rap is not music

rap is not music

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SRAW
Rocket Man

2007 Nov 6 • 2525
601 ₧
aaronjer said:
There are rare cases of bands where more than one person writes the music... but boy howdy, are they rare!


[cough]Dream Theater[/cough]

but they don't write good songs :'(
But despite this they still are the greatest band ever.
Free Steam Games
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 17:57 PST
Down Rodeo
Cap'n Moth of the Firehouse

Find the Hole II Participation Medal
2007 Oct 19 • 5486
57,583 ₧
Quite a few of the bands I listen to claim that there is something of an equal composition going on, for example Wilco, Elbow, Radiohead and Arcade Fire (I think).
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 19:35 PST
SuperJer
Websiteman

2005 Mar 20 • 6507
You guys are all over-simplifying.

I don't think you can even really compare the "hardness" of these things.

For one thing, we can pretty easily measure someone's skill at playing an instrument by comparing accuracy to the sheet music or a reference performance.

You can't do anything like that with writing music. The popularity of a song does not tell you anything about the skill required to write it. In fact, it tells you more about the skill of the performer, the production quality, instruments used, pre-existing popularity of the performer, familiarity of sound*, and marketing.

Songs used in movies, TV, and radio become popular. Ones that aren't don't. Very few exceptions. This isn't just true for music, it's true for everything. If you never hear it or see it you're never going to like it no matter how much you would like it.

The fact is, there is waaaaaay more music than can ever be marketed or heard on a large scale.

It doesn't take me long to find extremely unpopular music that I like. Even though I think the artist is great, I know there's very little chance they will ever become popular. Not because they suck but because there's only room for so much popular music. You can't have 10,000 songs all popular at once, it just doesn't make sense.

We can't all be astronauts or pro-athletes, either, even if we are all perfect for the job(s).

As with anything, the best way to measure something is to ask the experts. Have a large group of music writers judge the skill of each other, and you can probably get a pretty good measurement.

But I don't see anyone doing that.

If you use popularity, at best you are judging skill at writing popular music, not general skill. At worst you're just measuring the factors I listed earlier and pretending you're measuring skill.


*It's been shown scientifically that people like music because they recognize it. Your brain is literally trained over time to become accustomed to the music you listen to, and recognizing the same patterns leads to enjoyment. This is why if any of you (probably) listen to very foreign music you won't like it. It won't even sound like music to you because your brain is physically not adapted in a way to recognize it musically. This is especially true of foreign music that uses a different scale with more or less notes.

Disclaimer: you are (probably) not a robot and your brain's musical recognition configuration is not the only thing that determines whether you will like a song. You can think too, so critical evaluation and emotions all play a role. You may not like a song because it sounds too unoriginal, for example. But generally you will like a song because it is both familiar and interesting in a new way.
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 19:52 PST — Ed. 2011 Mar 3 at 19:55 PST
aaronjer
*****'n Admin

Comrade General 5-Star
2005 Mar 21 • 4868
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What you're saying makes it sound like the songs that get popular are totally random. I'd like to think there is some merit to the song itself just because it got popular. I don't think that's the only deciding factor, I think it's more important to determine how many people like the song out of how many actually heard it.

I don't think experts can apply to a purely creative field. That makes no sense to me. The music isn't being made for the critique of experts, it's being made for the general population. If the general population likes it and the experts say it's bad... the experts are wrong.
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 20:05 PST — Ed. 2011 Mar 3 at 20:05 PST
Down Rodeo
Cap'n Moth of the Firehouse

Find the Hole II Participation Medal
2007 Oct 19 • 5486
57,583 ₧
You and I have disagreed over this point before many times, in fact, it's come up in this thread.

Besides, popularity, as SJ says, is a poor measure of... many things. If I went to tell most people that it is possible to decompose a sphere into two identical spheres the same size as the first one they likely would not believe me, but that doesn't stop it being right.

Now, fair enough there's not that great a comparison between abstract obscure mathematics and music (despite many mathematicians talking about the creative side of proof writing) but I feel that my point still somewhat stands. So much music today is mass-produced, design by committee; think of the kind of stuff that is squirted out of The X-Factor or something like Justin Bieber. My problem is that most mainstream music from nowadays strongly conforms to this pattern, be it rap or hip-hop or pop or god knows what. Or bland teenage soft rock.

