Why You Like It: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste (Paperback)
From the chief architect of Pandora Radio's song recomendation engine comes a definitive and groundbreaking examination of why we respond to music the way we do.
Everyone loves music. But what is it that makes music so universally beloved and have such a powerful effect on us?
In this sweeping and authoritative book, Dr. Nolan Gasser—a pianist, composer, musicologist, and the chief architect of the Music Genome Project, which is what powers Pandora Radio—breaks down what musical taste is, where it comes from, and what our favorite songs say about us.
Dr. Gasser delves into the science, psychology, and sociology that explains why humans love music so much; how our brains process music; and why you may love Queen but your friend loves Kiss. He sheds light on why babies can clap along to rhythmic patterns and reveals why different cultures across the globe identify the same kinds of music as happy, sad, or scary. Using easy-to-follow notated musical scores, Dr. Gasser teaches music fans how to become engaged listeners and provides them with the tools to enhance their musical preferences. Taking readers under the hood of their favorite genres—pop, rock, jazz, hip hop, world music, and classical—he covers classic songs from Taylor Swift to Led Zeppelin to Kendrick Lamar to Beethoven, and through their work, introduces the musical concepts that make you hum along or tap your foot to the beat. Why You Like It will teach you to follow the musical discourse happening within a song and empower your musical taste, so you will never hear music the same way again.
About the Author
NOLAN GASSER is a critically acclaimed composer, pianist, and musicologist. Most notably, he is the architect of Pandora Radio’s Music Genome Project and the chief musicologist from its founding in 2000. Dr. Gasser lectures widely on the nature of musical taste and the intersections of music, science, and culture. He received his Ph.D. in musicology from Stanford. He lives with his wife in Petaluma, California. Why You Like It is his first book.