Your Criteria for 'Good' Music?

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

Kage phil
 
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 10:26 pm
@Elmud,
I tend to like things with meaning. I can't stand pop or rap as it is either without meaning or just unpleasing to my ears. I like lyrics that come from the singer her/himself and her/his experiences as they seem more honest than someone singing about something they've never had to go through. I like to hear unique guitar riffs, and other instrumentals, that fully compliment the artist's voice and lyrics. They shouldn't be inaudible or make the lyrics indistinguishable, but connect to the lyrics and the voice. It needs to be a perfect mix that flows together, no matter what the genre. If I can feel the music and connect to it, I will usually give my seal of approval.
 
June phil
 
Reply Mon 30 Mar, 2009 10:56 pm
@de budding,
I think good music is created when the composer puts great effort into producing what he/she thinks are the best sounds and/or lyrics to convey whatever inspiration he/she had for creating the piece.

Also, if the piece is written to fit into a certain genre, it should have the qualities of the genre without sounding like nearly every other song in that genre. A great piece of music could even begin to expand a genre and move it in a new direction, while still staying true to the original qualities.

As an added note, I do not like all music that I consider good. For example, I may think a song is terribly written and is a bad piece of musical art. However, I like to listen to it (perhaps even over and over.) Or vice versa, I may love how a piece is written, but I don't really like that kind of music. The best music (in my opinion) manages to be "well-written" and the listener finds him/herself wanting to listen to it often.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Tue 31 Mar, 2009 05:25 am
@de budding,
Something that is different and can be appreciated for it's musical qaulities.
 
patchouli phil
 
Reply Tue 31 Mar, 2009 02:00 pm
@de budding,
Music is good if it is enjoyable to listen to. I have my own personal criteria that makes the music enjoyable to me. With that said, I don't really care to call any music "bad." I find certain tunes unpleasant or unaffecting (?) and leave it at that. Some other people may find that same music enjoyable to listen to, so it's good in their opinion.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Fri 3 Apr, 2009 11:51 am
@patchouli phil,
I like all types of music. I listen to pop, r&b, hip hop, & rock. My criteria for good music is complex. I like music that's just about having fun sometimes, and just because a song is only talking about having fun does not make it meaningless. It may lack depth, but not meaning entirely.

I do often find that music with emotional depth and substance does seem to be the most appealing to me. If you want a hip hop album with depth listen to Kanye West's 808's and heartbreak and graduation. Jay-Z's American Gangster album also has depth for its reflection of a character living a life of vice that eventually leads to bad outcomes. Check out Lupe Fiasco's the cool. That album is very deep and philosophical (ethically). The album is about three metaphorical characters; the cool, the streets and the game. Songs to look for on the album are the coolest, streets on fire, put you on game and little weapon. The lyrics are very symbolic and metaphorical so listen closely.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Fri 3 Apr, 2009 12:00 pm
@de budding,
or jay z's vol 2 before he went all comercial
 
Sympathypains
 
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 06:08 am
@Caroline,
 
de budding
 
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 11:37 am
@Sympathypains,
Cracking response sympathypains, very insightful regarding the opinions and frustrations that circulate in the music and audio departments at my uni. We all feel frustration related to your mac and cheese analogy. I'll PM you later.
Regards,
Dan.
 
Sympathypains
 
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2009 04:11 am
@de budding,
Hey here I was instictively preparing my rebuttal to all the expected rebuttals to my post and instead got some aggreement.

Imagine that.

A pleasant surprise, and a warm welcome.

Thanks, and check your inbox as well, message answered.
 
Sound4People
 
Reply Mon 13 Apr, 2009 03:08 am
@Sympathypains,
I'm a music major attending a university on the west coast (chapman university to be specific), and usually I wouldn't mention that, because it does not imply that my opinion is any more valid than anybody else's as music is enitrely subjective, but after years of ear training I really think I have begun to hear things in a different way. There's a ton of examples of music that I couldn't stand when I started college and now 2 years in I love. Music that I used to find ugly and as I would've stated a few years back "just werid", I find gorgeous or intriguing. So because new types of music have become interesting, I have no criteria for good music. I like music that I find interesting.

