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[#] Tue Aug 12 2008 10:48:57 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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Well, when I wrote that paper, it was for a class assignment.

Which, when you're studying music (in one way or another), you need to be able to describe it in terms of words *somehow*, since it's kind of hard to just turn in a song illustrating some specific point (since you're liable to illustrate far many other points along the way).

But, as for casual listening, I think some folks might find a description of a piece of music useful for figuring out whether-or-not they want to listen to it.

Currently, I think a lot of people like to say things like, "yeah, it's like Beatles, but with an Anthrax twist to it" or something. Which is kind of descriptive, but if someone has never heard of the Beatles or Anthrax, it could be sort of difficult for someone to decide if they really like it.

That said, sometimes, the near mastebatory act of writing can be fun when given *some* kind of subject, and using music as that subject, I think, you open yourself up to some truly bizarre writing.

[#] Tue Aug 12 2008 10:51:27 EDT from Ricardus @ Uncensored

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Yes. :-) Sorry, there is that option too... writing about it as an assignment.

Although I must confess that I do have a few favorite film critics whose opinions I respect, and will make film choices based on those.

[#] Tue Aug 12 2008 15:41:39 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Criticism of any art is a bullshit-filled endeavor. Ask anyone studying art -- most professors can't differentiate between "this is low quality" and "this is not my taste."

[#] Tue Aug 12 2008 16:31:24 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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I am not sure if I completely agree with that statement.

I agree that a lot of critics try to make a name for themselves by describing some particular piece of art as 'crap', when they haven't really carefully examined the work.

By the same token, there's another trend where critics fail to recognize something as bullshit, and describe it in remarkably glowing terms for the creative effort put into the work.

I think, as with anything, there's a kind of balance.

In the end, of course, what matters most is whether or not you like the art to which you expose yourself.

I've certainly listened to a lot of music that had tremendous technique, and a lot of compositional value, but I couldn't bear to listen to it. I could appreciate the work that went into it, but failed to enjoy it.

And I try to be honest with people when I'm asked to comment on such things.

Similiarly, there's some music I like that, quite frankly, has very poor artistic value at all. I try to warn people about that, too.

Critics, though, make their living off of being kind of obnoxious, I suppose.

[#] Tue Aug 12 2008 16:39:14 EDT from Ragnar Danneskjold @ Uncensored

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I can safely say that most modern art is "crap".

[#] Tue Aug 12 2008 16:58:45 EDT from Ricardus @ Uncensored

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Define poor artistic value for you, as it applies to music. I'm curious to know what you mean.

This is somehting I've spent a lot of time thinking about because I've been playing music for nearly 30 years. I studied several instruments for decades and music is definitely a passion for me.

I've come to the conclusion that in so many cases, art criticism is the same as these guys on sports show who bellicosely make predictions about the outcome of sporting events.


I enjoy very compositionally dense music with a lot of motion, odd time signatures, and complex harmonic structures.

Having said that, I was once accused by a Sex Pistols fan of liking "corporate rock," because of my musical tastes.

Who cares. :-)

[#] Tue Aug 12 2008 17:28:37 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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See also: IG's First Law of Everything

[#] Tue Aug 12 2008 17:41:35 EDT from Ricardus @ Uncensored

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Which is?

[#] Tue Aug 12 2008 19:48:42 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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Essentially, the world is populated by idiots.

That's what it is, I believe.

[#] Tue Aug 12 2008 20:12:52 EDT from Ricardus @ Uncensored

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Yes, but it's also populated by many smart people, as well.

[#] Tue Aug 12 2008 21:20:07 EDT from simplygorgeous @ My Castle Wall

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[#] Tue Aug 12 2008 23:55:45 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Yeah, it's a unified theory. Most people are idiots. It really explains a lot.

[#] Wed Aug 13 2008 00:29:42 EDT from Ricardus @ Uncensored

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Reminds me of a Frank Zappa quote...

[#] Thu Aug 14 2008 11:22:30 EDT from Ford II @ Uncensored

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I've certainly listened to a lot of music that had tremendous
technique, and a lot of compositional value, but I couldn't bear to
listen to it. I could appreciate the work that went into it, but

like some of Yes' more pointless endeavors.

[#] Thu Aug 14 2008 11:25:29 EDT from Ford II @ Uncensored

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the comparisond of the music reviewer and the movie reviewer I don't think applies so much.
A movie has a story and a plot and a style of directorship (robocop/starship troopers is a style for example) but music (if you don't listen to the lyrics which is what I'm talking about when I listen to music) doesn't haev that. Music is more primal. You can listen to and centrally enjoy music.
A movie, you have to cognisize and think about. Unless it's a movie like "blow'd up" at which point its a lot like music, but that's not what reviewers talk about.

[#] Thu Aug 14 2008 11:31:19 EDT from Ricardus @ Uncensored

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I'm not so sure I entirely agree. Music has structure and form just as a story
does. No two dissimilar things can truly be compared, but they are both forms
of artistic criticism.

[#] Thu Aug 14 2008 12:23:19 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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Yeah, music can be far more complicated than you might expect.

Like a play's acts, many forms of music have movements. Pink Floyd's The Wall, for example, can be thought of as a movie with several scenes (I mean the album, not the movie). Each song is a scene in the album.

[#] Thu Aug 14 2008 13:33:42 EDT from Ford II @ Uncensored

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Then let me make the distinction.
Music has lyrics which tell a story, and there's the audio music part as two separate entities.
Now I see your point about the movements in The Wall, but still, you can either review the album or you can review each movement (song in this case) And that's a good example in that there are musical sections that repeat in the different movements.
But if you're just going to take one song and review the music, I can't see how you can do any better than to say "it sounds like pink floyd, the wall."

[#] Thu Aug 14 2008 13:39:30 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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"I can't see how you can do any better than to say, 'the scene was like _The Matrix_'."

[#] Thu Aug 14 2008 13:50:18 EDT from Ricardus @ Uncensored

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Beyond albums having themes and movements (like The Wall) songs have
compositional structure (verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, verse, chorus,
etc), harmonic structure (key signature, chord sequences, melody, harmony
etc...), and time structure (time signature, rhythm, syncopation, etc...).

There are many things to talk about with music, and for me instrument music is
the most interesting. I would say that 75% of my music collection is
instrumental music (classical, jazz, etc..)

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