The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What Is The Ultimate Melody?

Personal preference
Personal preference (Photo credit: kevin dooley)


        In my previous Battle of the Bands post I presented a song based on a movement of a string quartet by classical composer Alexander Borodin.   I purposely resorted to using a classical piece with two more poppish versions of the same melody.  I was pleasantly surprised to see some preference for the original version, but as expected many voters were not overly excited about classical music.

Ask Arlee:

        A frequent commenter at Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends and sometimes commenter at Tossing It Out, one who goes by the name "Sheboyganboy Six", posed this question to me:
 What do you think, Arlee? Is there a musical style that you can think of that makes you feel noble?

        This is an interesting way to think of how music might affect me. If I think of "noble" in the sense of an upright feeling evoked by  that which is of lofty nature with higher ideals and greater intellectual value, then generally speaking classical would be that music.  Most other forms of music--rock, jazz, country, etc--appeal firstly to our more physical nature and might be more apt to relate to the rootsy aspects of humanness. That is not to say any of these styles cannot touch us on a higher intellectual, emotional, and spiritual plane.  There are rock songs, country songs, works of jazz, and other music that I've heard that elevates me in some special way, but as a rule the more popular music styles would not elicit any feeling within me that I would call "noble".   Keep in mind that I am generalizing not only popular musical forms, but also classical music--I don't consider all "classical" music especially "good" or at least not all of it appeals to me.

"The Ultimate Melody" by Arthur C. Clarke

        In the same comment where Sheboyganboy Six posed the above question, he introduced me to a science fiction short story by Arthur C. Clarke.  You can find this story at The Ultimate Melody if you might like to read it--the story is very short (scroll down to about page 24).  The story is about a scientist who is considering what it is that makes a song become popular and speculates what might happen if the one perfect song were ever to be discovered.

          So much music now seems almost manufactured as though it had been composed by a computer program  I suppose there is some music that actually has been computer generated.  Is this music good?   Has music become better with computer enhancement?   Where might we be headed with music in the future?

How Does Musical Preference Come About?

          The question of why people like the music they like is huge--much bigger than can be fit into one blog post.  Instead of trying to answer this question with my inadequate research, I will offer some basic premises based on what some of you have said and what I have surmised based on my own observations.  For some of you I am probably stating the obvious, but this list is a place to begin:

  • Cultural--We will be typically inclined to prefer music of our cultural heritage and ethnicity, or at least have a sentimental attachment to it.
  • Regional or Geographical--A good many Americans from the South might prefer country while people from urban areas might prefer urban, club, or jazz.  Or certain areas of South America will have specific musical styles.   This is generally true in many parts of the world.
  • Musical upbringing--If music played an important role in our household as we were growing up we might be apt to appreciate the styles of music we grew up with.
  • Peer influence--People are likely to gain an affinity for the music their friends are listening to as well as whatever is trending with those of their generation.
  • Media and influence of popular culture--This would be related to peer influence.  Whatever begins to trend in certain groups may be pushed further by media, public events, and the entertainment culture.
  • Educational influence--Music appreciation classes and music academics introduce styles of music that are embraced by members in those strata of society.
  • Conditioning by repetition--We may hear music played repeatedly until it becomes familiar to us and we associate it with various feelings and memories.
  • Positive sensory effects produced by music-- When music causes a pleasant sensation then we are apt to like it.  This can be evident in rhythms, tonal progressions, or harmonies.  Is it easy to dance to or sing along with?   If we respond positively to a piece of music then we probably like it.
  • The Unknown Factor--This can be a result of a combination of two or more of the previously mentioned concepts or something not mentioned in this list.

What About Music We Say We Don't Like?

      By no means is the previous list definitive.  There are undoubtedly many other reasons we like what we like.  When we hear something and immediately know that we like the music we are hearing, it is most likely rooted in some aspect of the list that I've offered.  But what about those things we don't like?   Here's another similar list that might explain the other side of preference:
  • Unfamiliarity--Music that is unfamiliar or unnatural sounding to us because of cultural, regionality, or style that we are not accustomed to hearing might initially be rejected by our ears and mind.
  • Musical antagonism--This could be rooted in a sort of prejudice or a discomfort with particular ethnicities or cultures.
  • Peer or familial rejection of a style--We may not like something because our friends or family don't like it.
  • Not part of musical mainstream--If a particular style of music is not popular in the media or with the public in general we might be apt to reject it as well.
  • Lack of understanding or education about a musical style--This is particularly true of classical and jazz.  If we haven't taken time to learn something about the music and haven't tried to understand it then we might decide that we do not like it.  Some music is more difficult than other kinds and requires a certain amount of musical education which in turn requires patience and a willingness to learn.
  • Preconceived notions--Sometimes we might reject certain music because we have an unfounded or unreasonable opinion already devised within our minds.
  • Stubborn refusal to like a style of music--Many people will just say they don't like such and such style of music because that's what they've always believed and said and they are unwilling to make an honest attempt to learn to enjoy a certain musical style.
  

