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Why do you like the music you like?

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They say we are all products of our genes and our environment.

 

So why do you think you like the music you like?

Is it cultural or do you think you are just hardwired to like certain musical characteristics?

Or is it a combination of both?

 

Also if you have any siblings, do they like the same music that you like?

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That's probably something for which entire books or studies of thought exist.

 

But first and foremost, we can only like what we are exposed to, so obviously environment places a huge part in it. Most people have a big "soft spot" (if nothing else) for the music they grew up with. Music connects to who we are and what we are doing at any particular time, and when we are young (teens and 20s) is when we are going through the big emotional stuff that helps define the people we will become for the rest of our lives. So naturally, the new music I heard when I was hanging out with my first groups of friends, or dealing with my first relationship breakups are going to end up being much more important to me than the new song I heard today while driving my kid to school today or on the way to work.

 

As musicians most of us naturally seek out more "interesting" music. Is that genetic? I guess it is if you believe your musical talents are handed down. I can remember, at a pretty young age, listening to my mom's Herb Alpert records and wanting to 'jazz up' the melodies more. I guess I must have heard jazzier stuff on TV? My parents weren't into jazz. But I've always been drawn to jazzier, swingier type music than just straight-ahead rock. I take that to be the musician in me wanting to push the boundaries of what I hear a bit.

 

I grew up in a rural area where getting much beyond what was on the radio didn't really happen unless one actively sought it out. My older sister and younger brother have pretty typical tastes. They both love classic rock primarily focused on the periods they came-of-age in. My sister loves late 60s/early 70s stuff. Her favorite band is still the Stones. (She graduated HS in 1973.) My brother who graduted in 1982 loves Journey.

 

I like both those bands, but my siblings would no doubt shake their heads at 90% of my music collection.

 

 

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They say we are all products of our genes and our environment.

 

So why do you think you like the music you like?

 

It doubtless comes down to my natural sense of good taste I suppose. ;)

 

Is it cultural or do you think you are just hardwired to like certain musical characteristics?

Or is it a combination of both?

 

Probably a bit of both. It's hard to not be influenced by the culture you're immersed in when you're growing up. As far as genetics, I don't know how much that plays into it. I was certainly influenced by some of the music my extended family liked, but I grew up next door to my grandparents and aunt and uncles, and we're all fairly close in age, so they had more influence on me than you'd normally expect, but I don't know if there's a genetic reason for me being as into music as I am.

 

Also if you have any siblings, do they like the same music that you like?

 

There's definitely some overlap in terms of what we like and listen to, but I'd say that of all of us, I'm the most "into" music by a considerable amount. No one else in my family was really a musician prior to me, and for years everyone wondered where I "got it from." A few members of my extended family have picked up instruments in the years since then, and that may be in part due to my influence, but who knows? Like I said, I don't think there's a major genetic reason, at least not in my particular case.

 

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IMO our formative years speak to our listening pleasure more than anything...it seems everyone I know from different age groups like the music they grew up on...now of course there are many with wider diverse taste but by and large the music of your youth is a big influence along with your environment...as I have aged I still enjoy music from my youth but enjoy music today that is similar in style maybe a bit more acoustic and less hard.

 

IDK if there is a Beatle revolution ever going to happen again, though. Is it even possible for some band to come along in the future that can do what has never been done before? That what the Beatles did...

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IDK if there is a Beatle revolution ever going to happen again, though. Is it even possible for some band to come along in the future that can do what has never been done before? That what the Beatles did...

 

It can happen but, almost by definition, it wouldn't be a "band' in the same way the Beatles were. Which is still how we define a "band" today. The Beatles were able to do what "never had been done before" largely because you could pretty much count the guitar/bass/drum who did their own singing and songwriting "bands" on one hand. Had they instead formed a Glenn Miller style big band, I doubt they'd have gone down in history as so groundbreaking. Even with the same talents and songwriting skills. They were groudbreaking largely because nobody had yet done much of anything IN THAT TECHNOLOGICAL FORMAT.

 

Similarly, every new guitar-based 'band' with some decent harmony vocals to come along since has been dubbed "the New Beatles" only to fall short of the mark. IMO, until technologies and imaginations finally break us free of the "guitar/bass/drum rock combo" paradigm we've been living in for the last 60 years, we'll still be waiting for that new revolution.

