There are only two types of music, good and bad...


Apr 4 2010, 19:03

and many colours inbetween. But the basic issue with any musical composition is that there should be more than one musical idea. Variety is what makes any track interesting from Heavy Metal, Soul to Indie. If you can guess what is coming next, and that hasn't changed from one bar to the next, then alas the track is crap. Coming up with a groove will always be interesting but if that basically just repeats, then that is also crap. Emotional performances are also a useful but not essential component of a good track. Anyway I just wanted to get that off my chest, because I see so much shit being listened to and complimented upon, when it should be slagged off. No genre has a monopoly of good music but you see some shouters being very precious about their niche. I name no particular field as being the worst. But the guilty are probably those who if you were to measure their spread of artists via the Eclectic taste barometer, would be very narrow.


  • BigDaddyWayne

    got to say - agree in most cases but imho the electronic genre is contrary to that (techno, minimal, etc) - but looking @ ur library & this comment u think thats bad music?. Music depends on my mood & sometimes can set my mood (thats y not to do Hip-Hop when driving). Therefore I have a wide array of choice (not that I have that many moods).

    Set 3 2010, 2:47
  • pogopatterson

    Like I said no genre has a monopoly on either good or bad music composition. My beef with techno was from a dance perspective, but actually now you come to mention it..... Better get back to work for now...

    Set 3 2010, 8:59
  • pogopatterson

    Yeah, when I come to think of it I would be critical of Techno and minimal per se, though as I say there are always going to be exceptions. Techno can be repetitive and therefore I think "unmusical". The problem of course with these shout boxes is that a bit like Twitter you've got a limited space to get ur ideas across, so don't get the impression I am anti techno. But I do wonder whether the association between drug taking and the rave/techno culture, leads to a music that works to a degree particularly well only if you are under the influence. Also from the point of crafting the music and its underground and counter culture credentials, it could be termed a cottage industry. That means it can be put together by an artist in a home studio, and doesn't have a team of musicians, technicians and executives pushing up the production values and lacks the synergy of collaboration. And I realise many people will say that moving away from the corporate production of music is a good thing :)

    Set 3 2010, 14:07
  • BigDaddyWayne

    Repetitive, Ok. Maybe i'm being pedantic but lets look @ repetitive - Tribal music specifically African could be defined as repetitive with the beating rythms of drums etc that repeat the beat over & over again - Lets not forget that probably our early ancestors were probably playing "Music" in the same way (it is only in later years that our understanding of Music as we know it today has emerged with a score etc that is full of different notes & compositions) - therefore would u call it "unmusical" ? As for the Techno thing & Drugs unfortunately, u have a point. I listen to it when i'm training to get me into the zone & also when travelling through airports etc (& i'm definitely not getting high;-) I do agree about ur comments of cottage industry although I think u still get some very good produced music. U see the problem is as always regarding music about perspective - It would be very difficult to produce definitions with parameters broad enough to define "Bad Music" & have everybody agree;-) But Pogo essentially u r right & we will both agree there is a lot of shit music on here being complemented on.

    Set 6 2010, 14:14
  • pogopatterson

    Well personal taste does come into the reckoning here, and I will admit to liking plenty of undemanding music. Your point about tribal music does cut to the heart of any debate about human culture and music, for which I don't think even the greatest philosophers and psychologists have given a definitive answer- "What is music?". Why should expressing oneself musically be of any evolutionary advantage to humans? Yes, entertainment, communing with others, but why does a collection of sounds ordered and mixed in a particular way become music and why should it be so rich and varied? Surely once you get past sound as a way of conveying a spoken message, it should have no additional purpose? Why is it linked to emotion etc etc? Is modern music something more than just an extension of tribal? The same tribal dances have probably quite a lot in common with today's dance culture as, getting out of one's head is not just a modern phenomenon. So I would contend that was a more pointed use of rhythm for a specific purpose. I'm not saying that either it or techno are "non musical", but that they are a stripped down musical form. And for the most part if you're not off your head, it's a case of the Emperor losing his clothes. I have met people who don't take drugs who do like Techno, same with Heavy Metal in some of it's modern formats, which can sound like a dirge. But I'm sure having said this there is bound to be at least one techno track in my library, so I would agree that you can't always generalize about every techno track.

