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Can "Art" or "Music" be graded with rules and ranked on an "artistic" level?

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Showing 176-197 of 197 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2012 10:47:20 AM PST
barbW says:
Yes, these discussion threads should be called opinion threads

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2012 11:26:21 AM PST
J. Beaver says:

Of course music can be classified according to technical criteria. You can categorize all waltzes together because the employ a common time signature. But that doesn't necessarily mean that writing anything in 3/4 time automatically makes it a waltz, nor is it a reasonable extrapolation to say that this fact makes waltzes "better" than pieces written in 4/4 or 6/8 or whatever. You can classify music according to time and key signatures, tempo, choice of instrumentation, subject matter, etc., but it's a big jump to say that any one of those qualities is more important than any other.

Unfortunately, the diesel analogy breaks down, because they have a strictly utilitarian aspect. Which is not to say that mere utility disqualifies something as being art. Was the Dada movement really art? Most experts would say yes, despite the utilitarian nature of many of the objects displayed, the premise being that it's entirely legitimate to draw attention to the relationship between form and function through art. It's the non-functional embellishments that make art out of utility.

I'm a big fan of minimalism. Requiring complexity as a standard would disqualify that entire genre from acceptance as art. I also love the way dissonance can be used to evoke emotions that are not comfortable, safe, or happy. Should the fact that many, if not most, people automatically regard music that gives them unpleasant feelings as "bad" disqualify such material? The darker side of life is a perfectly legitimate subject for artistic exploration.

So standards are OK, but I don't feel compelled to abide by them. I suspect that for many, dedication to such standards is just a way of validating their own tastes. I would be extremely wary of any set of standards that attempt to assign an absolute value to any particular aspect of music or art in general, since although it may not be utterly impossible to devise a reasonable and value-neutral set of standards, I doubt that any human being has the necessary impartiality to do so.

Posted on Feb 28, 2012 12:16:41 PM PST
To respond to the original question, I feel like art is only art if it is original, in form as well as substance. Basically, if you are simply tapping into a preformed equation of what will be successful monetarily, it seems like it would be inherently less valuable (or "worse") artistically than if you were creating something new (or, probably more likely, combining pre-existing forms to create something).

Posted on Feb 28, 2012 12:23:21 PM PST
alysha25 says:
Creativity and originality is almost always better. But doesn't everything at least draw from some thing from the past?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2012 12:25:47 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 28, 2012 12:26:57 PM PST
barbW says:
J. Beaver, you write so precisely and well that it's difficult to oppose your thoughts, even though I'm unable to agree with you. lol, except in some general and mostly irrelevant aspect. Thanks for your post.

I'm trying to think, if I accepted your opinion, then what would be the ramifications. Especially the opinion that, "...although it may not be utterly impossible to devise a reasonable and value-neutral set of standards, I doubt that any human being has the necessary impartiality to do so." Composers and musicologists and critics get to make a living to do just that, and they have for many centuries. It's true, that they don't expect or want or care whether every Tom, Dick and Harry agree with their evaluations and conclusions. They are the experts you learn from, you don't have to agree with them (and how could you without the required knowledge and experience?), but if you do even vehemently disagree with them, you're learning all the time..

Brahms destroyed half or more of his compositions, he knew objectively what his goal was. It's too bad that he didn't just stack them away in a chest like Chopin did with his, because we could see what his objectivity was based upon. We CAN with Chopin and it's objective material for a class of music students. These guys knew what they were doing, and history has born this out. They didn't say, "I like this, I don't like that." They were very close to their 'children', like Beethoven was, but they could still have "the necessary impartiality".

One of the things you learn through the decades of performing the large important works is the rightness and the exactness of every phrase. As Salieri says in the movie, "Displace one note and there would be diminishment. Displace one phrase and the structure would fall."

Posted on Feb 28, 2012 2:34:08 PM PST
@J.Beaver: nice post! Very clear and well-written, and I agree with your thoughts on the matter.

@werranth413: interesting reply--I wasn't really expecting you to approach it from that angle, but it is thought-provoking nonetheless. I'm really enjoying this discussion; you guys are keeping it at a high level.

Posted on Feb 29, 2012 2:18:34 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 29, 2012 2:26:08 AM PST
E. Dill says:
Wow! I got here late, 8 pages worth. I'll just take a leisurely stoll thru them and pick out passages and respond to them. Since I've made a nuisance of myself on countless other boards arguing that music and all art is subjective, here goes....again:

My basic premise is:
I don't necessarily believe you could or should "prove" any art is "better" than another.>>

Essentially, that's been my basic premise too.

