The Musical Imperialist – Understanding Music

I know a little about music but not a great deal. I often find myself driving in my car and a song I really like comes on. Take tonight, one of my all time favourite songs is ‘Me in Honey’ by REM. From the first strains of Kate Pearson’s vocal introduction to when Michael Stipe begins singing, that song affects me. I immediately begin to feel my mood lift and the song makes me smile.

Other music, like jazz, where the singers scat it makes my ears bleed. I can’t stand it. I also can’t stand music that is over-produced and sounds too smooth. I really don’t like R & B or boy band type music. It doesn’t do a thing for me.

I am curious about why certain songs affect me the way they do. Another example of a song that really works for me is ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ by the Rolling Stones. The opening guitar has effects me much in the same way as the REM song. There are many songs that do the same thing. Some new songs like Dan Mangan’s ‘The Indie Queens are Waiting’ starts off with him singing and then the harmony of a female singer[1] comes in and I melt. I feel the same way about the  Indigo Girls and their harmonies – they touch my soul.

I am pretty sure that there are reasons why people like certain kinds of music. I wonder if there are some mathematical reasons. Or maybe it has something to do with cadence or iambic pentameter. Anyone have any ideas?


[1] I don’t know her name.

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Published in: on March 11, 2011 at 11:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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