Friday, April 17, 2009

Noise vs. Nice
What is it that makes something melodious to one person and annoying to another? What part of the brain is it that makes one person love heavy metal while causing another to want to put a drill through their head? And it's not just music, it's sounds in general.

Earlier this evening, Husband went to a website that had this sound-game-torture device that he found fun and enjoyable. I, separated by one room away, found the same noise to be the soundtrack that pushes a sane person over the edge and into a crime passionnel. Seriously, I honestly thought if that sound went on even one minute longer I would have to take a drill to his computer and commit Macacide.

When I returned to the room I asked Husband what that was and he was going to navigate back to the site to show me. I told him not to. He seemed surprised. Then I told him that I thought it was one of the most annoying noises I had ever heard and he looked at me in total shock. He found it charming. I found it horrifying. The kind of thing they could have played at Gitmo to coerce confessions out of people.

So why is this? Husband and I are pretty close in terms of musical taste, but occasionally he'll put on something that makes me want to beat myself unconscious. I'm sure I do the same, but he's much nicer than I and never tells me. But it's always interesting how we can be in total agreement on one artist and in completely different solar systems on another.

I guess I just don't understand "taste." What part of us dictates what we like and dislike? Is it nature vs. nurture? Is it chemical? Is it the little grey cells of Poirot fame?

Whatever it is I know I never want to hear that freaky-ass website ever again.

1 comment:

Fo said...

I won't link to it out of respect for Lisa's ears, but the website in question features a "ToneMatrix" -- an interactive 16x16 grid that plays a loop of synth tones selected by the user. The user can add or delete notes from the loop, making the music evolve gradually. It's very Steve Reich. :-)