In a 1996 survey of musicians (on-line and in-person at Berklee College of Music in Boston) we asked this question: "Please describe the feeling you get (good or bad) from playing or listening to very loud music." Below are all the responses...

AGE male/female
RESPONSES TO THE QUESTION
33
M
If the notes are right, the music causes great elation unlike life's other activities.
16
F
I feel great and refreshed after listening to loud music!
17
M
Great when played reasonably loud. Not so great when it's loud to the point of making my ears hurt.
42
M
I hate playing too loud; I just want to play well and that's a great feeling.
25
M
It certainly heightens the experience. You hear all aspects of the music.
19
F
Elation.
18
M
Hits you harder, seems to give more feel to music, especially when playing.
19
F
I feel great when I play loud music. It feels natural.
15
M
I just like being loud! Loud music rules!
14
M
Good! Makes me forget about bad stuff!
22
M
Very good. Comments: I AM NOT DEAF!
15
M
Loud music makes the music sound better in my stereo.
21
M
I enjoy playing loud music. The guitarist and bassist must play loud enough to be heard over the drums...
44
M
Too vague a question. Loud "good" music would make me feel pumped. Loud "bad" music irritates me. Comments: This material and these questions made me give the "hearing thing" a bit of thought.
19
M
It's like being on a loud train, or something like that.
33
M
It is very euphoric. Comments: I played in rock bands for 10 years. People don't like it unless they can "feel" the sound.
35
M
Incredibly alive and focused.
16
M
I love it...it gets me pumped... I love it!
21
M
Good, but it doesn't always need to be as loud as it is. Comments: I can't afford custom-made plugs, but I need to start using something.
22
M
Rehearsal is worst (usually in small room). Occasionally use tissue (infrequent though).
39
M
I seldom if ever play very loud and do not as a rule listen to extremely loud music.
27
M
I like my music (whether I'm playing or listening) to envelop me. Loud music allows me to completely ignore the outside world and to truly focus in on the intricacies of the music and the emotion of a singer.
43
M
Uncomfortable. Comments: Speak up!
18
M
It makes me feel better, but the damage isn't worth it.
16
M
Good.
17
F
I wake up. I sometimes tend to get hyper.
24
M
The louder, for bass, the better feel from playing the instrument. The playing is more satisfying by far. It's a real gut thing, especially when the instruments are in tune. For piano, playing loud is annoying since you have to bang and play out of tun
42
M
Louder always feels better -- more exciting. Comments: since I mostly work in my home studio, the potential for damage is less from speakers and more from headphones.
35
M
Tired, uninspired.
21
M
Power, energy rush, general good feeling.
20
M
It gets me pumped. Comments: I don't wear earplugs, but I need to before my hearing is damaged.
14
F
Good, it's like a natural high.
20
F
A rush of excitement.
25
M
Ear plugs often make a performance better-- PA's are always too LOUD.
45
M
I like the volume because I think it is great to feel the sound throughout my body--like a deep bass rhythm bouncing off my leg!
29
M
Good.
26
M
Good.
26
M
Good: some music seems like it *must* be played/heard loud.
?
M
Euphoria.
16
M
Good.
16
M
GREAT! The power that flows from you and the audience is tremendous in rock concerts (when I play bass).
33
M
It is like a rush!! A natural high!!
18
M
Great. I love loud music!!!
18
F
I feel more in command of my actions. Comments: The gin blossoms make no need for earplugs. Can you read VOLUME, guys?!?
16
F
Excitement, a rush. Comments: What good is music if it isn't loud? (there's no point)
17
M
The volume isn't always what makes the music real, sometimes it just adds to the intensity. When you hear something that just grabs you, you want the volume cranked up so that you can feel it throughout your whole body, and let it pour into your soul. B
35
M
Playing extremely loud is not musical in my opinion.
20
F
I love hearing music when it is loud, to hear a fullness of sound. Comments: I think people don't consider what damage loud music can cause to their bodies.
17
M
Great, orgasmic.
15
M
Good.
