Yay Levitin! and XM Radio

November 18, 2008

I just picked up Daniel Levitin’s new book “The World in Six Songs.” A thrilling read and is truly coloring the way I think of music nowadays. Quite refreshing.

Daniel Levitin

Daniel Levitin


I had grown tired of listening to our local classical radio station playing Vivaldi and Telemann all the time, and news just makes me nervous these days, so I was thrilled to find that my new car had XM Radio in it. Zillions of channels of music for whatever you are in the mood for. And, unlike most radio for the past 20 years, you can actually find out WHO the artist is right there on the screen. My unit only shows part of the longer titles and I have to guess the complete titles. If I can’t figure it out, I whip out my iPhone, turn on Shazam, sample a chunk of the song, and it sometimes will tell me who it is and let me purchase it right there at the stoplight. Scary huh?

What I have loved, is that it is such a marvelous way to get to know new music that you might never have heard of. It’s such a hoot that people like Bob Dylan have regular shows that he narrates and picks songs for. His banter is almost poetry sometimes. You hear the blur between his singing and his speaking.

I can flip the channel and hear spa music for days. Float on soft synth music, meditation music, druggy music, trance music, and so on. And then FLIP and you are hearing close harmony from the 40s, FLIP metal music FLIP news FLIP Christian enthusiasm FLIP twelve channels of classical music FLIP I’m in the mood for folk these days. I get to hear so much early to modern “folk” music. It’s a music that resonates with me and it’s a joy to find it.

My point in all this, is to celebrate XM radio in opening even college professors to all kinds of new music. I used to think it was a luxury. Now, I’ve discovered a lot of music, AND it’s deductible.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

PK November 19, 2008 at 10:20 am

I am surprised by how much I enjoy XM. Having the BBC, some French language channels, and really good music channels sans advertising is a joy (I particularly like the “Soul Street” and “Bluegrass” channels.I am just a bit resistant to any new things that require monthly payments in my life, so I only get to enjoy XM in rental cars.

By the by, with your FLIP, or what is sometimes called Automobile Radio Buttons, there have been studies by Isabelle Peretz in Montréal and also Emmanuel Bigand in Dijon, that show that we can make very accurate assessments about music heard in bits as short as 250ms (simulating flipping through the radio dial very quickly).

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