I've been thinking about catharsis (in the sense used in aesthetics) and I'm trying to feel out the edges of its accepted application.
Trance music is often described using words such as "euphoric" and "exhilarating". Whilst these are a good description of the resultant emotional state many experience when listening to this kind of music, these words fall short of describing the devices employed by the artist in creating that state. A defining characteristic of trance music is a slow build up of tension, usually through gradual introduction of instrumental parts, increase of reverb, cut-off and other effects, and crescendo. These produce an increasingly full sound which eventually reaches a climax at which the tension is released. This release is achieved by a large discontinuous change, usually one which renews emphasis on the rhythmic aspects of the work. Where there is dancing, it continues with renewed energy.
Unlike "euphoric" and "exhilarating", "catharsis" seems like it may capture the build up and release of tension I have described. Yet the Greek meaning, "purification", seems to imply it is the release of specifically negative emotions. In its (rather occasional) every-day usage I've only really heard it used in discussing drama or in reference to violence in films, video games, or defecation. It seems to me that the emotions evoked during the building-up parts of trance music are perhaps not negative enough to make the term "catharsis" appropriate.
Furthermore, there seems to be some kind of notion that the emotions from which there is release must be pre-existing - that they are things you already feel deep down and the work simply gives a means by which they can be safely expressed. I'm not saying that this isn't true of trance music (far from it) but perhaps it excludes the use of catharsis to describe the building-up-and-release I have described above.
So, to me, the question boils down to this: is any build of tension and subsequent release enough to warrant the label of catharsis?
If one accepts the idea that trance music is cathartic, a number of other situations would seem to be included along with it, such as a child opening their Christmas presents after a number of restless nights with them sitting under the tree, getting that delivery from an online retailer that you were looking forward to, or finally meeting up with friends/family after a long journey. These are certainly quite mundane compared to the canonical examples (the downfall of Macbeth, vomiting &c).
If one does not accept this idea, then is there a better word?
I should probably emphasise that I'm asking about whether the "build up and release" device used by the creators of trance music makes use of catharsis, not whether a listener can find trance music cathartic (I'm sure they do!).