45
M
Mostly good, but not if it's too loud, then it's bad--nerve-wracking.
37
F
My ears hurt sometimes when the PA gets too loud. Comments: Musicians in band are older and deafer than me, and don't use monitors. Very loud.
16
F
Mind clearing.
25
F
Headache.
18
M
More adrenaline pump, but do not like the ringing so I wear protection. Comments: rock-n-roll is great, only if you can hear it! Keep up the awareness.
23
M
I really enjoy how playing good music at a high volume encompasses one's very being. I don't enjoy it if it is at a loud enough volume to make my ears or my mind feel uncomfortable. However, there's nothing like being able to enjoy every nuance of the s
15
M
I like it; I'd rather listen to it loud because it feels right. Comments: I also D.J. parties and I have never had any complaints of the noise of Bush or from White Zombie.
15
M
I feel like I'm putting my worries away.
20
F
It gives me headaches.
15
F
Makes me relaxed, and like I'm the ONLY one there.
29
M
Some things were made to be loud, but some people get carried away.
40
M
It's great as long as it is not too loud, which is all a matter of perspective; my loud may be your soft. Comments: I like dynamics, so loud has a place to go. If music is all the same level, then there is no place to go dynamically...
16
F
I feel great, ringing or no ringing...I guess it comes with the territory.
34
F
Mesmerizes me --- I like to feel it in my bones.
33
M
You can feel the music that you're playing and when you get locked into a groove you feel a real sense of power.
29
M
It feels great. There is nothing else like it in the world.
16
F
Awesome.
24
M
I try not too loud, but it's hard to sing with plugs in.
21
M
Delicious!
16
M
I love it loud and heavy!!!!!!!
44
M
Unhealthy feelings.
13
F
Good! It lets your mind wander off.
?
F
I try not to perform loud music & try to keep my exposure to loud music at a minimum, but have a tendency to attend loud music shows and also I know I play music too loud in the car. Comments: I've had definite damage to my right ear after playing bass i
13
M
A pure adrenaline rush.
22
F
In touch with the music--you feel it.
21
M
Sometimes you get so into what you are playing that when you stop you feel lightheaded and almost high.
17
M
Loud music is more powerful, and more people pay attention.
30
M
Occasionally pain and temporary hearing loss.
17
M
i like it. i like it a lot.
32
M
I love hearing the music loud so that I not only hear it, but I feel it.
22
M
Adrenalin rushes and excitement.
24
F
I assume you mean in my ears...Sometimes my head aches.
26
M
hyped up.
16
M
It gives me a rush to get out there and jam and/or mosh.
19
M
GOOD.
41
M
I don't like high volume, though I notice a kind of physical "warmth" when it's very loud. Comments: In over 25 years, I never had damage or ringing from performance until 2 months ago, when I joined my current group.
23
M
Music is the outlet of emotion, which can be seen and felt, as well as heard.
32
M
Bad. I am not comfortable.
18
M
It can be enjoyable. Easier to capture some of the nuances.
26
M
I feel that loud music once in a while is invigorating if it's good. A powerful piece or chorus played loud once in a while is enjoyable.
32
M
Depressing.
20
M
Even though I know that my listening to loud music damages my hearing, my use of ear plugs is very spare. I would love to get some of the custom made earplugs but I have not gotten around to it.
32
F
A feeling of intense emotion that makes me want to destroy everything, make everything vanish far away from me in infinity.
37
F
Exaltation.
20
M
Feeling the music inside my body.
23
M
I enjoy listening to loud music but I try to avoid listening to loud music because of the ringing.
26
M
I like live loud music. It has something to do with feeling the music and hearing it as opposed to just hearing.
26
M
Bad. I can't understand why people are so keen on it. To me it's a rawness of our culture. In bars where you'd like to talk to people, music is so loud you have to scream. I hate that.
19
M
At loud volumes the music seems to pulse and move through you. It is a very invigorating experience. At the same time, I also have a paranoia abut hearing loss.
20
M
If it is appropriate to hear a particular song loudly, then I will. However, not all music is effective at high volumes. Some (many) sound better and make me feel better if played softly.
