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Archive for September 15, 2013

It’s Not What You Love; It’s Why You Love It

“I love Mozart.” “I hate rap.” “I love the Metallica guitar sound.” “I hate the music they play at NBA games.” “I love the Beatles.” Opinions about music (songs, artists, or even whole musical genres) are often expressed with extreme words like “love” and “hate.” My friends are pretty diverse, and we don’t always agree on what music is lovable (but we can still be friends). I’ve come to realize that it’s not as interesting to talk about what music you love as it is to talk about why you love it. In fact, you don’t even need someone to talk to about it; next time you hear a song that you love, you can just ask yourself why you love it, and honestly try to answer the question. (Or do the same thing when you hear a song that you hate.)

You might hear the powerful repetitive bass and drum groove at a club and say “I love how it makes me feel; the earthy tribal pounding of the kick drum, the smack of the snare, the bass line going up my spine.” Another person, hearing the same song, might say “I hate the repetitiveness of the chord progression, the mindlessness of the lyrics, the murkiness of the mix.” As they say, to each his own.

By learning why you respond as you do to certain kinds of music or to particular songs, you learn more about yourself. I’m a firm believer that knowing yourself better makes you a better musician. Or at least a better music appreciator.

I suppose you could apply the same question to almost anything in life. “It’s not what food you love; it’s why you love it,” etc. Or movies, clothes, sports, … who knows, maybe even blogs.