<<in my mind, more complicated forms of art are more worthy of praise.>>

And that was one of my basic disagreement with werranth and probably why she'd consider ANY classic music much more praise worthy than any popular music. I'm still not sure about jazz, though. Since a larger percentage of jazz composers/musicians had formal training than your average pop star, that may place them somewhere between high art and low there a medium art? And how DO we measure complexity anyway? It's like measuring talent. We all know that Beethoven was more talented than the Beatles. Talented at what? And when does the degree of complexity, if it can be measured, become a hinderence and not a plus in a piece of music? Never? Can a minimalist ever compete on an even playing field with a classicist?

<<*Surely* a pop artist with the most generic, repetitive and simplistic of dance beats, made to please their corporate sponsors, is not as good as a true songwriter/composer who puts their entire heart and soul into their work? >>

While you and I agree (Michael) on the essentials, I wonder if the pleasing of corporate sponsors as opposed to putting ones entire heart and soul into a work are mutually exclusive....can't both exist at the same time? I guess I try NOT to guess at whether an artist is allowing his commercial interests to affect his art. We could probably wonder the same thing about some of the great classical composers. They were trying to make a living. As far as pop/rock goes, some of the great songs, to me anyway, were written by the Brill Bldg. crew who'd come to work, sit in their respective cubicles and crank out multiple tunes each day. How much of each of them were part of their heart and soul? Beats me.

<<I might find an artist visually interesting, but I will always judge that in a separate catagory from their music, even if the two are intertwined.>>

I do too. But I wonder if we could say the same thing about music vs. lyrics. The song. I gathered, in my first go-rounds with werranth on the joel board that she found his pop music mostly worthy because of his musical training and compositional abilities. The words were secondary. I also got the impression that opera was not high on her scale of serious music. I'm guessing, then, that when she talks music, she's talking MUSIC, not song (if song means music with lyrics). Does this change the way we listen? A song may tell a story. A piece of music stands alone as a work of art unto itself. To me, that helps to explain why someone who prefers classical music finds the way the music sounds is only part of it. They want to study its makeup, preferrably before they actually listen to it....view it on the page, get a feel for its structure, it's complexities. Again, it had been said that one interest was whether the composer met his intentions in the piece. Since I'm not a musician, I haven't a clue how one could ascertain that bit of information. But if that's part of the equation, than surely we listen quite differently from ANY musician. I'm guessing that a musician who thinks this way would get much of his/her emotional reaction to a piece of music not on its SOUND but on the "beauty" of its structure. Maybe that's why werranth always seemed to suggest that my judging music by listening to be somewhat juvenile and I'd counter with, "what else is's an auditory experience, right?"

<<i think the best people to ask are people who truly love music. ever hear a true music enthusiast say "that last britney album was genius!"? most pop/hip hop/rap fans are more "casual" music listeners. >>

I tended to agree with Michael's sense that as a person listened to more music and more diverse music, they'd make a more rounded meaningful decision on what music appealed to them. I'm not sure of the "truly love music" part here. If, in his day, Frank Sinatra was considered a pop artist (with a bit of jazzy stylings), I'm sure many of his fans then and now think some of his albums were genius. Maybe Britney too. I mean, if it's all "low art" how "low can it go"? All I know is there are some mighty serious pop/rap fans out there who live and breathe the stuff. Some of their reviews of new albums in the genre give a synopsis of the entire history of the genre.

<<They probably didn't even notice (or care) that "Born This Way" was a rip of "Express Yourself", because they don't even really know who Madonna is. Which gets me back to the point about having a larger depth and breadth of experience in music making one more qualified to assess an artist (though again, not necessarily "right").>>

I guess that would go to the "grading" of originality, if one wanted that as a supposed objective criteria for judging music. I mean, if I'm enjoying Lady GaGa (and I do, at least as much as Madonna) and have never seen or heard Madonna) does that lessen the validity of my enjoyment of her? Frankly, I don't think so. It's new for ME. If I go back and find Madonna, it may take some of the edge off of GaGa, but I've seen both and find them unique enough unto themselves to get a similar bang from what they do. Maybe that explains why so many 40-60 year olds come here and say all the music of today is crap. Because they hear something in the new music they bother to listen to that reminds them, even ever so vaguely, of someone popular in their youth. Instead of evaluating if they'd evolved the sound, they dismiss it as a carbon copy and that is that. That would be like me bringing up every great group that the Beatles "copied" early on like the Marvelettes, The Isley Brothers, etc. Everyone is influenced by someone.

