Da Musically Inclined Bomb

DePauw University's First Year Seminar on Writing about Music

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Uses of Music in Everday Life

Many people believe that due to the development of recorded music and mass media, the presence of music has become a part of our everyday lives. There have been many studies that examine just how we experience music from day to day. This one focuses on the five W’s- who, what, when, where, and why.

To answer these questions, the researches found 346 volunteers. The average age of the volunteers was 25.96 years old, but some aged anywhere from 13 to 78 years old. Each participant was asked to complete one approximately 25 minute questionnaire a day via text messaging, and 96.72% of the questionnaires were successfully completed. The participants were very diverse in both ethnic background and occupation, as well as their musical training and experience.

There were six parts to each questionnaire. First, the volunteers were asked if they were either currently listening to music, or if they had at least heard some type of music since the previous survey. If they were not or had not, they did not need to complete the rest of the questions. If they had a music experience to report, they were then asked who they were with during the experience. Next were the questions of what type of styles they had heard, if they were able to choose this music, and if they liked it. The fourth part inquired as to where they had heard the music. The last two parts were split amongst those who had been able to choose what music they experience and those who had not. The group that had a choice was asked why they chose what they did, and the group that had no choice was asked what effects the piece had on them. In both cases, they were given answers to choose from based on previous free response answers to the questions by psychology undergrad.

(Chart 1) After 14 days the study ended, and on 38.6% of the occasions, people could hear music. 60.8% of the times, people could not hear music, and there was no response for .6% of the surveys. (Chart 2) Of the times that people could not hear music, the participants indicated that they had heard some since the last survey was completed 48.6% of the time. For 48.5% of the occasions they had heard no music since the previous survey, and 2.9% of replies contained no response. Overall, this means that the participants had a very high exposure to music.

(Chart 3) Again, the main focus of this study was the 5 W’s, and I’ll start with Who?. Only slightly more than a quarter of the musical experiences were heard by the participant alone. 18.4% of the time, the participant was with friends, 7%, with only a spouse or partner, 8.4%, with family members, 5.8%, with colleagues, 3.2%, with a boyfriend or girlfriend, 1.9%, with strangers, and .6% with someone who was not any of the choices on the list. Obviously, more of the listenings were experience by more than just the participant, which interestingly differs from results of previous studies.

(Chart 4) The next question was what music the participants heard. There were 14 choices to pick from. The most popular answer was Chart pop, heard 38% of the time, followed by R&B/Soul at 8.4% and Dance at 5.3%. Every other choice was picked at least a few times, but no more than 5% of the time. All of the percentages can be seen on chart 4. The results of this part of the survey greatly reflect record sales. For instance, the most heard- chart pop- sells very well, while classical music, 3% of the experiences, does not sell so well.

(Chart 5) The participants were also asked when they could hear the music. The researches made sure to account for the fact that the time of day the messages were sent (which varied day to day) would reflect the answers and used a special formula to ensure the results would not be greatly affected. The responses were split into one hour segments of the day, such as 3-3:59 AM, or 7-7:59 PM. The results are calculated by the times music could be heard compared to the number of people that responded within that hour. The most often experiences took place between 10:00 and 10:59 PM. For more general understanding purposed, the chart splits the responses into the morning and afternoon (8-4:59), and the evening (5-11), including weekdays only. Since many participants were at work for the 8-4:59 time slot, these results are also split between those who could choose and not choose what they listened to. For the people that could choose, 63.9% of the experiences were in the earlier half, while 63.7% were in the later half. For those that could not choose, 36.1% of the responses showed an earlier listening, while 36.3% showed a later listening. (Chart 6) They also split the results into weekends and weekdays. For those that could choose 63.3% of the occurrences took place on weekdays, compared to 66.2% on weekends. Those that could not choose reported that 36.7% of their listening time was on weekdays, compared to 33.8% on weekends. These results greatly contradict thoughts that most music listening happens during leisure time instead of at the workplace. The difference is not significantly large.

(Chart 7) Another section of the survey asked where the volunteers were while they experienced the music. Only half of the experiences took place within the home, while almost 1/5 took place in public places. Also, the two choices that were geared toward people choosing to listen to music, being at home and listening to it on purpose or going to a concert, only made up slightly more than 1/10 of the experiences. These results clearly show that the technological developments in recorded music have a great effect on people’s exposure to music.

(Chart 8) The final part of the survey asked those participants who had chosen to listen to the music they had why they chose to do so. The most common answers were that they either enjoyed the music or it helped to pass the time, while the least common answers had to do with feelings or thought-things like bringing back memories or stimulating an emotion or even just to learn more about the music. (Chart 9) Those who had not chosen to listen to the music were in turn asked what effects the music had on them. While 31.6% of the experiences created the right atmosphere for the situation, and 28.7% of the time the listener enjoyed it, almost 15% of the music annoyed the listener.

So what do these results mean? Almost 70% of the answers showed that the
volunteers were exposed to music at some point in their day. Around 3/4 of the time, the participants were not alone, which means that music plays a large part in social activities. Furthermore, the data of what people are listening to is definitely consistent as to what recorded music people are buying, which shows that more exposure to a certain genre of music could definitely influence a higher sale of that genre. The study also showed that many people are not choosing to listen to the music that they hear, and that most of the instances are taking place at work or in public places, where the mass media has a very large presence. So in a nutshell, this study shows that the increase of mass media and developments in technology do, in fact, have a very large influence on how people are exposed to music every day.


At 12/03/2006 6:11 PM, Blogger iheart-t-ravs said...

interesting study. i liked it.

At 12/03/2006 6:13 PM, Blogger Becca said...

Your presentation was very good. I understand more now that I'm re-reading. The study doesn't really try to prove anything, though. It just sort of... analyzes. Huh.

At 12/03/2006 6:30 PM, Blogger Renee said...

studies that only analyze... are dumb and hard to read

At 12/03/2006 7:37 PM, Blogger Kitt_Katt said...

you really sound like yourself

At 12/03/2006 8:15 PM, Blogger Vera Lynn Waters said...

at least your study analysed. mine did absolutely nothing except point out why its point couldn't be proven.

At 12/03/2006 11:09 PM, Blogger Godfather Outlaw said...

you're vocabulary is very fine!

At 12/03/2006 11:18 PM, Blogger Nat said...

I don't really know if I'm supposed to comment on what was written or the presentation....I choose presentation. I liked your presentation alot and the graphs really helped explain your points, even though your words explained very well, as well.

At 12/03/2006 11:54 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

good point and very long


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home