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For me, all sorts of reasons. It connects with me emotionally, it's fascinating, it makes me feel great, it sets a mood, I work better to some music without being distracted, it's adventurous, it's unique, it's strange, it's organic, it's weird, it's technically amazing, it's timeless, I want to jump up and down when I hear it, I want to mellow out when I hear it.......

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I like music that I can basically understand, but that still has some mysterious mojo to it that I can't capture in concepts and analysis.

 

Sometimes achieving the basic understanding is beyond me, so I guess I could say I don't "like" the music, but I think it's more accurate to say I just don't understand the music. I have to understand to some extent what the music is up to or else it just rattles on as unorganized and tiring randomness to my ear. Think some really difficult modern composer dealing in ideas totally out of my ken. It's like listening to people talk and argue in a language I don't know.

 

The mojo, the mystery, drives me to understand the music better. Sometimes analysis does kill a piece of music - sometimes analysis brings an astonishing revelation. If a piece of music dies under analysis, I tend to think the mojo was phony or shallow more often than not, but sometimes the analysis just distracts from the mojo - especially on simpler, more elemental material. But analysis itself is only a way to step outside the music for a bit and look at it as a patterned mechanism, enabling hopefully a better understanding and a more sensitive response when you step back in the magic circle of actual happening music. If someone enjoys the analysis more than they enjoy the music itself, maybe they should look into engineering or math instead as a career or serious hobby.

 

Some music you can pretty much totally understand in the analytical sense - say Bach's famous Bouree. There's no structural mystery, but still....it's just so much better than any number of other by-the-numbers Bourees or other little Baroque dance-based pieces. At some point, analysis and understanding are like climbing gear that gets you as far as it can, but to go past that takes wings.

 

nat whilk ii

 

 

Edited by nat whilk II

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They say we are all products of our genes and our environment.

 

So why do you think you like the music you like?

Is it cultural or do you think you are just hardwired to like certain musical characteristics?

Or is it a combination of both?

 

Also if you have any siblings, do they like the same music that you like?

 

We like what we like through conditioning, life experiences, the power of association, and dopamine.

 

We dislike what we dislike through conditioning, life experiences, the power of association, and lack of dopamine.

 

Thats it. End of thread.

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I can't tell you precisely why I like a lot of the stuff I like and don't like a lot of stuff I don't. Words count, but they're not the first thing I listen to, necessarily, and I have many favorite songs about which I have no idea what the words are about. Melody can drive it, but also rhythm, texture, vibe.

 

Most of the stuff I don't like is stuff I've burned out on, from easy listening to hard rock and heavy metal. (Yes, I've owned both 101 Strings and AC/DC and Metallica. Can't listen to any of it out of more than curiosity at this point.) Throw in electronica. I was pretty deep in my own peculiar brand of it, and listened to a fairly wide spectrum of it back in the 90s... but in the early years of the century, I started burning out on both what others were doing and what I was doing.

 

Of course, there are some acts and sounds I hated instantly or nearly -- others I came to hate. I hated the singing in bands like Journey and Styx or singers like Bobby Goldsboro from the first time I heard them. Other acts, like the Doobie Brothers or AC/DC I liked until they changed singers. Other acts, like Steely Dan, I really liked -- until a change of direction like Aja that really hit with the populace. I was almost immediately disappointed by Aja, despite thinking at least two or three songs or more songs on each of their previous albums really clicked for me. And then the more I heard it, the more incredibly sick I got of it. I've tried listening to it several times since the 80s -- since I still really enjoy a lot of the old stuff, right up to Royal Scam. Even if I don't like everything equally well on those albums I can mostly listen all the way through. Aja, I can't get through a single tune. The revulsion I feel in the opening bars just never leaves. It seems almost irrational and perverse -- but no matter how I prod myself, I really can't get through a song without a very strong, gut impulse to skip or turn it off. I've tried.

