Do You Prefer Classical, Jazz, Rock or Other?

  • I had an epiphany today over a major concern I have had for the last 52 years. What Was so great about Iron Butterfly’s “In A Gadda Da Vida” in 1968 that made me play it over and over. Shortly thereafter I realized it was horrible. The epiphany came after reading the below article. I will post the full length video below the article for those who never heard the music to appreciate my epiphany. Please also keep in mind that the particular illegal substance studied was not popular in the 60’s and 70’s. Many of us in some cases in the late 60’s and 70’s, experienced our music under the influence of substances that we could buy legally today without a prescription, at the same age, in many states. This post by no means is meant promote or encourage this behavior.

    “Controversial study shows rats prefer jazz to classical music, when on drugs
    18 May 2020, 17:04 | Updated: 19 May 2020, 13:53

    The research, which showed rats’ preference for jazz while under the influence of a certain substance, was criticised by animal rights groups.

    Rats prefer the sound of silence to Beethovenand Miles Davis – except when they are on drugs. Then, they prefer the jazz.

    These are the results of a controversial 2011 study by Albany Medical College, in which scientists exposed 36 rats to ‘Für Elise’ by Beethoven and ‘Four’, a brassy jazz standard by Miles Davis. The rats overwhelmingly preferred Beethoven to Davis, but they liked silence best of all.

    In the second part of the experiment, the rats were given cocaine and played Miles Davis over a period of a few days. After that, the rodents preferred the jazz even after the drug was out of their system.

    The research, according to scientists, showed rats can be conditioned to like any music associated with their drug experience.

    In the months after Albany Med’s paper was published, it attracted criticism from groups opposing animal testing.

    The study made it into the Top 10 list of ‘Most Ridiculous Research on Animals of 2011’ compiled by In Defense of Animals, a California-based group that opposes animal experiments.

    “We thought that this was particularly wasteful,” said Eric Kleiman, research director for IDA, who ranked Albany Med’s paper the second worst for two music experiments on rats. “Miles Davis and Beethoven with rats? I mean, c’mon.”

    Albany Medical College defended their research, which was aimed at understanding whether music can evoke drug cravings in animals. According to the authors, this study demonstrated that rats can be conditioned to like any music, after its repeated association with a reward mechanism (in this case, the stimulus of cocaine).

    “The ultimate goal of this research is to find medications that can help diminish drug cravings in humans,” said Jeffrey R. Gordon, spokesman for Albany Med.

    The Top 10 list was made up of controversial research funded by taxpayer money that appeared in peer-reviewed journals in 2011, compiled by In Defence of Animals (IDA).”

  • I am a rat. I prefer jazz. Never did cocaine though. Perhaps it has to do with all the coffee I drink?

  • This is a joke, right?

    First, who cares what happens to a bunch of rats? And, even so, they probably went out in better condition than they came in to this project.

    Ref. In A Gadda Da Vida, it has a great guitar hook that got everybody's attention. Since the general public are musical meatheads, that's what probably stuck in their minds.

    Regarding the performance itself, intonation is terrible. But then, after getting stoned out of your head, even the Stones would sound good.

  • @Kehaulani said in Do You Prefer Classical, Jazz, Rock or Other?:

    This is a joke, right?

    First, who cares what happens to a bunch of rats?


  • @Kehaulani said in Do You Prefer Classical, Jazz, Rock or Other?:

    This is a joke, right?

    First, who cares what happens to a bunch of rats?

    Is this were the phase: Who gives a rat's ass? comes from?

  • All that study proves is that I’m not a rat. I’ve never taken any mind-altering drugs and I like listening to jazz and old psychedelic rock. I also like classical, baroque, big band, brass band, Western swing, klezmer, bluegrass, and who knows what else, as long as it’s done well. Opera, rap, pop, and twangy country music, not so much...

  • The post was not a joke. It was satire. It does however bring up potentially interesting discussion of why we like the music that we individually like. My preferences today are very similar to Dale’s. Some will relate music preferences to personality types, but more basic than that probably relates to neurobiology. In this article that I quoted, rats felt reward with cocaine and associated that reward with the music they were simultaneously listening to. They were only given cocaine if they were listening to jazz, specifically Miles Davis (thus making it relevant to Trumpet Boards- JUST JOKING IN PARENTHESES CLOSED AREA). After being conditioned by combining cocaine with jazz, the rats got pleasure from listening to jazz without the reward of cocaine. (I wonder how many students applied to work in that lab?). The rats could have easily have been conditioned to like classical music or any other type of music. Cocaine interferes with dopamine, a chemical produced in the brain from being resorbed. As a result, dopamine levels remain elevated.

    So, how does that relevant to us? Every thing about us including our likes, dislikes, personality, emotions, feelings, as well as memory of our experiences, etc. is our brain. The brain is shaped by those experiences. The neurochemical changes in our brain activate areas of reward and pleasure. Listening to music can do this by varying levels of chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins, our own endogenous opioids.

    The intensity of pleasure experienced from music listening has lead some researchers to suggest that it may act upon the dopamine reward system of the brain, which is implicated in processing highly rewarding stimuli such as cocaine and amphetamines, food, and playing videogames. The assumption that music may also involve this system is largely based on brain imaging findings that have found increasing blood flow or oxygenation to regions of the brain that are implicated in reward, for what it is worth, particularly the ventral striatum, or nucleus accumbens. These imaging studies have also found neural activity in surrounding limbic regions, indicative of emotional arousal. These findings suggest that musical pleasure is associated with physiological markers which are consistent with the experience of reward.

    Dopamine receptors in the area of the nucleus accumbens are part of the brain's reward system. Dopamine motivates us toward pleasure. It is associated with the anticipation of something the brain has identified as valuable, rewarding, and special to us. That something can be anything, including a person or a drug.

