College - Author 1

College of Liberal Arts

Department - Author 1

Communication Studies Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BA in Communication Studies



Primary Advisor

Jnan A. Blau, College of Liberal Arts, Communication Studies Department


This study seeks to understand listeners’ perceptions of music from a generational and songwriting approach. A total of 123 participants aged 18 and older took part in an open-ended survey design that measured their subjective music preferences. Four different sections tested participants’ music taste, music tied to generations, an original song made by the researcher, and songwriting in a holistic sense. It was found that participants exercised individualism and authenticity in their responses throughout. By using the Uses and Gratifications Theory, it is explainable that people listened and sought out music for their own unique reasons. By applying Mood Management Theory, it was found that a majority of participants listened to music for its ability to aid with their emotions. Finally, by using the Expectancy Violations Theory, this study found that people preferred to be surprised when they listened to a song— assuming they were already familiar with the song’s structure, and associated the surprise with positive sentiments.

Original Song