What's the Conclusion?
   
          Sure, I've generalized greatly on both the like and dislike aspects of music, but this is only a place to start.  There have undoubtedly been a number of studies done and books written on this topic.  In my future Battle of the Bands posts I'm sure to get more negative comments about the songs I choose, but I hope that more often those negatives will be accompanied by some sound reasoning.  

        When you start wondering why you like what you like and don't like what you don't like, you might just start to realize that you are dealing with some illogical reasoning if there is any reasoning to be had at all.   I find it difficult to accept "just because" as an answer.   It may have worked for me when I was a kid, but when you dig down deep you realize that there is never a "just because". 



Coming This Sunday June 15th!





          The next Battle of the Bands entries will be presented this coming Sunday June 15th.   My song selection and versions chosen will be unlikely to create as much controversy as my previous Battle.  Instead I will be sticking with an appropriate Sunday song that is more rooted to the Earth in musical style, but looking into the furthest reaches of the universe and the infinite span of time.  The song is by one of my favorite singer/songwriters.   He is an artist classified as folk/rock who has been recording for about 40 years and continues to maintain an almost cult-like following.   It is not Bruce Springsteen.

          With the clues I've provided does anyone care to guess the artist and song?   I think Larry Cavanaugh might have a good idea who it is since he is so knowledgeable about modern music and has a sense about my musical taste.  Anyone else?

          Do you have any other like/don't like reasons to add to my lists above?   What song do you think comes closest to being an "Ultimate Melody"?   Other than to appease the questions of a child, do you think that "Just Because" is ever a reasonable answer or is it just an easy way of not having to think more deeply about a question?




Enhanced by Zemanta

27 comments:

  1. Another reason? Because it sounds like whiny cats wailing? (My thoughts on country music.)
    Ultimate melody and perfect song - since it's art and subjective, it would be something different for every person.
    I grew up playing an instrument, so I can appreciate different styles of music. (See above for the only style I can't listen to.) Yes, I even have an appreciation for show tunes. I played enough of them.
    What I like the most is definitely not mainstream, at least not here in the USA - progressive rock. It's complex, intricate, and always evolving. It's not easily accessible - you have to really listen and think.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm not sure if a melody can make you feel noble... not sure how to translate that particular feeling to music. Perhaps Richard Harris's McArthur Park.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Maybe it's because I'm just not that deep, but it is simple for me. If it makes me feel something, then I like it. If it doesn't, I pass it by. I think there are songs or pieces I like in just about every musical genre. At least the ones that I'm familiar with.

    ReplyDelete
  4. All a bit deep for me these days Lee. I don't think any music makes me feel 'noble' though but I do enjoy a lot of classical music, opera, show tunes etc. I am not sure Alex and I would ever get on musically.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I try to expand the musical backgrounds of my students. I often play jazz, blues, & classical for them while we're reading and working. The favourites generally become: Phantom of the Opera, Cab Calloway and Louis Armstrong :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. BOIDLEE ~
    I don't feel you generalized much with this post at all. You nailed down a number of very specific aspects to why we like and dislike certain songs. Your list may not be comprehensive, but it's probably pretty close.

    A generalization goes something more like this:

    "Because it sounds like whiny cats wailing? (My thoughts on country music.")

    It's a good thing Waylon Jennings is dead now or he'd probably drive to our friend's residence, break into his house, put the song 'Lonesome, On'ry And Mean' or the song 'Trouble Man' on the CD player, crank it up to eleven and then just kick his butt until the song came to an end.

    Or maybe Bocephus would do it to the tune of 'My Name Is Bocephus' ...again cranked up to eleven.

    I think the song 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother' by the Hollies makes me feel noble. I'm sure there are a few more as well.

    Sheboyganbrother Six turned me onto that Arthur C. Clarke story 'The Ultimate Melody' back on that music thread at Amazon that I started years ago where all three of us met each other. It's a really interesting story!

