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Definition of Quality in Music

Discussion in 'Non-Opeth Music Chat' started by dwoakee, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. dwoakee

    dwoakee Suboptimization Expert

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    When thinking about how there's no objective quality measure for music the following semi-objective, kind-a-scientific definition crossed my brain:

    Among the pieces of music complying with a given musical theory those pieces are better that have higher entropy (ie. are the least predictable).

    (If you don't restrict the definition to one musical theory than a random number generator would also produce the best possible music.)

    Discuss. Or rip it apart.
     
  2. HorrorbleOne

    HorrorbleOne Universally Metal

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    Originality is key. Yet it is still possible for a band to be unique and sound like shit. Then there's the otherside of the coin... Quality without originality. But I'm always going to lean towards something that strikes my ear (i.e. something I've never heard being done before) rather than something I can predict (i.e. generic music).

    Where I live we have two BM bands (well, just about). The one is really tight but sounds like a Dark Funeral rip-off and the other one is a bit sloppy but very original and refreshing (they play a Progressive style of BM). Unfortunately they haven't honed their instruments (then again, who has?) but their music is far more enjoyable and fun to listen to than the aforementioned Dark Funeral "cover band."

    So there, I think I made my point.
     
  3. HorrorbleOne

    HorrorbleOne Universally Metal

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    Originality is key. Yet it is still possible for a band to be unique and sound like shit. Then there's the otherside of the coin... Quality without originality. But I'm always going to lean towards something that strikes my ear (i.e. something I've never heard being done before) rather than something I can predict (i.e. generic music).

    Where I live we have two BM bands (well, just about). The one is really tight but sounds like a Dark Funeral rip-off and the other one is a bit sloppy but very original and refreshing (they play a Progressive style of BM with songs clocking in at over 8mins etc.). Unfortunately they haven't honed their instruments (then again, who has?) but their music is far more enjoyable and fun to listen to than the aforementioned Dark Funeral "cover band."

    So there, I think I made my point.
     
  4. Crepuscularia

    Crepuscularia Member

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    I disagree. I would define the highest quality music as that which achieves the best possible BALANCE between entropy and order. The problem with this is that it's entirely subjective. Some people think a verse/chorus format with a single key change somewhere in the middle as a bridge achieves this balance perfectly, while others prefer much less predictability, e.g. through unexpected modulations, sudden meter changes, etc.
     
  5. Arasmas

    Arasmas New Metal Member

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    fact: this question that has been pondered over for millennia by philosophers will not be solved in an opeth message board
     
  6. müsli

    müsli New Metal Member

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    true, but philosophy doesn't solve questions either.
    so why not thinking about it?
     
  7. dwoakee

    dwoakee Suboptimization Expert

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    The balance in my definition is achieved by requiring a musical theory as a given reference point. the musical theory is already a distilled set of rules to make the music sound "good". The effort the musician has to put in is to create a piece of music of utmost complexity while still sticking to the rules.

    i know. my practical point of view nowadays is that there is no such thing as objective quality in music. the fairest thing to say about a piece of music is "i like it" or "i don't like it".
     
  8. grey knight

    grey knight Etheraven

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    I think it depends on the mood and taste. But I also think it could be written down by dividing it into genres.

    For me quality music is something that uses as less as possible old style stuff, unless it's some small details. For example, I don't really like country music, but I love it when it's used in metal and prog stuff. :headbang:

    Well but I quess I give everything a chance...well there's atleast Some rappers I can't even listen whole songs of because the singers rape my brains with their voice...
     
  9. Koi

    Koi Member

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    There is nothing that defines quality in music, for me it's simply finding those moments that blow you away for some reason you can't explain. They get more difficult to find everyday, since criterias get higher when you get a fragment of what you're searching for, and as they get fewer they get stronger since the criterias grow.
    Everyone has a mind of their own and run their own paths, and when people start thinking they are more sophisticated with music than others they simply don't understand it's a race on separate roads, the only one you can compete with is yourself.
     
  10. dwoakee

    dwoakee Suboptimization Expert

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    i know, i know. i came to that conclusion myself a while ago. what i tried to do was to look at the problem from two different points of view: what a person likes or doesn't like is completely his or her own business and cannot be argued with. you can try to explain what you like or don't like but nobody can tell you you're wrong and you can't blame anybody else for liking or not liking any piece of music.

    now, the other point of view is to look at the effort or amount of genius the creator of a piece of music has to put in his or her work. how complicated it was to come up with it. how much education it required. if you aren't supposed to stick to some rules it's all easy to come up with stuff that looks complicated. therefore, i require the composer to comply with a given musical theory. (also, the musical theory grants that the result is at least somewhat listenable, even if nobody actually likes it. ;) ) but of course, there will be simple patterns that comply, so to be good you need to come up with less obvious stuff. so, what i ask is if we can agree that music that fulfills these criteria has some sort of inherent quality, even if we don't like the music that comes out? or, maybe i didn't define quality in music, but quality in a composer?

    i admit that there is one point missing in my definition. the greatest pieces of music (in an objective way) are those that rewrite the rules.

    yeah, and this brings me to another thought. isn't this a big part of the reason why we post in music forums? because we desperately seek for people that agree with our view on music? only to find that nobody does? and isn't this a major reason for all the arguing and fighting? because once you realize how alone you are with your opinion you have to rule out lots of "idiots" that just don't count?

    i'm getting pathetic. i have to stop writing or i'll get depressed ... :cry:
     
  11. Frodo's Bulk

    Frodo's Bulk New Metal Member

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    the definition of quality is 'the opposite of prog metal'
     
  12. MegaMoose

    MegaMoose Tentacles

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    hardy har har
     

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