2 of 7
2
What makes a great song vs. a good song?
Posted: 22 November 2014 08:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6640
Joined  2007-10-05
Dead Monky - 22 November 2014 07:55 PM

I find the vast majority of popular music absolutely horrid. Not so much because it’s juvenile, uninspired, saccarine crap , which much of it is. Rather I find it boring.

I agree with you abut Pop music DM, but there is no need to go to the other extreme.

 Signature 

You cannot have a rational discussion with someone who holds irrational beliefs.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 November 2014 08:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3195
Joined  2010-04-26

It wasn’t something I purposely set out to do as a sort of adolescent rebellion. “This song sucks! I shall find and listen to and make myself enjoy the least like it music I can!” No, I just sort of slowly migrated over the years. I kept hunting around the internet for music that appealed to me, listened to damn near every style of music under the sun, and ended up sort of falling into the deep end so to speak. Now I listen to all sorts of music: noise rock, industrial, psychobilly, blues, punk, bluegrass, progressive rock, etc. Most of it though falls under noise-rock, math rock, or experimental.

 Signature 

“Ah, I love your religion - for the crazy! Virgin birth, water into wine; it’s like Harry Potter, but it causes genocide and bad folk music.” -Roger Smith

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 November 2014 09:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6640
Joined  2007-10-05

Just pushing your buttons, DM. Most of my friends and I have similar taste in music, and most of them think I’m a bit extreme when they find out I like Archie Shep, Pharaoh Sanders, Nirvana, Buttonhole Surfers, etc. I’m a psychobilly fan too.

 Signature 

You cannot have a rational discussion with someone who holds irrational beliefs.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 November 2014 09:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3195
Joined  2010-04-26

I figured as much. I like talking about music though so I tend to jump at any excuse to do so.

And the Butthole Surfers are amazing. Well, their early work is. After Hairway to Steven they started getting a little dull.

Also, the Reverend Horton Heat rules. Enough said.

 Signature 

“Ah, I love your religion - for the crazy! Virgin birth, water into wine; it’s like Harry Potter, but it causes genocide and bad folk music.” -Roger Smith

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 November 2014 01:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6640
Joined  2007-10-05

I have a bunch of Rev. Horton Heat in my collection.

 Signature 

You cannot have a rational discussion with someone who holds irrational beliefs.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 November 2014 07:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1549
Joined  2010-04-22

From a design view, a well-crafted song does need to have a few characteristics:

A melody that has a certain level of repetition and variation. One might even think of it as having a certain level of fractal-ness. That means that this repetition and variation needs to happen at the different scales (as in looking at the smallest melodic section, a motif; to the largest, song form) of a song. Tunes which are too repetitive are boring, and tunes which are too variant are hard to sing.

Lyrics and melody which reinforce each other’s structure.

Lyrics that have a point.

 Signature 

“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 November 2014 11:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4256
Joined  2014-06-20
TromboneAndrew - 24 November 2014 07:17 AM

From a design view, a well-crafted song does need to have a few characteristics:

A melody that has a certain level of repetition and variation. One might even think of it as having a certain level of fractal-ness. That means that this repetition and variation needs to happen at the different scales (as in looking at the smallest melodic section, a motif; to the largest, song form) of a song. Tunes which are too repetitive are boring, and tunes which are too variant are hard to sing.

Lyrics and melody which reinforce each other’s structure.

Lyrics that have a point.

Yet there are plenty of songs that meet all of those criteria but never reach the level of greatness. There has to be something else going on.

Lois

 Signature 

[color=red“Nothing is so good as it seems beforehand.”
― George Eliot, Silas Marner[/color]

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 November 2014 07:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1549
Joined  2010-04-22
LoisL - 25 November 2014 11:59 AM

Yet there are plenty of songs that meet all of those critera but never reach the level of greatness. There has to be something else going on.

Lois

What is greatness?

 Signature 

“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 November 2014 10:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4256
Joined  2014-06-20
TromboneAndrew - 25 November 2014 07:43 PM
LoisL - 25 November 2014 11:59 AM

Yet there are plenty of songs that meet all of those critera but never reach the level of greatness. There has to be something else going on.

Lois

What is greatness?

Of course, it’s different for different people. To me, it’s music that moves a lot of people and has staying power, often over generations.

