What grabs you about music and why?

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Len_Dreyer

What grabs you about music and why?
« on: 30 Jan 2009, 03:43 am »
I've  been thinking about this a lot lately because of my participation in the "What are you listening to now thread". The Music Circle is a great way to share the music you enjoy. It has been a lot of fun for me. You get to see a lot of similarities and differences in musical tastes between the participants.  For me, all music has value, because minimally, it is important and meaningful to someone. Why else would they create it?  Because of ecramer's and JoshK's comments today in the Best 2008 Releases thread, I thought I open this thought up to discussion.

What grabs me about music, in the order of importance, is:  melody, instrumentation, vocals, rhythm and then lyrics.  Categorically, my preferences only.  I know there are a lot of others, and/or variations, thus the start of this thread.

My original music exposure came from my Pop's listening to big band and be-bop music. Personally, I gravitate more towards be-bop, which I think, led me to the Grateful Dead and Jam Band music.  Musicians working within a group and showcasing their individual talents has always resonated with me. 

I, also, came of age in the late 60's & early '70s and the melody and instrumentation for a lot of music during this period was fantastic.  I think most people are familiar with the great classic rock instrumentalists but the same holds true for amazing amount of folk music during this time.  Listen to the supporting instrumentation for some of Kate Wolf's music to get a sense of what I'm saying.

Lastly, for whatever reason, my mind doesn't latch onto lyrics.  There are some songs I've listened to easily a thousand times and I only know little more than the refrains (think Grateful Dead).  I chalk it up to internal wiring, but the variation in the instrumentation used over decades still grabs me.  :D

Having fun.

Len

rodge827

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Re: What grabs you about music and why?
« Reply #1 on: 30 Jan 2009, 04:02 am »
Len,

I've got to agree with you. I'm an instrumentation, rhythm, melody, vocals, then lyrics guy. The same thing happens in my head also. I'll listen to a piece numerous time before the lyrics even come into focus. I'm usually better off reading the lyrics as poetry than trying to listen around the notes.

Chris




boead

Re: What grabs you about music and why?
« Reply #2 on: 30 Jan 2009, 04:17 am »
Imagine that I'm on the stage
Under a watchtower of punishing light
And in the haze is your face bathed in shadow
And what's beyond you is hidden from sight

And somebody right now is yawning
And watching me like a TV
And I've been frantically piling up sandbags
Against the flood waters of fatigue and insecurity

Then suddenly I hear my guitar singing
And so I just start singing along
And somewhere in my chest all the noise
Just gets crushed by the song

Imagine that I'm at your mercy
Imagine that you are at mine
Oh, pretend that I've been standing here
Watching you watching me all this time

Now imagine that you are the weather
In the tiny snow globe of this song
And I am a statue of liberty, one inch long

And here I am at my most hungry
And here I am at my most full
And here I am waving a red cape
Locking eyes with a bull

Just imagine that I'm on stage
Under a watchtower of punishing light
And in the haze is your face bathed in shadow
And what's beyond you is hidden from sight


bummrush

Re: What grabs you about music and why?
« Reply #3 on: 30 Jan 2009, 04:28 am »
Rhythm,cause it makes me feel good

JerryM

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Re: What grabs you about music and why?
« Reply #4 on: 30 Jan 2009, 04:43 am »
All of the above.

Music grabs me. Even music I hate with every inch of my soul grabs me.

Music changes my mood.

It changes what a bad day today was. It adds to what a great day today was. It makes me cry when I suffer a loss; It makes me cheer when I celebrate a win.

Music grabs me because it just does. One way or the other, it always has. Like the tide, it's a constant. 

Great question,
Jerry

Tyson

Re: What grabs you about music and why?
« Reply #5 on: 30 Jan 2009, 04:48 am »
Heart, head, or gut?  Which type of listener are you?  Heart being more overtly emotional, gut being more rhythm and visceral driven, and head being more intellectual.  I'm a head listener for sure, with gut following a bit behind.  So Radiohead, Bjork, Mahler, Bach, and Coltrane all resonate for me.

