I have no idea why
As I sat down to write, I wondered what is it that makes people like a certain genre of music, or show, or composer? I recently heard a conversation between two teenagers regarding the greatness of Hamilton. As I listened I realized that neither had seen the show, but they could quote every line from beginning to end and had a pretty extensive knowledge of the scenes, choreography and stagecraft. However they hadn’t seen the show. Now that is not to say that seeing is the only way to enjoy a piece, but what is it that attracts us to a certain type of music? As a young person my parents listened to classical music and big band around the house. We attended the symphony, ballet, and opera and went to every possible recital at the University. I loved this. The thrill of great symphonic works transported me to the most incredible imaginary lands. The opera was like a fairy tale come true, and ballet was the most exquisite expression of human form. I loved it all, but I have no idea why.
I loved live music more than recordings, because I always felt that the recordings lacked the "life" of live music. My father always played classical music or jazz in the car. I loved this as well. Classical music soon became a chance for me to figure out who the composer was or the time period, and over time I memorized a huge amount of repertoire and was able to pull it from only a few notes. I knew the themes of a great deal of orchestral and choral music and I even knew some Gregorian chant. I was probably a very odd child but none-the-less, I liked it. Jazz excited me because it was free and open and didn’t seem like it had to play by the rules. Sometimes it seemed wild and crazy like some sort of an untamed beast. Others times it was smooth and cool. I loved it all, but I have no idea why.
My friends listened to the latest rock and pop. These were OK. I would occasionally turn on these tunes when I was driving and blast them in a rebellious way, but I was not a rebel. Although I did have a black leather jacket. Yeah, I was a real James Dean but so not. Rock and pop was loud and bold and it told stories that I wasn't too attached to because they just didn't seem to be in my experience, mostly because I lived an adult life in many ways as a child (this was an odd sort of understanding in my family). My parents were not fond of rock music because it was not "their music." To this day, they will complain when they can't get classical, big band or jazz on the radio, and god help us if they are suffered to listen to country. I have to say country is not my favorite either, but I have no idea why.
Now I sit scratching my head wondering what the answer is to this question. I could flippantly say its just personal taste, but I feel like there is something deeper that attracts us to a certain type of music. I would like to think that there is something deeply seated. Maybe a sort of primal sensation that draws us to a particular genre. It's something that speaks to the very core of who we are. I would like to think that its something that re-awakens us from our past lives or guides us toward the future, and perhaps it does. Maybe we like it "just because" rather than nature or nurture. Perhaps it’s ok that there’s not a heady academic reason. I think I have to be OK with not having a reason. I would love to know why I love what I love but I have no idea why.