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What type of music do you all prefer?


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I would dispute that last paragraph there, Pink Floyd's The Wall was, I believe one of the better selling double albums.

 

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best_selling_albums#Best-selling_albums_by_country

 

 

Samm, that's why I called it "truly popular". Re-read the quote.

 

I think the main objective distinction between modern and classical music consists in the different degrees of complexity.

 

Provide an objective measure of complexity, and I suspect that I can find numerous modern songs that are at least as complex as any classical piece by that same measure. I want an objective measure of complexity, because it doesn't count just to have you listen to it and say "nope, not at complex as Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exposition"

Edited by Bignose
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Manowar, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, DIO, Motorhead,... that kind of thing. \m/

I also like Blind Blake, Rev. Gary Davis, Big Bill Broonzy, Johnny Cash, The Beatles and Led Zeppelin. Lets not forget about the late great Chet Atkins. I will stop there..

That doesn't seem to follow - there are some amazing examples of jazz violin playing and well, the fiddle is basically the foundation of all modern folk music.  That definitely doesn't follow. I'm pr

Marat

 

I used to have the same closed minded exclusive mentality as you when i was teenager in the Seventies but towards Pink Floyd, Genesis...Rock reached it's zenith in terms of large amounts of complexity then. The beauty of music is not only measured by its complexity...there is joy to be found in simplicity and judicious repetition as well...it can excite the visceral side of ones nature. Music can be enjoyed on so many levels..it's a shame to chase just one aspect.

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So, "truly popular", doesn't include an album that worldwide sold 30 million copies? Fair enough...

 

Samm, I am confused. 30 million copies is indeed popular. Truly is an emphasis on just how popular it is. Truly as in sincerely, genuinely, truthfully, accurately, in a true manner, etc. I will assume that this was just a miscommunication...

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Being somewhat of a audiophile as well as a lover of progressive rock, southern rock, actually the genre matters little if I like the song.

 

Some of my favorite LP's are Dreamboat Annie, Little Queen, and Desire Walks On, by Heart. Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall by Pink Floyd, I love Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms it is a great album but many of their albums are great and a truly great LP, self titled, Boston by Boston.

 

Some Honorable mentions would be Blue Oyster Cult, Nazareth, Journey, Moody

Blues, Bob Segar, Led Zeppelin.

 

A few of my fav southern rock songs.

 

Fire on the Mountain by the Marshal Tucker Band, Green Grass and High Tides Forever by The Outlaws, That Smell by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Radar Love by Golden Earring, Sign of the Gypsy Queen by April Wine, The Weight by The Band.

 

The list is long so I won't bore you with any more.

 

I listen to my albums through a Mitsubishi 150 watt per channel power amp and Infinity 1.5 speakers.

Edited by Moontanman
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Some have argued that music can lose its natural power if its rhythms stray too far from the variation in natural rhythm which can be achieved by the human heart. Classical music in the hands of composers like Schoenberg and Walter Piston seems to have become so abstract as to have become detached from what naturally gives music its power, and it seems to amount only to a theoretical tour de force, motivated more by experiments in music theory than anything which could truly have aesthetic appeal. Perhaps the real key to the special beauty of classical music is the fact that it is simultaneously extremely complex in structure but that structure still combines to produce a coherent net effect which is both intellectually intriguing and aesthetically powerful. Much modern music can achieve the complexity of nineteenth-century classical music but it lacks that aesthetic integration which gives music from an earlier period its artistic power. Some experimental jazz may be as theoretically complex as a Wagner symphony, but it seems ultimately to be only complex, like a disarticulated skeleton, rather than richly and powerfully complex, as a composition whose elements truly combine to a coherent aesthetic impact.

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Some have argued that music can lose its natural power if its rhythms stray too far from the variation in natural rhythm which can be achieved by the human heart. Classical music in the hands of composers like Schoenberg and Walter Piston seems to have become so abstract as to have become detached from what naturally gives music its power, and it seems to amount only to a theoretical tour de force, motivated more by experiments in music theory than anything which could truly have aesthetic appeal. Perhaps the real key to the special beauty of classical music is the fact that it is simultaneously extremely complex in structure but that structure still combines to produce a coherent net effect which is both intellectually intriguing and aesthetically powerful. Much modern music can achieve the complexity of nineteenth-century classical music but it lacks that aesthetic integration which gives music from an earlier period its artistic power. Some experimental jazz may be as theoretically complex as a Wagner symphony, but it seems ultimately to be only complex, like a disarticulated skeleton, rather than richly and powerfully complex, as a composition whose elements truly combine to a coherent aesthetic impact.