    Set 6 2010, 14:48
  • BigDaddyWayne

    Use of Rhythm for a specific purpose - I like that;-) That opens an avenue for further discussion. Your reply is pleasing, very pleasing & u hit on something that is much better to discuss - The link between Music & emotion. Now thats a very deep conversation;-) Music arouses our emotions - Thats is 1 of the reasons y I believe it is the sound of the Universe. To a certain extent repetitive &/or shit Music in the context that ur discussing doesn't arouse your emotions because it fulfills your expectation (u know what's coming). Our emotions are at their highest with the unexpected - I'm trying to say imho there's a psychological side to listening to music. Although, the repetitive beat of a drum can stir an emotion! ie Tribal. So, perhaps we have a draft definition for our 1st parameter - Music for it be good must stir an emotion?

    Set 6 2010, 21:05
  • pogopatterson

    Well the point I think I was making was that Music is an entirely human construct. Music does not occur in the natural world, like art where an artist replicates a landscape on canvas. Yes animals have a variety of mating calls and there is birdsong, (though perhaps not in the case of the dawn chorus) which has alot to do with mate selection. The emotional side, or cerebral side of music is something I am drawn to, but we're back to techno and other genres, where it's not emotion per se, but a series of behaviours that are acted out with music as the backdrop. Head banging (the mosh pit), air punching, punks spitting, trance, dance, might have an emotional component, but it is more like a release of youthful exuberance and exultation and numbing yourself to your everyday existence and therefore possibly killing emotion. It at least encourages the release of different sets of neurotransmitters and hormones- adrenaline, noradrenaline, serotonin- numbing the frontal lobes, that don't get a look in during the working week. It's not a state that stirs any of the higher emotions that make us uniquely human, love etc. Well you can get into the whole thing about music being waves of sound and how in quantum physics you've got the different states of matter, of which waves are but one state. And that our brains function in different cycles too, which resonate with different frequencies in nature. Feeling at one with the universe? LSD gives us an insight into this world of everything resonating with the same frequencies. It shows us how our perception of reality is filtered by human consciousness to create a stable semantic picture and that much is filtered out so that we can make sense of our environment. Psychedelic music rather than being an emotional vehicle is seen as being part of the art of enlightenment, and drawing away the veil of consciousness. Again LSD I am told is not an emotional drug in the sense we have been describing emotions thus far. and on a related subject... Everything sounds good on weed. If you've ever tried to write music on it and listen to it the next day, it's invariably not quite the genius that you thought it was the night before. Whilst it allows you to be creative by increasing the blood flow to the right hemisphere for blending holistic experience, and suspends the frontal/left hemisphere from undue critique, you later realise that some intellectual judgement would have spared your ears the next day. Otherwise agree with all you are saying, particularly the unexpected- in fact the best humour comes from setting up a particular ending, yet delivering a coherent but unexpected punchline?

    Set 6 2010, 22:28
  • pogopatterson

    Yeah Big Daddy Wayne, what I really wanted to say, though I approached the subject from as broad a perspective as I could initially, is that there must be certain "mathematical" criterion that make certain musical structures superior to others. Therefore as I stated originally there is only Good and Bad music, and taste- that supposedly subjective and personal exuse for listening to inferior quality stuff, is just a red herring. I don't know enough about musical composition, because I was never classically trained to any degree, beyond two years of piano lessons and self taught guitar. However there are some things I gleaned even from this amount of training. Musicianship which goes beyond three chords, and extends into major sevenths, triads, pentatonic, mylodian, and phgian scales etc, is going to be technically superior. Prog rock also with its novel use of time signatures beyond 4/4 and into 9/8 on Supper's Ready by Genesis, would be much more difficult to play than your average punk thrashing. Of course that says nothing about how pleasurable the music is too listen to, but does mark out the level of expertise required to play a piece. Superior production could also be used as criterion to distinguish good music from the bad. That can also be subjective, since an acoustic or acapella piece of music played live by a musician can be as seductive as something mangled through compressors, overdubs, flangers and filters. But equally we as listeners have become so used to the professional tools used in musical production to the degree that we would no longer consume music that has not been at the very least dolby noise reduced and so on.

    Set 25 2010, 17:27
  • pogopatterson

    And that brings us round to the computer generated pieces which you have heard BDW, and which you contend are difficult to differentiate from human created pieces. Not having heard them myself I can't comment, but it does seem to fit into this idea that music is reducible to what are effectively mathematical algorithms with various levels of complexity. Personally whilst I think that accounts for part of their allure the human dimension cannot be discounted. Emotion and surprise as we have already mentioned, would buck the mathematical trend at some juncture. But you could still have music of complexity. And PS the techno stuff is not basic from a production point of view, that's for sure, even if it doesn't strike an emotional chord with me (forgive the unintended pun).

    Set 27 2010, 20:53
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