Sunday, November 1, 2009

Why we like what we like...

Why is it that some people like the fast paced, poppy rhythm of Britney Spears and others prefer the often nonsensical, fun-filled melodies of Regina Spektor? The reason why people like what they like stems from a variety of different variables that haven't all been thoroughly explored yet.

According to Daniel Levitin's book "This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession", the reason we prefer certain types of music can be traced all the way back to our time in the womb. Levitin discusses an experiment in which pregnant women played a song for their children while they were still in the womb. When the infants were a year old, they were placed in between two sets of speakers and the song they had heard throughout their mother's pregnancy was played in one set of speakers while another track was played in the opposite set. It was discovered that the babies recognized the song and crawled towards the song that they remembered hearing while inside their mothers.
What parents listen to around their children during their early years also contributes to developing tastes in music. OU junior, Tyler Quance, who prefers the style of classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin and ZZ Top, said that his father constantly had that music on.

"I was just always around it. My dad always played it when I was little"

The message that certain types of music convey can also attract or deter listeners. For example, a large portion of hip hop music focuses on getting money, girls and fancy cars. The overall message is to get all of those things by any means possible and if anyone stands in the way, it's alright to take matters into your own hands. Not all people are going to necessarily agree with that particular method of thinking so they may be inclined to lean more towards a genre that matches more with their views.
So, the next time you are listening to a song, ask your self 'why do i like this?'. You may be surprised at the answer.

Photo: Regina Spektor playing the "Which" Stage at Bonnaroo
Taken by: Justin Goff

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