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Thread: interesting but a bit depressing article

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    Senior Member Kjetil Heggelund's Avatar
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    Default interesting but a bit depressing article


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    Sr. Moderator Taggart's Avatar
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    Fascinating but somewhat limited.

    In the UK, the ABRSM recognises that musical ability doesn't depend on sheet music. They have a complete separate strand for people who can play by ear which is also counted as equivalent to Music theory.

    In Scotland, they have a set of folk music exams of equivalent standard of technical difficulty to normal graded exams but based on playing without sheet music.

    I've just been on two folk courses in the last month. The general though was that sheet music is merely a framework which you can develop upon by adding harmony lines or ornamentation.

    One of the tutors teaches in the Scottish Borders and arranges folk music for school orchestras. This helps the pupils because it is music that they are familiar with.

    The problem is not that schools don't teach music but rather that children are not exposed to a wide variety of music in their daily life.
    Music begins where words leave off. Music expresses the inexpressible.

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    For anyone interested, here is the study by Joan Serra that the article references.

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    Late post but I posted this article on Reddit and got this as a reply.

    It's all ********.

    Well, at least the stuff talking about how music quality is in decline. When the author writes "there has also been a decline in the quality of music which has been proven scientifically" that's a sign that the entire article is worthless. That study did not prove anything about the quality of the music as it did not prove that the things it studied are how quality is defined.

    What is true is that people don't take piano lessons like they used to and, at least in America, music is suffering in public schools. I think people would be better off with music lessons but the rest of the article is idiotic.

    Take this paragraph:

    Today’s music is designed to sell, not inspire. Today’s artist is often more concerned with producing something familiar to mass audience, increasing the likelihood of commercial success (this is encouraged by music industry execs, who are notoriously risk-averse).

    All of this is offered without any evidence. But let's soldier on, musicians have always wanted to make money or even a living with music. Here is John Cage talking about Schoenberg in foreward to a biography on Schoenberg:

    "Like most other composers, Schoenberg had more or less constant money problems. The thought arises whether these are not the true subject of music."

    I'm a classically trained composer and all my income comes from my music. I live in abject poverty. I would love to have more money.

    Today’s artist is often more concerned with producing something familiar to mass audience, increasing the likelihood of commercial success (this is encouraged by music industry execs, who are notoriously risk-averse).

    Hasn't that always been the case outside of 20th century avant-garde music? Bach, Mozart and Beethoven wrote music entirely familiar to their audiences with any innovation clearly a part of the prevailing paradigms of the day.

    And then the section on lyrics seems pretty suspect. I don't really listen to contemporary pop music but I do remember all the dumb lyrics from rock in the '60s and '70s. While there was good lyrics then I'm sure there are plenty of people writing good lyrics today.

    So yes, the ability to read and play music is in decline. The quality of music is way too difficult to asses given that we've been arguing this point for thousands of years without making any progress.

    Ie, the sky is not falling.

    Thoughts?

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    Senior Member Haydn70's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kjetil Heggelund View Post
    It is a poorly constructed article...but even if it were better constructed/written I wouldn't care anyway as I couldn't care less about the decline in quality of popular music...that is like being concerned about the decline in quality of fast food...couldn't care less.
    Last edited by Haydn70; Apr-13-2019 at 22:09.

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    Senior Member Haydn70's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LudwigVanBodewes View Post
    Late post but I posted this article on Reddit and got this as a reply.

    It's all ********.

    Well, at least the stuff talking about how music quality is in decline. When the author writes "there has also been a decline in the quality of music which has been proven scientifically" that's a sign that the entire article is worthless. That study did not prove anything about the quality of the music as it did not prove that the things it studied are how quality is defined.

    What is true is that people don't take piano lessons like they used to and, at least in America, music is suffering in public schools. I think people would be better off with music lessons but the rest of the article is idiotic.

    Take this paragraph:

    Today’s music is designed to sell, not inspire. Today’s artist is often more concerned with producing something familiar to mass audience, increasing the likelihood of commercial success (this is encouraged by music industry execs, who are notoriously risk-averse).

    All of this is offered without any evidence. But let's soldier on, musicians have always wanted to make money or even a living with music. Here is John Cage talking about Schoenberg in foreward to a biography on Schoenberg:

    "Like most other composers, Schoenberg had more or less constant money problems. The thought arises whether these are not the true subject of music."

    I'm a classically trained composer and all my income comes from my music. I live in abject poverty. I would love to have more money.

    Today’s artist is often more concerned with producing something familiar to mass audience, increasing the likelihood of commercial success (this is encouraged by music industry execs, who are notoriously risk-averse).

    Hasn't that always been the case outside of 20th century avant-garde music? Bach, Mozart and Beethoven wrote music entirely familiar to their audiences with any innovation clearly a part of the prevailing paradigms of the day.


    And then the section on lyrics seems pretty suspect. I don't really listen to contemporary pop music but I do remember all the dumb lyrics from rock in the '60s and '70s. While there was good lyrics then I'm sure there are plenty of people writing good lyrics today.

    So yes, the ability to read and play music is in decline. The quality of music is way too difficult to asses given that we've been arguing this point for thousands of years without making any progress.

    Ie, the sky is not falling.

    Thoughts?
    In response to the first bolded statement: commercial music has ALWAYS been designed to sell...it is supposed to do that. Inspire? That is a laugh.

    In response to the second bolded statement: you are mixing things up here. Bach, Mozart and Beethoven were not composing for a mass audience. The masses in the 18th century were not interested in art music just as they are not interested in it today. Bach, Mozart and Beethoven were not interested in commercial success...success, yes, interested in making money, yes...but commercial success in the same way as popular music "success", no.

    The portion of any society that is interested in Western art music has always been, is now and will always be very small.
    Last edited by Haydn70; Apr-13-2019 at 22:19.

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