Is your Music Taste Self Born?

It’s one of the few things every culture on this huge planet share. You would probably never meet someone who doesn’t listen to any kind of music at all,  and whoever says it doesn’t preexist without man should open their ears!

Listen to the waves crash on the shores, wind rushing through the leaves on trees and even that static that our earth produces. These can surely never be mistaken for noise as these very sounds, are music.


Music taste is indeed developed, but not exactly how you thought it is.

Imagine you kept everything from your adolescence including that Salt n Peppa Hairdo, that silly nickname you were called and that sleeved polo you would wear everyday. Fortunately you didn’t. The only thing you did carry along with you is your taste in music!

You are probably already aware that there are things that are much easier to learn as a kid than as an adult (like, say, a foreign language). There is a point when your brain gets a little more set in its ways. But when your brain is new and still developing, it’s constantly creating new and different neural pathways to perform all the mental tasks that will be required of it throughout your life. So your parents’ musical preferences, whatever is on the radio, the rinky-dinky songs your preschool teacher taught you — anything is fair game to form the foundation that will be your musical taste. And your brain pays attention, developing neural pathways to recognize the music of your culture. At age 10, you start to bonk out the music that doesn’t fit in with your recognizable scheme of “good” music. At age 12, you begin to use those newly formed tastes to figure out your place in the world (“You will know us by our SPIN DOCTORS T-shirts!”). By 14, for the most part, your musical preferences are a done

As evidence, one music critic points to the biggest music icons of the past 50 years to bear this fact out. Both Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney were 14 when they were first exposed to Elvis, and both cited that exposure as the fuse that lit their world-changing careers. When the Beatles hit The Ed Sullivan Show, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder and Billy Joel were all age 14, presumably watching it on TV.

Of course, these could be chalked up as fun coincidences used to illustrate a point. But think back on what you were listening to when you were 14 — is it that much different from what you listen to now? Maybe a little more juvenile, maybe a little more Limp Bizkitty, but you probably haven’t done a 180 spin and completely abandoned the genre of music you loved as a teen. If you were a hip-hop fan then, there’s a good chance you still are one now.

Nobody is saying that your taste doesn’t get more diverse though, as you might sit sometimes listening to a particular piece and telling yourself ” I wouldn’t have liked this some years ago, I’m just beginning to understand this kind of music”.  The simple answer is that as our brain never gets tired of this highly addictive drug, it excites itself from new patterns that are although never too far a genre away.


Your brain is wired to know “sad” and “happy” notes

You don’t need lyrics to know what “sad” music sounds like — imagine what plays under a funeral scene in a movie. Likewise, you know what triumphant music sounds like, even if the song doesn’t feature Joe Esposito explicitly telling you that you’re the best around

But what if you found some natives in the jungle who’d never heard music before? Would they know the difference between the soundtracks of a happy movie scene and a sad one? Yep.

In the same way that we’re all programmed to know that babies are cute and spiders are terrible, our brains are also programmed to recognize “sad” and “happy” when it comes to music. The two main chord and scale types are referred to as major and minor. Major chords tend to sound positive and upbeat, while minor chords are spooky and sad.



Research from Cracked


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