I know that if I play an out of tune guitar, that it sounds unpleasant. I know that if I play an arrangement on the piano (even one I am making up as I go) and accidentally play a note that does not belong in the key I am playing in, it sounds "bad" to me (and anyone within earshot)!
In Western Music Theory there are 12 notes. In some non Western cultures, each of these 12 notes may be divided in two - thus making 24 notes. If I heard a composition in which some of these quarter tones of non-western music were used, it would sound "out of tune" and probably make me want to put my fingers in my ears.
We know that certain notes put together in a certain pattern according to certain accepted theories, sounds to us like "music" - whereas, similar patterns (played on the same instrument) that fail to conform to those tuning and arrangement "standards" - sound harsh and unpleasant? Have there been any studies, or research, or anecdotal observations that seek to determine or explain, why this is so?
Is because from the time we are born (or perhaps even in the womb) we hear music arranged based on commonly accepted "standards" - so we get used to hearing it that way and that becomes the way it's "supposed to sound"? Or is there some biological predisposition in the human species to prefer certain patterns and sound frequencies arranged in certain ways?