    For me personally, the ultimate melody has to be 'My Favorite Things', because that melody is more addictive than probably heroin would be to me. I know, however, that you're not especially fond of it, so it's MY "ultimate melody" but not the whole world's "ultimate melody".

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
  7. Alex -- I think you're being a bit narrow-minded about country music. I used to feel the same way about a lot of country but then I started liking it. Your attitude towards country probably falls into the "Stubbornness" category among others.

    CW -- Certain melodies by Bach, Beethoven, Bruckner, and so many others are so lifting that I start to have a certain noble feeling when I listen to them. Something like Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance" likewise evokes such a feeling which is why that piece is used at graduations. "MacArthur Park"? Well maybe in places, but those nonsensical lyrics kind of bring it to a different level like tripping on acid or something.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  8. Pat -- Your criteria for liking something is completely valid. I think I've covered it under "Positive sensory effects produced by music".

    Jo-- The concept of music making us feel "noble" could be a stretch, but I think I understand what it refers to in this case and according to that I can think of music that could give me at least an inkling of nobility.

    Jemi -- Having teachers who did what you are referring to helped shape my musical taste. And back then we did have some musical appreciation programs in elementary school that introduced us to a broad range of music.

    Lee


    ReplyDelete
  9. STMc-- I think Alex needs some country music appreciation classes. He's painting that style with broad strokes. When I was in high school I used to think similarly, but then I not only started listening more closely to the genre, but I also realized that a lot of the music I already enjoyed was actually rooted in country.

    The Hollies song you cite does have a wonderful melody, but don't you think it's mostly the sentiments expressed in the lyrics that provide the sense of nobility? If the same melody were put behind lyrics about getting drunk in a bar would the song still make you feel "noble"?

    Lyrics have a lot to do with how the song makes us feel. Likewise the tempo as we saw in FAE's song choice of "Willin'". You hear the slow tempo going along with the lyrics. But since I'm used to hearing the up tempo version of the song the lyrics seem appropriately sung fast to me.

    "My Favorite Things"? I associate it with Julie Andrews, don't you? I've heard uptempo jazz instrumental versions of this song that are very good. The lyrics strike me as somewhat trite and overly sentimental, but I also associate the song with singing it in elementary school. To me it's an earworm--addictive kind of in a bad musical way. It's a tune that I more want to escape than to allow my being to become absorbed into it making me and the music one.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  10. LEE ~

    Yes, no doubt it's the lyrics (and the way they're sung) that makes me feel noble when hearing The Hollies' 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother'.

    You questioned the melody of it - and I agree that it's not the melody but the lyrics that gives me the sense of nobility.

    That prompted me to look again at your blog bit to see if Sheboyganboy Six referred to "songs", "lyrics", or "melody" when he presented the question about a "noble" feeling.

    Turns out it was NONE of those things. As you quoted him, he wrote:

    "What do you think, Arlee? Is there a musical style that you can think of that makes you feel noble?"

    So, he was asking about musical "styles", not lyrics or melodies.

    To answer the original question: No, there is no particular "musical style" that makes me feel noble.

    There are certain songs though, from various styles, that elicit that feeling in me. Some might be due to lyrics, or melody, or just the sound of certain instruments in certain musical passages.

    My Hollies example pertained to lyrics. I'm sure I could come up with examples for the other possibilities if I thought about them for 10 minutes. But, no, there is no one particular musical style that automatically makes me feel noble.

    'My Favorite Things' - no, I definitely do not associate it with Julie Andrews, even though I know she introduced it to the world in the movie 'The Sound Of Music'. I'm sure I'd heard it many times by many other singers and musicians before I ever saw the movie.

    In fact, the Julie Andrews version is one of my least favorites (even though I still like it somewhat because of the melody).

    You think those lyrics are "trite"? I was raised on Hard Rock music (think: Styx, Thin Lizzy, UFO) but I still believe those lyrics were xtremely clever! I'm not saying they're the cleverest lyrics I've ever heard, but I think they exhibit advanced wordplay, and combined with that infectious melody, I think it's one of the most unforgettable songs I've ever heard. (I listed it in a Blogfest some of us did years ago that pertained to our 'Top Ten All-Time Favorite Songs'. And it's STILL on my list.)

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
  11. STMc-- If we're going solely on lyrics there are many songs I'm sure that we could both cite that can lead to feeling "noble", but it the context of the style we may be taking a step backward from that sense of feeling "noble". The concept of feeling "noble" seems a bit out of place when thinking of most musical styles if I'm using the definition I expressed above: an upright feeling evoked by that which is of lofty nature with higher ideals and greater intellectual value.

