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Is Music So Bad Now?


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If you create something that you find satisfying, and, being honest with yourself, good, some audiences will inevitably be pleased.

Well, unless a lot of composers are lying to themselves, this has happened all the time and an audiience isn't always pleased.

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Oh come on... get real you guys (and gals...). This IS an interesting thread, only that it never came to a conclusion due to silly bickering amongst members... So... a conclusion perhaps, if I may (

(thanks for the intelligent discussion) About the audience: When it comes to the serialist and post-serialism compositions, it can be argued that the music strips the aural sensation that comes wit

This is not bad to say, but don't you feel just a little bit satisfied if somebody likes your music? ;)

LOL. 4'33"......a piece that evokes anger......uh huh, about that. I believe you are confusing that work with a different piece. The work is one that provokes thought, not emotion.

I don't know why you think I'm confusing it with a different piece but it might provoke "thought" to you, but for me and other people it causes emotions. That is subjectivity in music, I had assumed you knew that. I'd ask why you think I won't provide examples or why you said "LOL" condescendingly but I'll try and take the high road here, it is after all the internet. So I think in the interest in continuing this conversation for everyone else we should take our exchange to private messages or stop completely.

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Sweet cop out. I'll be sure to utilize it myself next time I say something I can't back up. :thumbsup:

No I'm doing this so this thread isn't locked and so the conservation isn't ruined for others. If you want to continue our convo, message me.

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No I'm doing this so this thread isn't locked and so the conservation isn't ruined for others. If you want to continue our convo, message me.

lolz @ this thread being locked.

ARGUE HEAT FIRE FLAME! :D

-mods have spoken-

-dolls out the battle axes and gets popcorn-

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Sweet cop out. I'll be sure to utilize it myself next time I say something I can't back up.

Trick's getting old, Phil. I think it's time to return it to yourself.

You say some of us "take flight on the wings of presumption" (which of course you never do :P) and form (or spread) "fallacious ideas about the intent of composers whose works we don't understand", which can pretty much be translated as "you dislike their works because you're unable to understand them".

I get a few main arguments from your posts:

a) Anyone's dislike of some particular "modern music" is based exclusively on ignorance, prejudices and fallacious assumptions on the part of the audience - the composer is never, ever wrong, and there's no possible way his works can be flawed or disliked at all.

b) The expression of such a dislike tantamounts to an admission of ignorance in itself.

c) The composers' intent is never to confuse, outwit or mislead their audience, much less to avoid criticism by going hyper-abstract and blame their failures on a).

It's your chance to back up your own assumptions. Then you might point fingers at others.

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I can see why you're concerned. People having a mellow debate is usual grounds for a thread being locked (wut?).

Never mind...

I'm not a mod here anymore to ask, request and control, so really never mind.

_________________________

The idea is that, yes, we compose on what we feel and not on requests by the audience. Yet again some branches of music creation do exactly that: Film music, media music, etc... All compose to very specific requirements. And some (Williams for example) create masterpieces!

None the less it makes sense that you should not reduce your art in order for the audience to understand it and like it. How about the performers then? Do we give a dime for the performers and to understand what they're playing? Cause otherwise it can get a bit tricky... Not only because you won't get any performances (unless you expect performers to hoe out and play what YOU want them, but you compose what YOU want and not someone else...), but also because if you do get a performance it will probably be... weird (due to the fact that the performers won't like it and won't care, and certainly won't understand).

Why on earth be so aggressive on things like that?

Nobody's saying to hoe out, but if you want to compose for yourself, stick to yourself then: Nobody cares about myself, I know that. I'm no genius, I'm no prodigy, I'm no philosopher... So I will either say something that clicks to the audience (or the thread reader...), or I will just shut up!

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It's when people say provocative things like "composers of the 'new' style only do so to prevent rejection" and "music that isn't emotional fails" that I feel the necessity to inquire :thumbsup:. Being someone who could be described as a 'composer of the new style', I'm not too fond of being told that I don't have integrity or that I am emotionless (apparently I am the latter because I'm not able to find anger in 4'33". Go figure).

