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Steven Chen

Professor Kaye
Diverse World of Music
10 September 2015

Project 1
As a musician and an individual, I believe the qualities that differentiate us from others
are our opinions. Aspects that create a musician are their inspirations or tastes in music
whether be different styles of music, composers, era, or artistthe different opinions, taste in
music and ideas creates a wide range of different interests and unique styles. While no two
people have the same taste in music, it is arguable to say that music taste can be influenced by
the environment in which one lives.

Born in Guangzhao, China in 1997, I moved to the United States in the first grade. I
moved to Albany, Georgia and began elementary school. As a newly immigrated student, I was
unable to speak the English language. I was placed in a beginners English class and was taught
how to speak the language for my first few years in America. Having moved to the Georgia, I
had not acquired any accents of the south. In a way, this relates to an aspect of my music taste
no, I do not believe that environment has an impact on my music taste just as environment and
location did not have an impact on my accent or speaking style.

My musical taste is somewhat in the range of romantic era to modern era of music. I
enjoy melodic pieces of music, whether be loud and explosive like Tchaikovsky Symphony 4 or
perhaps a gentle, soothing piece like Barbers Adagio for Strings. To a certain degree, I would
agree that music taste can be personal. I believe my music taste is personal to mefor specific
and general reasons.

I believe music is the ultimate form of communication; the human voice, with its
phrasing and tambour is one of the simplest form of music. As no two people have the same
voice, the same goes for music taste. While the human voice is unique and represents an
individual, so can ones music taste. Musical pieces may hold different meanings to the listener,
as some evoke certain emotions. Basically, music taste is personal as it speaks to people in
different ways. The reasoning behind my love for music from the romantic era is the passion the
composers put in their workevery note had a story and direction. Music from this era is
generally more moving to me, thus, I connect to it more as I enjoy relating to someones personal
story.

Also as a composer, I like to incorporate my personal stories and experiences into the
pieces I compose. The pieces I write generally have ominous and dark overtones and are very
dark. For example, one piece I had written for a friend during a rough time in his life depicted
many dark motifs and emotional melodic lines. As my musical taste lies in romantic music, it
also influences my writing styles and sound.

Romantic music, unlike music by Mozart for example, are not composed for the public,
but for the composers desire. Having said Mozart as an example, Mozart wrote for the general
public and for the higher class people in his time. In contrast however, a composer like
Shostakovich, embodies his deepest and darkest feelings and opinions in the ever so small details
in his works. For instance, Shostakovichs cello sonata speaks for himself when the Soviet
Russians suppressed the peoples right of speech and freedom. The beginning of the sonata
sounds confused, it is not a flowing melodic linebut different voices overlapping. Overall it
creates a tormented sound. The second part is stasis, it is very still and not changing. There is still
no shape. It grows and becomes more enraged and then the first theme returns and so does the
stasis section. The stasis part parallels the Russian people being subdued by their government.
They are very still and careful. However, they become outraged and possibly turn into a madman like Shostakovich near the frenzied second movement, which is almost the heart of the of
his sonata. In the third movement, the cello is muted, again paralleling the Russian people muted
by the oppression. Finally, the last movement portrays a sinister, yet humorous theme as
Shostakovich ends his sonata as a statement to the Soviet Russian government.

Overall, music is an important form of communication. I believe it speaks to each


individuals in a completely different way, thus giving each individual their own music taste.
While it is possible for certain exposure to influence ones taste in music, living in a certain area
does not drastically change ones taste. If that were the case, I would be listening to music of the
Chinese culture instead of European composers from the romantic era.