there is overwhelming anecdotal and empirical evidence for individual differences in musical preferences. However, little is known about what drives those preferences. Are people drawn to particular musical genres (e.g., rap, jazz) or to certain musical properties (e.g., lively, loud)? Recent findings suggest that musical preferences can be conceptualized in terms of five orthogonal dimensions: Mellow, Unpretentious, Sophisticated, Intense, and Contemporary (conveniently, MUSIC). The aim of the present research is to replicate and extend that work by empirically examining the hypothesis that musical preferences are based on preferences for particular musical properties and psychological attributes as opposed to musical genres. Findings from Study 1 replicated the five-factor MUSIC structure using musical excerpts from a variety of genres and subgenres and revealed musical attributes that differentiate each factor. Results from Studies 2 and 3 show that the MUSIC structure is recoverable using musical pieces from only the jazz and rock genres, respectively. Taken together, the current work provides strong evidence that preferences for music are determined by specific musical attributes and that the MUSIC model is a robust framework for conceptualizing and measuring such preferences.
- Received September 28, 2011.
- Accepted March 20, 2012.
- © 2012 by The Regents of the University of California