Why do we listen to music?

Without becoming overly analytical, for what reason do we listen to music? I often find myself using music as my "attitude adjuster". As many of us have found, we can create a feeling or a mood with a certain type or style of music. In many cases, this can be done regardless of our state of mind or mental "well being" at that time.

Needless to say, there is nothing quite like recreating a three dimensional image of a musical performance in your living room or listening room of choice. That musical performance may reflect the way you feel at that time or how you may wish to feel.

Are we, as audiophiles, more enthralled with the musical performance itself or, are we enthralled by our music system's ability to recreate that musical performance? Is it possibly both of those factors? Have we somewhat lost sight or focus? I have to state that I cannot find fault in either approach to musical nirvana.

I guess that this may sound like some type of a reality check. Ultimately, I would be interested in reading the responses from fellow Audiogon members. Some of us may find that responding may just be a reality check in itself. Hmmm.


The above is an interesting article for all those who read this post.

My system was down for six weeks, and I felt the absence of music in my home. Even though I used my computer 'system' during that time, it could not fill the void. Which makes me wonder about your two-fold question--if music was all that mattered, then my quick fix system would have done the trick. But because it did not, I can safely assume that yes, I am enthralled by my my "high-end" system's capabilities to recreate music.

I have listened to music my whole life, and I have gone through phases where all I was listening to was my stereo. I feel this is normal for a lot of us. And it makes sense, too, when you shell out the kind of bucks for components. I also believe that this kind of analytical listening can be overdone to the point where one is not listening to music anymore. I find this line can be very thin.

When I am listening to music, (and that does not mean to me that I am not enjoying how well my system performs) I find the rewards almost beyond words. A fellow audiogon member told me the following, which sums it up best for me. He said that he enjoys eating french fries too much, and feels that with every indulgence he takes a few months off his life. He hasn't quit eating fries because "when I'm sitting in the dark, and the mood is just right, and I'm listening to music, that's when I add months on to my life."
For the same reason we make music. It engages the soul and and serves as a continual reminder that we are not solely or even principally intellectual creatures.
Music is the universal language. Well, music, love and certain hand gestures.
The L.A. Times recently ran an article related to this subject from the standpoint of how our brains respond to music. I'm just going from memory, but basically a recent study using MRI's found that those of us with musical training (play an instrument, or have vocal training etc.) have significantly more development in one of the brain's frontal lobes versus non-musical people. The more accomplished a musician one beomes, the more active (and developed) this part of the brain also becomes.

In addition, the study found that the more we get the more we want. In other words, the more an individual developes this part of the brain through musical training, the more we enjoy stimulating it through playing music.

While the study didn't specifically address those of us who just listen to music, as opposed to play an insturment, it would seem to me a very reasonable assumption that it's an extension of the same basic mechanism at work in our brain. Certainly, those of us who enjoy music seem to develop the same sort of increasingly sophisticated appreciation of it over time, and also seem to crave it more and more as our ability to enjoy it at deeper levels increases.

So it would appear that music really does make a direct connection with our brain and communicates and stimulates it in very specific and measurable ways. And just like any other part of our body, the more we train it the more enjoyment we get from the using it. I think we audiophiles have always known this, but now it's been made "official."

Thanks Jbecker, and in response, 2 L.Ps and a large order of fries!
Because music is emotional and we are emotional beings. we are all driven by emotion, and music is the greatest way to involve that emotion.
Because we have nothing better to do.I also assume that you are familiar with the term 'sublimation'.