All this and the fact that I totally disagree with the idea of music that is marketed towards a particular audience. I'd much rather artists made music that they wanted to make, without giving too much of a damn about who listened. Though I think that's a very small percentage nowadays.
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 20:24 PST
SuperJer
Websiteman

2005 Mar 20 • 6507
aaronjer said:
What you're saying makes it sound like the songs that get popular are totally random. I'd like to think there is some merit to the song itself just because it got popular.


Marketing isn't random. If a song is marketed it means someone with money thinks it is good enough to become popular. Also, any reasonably familiar-sounding song that gets airtime will become popular. I don't think you can dispute that.

aaronjer said:
I don't think that's the only deciding factor, I think it's more important to determine how many people like the song out of how many actually heard it.


That's a pretty good way to measure the likability of a song fairly.

aaronjer said:
I don't think experts can apply to a purely creative field. That makes no sense to me.


My experts are not evaluating how "good" the music is, only the skill required to write it. People who have experience at a task are obviously the best judges of how hard it is to do.

aaronjer said:
The music isn't being made for the critique of experts, it's being made for the general population. If the general population likes it and the experts say it's bad... the experts are wrong.


Not all music is made for the general population. Some artists avoid doing that on purpose. If a song is popular and experts say it took no skill to write then it is both. No one is wrong.
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 20:44 PST — Ed. 2011 Mar 3 at 20:50 PST
aaronjer
*****'n Admin

Comrade General 5-Star
2005 Mar 21 • 4868
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The committees don't have a magic power to make everyone like what they pick. Commercial music can fail because it's not good enough. You make it sound like people are nothing but sheep being fed their Justin Bieber and liking it because they're told it's popular. I give people more credit than that. Justin Bieber IS a really good singer, and his music is definitely intended for pre-teen and teenage girls. If he changed his musical style and started making what you call 'good music' he'd lose popularity regardless of what the marketing told those girls. I don't think he's nearly as much of an automaton as you'd like to think.

To make things very clear, I don't think popularity is a very good way to measure how good music is in general. I just don't think there really is any other way to measure it. Popularity is a fairly arbitrary method of determining how good a song is, but every other method is pretty much 100% arbitrary. The whole point of a song is to enjoy it, if a ton of people like a song and an expert says it's bad... well... they weren't judging it on the only thing that actually matters. I'm not sure what they even could be judging it on other than whether or not people like it.

Why are we talking about this again, anyway? Weren't we supposed to be making fun of Outcast for thinking the composition of music is unimportant and easy?

Down Rodeo said:
If I went to tell most people that it is possible to decompose a sphere into two identical spheres the same size as the first one they likely would not believe me, but that doesn't stop it being right.


This is a terrible comparison.

What we're talking about is almost entirely determined by people's opinions. There's nothing so cut and dry 'right or wrong' about music. People 'believing' strongly effects the situation here...


This was a response to DR, btw.
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 20:46 PST — Ed. 2011 Mar 3 at 21:17 PST
aaronjer
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2005 Mar 21 • 4868
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superjer said:
Not all music is made for the general population. Some artists avoid doing that on purpose. If a song is popular and experts say it took no skill to write then it is both. No one is wrong.

Well, The White Stripes have done that a lot, but everybody hates those particular songs... so what does that tell you. I think the problem here is that I don't think the technical skill required to write the song and how good the song is have all that much correlation. Creativity is far too inherent in a person for that to mean much. I'm sure skill can help a song be good, but in a similar vein, people who have never been taught a thing about art can be incredible artists right off that bat. They didn't have to learn it. It's not acquired so it's not a skill. We might be arguing semantics now... whoops.
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 20:49 PST — Ed. 2011 Mar 3 at 20:53 PST
SuperJer
Websiteman

2005 Mar 20 • 6507
aaronjer said:
Well, The White Stripes have done that a lot, but everybody hates those particular songs... so what does that tell you.


I don't know. I don't know what songs you are referring to.

aaronjer said:
I think the problem here is that I don't think the technical skill required to write the song and how good the song is have all that much correlation.


I don't think so either.

aaronjer said:
Creativity is far too inherent in a person for that to mean much. I'm sure skill can help a song be good, but in a similar vein, people who have never been taught a thing about art can be incredible artists right off that bat. They didn't have to learn it. It's not acquired so it's not a skill. We might be arguing semantics now... whoops.


If it's semantics then just replace skill with creativity in what I said before and I think it still works.

I think it's a combination of both though.