 

 

I'm happy to say, though, that I continually keep finding new music or music that's new to me that I really bond with. Whether it's Ukrainian YouTube sensations, Trio Mandili (I love those girls!) or west African 'blues' outfits like Tinariwen or Toumast -- or acts from the early days of radio like the Boswell Sisters. (Yes, I'm still plugging them -- and I do see increasing awareness of that seminal and influential but now largely forgotten act. There's now a Bozzies underground. wink.png )

 

And that music discovery happens across many if not all genres. For instance, I grew up thinking the Four Freshmen were 'cornball.' I barely gave them a glance until recently when they were cited by someone in a discussion of jazz harmony groups -- and, while I had to skip around a bit to find the stuff that really clicked for me, the stuff that did, really did. Or does. I now see why Brian Wilson has cited them as one of his big influences.

Edited by blue2blue

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I have friends and acquaintances (some of them musicians) that have vastly different tastes in music than I do. We 're all close in age, went to similar schools and had similar unbringings. (Some of us also have vastly different views on politics and religion but thats a different topic for a different forum.)

 

Some of my friends are into country music, some are into classic rock type stuff, some are into blues music, some are into into punk or new wave, some are into heavy metal, some are into jazz and or R&B, some even like hip-hop and rap, while others are just into whatever's playing on the top forty or easy listening station at the moment and a few don't really seem to be much into music at all.

 

Some of them like a lot of different types of music (like myself).

But some of them are very selective in what they like and actively dislike certain other types of music.

 

I also have a few friends that have siblings who have vastly different tastes in music than they do. Even though they grew up in the same household with the same parents and went to the same schools they couldn't have more different tastes when it comes to music.

 

I used to think that all my musical tastes where due to what I heard when I was young. But as I've gotten older I think it's a little more complicated than that.

 

My father liked country music but it never did anything for me. My mother on the other hand liked dancey, soulful type stuff. She had Barry White and Gladys Knight and the Pips records. And when I think back to some of the music that first really caught my attention it was Al Green and The O'Jays and early seventies R&B music.

 

My maternal grandparents also were into dancey stuff. Except for them it was swing music. I can still remember being very young and watching my grandfather tapping his toes to the Lawrence Welk show which he watched religiously.

 

As I got older and entered high school I think my tastes were heavily influneced by certain older kids in my neighborhood who had big record collections. They were into classic rock and progressive rock stuff. Led Zeppelin, Yes, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd etc... Also about the time I entered High School is when AOR radio stations started broadcasting in Atlanta.

 

But when I look back I think most of the music that I've always been attracted to has had somewhat of a swing feel (or groove) and had catchy melodic elements to it. Did that come from my mothers side of the family?

 

I have a brother and I would say we are probably about 90% on the same wave length as far as musical tastes are concerned. I probably like a little more jazz and orchestral music than he does and I think he likes a little more harder rock than I do but for the most part I think he responds to the same musical characteristcs that I do. We've alway been able to know what each other would like or not like.

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The more I think about this topic I realize I`m drawn to music that expresses longing, regret, battling ones personal demons, etc… As you may have guessed, I love Johnny Cash. My nonna used to listen to him when I was a kid. Cash and opera… funny combination but thats what I heard growing up. I still listen to both now, just more.

 

As I get older my interests in classical music have grown. I`m much more interested in 20th century composers now than I was as a teenager or young adult in college. I`m not sure what the draw is there but there is a sense of loss and wandering. I`m also more interested in instrumental music in general. Unless the lyrics have something different to say than the normal "You did me wrong" song, I`m not really that interested.

 

I do find that certain modern pop songs do get my attention because of the way they sound but I`m not running out to buy too much of it. The one thing I do like about Coldplay is that their albums sound different. They have a unique sound and just about every record has a completely different color. Hard to explain really. I`m not a huge fan but I do admire the sound combinations they come up with.

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I do suspect that there is some sort of brain/neural maturation that takes place a bit before the full rush of puberty, where many of us become sponges for musical material for a few years, and we bond as it were to a personal interior mixtape that sets up the direction of future musical exploration and/or activity.

 

It's that old cycle of sudden revelation (a sponge period), followed by an analytical sorting out and defining, followed by a dry spell of diminishing returns and nostalgia, that can bottom out only, sometimes, to birth another sudden revelation and the cycle starts over again at a personally higher level.