Len_Dreyer

Re: What grabs you about music and why?
« Reply #6 on: 30 Jan 2009, 05:16 am »
Imagine that I'm on the stage
Under a watchtower of punishing light
And in the haze is your face bathed in shadow
And what's beyond you is hidden from sight

And somebody right now is yawning
And watching me like a TV
And I've been frantically piling up sandbags
Against the flood waters of fatigue and insecurity

Then suddenly I hear my guitar singing
And so I just start singing along
And somewhere in my chest all the noise
Just gets crushed by the song

Imagine that I'm at your mercy
Imagine that you are at mine
Oh, pretend that I've been standing here
Watching you watching me all this time

Now imagine that you are the weather
In the tiny snow globe of this song
And I am a statue of liberty, one inch long

And here I am at my most hungry
And here I am at my most full
And here I am waving a red cape
Locking eyes with a bull

Just imagine that I'm on stage
Under a watchtower of punishing light
And in the haze is your face bathed in shadow
And what's beyond you is hidden from sight


Brilliant.  I had to Google to get it, but Ani DeFranco.  A perfect example of a great artist that I have never truly gotten melodically, but close friends and family love.....much like Radiohead.

Len


bunnyma357

Re: What grabs you about music and why?
« Reply #7 on: 30 Jan 2009, 05:49 am »
I pretty much like all types of music, or can at least appreciate what others hear in it. Personally, I'm most effected by commitment, ideas and raw energy rather than perfect execution. I tend to like the first few albums by an artist while they are figuring stuff out and their ideas often overreach their abilities. I also tend to like rougher voices, that sound unique rather than a "better" voice. Blues, Roots, Punk and Folk/Country are what I'm usually drawn to.  Lyrics are probably last on my list.

But, I really do like most everything.

Jim C



mvwhiting_83

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Re: What grabs you about music and why?
« Reply #8 on: 30 Jan 2009, 06:01 pm »
For me it's lyrics and grooves...  Tool, Days of the New, Ani Di Franco (thanks ^^)... All have great lyics...  And are extra groovy.  10,000 Days is an amazing album, and chock full of some of the most intricates grooves out there...  It also helps that it was mastered by Bob Ludwig, so you know that it sounds killer!


Lyrics & Grooves I tell ya.


... But then for death metal it's brutality and gnarly vox.

orthobiz

Re: What grabs you about music and why?
« Reply #9 on: 31 Jan 2009, 01:04 am »
Lastly, for whatever reason, my mind doesn't latch onto lyrics.  There are some songs I've listened to easily a thousand times and I only know little more than the refrains (think Grateful Dead).  I chalk it up to internal wiring, but the variation in the instrumentation used over decades still grabs me.
Len

I am the same way. This was especially driven home on those double Beatles CDs in the 90's. The instrumental only Eleanor Rigby track? I am ABYSMAL. Like, "Eleanor Rigby, lives in the floor by the door what is more, who is it for? etc." Absolutely pitiful!

Paul

RichardS

Re: What grabs you about music and why?
« Reply #10 on: 31 Jan 2009, 01:47 am »
What grabs me about music? Man, I wish I knew.
I listen to probably 80% jazz, from Bill Evans to Billy Holiday to Ben Webster to Benny Goodman--most of it--but only rarely to all the songs on any given CD (which is why I gave up on vinyl). My fondest memory as a child was sitting in the living room with my Dad listening to Tijuana Brass or Tony Bennett. Did my fondness for jazz (emotional connection) develop out of that, or?

During my teens I mostly listened to Rock ((Classic) and Folk, but while I still love some of these artists , with many of them I find myself asking what it was I saw in it. I love Classical, too, especially Mozart, Beethoven, etc., but I don't listen that much. I think it's more of an intellectual appreciation. Maybe I didn't form the right memories in my youth with it for it to elicit a deeper emotional response.

