Your Criteria for 'Good' Music?

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Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 12:16 pm
As simply (and perhaps crudely) put as possible, what are the explicit criteria music has to meet for you to consider it 'good'?

For me it must be original within its own frame of reference (or genre), must be technically sound (must include musical difficulty and player skill), must have definitive intentions (e.g. to portray a certain message, or display creative exploration of a certain musical or recording technique) and above all it must utilise the compositional skills of subtlety.

Dan.
 
nameless
 
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 03:00 pm
@de budding,
de_budding;25037 wrote:
As simply (and perhaps crudely) put as possible, what are the explicit criteria music has to meet for you to consider it 'good'?

If, by "good music", you mean 'enjoyable', 'pleasing', 'significant'... to me, then "good music" is music that I like/enjoy at the moment that I am hearing it.
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2008 09:11 am
@de budding,
de_budding wrote:
As simply (and perhaps crudely) put as possible, what are the explicit criteria music has to meet for you to consider it 'good'?

For me it must be original within its own frame of reference (or genre), must be technically sound (must include musical difficulty and player skill), must have definitive intentions (e.g. to portray a certain message, or display creative exploration of a certain musical or recording technique) and above all it must utilise the compositional skills of subtlety.

Dan.


How many times must you listen to a song to decide that it is 'good'?

If you hear a song in which you do not have expertise in the particular genre or the particular instruments, can you know whether it is good or not?

I generally know if I like a song (which for me means that the song is good) within one or two listens. I sometimes try to rationalize why I like a song after hearing it, but it is usually fruitless. I will say that I typically like originality in songs, but I like many songs that do not have much technical proficiency within them, have no real intention (that is other than to make music), and are certainly not subtle.

My favorite musical artist is Tom Waits, and while he can be extremely original, he quite often has none of the others in his songs.
 
William
 
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2008 10:22 am
@de budding,
That's a easy one as far as I am concerned. Music is much like life should be: Spirit building, bone tingling resonate, and mind easing harmonic so all you want to do is hear. Nothing else. It shuts down all the other senses offering a rhapsody of heart stirring emotion. That's music.

William
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2008 12:07 pm
@William,
Quote:
For me it must be original within its own frame of reference (or genre),


What do you mean by original? All music is derived from earlier music.

Quote:
must be technically sound (must include musical difficulty and player skill),


What if the music is not performed by musicians, but instead made electronically, like reggae dub or most hip-hop?
Even if we limit our consideration to music played by musicians, there seems to be a great deal of good music that is not technically sound, easy to play and requiring little to no skill. Isn't there something to be said for simplicity?

Quote:
above all it must utilise the compositional skills of subtlety.


What about grandiose musical statements?
 
de budding
 
Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 12:21 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
[quote=Didymos Thomas]What do you mean by original? All music is derived from earlier music.[/quote]

Not all no, but most.

[quote]What if the music is not performed by musicians, but instead made electronically, like reggae dub or most hip-hop?
Even if we limit our consideration to music played by musicians, there seems to be a great deal of good music that is not technically sound, easy to play and requiring little to no skill. Isn't there something to be said for simplicity?[/quote]

But technicality can be found every where, from the poetry of singer-songwriters lyrics to the programming of synthesizers... I don't like music that is popular because of some cultural phenomenon mind you, so Reggae and hip-hop are out the window for me, rarely is there a hip hop or reggae song I can tolerate (not to mention UK garage, grime, baseline, UK hip hop and all the rest of these new-age electronic bone head genres that contribute little more than a warped and self-manipulate insight into 'gangster' culture.)

And there's no such thing as simplicity in good music... just subtly... lighter shades of.

[quote]What about grandiose musical statements?[/quote]

Well my 'rules' are either/or rules, only one need apply for me to be happy. So a grand concerto need not be subtle, and a poetic folk song need not show any more than chords and poetry.



 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 12:34 pm
@de budding,
Quote:
Not all no, but most.


Such as?

Quote:
But technicality can be found every where, from the poetry of singer-songwriters lyrics to the programming of synthesizers... I don't like music that is popular because of some cultural phenomenon mind you, so Reggae and hip-hop are out the window for me, rarely is there a hip hop or reggae song I can tolerate (not to mention UK garage, grime, baseline, UK hip hop and all the rest of these new-age electronic bone head genres that contribute little more than a warped and self-manipulate insight into 'gangster' culture.)


All music is the result of some cultural phenomenon.

Quote:
And there's no such thing as simplicity in good music... just subtly... lighter shades of.


No such thing as simplicity in good music? I have to disagree. There is a great deal of music that is praised for being so effectively simple. Ringo's drumming, for example.
 
de budding
 
Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 06:26 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
For originality within a genre I would say some one like Jimmy Hendrix, or for the exceptional, a group that I have recently got wind of called 'the lost fingers' (their on youtube) display fantastic originality while doing covers using gypsy jazz standards! But even the combination of pre-set standards and, pre-written music they display great originality in their style and combination of aspects.

