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Music - why do you listen to the music you listen to?

  1. Dec 11, 2009 #1
    Why do you listen to the music you listen to?

    Some people listen to music simply because it is pleasing to their ears or because they like the rhythms, or whatever.

    I, personally, listen to music usually for the lyrical message and musical feelings. For instance, I have a wide range of tastes from folk, mountain string band music to hardcore, straightedge punk to delta blues to rocksteady and reggae. My family and friends often wonder what is the string that ties my musical tastes together. I have thought long and hard on this. I think it is the soul and message of the music. They don't have to be particularly great musicians, nor do they need to play prolific or groundbreaking music. (Though musicianship sure makes listening easier.) But there needs to be an authenticity and sincerity that comes across for me to enjoy the music.

    The blues, mountain music and reggae speaks of hardship and struggle to me. There is something both uplifting and grounding in feeling another persons struggles come out through their music. I feel in sharing their struggle, sorrow, hope and elation, it lets out those same feelings from me and I feel it is OK to have those feelings.

    Punk and hardcore tap into the anger, energy, disillusion and simplicity of existence for me. I really think there is something to be said about 3 chords and the truth. There is something very liberating and primal to these genres to me. It is also likely closely linked to memories of my youth and going to basement shows, playing in bands, writing the music you love and playing it for your friends.

    So, why do you listen to the music you listen to?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 11, 2009 #2


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    Strangely enough, a desire to separate my tastes from a person I was beginning to develop some serious resentment for pushed me over the edge between your standard rock tunes to folk music.

    I've always had a preference of acoustic instruments over electric/electronic instruments and lyrics are more important than deep instrumental compositions, so it didn't take all that much to push me over the edge. In fact, the only reason I stuck to the standard pop fare as long as I did is that there's very few radio stations that support folk music (or bluegrass), so it takes a little more motivation to find the music to listen to in the first place.
  4. Dec 11, 2009 #3


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    I mostly listen to the music that I love to play. As a guitarist/vocalist, I tend to choose music that features those, though there are lots of exceptions. I have 400 CDs loaded into a carousel and leave it set on "random", so I might hear a sequence of songs by: AC/DC, Clapton, Union Station, Vince Gill, BTO, Johnny Lang, KD Lang, Carley Simon, GE Smith, Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter, Buffalo Springfield, Steve Wariner, Yes, Traffic, Fleetwood Mac (pre-1970s), the Hollies, John Lee Hooker... It goes on and on. The only thread that ties them together is my enjoyment of them. I like the "random" setting, so Joni Mitchell might lead into BB King, into Jesse Colin Young, Poco, T-bone Walker...

    I have probably single-handedly boosted the sales of music that doesn't get much air-play, because nieces and nephews are always breaking in during cookouts asking "Who IS that?"
  5. Dec 11, 2009 #4
    I listen to Nirvana because it gives me an adrenaline surge when I feel sluggish or depressed. There's songs like Very Ape, Aneurysm, Negative Creep, Territorial Pissings, and so on that are just wondrous.
  6. Dec 11, 2009 #5
    I listen to it because it's nice :)
  7. Dec 11, 2009 #6


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    Now I listen to a lot of folk, bluegrass, and what's called "singer-songwriter" (which I guess is modern folk).

    But I listen to a lot of jazz too (in fact as I'm writing this I have it on the radio). I'm not crazy about jazz but my coworker has sports talk on all day :yuck: and it's an acceptable neutralizer.
  8. Dec 11, 2009 #7
    I pick my music to enhance the mood I'm in. And that can range from wicked guitar music to baroque chamber music.
  9. Dec 11, 2009 #8
    There is nothing better than epic symphonies, like that of Mahler or Shostakovitch, and a host of other works of 20th century composers.
  10. Dec 11, 2009 #9
    But why? That is the purpose of this thread, not what, but why.
  11. Dec 11, 2009 #10
    Because it takes you on an epic journey as an escape. It's a form of enjoying art, rather than just being pleasing to the ear. It's sort of like the Gestalt school of thought, you have to listen to the whole thing to derive any meaning.
  12. Dec 11, 2009 #11
    Nothing like self deprecating music to make you feel better.
    That's why I don't like rap. It's too arrogant. Why do I want to listen to this guy talk about how wonderful he is and how much better his life is than mine?
  13. Dec 11, 2009 #12


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    I use music as white noise, something consistent and repetitive which I can shut out while my mind wanders the paths I choose.

    I prefer to block out classic rock over most others.
  14. Dec 11, 2009 #13
    Music is synaesthetic in that it allows you to "hear" emotions. I listen to it for the impact it has on my mood.
  15. Dec 11, 2009 #14


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    When I look at your photos, I imagine Coltrane or early Miles Davis playing in the background. Your subjects put the lie to that, though.
  16. Dec 11, 2009 #15


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    I listen to a wide range of music for a wide range of reasons.

    For what Integral mentioned, I prefer Melodic Metal like Dimmu Borgir or Cradle of Filth. I generally use this at work, where I'm grinding away at scientific coding.

    When I'm pursuing some intellectual concepts (neurophysics lately) that aren't required for a class (i.e., I'm actually interested) I use classical music because of it's lack of lyrics and mood-setting. It works well for consuming new material.

    When I'm feeling manic, I like Mindless Self Indulgence

    When I'm taking long drives across Alaska, I like Iron Maiden and Pink Floyd.

    When I'm chilling and drinking homebrew, I like Bluegrass.
  17. Dec 11, 2009 #16
    I listen, mainly to two genres(don't laugh): Classical Music and old school rap. Both seem very different, and they are. However, in these genres, I can see an expression of emotions and feelings more than any other genre so it most like true art.
  18. Dec 11, 2009 #17
    I like pretty much all music though some certain types more so than others. I don't like most rap, electronica, and pop country though there are some of each that I do like. I primarily enjoy variations on rock, blues, and jazz. For a while now I have been listening mostly to Punk for the up tempo and adrenaline rush sort of feeling.

    And that is the primary reason I like the particular music that I listen to, because it is emotive and grabs me. For the most part you could say I am fairly "style over substance" when it comes to music though I do like many songs and bands for their lyrics I am mostly concerned with the music itself and how it makes me feel. I am also mostly fond of music that I consider 'interesting' such as experimental and cross overs between genres.

    Music I like...
    Punk, Blues, Jazz (particularly big band), Swing, Rock-a-billy, Bubblegum, Ska Punk (or fourth wave, I don't know much in the way of real ska), "Alternative", Classic Rock, Metal, Goth, Irish Folk/Rebel, Classical, Industrial (particularly noise and the harder variants), Blue Grass, World, Standards/Traditional Pop, and a host of variants on the preceding.
  19. Dec 12, 2009 #18
    Wow, that's interesting: it never occurred to me anyone would associate any music with the photos.
  20. Dec 12, 2009 #19
    I start with all music and whittle my way down. As others have said, the choice reflects the mood one is in, but I am a sucker for (admittedly repetitious) classic rock, music that I grew up with around my second decade.

    Music I don't listen to? "Country," conservative Christian music, teen rap, commercial Latin music, gratuitous metal.
  21. Dec 12, 2009 #20


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    Think smoky sax - maybe Harlem Nocturne for the more languid poses, or perhaps Night Train for the edgier subjects, though I'm willing to bet that neither of those classics has ever been played in the clubs where you sketch.
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