• White headphones

Is this one of the most important questions you can ask on a first date?

“So, what type of music are you into?”

Is that the sound of the first date barrel of questions being scraped—a surefire sign that conversation isn’t exactly flowing like a string quartet? That the promise of a second date is fading faster than Jedward’s career?

Or, is this actually the question we should all, once armed with the knowledge science has bestowed on us of the power of music, be asking a prospective partner?

Whether or not you reach for this tried and tested first date ice breaker is of course your choice. But if you do, or indeed you're put on the spot by an mp3--loving date, here’s what the academic world tell us about musical tastes and preferences... 


One study has found that the genre of music you most closely align with was probably established while you were an adolescent, and that your teenage musical choices were probably inherited—meaning that if your mother or father had a preference for classical music, you’re much more likely to have highbrow tastes yourself. Useful info to have at your disposal before you meet the future in-laws (though perhaps tread carefully around the parents of a partner with Crazy Frog on his or her iPod Shuffle).


Your favourite tune of the moment is likely to be driven by your mood or its catchiness. When it comes to longterm favourites however—those tunes you’ll never ever tire of listening to and revert to in times of new musical droughts—they’re likely to be attached to something much deeper. Perhaps not surprisingly then, our overall favourite songs tend to be those we discovered in our early twenties, when we were first establishing ourselves as adults and experiencing everything as a first. By extension then, those songs to which a partner has the most significant relationship can tell you a lot about the most meaningful moments of his or her life and are worth paying attention to for what they can reveal. 


It stands to reason that listening to Adele crack out a power ballad is more likely to reduce you to tears, than, say an uptempo dance track is inclined to lift your spirits. But research shows that music influences us in rather less obvious ways too. Loud music, it has been found, is more likely to see you gulping back the Pinot Grigio that a lower volume would set you to sipping. What's more, having any sort of background music playing in a restaurant—be it jazz, pop or classical—is likely to see you spend more on cuisine than the absence of backing track would. Lyrics also play a role, with politically or socially charged verses more likely to elicit kindness in listeners. 


Author: Rebecca

Rebecca lives in London with her husband, daughter and dachshund. She hopes her dating blogs for Flame Introductions will inspire you to seek out the best London and UK locations for brilliant dates, and discover some tips along the way to help you find your perfect partner.