Does reading program notes decrease musical enjoyment?

Posted on: April 16, 2010

In a segment posted Thursday (4/15) on its website, radio station WNYC evaluates the benefits and drawbacks of reading program notes before hearing a piece of music. “Reading program notes can actually reduce your enjoyment of a piece of music, according to a new study,” the introduction states. “Today: we debate whether program notes make you an informed listener—or if ‘ignorance is bliss.’ … To fully enjoy your next trip to the concert hall, you may want to listen to the music before you read the notes in your Playbill. Research results suggest that reading program notes before hearing music can significantly lessen a listener’s enjoyment, according to University of Arkansas music theorist Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis.”

April 16, 2010