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Is some music better than other music?


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If yes, then is Rock & Roll better than Country & Western?

 

Obviously yes. At least if you ask me.

 

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then why bother with multiple takes in the studio?

 

Well, the musician may have in mind how it should sound, and makes mistakes. It therefore doesn't conform to the idea he or she had in mind. So you do another take to eliminate mistakes. This has nothing to do with whether music is better or worse, but simply if it was done as intended.

 

Now of course the musician may try out different things intentionally to listen to the takes. In that case, at least in the musicans mind one or the other version is better.

 

Is some music better than other music?

 

Obviously it is a preference that is subjective. One's preference is formed from many things like when they were growing up, what culture, what training and exposure to music they have had etc. etc. I found a short article that explains what I think of it better than I could myself.

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sex-drugs-and-boredom/201206/are-some-works-art-better-others

 

In summary most art works within conventions. Music has conventions that differ in the genre involved. Artists work within those conventions, but some are better at using those conventions and sometimes knowing just when to break those conventions more than others. So some music will show more creativity and artistry in working those conventions (or rarely in creating new conventions that are pleasing or effective). So given the idea some music is more artful then some music is better in that manner.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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If one is willing to invest some time in understanding "classical music", it can be quite an experience. I don't think any other genre can compare.

 

(My opinion only and not intended to diminish the other genres.)

 

"The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought", Sir Thomas Beecham. 

 

 

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Yes.

 

Whichever one brings the listener more emotional impact is the better music for that person...

Positive emotions enhance our musical experiences.

 

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I can't believe that people are actually replying as if the original post was serious. :)

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

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Is some music better than other music?

 

If no, then why bother with multiple takes in the studio?

 

If yes, then is Rock & Roll better than Country & Western?

 

Wakibaki, are you looking to start a cat fight.....:) On the list of cat fight starter mechanisms its just behind objectivism vs subjectivism and climate change.....Let the games begin. Now who gets to light the torch????

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place". George Bernard Shaw.

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Whether the question was serious or not, it is a very interesting question.

 

Like with all art, "good" or "bad" doens't have any objective measures. Why is a Picasso good and your grandfather's oil landscape painting bad?

 

You certainly have to differentiate between "I like this music" and the quality. There are certain genres I absolutely hate (most modern radio R&B, reggae, big parts of country and western) but that doesn't mean there isn't extremely well done C&W or reggae, I may just not appreciate it.

 

I personally feel after years of listening experience that for the genres I like well (mainly classical from Baroque to Romantic) and Jazz I have built a certain judgment on what constitutes "quality".

 

Listening to my local classical radio station in my car, they often play the so called "Kleinen Meister", i.e. less-known composers, probably with the objective of broadening the listeners horizon. So I'd be driving in my car and listening to something that e.g. sounds very much like a Mozart symphony. But then I notice, something is wrong, the chord changes are just a bit too simple, the melody progression lacks variety, or whatever it is. It is just not very good, and almost certainly not Mozart. And sure enough, the announcer says "by François-Joseph Gossec" or " by Franz Krommer" for example.

 

If you'd force me to say why Gossec and Krommer todayvare pretty much forgotten while Mozart is a household name, I'd really have trouble pointing out the individual technical elements that constitute that judgment.

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Whether the question was serious or not, it is a very interesting question.

 

Like with all art, "good" or "bad" doens't have any objective measures. Why is a Picasso good and your grandfather's oil landscape painting bad?

 

You certainly have to differentiate between "I like this music" and the quality. There are certain genres I absolutely hate (most modern radio R&B, reggae, big parts of country and western) but that doesn't mean there isn't extremely well done C&W or reggae, I may just not appreciate it.

 

I personally feel after years of listening experience that for the genres I like well (mainly classical from Baroque to Romantic) and Jazz I have built a certain judgment on what constitutes "quality".

 

Listening to my local classical radio station in my car, they often play the so called "Kleinen Meister", i.e. less-known composers, probably with the objective of broadening the listeners horizon. So I'd be driving in my car and listening to something that e.g. sounds very much like a Mozart symphony. But then I notice, something is wrong, the chord changes are just a bit too simple, the melody progression lacks variety, or whatever it is. It is just not very good, and almost certainly not Mozart. And sure enough, the announcer says "by François-Joseph Gossec" or " by Franz Krommer" for example.

 

If you'd force me to say why Gossec and Krommer todayvare pretty much forgotten while Mozart is a household name, I'd really have trouble pointing out the individual technical elements that constitute that judgment.

 

If you didn't read the article I linked in my post above, it goes very well with what you are describing. You learn the conventions of a genre of music (not necessarily consciously) even through simple repeated exposure. Some artists are much better at making something interesting and enjoyable within those conventions than other artists. That is something you experienced in your radio listening.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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If you didn't read the article I linked in my post above, it goes very well with what you are describing. You learn the conventions of a genre of music (not necessarily consciously) even through simple repeated exposure. Some artists are much better at making something interesting and enjoyable within those conventions than other artists. That is something you experienced in your radio listening.

