studies, 4 endorphin studies, 6 oxytocin- vasopressin studies, 11 noradrenalin studies, and 1 serotonin study. The noradrenalin studies were the largest in number and there were no choline studies. In all the selected studies, stress as a key emotion-related subject was discussed in relation to the examined neurochemical variables. Regarding music application, music listening was made in most studies, and the music interventions were mainly used to trigger positive emotions in participants with the intent to examine the modulating effect of music. The comprehensive analysis of the characteristics of the music used and of the research participants showed that there were differences in response based on emotional valence and arousal. The results of this study form a theoretical basis for the evidence-based music therapy practice particularly related to emotional modulation. The quality assessment of the selected studies suggests the considerations necessary to deal with selection bias and blinding in future research. The significance of the current study is that it collected the objective evidence of the modulating effects of music on emotion and discussed its clinical implications through a systematic review of the related literature.


music, emotion, modulating effect, neurochemistry, systematic review