A myriad of previous studies from a variety of disciplines has shown several effects of music on mind and body. This study investigated the relationship between different categories of contemporary music (n = 6) and the mood states of a group of students (n = 12), using the Profile of Mood States (POMS), to measure mood before and after exposure to these different pieces of music. When analysed together, all six pieces of music produced an overall change in mood (P = 0.008) as measured by 2-way repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA). When each category was examined individually, four categories of music produced highly significant changes in mood: the tense category (score -4.0 +/- 1.8 POMS Units; P < 0.001); depressed category (+0.5 +/- 0.2; P < 0.001); angry category (+0.9 +/- 1.6; P < 0.03); and the all moods category (1.6 +/- 0.3; P < 0.04). One piece of dance music produced changes in all mood categories, giving the largest positive mean mood change. By contrast, the popular/independent music, associated with the tense category, produced the largest negative mean mood change. The five POMS mood states were analysed separately for each piece of music. These findings are consistent with previous work. In addition, the finding of the effects of specific music categories on mood may have important implications for therapy in mental health and mental health nursing.