Liking certain things or styles is an important aspect of people’s identities and social lives. Tastes can influence the ways humans act and judge. How best to reliably describe musical taste—because of the constant diversification and change in music—is difficult and open to debate.
Using an approach that also takes into account subgenres, researchers in Germany surveyed more than 2,000 people about their musical taste and took a closer look at fans from five genres: European classical music, electronic dance music (EDM), metal, pop, and rock.
Anne Sypras, a doctoral student at the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Aesthetics and lead author of the study published in Frontiers in Psychology. “Accordingly, lovers of certain genres should not be seen as homogeneous groups with similar tastes. Instead, we need to acknowledge differences within these groups that are also related to age, gender, educational level, lifestyle, or personality traits.”
Subgroups with different preferences
“When people talk about their musical tastes, they often use genre terms. However, on a genre level, all Beatles and Rolling Stones fans will be rock fans, yet they themselves will likely see significant differences,” Siebrasse continued.
To empirically represent these differences, her co-author Melanie Wald-Furman designed a questionnaire in which participants indicated how much they liked subtypes associated with the species examined. By systematically scoring likes at the genre and subgenre levels, the researchers obtained a more differentiated picture of musical taste.
When researchers looked at attitudes towards subspecies, several classes of taste emerged. Three of these categories impressed all subgenres to about the same degree—to a very great extent, to a moderate degree, or rather less, the authors wrote. However, two of the taste categories differed in that they preferred substyles that were either more difficult or easier to process, respectively. Across all species, subtypes representing the dominant variant were generally preferred over more difficult alternatives.
The researchers also found that sociodemographic and personality variables, including age, environment-related attitude, and openness, can predict belonging to a type group or within a taste category. For pop music, for example, the researchers found a clear effect of age. showed that people’s favorite pop music correlated with subgroup age. The best pop music people loved was from the decade they were about 20 years old.
the broader picture
What Siebrasse and Wald-Fuhrmann achieved is a more accurate representation of the actual musical taste of the population residing in Germany than previous studies have produced. Some of their findings, such as the identification of taste categories within genre, are likely to be applicable across countries and cultures. Other findings, however, including genre-specific ones, may depend on the genre’s history and role in its own music world.
“We have taken an important step toward enabling the further development of questionnaires to search for musical taste,” said Sipras. “In the future, our approach should be extended to other species and regions. Another step could also be to combine this type of investigation with specific sound examples.”
You don’t know a person (their taste) when you only know the genre they like: Taste differences within five popular music genres based on sub-genres and sub-styles, Frontiers in Psychology (2023). DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1062146 And www.frontiersin.org/articles/1… yg.2023.1062146 / full
the quote: Research Shows Why Our Taste in Music Can’t Be Isolated into Universal Musical Genres (2023, June 7), Retrieved June 7, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-06-music-siloed-catch-all- genres. html
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