 

Why should richness and complexity be held as the benchmark by which all music should be judged? There are other styles that have simple melodies and carefully chosen periods of silence that can be equally rewarding and aesthetic...less can be more sometimes.

 

So, "truly popular", doesn't include an album that worldwide sold 30 million copies? Fair enough...

 

Bignose was not pushing this point that you have misinterpreted but I will! :P The Wall was a popular album in terms of sales but in terms of sheer ubiquity (air play and persistence in charts,polls etc), general reverence and mass consumption over the years Dark Side blows it away. Dark Side also appears, on reflection, to have a timeless quality that The Wall lacks (as a whole piece) which will ensure it's existence into the future. I can see Dark Side still being played and appreciated a hundred years from now but not The Wall because it's layout and presentation ties it to it's era but Dark Side's does not because the sonic quality and concepts embodied within it will still respectively excite and be relevant to any future generation that hears it...the human condition will always be a source of angst and interest which it portrays so well. I'm trying to be critically objective here but I adore both of those albums.

 

Dark Side deserves the accolade of 'truly popular' because of its consistent continued existence within the public conciousness against which it has few peers.

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- Dubstep pwns \o/

 

- anything really sad like Nan Vernons - Love Hurts(Haloween II Soundtrack) rendition of the original

 

- Portishead and any new form Eclectic Jazz

 

- France Gall, Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles etc.

 

- The occasional Goth Rock and Industrial band like The Birthday Massacre and NIN whom Trent Reznor had inspired me once to contemplate the maths of music making which is something I will go back to in the future

 

anything else is just weird

 

o.o

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Listening to my mp3 player today: Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick is at least as complex as an average symphony. I do wonder if there is an objective measure of how complex a piece of music is.

 

That's a good one. Quite complex as well by my subjective standard. I doubt there is a true measure of compositional complexity though. One can measure things like average notes per measure that deviate from the key signature. But this starts from the huge assumption that the western 7-note harmonic system is the most simple. I think the closest you can get is listing a set of quantities like the one I mentioned above and comparing that to other pieces from a similar time and genre. I just don't think there is an objective way to weight and sum those quantities into some universal "complexity index". It would be interesting to try though.

 

You have good taste in music Bignose. I seem to be a fan of everything you list. Great minds think alike. :)

Edited by mississippichem
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Samm, I am confused. 30 million copies is indeed popular. Truly is an emphasis on just how popular it is. Truly as in sincerely, genuinely, truthfully, accurately, in a true manner, etc. I will assume that this was just a miscommunication...

 

 

However, you seemed to suggest it wasn't. But I'll have to let that slide, it probably was a misunderstanding.

 

Bignose was not pushing this point that you have misinterpreted but I will! :P The Wall was a popular album in terms of sales but in terms of sheer ubiquity (air play and persistence in charts,polls etc), general reverence and mass consumption over the years Dark Side blows it away. Dark Side also appears, on reflection, to have a timeless quality that The Wall lacks (as a whole piece) which will ensure it's existence into the future. I can see Dark Side still being played and appreciated a hundred years from now but not The Wall because it's layout and presentation ties it to it's era but Dark Side's does not because the sonic quality and concepts embodied within it will still respectively excite and be relevant to any future generation that hears it...the human condition will always be a source of angst and interest which it portrays so well. I'm trying to be critically objective here but I adore both of those albums.

 

Dark Side deserves the accolade of 'truly popular' because of its consistent continued existence within the public conciousness against which it has few peers.

 

 

I see.

Edited by Samm
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However, you seemed to suggest it wasn't. But I'll have to let that slide, it probably was a miscommunication.

 

My point was that most progressive rock is not considered popular. Rush, despite releasing 19 studio albums and another on the way in 2011, only get about 4 songs total played on the radio in most classic rock formats. Emerson, Lake, and Palmer don't get a lot of playtime. Yes doesn't get a lot of playtime. King Crimson doesn't get a lot of playtime. Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree, despite being among the most popular progressive rock bands today, don't get a lot of playtime. etc.

 

The exception to that is Pink Floyd, who does get a fair amount of play time, especially later in their career when the moved away from psychedelic rock. And, my example of a progressive rock that is truly popular is Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. That is, in spite of it being firmly in a genre that isn't very popular, it is a truly popular album.