<<Taste is ultimately subjective and it should be made clear that if someone likes bad art, they are not "wrong." >>

That confused me until I went back and found that you'd already said you believed in "good art" and "bad art" as being decernable. What you were saying, I guess, is you wouldn't insult them for their bad taste because it's probably their lack of knowledge or experience.

<<how do we know when something has stood the "test of time"? >>

Good question. And another one is, are we THAT sure that every "good artist" was even noticed when he/she was alive and kicking? I'm not. Let everybody here think of their musical moment when most of their present day favorites were cranking them out to their delight and ask.....who ELSE was there that NEVER made a dent in the popular music of the day for whatever reason. Bad health. Lousy management. Bad promotion. I'm sure we can all think of artists who didn't even stand the test of their OWN time and seemed to be as artistically worthy as the big boys. Doesn't that count for something? Are we all just searching for unworthy underdogs to embrace?

<<But what is "original"? Everything is inspired by something else so nothing is truly "original".>>

Since I'm 65, I remember the 50's quite well, having begun my rock n roll journey at the ripe age of 9 (1955). My favorites then were surely NOT original and I knew that because I listened to some blues and r&b from the 40's. What is odd is that people who first embraced rock n roll in the 60's truly believe that EVERTHING that was great was invented from scratch. Jimi invented those chords, riffs and runs. Of course, anyone being compared to him later was a bad copy. The so called "lack of originalty in today's music" is one of the biggest falacies of today's arguements against it. I loved Jimi and the Beatles and Stones, etc. but I've never once thought that all this 80s music of 90s music or 00's music is bad copies of all of those 60s geniuses. I can't help but believe it is the same nonsense we heard from our parents at the point where rock n roll was something's all crap. Admittedly, back then, part of the arguement against it was racial.

Ok, I'll quite now. I only got up to Page 2 and not even up to where werranth arrives. Maybe later. (I didn't bother to acknowledge whose words I quoted. You know who you are...)


ps. The only good art is that which is listened to, looked at or touched. Make sure you use the right sense for the right art. Looking at music isn't critical. Listening is.

Posted on Feb 29, 2012 2:32:44 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 29, 2012 2:33:12 AM PST]

Posted on Feb 29, 2012 8:25:22 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 29, 2012 8:37:00 AM PST
Stratocaster says:
werranth413 says: As Salieri says in the movie, "Displace one note and there would be diminishment. Displace one phrase and the structure would fall."

One of my absolute favorite moments of that movie. Salieri is feverishly flipping through one orchestral score after another while humming the melodies in his head, and in a moment of shear mental bliss and astonishment, the scores slide from his hands and scatter to the floor. I think that's right after the point where Constance tells him "no, those are not copies. Those are Wolfie's originals", and Salieri looks at them in his hands as if he's holding the work of God himself.

Great stuff. Thanks a lot - Now I've got to watch that flik again!
Sorry. I digress. Back to the discussion......

Posted on Feb 29, 2012 9:27:36 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 29, 2012 12:42:42 PM PST
E. Dill says:

<<Displace one note and there would be diminishment. Displace one phrase and the structure would fall.">>

I, too, oddly, am somehow taken by that pronouncement, whether it actually is true or not. But it doesn't change the fact that for me, a listener and not a musician or a composer, how the piece sounds is what counts, not its structure. Does the structure affect how it sounds? Of course. But I'm not prone to be taken in BY the structure but by how the piece sounds. Sometimes those two can be connected, especially when we are revelling in the complexity of the structure. But if I respond to drone music, how do I explain the complexity of the structure? Why would I like listening to it? The fact is, werranth and other classical fans have stated that they find certain musical works by famous composers to be great works of art that they don't much care to listen to. Why? Because, to them, the structure of the piece is so breathtaking to them that the sound becomes immaterial. I wonder if non-musicians sometimes feel that way? If they do, why do they? Are they taken in by reputation, i.e., Bach or Beethoven or Mozart could never NOT compose a work that wasn't special, structurally if not pleasing to their ear? I'm not bothered, by the way, that musicians feel that way. I'm only bothered when they suggest that one cannot properly judge or even enjoy music unless they are able to and willing to dissect the pieces and parts of a work of "musical art" to find its structural beauty. Then, if time permits, listen to it, too.


In reply to an earlier post on Feb 29, 2012 9:41:41 AM PST
barbW says:
Are you sure you can't leave that
music, and come back again? I have
other things you might like.

