Musical taste is cultural, not biological, says study

Brahms or Beyonce? All cultures enjoy music, but tastes vary. Are the variations cultural or biological? What is it that makes some combinations of notes pleasant and others less so? New research, published in Nature, suggests that preference depends on nurture, not nature.When it comes to music, we like what we know. Pleasant combinations in Western music, whether classical or pop, are known as “consonant,” while unpleasant ones are called “dissonant.” In Western culture, a combination of C and G, for example, is considered more pleasant than F and B. An editorial published in Nature notes that this combination, nicknamed the “devil in music,” was once considered so obnoxious that religious authorities banned it. The contrast between consonance and dissonance has been key to Western musical composition as far back…


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