And what exactly is "good music", you ask?

It is, of course, purely a matter of taste... my tastes include practically anything (save that I don't often appreciate rap). It's usually a matter of how long I can listen to a style without getting tired of it, rather than whether I will enjoy listening at all. I even enjoy country & western (which so many people love to hate) for a while, as long as I don't have to listen to a radio station that plays the same songs once every hour; of course, that goes for pretty much anything.

If I'm picking music that I'm going to sit down and listen to (which, to me, means not doing anything else in addition), I usually pick things just off the extremes... upbeat classical or "mellow" hard rock. These are the types that have occasionally given me really good chills down my spine when I've immersed myself in them. Curiously enough, these are often not the same pieces I would pick for background music... if I don't really listen to them, they lose their effect. I tend to focus on the words and the meaning of the song (when there is any); for me, the most intense music is music that has a powerful message or a story (in the lyrics), and has melodies and harmonies that merge with the words to create a greater whole. Rush, Pink Floyd, and Handel tend to be good at this. Bach, of course, can do it even without words.

Being a singer, I enjoy listening to vocal pieces, especially stuff with cool harmonies -- madrigals, barbershop, chorale works, and, of course, modern a cappella (The Bobs, Five O'Clock Shadow, and many college groups, including RPI's own Rensselyrics and Rusty Pipes). Other people whose music I enjoy include They Might Be Giants (interesting lyrics and good music, though they don't always go together), Yngwie Malmsteen (great guitar), and the classics, especially Beethoven, Mozart, and Mendelssohn. As with books, I'm always on the lookout for everybody's recommendations and favorite music. If you want to try to hook me on yours, get in touch...

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