When asked, one could assume a likely answer is classical. Except if it was my college roommate Nick, who preferred Death Metal for relaxing because, “it pulled the tension out of him.” Nick also rode a mechanically compromised motorcycle with “GET AIR” painted on the back of his helmet.
If self expression, emotional regulation and cognitive development can be influenced by music, then classical must be genre by association with serotonin production.
Scientific studies revealed that listening to classical music incurs cumulative increases in memory capacity and synaptic growth benefits coinciding with a decrease in anxiety levels. Hence the game of telephone over the last three hundred years with the whole ‘soothing the savage breast…’ line penned by William Congreve in 1697 – which doubtfully referenced Leftfield. It would seem people have known for a long time that if you want to chill, Hadyn, Bach, Mozart & Co. have got your back.
But, does classical music have a persisting image problem as being impenetrable and elitist? Inherent compositional complexity in the structure of classical requires more mental processing power, which could be translated as meaning it is more stimulating (nee impenetrable). Jazz, some would argue, is more complex for the performer due to the onus on individual interpretation and improvisation. Whichever, I’ve never had a girlfriend who liked either. That said, despite a predilection for Lyle Lovett and The Clash, I’m one who would answer in the affirmative if classical was what I listen to more often than not for relaxing times.
So, in keeping with the theme, while curating this playlist I strove to inhabit it with lesser known pieces in an attempt to defy recognition and pique cognition.