FANS of heavy metal music are usually portrayed as long-haired students playing air guitar in their grubby rooms. Classical music lovers, by contrast, are stereotyped as serious, grey-haired and overwhelmingly middle-class.
But these apparent opposites have more in common than people might imagine, according to a study yesterday.
Researchers found fans of Motorhead shared "virtually identical" personality traits with Mozart lovers, both being unusually creative and introverted.
Friday, 5 September 2008
Leading article: Musical chairs
Some might say that the researchers of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh have come up with an explanation of the blindingly obvious in their study that shows music taste is linked to personality type.
Many will question whether it is really a surprise that indie rock fans tend to have low self-esteem but are often creative, that reggae lovers are supremely relaxed, that those who enjoy dance music are extroverts, or that heavy metal aficionados have a well developed appreciation of the grandiose? But not us, though. We are more interested in the potential practical applications of these findings. If personality influences musical taste, perhaps music can influence personality. Perhaps doctors could use music to ease mental disorders, in the same way that they presently use therapy or drugs?
Symptoms of anxiety? Prescribe some Bob Marley. Depressed? Take Sly and the Family Stone twice a day. Chronic shyness? A month-long course of Fatboy Slim (and strictly no Coldplay). Not very creative? Total immersion in The Killers. It would certainly cut down the NHS drugs bill.
"There is no evidence to suggest that the type of music you listen to will cause you to commit suicide, but those who are vulnerable and at risk of committing suicide may be listening to certain types of music," the author of the study, Felicity Baker, said.
Playing a certain type of music can enhance the way wine tastes, research by psychologists suggests.
CBC's Fuse presents a collaboration between the baroque orchestra Tafelmusik and the progressive country-folk of Rock Plaza Central. Tafelmusik is one of the world's leading ensembles of period performance. And Rock Plaza Central is a seven piece band that uses violin, banjos, drums, guitars, bass, glockenspiel and accordions to craft a decidedly modern roots-pop blend.
Together Tafelmusik and RPC find the common ground between the baroque and the folk.