Actually I hadn't clicked on the link yet. Nice article indeed.

 

Doesn't get very far in terms of describing what makes some art better than others, except for the idea of breaking of conventions, which I fully adhere to.

 

In any case, I like this quote, could be a good leitmotif for all the objectivist/subjectivist discussions elsewhere. Just replace "Art" by $2000 USB cable or whatever.

 

"yes, some art is better than other art in the sense that some art can produce intensified experiences of beauty for educated audiences"

 

 

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That's easy. Riot Grrl is SOOOO much better than Nintendocore.

 

And don't get me started on Neo Honky Tonk vs. Polish Reggae.

 

You don't know music, Screamocore is the best!

 

"The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought", Sir Thomas Beecham. 

 

 

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Years ago a young guy asked me to teach him to play the guitar.

 

He was the least promising student I had ever met.

 

Many times he asked me. Many times I said no.

 

Eventually he said, 'a guy like you could learn a lot from teaching an idiot like me', and I caved.

 

We were sitting around one night, tinkering with the guitars, when he advanced his thesis.

 

Basically it was that he could play something, and I could play something, but that there was no external standard against which to judge them. Essentially, one sound is as good as another, so what he played was of equal quality to what I played.

 

What you have to understand is that he was absolutely, dead serious.

 

I really didn't know what to say, so I reached over and burned him with my cigarette. I wish I could say it worked, but he never really learned to play worth a damm. He's now probably the best networking programmer I know, and a good friend.

 

So the question is serious, but tongue-in-cheek too, because I think that to attempt to describe a hierarchy of genres is really to open a can of worms, unlike some of the music teachers I knew half-a-century ago, who would have said quite unequivocally that anything but Classical was trash.

 

I want people to think about and identify what makes one performance better than another and think about how much, or how little, these qualities depend on good reproduction to make themselves felt.

Mike zerO Romeo Oscar November

http://wakibaki.com

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I think "classical" music uses more complex and expressive language and structures which can potentiatly trigger emotions that are spiritually and intelectually more elevated.

The same happens with literature, painting and the other learned arts when compared their popular counterparts.

"Classical" music is not exclusive to the Western (European) civilization and can be found in most civilizations from China to Iran, from India to Europe, where it distinguishes itself from the simpler traditional/popular songs and melodies which exist for entertainment purposes.

 

But across the times there have been plenty of times when "classical" composers visited popular music motifs for inspiration and the inverse happened with popular music as well (i.e. prog rock, rock operas).

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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I think "classical" music uses more complex and expressive language and structures which can potentiatly trigger emotions that are spiritually and intelectually more elevated.

 

So, leaving aside considerations of interpretation, I can get the same stimulus from reading the score as I can from listening to a recording, given that my musical sensibility is sufficiently developed that I can hear the piece in my inner ear?

Mike zerO Romeo Oscar November

http://wakibaki.com

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So, leaving aside considerations of interpretation, I can get the same stimulus from reading the score as I can from listening to a recording, given that my musical sensibility is sufficiently developed that I can hear the piece in my inner ear?

 

That's how Beethoven heard his 9th, although the brain streamer is clearly not in the cochlea. This work by Berger et al is really interesting - here's the meat:

 

"neuronal signals made by imagined stimuli can integrate with signals generated by real stimuli of a different sensory modality to make robust multi sensory percepts.....we found that what we imagine hearing can change what we actually see, and what we imagine seeing can change what we actually hear"

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So, leaving aside considerations of interpretation, I can get the same stimulus from reading the score as I can from listening to a recording, given that my musical sensibility is sufficiently developed that I can hear the piece in my inner ear?

 

That is not impossible, I guess.

I remember reading that in his later years, after giving up photography, Cartier-Bresson would still get a kick out of catching the decisive moment with his mind...

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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I think "classical" music uses more complex and expressive language and structures which can potentiatly trigger emotions that are spiritually and intelectually more elevated.

The same happens with literature, painting and the other learned arts when compared their popular counterparts.

"Classical" music is not exclusive to the Western (European) civilization and can be found in most civilizations from China to Iran, from India to Europe, where it distinguishes itself from the simpler traditional/popular songs and melodies which exist for entertainment purposes.

 

But across the times there have been plenty of times when "classical" composers visited popular music motifs for inspiration and the inverse happened with popular music as well (i.e. prog rock, rock operas).

 

Wow....you took the bait, hook line and sinker!

 

Intellectually more elevated, distinguished, etc.............

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Is some music better than other music?

 

If no, then why bother with multiple takes in the studio?

 

If yes, then is Rock & Roll better than Country & Western?

 

The brilliant music I like is obviously better than the junk you like.

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