How our change in taste in music reflects emotional development in our life
Depth of true personal progression can only be measured by the self. We often get confused about our personal growth when we look at it with societal models and scientific theories of linear progression available to us, and thus interpret our own state as progressive, regressive or stagnated.
“…there is little to be gained by investigation of emotion in music when we have little idea about the true fundamental qualities of emotion” (Meyer, 1956)
Taste in Music
Think about your taste in music for a second. Like me, your preferences may have evolved from pop music to heavy metal during teenage years, to hip-hop, to dance, to jazz & classical etc. However, someone who may have been classically trained will learn to appreciate this list in the inverse or however so. Whatever your musical journey there is a tendency to find a niche or an artist to whom you feel particularly relatable.
You may attribute this as a cultural influence and there used to be some superficial cultural significance to the type of music you liked. You were considered uncultured if you did not like opera and classical music, which caused people to blindly follow the crowd to blend in without any actual appreciation for classical music. The same goes for pop music nowadays- the stuff that floods the airwaves at the interest of the record labels who own the rights to the music (I’m going a little off tangent here), is what most people are programmed to listen to.
The point is that when you start to appreciate a new type of music, however, it may be perceived by society, it illustrates that you have unlocked a new field of emotion, and it is pretty easy to link certain types of music to certain emotions. So picture it as you being a dot in the middle of a circle with many nodes, and this goes beyond just music genres, but can apply to appreciation of any art form that evokes emotion.
Well rounded people claim to like all types of music, yet they still go through phases when they are focused on a single genre or artist for a while, and it is perhaps not that you get bored with the same song, but you evolve emotionally to move to a different type. Every so often nostalgia hits you and you will listen to something from a bygone era, but this doesn’t make you think of the time or the place, rather the emotion that you experienced then and how it relates to now. Perhaps, you are feeling aggressive and want to listen to some thrash metal, or you want to be calm and put on some South American panpipes. Maybe you relax to grime and work out to classical music, who knows?
So next time you discover a new style of music or next time you enjoy music with more depth, have a think about what is going on in your life right now or what has happened recently and how this is helping you connect with your emotions more.