    I think most music is primarily delivered on an emotional level whereas classical tends to begin on an intellectual plain where the music is very deliberately constructed in an almost scientific and mathematical fashion in order to achieve or recreate emotion. It's almost like the man made version of the machine/computer in Clarke's story.

    Most popular song writers are not thinking in strict musical terms but they are writing what sounds cool to them and expresses feelings that they want to convey to others.

    "My Favorite Things" was devised by very professional songwriters in the context of a musical story. Sure it's clever in the same way as "Do, Re, Mi" or "I Whistle a Happy Tune" and "Getting to Know You" from The King and I. They are all clever novelty tunes that are memorable in a hum-along sort of way and intended to entertain the audience. But I don't think any of these novelty tunes from the Rogers and Hammerstein musicals can compare to the real show-stopping power house lofty songs like "Climb Every Mountain" or "You'll Never Walk Alone" (Carousel). Those latter tunes might be the kind of songs that make us feel noble and deliver not so much a fun message, but an important meaningful message.

    Not to knock the clever novelty earworm tunes, but I'm just saying. Choice be had I'm going with the moving songs that lift me up and inspire me. But there always time for fun too.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete

  12. Interesting questions, Professor Arlee. Noble? Well, I don't know about that in particular, but it's possible. Next to aromas, I think the next most powerful memory stimulator is music. If I hear a particular song, it can place me in a specific place and time with specific smells, people, emotions...but not even just memories, sometimes hearing a piece of music can evoke desires, dreams, and yes, maybe even noblilty.

    The "Ultimate Melody?" I don't think it exists. As far as just melodies go, I tend to lean toward the simple ones, the memorable ones. I love folk tunes like "What Wondrous Love is This?", "She's Like the Sparrow", "Black Is the Color," and "Greensleeves"...I think I love them because there are endless variations on them. I never tire of listening to what different people do with them. At church a couple weeks ago, I had my young student play the melody to "What Wondrous Love" while I played "around" her. We played it 4 times: once I did in octaves, the next at the 4th, the third time a canon at the 5th, and finally a simple obbligato above her. It was fun, interesting (at least to me) and different from the "normal" offertory. Tunes like this always grab my attention for their memorability, but also for their infinite possibility. I think that's why something as old as "Greensleeves" will outlive that pop tune that was at number 1 last week. What was that again??? Thanks, as usual, for the interesting questions!

    (And yes, sometimes "just because" is legit. Especially when it comes to taste. There are people who actually don't like chocolate, for example. Just because. Not because they are allergic or anything. I don't understand this, but I know that if these people are present, then there is more chocolate for everyone else. So, "just because?" Sure, whatever. They can ponder the depth of their dislike for chocolate while I devour their share ;-) )

    ReplyDelete
  13. Lee -

    SBB-VI, here.

    Thanks for following up on what, to me at least, is a very interesting subject. It seems some people find it delving too deep... but since we are all affected so much by music it would be nice to know why and how.

    I have several things to say but little time to do so now (house guest, impending travel plans, repairmen/workers, etc.) I hope to follow up soon in more detail, but tonight I just wanted to say this:

    When I posed the question to you, I deliberately selected the quality "noble" because it is one that I think is rare in most musical genres except classical (and the subcategory of opera.)

    All music brings forth some emotion or feeling: joy, rage, fear, relaxation, etc. The phrasing was a not-so-subtle attempt to bolster support for poor 'ol Borodin, whom I felt was getting the bum's rush.

    Mankind has some definite failings which are what modern society and commentary focuses on. Even heroes are all either comic book superheroes or anti-heroes. But man CAN be great, and by that I don't mean perfect. Great art, noble architecture, and certain musical pieces are simply testimonials to man's greatness in a way nothing else can touch.

    I'll come back later with examples if I have time, but thanks for the mention here, and I enjoy the discussion!

    Six

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wonderful post Arlee thank you! A Mozart piano concerto can reduce me to tears almost ... same with other kinds of music.
    Interestingly, my younger son David who is a musician put up a blog 2 days back about music and FOOD! I tweeted and FB'd it .. he called me this morning to wish me happy birthday and I told him about yours received earlier which I will forward on to him. http://www.thekiffness.com/2014/philosophical-ramblings-food-and-music. They're a few typos ...