With regards to the 'cultural phenomenon', I think I chose bad wording. What I'm trying to refer to is this style of flaunting personal status (or lack thereof) through music. This has become the focus of that music and it is reflected in so many places. It is a direct projection of the artist and how 'good' he is, on top of the music. I am used to artists bragging through their music about how good they are at making music or playing it e.g. the guitar solo, but the raw projection of the artists ego as if it demands something is odd and completely unwarranted in any art for me.



Dan.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 07:01 pm
@de budding,
Quote:
For originality within a genre I would say some one like Jimmy Hendrix, or for the exceptional, a group that I have recently got wind of called 'the lost fingers' (their on youtube) display fantastic originality while doing covers using gypsy jazz standards! But even the combination of pre-set standards and, pre-written music they display great originality in their style and combination of aspects.


Sure, Jimi was incredibly original - but his music was most certainly derived from earlier music, specifically the blues. Again, all music is derived from earlier music. I agree that music, derived from earlier music, can be amazingly innovative and original - but none the less, all music is derived from earlier music.

Quote:
I think I chose bad wording. What I'm trying to refer to is this style of flaunting personal status (or lack thereof) through music. This has become the focus of that music and it is reflected in so many places. It is a direct projection of the artist and how 'good' he is, on top of the music. I am used to artists bragging through their music about how good they are at making music or playing it e.g. the guitar solo, but the raw projection of the artists ego as if it demands something is odd and completely unwarranted in any art for me.


Yes, there is a great deal of egocentrism in music. I have to ask, though, why is reggae and hip-hop out the window on this basis? The Wailers, Peter Tosh, King Tubby for reggae; De La Soul, Jurassic 5, A Tribe Called Quest and The Roots for hip-hop....

Quote:


I can't imagine why someone would call Ringo a bad drummer. I've heard people say this, and my response is "okay, sit down and play some Ringo licks" and few can, and no one who derides Rindo's playing can play his licks - that I've met, anyway. Ringo can be subtle, to be sure, but even when he is not subtle his work is innovative, simple, and down right brilliant ("Why Don't We Do It in the Road", "Happiness is a Warm Gun", "Don't Let Me Down" - and that's just from the White Album!)
 
NeitherExtreme
 
Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 07:47 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
As simply and crudely as possible...

I like music that is more interesting the more intensely you listen. I like music where I feel like the artist(s) is pushing the limits of his own ability, or least pushing my ability to listen. I like music that has positive emotional purpose.

I don't like music that feels manipulative. I don't like music that is simplistic, though I also don't like music that feels like the artist is trying to get more out of the music than is possible.

By the way, my favorite artist is Phil Keaggy, though I'm not exclusive. :bigsmile:
 
Deftil
 
Reply Sat 20 Sep, 2008 04:10 am
@NeitherExtreme,
Whatever I like. "Good" can be pretty subjective. What's your criteria for a "good flavor (taste)"? It depends on someone's subjective sensory experience as to what that they think is good. But I do suppose that taste in flavor is even more subjective and "instinctual" than taste in music, which is partly cognitive (imo).

I think an interesting question might be
How much of a conscious decision is it to enjoy certain music, or anything?

Do you cognitively decide it, or do you simply interpret it from your natural "instincts"?

If you define "good music" as "music you enjoy listening to", I would say the criteria for what you consider good music would mostly be based on what you naturally enjoy listening to, and some mental realization that it has qualites that you appreciate cognitively. This might be a false dichotomy I'm creating here, but ATM it seems to make sense to me, at least based on my personal experience.

Can one not like a particular piece of music, but think it's good? If you think it's good, then why don't you like it? It of course depends on your definition of "good music". You might mean its "well made music" or "music that is played with impressive technical proficiency". If you run a record label it could be "music that will sell a lot of CDs".

At any rate, I would basically say I think good music is at least fairly, expressive, creative, and original. This is taking a vague definition of "good" - something like "music that I appreciate the quality of". Sometimes I like music that only has 1 or 2 of those qualities, but it always has at least 1 (I think) and usually 2 or all 3.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sat 20 Sep, 2008 07:08 am
@de budding,
de_budding wrote:
As simply (and perhaps crudely) put as possible, what are the explicit criteria music has to meet for you to consider it 'good'?


Oh boy, this outta be fun:[INDENT]Non-Preferencial Elements: Welp, for my personal tastes, I like internal consistency wherein in the beat I hear matches the tenor of the notes, harmonies, accompaniment, etc. When I can sense a flow - a togetherness of the different parts I might call it 'good'. Also, for music where there is only 1 part (acapella, soloist, etc.) that high-valuation of consistency turns to "flow".
[/INDENT][INDENT]Preferencial Elementsin me, produce emotional reactions that are pleasurable - Both, to me, have a consistency and flow that hits the ear well.