 

Not that other progressive rock albums haven't sold. But compare the 30 million to Pink Floyd's other works and it is dominant. In terms of popularity, their Wish You Were Here is only 13 million. Rush's Moving Pictures (generally considered one of their strongest albums) only sold 4 million. Porcupine Tree's Deadwing, one of their most popular, has only sold a half a million albums, and Dream Theater's Images and Words just over half a million as well.

 

To put it in perspective of popularity, Brittney Spears routinely sells 3 or 4 million copies per album, and I suspect that most of us would agree that her work is not progressive or complex.

 

I am sure that there are a few other progressive rock albums that have sold well. Jethro Tull's Thick as Brick must have sold well, too, I just couldn't find any sales figures quickly on Google.

 

I hope that I made my point clearer -- that progressive rock, typified by being complex, normally isn't very popular, though there have been exceptions such as DSotM selling very well.

Edited by Bignose
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My point was that most progressive rock is not considered popular. Rush, despite releasing 19 studio albums and another on the way in 2011, only get about 4 songs total played on the radio in most classic rock formats. Emerson, Lake, and Palmer don't get a lot of playtime. Yes doesn't get a lot of playtime. King Crimson doesn't get a lot of playtime. Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree, despite being among the most popular progressive rock bands today, don't get a lot of playtime. etc.

 

The exception to that is Pink Floyd, who does get a fair amount of play time, especially later in their career when the moved away from psychedelic rock. And, my example of a progressive rock that is truly popular is Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. That is, in spite of it being firmly in a genre that isn't very popular, it is a truly popular album.

 

Not that other progressive rock albums haven't sold. But compare the 30 million to Pink Floyd's other works and it is dominant. In terms of popularity, their Wish You Were Here is only 13 million. Rush's Moving Pictures (generally considered one of their strongest albums) only sold 4 million. Porcupine Tree's Deadwing, one of their most popular, has only sold a half a million albums, and Dream Theater's Images and Words just over half a million as well.

 

To put it in perspective of popularity, Brittney Spears routinely sells 3 or 4 million copies per album, and I suspect that most of us would agree that her work is not progressive or complex.

 

I am sure that there are a few other progressive rock albums that have sold well. Jethro Tull's Thick as Brick must have sold well, too, I just couldn't find any sales figures quickly on Google.

 

I hope that I made my point clearer -- that progressive rock, typified by being complex, normally isn't very popular, though there have been exceptions such as DSotM selling very well.

 

Okay, I agree entirely with what you're saying there. However, I believe that the Dark Side of the Moon actually sold 45 million copies instead of 30 million copies.

Edited by Samm
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I think one way to provide an objective measure of the complexity of a musical composition is to look at all the data bytes that go into instructing people how to reproduce the sounds desired. If you look at the conductor's score for Wagner's 'Goetterdaemmerung,' detailing all the music which has to be played by all the different instruments and subsections among the instruments (first and second violins), and you consider the work of interpretation that goes into synthesizing all this material to produce the conductor's distinctive approach, plus the interpretive work of each player, then the total complexity of the music is massive. I don't think that there is any way to indicate how a musical composition is to be played that is any more simple than the standard musical score, so the number of bytes of information in classical music is not artificially inflated by taking that as a measure.

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I think one way to provide an objective measure of the complexity of a musical composition is to look at all the data bytes that go into instructing people how to reproduce the sounds desired. If you look at the conductor's score for Wagner's 'Goetterdaemmerung,' detailing all the music which has to be played by all the different instruments and subsections among the instruments (first and second violins), and you consider the work of interpretation that goes into synthesizing all this material to produce the conductor's distinctive approach, plus the interpretive work of each player, then the total complexity of the music is massive. I don't think that there is any way to indicate how a musical composition is to be played that is any more simple than the standard musical score, so the number of bytes of information in classical music is not artificially inflated by taking that as a measure.

 

Okay, in all good measurements, you need to have a baseline. Of what skill level are the performers before they learn to play the composition? Are they complete novices, who haven't seen a musical instrument before, or are they proficient musicians who are just ignorant of the piece? Second of all, I believe that this measure is inflated by having a large orchestra. Teaching 2 violinists to play the same piece makes the piece more complex than teaching one violinist the same piece. So... I don't think this is a valid scale of complexity. In short, of course classical music is more complex using your scale, because they have far larger groups of people playing the music, even if they're playing the same piece.