The only thing that bothers me is when people claim music is bad for reasons like publicity or it's just a business. I don't like pop music. Even things like the Beatles I honestly find boring, yet I don't think in any sense that what I listen to is in anyway better than those different types of music. Lots of people (and I have had this argument hundreds of times) will love classic rock or some other form of poular music and claim modern pop music is terrible, and this bothers me. You like what type of music you like; I know you can't control that. Still people often think that this sort of music is bad in some objective way, because it is commerical or whatnot. This is not true. It's fine if you don't like commerical music, but to claim one type of music is better because it is commerical is a little bit hypocritical. Musicians will do anything for money (Phillip Glass writing soundtracks for film is proof of this), and just because one musician makes money and one musician doesn't, does not imply one is being a musician solely for money and one isn't. I guess I don't even understand that position.

Another criteria people use is complexity. I often hear people with no musical backround talking about the complexity of a certain type of music (indeed I did this also) and that has led me to believe that complexity in music is subjective. This is werid to me, because to me it's painfully obvious that the most complex music was written in the 15th century, and I definatly do not believe that is the greatest music ever written (renaissance music is generaly not pleasing to the ear, because they had an wholely different music system; I would go into more depth, but it's a bit complicated), but I think I get it.
 
click here
 
Reply Mon 13 Apr, 2009 03:40 am
@de budding,
Some of you are saying that a person must display skill through their music. That may be true in some instances but I wouldn't say that is a necessity. For example Trance, specifically that which is created soley using a computer, depending on how you define skill, does not require any.

There may be a trance artist that just has a good ear for what sounds 'good' and tries different things until he gets something he likes. It in that situation is guess work to find something he himself views as appealing. He may be viewed as having an ear for music but I wouldn't say that that is a 'skill'.

Some of you also say that if a song sounds like "every other song" in that genre then its not 'good'. What if you have never heard every other song in that genre?

Of course I can question peoples intentions of what they define as 'good' all day though it truly could be how they themselves define something as 'good'. Though I always like to challenge people within their own views and encourage people to challenge me in my own.

As for myself I have absolutely no criteria established to define what I call 'good' music. If I like the song, then it is 'good'.
 
de budding
 
Reply Mon 13 Apr, 2009 04:13 am
@Sound4People,
The 'complexity' factor is the judgment made by fellow musicians (9/10 times) of how far above ones own talent and proficiency the song is judged to be. The further above the more sublime, farfetched, and therefore, the more beautiful, the music is.

And regarding music making money, it is simply an ethical position, especially among those who think any art must be a means in itself, not a means to an end (e.g. money making). I agree with this position because art-for-money tailors itself to the public's taste in a very devious way, (e.g. with nudity). I have called this psychological exploitation at some point in this thread and I think it has widespread detrimental effects are appreciation. If you give the audience, with as little subtlety and watering- down as possible, everything they think they want on a plate and nothing extra, you spoil them; dumb them down. What's more a spoiled audience with no taste for subtlety is a lazy audience, just watch one skip through a CD they haven't heard before, especially one that hasn't;t been recommended to them trough TV and advertising. I am sure you will be amazed at the fickle, impatient and above all disrespectful way in which they judge each track on the first couple of seconds, almost choosing t random one track to devote a moments attention to.

Money should not influence beauty or sublimity and if it does it is sure to corrupt it.

Dan.
 
Sound4People
 
Reply Tue 14 Apr, 2009 12:47 am
@de budding,
You know dabudding, I would agree with most of what you said, if I didn't know almost certainly that I would say those same things about the music you listened to. I think all pop music is dumbed down, but as I said before that's my own personal opinion and music is entirely subjective. Your speaking as if it's not. That bothers me. Many great movies have nudity in them and many great books have sex. Why would nudity be purely for the public. I understand you, but bland statements like that could mean that nudity is always tasteless. I mean tell that to Stanley Kubrick.

I am consistently amazed how when I give Stephen Reich's music for 18 musicians to someone, the majority call it repetitive. I give them Berg's Violin Concerto and they say that it sounds like noise. See you don't realize that I feel the same way about (probaly) the music you listen to as you feel about other commerical music. This has led me to believe music is entirely subjective. Audiences don't get "toned down", they just change.
 