24
M
Great.
22
M
I received a BAD response re: hearing, only from walkmans. I will start using ear plugs when I perform/rehearse. I got some from a grab bag I got at the Grammys last year "95."
18
M
Great-SOMETIMES.
23
M
Good--you can "feel" the music. Bad--certain frequencies hurt.
18
M
Good
31
F
At a concert, I don't like it when the music is too loud; it hurts my ears and distorts the musicians' sound. In the car, I like playing the music loud because it makes me happy and serene.
19
M
A ringing when I hear sounds of high frequencies.
19
F
It seems to make me feel the music and get into it more when it's up loud.
28
M
It's great and seems to create a sense of energy.
19
F
Good feeling is what I get from loud music that's why I turn it up, so I can hear everything.
21
M
Excitement.
21
M
I don't listen to loud music, but my roommates like such a music. It bothers me most of the time.
23
M
I don't like listening to it for too long.
22
M
Listening to loud music helps me to relieve stress.
32
M
I love it but it's not good for the ears.
20
F
I think loud music makes me more exciting playing or listening.
19
M
Bad.
19
F
When it's extremely loud it's very uncomfortable to even stand it. But a certain amount of loudness is enjoyable.
21
F
Bad feeling.
29
M
Good, energetic, emotional.
22
M
Bad (really bad).
24
M
Painful. Try not to play loud. It's not pleasing to me or my audience, so I try to keep a comfortable level.
20
F
I don't like it cuz I know that hearing loss is permanent.
21
M
Good. As long as it's not too loud!
22
F
I couldn't hear loud music so long. At first it was good, but after that I was starting to feel hurt.
26
M
Sometimes good, sometimes bad. As long as I'm not disturbing anyone and it's not hurting my ears.
26
M
Bad. I worry about damage to my ears.
25
M
Loud music does have some merit. You could hear the instruments more clearly and more defined, and you feel it in YOUR STOMACH.
25
M
Sometimes good. If I'm tired, that's bad.
25
M
I feel good from loud music even I hear noise.
23
M
Annoying.
26
M
I love it loud!
18
M
It depends. Sometimes loud music produces more energy in me. Sometimes I just want to relax with soft music.
23
M
It gets me more into the music (sometimes).
19
M
Just as long as the musicians have their shit together and the music is good. Go for it. Not all good music has to be loud though either.
20
M
I like my soup hot; just like my rock & roll loud. But I have a firm understanding of hearing loss.
22
M
If I need to concentrate to hear or analyze, loud music is better.
22
M
If it's too loud it makes my ears hurt, the sound is also distorted and sometimes indecipherable.
22
M
It's fun while it's loud, but when the music is over I regret not using my crappy foam earplugs.
19
M
The music has more energy when it's louder.
18
M
If you find the right volume (not too high) it just encompasses your emotions better than at a lower volume.
20
M
I think the biggest misconception about music is that if it's loud--it's good.
23
M
The loud music is good when the place has good acoustic system. I prefer more soft volume.
22
M
It makes me feel nervous.
22
M
I feel like I'm deaf right after a real blasting session.
24
M
Uncomfortable. Headache.
26
M
Music must be loud enough to be felt but not so loud that it should make me feel anything physical.
21
M
It feels great.
19
M
Sometimes I get headaches so I guess bad.
25
M
I don't like loud music because it hurts my ears.
21
M
In my car or house, I enjoy listening to music loudly. Loud music gets deeper in my body and feeds me the rhythm.
25
M
I don't like music that is too loud.
20
F
Bad. I don't like it incredibly loud.
30
F
Don't like it.
22
M
Loud music makes me feel that I am dealing with a large physical substance; I am affected a great deal more when exposed to it.
26
M
Feels good.
21
M
I feel loud music could damage one's hearing but I don't think this is not bad so much.
26
M
Painful.
20
M
I used to enjoy it, but now I worry about damaging my hearing.
29
M
Worry that I'm doing myself harm.
45
M
Loud music sounds better (Fletcher/Munson).