How Musical I Am… Apparently

Music and Me - The Rainbow Connection

I couldn’t leave yesterday’s post without resolution, so I logged back into my BBC account this morning, all prepared to re-take the musicality test, and lo! my original results were ready and waiting. Which kinda sucked because I thought I might get a little extra advantage with the practical tests by having done them before. Nevermind. I’m not going to do an in-depth break down of my results, it’s only of cursory interest to me so I highly doubt anyone else out there has been super-keen on reading every last detail.

I’m surprised by the low musical curiosity score, though. According to the lab technicians, a low score “suggests that you aren’t really open to exploring new music, and prefer to listen to the genres and artists you are already familiar with. As a result, you are likely to be exposed to a limited range of musical styles and have a more focused range of musical taste than the average person“.

I really don’t think that could be more wrong, and stuffed if I know how that was determined.

The practical test results were the most interesting to me, and in most cases I did a better than I thought. Judging by the overall results, it also seems choosing ‘I think so‘ more often than ‘I’m absolutely certain‘ taints the results somewhat – by which I mean it appears to affect other results by way of indicating a lack of confidence in one’s skills, even if the skills are above average. At least I’ve gone ahead and assumed my results were above average, if but only slightly, with an average success rate of 70% between the four prac tests. (Lowest was 50%, highest was 90%. Funnily enough, the 90% was for determining whether a beat was in time with the music, and the 50% was for keeping time myself. I guess this means I can tell if someone else has got rhythm, but I don’t have it myself. Hmm, and I wonder how I ended up reviewing music instead of playing it!)

All up, the test didn’t tell me anything new, really. For example, the little paragraph informing me about my emotional connection to music said:

…music can strongly influence your feelings and you may even use it to manage your mood. It’s likely that you also find music a powerful tool for reconnecting with past events and memories. Your results suggest you connect more deeply with music than most people, with some songs having the power to completely change your emotional state.

Indeed. I once told someone that I occasionally create playlists specifically designed to shift my mood from one state to another. They told me that was a weird way to listen to music.

The moral of all this is: people make far more interesting, memorable observations and evaluations than standardised test results.




About Satellite for Entropy

My thoughts are fish, all swimming about and prone to scattering swiftly. Some of them are pretty but not all of them are gold. Some have teeth; some travel in gangs and with a single school of thought; some are haphazard loners, darting about the place randomly and to no obvious purpose. But they're all slippery little suckers. Sometimes, I get lucky and find myself with a good grasp on one, long enough to remember what it looks like before releasing it back into the wild. View all posts by Satellite for Entropy

4 responses to “How Musical I Am… Apparently

  • Rob

    Done it. I’m “high” on everything. Most things were 99-100% expect social creativity (76%) – “music and sharing in group activities where music is involved” (I always wondered why bands I’ve tried to start fail! – sick to DIY).
    It also seems I get confused by rock and hip-hop. I blame the BBC. Or Run DMC

    • Satellite for Entropy

      Nice! – I mostly got the pop / hip hop mixed up. I still don’t know why I thought there was a classical genre, though. In conclusion, however, in comparing our results, it would appear that if you are a musician, it is likely that you are highly musical.

  • dangerousmeredith

    Hmmm… I think musicality is in the eye (or should that be ear) of the beholder. So what if you get pop / hip hop / rock mixed up? That doesn’t necessarily make you more or less ‘musical’.

    I used to be a dancer, and I worked with some choreographers and teachers who criticised me for being too musical and others who criticised me for not being musical enough! That taught me that when it comes to musicality, the term means different things to different people.

    I wonder how I would rate in this test? I hardly listen to music at all nowadays so there have to be huge gaps in my curisosity and knowledge about music. I don’t actually want to listen to music, but this is because it is too powerful. If I want to think straight the music has to stay off.

    • Satellite for Entropy

      I tend to agree that ‘musicality’ as a concept is probably more a philosophoical one than scientific, since we’re actually talking about an art form – but then I generally take a philosophical approach to almost everything. Both science and philosophy are grounded in logic, and they both kinda favour “what if’s”, it’s just that one favours the question more than the answer.

      It’s interesting about music being powerful and interfering with thoughts etc – it’s probably the same reason why I do listen to music, but in that I often find my thoughts make more sense when I have music to anchor them, if that actually does make sense o_O.

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