 

 

I'd consider the average skill level required of the performers to be a superior indicator of complexity. This assumes the piece is played by the intended number of musicians. This measures how hard a piece is to play, and indirectly how complex it is, and it is not affected by the size of the band/orchestra as much as your method.

Edited by Samm
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Just adopt a simpler and less controversial baseline as a measurement of complexity, such as the number of bytes of information required on the sheets of music required to instruct equally competent musicians to play it to some arbitrary standard. So the musicians' training, natural talent, and competence are held steady, and the only variable is the number of bytes of information required in the sheet music for a given composition selected for comparison. I would guess that almost all classical music is much more complex by that standard than popular music.

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I think that this is a lovely exchange between the musicians and the frontperson...smooooooooth.

 

Listen to the dynamics...it is amazing how tight a group can sound when they have not played within thirty years.

 

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Marat,

 

I'm sorry to be repetitive but I'd really like you to address me directly here.

I would guess that almost all classical music is much more complex by that standard than popular music.
I'm going to have to call you on this false dichotomy again. The sets of 'classical' and 'popular' music are neither exclusive nor exhaustive of the realm of music. You are honestly giving the impression that you have just simply never bothered to listen to any music outside of your comfort zone. For instance you gave:
'Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head'
Which was released half a century ago and is no way representative of any genre to speak of. There's nothing wrong with age, of course, but I don't think anyone has gone out of their way to listen to that since.

 

Further to that you ignored my point about John Cage's 4'33" incredible simplicity despite it being one of the greatest triumphs of contemporary classical music - it seems that when you say 'classical music' you are only referring to the archetypical symphonic orchestra which anyone who has really tried to branch out their cultural experience would know is far from representative of classical music. The fact is that there are wonderfully (and by that I mean genuinely full of wonder) classical pieces that revel in simplicity such as

- I don't get the impression that you've ever made the effort to listen to that. And then there are immensely complex pieces in many other genres - do you really believe that an average musician from any background would find Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon in any way simple?

 

In fact, as far as I can tell - you haven't even given an example of a specific composer or piece of music that you do like. You talk about classical music as if it were this closed set that stopped being contributed to some time in the past and somehow deserves a kind of reverence for this supposed ancient quality, but at the same time it feels like you've read about the experience of listening to music without ever having done so: anyone can copy the definition of numinous from a dictionary but to not give a single explicit example of when it has ever been experienced seems like an incredibly shallow description.

 

Please answer at the very least these questions:

  • Which composers/artists/musicians do you like in particular?
  • Is there a piece of theirs that is your favourite?
  • Is there any music at all that holds a particular personal significance to you?

 

I'll at least then believe that you actually do listen to music. Because right now, I am not convinced.

 

If it should ever occur to you to push your horizons a little then I can wholly recommend software such as last.fm to find new things that you might be interested in.

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Just adopt a simpler and less controversial baseline as a measurement of complexity, such as the number of bytes of information required on the sheets of music required to instruct equally competent musicians to play it to some arbitrary standard. So the musicians' training, natural talent, and competence are held steady, and the only variable is the number of bytes of information required in the sheet music for a given composition selected for comparison. I would guess that almost all classical music is much more complex by that standard than popular music.

I get the impression that you feel as if complexity = quality. While I believe I can come up with something much more complex that anything out there now, I feel confident that it would not be considered quality work. Complexity can add to quality, but so can simplicity. Both can also detract from quality.

Edited by zapatos
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In an earlier post I try to develop the link between complexity and quality. In essence, the power of music arises from the mind being tempted to try to follow the complex structure of a musical composition and then finding itself overwhelmed by an unmanageably large complexity. The sense of intellectual paralysis, at the same time as the listener is helplessly carried along by the melody, seems to create the goosebumps effect that great music typically produces.

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I think it'd be fair to agree that as far as this thread is concerned, Marat is just trolling and doesn't really listen to music or know much about it. So we can move on.

 

For the past week I've been living in a communal setting - because needs must, and this has resulted in a requirement for the non offensive approach when it comes to musical selection. Which has become very interesting although not all that much fun. I've come to realise that I like my music a lot louder and livelier than a lot of people which I wouldn't have thought since I tend to listen in a fairly passive fashion - never having been one to dance. Of course, the way that you listen to music is a whole other kettle of fish possibly not really related to musical preference.

