When I'm tooling around on the internet, I inevitably stumble across a thread like this, and someone says something like
Truth is there is no such thing as "good" and "bad" music. What's "good" and "bad" is subjective and is entirely down to one's own opinion.
I have never heard someone that listens to good music say this. This mindset is exclusively held by people who listen to Duran Duran, Maroon 5, and Adam Lambert, or worse. It is amazing how regularly pop aficionados ignore that music is, in fact, a form of art."Truth is," there are very clear definitions of good and bad music. What is subjective is simply what kind of music one prefers to listen to – one may indeed enjoy bad music, and that doesn't make it good. To demonstrate the difference, I have created a simple assignment. Acquire a piano (or use this website), then play – with a steady rhythm – G, D, E, C. After you're comfortable with that, starting playing the D key one octave up while you play each note in the sequence. Amazingly enough, you have just written a pop song. In fact, if it weren't for the supposedly creative decision by the music industry to try some different notes, you would have just written every pop song. And while the song you wrote sounds nice, it is clearly not "good music". That would be like claiming drawing a line on a piece of paper is good art. It's not good music, because anyone can (and does) do it. Good music is something that involved some manner of artistic decision-making, and required some intelligence to create. From the technical proficiency of jazz musicians to the musical frontier explored by avant-garde, there is little to quality music than can be described as "basic" or "boring". Even when an artist is taking a familiar chord progression such as the one used above, they will take liberties with it, and make it their own. The application of creativity is what bad music lacks, and good music lives on. The last point I'd like to make, if the theory and mathematics of quality music is not concrete enough, is the role of emotion in good music. Art exists to express emotion, and there does not exist good music that fails at this endeavor. I provide a simple example: Ryan Starr's cover of Losing My Religion, by R.E.M. The emotion of his performance is palpable. Think about how much better mainstream music could be if artists actually felt what they were producing. Billboard's best is this. (Hey Bruno, if you're trying to write a serious song about unrequited love, you may want to lose the upbeat drums and the boy-band background vocals) Once someone begins to appreciate the value of artistic merit in music, it's unlikely they'll mistake taste for quality again.