Sympathypains
 
Reply Tue 14 Apr, 2009 08:04 am
@Sound4People,
The problem that is being overlooked here is the control of music by the industry.

Big companies have until recently actually bribed the radio stations to play the songs they were pushing, and continue to use influence through the concert venue network etc.

Subjectivity is a moot point when exposure is restricted.

Exposure is restricted based on a lowest common denominator business model.

Lowest common denominator in most art forms is generally critically considered the lowest form of art, i.e McDonalds as an art in cuisine, Disney as an art form in film, etc. Neither win Oscars (for best movie), or Michelin stars. Both a 3 year old child and an adult (agreed one with low standards) can appreciate greasy, fatty, cheesy, salty, soft food that you barely need to chew, and thus sell the most units.

There has always been schlock in all art forms, but in music today, the criteria for high art has dropped. It's as if the Oscars gave Scary Movie 2 best movie of the year, because it subjectively had the most attendees that liked it.

When I speak of complexity, I don't mean simplicity. Kubrick was brought up. I consider 2001 far more artistic than Star Wars, yet it is far simpler, but the complexity lies in the attention to detail and finesse in things like the photography, and ambiance of the film.

The problem today goes beyond the charts, IMHO. The motive for many outside the charts seem to still be more about "making it" or fame, or chicks or whatever, and not about pushing the creative envelope. Of course it's not absolute, but it is extreme. In order to have a career in music, one has to play ball more so than in the past, and thus compromise the art. Of course one can play to small audiences with an artistic ideology, but to live off the art, it is nearly impossible without lottery like luck.
 
de budding
 
Reply Wed 15 Apr, 2009 12:44 pm
@Sympathypains,
I just finished my dissertation on whether or not recording judgments are or are not subjective, and may I say if you think all music value judgments are subjective, may I recommend Stephen Davies The Philosophy of Art: he sure showed me. Think about how you make a subjective judgment and how this must include categorization and comparison. I see less and less how music can subjective. At the very least it creates its own frame of reference, a continuum of songs you like and don't within which you will mentally slot songs. Presumably anyway. To completely and thoroughly subjectively judge things is fun, but I don't think it is this kind of judgment which we like making.

Dan.
 
hammersklavier
 
Reply Wed 15 Apr, 2009 02:17 pm
@de budding,
But here's the rub: when looks at how music is disseminated, one's not looking at aesthetics--the art or beauty naturally inherent in the music--but rather at ethics--both the ethics of the musicians who produce music for the major labels (should they be found to be ethically lacking) and the ethics of the major labels themselves.

But this raises yet another question: what are the proper ethics for major label producers? Certainly to make money, that's a near-ethical requirement in capitalist countries, but also to make money by producing what they deem to be the best product possible. But this "best product" is ephemeral and self-nonconforming, it changes with time, with public expression. Alternative rock was a little underground thing when I was born. Soft rock and hard rock dominated the airways. Some hard rock has become metal, alternative has fused both hard and soft genres, and of course other, new genres and subgenres have appeared. Alternative rock has itself fractionalized, into such distinct concepts as "funk metal" or "grunge" or "shoegazing" and so forth; rap, practically irrelevant when I was born, is now the most common form of popular music...it goes on and on. But what I can say for certain is that (interestingly enough, like artists) producers--not just the major labels but minor ones as well--have an ethical imperative to capture the zeitgeist, and any music that can capture or respond to it can be considered good music. Only great music transcends it.
 
Bones-O
 
Reply Wed 15 Apr, 2009 02:27 pm
@de budding,
I've been a musician for about 15 years and have written songs for that long. A lot of what I come up with is rubbish and I immediately discard it. I only find the odd song worth keeping. When I hear a song for the first time, it always falls into one of three categories with reference to my own stuff:

1. If I had written it I would have discarded it.
2. If I had written it I would have kept it.
3. I could never have written it.

This doesn't presuppose any of my stuff is good, but songs that fall into (3) impress me.

Obviously this applies only to songs, not to music in general.
 