20 years ago I really liked smooth jazz, jazz fusion and New Age, but now it bores me and often even irritates me (especially the drum beats). That said, some of it still really moves me, but not much.

Other than jazz, I've developed a real liking for Indian Classical music, and some Middle Eastern. I think for me, the Indian provides the emotional connection I get from jazz along with the intellectual I get from Classical.

I don't get or like most recent Rock. Country bores me. I love some Blues, but it's the same thing over and over.
I'm confused that I can't get my wife to listen to jazz with me, which is weird because she studied (and loves) jazz dance. But to her, music is to move to, not sit still and listen to.
I'm fascinated by what I like, but don't have a clue as to why. And I hope I haven't stepped on any toes--just expressing my personal music trip.

orthobiz

Re: What grabs you about music and why?
« Reply #11 on: 31 Jan 2009, 01:56 am »
The way it crawls into the fiber and DNA of my existence. To the point that nothing transports me to times and places the way an old song does. It recreates place and people and moods. And discovering new (and "old") music just does it for me.

A recent experience: I bought but just don't "get" the Fleet Foxes CD. Yeah, I know it's on every Best Of list, whatever. But I was sitting in the car listening while waiting and I read the liner notes. I'll be damned if they don't absolutely NAIL what music does for me. To the point where I'm starting to get into the album because the author feels JUST like I do. And that album is now insinuating itself into my being.

Paul

hdspeakerman

Re: What grabs you about music and why?
« Reply #12 on: 31 Jan 2009, 03:39 am »
I think of three things:
1.  In some instance a way of almost being up on stage as a part of the performance
2.  Almost like a transporter that can take you to places and times in the past, acts as a trigger. 
3.  A fascination with the reproduction of a moment in time some place where the recording was
made but in each case the notes may take you to a different memory.  You just never know.

No, I am not overmedicated.
Howard

JerryM

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Re: What grabs you about music and why?
« Reply #13 on: 31 Jan 2009, 04:23 am »
I think of three things:
3.  A fascination with the reproduction of a moment in time some place where the recording was made
No, I am not overmedicated.
Howard

I often think the same thing. On many great tunes the mixing guy just had to be goin' "Holy Crap! Really?" I envy that guy.  :green:

What exactly is overmedicated?  :lol:

Have fun,
Jerry

ecramer

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Re: What grabs you about music and why?
« Reply #14 on: 31 Jan 2009, 06:24 am »
Since my name was mentioned in the first post of this thread i have been thinking about what actually draws me into a particular group or style of music. While i am as about ecliptic as anybody i know. Lyrics drive a lot of my favorite groups across many styles of music be it country, rock, pop even Jazz While Coltrane is GOD Patricia Barber and Holy Cole spend far more time in the CD player. I love funny, risque, outright rude to some lyrics , which partially explain's my love for psychobilly, Great beat and usually funny lyrics. With that said a lot of the music that i play tends to be on the darker side I have posted in what are you listening to now after a selection that is something on the darker side that i don't listen to nice music (happy Music) which is true in a lot of cases as i don't mind taking the time to appreciate music that is not approachable on the first listen or even the second or third. As far as bands goes i normally could not tell you who plays what or even what their names are other then the lead singer. In the last couple of years i have been getting into a lot  Damnbiant (dark ambient) dark wave Because it matches my moods more than any type of music and less and less to guitar driven music, straight up rock and roll.  You know its always good to be among friends

ED

Jeff Ward

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Re: What grabs you about music and why?
« Reply #15 on: 31 Jan 2009, 05:42 pm »
I was standing in Frank Van Alstine’s place a couple of days ago obliquely thinking about this exact question. I was waiting while my newly purchased Insight 250 was being boxed, and Frank cordially decided to play some music. He asked me what sort of music I liked, and I said “acoustic blues” because when judging equipment, that works best for me. I was a music photographer years ago, and many excellent players would sit after hours in my living room and play. I still remember what that sounds like, and it is my “gold standard” for judging the quality of reproduction.

