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Thread: What makes music sound good?

  1. #1
    A music theory guy...
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    What makes music sound good?

    As humans, we all have certain rules that we can apply to music and analyze what sounds good and what doesn't sound good. I was wondering who's to say what makes music sound "good", because if you borrow chords from other modes and scales, in an "unconventional" way people might not think it sounds good. What are wrong notes? Do wrong notes even exist?

    What I'm trying to ask is, can't anything work in music? If not, what doesn't work? What is it that makes music pleasing to the ear?
    The reign continues...

  2. #2
    Wordgirl: Jaded Musician jade_bodhi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reign of Praine
    What is it that makes music pleasing to the ear?
    The groove.

    You ask such a universal question that will likely be answered with idiosyncratic responses. But it seems to me the groove is the universal appeal.
    Nobody ever shared
    what we have known...

  3. #3
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    rhythmic melodic or harmonic motion that you the listener can relate to or appreciate as art.

    Oh you wanted a more profound and telling answer? Sorry I'm not qualified to give one

    Make music that pleases you. Chances are there are plenty of like-minded individuals out there, people who like the same kinds of music you do. If you make something completely new, there are still plenty of music scholars out there looking for just that.
    Last edited by jessmanca; 04-15-2008 at 03:55 AM.

  4. #4
    Do you want to listen to it? If the answer is yes, then for you it may be music.

    As far as wrong notes. That implies that sounds even have to be notes before they are called music. For some people I'm sure that's the case.

    As far as pleasing to the ear, I know what I like. I'm just amazed other people sometimes like it too.

    If it helps, I believe that wrong notes do not exist. Many a thing can be learned from working with troblesome notes and finding how to get them to work. Just don't get a big head and think any note will sound good any way, any time. Notes are just one part of the recipe anyways.

  5. #5
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    In music (as in any art) what is "wrong" is what we don't want or expect to hear.
    That varies from genre to genre. But expectation and familiarity are still fundamental. Whatever kind of music we choose to listen to, we might like to be surprised (by a fresh interpretation) but we don't want to be shocked (by something inappropriate).

    Eg, if we go to a chamber music concert, we don't want to hear a distorted Les Paul at 110 dB. That would be "wrong".
    OTOH, if we go to a death metal gig, and 4 dudes come on with violins (and NO AMPS!! ), we're not going to be too happy either.

    And at either kind of gig, we expect the performers to play the music correctly. We don't expect much improvisation. For a string quartet, we expect interpretation and expression from the performers, but we don't expect them to change the notes - if they played a G# where an F# was written, that would be "wrong" even if it still worked harmonically.
    At a rock gig, we also don't expect too much improvisation. Even in the guitar solo, we might like to hear the same solo they played on the CD.

    At a jazz gig, it's a little different. A jazz audience would be annoyed if a soloist DIDN'T improvise. If they played the same solos as last time, that would be "wrong" - however good they were.

    But in all cases, expectation is paramount. The musicians have to play - by and large - what the audience expects. Of course, a little freshness of interpretation is fine, even in the least improvised music. But even in improvised music, the kind of improvisation matters. (Even in jazz, there are sub-genres, where a right thing in one style would be wrong in another.)

    Even in the most avant-garde free jazz gig, where the performers can make any kind of noise they like, expectation plays a part. Eg, to would be "wrong" to play anything formal, like a Dixieland tune... (except it could work as a gag...)

    So to play "good music" means to understand and apply the "common practices" of whatever genre you're aiming at, and to have the skill to deliver the notes correctly. (In that sense, a "wrong note" is one you didn't mean to play - although if you were lucky it might turn out right. This can happen in jazz, and good jazz players are adept at turning mistakes into neat phrases.)

    But lastly, remember Duke Ellington's famous quote:
    "There's only two kinds of music: good, and bad. I like both kinds."

  6. #6
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    The Bass

    tHE GROOVE AND THE BASS ALSO THE LOOP.

  7. #7
    Artistically Bankrupt
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    Cultural indocrination determines what you like or not. Even the foreign-cultural arts you like have analogues within your own culture, and when you're exposed to them, some you like and some you don't. Deviance from your cultural norm is deemed "bad art" if it is too far removed, and "good art" if it satisfactorily emulates one or synthesizes two or more elements with which you're already indocrinated.

    It takes years and years to appreciably divorce your tastes from the ones hammered into you as a youth. I know we all like to "be different," but the reality is that those who are different generally adhere to the standardized and accepted tenets of nonconformity.
    "If a child learns which is jay and which is sparrow, he'll no longer see birds nor hear them sing."

  8. #8
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    Oh, I didn't really answer the question.

    For most of the Western world, Jessamanca's first line covers the bases. Commonly, those rhythmic and melodic lines have norms, such as regularity and adherence to a key center. A brutally short summation of American musical tastes is: "If you can't dance easy to it, it better be pretty enough to whistle."
    "If a child learns which is jay and which is sparrow, he'll no longer see birds nor hear them sing."

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    There is that certain soul to it, that hits you and you can't help but like it.

  10. #10
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blutwulf
    Oh, I didn't really answer the question.

    For most of the Western world, Jessamanca's first line covers the bases. Commonly, those rhythmic and melodic lines have norms, such as regularity and adherence to a key center. A brutally short summation of American musical tastes is: "If you can't dance easy to it, it better be pretty enough to whistle."
    Not only American...

  11. #11
    Modbod UKRuss's Avatar
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    There are two things that make music sound good. Volume and beer.


    The more volume and beer the better all music begins to sound.

  12. #12
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UKRuss
    There are two things that make music sound good. Volume and beer.


    The more volume and beer the better all music begins to sound.
    I think you've cracked it. How much do you charge for lessons?

  13. #13
    IbreatheMusic Author ChrisJ's Avatar
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    Beer makes the girls look better too.
    -CJ

  14. #14
    Modbod UKRuss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    I think you've cracked it. How much do you charge for lessons?
    Consider that bad boy a freebie.

    Beer also make me one hell of a guitarist!

  15. #15
    chewing bubble gum Chim_Chim's Avatar
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    diverse, but not scatter brained

    streamlined, but not to the point where it's too narrow and you are pigeon-holed into one type of sound that is too narrow of a sound

    open minded, but not so much so that your brain falls out

    pretty or ugly, but in balance on average

    no EXTREMES, extremes are bad, but also not too hum drum and bland

    no boring monotone crap, that's another type of extreme and it's extremely boring

    rowdy,but not all the time

    mellow, but not all the time

    a happy medium on average

    controversy sucks balls, **** controversy (irony intentional), but no, really, don't overdo it with controversy, it's obnoxious attention whoring in the EXTREME and it usually sounds bad too, which guarantees retards for fans

    have a rough side and a smooth side, a Lennon to your McCartney and a McCartney to your Lennon so that you are well rounded and not too EXTREME, extremists are *******s

    nobody cares about your dark arts or how badass you think you are

    SOMETIMES people are happy, it's okay...really! (cheer up or take your meds or something,sheesh!)

    Sometimes people are pissed off and that's okay too,just not all the time.

    Rather than adopt boring overdone devilish cliche's just break something and move on.

    Everybody loves beer and if they don't then relieve yourself on them.
    (joke,haha)

    It's okay to laugh at this post or to take it seriously to heart.
    Some days I seem to do OK. Other days I feel like just shoving an M-80 right up my guitar's butt.

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