Hearing secret harmonies
Just passed on to me was an interesting tidbit in today's Science Times. A study of college students showed that listeners prefer harmonies to dissonance. That's no surprise. The surprise: the longer a subject had studied a musical instrument, the more true this was. That is, more musical training meant a stronger preference for what one might call conservative music.
So is the appeal of harmony and tonality is actually learned, not inborn? Does this contradict the theory that our preferences are developed in utero? Or is it just one more inconclusive study?
Edited to add: On reflection, one more possibility presents itself: College students who have studied musical instruments are simply more likely to prefer a certain kind of music than other students who have not.
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