Disliked Music

In Western cultures, musical taste, understood as a particular attitude towards music, is an important aspect of one’s self-concept and self-perception. As an affective and expressive medium, music not only  serves to satisfy emotional and social needs; rather, in its individual quality as liked or disliked music, it can be used to create and affirm one’s own identity. However, in detailed examinations of musical taste, the focus is usually only on the dimension of what is liked; music that is rejected may be part of the gathered data, but it rarely plays a role in evaluating the conceptualization of musical taste.

For this reason, our project is centered on rejected music—on the individual explanatory strategies for rejecting some music, how these explanations differ from those given for favored music, and the functions fulfilled by rejecting specific pieces and styles of music on both a personal and social level. In an additional step, we will examine the linkage between musical distaste and the “narrative self” with consideration of different degrees of dislike. In this context, the project’s focus will be less on individual examples of musical dislikes than on the psychological and sociological processes located behind such examples. For this reason, methodologically we will use and bring together surveying techniques from both the psychology and sociology of music, as well as from music therapy.