 

You can pine after those sudden revelations, but you can't make them happen. You can love the analytical sorting out and defining process so much that you become more of a critic (which can be respectable) than a musician. You can get stuck in the dry spell of diminishing returns and give up or just live in the past. But we're only granted a few of those sudden revelations, so I'm still trying to discover my next one should I live so long (lucid.)

 

nat whilk ii

 

 

Edited by nat whilk II

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Of course, there are some acts and sounds I hated instantly or nearly -- others I came to hate. I hated the singing in bands like Journey and Styx or singers like Bobby Goldsboro from the first time I heard them.

 

Why?

 

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Why?

 

Some artists don`t click because they seem inauthentic or overly dramatic or I don`t agree with their message or their sound. I give you a couple of examples:

 

The moment I heard the band Warrant, I felt they were fake. That they were trying to look, act, and sound like the flavor of the day. They didn`t last long…

 

I didn`t like Iron Maiden for the longest time. Why? I didn`t like the operatic voice juxtaposed with heavy metal. It seemed really silly to me. Now I appreciate the band but it took me a long time to get over what seemed like a really inappropriate combination of operatic vocals with heavy instrumentation. Same goes for Rush. Love them now but growing up, I thought Geddy Lees voice was just awful. I also could not relate to the lyrics. Now I do.

 

The Beatles… (I know I know…) I found that overly bright tone of Harrison really irritating. McCartneys silly lyrics drove me nuts. I still don`t care for many of his tunes. Rolling Stones were much more authentic to me and they`re still rocking.

 

Madonna always struck me as inauthentic. Couldn`t sing and she did her best to hide it with her sideshows of soft porn and acting wild. Didn`t fool me…. still doesn`t. She can`t sing and remember when she suddenly inherited the english accent? wtf?

 

I could go on but I think you get the point. Inauthenticity….

Edited by Ernest Buckley
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For me most of the reasons already cited. Childhood exposure and conditioning. But curiosity too.

I watched a King Family Christmas special from like 1965 a couple of nights ago. And enjoyed it. They had some nice vocal harmony arrangements. In 1965 no way. But I still like the 1965 music I liked. And of course much more now from many other periods.

Edited by davd_indigo

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My parents were not musical people at all. My exposure to music came strictly from Hymns at church and visits to my Grandparents/ My Grandfather built a HiFi system from components he ordered from a company called Dynaco and built the enclosures for everything including Altec speakers and Horns. He loved movie soundtracks...And train records...And he liked it all really loud.

I'd have probably never gotten into rock music...Or guitar for that matter...If I hadn't had some really cute Girl cousins who were swooning over The Beatles and The Beach Boys. I checked them out and discovered that I really liked the sounds they were making...And I really liked girls....I got into rock music and guitar because I thought it might get me laid.

 

Somewhere along the line I fell in love with music and guitars anyway.

 

I like the music I like because.......I just do. I'm all over the map taste wise...But good guitar playing, and good lyrics are central to all my personal favorites.

 

 

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Simple answer for me. I prefer my own music over all others.

 

I gave up idolizing other artists and their skills long ago. I see them on an even plane, no better or worse then myself. I do value their works however.

 

I spent decades listening to other peoples music and valued everything I heard. I saw it as an educational library and learned much of what I know that way. When I was a field tech and spent 10 hours a day driving for nearly 30 years straight and I'd listen to every station on the dial and had hundreds of cassettes of albums I wore out.

 

I never valued them as much as my own music however. I think it stems from playing at such an early age. I was playing violin in a full orchestra at the age of 7 back in 1965. Even then I questioned where music comes from and why I like it so much.

 

My musical skill gradually turned outward when I was around 23 and began writing and recording more and more. I believe this is a natural maturity for musicians as they advance at the art form.

 

It doesn't come without allot of hard work however. I know many who get stuck between playing cover music and their own. I suspect its because they aren't able to disconnect the art form from the social aspect involved in making music. Having a need for praise from others is a tough one to get past if you cant grow up and continue to lump the social aspect and the art form together.

 

Music isn't that much different from painting yet music has so much fake idol worship layered on to it to drive album sales. It didn't used to be that way. Music had its patrons who supported artists, but I suppose that changed because its a live performing art as well as a creative art form. It is probably the most powerful art form because of that. With that power comes responsibility by those who wield it.

