Musical taste divides rich and poor

| Thursday, June 4, 2015 - 16:13
First Published |

Musical taste divides rich and poor

Toronto: Can the genre of music that you love also reveal the social class you belong to? Yes, it can, new research suggests.

"What upper class people like is disliked by the lower class, and vice versa," said study author Gerry Veenstra, professor at University of British Columbia in Canada.

The researchers found that the poor and least-educated people in the study were over eight times more likely to dislike classical music compared to the best-educated respondents.

Meanwhile, lowbrow genres such as country, easy listening and golden oldies were disliked by higher-class listeners.

The study involving nearly 1,600 telephone interviews with Canadian adults examined their likes and dislikes of 21 musical genres.

The researchers found that poorer, less-educated people tended to like country, disco, easy listening, golden oldies, heavy metal and rap.

Meanwhile, their wealthier and better-educated counterparts preferred genres such as classical, blues, jazz, opera, choral, pop, reggae, rock, world and musical theatre.

The study determined that wealth and education do not influence a person's breadth of musical taste.

"Breadth of taste is not linked to class. But class filters into specific likes and dislikes," Veenstra said.

However, class and other factors - such as age, gender, immigrant status and ethnicity - shape our musical tastes in interesting and complex ways, according to the study.

The study was published in the Canadian Review of Sociology.

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