I was wondering how much music theory people knew and if that affected what type of music you listen too, and how you enjoyed that type of music. By music theory I mean everything from how to tell why a piece of music is sad sounding, to being able to read music, knowing what constitutes chords, to being a master of Schenkerian Analysis and composer of complex fugues.
I myself am a student of Music Composition at a US school and have a fairly solid understanding of the canon of western tonal and atonal music theory. I really do not have too much training in Jazz Theory, though it shares much with the rest of Western music. I am also interested in World Music, though I do not have as in depth knowledge of those cultures' theories of music as I do have western theory, but recognize commonalitlies between the two.
That being said, my prefered musical styles are somewhat wide. As a listener, I have a strong preference for tonal music, and find Jazz hard to get into, though I appreciate the skill of Jazz Musicians. Other than that, I really enjoy most musical styles. I tend to have a preference for instrumental music, or group singing, thats not to say I do not find a lot of songs with a soloist or a duet or something good, just not my goto musical aesthetic. I also tend to get annoyed if I listen to too much music that sounds similar in a short span of time, or if the same piece of music is played over and over again.
I feel like the more I learn about music theory, the more easily I can follow music and determine why I like a certain piece of music, but not another piece of music. It has allowed me also to better appreciate new music more quickly, and exposed me to new styles. It has also allowed me to focus my attention on really long, complex works of music. But other times, I feel like I get so wrapped up in analyzing music that sometimes I forget to enjoy it. Oddly, this happens most often with Contemporary Popular Music and Contemporary Popular Christian music, (though for reason this doesn't seem to happen with music from the mid 2000's or earlier, probably having to do with my rebellious teenage years being a time I only listened to what most people would call "Classical Music.")
What is everybody else's experience with music theory? Do you think it has enhanced or gotten in the way of your musical tastes, or has it introduced you to a new type of music or some other new revelation?