 

I don't know, I've pondered that point for a long time now. I chose the path to being original over being a copy cat very early on. I'd play other peoples music as a skill building exercise but I always felt like a second class musician playing in cover bands because I knew no matter how well I played the music, I'd never be that musician.

 

That changed to playing cover music using my own arrangements mixed with my own music, and finally abandoning others music when it was no longer a challenge to me.

 

I no longer had a need to borrow ideas from others or play their music like I did in the beginning. Now I pretty much write and record my own music exclusively. I have so many songs written and recorded now It would likely take me months to hear all the thousands I have played back to back. I expect it will take me a couple of years to compile them all and pass them on to family members once I retire.

 

Till then I just cant seem to run out of new musical ideas. You'd think after a solid 30 year stretch of writing I'd run out of steam but the ideas still keep coming strong as ever and I still cant tell where it all comes from. I in fact quit questioning where it comes from long ago and I'm just happy I received the gift that keeps giving.

Edited by WRGKMC

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Simple answer for me. I prefer my own music over all others.

 

I gave up idolizing other artists and their skills long ago. I see them on an even plane, no better or worse then myself. I do value their works however.

 

I spent decades listening to other peoples music and valued everything I heard. I saw it as an educational library and learned much of what I know that way. When I was a field tech and spent 10 hours a day driving for nearly 30 years straight and I'd listen to every station on the dial and had hundreds of cassettes of albums I wore out.

 

I never valued them as much as my own music however. I think it stems from playing at such an early age. I was playing violin in a full orchestra at the age of 7 back in 1965. Even then I questioned where music comes from and why I like it so much.

 

My musical skill gradually turned outward when I was around 23 and began writing and recording more and more. I believe this is a natural maturity for musicians as they advance at the art form.

 

It doesn't come without allot of hard work however. I know many who get stuck between playing cover music and their own. I suspect its because they aren't able to disconnect the art form from the social aspect involved in making music. Having a need for praise from others is a tough one to get past if you cant grow up and continue to lump the social aspect and the art form together.

 

Music isn't that much different from painting yet music has so much fake idol worship layered on to it to drive album sales. It didn't used to be that way. Music had its patrons who supported artists, but I suppose that changed because its a live performing art as well as a creative art form. It is probably the most powerful art form because of that. With that power comes responsibility by those who wield it.

 

I don't know, I've pondered that point for a long time now. I chose the path to being original over being a copy cat very early on. I'd play other peoples music as a skill building exercise but I always felt like a second class musician playing in cover bands because I knew no matter how well I played the music, I'd never be that musician.

 

That changed to playing cover music using my own arrangements mixed with my own music, and finally abandoning others music when it was no longer a challenge to me.

 

I no longer had a need to borrow ideas from others or play their music like I did in the beginning. Now I pretty much write and record my own music exclusively. I have so many songs written and recorded now It would likely take me months to hear all the thousands I have played back to back. I expect it will take me a couple of years to compile them all and pass them on to family members once I retire.

 

Till then I just cant seem to run out of new musical ideas. You'd think after a solid 30 year stretch of writing I'd run out of steam but the ideas still keep coming strong as ever and I still cant tell where it all comes from. I in fact quit questioning where it comes from long ago and I'm just happy I received the gift that keeps giving.

 

I`m trying to understand the part in bold.

 

I`d love to hear some of your music. You`ve been on HC for quite a while now and I don`t recall ever hearing any of it.

 

I still listen to many artists. I consider myself a life-long learner and the same goes for songwriting. I was just rehearsing last night with a couple of singers and in between sessions I was studying the songs. One in particular was "O Holy Night". Such a simple song when you look at it but it moves me as most simple songs do. So I`m not sure how you no longer look to other artists/composers for inspiration or knowledge. That part really has me stumped.

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Kind of a necropost (I'm catching up on all the threads), but this is a directly relevant point so forgive me this once:

 

Also if you have any siblings' date=' do they like the same music that you like?[/quote']

 

The difference in musical taste between my sister and myself can be summed up with one 7" piece of vinyl:

 

My favorite Beatles song is Strawberry Fields Forever; hers is Penny Lane.

