Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A bit on musical taste

So I thought I'd post a little observation I made on musical taste. It's probably not totally revolutionary, but I thought I should point it out. I have no idea if this will be long or short, so let's see how it goes.

Well in general the observation is that our musical tastes are defined by what is different from what your previous tastes were. In other words, you search for what's not what you like. a certain extent. You'll actually crave similar things for a while, before moving onto other stuff. For example, if you've just started to listen to a bunch of 70s hard rock (such as Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple) you may for a while crave it. You might even declare it your favorite type of music. But inevitably you will feel the urge to move onto other stuff. Something different. Similar stuff will begin to sound plain boring, although it may have been better if you had heard it earlier. In other words, 70s hard rock has stagnated for you.

So where do you go from here? Somewhere different without a doubt. Possibly similar, possibly not. But what's the significance of this pretty unoriginal observation? Well first of all it explains why you might not like some music. Go listen to it later once you're done with whatever you happen to be liking a lot that's similar to it. Next, this explains why music seems to have so many trends. You'd think that people would just listen to what's good, and that we wouldn't really have one certain style become more popular than the other. But it doesn't. Something about the human mind makes us get bored with certain types of music after some time. Throw in the fact that we are naturally conformist, and trends in music appear. Not to say that music that happens to be in a trend is bad. Just that it may in fact be more trendy than good, but I'm sure that's a point that's already been made by many others. It's still an important thing to remember. This applies to all music, not just the popular genres. Even the underground which sometimes claims to "screw the trends" has its own trends. So remember this when you're confused by why something is popular (I'm looking at you metalcore).

1 comment:

  1. I would argue that musical taste varies with mood, and an individual seeks out those things that the person has been exposed to. I grew up with various bands, some of which made sociological commentary, like Rush or Saga. Then there were the bands whose lyrics made you wonder what they were smoking when they wrote them. (That would be most songs by The Cars.) I was the one who exposed my friends to some of these bands. Asia, Saga, Night Ranger...popular groups that seemed to have escaped their notice.

    I still listen to these groups, as well as some country, plenty of classical. It's a matter of exposure and mood. (Mind you, my exposure to (c)rap "music" immediately turned me off to the entire genre.) By continuously switching my music to coincide with my mood, I am never bored with any style.

    But that's just me, and I'm told I'm a unique creature...Kinda like the Tarrasque, but infinitely less dangerous. =P