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Is Music Good or Bad?

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I had a friend tell me once that music is inherently a good thing. Music is something that everyone should enjoy. I agreed with that second statement, but not the first. He quickly did a double take.

Why isn't music a good thing?

I answered with a second question: Why isn't language a good thing? Is it a good thing?

Simply put, music can be good. It has potential to be. Then again, it can be bad.

It has been said throughout history that "The pen is mightier than the sword." And indeed it is. Buddha even said "Words have the power to both destroy and heal."

I'm sorry, but making the simple statement "Music is a good thing" is somewhat naive. That's like saying "sharp knives are a good thing." Music is a tool, a weapon, and an art, and like all three, it can be as destructive or as constructive as you want it to be.

Well, that's the way I feel.

How do all of you feel? How can music be good? How can it be bad? How can we, as composers, use this information to our advantage?

And please don't say "There is no good or bad" or anything of the like. Such a debate should be done somewhere else.

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This depends entirely on what you're counting on as "good." Music can cheer someone up, so that's one way it can be a "good thing." But music can also bring someone terrible memories, so in that case it may be to them a "bad thing."

...

I don't see what's there to discuss?

Obviously saying it's "inherently good" is retarded for the same reason food is "inherently good," nothing like this is black or white.

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Good Music is good, Bad Music is bad, if you put pain in one side and placer in the other, music can take you at any point between those.

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I am not sure what good and bad is, so by following your guidance I am not able to answer that. I don't think I could answer any of those questions you stated anyway.

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Music is essential for survival. It is an invariant across all societies. It is a good thing in the same way breathing, food, and shelter are good things. But then it doesn't mean you can't drown, be poisoned or burglurized.

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Music is essential for survival.

... Not really, no.

I mean people tend to do the whole "art" thing once they aren't, you know, running away from tigers and other things that want to eat them. Plus they don't tend to be very good musicians if they're starving. It's kind of on the bottom list of priorities, since strictly survival certainly doesn't include making noise that gives everyone your position away (yum.)

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... Not really, no.

Not essentially, no. But the fact that there has never been a society in past or present observed by anthropologists which didn't practice some form of music seems to imply by Darwinistic reasoning that it has some sort of function in aiding in the survival of the species. Certainly not directly in the sense that one needs food and air, but in some other need, perhaps in the cognitive sense. One could argue that socialization is not essential to survival, but evidence seems to suggest that it (and music) is essential to life.

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Not essentially, no. But the fact that there has never been a society in past or present observed by anthropologists which didn't practice some form of music seems to imply by Darwinistic reasoning that it has some sort of function in aiding in the survival of the species. Certainly not directly in the sense that one needs food and air, but in some other need, perhaps in the cognitive sense. One could argue that socialization is not essential to survival, but evidence seems to suggest that it (and music) is essential to life.

Socialization -IS- essential to survival, specially when you have large numbers of the same species. All animals have it, in some way or another. Species would die out if they didn't have some mechanism that discouraged eating eachother for example (see piranhas.)

With music, not so sure. It's still topic of debate.

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So you're saying music is subjective? Hmm, I think I already knew that.

I'm not so certain music could be used for evil though. I guess it depends on your PERSONAL definition of music in the first place.

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Actually, now that I think about it more, music definitely can be evil. One thought that came to mind was creating music that empowers an action that is morally wrong? I dunno. I guess...That would bring me to the question what is justified as evil and good........?

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To echo what SSC said, there is really nothing that is intrinsically 'good' or intrinsically 'bad.' To be so black and white about anything shows a severe lack of thinking and rather naive approach to the world. This applies to music as well it does anything else. And when you keep in mind that all value judgments are subjective anyway, it becomes even harder to speak on whether music is 'good' or 'bad' because it'll vary with every individual. In short, there's really nothing to discuss here.

Now, if this were a thread about the role music has played through various cultures in the world and their views on its ethic and aesthetic values, then that might be interesting. In most cultures dominated by Islam, music has kind of an ambivalent role due to a disagreement over the few vague verses in the Quaran that mention music. Some Muslims believe it is evil, some Muslims believe that it's fine so long as it stays separate from their sacred music, and some embrace it wholeheartedly. Then, of course, it's played a significant role to many philosophers throughout the ages. Plato considered music to be a mirror of society and that it could influence the moral character of its citizens. Thus, he opposed change in music as this would mean a reform in government would be soon to follow. Then, you have someone like Schopenhauer who basically said that there was no point in living life if music wasn't part of it.

Going further in time, you have someone like Baudrilliard who contends that music (along with art in general) has basically become useless since the post-modernism of the 50s. If anything and everything can be accepted as art, then where's left to go? What's the point in still having it around? Anthropologically speaking, there is no point.

And of course, you can look to the status its played in theology and other mystical circles, etc.

But of course, this thread isn't about that.

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Music has been used as psychological torture in Gitmo. I have a thread about it somewhere...

I'm actually arranging for pep band one of the tunes in question. o_o

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I believe it was Arvo Part who said, "[People] don't know how strong[ly] the music influences us, good and bad. You can kill people with sound." he also said, "And, if you can kill, then maybe there is also the sound which is something opposite of killing."

