Seasonal affective listening order

What do you consider fall music?

Ryan Stark

Ryan Stark

Photo By David Robert

“I suppose if I had to pick something it would be Braham’s Third Symphony because that has the sort of feeling of warmth, like the point at which you’re starting to think of keeping warm but without the bitterness of winter. It also has a regretful feeling, like that summer is ending. But it’s a very vague consideration. The one piece I don’t feel as being very autumnal at all is the fall section of [Vivaldi’s] The Four Seasons. … But I think music is something for all seasons. It’s more about emotional mood than climate change.”

— James Winn, Argenta pianist and UNR piano and composition professor

“I crave either really lush, layered and melancholy sounds or really up-tempo and aggressive rock ‘n’ roll in the fall. I’m always a sucker for music with a sort of sad or discordant sound, but I particularly seek it out at the end of summer/beginning of fall. Fall is my favorite season of all—it’s so vibrant and kinetic—but there is a sense of looming doom thanks to the unavoidable onset of winter. … 1980s New Order, The Cure and even Pink Floyd provide me with that lush and melancholy sound in which layering is key. … The Clash and The Pogues have the kind of aggression and raucous sense of fun I need to gear up for winter. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that the most perfect fall music ever written are the Bach Cello Suites. The suites (you have your pick of six) are the ultimate in contemplative music—perfect for admiring the colors of autumn and their slow death.”

— “Myrna the Minx,” blog creator of

David Calkins

Photo By David Robert

"When it gets colder out I turn more toward—I listen to Lou Reed a whole lot, specifically his earlier stuff, like Street Hassle. It’s probably my favorite record of his, and it got smashed when it came out; people hated it. But I think it’s his most brilliant, dark work he’s ever done. … There’s a German industrial group that that I turn to more in the fall time called Einsturzende Neubauten. They would make music not necessarily with guitars or normal song structures. They’d make a lot of music from found objects or junkyards or hardware stores and stuff like that. … Books, music, everything, is absolutely seasonal. The environment has a huge effect on the way I approach things.”

— Ryan Stark, writer, performer, artist

“For me, it comes down to when I bought the first album, but Enya’s Watermark is definitely a fall album. … It tends to be something that kind of warms me up, especially as the weather gets kind of chilly. Her voice is pretty smooth and warm. Beyond that—and again, this is a time period thing—Dead Can Dance’s In the Realm of the Dying Sun. It’s definitely a fall album—a lot of gothic overtones, a lot of chanting, a lot of interesting soundtracky-type of qualities. I’m a big fan of albums that take you on a journey. I remember the first time I ever heard it was in a friend’s car in the fall, and you associate colors and smells and other ephemera and qualities that you keep coming back to it, unconsciously at first, as you think about wanting to hear that.”

— David Calkins, owner Discology music store

Grace Hutchison

Photo By David Robert

"Summer makes me want upbeat, poppy music—the stuff you blast in your car and scream along with your head out the window, like in high school: INXS, Scissor Sisters, Motown, old Madonna, Michael Jackson. Fall, I listen to more introspective, visceral music. It’s a reflective time of year—all the warm, rich colors. I stay in more and listen to bands like Radiohead, Air, Bjork, Cat Power, Leonard Cohen. I wouldn’t say it’s 100 percent of the time—Elvis Costello and the Beatles are a couple of my year-round standards. “

— Grace Hutchison, singer-songwriter, education director of Reno Philharmonic