#1
I find drawing such a line fairly easy on a case-by-case basis by my own opinions, but describing how I do that is much more difficult. Let us take this as an example. I guess music like that has a very niche market, and I guess could "fit" in a few scenarios. But I would never listen to it on my own accord for enjoyment.

I guess it is somewhat like abstract paintings. I do not really get it. It is not so much meant to be pleasing in some way, or to show a clear thought, but to make a statement or cause emotions only the disorganized or non-traditional thoughts can. I guess this is just "abstract music"? I do not know- maybe I am just not as "refined" with my tastes?

I definitely see potential and value in songs that were just recorded poorly. However, after that hindrance, I see no excuse for "bad" music. If one writes a "piece" and they do not know how exactly to put their thoughts into sound, and the end result is awful, then the end result is awful. It is not attacking the person, but the song as its own entity. I would say poor technique and/or poor writing contributes to this.

Is there a sort of free-form sound expression that is not meant to be traditionally "good", but to support emotions/feelings/thoughts/etc. in a non-traditional way? Do we grin and bear the awful sounds for the sake of respecting someone's art? Where do we stop and say "nah that's garbage" instead of saying "its artistic and abstract"? Do we say it is music, or something else entirely?
Last edited by Will Lane at Oct 27, 2016,
#3
I put it very simply. The music can be objectively good/bad and subjectively good/bad. The objective part is simply...well...the objective parts, is the playing way out of time, is the playing in pitch relative to other instrument and so on. But the objective part does not necessarily make it subjectively good or bad. Subjective is simple, do you THINK it's good or bad. There may or may not be a rationale or justification behind it. But even the objective part is technically subjective. I mean, why does playing in time or playing in tune is considered good? Because people think it sounds better. But what if someone likes listening to "bad" music? What if one day everyone but you starts liking "bad" music. Does that make "good" music "bad" and "bad" music "good"? It's like food, you might consider a gourmet burger "good" and a fast food burger "bad". But what about food with an acquired taste. You or most people might hate it and think it tastes horrible, but does that mean it's bad?

I have no idea why I replied to this and am no longer sure what the hell I'm even writing anymore...I need a beer.

At the end of the day, if I like the music, I listen to it, if not I don't. That's pretty much all that matters to me.
#4
Frank Zappa said it best. " We need it all. Without "Louie Louie" a symphony is not quite so grand." - Frank Zappa

The minute we start judging others music as bad or unfit, we put our own at risk. If you don't like something, turn the channel, or turn it off. You are not required to listen to music you don't appreciate.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis
#5
Personally, I know what aspects of music I appreciate, and what appeals to me. But no, I don't think that one can judge someone else's work, which is why the job of a critic (not one) is that often ridiculed, or even despised. If we don't try new things, we may miss out on great works of art. If Debussy didn't do exactly the opposite of what counterpoint demanded, if Hendrix simply hadn't bothered, and so on. If we don't break the rules, I sincerely hope someone else will, because we need it for progression. We don't need to like it, sometimes we won't even do so for years, Bach wasn't considered the impossible genius we think him now back in his own time.

In my case, I've often found that when I find music 'too much', be it strange, different, or otherwise, it often means that I should return to it in a year, sometimes two or even ten. Because it means that I don't understand it the way it was intended. I did not appreciate sludge and doommetal as much as I do these days, despite having known and heard some for decades. My mind was on different aspects of music at the time. Sometimes our musical maturity needs some time to develop further.

...Except for Louie Louie. That heretical abomination spawned by an unholy tri-union of satan, pig intestines and the sounds of human suffering needs to be ritually burned from existence and history.
Wise Man Says: The guitar is obviously female, she's got hips, breasts... and a hole.
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#6
Quote by Arron_Zacx
I put it very simply. The music can be objectively good/bad and subjectively good/bad. The objective part is simply...well...the objective parts, is the playing way out of time, is the playing in pitch relative to other instrument and so on. But the objective part does not necessarily make it subjectively good or bad. Subjective is simple, do you THINK it's good or bad. There may or may not be a rationale or justification behind it. But even the objective part is technically subjective. I mean, why does playing in time or playing in tune is considered good? Because people think it sounds better. But what if someone likes listening to "bad" music? What if one day everyone but you starts liking "bad" music. Does that make "good" music "bad" and "bad" music "good"? It's like food, you might consider a gourmet burger "good" and a fast food burger "bad". But what about food with an acquired taste. You or most people might hate it and think it tastes horrible, but does that mean it's bad?

I have no idea why I replied to this and am no longer sure what the hell I'm even writing anymore...I need a beer.

At the end of the day, if I like the music, I listen to it, if not I don't. That's pretty much all that matters to me.


I think that only applies to music that is supposed to sound "pleasing" in a traditional way and not that much to weird experimental stuff. But yeah, obviously you can tell if the musicians can't play their instruments. That, though, doesn't make a song bad or good. That has more to do with performance.

I think a lot of it has to do with intent. But it also has to do with your interpretation. I guess even if the composer didn't have any idea of what they were doing but somebody finds some deep meaning in it, one could make an argument that it's a great piece of art. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether something is "supposed to be" art. I guess anything can be art - it's all about how people interpret it. (Also, usually people confuse "art" with "beautiful". Just because it's not beautiful doesn't mean it's not art.)

When it comes to more "traditional" music, whether the song is good or bad is easier to judge. That is of course only if we assume that the piece is supposed to be a traditional pop/rock/metal/whatever song.

Now, why should we appreciate weird sounding stuff? I don't know, you don't need to appreciate anything (then again, you will come off as ignorant if you say "this is bad music" or "this is not music" about something that you simply don't "understand"). But a lot of the composers have put a lot of thought into their compositions and they clearly know what they are doing. Is that a reason to appreciate it? I don't know. If it sounds like crap, maybe they are just wasting their time, and people who listen to it are just being pretentious and trying to feel superior to other people? Just because somebody is skilled, it doesn't automatically mean what they do is "good". But as Cajundaddy said, if you don't like it, don't listen to it. It's really as simple as that. Experimental stuff is experimental - the whole point is to do something else, something that people are not familiar with, which means most people will not like it.

Adam Neely in one of his videos said that when you are so familiar with the basic tonal sound, you want to hear something that sounds completely different - something that you have never heard before.
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#9
As a Electronic musician, I think bad music is only made when you half-ass it. Music is very suggestive and many complex styles/genres don't appeal to a lot of people (technical Classical, Extreme Metal, Jazz, Breakcore, Prog, ect) but it's still good music (those were just vague examples). I think having a diverse taste is a good thing (for example, being able to enjoy a range of good artists like Buckethad, Metallica, Venetian Snares, The Prodigy, Voltaire, Michael Jackson, Herbie Hancock, ect) and helps develop technique, theory and creativity. Just because you don't enjoy something, doesn't mean it's bad or doesn't take talent.

For example, Bluegrass is rather unpopular (sorry Kristen but it's true) but the speed needed to play it is admirable (despite the relatively simple patterns and easy chord progressions). I enjoy Herbie Hancock for his unique style (Jazz with hints of Hip Hop and electronic music). Have a nice day.
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).