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Why music is not respected as an art nowadays


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As a deep music lover, and a musician, I can say that today there's not a more uncomfortable place to sit than the place reserved to whom who truly appreciates music.

Can you see yourselves spending your life listening to thousands of albums, just to argue to a random dude about the fact that "a 13 minutes song is unlistenable lmao"?
Well, I wouldn't like to. But that's my life.

It's not something new to say that art has become a product of commerce under the section 'entertainment' over the last century, but the impact that this had on the various fields is something more ignored.
While literature and movies (that with music are the 3 most popular forms of art by far) still conserve some respect by their users, music has going down in a hole of disrespect and violence.  Before I speak about how this disrespect is practiced by the nowadays typical listener and producer's behaviours, I would like to say why in my opinion music became the most disrespected form of art.

We will all agree saying that every form of art needs a certain amount of attention to be understood and appreciated: if you want to evaluate the beauty of the production of an artist, you forcibly have to experience it.

Naturally, every art has a different mode of fruition:

  • A movie, asks you to stay silent on your chair and watch it.
  • A book, asks you to stay silent on your chair and read it.
  • A song, asks you to stay silent on your chair and listen to it  @#$%ing start dancing eheh I want to have fun xdxd

Films and books require a certain and obligatory amount of attention given by their mode of use. It doesn't matter how much you lousy and silly director want to make a silly and lousy work to sell more tickets: people will still have to find a reason to overcome their laziness, sit and watch it silently for X amount of time.

It doesn't matter how much you silly and embarassing writer want to write a silly and embarassing book to sell more copies: people will still have to find a reason to overcome their laziness, sit and concentrate on your words.

That's why movies are more popular than books: less efforts needed in appreciating them.

And that's why dumb people that don't care about art are forced to admit they are ignorant about them: they don't want to spend SO MUCH time and energy > they don't watch movies or read on a daily basis > they have no reason to pretend they know something about it.

And there's no way to really cheat, there's no way to watch a movie without watching it or to read a book without reading it. 

But music is so kind! If you want to, you can listen to music even when you are doing your work. 
You can listen to music at the supermarket, at the gym, in the hospital, in the elevator, every@#$%ingwhere you want to. It just requires your EARS, while your eyes and your hands are free to do whatever you want. While your mind is free to pay attention to something else.

So yeah, here we are: all the people in the world spend most of their life hearing music everywhere and all the time. That makes music easy to sell, easy to enjoy, the general required attention is near 0, so you can literally sell the same prototype-song over and over and no one will even realize.

And the real tragedy: the average casual listener will think he loves music, will think he's really passionate about music, he literally listens to so much genres. More delusional than a seventeen y.o. communist.

In reality, he just listens all day long to entertainment music. The same song, over and over again: different title, different words, 80-120 bpm, 4/4 time signature.
He's just the final part of the chain of a big sociological research investment, designed to give him exactly what he wants and what he already likes. 

Guys, I beg you to break the circle: stop listening to music while you do something else.

If you truly appreciate that artist, respect him and listen to what he wants to say to you. You would be surprised that maybe he doesn't really have nothing to say at all, and you wasted so much time with a moron. 

And that's exactly what you just did reading this. Would be better to avoid to commit the same mistake again, uh?
 

 

 

 



 

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@Pemulis Nice topic.

Somehow I skipped musical education in school and childhood and I didn't even pay attention to notes. I couldn't even distinguish what is higher in relative big intervals like between C and G notes. I was fired up with huge powerful subwoofers in high-school and it was about making your hair and body vibrate b/c of pressure, unlike listening notes, intervals, etc.  I could distinguish only between bass on 50hz and treble on 5-10k :D Not so bad, but point is that my brain just ignored "small" intervals like in above example. 

Recently I bought guitar, started to read/learn musical theory, improve my ear by listening, started to listen more careful church choir during liturgy (Eastern Orthodox church music is so rich). It just opened new world to me - or better to say gave me "hint" of new world. 

As you noted, now I hate to see how people listen (not listen but USE), music while doing something else. It's used as "background noise" to make something more fun! Disguisting! I also hate to listen loud music on some celebrations here. What's point? It's not natural and I doubt it's good for ears and mind. It's not fun for me.  

I believe it will get even worse b/c of internet and non-stop entertainment. People will not be able to stay alone in silence. We hate silence today.... we are scared of it. 

As you said, we can't read books, listen quality music without engaging other senses/mind centers, we can't live without high levels of dopamine that other low-quality entertaintment provides. I feel that personally. It's much easier to play or spectate 0AD for hours than read book for 30 mins. I think that's issue, tbh. It can only cause social and health issues to us. 

Edited by BeTe
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Modern music is not respected because there is too much crappy commercial music. You don't need to have talent or studies, just look nice and they will digitally fix the sound (or just lip synch), but the quality will still be crap.

It happens to other fields too. Computer science is not respected where I'm from, it's considered just a tool or a mundane trade, a joke. The job market is full of website developers and other lame jobs and they hire any techie, any engineer, physicist, biologist, accountant, high school student, or whatever.