 

Edited by Iamthesky

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Like many things... nature and nurture.

 

- The Church - High church music in my case opened the door

- Having older sisters who were in high school in 60's (Last one graduated in 69) got me into great rock that was before my time

- My own good memories in life and high school years 10 years after my older siblings

- IMO those earliest experiences set the stage for the new music that draws us over a lifetime

- Early exposure to certain music can either leave us open to new kinds or narrow our tastes

- Other factors like whether we associate a genre with happy times or sad times

- I grew up with some country music, which my dad liked, but I can't stand it, except for the rare crossover that fits in both pop and country

Edited by Beck

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if there is some music that you hate

 

and Bob thinks it's o.k.

 

you love that music more than Bob !! ) :)

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I just stumbled on this while looking for a lighting section but, this is perhaps the most profound question I've ever heard.

 

I will be thinking a lot about it in the future but I don't want to get too far off task (lighting)

 

I know that my father's side of the family were musically inclined.

I know that I was naturally drawn to music from an early age (8 yo in 1960).

I know that the Beatles/british invasion bands had an immediate and long lasting impact on me a few years later.

I know that I liked the idea of girls chasing after me.

 

Being a wannabe hippie, I was drawn to the counter culture music.

Being a drummer, I gravitated to the more bass driven rhythmic music.

Being open minded, I ended up with a wide range of music I love to hear and play.

 

My sister, 2 years older, had a completely different taste in music. She was 14 when the Beatles hit and she didn't even bat an eye. Also, she never took an interest in playing music. My son and grandsons have also never shown an interest in playing music so the genetic angle is spotty.

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Why?

Maybe because I've got a squirrelly, whiney voice, myself. :D

 

 

But I'm not sure that covers it. There are other folks with such voices I don't have big problems with. There's just something about the timbre of their voices and the way they sing. But, you know, neither of those artists I cited have any song content I like, either. So, I suspect it's the double whammy as much as anything. I'll listen to a great singer singing piffle (sometimes, though the greats usually gravitate toward stronger material) but when I don't like the song and I don't like the singer's voice...

Edited by blue2blue

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I really can't explain, but I tend to like darker sonorities and lots of passion.

 

Whether it's Tchaikovsky, Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters, simple or complex, I tend to like minor keys.

 

Of course there are plenty of other factors involved. and I do enjoy a lot of bright music in happy, major keys, but my very favorites seem to be more brooding.

 

I think that's hardwired, but don't know for sure.

 

After that comes music education and learning how to listen to music (thanks to my first band director, Robert C. Monroe for that - it was the greatest musical gift anyone ever gave me). My favorite music of all turned out to be dark, passionate symphonies from masters like Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Suk, Shastakovitch, and so on.

 

And I really can't say why a great Rimsky-Korsakov symphony can grab me when a great Copeland symphony leaves me uninterested.

 

And for simple music why the blues gets me much more than country does.

 

Insights and incites by Notes

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I think that's hardwired, but don't know for sure.

 

I'm not sure about that. My tastes have gone through many iterations. To that respect, I'm waiting for the time it shifts again. I assume it's going to happen.

 

The reason why I like the music I do these days is a totally different reason why I liked the music I used to like.

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<...>

 

The reason why I like the music I do these days is a totally different reason why I liked the music I used to like.

Same for me. But I still tend to like the darker sonorities.

 

When I think of the pop music I bought and liked as a child, the majority was full of blue notes.

 

I went through lots of different phases from my first records to now, and I have a lot of those old tunes mixed on the 10,000 or so tunes on my iPod. When I hear them, they are like visiting old friends again. But I wouldn't want a steady diet of them.

 

And if tomorrow or next year I should find myself gravitating towards happy and lighter music, that would be perfectly OK with me.

 

And still, I don't have any idea why I like what I like. I guess it just strikes a chord with me (pun intended).

 

Insights and incites by Notes

 

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if there is some music that you hate

 

and Bob thinks it's o.k.

 

you love that music more than Bob !! ) :)

I love the music I hate

 

more than most love the music they love !! ) :love:

Edited by sirfun
toned down my rhetoric !! )

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