Skip to comments.What Makes Music Bad? A New Scale: Part I, the Definition
Posted on 05/27/2010 5:12:48 AM PDT by mattstat
It might have been coming out of the air space between her ear buds and flesh, or it might have been seeping through the holes in the woman's head. Either way, that endless, non-varying thump-thump-thump was making me nuts.
This experience is similar that one endures when listening to a well known song by a bubblegum band named after an ubiquitous insect. The one in which the lyric, "I want to hold your hand" is repeated over and over and over and over and...
The "Boss", Bruce---Bruce!---Springsteen uses this technique as a bludgeon: "Born in the USA!...I was...[wait for it]...Born in USA!" Repetitiveness is such an integral part of this man's music that you have the idea he is ad-libbing most of his songs, though drawing on a shallow fund of imagination.
And then there is the sheer, gut-wrenching awfulness of most modern children's music, which includes music supposedly sung for the benefit of children. "Banana Phone" and "We are the World" come to mind. Not only are the lyrics of these songs simpleminded, but their melodies are brief, trivial; a handful of phrases recapitulated dozens of times in one sitting. Thinking children idiots is a recent phenomenon, incidentally.
Need I repeat what makes music awful?...
(Excerpt) Read more at wmbriggs.com ...
Much of the new contemporary “Christian” church music also fits this bill. Inane repeatings of the same, shallow lyrics, often on the same repeated note. The Wesleys and Newton would have covered their ears and raced for the doors.
Hundreds of good symphonies, string quartets, and concertos have been recorded, and are widely sold at low prices.
Why not buy some and listen to them?
I can do better and listen to them free at, among other places, Pandora.
The real question is: how do we stop the non-stop assault of bad music in public?
THANKS FOR THIS.
IT’S A MAJOR ISSUE WITH ME.
That’s a long overdue article.
Who can forget Yoko Ono?
(don’t make me remember)
“The real question is: how do we stop the non-stop assault of bad music in public?”
Earplugs work for me.
Much of the new contemporary Christian church music also fits this bill. Inane repeatings of the same, shallow lyrics,
This is a point; however, the repetitions you speak of are weak, in the sense that the four-note phrase is varied, expanded, called and answered in multiple ways.
Plus, and this is key, the repetitions form a small part of the entire piece. MB is a ratio.
Philip Glass, Steve Reich.
Perpetrators of that crime should receive many years in prison, if not capital punishment, IMO.
It's one more example of the death spiral of our culture. Not just the music, but the concept that it is acceptable to assail the ears of those around you with repulsive, racist, hateful, misgynistic noise.
I had skin like leather and the diamond-hard look of a cobra
I was born blue and weathered but I burst just like a supernova
I could walk like Brando right into the sun
Then dance just like a Casanova
With my blackjack and jacket and hair slicked sweet
Silver star studs on my duds like a Harley in heat
When I strut down the street I could hear its heartbeat
The sisters fell back and said “Don’t that man look pretty”
The cripple on the corner cried out “Nickels for your pity”
Them gasoline boys downtown sure talk gritty
It’s so hard to be a saint in the city
I was the king of the alley, mama, I could talk some trash
I was the prince of the paupers crowned downtown at the beggar’s bash
I was the pimp’s main prophet I kept everything cool
Just a backstreet gambler with the luck to lose
And when the heat came down it was left on the ground
The devil appeared like Jesus through the steam in the street
Showin’ me a hand I knew even the cops couldn’t beat
I felt his hot breath on my neck as I dove into the heat
It’s so hard to be a saint when you’re just a boy out on the street
And the sages of the subway sit just like the living dead
As the tracks clack out the rhythm their eyes fixed straight ahead
They ride the line of balance and hold on by just a thread
But it’s too hot in these tunnels you can get hit up by the heat
You get up to get out at your next stop but they push you back down in your seat
Your heart starts beatin’ faster as you struggle to your feet
Then you’re outa that hole and back up on the street
And them South Side sisters sure look pretty
The cripple on the corner cries out “Nickels for your pity”
And them downtown boys sure talk gritty
It’s so hard to be a saint in the city
A better example is Ravel's Bolero.
The truth is that this article, while thought provoking, is off the mark. Repetition is a legitimate device. It can be used well or not, just like any other musical device.
Pop music--the focus of the article--is repetitive by design. A single song only contains one or two ideas. These ideas are not developed very deeply. That doesn't make it bad. It just makes it pop.
Is a french fry bad? Is a lollipop bad? Is a cheesburger bad? No. They just fulfill a different purpose than something more complex.
Yoko Uggoth: That which screams without a voice.
Truly a Lovecraftian horror.
This was brought home to me with a commercial for some kind of juice. The “singing sensation” I had never heard of droning “shine on, shine on...”
Excellent analysis.....how true.....then again there's INNAGODADAVIDABABY.... Can we cry out in horror over one repetition?
>> Is a french fry bad? Is a lollipop bad? Is a cheesburger bad? <<
If you eat them once a month or even once a week, they’re OK. But if you eat them every day, and especially if you don’t eat much of anything else, then they’re prone to ruin your health.
Same with music. An inane song here and there is harmless. But a steady, exclusive diet of today’s “pop” music is nothing short of horrible.
That's probably true, but that's not the songs fault, just as it isn't the french fry's fault if that's all you eat. It doesn't make the thing itself bad. It just means the consumer of the thing is stupid.
Last night I listened to Chopin for about an hour. Speaking of repetition, I think I listned to his Nocturne in Eb 5 times in a row. But that doesn't mean I can't appreciate Bo Diddley.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.