That's very tempting, but it's
impossible, I'm afraid. Wolfi would
be frantic if he found those were
missing. You see, they're all



A pause. He puts out his hand and takes up the portfolio
from the table. He opens it. He looks at the music. He is

These are originals?

Yes, sir. He doesn't make copies.



The old man faces the Priest.

Astounding! It was actually beyond
belief. These were first and only
drafts of music yet they showed no
corrections of any kind. Not one.
Do you realize what that meant?

Vogler stares at him.

He'd simply put down music already
finished in his head. Page after
page of it, as if he was just taking
dictation. And music finished as no
music is ever finished.


CU, The manuscript in Mozart's handwriting. The music begins
to sound under the following:

Displace one note and there would be
diminishment. Displace one phrase,
and the structure would fall. It was
clear to me. That sound I had heard
in the Archbishop's palace had been
no accident. Here again was the very
voice of God! I was staring through
the cage of those meticulous ink-
strokes at an absolute, inimitable

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 29, 2012 9:52:18 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 29, 2012 9:53:00 AM PST
barbW says:
Hi ed,
Good stuff, as usual. I'll address it as the time comes up. We're in the middle of a project here at the lab.

I will say that no one's stopping you from becoming somewhat of a musical analyst and appreciating so much more of music than just the listening.
I never askedyou, do you ever listen in segments? to especially interesting sections?

Posted on Feb 29, 2012 10:32:07 AM PST
The factor of time helps to decide the value of art. During an artist's own time, there can be too many differing "schools" to determine whether a work will have lasting appeal. A century ago a classical composer who chose not to use dissonance might be rebuked as a "slave to tonality." Likewise, a painter who dared to choose recognizable human subjects or landscapes might be ridiculed as intolerably old-fashioned.

Most people are happy to accept some dissonance in music and some abstraction in paintings, but not to the extremes that trends eventually can carry them. It takes a couple of generations for many to see beyond the "gatekeepers" of style and taste. Right now jazz of the 1920's and 30's is constantly hyped, despite the fact that 1960's jazz CD's probably outsell them 10 to 1. Likewise, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol are constantly discussed where many Italian, French, and Dutch painters are virtually ignored. This may not be so in a couple of centuries.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 29, 2012 12:27:37 PM PST
E. Dill says:

<<I never asked you, do you ever listen in segments? to especially interesting sections?>>

Yes I do, but NEVER before listening to the entire work (song, not necesssarily album). As a matter of fact, for sometime I'd written critical comments about Frank Zappa's later work (post-1970) and was particularly mocking of one of his later albums that came up on some "best of" lists, Apostrophe. Someone took me to task on my negativity and so I listened again, pinpointing specific times within a song that I liked and disliked. In doing so, I wound up rating the album as a whole higher than I had ever done before. What did it prove? It proved that even within the rather short span of a song, I could enjoy pieces and parts of it so much that I couldn't bring myself to give the entire song or album a "thumbs down". Surely that is not quite the same as attempting to dissect the composers/songwriters intent, his harmonics, etc. Frankly, most of the things you'd be looking for would be beyond my knowledge. I guess I'm intellectually/emotionally against the notion that music should become, to me anyway, a science project first and a listening experience (evidently to prove the scientific revelations) second. That's why I brought up the notion of lyrics and songs vs. instrumental music. A song has a message, even if that message is 5 minutes of James Brown singing "Popcorn" (I love it, by the way). Instrumental music is what it is and probably lends itself to being analyzed for what it is. Saying it's pretty or sad or powerful isn't enough for some. Saying you like listening to it should NOT be assumed to mean it makes you happy. But, yes, any emotional response we have in listening is, of course, tied to the intellect. What I'm talking about here is sound vs. craft. I listen and hear what I hear and like what I like. You dissect the work on paper, evaluate decisions made by the composer and THEN enjoy listening to what you've already made decisions about from a structural standpoint. You actually get to listening to it. I have no preconceptions based on complexity, historical importance, etc. I can like Sam the Sham in the same way I can enjoy Charlie Parker and Bach. I listen. I respond. To you, that's limiting the value of the music and/or inflating the importance of music written for kids. To me, it's freeing. I don't OWE Beethoven anything.


Posted on Feb 29, 2012 12:33:41 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 29, 2012 12:35:37 PM PST
Mahlerian says:
But to listen carefully is to be aware of structure, harmony, melody, and the like. In order to be consistent, you would have to say that the following two songs are artistically equivalent.

