"People have been making music for a long time, but machines haven’t. Ours are the first few generations whose entire existence, waking and sleeping, is often accompanied by secondhand music. We have inherited an understanding of music as metaphor, and now we are being subjected to what might be considered subliminal messages — oblique emotional statements delivered by the appliances that fill our modern lives. Background noise is not just background noise."
Secondhand Music: the chance harmonies of everyday sound may mean more than we think.
Lovely essay in the Atlantic about the psychoacoustics of the sounds in our environments.