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.
I 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?
- Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin: CC BY-SA 2.0
- J.S. Bach: Public Domain