About passion for music

Five observations and one conclusion

1

I search actively for music that is new to me, and sometimes I introduce what I find and like to friends of mine. Sometimes those friends become as enthusiastic as I am, but sometimes not.

For a long time I thought that a more hesitant reaction from friends meant that they rather liked other artists or other kinds of music – and that they liked their favourites with the same passion as I like mine. After some years I understood that this was often not the case. They simple were not into music as much as I was. Their main interests and passion in life were elsewhere. An ordinary and simple fact, but it had not occurred to me before.

There are probably many, many misunderstandings in life because you think that other people are like you. You understand that there are differences in personalities and preferences, but you often misinterpret the true nature of those differences.

2

Well, what does it mean to “be into music” – or to “be interested in music” the way that I am? When I tell about my interest in music most people ask me if I sing or play any instrument myself, and I then have to confess that I don’t. My interest in music lies elsewhere.

Some people instead believe that my interest in music means that I have a vast knowledge of genres, composers, lyric writers, songs, musicians, singers etc. Well, if you listen to a lot of music, as I do, you eventually pick up a thing or two. You know a bit more than the average person, but my ”being into music” is not in the first place fact oriented. Learning facts is only a by-product of my interest, and it can help me to find more music to pursue the true goal of my music interest.

If I do not play music myself, or am not very interested in the facts associated with music, what does then constitute my interest in music? The simple answer is enjoyment of other people’s musical expressions. Of course not any music or any musician, but I love to listen to soulful music of different genres, and I love to experience the different expressions and identities of soulful artists. And I love the beauty of melodies, voices, instruments and arrangements.

3

But there is yet another important thing. I also try to understand why I like different kinds of music, what the music does to me, and possibly to others. What is it about me and what is it about my favourite music that makes me love it?

This is an interesting and pleasurable way to get to know both the music and yourself better. This is why the tag line of Musik.pm spells “exploring, and expressing the experience of music”. I want to explore my experiences and express my conclusions. This is what I often try to do at Musik.pm. (Most obvious in Personality and music preferences.)

Sometimes the answers of these analyses also makes me understand why I am indifferent, or even negative, to some music, but those observations are not in the focus of my attention. This is another important feature of Musik.pm. I do not, as critics have to do, write about music I do not like.

Even if I take myself and my own favourites as a departure point for these analysis, I want to stimulate the reader to do similar analysis of their personalities and music taste.

4

For those who cannot play or sing at all, or well enough to enjoy it, that avenue of pleasure and passion is obviously closed. If they still have a passion for music they can, like me, satisfy that passion by experiencing music performed by others. Those who sing and play themselves can have access to both avenues – that of making music and that of enjoying other musician’s performances.

When it comes to experiencing music played by others, are there any differences between non-musicians and musicians? If there are, how could those differences effect the quality of the experience?

One difference is probably the degree of awareness of the technique and the effort that the performing musicians put into their performance. Maybe you as a musician, more than a non-musician, can discern and apprehend “the construction” of a music performance. And probably musicians can do that more easily the more the performed music is close to their own expertise as musicians. Maybe such awareness somewhat can hinder musicians from enjoying the experience in terms of passion. The non-musician might not have that filter blocking his or her passion when experiencing a music performance.

Another difference might be that musicians use most of their passion for music to make music, simply because they find making music more rewarding than listening to music. Hence, there might not be as much engagement and passion left for “consuming” music, not as much as the non-musicians have. Non-musicians can focus all of their passion for music on experiencing music performed by others.

5

I used the word “consuming” above to name the activity of the members of an audience. But “consuming” is actually not a good word when you talk about something you have an emotional passion for. Emotional passion means that you are an active participant in the creation of your experience, and often also in creating the experience of the musician. For instance, this is how the relation between a fadista and the guests in a Portuguese fado house often is described. The fado loving guest in a fado house is not a passive consumer. Although silent during a fado song, he or she is still a co-creator of the fado experience. An experience of passion.

Conclusion

We are blessed by the fact that different people are interested in music in different ways. Some use their passion to make music for the passion of people like me. And some are passionate about the facts associated with music. They provide the structure to guide us in the world of music.

 

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The photos above illustrates another passion of mine, a passion for nature. I live close by a forest. At the end of my walks in that forest, I always pass this small lake.

Here are a few examples of music I have a passion for. In interaction, the musicians and I  create my experiences; experiences that make my life warmer, sometimes more exciting, and anyhow more meaningful.

What’s your passion in music?