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I put this up for discussion two years ago, and the way the threads are going at the moment (plus the fact that we a lot of very new and colourful characters on this forum now) tells me to re-open the discussion.  I also expect a lot of constructive argument and emphatic disagreement with my examples.

A friend of mine once told me that there are three criteria that contribute to the quality of music.  They are:

Intellectual Content
Emotional Content
Pleasant to listen to

But in order to make the music good, it must contain at least two of the above elements.  Therefore, for example (and these are my personal examples, seeing as it's all subjective anyway, so you may not agree with them).

Schumann's "Dichterliebe" contains intellectual content and emotional content, but for me it is not pleasing to listen to.  However, I must concede that it is good.

J Strauss's "Blue Danube" contains no intellectual or emotional content, but it is pleasing to listen to, yet according to the above criteria, it is not good.

Gerhard Stabler's "Red on Black" has intellectual content (of a fashion), no emotional content (except tears of laughter within the audience, which the composer actually expects and appreciates) and isn't terribly pleasant to listen to.  Therefore, one out of three means....not good.

Mozart's "Requiem" is filled to the brim with intellectual and emotional content, and is absolutely sublime to listen to.  So I guess it must be very good.

John Cage's "4'33"" has neither intellectual or emotional content, neither is it particularly pleasant to listen to, due to the fact that you can't hear anything.  So.... you know what the answer is.


Please discuss

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I'm in full agreement with you Josef, although the 'dying' bit was a bit depressing.

Josef Körnik said:

No offense to everybody, but there is nothing you can do to make your music good. It is neither good nor bad - it will only come closer to what is recognizable to some as having more good qualities than bad, and even that will change over time (depending on what happens after you die).

 

Understanding the psychology of people is like unlocking every talent you could possibly possess - there is no art that lies within yourself, because it wasn't from within yourself that you learned what it was. Your experiences are the only thing you can put into music to make it different, and yet this is everything that matters... whatever you learn from others concerning art is good, as long as you put it all into the art and don't hold back.

I wish you'd help me out Ray.  You know I'm having a godawful time with my software at the moment.  I dunno, I guess you think it's funny.

Ray Kemp said:
Remind us all who started this discussion??????

Simon Godden said:
I'm in full agreement with you Josef, although the 'dying' bit was a bit depressing.

Josef Körnik said:

No offense to everybody, but there is nothing you can do to make your music good. It is neither good nor bad - it will only come closer to what is recognizable to some as having more good qualities than bad, and even that will change over time (depending on what happens after you die).

 

Understanding the psychology of people is like unlocking every talent you could possibly possess - there is no art that lies within yourself, because it wasn't from within yourself that you learned what it was. Your experiences are the only thing you can put into music to make it different, and yet this is everything that matters... whatever you learn from others concerning art is good, as long as you put it all into the art and don't hold back.

Ah yes, great music plus nostalgia brings the greatest listening experiences for me.

If I had to isolate the factors that if used in a certain fashion make a song or piece good for me, the ones I can think of would be: 

1.  At least some use of counterpoint

2.  At least some sense of progression - this could be accomplished through a time signature change, a key change, or simply starting out with a single or two instruments and gradually increasing the amount of instruments to build up the intensity.

3.  Not generic sounding - I've tried to identify this in another composer's thread who was told his piece sounded a tad generic.  Common factors that contribute to this include chord changes frequently happening on the first beat of each measure, a predictable song structure, such as ababaa, which seems to be the main structure in radio pop, or just "cliche" chord progressions like I - I - ii - ii

Not every song that meets my listed criteria is a song I like, but chances are it will at least be song I don't dislike listening to.  My guess is that attempting to add more criteria would make my points even more subjective than they are already.  I like at least a few songs from most genres of music, and all the songs I do like definitely meet my 3 criteria. 



Simon Godden said:

Also, there is the element of nostalgia that can play the biggest part in the emotion a piece can evoke. If one meets a beautiful girl/boy during a time when a song is being over-played on the radio, the chances are, you will like that song for ever (as long as you don't play it to yourself too much).

Insofar as art is a form of expression and communication, qualifying it as "good" or "bad" seems irrelevant. Classifying something as "good" or "bad" implies an agenda or an outcome that is desired for a specific purpose, and that purpose will always be a subjective one.

The brief interludes discussing Cage's 4'33" take us into the more philosophical discussion of "what is music (or art)" which is also quite subjective. I'm not sure that people paying admission to an event provides an objective measure of "goodness" or "badness" (e.g. plenty of people pay money to go to Celine Dion concerts). Besides, I'm convinced that 4'33" is not music at all, it's really a movie without a screen...

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