Every generation seems to hate the music of the one just after it, but here are songs that survive that. When I was growing up in the rock and roll era, my father (who was an amateur singer in the style of Bing Crosby) thought Rock and Roll was terrible.  He wouldn’t even listen if he knew the singers had long hair! (He said it with a twinkle in his eye. He was not unkind.)  One day I heard him singing “Yesterday” and asked him who he thought wrote it. he didn’t know. I told him it was one of the Beatles and he said something along the lines of, “Well, that one’s ok.” I also caught him singing “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” one of my own favorites. Both songs have stood the test of time, IMO, along with a few others. I admit I don’t hear much music of today that I admire. I know it’s a generational thing.  But something will probably come out of today’s music that’s memorable and will also touch later generations. That will count as greatness in my opinion.

Lois

 Signature 

[color=red“Nothing is so good as it seems beforehand.”
― George Eliot, Silas Marner[/color]

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 November 2014 06:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1549
Joined  2010-04-22

Sounds to me like that’s more of a question of culture. For people to remember them like you describe, they first do have to have those properties I listed, and they need repetition in the media. Things like Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody getting put into a comedy film. I think that once a tune is properly crafted, which ones get sucked into the media echo chamber and which ones don’t is actually pretty random.

 Signature 

“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 November 2014 01:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4256
Joined  2014-06-20
TromboneAndrew - 25 November 2014 07:43 PM
LoisL - 25 November 2014 11:59 AM

Yet there are plenty of songs that meet all of those critera but never reach the level of greatness. There has to be something else going on.

Lois

What is greatness?

Enough people in agreement that a particular piece of music is “great.” “Greatness” is always subjective, but if a critical mass of people agree on it, it means something. But in the end, all “greatness” dissipates.


Lois

 Signature 

[color=red“Nothing is so good as it seems beforehand.”
― George Eliot, Silas Marner[/color]

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 November 2014 02:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6640
Joined  2007-10-05
LoisL - 26 November 2014 01:06 PM
TromboneAndrew - 25 November 2014 07:43 PM
LoisL - 25 November 2014 11:59 AM

Yet there are plenty of songs that meet all of those critera but never reach the level of greatness. There has to be something else going on.

Lois

What is greatness?

Enough people in agreement that a particular piece of music is “great.” “Greatness” is always subjective, but if a critical mass of people agree on it, it means something. But in the end, all “greatness” dissipates.


Lois

Nope. That is the old argument from popularity fallacy.

 Signature 

You cannot have a rational discussion with someone who holds irrational beliefs.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 November 2014 03:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4256
Joined  2014-06-20
DarronS - 26 November 2014 02:04 PM
LoisL - 26 November 2014 01:06 PM
TromboneAndrew - 25 November 2014 07:43 PM
LoisL - 25 November 2014 11:59 AM

Yet there are plenty of songs that meet all of those critera but never reach the level of greatness. There has to be something else going on.

Lois

What is greatness?

Enough people in agreement that a particular piece of music is “great.” “Greatness” is always subjective, but if a critical mass of people agree on it, it means something. But in the end, all “greatness” dissipates.


Lois

Nope. That is the old argument from popularity fallacy.

What else can it be? It’s people who decide whether a piece of music is “great”. This is one place where the argument from popularity is valid—as is the case with any argument as to whether something is “great” or of any value whatsoever. How else would you assess “greatness” on any level but by popularity? Do you have a definition of greatness that is unconnected to popularity? What to you is intrinsic greatness?

Lois

 Signature 

[color=red“Nothing is so good as it seems beforehand.”
― George Eliot, Silas Marner[/color]

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 November 2014 04:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1549
Joined  2010-04-22
LoisL - 26 November 2014 03:24 PM

What to you is intrinsic greatness?

Lois

Copycats.

 Signature 

“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 November 2014 05:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5257
Joined  2011-11-04

I was at a gas station.  There was a beautiful clear song being played over the loud speakers while I was pumping gas.  It was soothing and pleasant in these discordant times.  I suddenly recognized it as a pop song that was on an album that I bought many years ago.  It was not a song that I had ever, before, considered to be great.  But, at that moment, as I thought about the many people going home for Thanksgiving, Kenny Loggins’ “Celebrate Me Home”, was a great song.

 Signature 

As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

Profile
 
 
   
2 of 7
2