Why is Adele's "Someone Like You" such a tear-jerker? It contains ornamental notes known as appoggiaturas, which clash with the melody just enough to create a dissonant sound. When the notes return to the anticipated melody, tension resolves. Listeners often feel chills at these moments of resolution. When several appoggiaturas occur next to each other in a melody, it generates a cycle of tension and release, provoking an even stronger reaction, and that's when the tears start to flow.
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