Actually, I think this statement is quite true. I am not afraid of rejection in the least, in fact I beg professors and people for criticism so that I can learn and compose better pieces. I can say that I edit a piece of mine 100 times before i'm satisfied and even then I'm still not satisfied. Presumptions such as the one Composer Phil stated are true in my experience. Just having someone composes a piece in the 'new style' doesn't make other new music enthusiasts think ithe work is amazing. We still criticize passages, look at motives and ideas, and consider alternative solutions, like any other composer throughout history.

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I'm not too fond of being told that I don't have integrity or that I am emotionless

*gets out violin and plays a sorrow tune while weeping*.

Then again you seem to be very fond of calling others ignorant and non-sensical as many times as you run into them. And next you'll deny you ever did and play the victim. Now this is integrity.

This thread I feel was actually going very well before 2 individuals showed up.

Thanks for your confession. Would you please name the other individual?

That is the beauty of knowing what you're talking about! You should try it sometime.

Obviously you'd like us to assume you are the Chosen One who does know what he's talking about :jedi: . This trick is getting old too.

Sweet Korn! Will you stop this?!?!? Why on earth ruin a perfectly good thread, when you already killed another?

Anyway, due to these "debate tactics" (?) Phil's already becoming sort of a "known quantity" here in YC, so I'm giving him another free pass. Let's get back to the intelligent discussion we were having.

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I want to open a discussion about popular music, which, you have to admit, has a pretty low quality in general. Not everybody, of course, but I want you to tell me your opinion about the situation.

If we take a look at the previous eras, we could easily find composers of "pop music" a long time ago. How would you otherwise judge Georg Friedrich Haendel? Will anybody dare to deny his Hallelujah is a typical work in the field of Baroque popular music? And Johann Strauss and his waltzes? But both Haendel and Strauss were professionals! That's what matters. Today some "composers" believe that they are good artists just by putting a couple of notes together and be happy with two or three chords to accompany this. Johann Strauss would still use plenty of modulations, although the basic material would on purpose remain simple. And both Brahms and Wagner had a huge respect for Strauss. Brahms always envied Strauss a little bit for his great sense of melodies.

I am sad to see, that today's pop music is far more empty and barren of any exciting material.

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Sojar: I whole heartily disagree with you about todays pop music!

I think that today we get some awesome pop music and I very much prefer it to the boring 'golden era' of Metro Goldwing Mayer or whatever was at that time. Yes, some lovely songs were made, but personally I'm sick and tired of listening the Beatles, Queen, Etta James (God bless her soul... she died recently), Nat King Kole, etc...

I love the new stuff and I totally adore the new sounds and soundscapes coming in my ears from people like Reznor (NIN), dEUS, koRn (which I mentioned a little while back, but everyone assumed it was a tpyo... well it wasn't), Radiohead, etc...

Of course all these bands are actually not the central mainstream pop music, but I also like Lady Gaga, if I want to be honest about myself.

________________

I think that it's a general habit to complain on how things are worst than what they were a few while back. It's a the truth mingled with nostalgia!

________________

Reasons I'm happy with pop music is that we still get clever stuff, we still get well made productions (in fact we never ever had such well made productions...), and multimedia previous generations only dreamt of! I mean it's one thing to hear a Lady Gaga song, and another to actually see the video clip as well and feel what she's trying to pass...

Even more for bands like Radiohead or NIN... The infiltration of pop music has been happening for a long long time, but not so much for the whole movie score, as it happened in the case of 'The girl with the Dragon Tattoo' (Fincher + Reznor)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcp9Ysi75f0

(caution... video might be a tad harsh for a few faint hearted).

You have to admit that it IS interesting!

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I want to open a discussion about popular music, which, you have to admit, has a pretty low quality in general. Not everybody, of course (...) I am sad to see, that today's pop music is far more empty and barren of any exciting material.

