The pleasures of listening to ironically-enjoyed music (new study)

“When you enjoy music in spite of the fact that it’s bad, because of the fact that it’s bad, or you enjoy it for a different reason than the musician intended” then that’s ‘ironically-enjoyed music’. The definition comes from a new (Aug 2016) study scheduled for publication in the Psychology of Music journal entitled : ‘Listening to ironically-enjoyed music: A self-regulatory perspective.’ Researchers Dr Annemieke J. M. van den Tol and Professor Roger Giner-Sorolla surveyed over 200 anonymous participants (psychology students) about their ironic listening experiences – finding that:

“Music that was listened to ‘because of’ its negative features had a variety of musical features, and the listening usually served functions unique to ironic enjoyment of music. When music was listened to “despite” negative qualities, the music itself was often described as having attractive rhythm, melody or lyrics, while the irony protected the listener from conflicting values associated with the music, helping the listener communicate to others that they did not identify with the music on a higher level.”

Unfortunately, the paper doesn’t reference any music titles which might serve for ironic enjoyment. [ Note: The music above, Jess Conrad’s – ‘Why Am I Living’ – 1961, is not mentioned in the paper but is indicated by Improbable merely as a starting point for any ironic musical investigations on which our readers might wish to embark.]

Also see: A tour of the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA)

Coming soon: The pleasures of watching ironically-enjoyed movies (new study)


Improbable Research