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Music: Good or Bad?

By Patrick Clark
On August 31, 2011

Can one really determine whether a song or a piece of music is "good" or "bad?" This, over the past three years, has been a constant topic of discussion and a point of contention for myself and plenty of others involved in the music department here on campus. Y e t , in today's world, what we study, known to most as "classical" music is not really prominent nor listened to by a majority of the public. Does that give us a biased view to what is "good" music? Probably. But, this does not mean that we, by any  means, are correct in our judgement. I've often thought to myself for lengths of time about this dilemma, though others may disagree with me, I have come to a conclusion. Music, like any other art, is a human creation, an expression of emotion whether it was composed by Beethoven or Mike Posner. Therefore, I would argue that personal experience is the deciding factor. As a kid, I was never forced into listening to classical music on a regular basis or required to play an instrument. It was just something that appealed to me. My brother, on the other hand, sticks to Rap and R&B because it's what speaks to him.

All the different types of music exist because they appeal and speak to someone. Who has the right to judge whether that is good or bad? I think no one. So if you're ever asked if a song is good or bad I  would ask that you don't make that distinction but instead decide why you do or do not like it.  What  makes it appeal to you as an individual? Find that "thing" in the song, whether it's the beat or the  melody or a catchy line.That way, when you hear something that doesn't appeal to you, you know why.

I ask my music colleagues to judge a piece of music for its compositional merit. Base that analysis

on compositional techniques rather than just what you hear. Music as a genre deserves more

credit than the superficial words of "good" and "bad." Let it speak  and be appreciated. That's why it


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