How Culture, And Not Race, Determines Taste In Music

by laplantevin on September 12, 2015 - 8:21pm


                In the article “Why Culture, Not Race, Determines Taste in music” written by Winfried Ludemann and published September 3, 2015, the author explains how the culture of an individual is what ultimately determines his or her taste in music. The author starts off by discussing the anthropological meaning of the word race and how it cannot be used to explain different tastes in music. His main argument is that there is only one race when it comes to Homo sapiens; the human race. The article is then divided into two main parts:

            In the first, he explains how music genres are formed. He explains that genre is a subcategory in music, more specific than style. While styles of music range from classical to heavy metal, genres are much more specific. According to Ludemann, genres could be defined as the social function fulfilled by a song or piece of music. In other words, he states that two songs could be of different styles, but be of the same genre depending on their meaning and function.

            In the second part of the article, the author explains where differences in music tastes come from. According to Ludemann, it is our values which has the greatest impact on our preference. He states that values are related to an individual’s culture and that they have nothing or very little to do with their “race”. He adds that our taste in music is closely related to our education, social interactions, and the culture of our parents. Ludemann gives the example of teenagers having a particular taste for rock and rap music. He explains that these types of music are often of the rebellious genre which reflect a period in life which teens often go through. This taste reflects the personal identity and values of these teenagers. It has nothing to do with their “race”.


            While reading this article, I totally agreed with the statements made by the author. Right at the star of the article, Ludemann states that humans all belong to the same race and that they cannot be broken down to more than this one and only race. This clear and powerful statement caught my attention and piqued my interest. This made me think of the article “Race without Color” by Jared Diamond. In this article, Diamond explains that humans are all one and that we must stop separating people according to their physical appearance. I Ludemann’s theory that genre does not have to do with the style of music very interesting. I had never thought of genre as the social function fulfilled by a piece of music. When making the connection between our taste in music and our values, his theory makes a lot of sense. Wheher a song is of the rock or jazz style, if the message is something you value; you will appreciate it.  His article made me reflect a lot on what I like about the music I listen to. Ludemann helped me realise that my values, which have a lot to do with my culture, are what affect my preferences. Like Ludemann stated, taste in music has nothing to do with an individual’s “race”.


Ludemann, W. (2015, September 3). Why culture, not race, determines tastes in music.  Retrieved September 11, 2015, from           race-determines-tastes-in-music-46639


I find the topic your choice to write about very interesting, I myself am very fascinated by music and do a lot of things involving music. I find it appropriate to be commenting on your post as I know a lot about music and because of that I have an opinion on your topic. Since your topic is mainly centered around music, that’s why I decided to comment on your post.
Once it comes to the conclusion of your topic I agree that race has nothing to do with musical taste, but its culture that determines that. Its ridiculous to think that race would determine opinions within an individual. Race is not a good way to determine the cultural aspects of an individual. As said in class, race does not determine behaviour.
In conclusion, do you think because of the significant race groups associated with music (tradition and popular), that can affect one’s taste in music and go against the argument in your post. For example, do you think a young black man would be attracted to rap and hip hop, while someone born in rural china would be more attracted to tradition Chinese classical music?

Hi, i decided to comment on your post because music is a big part of my life, therefore the topic you chose caught my attention right away. Whether I'm taking the bus or I'm preparing for a big game, music plays a part in that.
I agree with your post and some of the points brought up in your response and summary but there are also a few that i disagree with. The idea that the music we listen to depends on our values is definitley a relavent one. I agree with you and the author on this point but I do believe that some music is also cultural. What I mean by this is that some music is targeted to a certain cultural background and the artists do that for a reason because they are trying to get a certain type of people to listen, whether it be black, white or laino.
So even though I disagree with the idea of race I believe some music is intended to target a certain demographic. Which brings me to the question is it okay for all types of music to be listened to by certain types of people. like is it okay for white people to listen to gospel music, even though that was intended to express the struggle black people have been through, is that appropriate?