triple x: i'm in a "thoughtfull" mood right now. makes me treasure these common tastes we all share. ya know, in times of retrospection....used to
make a lot of music when i was younger...brings back only the positives of those memories. there's something to be said about that.
I'm a songwriter. One thing that always grabs me is how good lyrics and music paint a picture, transporting you instantly to some other place. (If
that was the intent.) For instance, I can't hear a Brian Wilson tune and not think of waves breaking on a beach for a very blatant example.
I have many great favorites and examples of great songwriting. It might seem cliche' but this guy is right up there with Irving Berlin and the other
greats of American songwriting.
There's none better in the last half century. If you could ever capture Paul Simon's secret you would have exactly what makes a song great. And
maybe that's it, you can't and so your search is never ending. And that's not such a bad thing, is it?
Originally posted by Realtruth
I appreciate all types music, but what makes a song good, great or outstanding?
I have been around music all my life, and learned to play instruments before knowing and understanding notes, theory, and progressing to musical
studies at a university, but what always gets me is that people know what a good or great song is without knowing anything about music theory. Just
because it makes them feel good or lifts their spirits.
Why are classics timeless? How do they seem to transcend the bonds of time, eras, generations, fads?
Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Bach, Hayden, Beethoven, BB. King, and more.
Here is just one an example.
Name a favorite of yours and tells us why, then find a link to the song if you can.
[edit on 1-8-2009 by Realtruth]
Very interesting thread. Thanks for posting this topic.
I've always been intrigued by this question also.
I've recently been listening to some of Beethoven's symphonies, live recording from like the 40'/50's with the composer Wilhelm Furtwangler.
Also I've been giving Frederic Chopin a serious listen also, performed by Rubinstein.
And of course there's many legendary artists subsequential to this, Pink Floyd, Miles Davis etc etc
I'm just picking names out a hat, but defining legends for their music...their just doesn't seem to be a precise science to really explain it.
Just, we seem to know somehow.
I know you can study mathematics behind music, I've been reading a paper recently explaining a lot of of the maths behind music, of course it can't
give a definitive answer to quantify the genius behind excerpts, there's a lot of psychology involved too I guess and possibly other areas of study.
But, maths seems to help explain some of the nitty-gritty aspects behind musical theory just like I guess Quantum Physics does in science.
I'm not a musical theory genie at all, but one of the things maths can do is help define consonance and dissonance with notes. The most consonant
sound is the perfect 5th for any tonic note or octave - your basic power chord. If you take an A for example with a frequency at 55Hz if you double
that frequency you get the octave which is 110Hz if you double the frequency again you get 220Hz which is an octave higher again. So you just double
or halve the frequency and you have an octave for any note. So between those frequencies you have mathematical partials where the rest of the notes
Again, If you take an A for example: 55Hz + 55Hz = 110Hz (octave). Now add 55Hz to that and you get 155Hz (perfect 5th) now add 155Hz + 55Hz = 220Hz
(the octave). 220Hz + 55Hz = 275Hz (Maj 3rd). Now add 275Hz + 55Hz = 330Hz (perfect 5th). Now add 330Hz + 55Hz = 385 Hz (minor 7th). 385Hz + 55Hz =
So by adding the frequency of the note each time to review the partials seem to be:
Tonic note - octave 1 - Perfect 5th - octave 2 - Maj 3rd - perfect 5th - minor 7 - octave 3....goes on and on until we reach beyond 20 000 Hz where we
can't hear anymore
The two most consonant sounds the Perfect 5th and the Maj 3rd have the smallest ratio to the tonic note. So they're more closely related and sound
the most consonant.
That's just a fraction of what maths can help explain
I wonder if we can use maths alone to dissect classic pieces of music and perhaps help give a calculated answer as to why the music works so well to
I mean, If anybody is up for the grueling task. It still seems like relatively fresh territory to cover. Assuming it's possible to quantify genius
behind musical excerpts in this manner.
The ones that really never get old for me are the ones that, with a clever turn of phrase and just the right emotional quality, wrap my psychological
issues up in a neat little package that I can set on the shelf and ignore for the rest of the night after I've played through the song (or a
soundtrack of related songs) a few times. On a psychological level, I like my music to be a loud noise that temporarily deafens me to that horrible
grinding sound in my head (figuratively speaking, i assure you).
Of course I love most of the usual suspects for a guy who hears music that way-
Alice Cooper, Metallica, etc
but Tom Petty and Johnny Cash and plenty of others have done it just as well.
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