Ep. 67: “Why You Like It: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste,” with author Nolan Gasser, PhD

Ep. 67: “Why You Like It: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste,” with author Nolan Gasser, PhD

Photo by Eric Nopanen on Unsplash

November 3, 2020

Dr. Nolan Gasser was the chief architect of Pandora’s Music Genome Project, and is author of the 2019 book, Why You Like It: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste. Dr. Gasser discusses his role in the Music Genome Project and the ethical component of its design. He then explains some of the most important factors that influence our individual musical tastes.

Guest

Nolan Gasser, PhD

I am thrilled to have with me today Dr. Nolan Gasser, author of the 2019 book, Why You Like It: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste. When it comes to music, this guy pretty much does it all. Dr. Gasser was the chief architect of Pandora’s Music Genome Project. He’s a professional performer and composer in multiple genres, including jazz, opera, musicals, film scores. His classical and orchestral compositions have been performed in venues including Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center, and the Rose Bowl. He’s a musicologist and was the subject of the documentary, “Musicology.”

Notes

  • Dr. Gasser discusses his role in the Music Genome Project and the ethical component of its design. He then explains some of the most important factors that influence our individual musical tastes.
  • How early are musical tastes developed?
  • Musical preferences are influenced by childhood, culture, hormones, and social experiences.
  • How do changes in technology affect the development of musical tastes?
  • Gasser will soon be launching his own podcast, to be called, “WHY YOU LIKE IT.”

 Connect/Other Resources

Coda

Dr. Gasser shares “The Wellness Suite,” which he composed using a “reverse-engineering” of Pandora’s Music Genome Project. The piece was designed to facilitate healing for patients dealing with the ailments of cancer treatment, and was composed in conjunction with Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The piece was also used for the ESPN / FiveThirtyEight documentary, “The Collectors: Breaking Music Down To Its Genes.”

Closing words

And that is a little bit of Dr. Nolan Gasser’s “The Wellness Suite.” Thanks again to Dr. Gasser for joining us today and for enhancing lives with music!

I am planning a future episode on the topic of music as a gift – ways to gift music to others, which is the gift that keeps on giving. These will include practical gifts, gifts of musical experiences, physical items and non-tangible items like an original song. If you have any creative ideas to share, I would love to hear them! You can connect with me on social media, email, or my website. 

Thank you so much for joining me today. Until next week, may your life be enhanced with music.

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