The problem with music in particular is there just aren't that many combinations of possible things to write. There's only a few notes/chords to work with. You can pretty much brute force it until it sounds good if you have a lot of time. And if what you think sounds good is the same stuff that gets popular then you can write popular music. (Then you need it performed, produced, and marketed -- the expensive parts).
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 21:03 PST
aaronjer
*****'n Admin

Comrade General 5-Star
2005 Mar 21 • 4868
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superjer said:
As with anything, the best way to measure something is to ask the experts. Have a large group of music writers judge the skill of each other, and you can probably get a pretty good measurement.

This seems far too prone to bias. People who are good with music are commonly like Lemmy, they think other genres of music suck just because they're different. People are retarded like that. I'm not convinced it would even be possible to do what you're suggesting on a large enough scale to get a meaningful reading.

It's a nice hypothesis, though...
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 21:03 PST — Ed. 2011 Mar 3 at 21:04 PST
aaronjer
*****'n Admin

Comrade General 5-Star
2005 Mar 21 • 4868
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superjer said:

aaronjer said:
I think the problem here is that I don't think the technical skill required to write the song and how good the song is have all that much correlation.


I don't think so either.


It seems more and more like you're agreeing with me that there is no good way to determine the quality of music. We just differ on our conclusion of what to do with that situation. I say "let's just use a bad method of determining how good music is because we don't have a good one" and you say "fuck it."
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 21:07 PST
SuperJer
Websiteman

2005 Mar 20 • 6507
aaronjer said:
This seems far too prone to bias. People who are good with music are commonly like Lemmy, they think other genres of music suck just because they're different. People are retarded like that. I'm not convinced it would even be possible to do what you're suggesting on a large enough scale to get a meaningful reading.

It's a nice hypothesis, though...


As with any experiment, feel free to modify it to lessen the effects of bias. For example, weed out the data where the experts didn't like the music personally. Even better, require that they first choose songs they like, and then order those by apparent skill. Unless all the experts can't separate what they like from what they find most skillful, you should get useful results.
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 21:11 PST
aaronjer
*****'n Admin

Comrade General 5-Star
2005 Mar 21 • 4868
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That's not why it wouldn't work. The experts would lie to make the results favor the music they like. They wouldn't even necessarily be lying on purpose. People, creative people especially, aren't generally very good at scientific method. I can't see how this could be done without reading people's minds. I don't know where on Earth you'd find people that wouldn't fuck this up.
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 21:18 PST — Ed. 2011 Mar 3 at 21:21 PST
SuperJer
Websiteman

2005 Mar 20 • 6507
aaronjer said:
It seems more and more like you're agreeing with me that there is no good way to determine the quality of music.


Quality as it pertains to what? A shoe is a very low quality mitten. Music doesn't have a concrete use case so you have to define one before you can determine quality. You can select popularity but then let's just call it that and stop saying quality.

aaronjer said:
We just differ on our conclusion of what to do with that situation. I say "let's just use a bad method of determining how good music is because we don't have a good one" and you say "fuck it."


I don't think we have to use a bad method at all. I think we should just clearly define the terms.
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 21:19 PST
SuperJer
Websiteman

2005 Mar 20 • 6507
aaronjer said:
That's not why it wouldn't work. The experts would lie to make the results favor the music they like. They wouldn't even necessarily be lying on purpose.


I'm sure some would, but all of them? I can tell you out of the music I like which songs are very low-skill. And they're certainly not the ones I like least. There's also plenty of music I hate but I can tell you required skill to write. I can't be the only one.
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 21:23 PST
aaronjer
*****'n Admin

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2005 Mar 21 • 4868
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superjer said:
Quality as it pertains to what? A shoe is a very low quality mitten. Music doesn't have a concrete use case so you have to define one before you can determine quality. You can select popularity but then let's just call it that and stop saying quality.

I very specifically didn't mean popularity in this case. I was referring to this ethereal, non-specific 'good' we all seem to be talking about. That thing I'm saying there is no effective way to determine without the same non-existent people you'd need to make
communism work.
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 21:23 PST
aaronjer
*****'n Admin

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2005 Mar 21 • 4868
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superjer said:
I'm sure some would, but all of them? I can tell you out of the music I like which songs are very low-skill. And they're certainly not the ones I like least. There's also plenty of music I hate but I can tell you required skill to write. I can't be the only one.


Not all of them. There's just no way to tell which ones are doing it correctly and which ones are fucking it up. Hence the mind-reading. If you can tell me a good way too weed out the bad ones then I'll agree with you.
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 21:25 PST — Ed. 2011 Mar 3 at 21:26 PST
SuperJer
Websiteman

2005 Mar 20 • 6507
aaronjer said:
...I can't see how this could be done without reading people's minds. I don't know where on Earth you'd find people that wouldn't fuck this up.