Gustav Mahler - Nun will die Sohn' so hell aufgehen

D minor

Stanza 1

flVI-iv-iifl5m7-II7 (6 bars)
i-I-#idim-V7(fl9)-I-iv-I (5 bars)

Stanza 2

V7-i-flII-i-vmaj7(add9)-i (6 bars)
flvii-iv-v-flVI-iv-V (3 bars)
flVI-V-imaj7-iifl5m7 (7 bars)
i-I-#idim-V7(fl9)-I-iv-I (5 bars)

Middle Section

flvii(add 11)-flVI-v-V (3 bars)
flII-i-I-vfl5m7 (3 bars)


I-flI-flv7-imaj7(fl9) (2 bars)

Stanza 3

flVI-iv-iifl5m7 (5 bars)
i-I-#idim-V7(fl9)-I-iv-I (5 bars)
i (3 bars)

Friday - ARK Music Factory (sung by Rebecca Black)

C major









Verse 2














Posted on Feb 29, 2012 12:58:57 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 29, 2012 1:01:23 PM PST
E. Dill says:

I'm not sure if your post was meant for me but I should clarify....

<< I can like Sam the Sham in the same way I can enjoy Charlie Parker and Bach.>>

I surely didn't mean I can't tell the differences in their music. I just can't explain it in musical terms and I don't care. What I'm saying is that I don't, for the most part, have a preconceived notion about how their work should be enjoyed. Like, "this is fun music for when I don't want to think" and "this is serious music that should be listened to for its harmonics, structure, etc." I don't say that, ever, and I don't want to begin thinking it. Most classical music fans truly believe, I'd guess, that CM is serious music and most, if not all other music is lowbrown stuff, good for a laugh when you wish to rest your know, you put down that Proust and get an Erle Stanley Gardner or turn off PBS and watch a rerun of Beverly Hillbillies on the tube. The lowbrow stuff. Even pop/rock music fans can lean that way. Most progressive rock fans begin talking about other forms of pop/rock as the lowbrow stuff....that crap that those overly hip critics like that has no intelligence to it.

I get no more personal satisifaction from listening to a Bach concerto than I do a Captain Beefheart album....usually, I'd take the Beefheart. I also don't feel any better of myself for the Bach. I missed having developed a snob appeal toward music and that goes for the reverse side of it, namely, the guy in that movie who wouldn't sell someone a Beefheart album because he wasn't "hip enough" to own it.


ps. If complex structures turn someone on in and of themselves, go for it. For me, it depends on the sound...the listening experience. I don't try to evalute my own listening patterns any more than trying to have a handle on what I'm more apt to enjoy. Even then, I purposely check out music from genres I usually wind up disliking. And, yes, I find stuff I DO like without ever understanding completely why them and not others I'd rejected. There's too much music for me to sample without trying to spend time analyzing why I like one work, one composer, one singer, one lyric, one sound. I just do.



Posted on Feb 29, 2012 1:38:46 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 29, 2012 1:39:09 PM PST
Mahlerian says:
It has everything to do with the way it sounds. The overall structure of the Mahler song is pretty simple (roughly AABCA). It never changes key. But unlike the vapid pop song (and many like it), it has more variety in harmony and melody. You think that that has nothing or little to do with "how it sounds"?

I am no snob. I listen to plenty of so-called "popular music" and enjoy it. I have no formal training in music, and I got into things just because of "the way they sound". But eventually I realized I wanted to know more, and I taught myself the elements of composition and style. I realized that some of the things I liked were simple, and there's nothing wrong with that, but other things that I enjoyed immensely, like the aforementioned Mahler song, had intricacies that very few pop/rock songs can come close to rivaling. And these things create the sound of a piece.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 29, 2012 2:06:56 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 29, 2012 2:09:08 PM PST
E. Dill says:

You are what werranth wants me to be. A self-educated music listener who discovered that, for him, understanding aspects of musical structure added to their enjoyment of the music they listen to. I congratulate you on your discovery, the work you put in and the manner on which it's paid off.

Do I think that a song that has more variety in harmony and melody has nothing to do with "how it sounds" in comparison with one with less? No, I don't. Do I think the one with the lesser variety is vapid like so many pop songs are. No I don't. In this case, it may. Maybe I'll listen to both pieces and decide for myself. If I agree it will only prove that with two songs, we prefer the same one.

