Why do people hate the word eclectic?

When I was working on creating the right name for this blog, I looked up the phrase “eclectic taste”.

Whoa the hate.

It seemed there were so many people pissed off about the word eclectic. Even the Urban Dictionary definition oozes with snark and derision. I’ve never actually used the sentence “I have eclectic taste in music” but I would probably define my music library as such. I don’t remember when I learned the word, but I’ve always considered it a legitimate word that people just used; now, apparently, it’s used by pretentious hipsters (what does that even mean) or some other subset of society that…apparently actually¬†doesn’t have an actual eclectic taste?

One collection of posts in the Google results included the question “why do people use eclectic instead of diverse?”

I don’t know, actually. I would probably use that instead, if I’d thought about it.

What do you mean when you say you have eclectic taste?

Sure, my car radio settings are basically anything listenable in the area, thus classical, R&B, Top 40, classic rock, contemporary rock, and country are all settings.

When I think of that phrase “eclectic taste”, I really mean not only listenability but comfort and enjoyment. I am just as comfortable in a symphony hall as a Broadway musical or a tiny punk show. I can rock out to Foo Fighters and rock with Bey. I would be just as excited about Justin Timberlake showing up at my door as I would Anna Netrebko–but that might be because I have equal sized crushes on both of them.

So maybe the problem that people have with the concept of “eclectic taste” is the outdated notion that most people only listen to one type of music. Most people I know can follow the Grammy awards with at least a concept of the performers in each category. Nobody says “I only listen to one type of music” anymore. But does that mean we need a better word for people who not only know all of these musical types, but enjoy every one of them? Maybe.

So, does saying my music tastes are eclectic make me a pretentious dick? I sure hope not. Maybe I should just say I’m an Equal Opportunity Music Lover.

What do you think?


Life in Three-Four: My Days in Music

This is the inaugural post of my new music blog.

For years, I’ve been thinking: “I should start a music blog. I have thoughts, and I want to write them down.” This began to take shape in all types of way–maybe I would recount my year in music; maybe I would listen to one new musician or composer for a week, or a month. Maybe I would explore someone’s entire repertoire. I wasn’t sure how I would go about it, so I never did.

And then the thoughts just couldn’t hold themselves in anymore. No longer would this be a “year” project. Mainly because I didn’t start it at the beginning of the year. Also, because I hope to be able to continue this in perpetuity…or at least for longer than my last couple of individual blogging projects have lasted.

The name, Life in Three-Four, comes from my own affinity for works in that particular time signature. It also reflects a feature in music that can be found in all music; everyone from Beethoven to Beyonce has written in 3/4. It might be heavily used in gospel music, but is also the basis of the Waltz. At some point early in my life, I discovered the many facets of music in 3/4. It could be a march, or it could swing. It could be fast or slow, but always have this feeling of movement in the underlying rhythm. It is a versatile and universal signature, and has become a strangely central aspect of my life.

I’ve taglined this blog “reflections, recollections, and realizations” because I will not only write about music and musicians as I listen to or read about them, but also memories the music might bring forth, either of my performing it or otherwise experiencing it. I hope to post a couple times a week, or as the spirit moves me.

As my “about” section says, I am not a musicologist. I might include exploration or insight into a particular song, musician or composer, but at no point do I declare these explorations scholarly work. I love music, and am a bit of a dilettante music historian–I actually took far fewer classes in music history and theory in college than most musically inclined people I know, but I did take a full year of music history and four years of applied music. That and eight consecutive years of being a practicing classical musician with guidance from some of the greatest musical minds in the country have given me a pretty good understanding of the technical and historical nature of something that I have a visceral reaction to on a daily basis.

So take my pondering or leave it. These feelings will continue to burst from within me and I will continue to try to form the words that will turn them into sense.