2 years ago
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Can Music Be Bad?

#music #12tone #theory #Education
Can a song be bad? I mean, obviously, right? I'm sure you've listened to plenty of songs that you haven't liked. But... is that the same thing? Maybe someone else loves that song. So how do we define badness in music? Can we quantify musical quality in any meaningful way to determine whether or not a song is good, and if so, how? Just relying on personal taste probably isn't enough, but do other measures exist to help us out?
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12tone photo 1 Can Music Be Bad? 12tone photo 2 Can Music Be Bad? 12tone photo 3 Can Music Be Bad? 12tone photo 4 Can Music Be Bad?

This should go without saying but this is obviously just my opinions on the matter. I believe that I have a fairly well-informed opinion, but it is an opinion none the less.

by 12tone 2 years ago

I'd argue that a song can be objectively bad. That doesn't mean that an objectively bad song couldn't be subjectively good - but not all songs ever written in the history of humanity have been "good". I've written bad songs in my life. I've heard people release bad songs too. They weren't bad because they were easy to play, or sloppily performed, or simple, or lacking in artistic expression - they we're bad because they were done by very inexperienced people who didn't understand what makes a song compelling. I think this is the point your video missed: of course you can like a poorly delivered song, like the Shaggs example you mentioned. But that doesn't make it objectively good, that makes it subjectively good.

It's a whole other question whether or not it matters at all if a song is objectively good or bad, and the answer to that is simple: of course not, if you enjoy the song.

by Topias Kavasto 2 years ago

"The best art transcends politics. Take for example Orwell's 1984, Leftist art that is just as much art to a Conservative as it is to a Leftist." - Andrew Klavan

by SpiderShlongGaming 2 years ago

I think the political point made at the end of the video is essentially dodging the question. Some of the greatest music of all time (objectively) was written by despicable people who lived in time periods with different moral codes than ours. Bach wrote music for the Church during a time of extreme religious persecution, Wagner deliberately associated with the Nazi party. Their music does NOT have anything to do with that, in the same way that music from a hypothetical white supremacist today wouldn't. Music, like all art, should be judged on its own merit without regard to the creator's private life.

The question of whether we should financially support music whose creators we detest is entirely different and again, unrelated to the music itself.

by HammerAndSickled 2 years ago

Thing is, if you want to say that no music can be objectively bad, conversely no music can be objectively good either. Good and bad are really just subjective value judgements anyway.

Closest to objectively bad I can think of is an artist that intentionally produces music of no artistic merit, but then there's that problem of judging intent. Also there's the old joke that has some truth to it: if you try to fail and you succeed, which have you?

by Troodon 2 years ago

To me, there is one sole criteria - if the music is made sincerely, with passion, and for no other reason than to just make it, then I may or may not like it, but I have to respect those who do and the artist himself.
The criticism I bring to pop music is a lot of it just feels like...a job. Several producers churn out a beat, and the singer walks in the studio, sings lyrics other people wrote for him, and then some guys mix and master the song, or as I like to put it, package it for him. This is generalizing of course, but that 's what I don't like with a lot of pop music, and something I believe to be inherently bad. You see it a lot in hip-hop as well, a lot of artist refer to music as a "thing" that happened to work out for them.
That's a highly idealistic view of it, but hey, that's how I feel.

by Unemployed Cunt 2 years ago

let me answer for you:


by TheBestBeats InTown 1 year ago

When I younger, maybe early high school, I was 100% of the belief that some music was objectively "bad", and that people were somehow not right in listening to what I considered bad music (maybe 2010-ish pop-R&B was my biggest pet peeve). But as I grew as a musician and learned what it is to truly be a music lover, I acknowledged that even if you don't love a piece of music, any music can still be studied and has some merit in the sense that someone created it for a real purpose. That being a music lover is not exclusively about criticism and discerning taste but about that which is in the title; being able to appreciate any music for what it is, and to remember and learn the aspects of a piece that you find interesting, even if you generally dislike the music as a whole.

by Logan Gleason-Blois 2 years ago

I was telling myself: The Shaggs. The Shaggs. Thankfully you mentioned that curious atrocity

by C. McMenemy 11 months ago

Speaking generally, I think that many people take a very dogmatic approach to the notion of good/bad in most art forms. Then there's another group of people who've moved past that narrow mindset. I'll call them the "everything's subjective" crowd. The notion that everything is subjective can be a much more civil perspective, but it poses a new problem: if there's no good art, nobody can be a good artist, and there's no way to improve, and consequently no useful metric for analyzing the value of a work can exist. One other inevitable conclusion of this notion is that it equates the Sistine Chapel ceiling with a blank canvas. Perspectives on religion aside, that doesn't seem quite right, does it?

Ultimately, we need a standard, but it has to be based on something meaningful -- or rather, something functional. I would argue the function of art is to be of interest to an audience, and the fulfillment of this function is a measuring stick for the value of art in all media.

There are two important words there: interest and audience. A manufactured pop song that is highly accessible but adds nothing new to the existing pool of music is ultimately worthless. A song that is innovative and highly complex but utterly inaccessible (think Behold...the Arctopus) has value, but the application of this value is limited by its obtuse presentation. Finding a way to create music that can be appreciated at all levels of education/complexity is key.

Is this a perfect system? Of course not. But I'm sure I'm not the only person who thinks about this similarly, and I'm going to use this system until I find a better one.

by Art Izon 10 months ago

A song can be bad, but only by way of your own standards. Music can be judged objectively, but how it's judged is decided by whoever is judging it. Music isn't subjective, standards are subjective.

by Patricia Taxxon 2 years ago

I think this is one of my favorites so far. I especially liked the "I'm not drawing any of this" part!

The best example I can draw from my own experience is my shining dislike for the music of Billy Joel. While I have to admit that he's a skillful tunesmith, and knows a hook when he hears one, I developed an everlasting dislike for anything he did or does, due to the fact that I saw him in concert once early in his career (he was the warm-up act for a bigger-name band at the time). He, essentially, threw a temper tantrum onstage, because the audience was there to see the main act instead of him. This has colored my image of everything about him since that concert back in 1974. I continue to see him as a spoiled brat who can't countenance the fact that people like other music than his. So, he lands in the same category, for me, as a Ted Nugent, for example (who I sort of liked back in his old Amboy Dukes days, but want nothing to do with now).

by Bill Brinkmoeller 2 years ago

It's horrible the way the Shaggs were treated as children, but resulting music was great. So out of time, but still together somehow.

by steve badach 2 years ago

You should do a video on the theory behind Bohemian Rhapsody.

by Dean Guida 2 years ago

Love this. I'm definitely using it as a resourse in my theories of knowledge class.

by Amor Sciendi 2 years ago

@ Arthur Godfrey "Slap Her Down Again". Advocating domestic abuse since 1947.

by quietone610 1 year ago

that's why I never listen to bebop
It's homophonic

by I Eat Garbage 8 months ago

Mp3 Download

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