hey all,
The last several posts in this series have been great. I have been fascinated and often surprised by your descriptions of how you hear music and how it impacts you, and I want more…! So here’s a deceptively simple line of questions this time, if you please:
When you listen to music, do you mostly hear the lyrics or the music? Do you hear both? Do you hear the words first and then the music, or vice versa? Does it depend on the genre of music?
And here’s a question for a bonus point: to what extent are you interacting with the music as you listen, expecting/hoping for the words or melody or harmony etc to go someplace specific, or not to go to a predictable place, etc? Do you do that?
the floor is yours, and thank you!


  1. Rick
    September 20, 2007 at 8:51am
    My big thing with hearing new music is the melody - does it grab me and catch me "off guard"? I'm not too much of a lyrics person as long as they compliment the melody. The overall sound is what attracts my ears - the song needs to be "melodically visual" for it to engage my attention, make me turn up the volume and listen to it.
  2. Tomek
    September 24, 2007 at 7:55am
    I think the music is more important, as Pandora, to have classified. While sometimes the music you enjoy has lyrics you can relate to...But you shouldn't relate music to music by what the lyrics are about. It seems wrong as a listener to subject yourself moreso then you already do to your current beliefs. I hear lyrics as many might say when it feels like it matters, but when the strongest feeling comes from the melody not the lyrics then the strongest attention goes to that. Sometimes lyrics are more powerful though and the thought goes to them and the melody accompanies it.
  3. Alyson
    October 03, 2007 at 8:21pm
    I have SUCH a hard time getting past the melodic vibe of music to hear the lyrics for more than 5 seconds....even if I try to listen. There are lots of songs that I know the lyrics of and will even sing them, but don't realize what I"m saying. To me, music is a completely sensual experience. It's a time to become completely lost in a feeling, sometimes it's ambitious and driving and great for skiing and sometimes it's about the feelings of love or evokes strong memories. When I'm writing (a big part of my profession), I need classical music to inspire and keep me focused and calm. Years ago, I was a video editor and also dabbled in music production. I learned how to cut music on quarter inch tape with a razor blade. We mixed on giant 24 track tape with giant mixing boards. Those years taught me an acute appreciation for arrangements, especially. When I listen to music it's the melody first and arrangements second. The production values are important as well...but these days, it's not hard to get well engineered products. Harmonies fascinate me as well. I can become absolutely lost in voices, chorals, especially foreign vibes. The way that African music moves is amazing....down into the earth, never floating above the ground as Euro American music seems to be developed. And, then of course, there are the anthems of my childhood that continue to move me: Yes, Cream, Jimi.....aaaah, there is still room for air guitar in my life.
  4. Alyson
    October 03, 2007 at 8:30pm
    And an addendum to my last post: I laughed at Alan's post about loving the sound of something so much that it doesn't matter whether the lyrics are "sacrificing children to Satan." Oh yes, I know that feeling of losing myself in a melody. It's a feeling of total surrender that is a rarity for me, at least. I spend so much of each day in my head and letting things / people close to my heart takes a journey through many locks, layers... Aaah, but music just penetrates straight to my soul. Though the ski area operators of the world will shiver to hear this: there is nothing quite as exhilarating as skiing as fast as I possibly can with loud music in my earphones (I have good eyes). :)

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