I'm not sure I want to get that involved with the structure of the music I listen to. I don't WANT to become in love with structure.....only sound. If it DOES have much to do with sound, then I'll get it anyway. I only won't be able to chart those differences like you did. I'll live with that deficiency.

You may think I'm mocking you but I'm not. I'm happy as a clam for you and werranth and anyone who finds their own way of adding to their enjoyment of the arts. With me, time is the motivator. I'd rather collect 50,000 albums and listen to them as time permits then to spend hours dissecting one and becoming excited by the structure itself. Of course it affects the sound. But I'll hear that sound even in my ignorance. I just won't be able to explain it to myself. I'll live.

Posted on Feb 29, 2012 2:22:24 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 29, 2012 2:43:28 PM PST
<<Of course it affects the sound. But I'll hear that sound even in my ignorance. I just won't be able to explain it to myself. I'll live. >>
does one need a course on film-making in order to watch a movie?

composers composed things for the public to listen to.

studying the score and diagramming the structure of a work can be interesting but it certainly not necessary or even intended by the composer.
up until recording how many times was a person going to be able to listen to a single composition?

Mahler did not write music he thought people were going to be able to hear more than once.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 29, 2012 2:40:03 PM PST
E. Dill says:

Ok, I did just that. I listened to several vocal versions of the Mahler piece (both male and female) and the Rebecca Black thing. I think I once heard the Black song on the radio and wondered if it was a joke. I got much more enjoyment from the Shaggs. For me, it wasn't only the structure of the was her talk-sing which was quite irritating to me. But, hey, on youtube, the one I listened to had 24,000,000+ hits.

Surely with those two, one did NOT need to delve to deeply in the song structure. If you're 12, you MIGHT like Black. If you're older and like it, I'll sick werranth on you. She's already mocked me for being 65 and liking kids music. You know, like those early pre-teens screaming for those phony Beatles. I've got to find a back story on the Friday song. Is that the one that was produced and created by a rapper? Stranger things have happened in music and commercialism.

So, anyway, we agree on one comparison. The Mahler piece is more complex and a million times more enjoyable (?) than Friday to me. As for those 24,000,000 others, we'd have to strap them down with Mahler and see.


Posted on Feb 29, 2012 2:54:11 PM PST
Mahlerian says:
Thank you for taking this discussion seriously.

On the important points, I don't think we disagree, but what you call structure, I call detail. As for Friday, the song is so bad as to almost be a parody of the industry. Most of the verse is one note. The song was created "for-hire", in that the singer paid the company that put it out to let her sing it and have a music video.

Now, there are other songs that are simple and repetitive, but have a lot more depth than Friday, with its one-note verse and synthesized backing. The blues gets its depth from performance and individual interpretation, rather than "structure", as you call it. Those things are also valid in a discussion of art.

Posted on Feb 29, 2012 3:42:21 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 29, 2012 3:44:55 PM PST
E. Dill says:

<<The blues gets its depth from performance and individual interpretation, rather than "structure", as you call it.>>

I once asked werranth about the blues. I kept hearing about complexity and all and wanted to know if a classical musician/teacher felt that the blues were too simplistic for her highbrow tastes. She responded something like you did.

I have a huge blues collection and wouldn't want this to sound as if I'm in anyway disparaging the music, but I DO get a bit confused and suspicious with those that harp on the lack of originality in today's music never seem to talk originality with the blues. Why? Because it's the ONLY music that gets it's "depth" from performance and individual interpretation? Singer songwriters? Rock guitarists? Alternative rock and country bands? They are worthless because they are merely copying what came before but with the blues, their copying is ok because of their peformance and their individual interpretation?

I realize I'm not arguing here with you. I'm just suggesting a seeming inconsistency in the way people, in this case mostly white people, view the originality of music and the harshness by which they decide it no longer exists. Only a few times have I ever heard a white rock fan diss the blues as being too lacking in originality. But with today's rock vs. 1960s rock, it's all poor copies with no evolution, no creativity, no building on the past, no individual interpretation......60's good....00's bad. Meanwhile, I'm finding more albums of consequence to me now than I EVER did in the 60's. And I loved the music of the 60's.

I was listening earlier to Damien Rice's first album, O. I'm sure he is another artist of today that has been largely ignored by those who live for the 60's. So he's just another carbon copy of those great singer/songwriters of the 60's?

But I'm getting off track. We were talking music appreciation and music structure/detail.

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Discussion in:  Music forum
Participants:  29
Total posts:  197
Initial post:  Feb 13, 2012
Latest post:  Feb 29, 2012

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