Philosophy meets Music

Why do we love certain music?

Philosophy meets Music: Why do we love certain music?
November 22, 2016 Benyamin
Philosophy meets Music

Why do we lòve certain music? In this article I will talk about the philosophy surrounding music. I will try to give you a feel of my personal insights gained by listening to music and the thoughts behind them!

The musical journey, whether you are a someone who experiences music or someone participating – or both -, is a very interesting topic. What makes music so intruiging, so fullfilling, so sad or so relaxed? What is it with certain pieces of art that glue to you, and you just can’t – not that you want to – get rid of?

Quite frankly, I don’t have a lot of concrete answers as it’s mostly a matter of perception and a matter of abstract experiences, in my eyes. The most concrete thing I could say about it is that perhaps music is something universal and therefore resonates to our frequency, as we are – in that sense and perspective – mere stardust. But is that concrete? And who is to say that music was there before us. Or that we created music. Or even that as we create music, music creates us – and vice versa.

And then, again…

I come to the conclusion that most philosophical input towards music will float in the abstract. And, that is not a bad thing. Mystery generally gives us pleasure, and a sense of purpose. Why do I say purpose? Well, not fully knowing or understanding something – it being covered in mystery – gives us motivation to learn and grow towards understanding. That journey is what creates purpose. Purpose is a journey.

Journey

Journey

Learning music is something someone who experiences and/or participates does. Thàt is universal. Therefore our perception of what good and bad is, depends on our ear and to what extent our ear has developed. You might completely dislike something you’ve thoroughly enjoyed years back. And there is also the short term ‘development’ – whereas a producer is in the process of creating something – feeling it strongly – and a day later wakes up and can’t seem to catch that feeling anymore.

So, then what defines good music? Why do we love certain music?

Is it correct to say: “If a lot of people love the composition, then it is good”? I’d generally like to think that is the case. However, there will still be people that simply don’t like it; to them is it not ‘good’. And that might ultimately be the point I’m trying to make -> Putting the word good between apostrophes.

A matter of perception.

Some pieces are thought of to be extremely good by the majority of people, simply because they resonate well to our collective frequency. To make this less floaty: That piece of work is structured in an understandable and relatable way – making it a pleasent experience for most listeners.

My point might even be: A track that is catchy, is very understandable.

Does this mean that a complicated symphony will not do the trick? No, I don’t think so. Because even though a composition might be super complicated, its appearance might be the complete opposite. It might seem very logical, very relatable and therefore very understandable.

What makes music ‘sad’ even?

That is a very hard question to give a direct answer to. I think one aspect of it is that it is more so the mindset of the listener at that time than the actual piece. That is one side. I want to jump to a conclusion by saying: It is the set of keys, the scale. But I don’t think that is a 100 percent what makes something sad. It could even be the tempo, the slower movement of the sound, the utilization of silences etc.

I think it is a combination of all these things. The answer probably lays somewhere in between the practical and spiritual aspects of music.

Imagination

Imagination

To conclude…

Listening to music, or even producing music is a learning curve. I believe even the most skilled composers learn something every day. Music is broader than just sound. It is – in my eyes – a perfect translation of us as a species. It makes us happy, sad, energetic and inspires us. It consciously and subconsciously gives us something to fight for. All the beauty, pain and ugliness of the world can be found in music. Music is like the reflection of the moon in still water. It describes our being in an honest way. It is like poetry without the usage of words. It’s the language of the soul. It is not always positive; it is hella frightening sometimes; it is often immens; beautiful; inspiring. It is a call for help and a sign of hope and faith. It is seperation and connection.

I hope I wrote something interesting, if you have any thoughts on the matter, please share them with us in the comment section below! Maybe you have interesting angle(s)/thoughts for these types of articles!

Note: This article is not ment to be presenting fact or fiction, just a sequence of thoughts open to interpretation.

 

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