What creates a person’s musical preference?


Here’s an example based somewhat in truth. A set of twins grows up in the same house. Their parents listened to the same music their entire life. They go to the same school, and have many of the same friends. What would cause them to have different music tastes as they get older?

In: Other

My guess would be that if they differ in emotional state. Maybe twin1 grows up thinking everyone likes the other better, develops depression, starts listening to emo and gradually becomes a metalhead. Twin2 may be not have a clue what’s going on with twin1, lives a life with no real emotional problems and grows up listening to pop or edm.

There may be other causes, this is just what came to mind.

ELI5? People like to listen to what the people around them like to listen to, or something slightly different.

Music, i think, is like the second half of a loop: we put music, to put us in a loop, sometimes to feel more of how we already feel, or sometimes less. I would guess that it is whatever captivates your heart and or mind, you will choose the music to “complete” it, if you are sad, you might want to feel a deeper sadness, or you might want not to feel sad. So you’d choose a music to either loop you out of it or into it.

I think.

Now, what would determine what kind of music you’d associate with the various states? Hmm, life’s experiences, thought associations, a lot of tiny small things, really, is my guess.

I can only explain this based on my own experience – me and my younger brother (two years younger) both also grew up in the same house, shared our CD’s and MP3’s, listened to what our parents played and we had a lot of common childhood friends.

We both may have listened to Radiohead album for example, but my brother and I almost always liked different songs, even from the same album. It had most to do with slightly different personalities – he has always been a more introverted and aloof type, while I have always been a more neurotic and slightly more outgoing type. While I don’t listen to mainstream pop per se, I have always been drawn to more pop-like, upbeat music like pop punk, drum and bass, indie rock etc. while my brother kind of despises that stuff (except only for some indie rock) and likes experimental music the most, like Velvet Underground, PiL, Death Grips, George Harrison solo albums etc.

It’s fascinating how we have both had the same upbringing, but we like very different type of music. We have had a lot of arguments about it, but eventually, we learned to respect each other’s taste.

I think Chris Rock made the joke that the music we like is from the times when we were having the most sex. I know that oversimplifies it, but I think (generally) it sounds right – that is usually when most of us are taking the biggest bites out of life, having more transitional moments, or are maybe more aware of what we want to be ‘when we grow up’.

I’m in my mid-forties, and I listen to literally everything, but there is a soft spot for music from mid-nineties to early 2000s. Ymmv