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Thread: How do you evaluate music?

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    Senior Member MikeBrewster77's Avatar
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    How do you evaluate music?

    I’ve seen several “can’t stand” or “best of” threads in regard to music, and based on some related discussion (http://www.audioheritage.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=14734) as well as some thought-provoking conversations with Clark (Ducatista47) I’m interested to know what criteria other folks use to critically evaluate the quality of the music they hear.

    For me, there are multiple factors, a sample of which are:

    Content: Lyrics, composition, arrangement, instrumentation etc. How well is the piece constructed?

    Delivery: Are the vocals and instrumentals well executed?

    Engagement: Do the artists appear involved in what they’re performing? Is their a perceptible level of emotion involved in the piece?

    Innovation: Is the piece ground-breaking? Does it offer something new to the listener? And if so, is it a positive evolution, or innovation simply for the sake of being different?

    Intent/message: Is the piece thought-provoking? Does it encourage the listener to contemplate its message, or is it simply background music?

    Involvement: Does the piece automatically pull the listener into the music? I’ve heard songs on absolutely craptastic systems before that made me forget how poor the quality of the gear was. Does the piece have the ability to transcend the delivery method to capture the listener regardless? Does it make you forget that you’re even listening to it on a “system?”

    Production/mastering: This is a rather unfortunate category, but sometimes the production and mastering techniques of a recording so obfuscate the original intent of the piece that it’s rendered virtually un-listenable.

    Continuity: Do all of the above factors seamlessly come together to create a compelling piece?

    Granted, I listen to and evaluate music on different levels, so sometimes I’m not thinking about any of this. But for critical listening, I do find myself rigorously evaluating the quality of the music I hear. I’d be interested to see what other criteria you use to do the same.

    Best,
    - Mike

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    Senior Member SEAWOLF97's Avatar
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    How do you evaluate music?

    By its musicality, of course !!

    the real answer takes more keystrokes than my old fingers (or brain) can produce ..

    I wud substitute the heading Cohesiveness for Continuity....which is a big problem that I have with the likes of Genesis & Yes ....their style/melody seems to change often and there is no recurring theme within a tune ...they seem to throw all their available sounds in at one time or another..

    I think thats why Rhapsody in Blue is so timeless ...it establishes a theme and then does variations on it.
    A man on foot or a bike will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles

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    Quote Originally Posted by SEAWOLF97 View Post
    By its musicality, of course !!

    the real answer takes more keystrokes than my old fingers (or brain) can produce ..

    I wud substitute the heading Cohesiveness for Continuity....which is a big problem that I have with the likes of Genesis & Yes ....their style/melody seems to change often and there is no recurring theme within a tune ...they seem to throw all their available sounds in at one time or another..

    I think thats why Rhapsody in Blue is so timeless ...it establishes a theme and then does variations on it.
    When talking about music, it is always to campare apples to apples. Genesis and Yes are two quite phenominal bands of the past 40 years and it is quite impossible to compare them to Rhapsody in blue. Regardless of the style we can all sit back and say "yes it sounds good". Most people on the forum seem to get "sounding good" mixed up with "I dont like this". Western music is made up from only 12 notes and as long as the order is musical and the recording has been well enginered, most of the time it will sound good. There is only one determining factor; "Does it sound good''? You also need to remember that when an artist records a piece it is already how they intended it to be.


    Allan.

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    Senior Member MikeBrewster77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allanvh5150 View Post
    You also need to remember that when an artist records a piece it is already how they intended it to be.
    That's not what Paul McCartney said after Phil Spector got his hands on The Long and Winding Road, and we all know how that played out...

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