Music Mondays: A Question of Taste

Jimmy_Page_earlyThe concept of musical taste has never lost its fervour. Few things express us as much as music. Even fewer things are such great tools to judge people. Musical preferences reveal us…or do they?

I admit it. I use people’s musical tastes to, um, get a picture of what they’re like (aka judge them). Whether or not they’ll be compatible with me as a friend (or potential S.O.), for example.

If all the person listens to is Top 40 hits, my relationship with them will probably not be too interesting.

If person listens to roughly the same things as me, we may have an interesting relationship.

If the person listens to opera and symphonies, I’ll feel challenged, because technically as a music teacher I’m supposed to know about that stuff. But honestly, I’m not sure if I really do or if I’m just regurgitating a textbook.

Of course, I understand deep-down that a person’s musical taste doesn’t determine their worth, or whether or not they’ll be a good friend. But does a person’s musical taste determine their education level? Or “classiness” level? How about their depth, creativity, or intellect?

There are probably good arguments both ways, and to be honest, I’ve been on both sides of the judgement: I’ve judged people’s “depth” by their musical taste, and my own depth has been judged likewise.

Johann_Sebastian_BachI don’t think this judgement-by-taste thing is ever going to disappear. And I think there’s at least some truth to it. Even if a person’s musical taste doesn’t determine their “depth,” music to some degree determines compatibility with another. We all want a musical discussion buddy, a concert buddy, and that someone to screech off-harmonies with on the local hippie beach.

That being said, if I take a good hard look at my closest friends, few of them truly share my musical choices.

Notes for thought?

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2 thoughts on “Music Mondays: A Question of Taste

  1. I haven’t thought about this for a long time. I used to think about compatability but that was back in highschool. Obviously I don’t hold music in the same regard as you (whereas I’d judge people by what books they read) I haven’t found anyone with the same musical taste as me (and technically i don’t have one, they’re just songs I picked up from other people) so generally I enjoy it when people have different musical tastes than me (and share with me their playlist). Also I’m not someone who shares their music much, it’s pretty personal to me, whereas books I’d share and consider it a social activity to discuss books. I mean if your absolute favourite close to your soul song is a Top 50 with lots of swearing and sex hit I’m going to think you’re a flake but I as for everything else whether it’s good or bad I’ll probably think it’s bad, so I can’t use music when considering potential friends. I think for an SO though something less radically different from yours would help since how else are you going to set up a dinner with a romantic atmosphere if neither of you can agree on a song?? 😉


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