I'm leaning to agree with Sojar. It's true that, seen as a whole, popular music is lacking in quality - or downright commercial in the worst sense of the word, as was previously pointed out. It's also true that there are quite talented exceptions here and there (although, as Nikolas correctly comments, some of these talented exceptions suffer from overexposure of their works). Personally, I find many of Frank Sinatra's songs musically far more interesting than, say, Janet Jackson's or the ubiquitous Bieber (who has in fact became the point-of-reference of empty commercial music nowadays). I don't really think placing the Beatles alongside Schubert in terms of song-composing is overrating them. I'm not into metal or jazz, but I can't deny some metal bands and jazzists take themselves very seriously and go further from 'a few notes and a couple chords' to produce even contrapuntal material. Even a lesser-known singer like Italy's Laura Pausini is quite capable of producing pieces that are both popular and musically interesting. We might be flooded with tons of musical trash, but quality somehow stands out.

Now, we can't ignore that popular music is created for a very particular moment (and, inmersed in this world's current commercial frenzy, that particular moment is rapidly shrinking to a few days or weeks at most, so they must strive for 'instant success' rather than enduring quality). Kurt Weill is quoted as saying "I compose for today - I don't care about posterity". What has reached us from past 'popular music' are those works which actually have had enough quality to keep them both popular and interesting (Handel's and Johann Strauss's have been pointed out, and one can add other examples as well), but I can bet they had their fair share of trash back in the 18th and 19th centuries.

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From a purely musical standpoint, I think a good portion of Pop-music is actually very good. The bone I have to pick with Pop is the emphasis it put's on non-musical things; appearance, ability to market the person...or to put it simply how "cool" they are. This is the standard by which the most wide-spread genre's "best" are chosen, and I think it's just disgusting. People who are fantastic musicians/composers are passed over because they don't fit the mold of today's "image". Some of my friends who like Pop have told me that there is no "mold", and that pop artists are always trying to be. And that's just it. That's what the mold is. It's an image where the musician becomes more of a trained monkey than anything; they get up on stage in the most ridiculous outfits (i.e. Lady Gaga, LMFAO) and sing a couple of songs, which are usually never written by them. The only redeeming quality is that they have rhythm, and they can sing, although in this modern age of auto-tune and other more subtle tuning technology, even THAT is sometimes not the case.

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And Phil, maybe you can answer this for me. What is it you like about modern music so much? I understand this might be something hard to put in words (after all, do we really know why we like what we like?), but try. I'm really curious, because I was being sincere when I said I can't understand what some people hear in music that is for example atonal, or especially in the case of music with extreme dissonance. If I listen to music like that I get a headache, and to me (and I'd think you'd agree for most people) the music comes off as being either random, or maddening. So what do you like about it? I don't mean this insultingly, I'm genuinely curious.

Edit: Sorry for the double post. I completely forgot about the edit button. My bad guys. :headwall:

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It's easy to find beauty in atonal music. It is possible to use triads in atonal - non functional way. Take Debussy for example. He is sometimes tonal (modal) but also uses some atonal elements, especially in his late piano music. Also take Witold Lutosławski. His music is atonal, but beautiful. Check his late works, Partita for violin and orchestra (or piano), Piano concerto, Mi-Parti, fourth symphony.

I also don't like agressive dissonances though.

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Reasons I'm happy with pop music is that we still get clever stuff, we still get well made productions (in fact we never ever had such well made productions...), and multimedia previous generations only dreamt of! I mean it's one thing to hear a Lady Gaga song, and another to actually see the video clip as well and feel what she's trying to pass...

I agree with this. It seems like to me, classical composers neglect technology and therefore sound/timbre itself because it seems more plebeian somehow. Electronic music's focus on sound and the sounds it has produced is really amazing. So you have amazing electronically produced sounds meanwhile high art composers write "hit the side of the piano with your credit card" or some gimmick in the middle of a piece. That comparison is just laughable to me. We need to focus at what acoustic instruments are best at now , ESPECIALLY becasuse we have such amazing electronic sounds available to us. Composers also need to embrace electronic music to execuse their much better understanding of theory, I think.

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In my saying "I don't like to be accused of having no integrity", I am providing reason as to why I am so direct in my responses.

You're not being direct. You're being disrespectful and insulting. There's a world of difference between, despite your lame attempts to deny it.

