Saturday, March 2

Science explains our inability to categorize music 2023

Music, with its diverse sounds and genres, has always shaped human society. Classical symphonies to heavy metal riffs move people. However, attempts to categorize music by genre often fail.

Favouritism shapes identities and relationships. Tastes affect our judgment and behavior. Because music is continuously changing, representing musical taste is difficult.

It’s hard to categorize music tastes because of its intricacy. Melody, rhythm, harmony, instrumentation, and lyrics influence a song’s aesthetic. Even within a genre, these elements might vary, making song categorization difficult.

German researchers polled almost 2,000 people about their musical interests, including subgenres. Metal, pop, rock, EDM, and European classical music enthusiasts were prioritized.

Music, with its diverse sounds and genres, has always shaped human society.

“Our analyses revealed that people who like the same genre can have very different tastes if asked which sub-genres they like,” said the study’s lead author, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics doctoral student Anne Siebrasse. Thus, genre lovers are not homogeneous groups with the same tastes.

Instead, we should recognize age, gender, education, lifestyle, and personality distinctions among these groups.

Genres are sometimes used to describe musical interests. “On a genre level, Beatles and Rolling Stones fans would all be rock fans, but they would probably see huge differences,” adds Siebrasse.

Rock music. Rock music includes alternative, classic, punk, and others. Electric guitars, drumming, and powerful voices are typical. Further complicating categorization, each rock subgenre may have distinct musical features.

Her co-author Melanie Wald-Fuhrmann created a questionnaire that asked participants to rate how much they liked the genres’ sub-styles to experimentally demonstrate the distinctions. By recording genre and subgenre preferences, the researchers could better understand musical taste.

When researchers considered subtype attitudes, many taste classes emerged. The writers found that three classes appreciated each subgenre similarly—very lot, somewhat, or considerably less. Two taste groups preferred sub-styles that were easier or difficult to absorb. All genres preferred easier subcategories over mainstream ones.

The researchers also found that sociodemographic and psychological factors including age, environmentalism, and openness may predict genre group or within-genre taste class membership. Pop music ages, the researchers found. Pop music tastes correlated with subgroup age. 20-year-olds liked 1990s pop.

Siebrasse and Wald-Fuhrmann’s study more accurately reflects the German resident community’s musical tastes. Their discovery of within-genre taste classifications may apply to different civilizations. Genre-specific discoveries may be impacted by the growth and function of a genre in its musical surroundings.

“We have taken an important step towards enabling the further development of questionnaires for researching musical taste,” Siebrasse stated. Our method should be applied to different genres and localities. Combine this style of survey with particular sound examples.”

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