There's an ineffable quality to music that strikes each person differently. Like most subjective objects to which we might apply an aesthetic value, musical valuations will vary grossly from person to person (yay! I'm captain obvious!)

:a-thought:
 
de budding
 
Reply Sat 20 Sep, 2008 11:19 am
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
Oh boy, this outta be fun:
Non-Preferencial Elements: Welp, for my personal tastes, I like internal consistency wherein in the beat I hear matches the tenor of the notes, harmonies, accompaniment, etc. When I can sense a flow - a togetherness of the different parts I might call it 'good'. Also, for music where there is only 1 part (acapella, soloist, etc.) that high-valuation of consistency turns to "flow".
Preferencial Elementsin me, produce emotional reactions that are pleasurable - Both, to me, have a consistency and flow that hits the ear well.

There's an ineffable quality to music that strikes each person differently. Like most subjective objects to which we might apply an aesthetic value, musical valuations will vary grossly from person to person (yay! I'm captain obvious!)

:a-thought:


Obvious maybe, but none the less, provoking wording. So it seems to me there are two degrees of musical listening- aesthetic and moral:

'Aesthetic' would account for the enjoyment of music and 'Moral' for the appreciation of music. Appreciation seems to rise above for some people (probably fellow musicians,) here we see a moral thresh hold overshadowing the enjoyment e.g. something that is too commercial will be rejected regardless of enjoyment. Or likewise something that is totally un-enjoyable will still warrant appreciation because of its blatant display of talent.

Dan.
 
Aphoric
 
Reply Wed 15 Oct, 2008 09:09 pm
@de budding,
Isidore of Seville defined music as a practical knowledge of melody, consisting of sound and song.

Based on that, I'd say the criteria for good music consists of a demonstration of knowledge and understanding of music theory. Everything after that pretty much depends on taste.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Thu 16 Oct, 2008 07:31 am
@de budding,
Many good musical artists have no knowledge of and, thus, little understanding of music theory so I doubt whether that is good criteria for good music.
 
boagie
 
Reply Thu 16 Oct, 2008 08:25 am
@NeitherExtreme,
Smile YO!!

Music and its acompanying lyrics must have the possiabilty of evoking emotion, a large sample of a particular artist I would expect to have a range of emotions he/she could evoke in the listener. If the music and the artist/vocalist can evoke the emotions they intend, then they are artists and the music is art.
 
CarolA
 
Reply Thu 16 Oct, 2008 10:00 pm
@NeitherExtreme,
NeitherExtreme wrote:
As simply and crudely as possible...

I like music that is more interesting the more intensely you listen. I like music where I feel like the artist(s) is pushing the limits of his own ability, or least pushing my ability to listen. I like music that has positive emotional purpose.



As a musician I would have to agree with this - the music must be played well and the performer must give 110%. No one would watch a football game where the players trotted around in a lack-lustre way, dribbling the ball around. Too many performances sound like people going through the motions, churning out the same boring rubbish.
Oddly enough, I don't really worry too much about what style I am playing, it is the feel, the attention to detail and the effort that can make music sound exciting and worth listening to. I sometimes play with some young teenagers and, while they lack some of the skills, their enthusiasm and originality always grab me.
 
zolasdisciple
 
Reply Thu 23 Oct, 2008 12:43 pm
@de budding,
organization. creativity.
 
sarek
 
Reply Thu 30 Oct, 2008 03:00 pm
@William,
William wrote:
That's a easy one as far as I am concerned. Music is much like life should be: Spirit building, bone tingling resonate, and mind easing harmonic so all you want to do is hear. Nothing else. It shuts down all the other senses offering a rhapsody of heart stirring emotion. That's music.

William


I'll just quote this answer and make it my own. But these criteria seem pretty steep and I personally could only see Enigma fit this description.
There is other music, but to me it appears much less powerful.
I find it important that music originates in the heart. When music is created merely by the application of rules and the mechanical utilisation of devices it has no effect on me.
 
de budding
 
Reply Sat 1 Nov, 2008 12:27 pm
@sarek,
sarek wrote:
I'll just quote this answer and make it my own. But these criteria seem pretty steep and I personally could only see Enigma fit this description.
There is other music, but to me it appears much less powerful.
I find it important that music originates in the heart. When music is created merely by the application of rules and the mechanical utilisation of devices it has no effect on me.


No effect!? you sure? In some respects, music (for the most part) is a sort of psychological exploitation where the mechanical utilisation and application of rules is the magic that pulls on your heart strings.
Music is a very deliberate and controlled thing, composition wise.

Regards,
Dan.
 
 

 
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