If you are capable of putting 2 and 2 together (something at this point, I simply cannot assume is within your ability)...

Translation: you're stupid. Phil as usual.

I am not simply being harsh to others without being provoked.

Yeah, sure, we'll buy that joke... You've be repeatedly singled out (see above posts) as the main troublemaker around here (not to mention you were even classless enough to derail a review thread supposed to be about the reviewed piece by jumping on a running joke I had with its author, among other beauties).

I hate to say this, but it's time to be realistic: do you really think you're relevant enough as a composer, to feel alluded whenever I point out anything about the attitude of a certain number of relevant "modernist" composers? If you think you can look to us from above the shoulder, you'd better have something to actually show up for your pretended level of knowledge. Not just because you say so.

Yeah I'm kind of known around here for being sharp in the heat of debate

That's not exactly your reputation (insert Dominus, Nikolas, Kefenziel and shoutbox quotes here). Now you can go on with your cynnical attempts to blame me, like other people are not smart enough to read the threads anyway.

PD. Are you done editing the rudeness out of your posts to make it look like I've being the harsh one? Integrity at its best.

THE END.

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Oh come on... get real you guys (and gals...).

This IS an interesting thread, only that it never came to a conclusion due to silly bickering amongst members...

So... a conclusion perhaps, if I may (though others may continue as they please):

1. There IS some good music today, but appear to be:

a. Buried underneath loads of garbage floating around today

b. Be ignored because it's too good for the audience (and the audience is stupid?!?!?!)

c. It missing out because the composer(s) are not doing enough promotion themselves (or their publishers?)

2. There also seems to be a consensus on what needs be done. We should train/educate the audience. We, the composers, or others more fitting than us (but who, I repeat the question which only two replied).

3. There is a disagreement on why we compose music, or rather who we compose music for. There seems to be two camps here:

a. We compose music for ourselves, we remain true to ourselves and we do not sell out for the shake of anyone (the audience, the publisher, money, or other).

b. We compose to please others and take into account the general publics' opinion!

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3. There is a disagreement on why we compose music, or rather who we compose music for. There seems to be two camps here:

a. We compose music for ourselves, we remain true to ourselves and we do not sell out for the shake of anyone (the audience, the publisher, money, or other).

b. We compose to please others and take into account the general publics' opinion!

I don't see why those have to be seperate. Composers in the past worried about other peoples opinions because they had to make money or please their court. They still retained their own voice while doing so and wrote some amazing works.

I don't think much music today is ignored because the audience is ignorant, I think it's ignored because it doesn't evoke emotion to our western-thinking ears. I was ignorant of how fugues worked when I was little but I still loved a Bach fugue then. Also, a good bit I'm sure is ignored because as you mentioned people like that feeling of nostalgia - we just naturally resist change.

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For the most part this has been an intelligent, balanced and thoughtful debate. Despite the diversity of approaches and opinions (sometimes very divergent), most people have remained civilized and respectful. This kind of debates are a chance to learn a lot, provided that we're humble enough to recognize our need to learn, and the intelligence and capability of those around us, from whom we can learn indeed. As usual, there was the sad but unavoidable exception, for which I apologize to the community.

I pretty much agree to the first two conclussions outlined by Nikolas. My only comment goes on the third one:

3. There is a disagreement on why we compose music, or rather who we compose music for. There seems to be two camps here:

a. We compose music for ourselves, we remain true to ourselves and we do not sell out for the shake of anyone (the audience, the publisher, money, or other).

b. We compose to please others and take into account the general publics' opinion!

As Kefienzel stated above, I can't see why a) and b) need to be mutually exclusive. For my part, I feel that I'm staying true to myself while taking into account the listeners (otherwise I would not be looking for feedback - if my music was to be self-referential I would not need anyone else's opinion). I compose in a style (or styles) I like to, and don't feel obligued at all by any other existing trend; but all the same, I hope for my music to please both the (eventual) audiences and myself. Alas, if I had been seeking people's pleasure or money alone, I'd certainly not have chosen classical.

Thanks everyone.

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