Even if most of them fuck it up, only a small amount need to get it right to show up statistically.
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 21:26 PST
aaronjer
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2005 Mar 21 • 4868
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How many experts are going to be in this pool? From the sounds of what you're saying it seems like we're going to need a very large group to keep random chance from occasionally fucking up the statistics... I mean, if it's a couple dozen people you could easily have- HOLD ON... drop that.

Who determines which people are 'experts'?

How would you determine which people are experts without popularity? Doesn't this totally negate everything and simply go back to popularity anyway...?

I mean, it's easy to determine a mathematical expert by what they'd discovered or what they've proven or what they are capable of calculating... but... how do you determine an expert in the first place about something so thoroughly opinion based as music without using popularity?
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 21:29 PST — Ed. 2011 Mar 3 at 21:32 PST
SuperJer
Websiteman

2005 Mar 20 • 6507
aaronjer said:
superjer said:
Quality as it pertains to what? A shoe is a very low quality mitten. Music doesn't have a concrete use case so you have to define one before you can determine quality. You can select popularity but then let's just call it that and stop saying quality.

I very specifically didn't mean popularity in this case. I was referring to this ethereal, non-specific 'good' we all seem to be talking about. That thing I'm saying there is no effective way to determine without the same non-existent people you'd need to make
communism work.


I don't think there is a an ethereal, non-specific good for anything.

With shoe quality, it's safe to assume we're talking about durability, comfort, protection etc.

With music quality, the fairest measurement I can think of is something like: how highly regarded is it among people who like it? How much skill and creativity went into it's production?

Even with shoes, you could have ambiguities. For example, what if I want a shoe to run a race in once? Suddenly durability is out the window and comfort and speed are all that matters.

I think music is the same thing. Its quality depends on what you want to use it for. If you want to use it to entertain, inspire, comfort or motivate a particular person or people then it's ability to do that is its "quality".

Quality is always context-sensitive.
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 21:34 PST — Ed. 2011 Mar 3 at 21:34 PST
aaronjer
*****'n Admin

Comrade General 5-Star
2005 Mar 21 • 4868
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superjer said:

With music quality, the fairest measurement I can think of is something like: how highly regarded is it among people who like it? How much skill and creativity went into it's production?


aaronjer said:
Only the opinions of the intended audience matter. If they don't like it, then it's a bad song.


That what I was already saying!

Refer to basically everything I was saying about why Outcast is dumb for the bold part.
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 21:41 PST
SuperJer
Websiteman

2005 Mar 20 • 6507
aaronjer said:
Who determines which people are 'experts'?

How would you determine which people are experts without popularity? Doesn't this totally negate everything and simply go back to popularity anyway...?

I mean, it's easy to determine a mathematical expert by what they'd discovered or what they've proven or what they are capable of calculating... but... how do you determine an expert in the first place about something so thoroughly opinion based as music without using popularity?


I mean "experts" in the sense of "expert witness" not in the sense of "best in field."

If you run a study and invite music writers as volunteers then you will get the experts I'm talking about. Just people with experience in writing music at all. You could probably weed out some volunteers with some simple tests but I'm not even sure that's necessary. I don't have any reason to believe a statistically significant number of volunteers would be lying. If that were the case, no studies would ever work.

I think your example of mathematicians is funny because I could probably trick the average person into thinking I'm a math expert without really knowing any math, but I couldn't do the same with music writing.
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 21:42 PST
SuperJer
Websiteman

2005 Mar 20 • 6507
aaronjer said:
That what I was already saying!


I know.

But since then we also started talking about skill, creativity, and the difficulty or rareness of playing versus composing music.
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 21:45 PST
aaronjer
*****'n Admin

Comrade General 5-Star
2005 Mar 21 • 4868
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superjer said:

I think your example of mathematicians is funny because I could probably trick the average person into thinking I'm a math expert without really knowing any math, but I couldn't do the same with music writing.


Well.. the slightly above average person would probably ask to see the mathematics degree that you don't have.
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 21:46 PST
SuperJer
Websiteman

2005 Mar 20 • 6507
aaronjer said:
Only the opinions of the intended audience matter. If they don't like it, then it's a bad song.


What if an unintended audience really likes it?

(Warning! Not serious post!)
 
 
2011 Mar 3 at 21:47 PST — Ed. 2011 Mar 3 at 21:47 PST
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