Let me set up the next bit by having you listen to a bit of the music of Pettersson. This is just the first part of his Symphony No. 7:
Now have a look at this innocuous news item: "Inside Virgin Galactic's newest passenger spaceship". Perfectly normal story, but listen to the music that accompanies it! Not a single moment of the narrative can be told without the mindless thumping of a drum track with occasional synth music. It is the bizarre incongruity that strikes me. Why is it necessary to accompany a story about commercial space flight with electronic dance music, the unholy descendent of disco? Why would it be needed to accompany any story, for that matter?
Most people probably don't notice the music, or think of it as being perfectly normal, like sonic wallpaper. But it, along with the music-video style jump-cutting, is an artifact of media culture. Children grow up surrounded by this thumping and jump-cutting and therefore expect it to be present everywhere. A story without this sort of thing could be felt as boring. So it is everywhere.
But what is the long-term effect of this? I would think that there would be one and perhaps it is listening to the music of Pettersson that has given me a hint of that. You cannot take yourself or indeed your existence, seriously while you are head-banging your way through life. Let me say it again: "You cannot take yourself or indeed your existence, seriously while you are head-banging your way through life." I very, very strongly suspect that the assembly floor where they are manufacturing the spacecraft does not feature a booming music track. Why? Because it is really impossible to concentrate on your work while you are bobbing your head to the bass drum. But for mass media consumption, the soundtrack is necessary. Could it be because it is actually necessary that most of us not take things too seriously? Well, I don't know, perhaps that wanders into conspiracy theory territory. But I can't get the bizarre incongruity of this story and, for that matter, virtually everything on television, out of my mind.
Just a side note, I am rather sensitive to television because I quit watching it about a decade ago so the typical television devices all seem bizarre to me now. News channels are unwatchable for me simply because of the music and the ubiquitous swooshing and swirling of the logos that introduce every brief segment.
So here is something that someone might do some research on. What sort of psychological effect does pop music, especially the repetitive drum tracks, have on people? Researchers into the sociology of music might do us a real favor and earn their keep if they look into that.
Music is, or can be, a powerful force. But it can be an influence in all sorts of ways both good and bad.
Don't let's end with that horrific example! Here is the finale to Haydn's Symphony No. 92 "Oxford" from a time when music could express sheer joy and delight:
Joy and delight can also be serious...
UPDATE: For some reason an old cartoon pops into my head. A conductor has passed away and unfortunately he is going to hell on a very deep elevator. The doors open and he walks into a room where there is a whole orchestra waiting for him to conduct. For all eternity. And the whole orchestra consists of banjos...
This is a different cartoon, but gives the general idea (and there is even a banjo):