    But dopamine does not act alone. It works in conjunction with endogenous opioids, which our brain generates, that give us the sensation of "liking" something. Endogenous (made within the brain NOT A JOKE)) opioids are the source of that feel-good sensation we experience in response to something we enjoy. The brain releases endogenous opioids under conditions of both pleasure and pain. Just to put things in perspective, an example of an exogenous opioid would be heroin.

    Music has an impact upon many structures within the brain beyond the reward system. There is also a response within areas such as the amygdala, hippocampus, insula, and hypothalamus. These regions are vital to emotional responsivity and memory. 
    Deep within our brain is an area called the amygdala. This region is associated with the processing of emotional information. Music can have a tremendous impact on the amygdala. The area has interconnections with many portions of the brain, particularly those associated with memory.

    Our amygdala "remembers" pleasurable experiences, as well as sad, stressful, or negative ones, and connects the emotion with an event or stimulus forever. As a result, we instantly embark on an emotional journey of our history when a favorite music plays.

    The primary neurochemical we think of concerning bonding and social affiliation is oxytocin.The bonding system reflects neurochemistry that follows various pathways, sharing some of the same brain areas and circuitry as the reward system. 
    Oxytocin is a neuropeptide, when within the brain, and hormone if outside the brain. It is associated with social affiliation and bonding with other people or things. In plain language, oxytocin contributes to the sensation when we say that we "vibe" with someone or something.  Oxytocin increases feelings of social affiliation and trust with a particular individual, depending upon the social context. Aside from connecting to a performer through their persona, simply listening to music has the power to raise oxytocin levels.

    Music also releases serotonin, a neurotransmitter that when released in proper levels decreases anxiety and enhances calm feelings, happiness, focus, and emotional stability. Cocaine interferes with uptake of serotonin resulting in increased levels in the brain. Thus music or for that matter cocaine, by raising serotonin can further reward the pleasurable effects of either.
    In summary, we can see that the originally posted article was not a joke, and does have scientific validity. My presentation leading into it was satire, but I have to admit that I did like “In A Gadda Da Vida” in 1968, probably as Kehaulani says because of the guitar riff, but today, 52 years later, other things increase my dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphin levels.

    P.S. In the same era , I was also a fan of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” and Glitterhouse’s “Tinkerbell’s Mind”. Unfortunately they don’t release the same neurotransmitters any longer, but Thomas Gansch, Arturo Sandoval, James Morrison and a host of others do.

  • This post is deleted!

  • Riding this activates my dopamine reward system in ways music rarely can...


  • One of my teachers in grad school, Dr. McGuire, would talk about different levels of listening: Tone Bathing (letting the music wash over you without focusing your mind), melody listening, form listening, etc. I think we all do a little of each at times.

  • You reminded me that this provides a dopamine fix for me (not as much as my driving a rental car there in much the same manner did, though).

  • I listen to classical mostly, and occasionally rock and some trumpet, Mike Lovatt, Alison Balsom and Wayne Bergeron's album’s. I also enjoy some big band stuff, but Jazz just bores me.

  • Let me tell you that another test was made In a famous University. Results were clear: with or without substance, rats do not like Cat Anderson.

  • Maybe the rats liked the cocaine, and were trying to demonstrate a preference for the music that delivered it to them?

  • Well I'm about to turn 84 and my listening habits are pretty much focused on the kind of music I heard in the 40s, 50s and 60s. I love big band, the old standards, some dixieland, jazz players from the era I described, and some classical stuff, especially by players today like Balsom. I try to like today's music but it's really hard.

  • @GeorgeB said in Do You Prefer Classical, Jazz, Rock or Other?:
    I try to like today's music but it's really hard.

    LOL. I watched a national high school graduation ceremony on T.V. the other day and it was scattered with musical performances, all pop, and I frankly thought most sucked. And it wasn't because of musical genres but basics like intonation.

    George, since you're so old 😁 , who are some of the Trad/Dixie players/bands that you enjoy? Thanks.

    BTW, a player whom I really enjoy who might be close, age-wise, to you is Benny Bailey. Not Trad, I don't mean that, but he seems to me to be somewhat of a hybrid player, swing, bop and modern. Very interesting player. He's not a household name, probably to a large extent, because he lived and worked in Europe and the Netherlands, in particular.

  • @Kehaulani

    Oh, boy, the list would be huge, Kehaulani, but I'll name a few of my favorites.

    Well early Louis Armstrong and his hot 5 ( and sometime time 7 )
    Pet Fountain alone or with his buddy Al Hirt
    Kid Ory,
    Rampart Street Paraders

    In Jazz :
    Duke Ellington
    Red Allen
    Eddie Condon

    Big Bands:
    Glenn Miller
    Benny Goodman
    Artie Shaw
    Stan Kenton
    Count Basie
    Tommy Dorsey and so many more.

    Louis Armstrong
    Harry James
    Bobby Hackett
    Roy Eldridge
    Ziggy Elman
    Muggsy Spanier
    Rafael Mendez
    Snooky Young ( can't forget him )

    Big Al Hirt...and on and on up to the greats of today like Wynton and company.

  • No surprises there, George, thanks.

  • Qualified Repair Techs

    The majority of the time, I’m listening to and studying various forms of jazz. It speaks to my soul in ways nothing else does, and always has. While I do enjoy classical music, most of it that I listen to is in preparation for playing. I like the music, I like the challenge, I like playing horns in various keys and I especially like not being labeled as a One-Trick Pony. I also love rock, funk, disco, and all sorts of contemporary horn bands, and really love playing it, but still nothing speaks to me the way jazz does. I have not played in a wind ensemble in close to 4yrs and don’t miss it at all, but I sure am missing everything else right now!

  • Global Moderator

    Classical. Moves me.

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