The Dude phil phil
 
Reply Wed 15 Apr, 2009 02:30 pm
@de budding,
My criteria for good music used to be things like originality, lyrical depth, and all that nonsense, but I've come to realize that I can enjoy music that is both deep and shallow philosophically, given that I like the way it sounds when I listen to it, I eventually overplay songs too, at which point they become temporarily tiresome, but not necessarily bad in my eyes.

See, it all goes back to the fact that beauty and goodness are in the eye of the beholder, the only rules and standards for things like this are ones that the individual sets, and the reasons need not be rational.

Originality does not affect my enjoyment of music often, only my opinion of the skills of the artist. I enjoy Jimi Hendrix's cover of "All Along the Watchtower" more than the original Bob Dylan version as a song, but my opinion is that Bob Dylan is the better and more original songwriter. I enjoy Bloodhound Gang's song "mope" even though the song derives many of its elements from other artists and genres, and example being that during some of the verses, the opening riffs or Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" is used as a beat for their rapping.

Complexity does not affect my enjoyment of music, I like Harry Nilsonn's song "Coconut" despite its extreme simplicity, and I also enjoy songs whose complexity parellel Coconut's simplicity.

Some things are all about the moment, music is one of them, ask if you enjoy it as you listen to it. Do not let things like genre and the stereotypical crowd that listens to the music affect your opinion of it, because then you are not giving an opinion on the music by itself, but rather the culture that surrounds it.

Music is something you get lost in. Yes, you can like a song because it has depth to the lyrics, but that does not need to be a general requirement. Yes, you can like it for complexity, but that does not need to be a general requirement. If you can't listen to a song without your thoughts constantly bashing it and not giving it a chance, then you're not even listening to the music at that point, you're letting past experiences and not present experiences dictate your feelings.

Also, you need not enjoy a song every time you listen to it, you may enjoy certain songs when in certain moods and mindsets and levels of intoxication.
 
Sound4People
 
Reply Thu 16 Apr, 2009 11:57 am
@de budding,
This is fairly odd. I had a teacher say something very similar the other day. Its just kind of a coincidence. I just want to make I sure I understand you before I respond. I'm sorry if I didn't get what you meant, but basically you are saying that within a subjective judgement there are objective criteria. I totally agree. That does not stop it from being subjective. I think we are using these terms with seperate definitions. I'm trying to say your opinion that money destroys music is only as valid as someone who only likes music that is to make money. That is all I mean, and that it bothers me when people act like the music they like is superior to some other form of music, and not only that but other people should believe that.

---------- Post added at 11:07 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:57 AM ----------

I have one huge objection to what you just said sympathy. There hasn't been originality in any musical sense by pop music. Sure you can argue lyrics and you would be right, but a teacher once told a friend of mine (he was a great teacher by the way) that she couldn't be a composition major, because everything she would ever do in music was already done by the tonal composers up to 1900. He was right. She only liked tonal music and it was over used to the point of exhaustion. Pop music is tonal in nature and it's really not original. So you say its not about pushing the creative envelope but it hasn't been for a long time (there are still very orginal classical composers and jazz composers, but for the most part they are ignored by any sort of large audience). Still lots of people would call rock original and right here the defintion of original is once again subjective. Which is fine. I'm saying whatever you think is original is not necessarily (in fact in most cases in music its necessarily not) original to me.
 
de budding
 
Reply Fri 17 Apr, 2009 04:19 am
@Bones-O,
Bones-O! wrote:
I've been a musician for about 15 years and have written songs for that long. A lot of what I come up with is rubbish and I immediately discard it. I only find the odd song worth keeping. When I hear a song for the first time, it always falls into one of three categories with reference to my own stuff:

1. If I had written it I would have discarded it.
2. If I had written it I would have kept it.
3. I could never have written it.

This doesn't presuppose any of my stuff is good, but songs that fall into (3) impress me.

Obviously this applies only to songs, not to music in general.


This is a perfect example of the kind of categorization I don't think we can - and know I can't - avoid in our judgment of music. And I would say this is a judgment system which relies on extrinsic information from other artifacts (other songs which you or others have written) to prescribe the value of others. This is not subjective and nor should it be.

Dan.
 
 

 
Copyright © 2024 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.02 seconds on 03/02/2024 at 11:04:06