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Marat is just trolling and doesn't really listen to music or know much about it. So we can move on.

Nonsense, there are three of those fingers pointing back, just sayin'

 

In an earlier post I try to develop the link between complexity and quality. In essence, the power of music arises from the mind being tempted to try to follow the complex structure of a musical composition and then finding itself overwhelmed by an unmanageably large complexity. The sense of intellectual paralysis, at the same time as the listener is helplessly carried along by the melody, seems to create the goosebumps effect that great music typically produces.

 

Yes, ...this is much like how I also understand it.

 

Perception is also dependent on whether or not the brain of the listener is up to crunching the numbers. Recent fMRI research into the brain and music (McGill -> Daniel J. Levitin) has confirmed a lot of things I already thought were true. Yes, it is a combination of predictability and unpredictability that our (individual, as per early developmental wiring) brains need to perceive music as pleasurable. From birth we come already equipped to recognize the enharmonic intervals of 4th and 5th, ...the rest gets wired in as we develop, ...with a big slow-down (near stop) in the wiring process at puberty.

 

Preferences?

 

Well, the more you are trained in music at a young age, ...the more likely you are to be able to draw from a wider range of genres and eras and find things TO like. To the average Joe, ...your taste may look "snobbish" or "elitist", but the average Joe may hear Coltrane's "Giant Steps" as noise, a virtuosic Syrian Oud performance as out of tune, Miles Davis' muted horn as sounding amateur, Tuvan throat singing as novelty, ...etc.

 

I've been playing music all but the first -/+5 years of my life and I'm rounding the corner towards 50.

 

So far, there seems to be a certain level of musicality in the skill of listening, of listeners ...that to me, "have good taste" in music. With very few exceptions, these are musicians, ...and I'm not talking about fist-picker headbangers or I-IV-V strummers.

 

Those rare non-musicians who get it, ...have learned to understand the depth and bredth of what music is, as an art, ...and a science. They're the ones who don't talk when something profound is being played.

 

Suggested listening:

 

Yoyo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble, "Silk Road Journeys: Beyond the Horizon"

 

...If this doesn't give you goosebumps, ...your ears, are dead to me. ;)

 

Edited by beerijuana
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Nonsense, there are three of those fingers pointing back, just sayin'

 

 

 

Yes, ...this is much like how I also understand it.

 

Perception is also dependent on whether or not the brain of the listener is up to crunching the numbers. Recent fMRI research into the brain and music (McGill -> Daniel J. Levitin) has confirmed a lot of things I already thought were true. Yes, it is a combination of predictability and unpredictability that our (individual, as per early developmental wiring) brains need to perceive music as pleasurable. From birth we come already equipped to recognize the enharmonic intervals of 4th and 5th, ...the rest gets wired in as we develop, ...with a big slow-down (near stop) in the wiring process at puberty.

 

Preferences?

 

Well, the more you are trained in music at a young age, ...the more likely you are to be able to draw from a wider range of genres and eras and find things TO like. To the average Joe, ...your taste may look "snobbish" or "elitist", but the average Joe may hear Coltrane's "Giant Steps" as noise, a virtuosic Syrian Oud performance as out of tune, Miles Davis' muted horn as sounding amateur, Tuvan throat singing as novelty, ...etc.

 

I've been playing music all but the first -/+5 years of my life and I'm rounding the corner towards 50.

 

So far, there seems to be a certain level of musicality in the skill of listening, of listeners ...that to me, "have good taste" in music. With very few exceptions, these are musicians, ...and I'm not talking about fist-picker headbangers or I-IV-V strummers.

 

Those rare non-musicians who get it, ...have learned to understand the depth and bredth of what music is, as an art, ...and a science. They're the ones who don't talk when something profound is being played.

 

Suggested listening:

 

Yoyo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble, "Silk Road Journeys: Beyond the Horizon"

 

...If this doesn't give you goosebumps, ...your ears, are dead to me. ;)

 

Whether something gives one goosebumps or not is dependent on whether you can identify with the concept or emotion being relayed in that particular form....if one doesn't feel it it doesn't mean one' ears are dead it just means one is not 'in tune' with it for whatever reason. You come across as a snob as well and don't 'get' it in spite of your 'long experience'. There is no absolute frame of reference or criteria by which music can be judged qualitatively...it is unique to each individual given the many different paths we each tread through life what touches us musically. Vive la difference?

 

Discussions on music certainly brings out the elitist in some people.

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