Whatever country you come from and whatever music you like, the music you want to listen to over and over again triggers one or more of 13 key emotions.

A study involving more than 2,500 people in the United States and China revealed the subjective experience of music across cultures can be mapped within 13 overarching feelings. These key feeling are amusement, annoyance, anxiety, beauty, defiance, dreaminess, eroticism, feeling pumped up, joy, relaxation, sadness, scariness and triumph.

Study participants were recruited via Amazon Mechanical Turk's crowdsourcing platform. The research team first had volunteers scan thousands of videos on YouTube for music evoking a range of emotions. They then built a collection of audio clips to use in their experiments.

Some 2,000 participants in both countries each rated some 40 music samples based on 28 different categories of emotion. They rated the music on a scale of positivity and negativity, and for levels of arousal.

Researchers arrived at 13 overall categories of experience preserved across cultures. These categories of experience were found to correspond to specific feelings, such as being depressing or dreamy.

A second experiment was conducted to ensure the accuracy of these findings. Here, some 1,000 people from the U.S. and China rated over 300 more Western and traditional Chinese music samples specifically intended to evoke variations in valence and arousal. Researchers said their responses validated the 13 categories.

For example, Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" made people feel energized, while Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's "Somewhere over the Rainbow" elicited joy. Heavy metal was widely regarded as defiant.

"Imagine organizing a massively eclectic music library by emotion and capturing the combination of feelings associated with each track," Alan Cowen, study lead author and a UC Berkeley doctoral student in neuroscience, said. "That's essentially what our study has done."

He noted people from different cultures can agree a song is angry but can differ on whether that feeling is positive or negative. He noted that positive and negative values, known in psychology parlance as "valence," are more culture-specific.

"We have rigorously documented the largest array of emotions that are universally felt through the language of music," Dacher Keltner, study senior author and a UC Berkeley professor of psychology, said.

The findings will be published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Does happiness lead to better physical health? Photo courtesy of Pexels