What makes us like music?
Why do we like the music we like and why do different people like different kinds of music? Existing models try to explain music preference as an interplay of musical features, the characteristics of the listener, and the listening context. Hereby, they refer to short-term preference decisions for a given piece of music rather than to the question why we listen to music at all and why we select a particular musical style. In this paper, it is hypothesized that the motivation for music listening and the liking for a particular kind of music depend on the functions that this music can fulfill for the listener. Thus, the relative contribution of these functions to the development of music preference should be investigated, together with repeated listening (which is thought to increase the impact of the functions over time). The cognitive functions, including communication and self-reflection, seemed to have the strongest influence on music preference. Physiological functions were very important as well. Emotional functions had less inmpact on preferences and cultural factors seem to have been irrelevant for participants’ judgments. In addition, repeated listening contributed significantly to the strength of music preference. The results indicate that the functions of music substantially predict why we like the music we like. The most important function is communication – giving new evidence to the assumption that communication might have been the initial evolutionary benefit of music and might be an important reason for why we like music at all. The substantial effect found for the private use of music for self-reflection adds new evidence for the importance of music in the development of adolescents. It is suggested that the functions of music should be a central part of a comprehensive model of music preference. ...
ConferenceESCOM 2009 : 7th Triennial Conference of European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music
MetadataShow full item record
- ESCOM 2009