Socionic concepts can be carried over with some success to music, other art forms, and many other areas of human activity.

A music and socionics project has been begun at Wikisocion to elaborate some of the possible links between socionics and music.


There are a couple reasons to suppose music can be described in socionic terms:

  1. People of the same types may prefer to express their musical creativity in somewhat similar ways.

  2. The information aspects, as broad philosophical categories, can be used to describe different facets of practically any phenomena.

Creative artistic activity is a form of self-expression through which artists and performers strive to convey a part of themselves – their unique perception, personality, experience, and vision. This seems to be especially true of famous artists and performers, who must develop a unique voice to be memorable to their audiences. To effectively tap into the artist’s potential, this voice must be a true expression of the artist’s deep interests and self rather than a simple marketing decision made out of expedience. Hence, we might expect the artistic expression of people of the same type to be roughly as similar as, say, their management style.

Psychic states and music

Different music is rooted in different states of mind and strives to produce this same state of mind in listeners. Different artists have a tendency to focus on certain states of mind above others, though echoes of many different states of mind can be found in the work of many well-rounded artists. No matter how eclectic the artist is, however, he cannot avoid a focus or “vector” of some kind – otherwise his music would completely lack cohesiveness and memorability.

Here is a rough outline of the kinds of states that different kinds of music might produce in listeners, with their associated socionic symbols:

symbol_r.gif : feelings of endearment, closeness, moral satisfaction, and emotional sensitivity; a feeling of deep personal conviction that may produce the effect of moral firmness and resolve.

symbol_e.gif : passions; the desire to express one’s feelings and inner experiences outwardly through expressive gestures such as dance-like movements or vocal-like embellishments

symbol_l.gif : a sense of internal orderliness and correctness of phenomena; a sense of understanding of how to build a complete system from individual parts

symbol_p.gif : an active, but steady and purposeful state conducive to performing goal-oriented activities and creating order in one’s surroundings

symbol_s.gif : a physically relaxed and comfortable state free of irritants; a focus on enjoying the pleasure of the moment

symbol_f.gif : a mobilized state full of vitality and energy or implied strength; the desire to make strong, bold, and powerful movements

symbol_t.gif : a dreamy, mysterious, wistful, melancholic, or reflective state of inner discovery and searching; reflecting upon the future or the past

symbol_i.gif : a state of trying to see novel connections or combinations between parts; an openness to continual change and newness, including things unexpected, random or abrupt, or novel

The list above does not imply that artists only produce music that reflects their two strongest mental functions. However, we would expect to see an emphasis on these states above others. Also, the individual emphasis of the leading musician or composer may be complemented (or distorted) by fellow band members who are also trying to make their individual contribution to the piece.

Specific musical techniques used to convey different states

The specific techniques used to convey the states above differ from genre to genre, but a familiarity with different genres reveals that the techniques are similar from genre to genre. For example, in vocal music symbol_e.gif is often conveyed through high, soul-wrenching wailing. In instrumental music appropriate instruments are used that can imitate the wail of a human voice and convey the same emotional experience.

symbol_r.gif : beautiful melodies and harmonies without many embellishments; slow broken chords;

symbol_e.gif : dramatic embellishments; high, wailing sounds; manipulating sound quality to create a wrenching effect; dramatic melodies that are largely independent of chord structure; imitation of sounds (of human voice, laughter, animals, etc.) using instruments;

symbol_l.gif : high focus on patterns of notes and structure of melody, harmony, and tonal progressions; meaningful repetition

symbol_p.gif : well-articulated, strong, unchanging rhythm; melody highly dependent on chord changes; preference for fairly fast tempo (e.g. a fast walk); strongly defined sections

symbol_s.gif : flowing sound texture; use of nature-imitating sounds; avoidance of fast rhythm; preference for swift melodic resolution and clearly minor or clearly major chords

symbol_f.gif : heavy, percussive beat; strong “power chords” (in rock music); extensive use in classical music of brass, timpani, other percussion to convey a sense of bigness (not necessarily loud)

symbol_t.gif : use of echoes and reverberation; gradual emergence of chords; lack of emphasis on percussion

symbol_i.gif : use of eclectic, “random” melodic structures, styles, and concepts within the same composition; continuous melodic embellishment; introducing new melodies, textures, and variations through the course of a piece


One of the challenges in recognizing socionic concepts in music and other art forms is that all information aspects are present; that is, no matter what the composer’s type is, the listeners have at the their disposal the full range of IM elements when they listen. This may be likened to sculpture: The artist can’t prevent someone from looking at it from the back. Hence, highly skilled composers may tend to display competence with a fuller range of information aspects than would be the case if just focusing on the Ego block. This effect is compounded by the fact that composers may tend to write not what represents themselves, but rather, what represents their ideal, which may be their Super-Id block. Accordingly, in typing music, one can’t always rely on the idea that only a few information aspects are salient; one must look at the way all information aspects relate as a whole.

Traditions of various genres

Another challenge in discerning information aspects in music is the role of musical traditions in each genre. For example, in classical compositions it is common to start with a settled tonic harmony, and have the harmonic progression become more unstable before eventually settling on the tonic again. Similarly, often longer classical compositions start out with a clear, unambiguous theme and gradually build up tension and suspense, which may culminate in a musical climax, after which the music returns to its original theme. Someone who is less acquainted with classical traditions might construe such progressions as indicating a shift between symbol_s.gif (stability) and symbol_t.gif (instability), or may interpret each moment as indicating vastly different information aspects (e.g., symbol_f.gif every time the music gets louder). A deeper understanding of the main point or thread is required to see the underlying psychic dimensions instead of viewing merely constantly shifting information aspects. (A similar phenomenon occurs in interpreting fiction, which generally features a variety of different kinds of events, tension, and release, all in the same story.)

Changing state of the listener

A well-formed piece of music may convincingly stimulate different information aspects depending on the state of mind of the person listening. If the listener is predisposed to hear certain information aspects, that listener may pick up on those more than others. The sense of connection between different information aspects (e.g., duality) in a piece of music may transcend any particular information aspect. Hence, depending on the state of mind of the listener, this sense of completion or overall harmoniousness may make an impression even if the information aspects the listener is hearing are completely different from those that the composer had in mind. However, it is likely that the majority of listeners would still identify the main elements of the music even if separate individuals hear something else in it.