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4 minutes ago, sarcoma said:

Modern music is not respected because there is too much crappy commercial music. You don't need to have talent or studies, just look nice and they will digitally fix the sound (or just lip synch), but the quality will still be crap.

It happens to other fields too. Computer science is not respected where I'm from, it's considered just a tool or a mundane trade, a joke. The job market is full of website developers and other lame jobs and they hire any techie, any engineer, physicist, biologist, accountant, high school student, or whatever.

Gone are the good old opera days :(

 

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On 21/11/2022 at 11:41 AM, BeTe said:

@Pemulis Nice topic.

Somehow I skipped musical education in school and childhood and I didn't even pay attention to notes. I couldn't even distinguish what is higher in relative big intervals like between C and G notes. I was fired up with huge powerful subwoofers in high-school and it was about making your hair and body vibrate b/c of pressure, unlike listening notes, intervals, etc.  I could distinguish only between bass on 50hz and treble on 5-10k :D Not so bad, but point is that my brain just ignored "small" intervals like in above example. 

Recently I bought guitar, started to read/learn musical theory, improve my ear by listening, started to listen more careful church choir during liturgy (Eastern Orthodox church music is so rich). It just opened new world to me - or better to say gave me "hint" of new world. 

As you noted, now I hate to see how people listen (not listen but USE), music while doing something else. It's used as "background noise" to make something more fun! Disguisting! I also hate to listen loud music on some celebrations here. What's point? It's not natural and I doubt it's good for ears and mind. It's not fun for me.  

I believe it will get even worse b/c of internet and non-stop entertainment. People will not be able to stay alone in silence. We hate silence today.... we are scared of it. 

As you said, we can't read books, listen quality music without engaging other senses/mind centers, we can't live without high levels of dopamine that other low-quality entertaintment provides. I feel that personally. It's much easier to play or spectate 0AD for hours than read book for 30 mins. I think that's issue, tbh. It can only cause social and health issues to us. 

@BeTe I really appreciate your story! It's amazing that you managed to improve your listening skills also on a technical point of view.

Unfortunately the desire for entertainment has become a real poison nowadays. I don't feel I can condemn it tout court, but still today it clearly became a plague.
An amazing novel by D.F.Wallace is centered on a tape containing the final entertainment product, called Infinite Jest. Every individual who comes across that tape and watches it, finishes to die on his sofa forgetting to take care of all his biological needs: the pleasure given by the tape is so profound that erase everything else.

I think entertainment can have a positive role, cause a mechanical stop of our inner thoughts can be good sometimes: who could recommend to a plumber, who works X hours a day, to watch an interview of Derrida instead of some sports when he finally returns home after a long day?

But when we starts to over-use this possibility, our brain lost itself in this haze made of empty pleasure. It's like heroin, but at least heroin kills you (joking).
Returning to music, I failed multiple times in letting my friends see what they are missing. I truly believe that the starting point has be arise naturally, as it happened with you.

However becoming good art enjoyers is not mandatory, it's just very sad to be delusional about it.
 

 

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@Pemulis Good points.

I'd like to expand discussion.

Quote

who could recommend to a plumber, who works X hours a day, to watch an interview of Derrida instead of some sports when he finally returns home after a long day?

I think we have wrong perception of entertainment. Why it must be on such low cultural level? Back to topic, do you think composers or their listener doesn't enjoy and relax by making/listening classic music? Do we believe that Nikola Tesla, I. Newton, A. Einstein, Shaekspire, Goethe, Dostoyevsky and other big people didn't enjoy revealing unexplored secrets of our universum ? Do we think big spirits from religion(s) didn't enjoy in their prayers and "contemplation" (not sure it's correct word)? Isn't it pleasure and relaxing when you work on your "spirit" and after day you feel you did something - at least a little bit - useful. 

I believe that these type of entertainment are much harder to get into and require strong will these days. But I believe it fills our life with feeling of sense (not sense itself) and that way we find another type of hapiness, long-term happiness. 

Also if you talk to people who are involved in charity organization, they all share some paradoxal feeling of hapiness. I guess we can try to explain that by empathy. 

Why that plumber can't sit on sofa and listen Bach, read some classic novel instead of stupid TV shows? In theory, he is tired physically not mentally...

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Some good points here. Pemulis, musical taste is a very personal thing. Why doesn't everyone like [insert food type here]? Does everyone have to like [insert food type here]? I tried to listen to Frank Zappa's music several times, but I don't like the psychological and sexual deviance themes. It's musically quite talented and varied, though. Clearly some prog metal artists have lifted some ideas from his music such as the wild chromatic scale breaks and time and key signature variations. Or, maybe they've derived from a common source.

On 21/11/2022 at 6:32 AM, sarcoma said:

Modern music is not respected because there is too much crappy commercial music. You don't need to have talent or studies, just look nice and they will digitally fix the sound (or just lip synch), but the quality will still be crap.

I saw a Youtube video today that explains some of the reasons that pop music is crappy. But, let's acknowledge that there is plenty of quality modern music that isn't pop music.

Some bullet points from the Youtube video.