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have found that my musical tastes have changed over the years. I think it's a matter of the aging process. Some music that I used to LOVE I can't bear anymore. I generally like Jimi Hendrix but one of his songs was on the other day and it was grating on my nerves. I had to shut it off...to the great dismay of my friend who thought I had just committed a sacralige (I know that's not a word, but you know what I mean) against the great JH. When I was younger I hated Country. But now I find I love it and I'm listening to it more and more. Again, I think it's age that refines our musical tastes. Overall I'd say I lean toward Classic Rock but today's Country is really pulling me over. Classical? Well, not so much. I like some (like Rachmaninoff) but it's certainly not in my Go To selections. I TRIED to like it in the past and even bought a CD called "Classical Music for People Who Hate Classical Music" (ha!) but I didn't even like that. I can't handle opera, or at least most of it. I've heard some phenomenal opera singers though and I admire their talent, just not their music. When I want to relax, I like to listen to Native American flute music. And sometimes when I want to write a moody piece, I'll pop in a Thunderstorms and Rainstorms soundtrack. Do you think aging has a lot to do with musical tastes?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Forty -- Now you've made me wonder "What was the first melody?" A bird song? A cascade of tones inspired by natural sounds or the sound of work? I think you are right about the infinite possibilities that music presents to us whether listening or playing. And the way a piece can each of us in different ways and evoke different memories and feelings. "Just Because" is the easy answer, but there is always a reason for things. Sometimes it can be good to dig down to at least try to find out why something is as it is.

    SSB-VI -- If you didn't see my last reply to STMc then you might want to read it since I think it addresses some of what you say here. The "testimonials of man's greatness" that we've seen from the past I think have mostly been sacrificed for what is practical, economically more viable, easy, or ephemerally faddish. We may losing much of this sense of the noble in the modern age.

    Susan Scott -- All sorts of music can touch me emotionally as you describe and in many different ways. I'll check out that link you provided.

    Angels-- I do think that aging has some effect on musical taste, but maybe even more from the standpoint of tolerance. Like the Hendrix example you give, there is music that I used to enjoy that I still appreciate if I'm in the right mood, but sometimes it's just too annoying to listen to. If I once liked something, I will probably continue to like it to some degree, but not with the same fervor that I once did. Your negative reaction to Classical music is the one that is common with so many people and the thing I'm trying to understand. I hear such greatness and inspiration in the music that others seem to mostly reject. How are classical music fans different than other music fans?

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  17. Dang! You ask hard hard questions.

    Rather than pick out a genre, artist, etc. Can I just point to a movie filled with amazing music: The Legend or 1900. Played by Tim Roth. The piano music is blinding and amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think that the music completes the ennobling on both my McA Park and STMC's Hollies. And I don't really consider the lyrics nonsense, if you take into account the entire song. In the middle is the moment of mental clarity in the midst of a world that no longer made sense because the woman left him. The only part that was supposed to make sense unattached from the rest was that middle part. He was, eventually going to be able to rise up from the depression, accomplish- and fail along the way. But first, he would have to gain closure to the wondering why.


    I also wondered at the comment about classical music being "classical tends to begin on an intellectual plain where the music is very deliberately constructed in an almost scientific and mathematical fashion in order to achieve or recreate emotion. It's almost like the man made version of the machine/computer in Clarke's story." Do you really think that the passions of, say Beethoven or Wagner were so artificial, so mechanical? I realize I'm out of my depth, but there is a lot of classical that I've heard that seems composed with a fire that couldn't possibly be "an attempt to recreate emotion". Not all, and some pieces do kinda sound like what you describe... and they fall flat for me.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Susan Kane -- I've heard good things about that movie and though I've seen parts of it, I've never seen the entire film. I must watch that one day. There are a great many movies with excellent music, but then again music is so important in making a movie good.

