personality types I: ‘hard’ music

Once I came up with a theory about personality types and certain types of music. It is just a personal theory, and not complete in any way, so don’t take it too seriously… If it is valid it will be only in part, but it may be interesting.

I noticed about different people having different ways of looking at the world. There are lots of ways to describe people and divide them into personality types (like Myers-Briggs; DISC, enneagram,…) but I’m not going into that for now. I just noticed that some people seem to think in straight lines, and other more in chaotic associative thinking. I clearly am in the second category, and I guess a lot of people would be at the middle, and no way to describe and pigeonhole people and their personality will ever do judgment to the uniqueness of every person, but let’s just go on with the simplified model in which people can be divided into ‘straigh thinkers’ and ‘chaotic thinkers’.

What I also noticed it that a lot of music can be applied to certain personality types, and I saw clearly that some styles of music can be easily put into my 2 categories. Lots of classical music (lik Bach and Mozart) are totally in the ‘straight thinking’ camp, as well as a lot of metal. On the side of the chaotic thinkers you’ll get more alternative rock, noise and lo-fi for example.

Let’s just take Iron Maiden and Radiohead for two examples. Iron maiden has a very structured way of composing, and technical qualities that can be easily recognized by people who are known with the craft of music making. The same with the lyrics: the have a certain structure and a certain meaning, which can be known. And it is quite fun.

Radiohead on the other hand, especially in later albums, can be anti-rational and purely intuitive sometimes. It is totally unpredictable. Even though some songs may be more or less ‘traditionally’ tonal in composition, others are pure chaos and dischord, or repetitive atmosphere more than composition and melody. And for the lyrics, God may know what some of them mean, but even Thom and co don’t, and they don’t care about it either…

Okay it’s not exactly hard music, this particular, especially not this one song, but it’s pretty intense if you get into it. And if you don’t get into it there’s no way you can understand what it is about. You cannot analyse the structure or the techniques, it’s purely intuitive… Another good example of the ‘chaotic’ thinking in music is this dEUS-classic, which is very big in Belgium…(it actually was #11 in the timeless 100 list on national radio ‘studio brussel’) :

I don’t mean that people who like Iron Maiden will never live radiohead and vice versa, but there still is a barrier between those 2 kinds of people sometimes. I’ve noticed that some musicians just cannot cope with anything that isn’t in their musical system on the one hand, and I’ve met others who are suspicious of anything that could be conventional. And I think that this has everything to do with what I’ve described. But I do like both, even though I take iron maiden as being just theater…

Also part of my theory, that I found interesting, was where the extremes go bad. Straight thinking goes to extremes in one direction, like extremism, fundamentalism, of Satanism. A lot of satanic music is blackmetal, but I’ve never heard of truly satanic noise or lo-fi… On the other had, the chaotic side will fall into nihilism, disbelief and ‘nothing makes sense’. There is a totally different danger here… Maybe you could call ‘straight-thinking’ right and ‘chaotic-thinking’ left, but I don’t think that would be entirely correct either…

The funny thing is, being on the chaotic side myself. I feel that there is a strong connection to my ‘postmodern thought’ and my chaotic thinking, my ADHD divergent thinking.

But that’s for the second post

Enjoy the music


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