The process of experiencing a musical composition is like decoding a puzzle. The mind registers the emotional implications within a melody, the timbre of the instrumentation, the tempo of the music, and the subject matter of lyrics. Listeners then must decipher this relatively complex code and project their own meanings and feelings to that particular pattern of sound.
As a culture, we’ve also come to ascribe connotations to formulas and clichés. These are reference points, a context, and a shorthand method of leading the listener to a certain conclusion.