    CW-- Point taken about "MacArthur Park" though I still would hesitate in saying that the lyrics are particular ennobling, but the music does soar and is very classicly based. I'm not saying that the great composers were passionless, but I think they achieved a near scientific precision in tapping into emotions with their musical constructs. I think there was often a conscious effort to musically recreate emotion by tempo, progressions, keys, and so on. Those composers like other trained composers understood what sounds could evoke what feelings. This unlike say composers of roots rock or blues or soul or other popular types of music are short packaged presentations of a feeling. "Rock Around the Clock" was not approached with much thought, but a lot of feeling. Otis Redding innately sensed what he wanted to achieve with "Dock of the Bay" but I don't think he used a lot of training concerning music theory to compose that piece--it came from the heart mostly. From what I know about Wagner and Beethoven they seemed like very cold-hearted rigid men who though were infused with human emotion, are not generally thought of in those terms. A blues artist plays from his soul, but a classical artist expresses the ideals of the soul using an analytical and highly trained approach yet remaining in touch with a human side. That's the way I see it at least and I'm sure I've oversimplified it.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  20. Mr. McCarthy makes a valid point about whether we are discussing the emotions generated by a lyric vs. a melody vs. a genre. All of it is worth discussing. Genres have general leaning, and yes, you did address some of those ideas in your response to Mr. McCarthy. As you and others point out, a lyric, melody, song and each pull out a feeling.

    I also wanted to say I think your list of factors for liking or disliking music seems pretty complete, though there may be a few other factors.

    One may be simply "habit." This is mentioned in a book called "The Power of Habit" from 2012. The author/reporter Charles Duhigg says (based on scientific research):
    “Much of the time, we don’t actually choose if we like or dislike a song. It would take too much mental effort. Instead, we react to the cues (“This song sounds like all the other songs I’ve liked!”) and rewards (“It’s fun to hum along!”) and without thinking, we either start singing, or reach over and change the station.” He is talking about immediate reactions, and discusses how our habits are developed, maintained, or changed. It is a fascinating read.

    An example he uses and explains at great length is the song "Hey Ya" by Outkast. He describes how initially people did not like the song, though it had everything that market experts thought would make it a hit. Listeners would flip the dial as soon as it came on. Stations would lose 30% of listeners each time. So the media guys convinced PD's to play the song between VERY popular current hits. To make a long story short (but the book is well worth reading), the song became a huge hit by coercing people into listening to it by wedging it in between known and familiar songs. Listening to it became a habit, a habit that familiarized people with a different sound.

    This relates to an earlier conversation you and McCarthy were having when you suggested that listening more to classical music might foster appreciation for it. I really think that there is much truth in this; though familiarity breeding "anti-contempt" is not a certainty, it is often enough a factor that it cannot be discounted.
    There is also a newish book called "Why We Like Music: Ear, Emotion, Evolution." I've not read this one. It is a translation of an Italian book and apparently documents their scientific research into the subject. Available on "the Big Bitch," as Stephen would say... and other fine retailers upon special order.

    Sheboyganboy Six

    ReplyDelete
  21. You pose a great question in How are Classical music fans different than other music fans? I don't know. The only thing I can contribute in the way of an answer is when I was in advertising and media planning/buying, the demographics of the classical radio station were very desirable in terms of income and education and occupation (high levels in all three). That's a very good question Lee. My answer certainly doesn't even begin to explain it. This is probably going to keep me up tonight! :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. I will tell you: I just put on "The Best of Rachmaninoff" as a result of this thread! :) Maybe I'll glean some insights over the next hour...

    ReplyDelete
  23. SBB6-- I think on the basis of the question you posed and the criteria I presented we are dealing more in the sense of musical styles and the melodies and structure that accompany them. Overall in our discussion the lyrics are mostly incidental since to a great extent we are dealing with classical and jazz from the standpoint of instrumentals. So many other factors can also be included such as artist, composer, title of a piece, subject matter, and so on. I think habit does play an important role in deciding preference. I think that is partially included in "Conditioning by repetition". Good references here that I will explore further.

    Angelsbark-- I do think you're correct about the demographics related to musical taste especially from the standpoint of classical. This would likewise apply to other forms of music to some degree. Rachmaninoff is a fine listening choice. Let me know if you arrive at any additional conclusions.

    Lee


    ReplyDelete
  24. Musical tastes are subjective-- so what's a perfect song for me, may not be so perfect for someone else :).

    I love the discussion you've generated here, Lee-- the comments make almost as good a reading as the post.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Damyanti -- The point of this post is to understand where the subjectivity comes from--how preference develops. Readers delivered nicely on this and provided some good insight. This is the fulfillment of my goals when I present a post of this nature.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi Arlee, sorry this is a bit late, but you asked an interesting question up there...so interested that I had to make a whole post about it, here:
    http://fortyandfantastique.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/blog-spiration/

    If you have time, I hope you'll take a look. This post contains links to your blog, hope that's ok!

    ReplyDelete
  27. fantastique -- Thank you! It's always okay to link to my blog with a good post.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete

Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee