Author Topic: Healthy musical diet  (Read 178 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline 71 dB

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8770
  • 私はコーヒーを飲む
    • Soundcloud
  • Location: Helsinki, Finland
Healthy musical diet
« on: November 09, 2020, 11:08:44 AM »
I saw an interesting Youtube video about why people like/dislike certain music genres. Music can be decomposed into musical dimensions. The three most relevant of these are

Melody (M)
Harmony (H)
Rhythm (R)

The fourth dimension could be Sonics (S), which is a combination on things like timber, spatiality and dynamics). The fifth dimension could be Lyrics (L), which is often strongly related to melody.

Each music style/genre uses a weighted "spectrum" of these musical dimension so that some of them are "carriers" and others are "supporting".  For example Baroque/classical era is (Mr) (carriers melody and rhythm to lesser degree) while romantic era classical is (Hr)(carrier is harmony and rhythm to lesser degree). Interestingly pop music uses all dimensions equally and that's the reason why each dimension has to been simple in it's musical message. So, if your ears are tuned to say romantic classical music which emphasizes harmony they expect complex harmony and the I-IV-V-vi or whatever chord progressions of pop music sounds very simple. Pop becomes more interesting when you listen to all the musical dimensions simultaneously: Melody, harmony, rhythm, sonics and lyrics. Similarly, people liking pop may hate jazz because jazz uses complex harmony (and rhythm), but is very little about sonics for example. Modal jazz is more about melody and less about harmony etc. Rap is Rhythm, Sonics and Lyrics and feels very "empty" if you expect Melody and Harmony.

Learning to "like" a new music genre is about learning to tune your ears for the particular dimension spectrum and one can learn to be able to switch between spectrums fast. Listening to one music genre only is not a healthy "diet" because it makes it difficult to appreciate other music styles with different dimension spectrums. 

This theory agrees well with my own experiences in learning to like music I didn't care about before. Expanding music taste makes it easier to learn to like other music, because a certain genre I already like may have a similar dimension spectrum. Pop music has been a mystery for me, because it uses very simple musical structures, but at it's best is in my opinion stunning music. This theory explains that mystery nicely. It also explains why someone heavily into romantic classical music (Wagner, Brahms, Liszt etc) may not be that much into J.S. Bach and Handel.

Be openminded. Try to figure out what is good and tune your ears to that. Avoid too limited music diet. It just makes you hate everything else.
Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening.
Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
and less tiresome in headphone listening.

My Sound Cloud page <-- NEW track "Ecclesiastical Secularism"

Offline greg

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1276
  • Location: San Antonio, TX
Re: Healthy musical diet
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2020, 11:49:31 AM »
Sonics is too vague of a term... and jazz uses a lot of dynamics so don't see how it isn't about sonics if sonics includes dynamics usage.

Rap is indeed heavily lyrics dominant, everything other dimension is usually simple/boring/repetitve...

Which I think can be another dimension of what people like/dislike. Rhythm is great, give me a nice 15/16 over 4/4 polymetrical rhythm and some drum fills, not some simple beat that's repeated 50 times and does nothing else.
Wagie wagie get back in the cagie

Offline Jo498

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 5138
  • Location: Germany
Re: Healthy musical diet
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2020, 11:53:02 AM »
Couldn't one just say "sound color" (Klangfarbe) instead of sonics?

I think there is a very banal additional aspect, or actually two: habit and spontaneous dislike. E.g. many people dislike "operatic voices" because they have been accustomed to a) uneducated voices singing (like their mothers lullabies) or b) amplified "crooning" (or any other pop singing style of the last 80 years). I spontaneously dislike lots of popular music because I simply cannot stand the volume level, the oomph-sounds, the voices etc. And if the sounds are pleasant enough (e.g. in more acoustic style performances) I tend to find most of it decent/pleasant but rather boring after a while.

To overcome the forces of habit or spontaneous dislike one has to make a conscious effort, maybe more than with music one simply finds impenetrable and boring. And most people will only make that effort if there is something somewhat interesting about the music (which is not so likely from the very condition that one feels dislike...)
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline 71 dB

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8770
  • 私はコーヒーを飲む
    • Soundcloud
  • Location: Helsinki, Finland
Re: Healthy musical diet
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2020, 07:50:48 AM »
Sonics is too vague of a term...

Not to me.

and jazz uses a lot of dynamics so don't see how it isn't about sonics if sonics includes dynamics usage.

I don't think typical jazz is based on dynamic so it isn't "carrier" for jazz. Maybe orchestral big band jazz, but that's not typical jazz.

Rap is indeed heavily lyrics dominant, everything other dimension is usually simple/boring/repetitve...
Yes, but that simple/repetitive rhythm is fundamental aspect of rap.
Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening.
Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
and less tiresome in headphone listening.

My Sound Cloud page <-- NEW track "Ecclesiastical Secularism"

Offline 71 dB

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8770
  • 私はコーヒーを飲む
    • Soundcloud
  • Location: Helsinki, Finland
Re: Healthy musical diet
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2020, 07:56:33 AM »
Couldn't one just say "sound color" (Klangfarbe) instead of sonics?

Sure if you want. Freedom and stuff... ...I use sonics.  0:)

I think there is a very banal additional aspect, or actually two: habit and spontaneous dislike. E.g. many people dislike "operatic voices" because they have been accustomed to a) uneducated voices singing (like their mothers lullabies) or b) amplified "crooning" (or any other pop singing style of the last 80 years). I spontaneously dislike lots of popular music because I simply cannot stand the volume level, the oomph-sounds, the voices etc. And if the sounds are pleasant enough (e.g. in more acoustic style performances) I tend to find most of it decent/pleasant but rather boring after a while.

Yes, operatic singing sounds horrible before your ears learn to appreciate it.

To overcome the forces of habit or spontaneous dislike one has to make a conscious effort, maybe more than with music one simply finds impenetrable and boring. And most people will only make that effort if there is something somewhat interesting about the music (which is not so likely from the very condition that one feels dislike...)

Yes.
Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening.
Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
and less tiresome in headphone listening.

My Sound Cloud page <-- NEW track "Ecclesiastical Secularism"

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 51442
  • Tōru Takemitsu (1930 - 1996)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    ...Aki no ame...
Re: Healthy musical diet
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2020, 08:50:32 AM »
I’m not actually entirely sure where you’re getting at in your initial post, 71 dB, but the bottomline is pretty simple: I listen to music that gives me pleasure whether it be intellectually, emotionally or both. Whether it’s a ‘healthy’ musical diet is of no importance to me.

“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy