Music and Romantic Relationships

How different tastes in music affect relationships

To a greater or lesser degree, musical taste can make an impact on relationships. Music does wield a lot of power, for many engaging reasons.

Music provides information about the other person.

When a person tells you about his musical tastes, he tells you a lot about himself. If a person you have just been introduced to says he likes classical music, the next thought that comes to your mind might be “Perhaps he can play an instrument” or “He must know at least a little about Beethoven.” If a person says he likes Hip Hop music, your next thought might be, “Maybe he likes dancing.”

Music helps us get to know another person by letting us in on a little about them. In this way, it is a valuable, interactive tool.

In a study by Peter Rentfrow and Sam Gosling published in the Journal of Psychological science in 2006, college students getting to know each other through the internet were more likely to ask about the other person’s musical preferences than other topics. The same study also found that such knowledge helped them to predict the other person’s personality and values.

People tend to like those who share their musical tastes.

We tend to develop a liking for the people who share our musical preferences because of the common ground that is forged.

In a study by Diana Boer, Ronald Fischer, Micha Strack, Michael Bond, Eva Lo, and Jason Lam published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, people really did prefer those who shared their musical interests. A group of heavy metal and Hip Hop lovers were asked to evaluate the descriptions of people who had similar, different or no stated musical preferences. They were also asked how similar they thought these people were to themselves.

Not surprisingly, people tended to like a person better when they shared similar musical tastes. These people also tended to have more similarities between them.

Music is a symbol of identity.

Music is a symbol of identity and a unifying force. Music definitely brings two people together. A classic example is that of a couple identifying “our song,” gelling because of the similar feelings that the song gives them.

Music can also be a source of irritation in relationships.

Just as it is a source of identity, music can also be a source of irritation. People are irritated when they are forced to give in to another person’s musical tastes and listen to their musical choices.

Take a mother who is constantly asking her teenage son to “turn the volume down” when he listens to his favorite techno track, something his mother, a die hard Beatles fan, has no inclination to listen to.

How understanding each other’s taste in music helps in relationships

Knowing each other’s musical tastes can be the fertilizer that helps the flower of love to blossom. Such knowledge contributes to the growth of love in several ways.

It opens up the doors to conversations.

Having similar interests or knowing the other party’s musical interests and therefore sometimes making allowances for them opens the doors to many conversations. When you find little to ask the other party while out on a date, talk about music and it is hard to go wrong.

It gives more date opportunities.

Knowing each other’s musical tastes creates more excuses to go together to a mall to get favorite CDs, or to the restaurant where that nice song was being played. Music helps to create a date.

Emanates a positive aura

There is something about music that gives everyone a positive feeling. While it brings back many positive memories, it arouses our nervous system and gets us to be more productive and motivated. It encourages to take actions and maintains a cheerful attitude.

It is an easy element to relate to.

Music is the easiest element for you and your partner to relate to. It is universal and many people easily associate with it. So common is it to find crowds at concerts moved by the lyrics of a song. This is true for couples as well.

SOURCE: Liew, M. (2016) “Paired Life: Relationships”
Facebook Page: Music Psychology Research (MPR) 2010 / Psychological Assessment and Research Evaluation (PARE) 2014 / Assessment, Counseling, Alumni and Placement (ACAP) Center 2017