“What” is generally a pretty easy question, why is another matter entirely. I didn’t start to think about it that much until then. Frank put on an old Simon and Garfunkel record and I listened with interest. Coincidentally, I had revisited their catalog fairly recently in digital remasters and hadn’t heard the vinyl in a while. The old Columbia pressing had a completely different feel—much more forward in the vocals than the remasters. I made a comment about that, but I suspect that this wasn’t what I was supposed to be listening for.

Frank played something from Fresh Aire next, and I’ve never had any real reaction to that stuff. Lots of sonic fireworks, and a real emotional nothing from me. The equipment sounded good, but the music just didn’t register. Next, he played his tuner and the Sony radio he just got—struggling to find any music at all amid the D.J. chatter. Why was I listening? Evaluating equipment without some kind of base to compare from doesn’t really get far. That’s the problem I have with electronic music in general as an evaluation tool—I mean, just what is it supposed to sound like? How can a listener know?

The “why” of music seems to always connect with some specific space and time; resonance is a fleeting thing. If music resonates, it resonates with who we are at the time we hear it. I think it really matters most if it builds these resonances over time, with multiple listens. That’s why I think most people are inherently sentimental and nostalgic about “why” they listen to music.

If you looked at my last.fm profile (http://www.last.fm/user/JeffWard) to make sense of the 110,000 or so tracks that have been recorded there, one might be tempted to say I listen to “rock.” That doesn’t even scratch the surface of “what grabs me about music and why.” One thing’s for sure, I don’t really think that evaluating the performance of equipment is primary for me; I’m in it for the music.
 
That said, I’m still waiting for a new pair of Magnepan MMGs to hook up that amplifier to and keep thinking that once I spend some time with my new Insight 250 and compare it with the Hafler DH-200 it will replace I can post some commentary about the difference. I do suspect there will be some, but I’m pretty sure that it will show itself when I listen to music that I know well and care about.

Bigfish

Re: What grabs you about music and why?
« Reply #16 on: 31 Jan 2009, 06:03 pm »
Wow, this is an excellent thread and I don't have a clue what grabs me about music.  I have always liked listening to music and enjoy most genres with the exception of classical (I know, I know I am a heaven).  Depending on my mood I can find music that is relaxing or music I want to sing along to (when no one is around).  Also, unlike with TV, you can just shut your eyes and totally immerse yourself in the sound.  Lastly, music provides us with this great audio hobby! :lol:

Ken

jimdgoulding

Re: What grabs you about music and why?
« Reply #17 on: 31 Jan 2009, 06:11 pm »
The experience and intimacy of art in the making.

Demarche

Re: What grabs you about music and why?
« Reply #18 on: 31 Jan 2009, 06:31 pm »
Wow, what a great question and great responses. For me it's that combination of the music (including lyrics/vocals) and the emotion they are trying to convey.

I was just discussing this with my wife in a different context. For the 1st time in a long time we watch Letterman the last couple of nights. He had Airborne Toxic Event perform a couple nights ago and The Gas Light Anthem last night. I've been hearing these bands a bit on the radio and have read some reviews about both albums, so I was interested in seeing them. While both songs are good and both bands performed well, I've got to say that whatever ATE did their song really grabbed me. While I like TGA it certainly didn't grab me like ATE. I wish I could describe it better, but I guess it's just that certain combination of major and minor chords.

From an artists perspective I would recommend reading Joe Jackson's "A Cure For Gravity". He does a great job a describing this from his point, creating and playing music. It's a great book and a compelling read.

soundbitten1

Re: What grabs you about music and why?
« Reply #19 on: 31 Jan 2009, 08:03 pm »
What grabs me most about music is it's ability to transport me to another place ( metaphorically ) .