  • Why pop music is the preferred taste of most people.
  • Why it's not good to allow people to own ideas. A related issue is software patents, which aren't mentioned in the video, but they have similar problems.
Edited by Norse_Harold
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On 01/12/2022 at 9:29 AM, BeTe said:

I believe that these type of entertainment are much harder to get into and require strong will these days. But I believe it fills our life with feeling of sense (not sense itself) and that way we find another type of hapiness, long-term happiness. 

I think you already gave a nice answer to that issue. Some fields in art (let's say all the "serious" art) requires a certain amount of efforts to be at least understood, and consequentially a certain amount of time and energy: now, most of people lack of both for various reasons (work, family, duties in general, etc.)

Let's say they cannot/don't want to pay the price in order to understand them, and that's okay. I think it has always been like this through history.

I don't believe any kind of "cultural experience" is required in order to be happy, despite the link knowledge-wisdom-happiness is very popular through all the history of philosophy. I'm not saying such things cannot help, but simply they are not the only path. 
The real special and unique thing that the experience of culture (don't know if I'm using this word properly in english, with it I mean all cultural products like arts, philosophy, architecture etc. etc.) gives us is the ability to understand the world in a better way, and to organize our thoughts consequentially.

The real big loss of a life without intellectual experiences is the lack of social and political consciousness in the individual, imho.

On 01/12/2022 at 9:29 AM, BeTe said:

Why that plumber can't sit on sofa and listen Bach, read some classic novel instead of stupid TV shows? In theory, he is tired physically not mentally...

Because listening to Bach, in our society, requires some preliminary efforts: you have to encounter his name somewhere, then be interested in him, then search his works and check if you like them. I know it sounds very easy to be made, but maybe for some people it is not so banal. 


I'll never forget the first time I listened to Trout Mask Replica by Captain Beefheart: it was one of the most ugly and unlistenable album I've ever encountered in my life.
I red a lot about it, and I listened to it multiple times, and now I'm able to understand it conceptually and to appreciate it aesthetically. It required time and energy that I was willing to invest 'cause I love rock music, and lot of artist and critics that I respect loved that album. 
Maybe if I was too busy working 12 hours a day I wouldn't even have found the time to find his name exploring the internet, you know what I mean?
I don't know if my point is clear, but I can summarize saying that art is something very elitist and most of the time talking about music/art tastes is almost like talking about the social class you are in.

 

 

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15 hours ago, Norse_Harold said:

Some good points here. Pemulis, musical taste is a very personal thing. Why doesn't everyone like [insert food type here]? Does everyone have to like [insert food type here]?

Sure it's personal, in fact I would never judge someone who tells me that he doesn't like my favorite composer for reasons that came from a conscious and critic listen of his works. The point is if that person doesn't even know what it means to listen to it.
By the way I can suggest to you the albums Zappa made in the '60, the later ones are full of satiric songs that can be funny and cute but imho were a tremendous waste of his talent most the time (maybe you are referring to some of them).

 

15 hours ago, Norse_Harold said:

Some bullet points from the Youtube video.

  • Why pop music is the preferred taste of most people.
  • Why it's not good to allow people to own ideas. A related issue is software patents, which aren't mentioned in the video, but they have similar problems.

Still have to watch all the video, 'cause my brain is very helpless recently.
I can say that when we talk about the "why" pop music is what it is I always consider primarily the fact that we are talking about an industry, that works exactly like an industry that sells biscuits of whatever.

The purpose of an industry is always the same: to make a good selling product, by matching what most of the people have in common in order to maximize the profits. And... what we all (or almost all) have in common if not feral pulses centered on sex, power, being rich and all irrational stuff? I have a relatively high level of cultural experience, but still I'm interested in sex kinda the same way a 17 yo illetterate from Naples does. It's natural that following this economical rule, pop art production will always be crap: 'cause desires for crap stuff is what we ALL have in common. This is what has the highest demand, what is most profitable to invest in.
I don't think it has nothing to do with the "disadvantage" in letting people owning ideas. I think pop industry works in a very naive way, and who works in it doesn't care at all (or probably isn't even aware of) the cultural crimes they are perpetrating over the years.
In a world in which songs with political/social meaning sell a lot, pop industry would make them 'cause it would be profitable.

It's kinda a problem to concern about the artistic value of what you are producing, if your only real purpose has to be selling 1.000.000 copies of an album in order to not lose billions of dollars.
But still I don't if this has something to do with the content of video, I excuse myself if I'm just talking nonsense.
 

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@Pemulis 1. Yeah, it's hard to rationally talk about abstract fields like hapiness. In my language word "to meet, meeting" is in the root of the word hapiness. Many people define word hapiness as pleasure, enjoying, feeling "good"... But I don't share that perspective. It might be even opposite in some moments. I think about it more transcendentally as deep, long-term achievement. But yeah, it depends on person values.

2. Yes, I agree about effort and background requirements to listen/read people like Bach, Dostoyevsky, Goethe, etc. But people around me put so much effort that they know 1000 football players, their history, price, transfers, etc. They spend half day analyzing games and placing bets. They spend 10h per day on idiotic things on TV or smartphone. It's not about time at all. 

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