I have a theory for why music makes us feel good.
Not a theory—a hypothesis.
It goes like this:
beat –> pattern –> story –> struggle –> survival/reproduction –> meaning –> hormones –> happiness
So beats and music are patterns, and patterns remind us of stories. Stories remind us of struggle and romance and danger and love, which in turn remind us of sex and living and dying. Those remind us of meaning, and meaning produces a rush of hormones.
Music is a proxy for stories, which are proxies for meaning, which create chemical happiness.
That’s why music makes us happy.