Music is meta

| Music | 7 Comments

Here's something new to really boggle your mind. Why do people enjoy music? There is something about the melodic stream of musical notes, the background beat of instrumental support and the intertwining form of the human voice combined with the rest of the sound mass which inspires us all. How could this be? While each person has his own unique preferences, the love of music is a universal appreciation for everyone across all cultures. Is this a natural result of evolution, does it have to do with survival at its best, or is it simply a by product of the infinite energies within us? There probably is no answer for this and there probably will never be a satisfactory explanation for this quirk of human nature. Except for the music itself which inherently expresses the reason why we like the music in the first place. Kind of like a meta-awareness where music is about music if you know what I mean.

7 Comments

It gets even stranger (and gives you more of a headache) if you, like me, actually end up making music almost every day of your working life. It's not just a passion that becomes a job (many people's ideal situation, I'm sure) but you become completely and utterly wrapped up in it. Then it gets even more scary when you start to think about (as your blog suggested) why it has the effect it does and...well....what the hell is going on???

arggghhhh

simon.

Well I would love to answer this is a nice concise and indisputable way, but as you mention, there will never be one answer. There are a lot of fundamental oddities to think about. Take, for instance, the melody line that children use to accompany the taunting phrase "nanny nanny boo boo." As noted by the late Leonard Bernstein, this melody, or at least the intervals within the melody, is utilized in almost every culture to indicate the same thing. Even the earth is a part of universal music. Theoretically the earth makes music by its spinning on it's axis and other movement events. Richard Wagner always used the key of E-flat Major in his works when he wanted to portray information about the earth.
I know that I have not dared to come close to answering the question, but being a musician, I thought I would pass on some interesting tidbits of information to add more mystery to human attachment to music.

Yes, music is everywhere including those mysterious forms of which we are unaware. Sounds and rhythms where molecules in the air vibrate against each other, but also the translated enjoyment as it arises in our minds thanks to that wonderful organ called the ear.

"People hear D Minor and instantly start to weep. It's the saddest of all keys." -- Nigel Tufnel (This is Spinal Tap)

I find it fascinating that cultures all over the world enjoy music, yet another cultures' music may often be virtually unlistenable. Take Chinese music for instance. Because they don't follow the "established" 12-note form, it sounds to most people who are used to that as if the musicians were playing random, out of key notes. I wonder how western music must sound to someone familiar with Chinese music? It must sound extremely uptight, being so regimented and, essentially, simple.

And what is it that makes one person like one style of music while someone else likes something else?

I have to stop. There are so many questions and so few answers . . .

Why does one person like one type of music and the person next door something totally different. They do not have to live in different countries separated by half the world. Physically the sounds are (almost) exactly the same for the ears that listen. However, it is the way the brain interprets these sounds that make music what it was always meant to be.

If i had to guess, I'd probably say people like music because of the minds pattern recognition mechanisms. Along the years, different people listen to different kinds of music, and develope a different taste of certain patterns they enjoy in songs.

I think that might be the reason for those situations in Metal music, for instance, where people are getting into this genre in a long process, going from light songs to heavier melodies over the years.

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