Music: Concerts and Dancing

January 21st, 2013
concerts, contra, music
People experience traditional music by creating it, dancing to it, and listening to it. Generally people have preferences among these, but I think listening is probably the most popular. What brings people to concerts?

I don't tend to enjoy concerts; I get bored. The musicians are up there playing but they don't keep my attention. I've been to some excellent performances which are thoroughly captivating [1] but only rarely. On the other hand, to have a good time dancing I don't need a band that plays complex and interesting music, just one that will give me the beat, the phrase, and make me want to dance. [2] Facscinating music can be nice, but it's actually a pretty unimportant factor in how much fun I have dancing.

I think what's going on is that for me to feel music emotionally I need to be distracted. Sitting still and listening I see through the rhythms and chord progressions that would pass through unprocessed while dancing. That emotional manipulation, done well, is what makes the difference between a good band and one that will draw me to a dance I wasn't planning on attending.

Rereading the previous paragraph, the obvious solution is that I should consume appropriate drugs before attending concerts. Which I don't like the idea of but does seem to be a major part of some concert-going cultures. How else can I enjoy concerts more? Or should I just accept that I prefer music when I can either dance or play along?


[1] Molsky and Möller at Passim, for example.

[2] Warning: there's a lot packed into "make me want to dance".

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