A lot of people talk about having emotional reactions to music as their primary reason for liking it. I don't generally have this reaction to music, so I might as well talk about what I do get out of it for a different perspective.

  1. It can drown out other noises. It is more regular than the sound of ventilation or traffic or chirping birds or upstairs footsteps, and I prefer it; I turn my (almost constantly on) music up when there are non-conversation noises about. (Conversation, though, competes too directly with music; I can't understand people talking over significant other sound.)

  2. It can control sensory overload. When I am spun up to unmanageable levels of sensory sensitivity, putting on familiar music with a solid, thumpy beat forces my thoughts to match it somewhat. When I am not spun up like that, it's still nice to have a modestly engaging track for my attention to fall into when I'm not doing enough to occupy myself - I don't function well when I'm not multitasking, my brain decides it's not wanted and turns off if I try. This probably doesn't apply to anyone else, at least anyone else who isn't autistic in a way similar to me.

  3. But that's all about the use of music, not the enjoyability of music. There is also enjoyability. Some music is a good source of word-pleasure, either in the poetic sense or just in the sense of some words sounding cool and feeling cool to say. People seem to vary widely in how much they appreciate this as a thing.

  4. Notes and timbres and rhythms vary a lot, and some of them sound pretty together. I think this for me is less like visual art being pretty - sequence is too important; if it's like visual art it's more like animation than like a painting - and more like an especially complex version of enjoying running my hands over soft things. Music is texture for my ears.

More "Stupid" Questions

by NancyLebovitz 1 min read31st Jul 2013498 comments


This is a thread where people can ask questions that they would ordinarily feel embarrassed for not knowing the answer to. The previous "stupid" questions thread went to over 800 comments in two and a half weeks, so I think it's time for a new one.