Some friends were discussing a performer I’m not at all familiar with. She must be some sort of “pop” artist … well … but that’s not the right term I suppose. Most of this group of friends listen to things that are a bit different. Not quite pop, definitely no classical. Maybe more on the folk end, but I suppose it’s not even that. But, anyway, they were discussing a singer. And one said she didn’t really care for her but that didn’t mean the person wasn’t any good. And it got me wondering about how you judge that sort of music.

I’m out of it when it comes to things other than classical. I know names. I like certain singers. But I never know how others judge the music. From what so many tell me, intonation doesn’t matter. So what is it that listeners judge with other kinds of music? The lyrics? The structure of the song? The harmony? The chord structure? The singer’s voice? Or just some sort of “it got to me” reaction.

Is it pretty much subjective? I’m just wondering here because I asked them and they didn’t ever respond to my post.

1 Comment

  1. Outside of serious classical music circles, it looks to me like there
    really are no standards of quality other than “if I like it it’s good;
    if I hate it it’s crap.” I try to be fair and acknowledge that just
    because I don’t like it doesn’t mean that it isn’t any good but what are
    the standards? Even in classical music it’s largely a matter of opinion
    but in pop music there don’t seem to be any standards at all. I don’t
    see how they can say that intonation doesn’t matter. I think this is
    only a recent thing because if you listen to pop music from the 50’s
    and early 60’s, before dubbing, pitch correction and all that
    electronic tinkering, you can hear the difference. Then even pop
    singers had to know how to sing. The electronic tinkering can only fix
    so much. Somehow,  you can still tell the difference or at least I

    I think most people these days rarely even hear really good music. The
    big recording labels have pushed so much crap on the public that most
    people don’t have any basis for making judgements about quality. They
    are judging between really bad crap and just so-so crap and if they do
    hear something good it’s likely to be so unfamiliar sounding that they
    are immediately repelled by just the unfamiliarity of it. Everyone is
    making judgements about “quality” based on immediate gut reaction. They
    can’t tell you what the standards are because they’ve never for a
    moment considered the question of standards.