headphonesWhat do you think about rap? I’m lying here in my warm, comfortable bed, trying to read about Zulu Kings as the Real Slim Shady perforates the dry wall separating my inner sanctum and my roommate’s abnormally active boudoir.

You see, I have this thing about music with lyrics that are obscured, unintelligible, nonsensical or vulgar. I think it has something to do with my love of words and the fact that I can’t read music very well at all. Because it takes me a lot of time to pull apart the various layers of music and truly appreciate the elements and how they work together, I tend to focus on lyrics and melody right away. This is why I can have a hard time with rap. Sometimes. I just can’t catch the words quick enough. So, all of this has me thinking. If I’m predisposed to hearing certain parts of music first, or even seeking certain musical structures first, other people must do the same. (Duh!)

Perhaps this is what drives our personal preferences regarding music entirely. If I could play an instrument, read music well, and didn’t have years of choral training under my belt, what would my music tastes look like? My friends always tease me for being such a rabid Brandy fan. Her harmonies, smooth, low tones and sappy subject matter lull me into a comfortable state of mind that I try and visit frequently. I know that I’m missing out on a lot of different music styles by feeding my preferences when I consume music, but I can’t help it. Maybe none of us can.

The only way that I can enjoy music outside of my comfort zone is by forcing myself to find the ways in which my learned preferences and listening abilities meet and overlap with unknown territory. Before long, my right foot is tapping my comforter to the beat of Mr. Shady’s still garbled tirade. With time and an interpreter, I can even see myself being teased for listening to Mr. Mathers on purpose. But not tonight.

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/jetheriot/ / CC BY 2.0