Check out the interview, it's pretty sweet:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pDjT1UNT3s

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I had a friend tell me once that music is inherently a good thing. Music is something that everyone should enjoy. I agreed with that second statement, but not the first. He quickly did a double take.

Why isn't music a good thing?

I answered with a second question: Why isn't language a good thing? Is it a good thing?

Simply put, music can be good. It has potential to be. Then again, it can be bad.

It has been said throughout history that "The pen is mightier than the sword." And indeed it is. Buddha even said "Words have the power to both destroy and heal."

I'm sorry, but making the simple statement "Music is a good thing" is somewhat naive. That's like saying "sharp knives are a good thing." Music is a tool, a weapon, and an art, and like all three, it can be as destructive or as constructive as you want it to be.

Well, that's the way I feel.

How do all of you feel? How can music be good? How can it be bad? How can we, as composers, use this information to our advantage?

And please don't say "There is no good or bad" or anything of the like. Such a debate should be done somewhere else.

Music can be used in both a positive and a negative way, let's start from there.

by positive I mean that it creates an effect that gives a human being joy

by negative I mean that it creates an effect that creates agony on a human being.

using these statements I'm restricting my point to the effect of music on humans.

However:

There was an experiment. scientists took a plant, and put it in a room with nothing but a stereo system.

the experiment was divided to two different attempts in which they tried to effect the plant by music.

the first attempt featured classical music (I think specifically Bach)

The second attempt was some sort of metal music.

they found out that when they let the plant "hear" Bach the plant grows closer to the stereo system.

When they let it "hear" metal, it tried to grow away from the stereo system.

This is very interesting, because this proved that music has an effect on the world OUTSIDE the human psych.

if we take this into regard, and we look at some certain metal music concert and the way that the crowd often "fogo" with each other, we can definitely see that the music causes a violent effect in these humans.

Personally I believe that any sort of violence is a "bad" thing.

however, I don't believe that metal IS "bad" you can see all sorts of metal that causes good effects on humans.

So now my point is devided to two parts:

1. Music has a both positive and negative effects on humans

2. Music has a both positive and negative effects on Plants

It's pretty safe to assume at this point that music has an effect on everything.

You can experiment and scientifically explain it in many way, but the simplest way is to just watch.

music evolved everywhere in the world, so it truly has an effect EVERYWHERE.

My final point is:

Music can be used in many way, and it obviously has an actual effect on the world. it can be bad, and it can be good.

good and evil are a very delicate matter, and very, very subjective, it's truly difficult to argue the specifics of this.

It can be indeed used as a weapon, as we've seen in history

But we've also seen how it can cause great joy.

Finally, I belive, that since humans, can not exist without music, it's not up to me to decide, if it is good or "bad" it is almost (and in a way is) a force of nature, I cannot doubt the wind, or a volcano. It's just there.

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Mythbusters found the exact opposite reaction. Shaddup with that Mozart baby nonsense.

I was actually talking about bach

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Music is whatever you want it to be. That´s one of the coolest things about it, for me. I´ve said this millions of times to musicians who ask questions like these: IT'S ALL A MATTER OF OPINION. We can apply all the Darwinistic reasoning we want, but will we come up with an actual answer to this question? My thought is no. We can debate all we want, and think in circular logic all day. But honestly, what's the point? I've thought about things like this alot in the past year or two, when I really began trying to grow in my own logic and thinking. A great realization for me was this: I just like to make music. Thinking in circles about questions like this wastes my time because it keeps me from doing something productive. This is just my own opinion, of course. ;)

The point is, this is a question that there really isn't a black-or-white answer to. Music is a tool to eloquently express what we cannot in words. If you use it to bring something good, or interesting, or fun, or thought-provoking, or whatever into the world, than it's a good thing. We're creating a piece of art that wasn't there before, something intellectually and emotionally stimulating. If we focused as much time on improving our musical craft as we did on debating fairly useless questions (Sorry, but it kind of is. In my opinion, of course :P) than music would have more good things to offer. I think this is really one of those "It is what it is" things. Music is just music. Whatevs. That's just my two cents.

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Thinking in circles about questions like this wastes my time, so I'm going to devote two long paragraphs answering the question and waste my time... to spite you!

MUWAHAHAHAHA!

Sorry, it was there, waiting to be said. Someone had to do it. :D

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:lol: Hahah! Good point. I was just passing on my wisdom and revelation to people with much more life experience than I. :P Jk.

And I wasn´t saying anything to spite anyone, I was just making my opinion clear. I couldn´t resist. :o

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either way, wasn't it highly compressed music that resulted in the fastest-growing plants?

http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5421613_do-plants-react-classical-music.html

This is exactly why I didn't expend on that point.

My point is that music has an effect on everything, you can't get into the original question without questioning what IS good and evil, the author of the original post was specific about not doing just that.

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So, things react to sound. Better than saying "Music" has an effect, since this ends up being a redundant distinction.

I wonder if there's any actual scientific research done on the plants reacting to sound stimulus.

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