Why pop music sucks (theoretical proof).


Dez 30 2010, 0h13

It's not a secret that every musical composition in the most general form can be described by an acoustic formula. For instance, let's consider the following:
Y = X1 + X2 + X3 + , , , + Xn where Xi is a variable that in a given proportion and succession shows the quantitative form that represents all the acoustic qualities of any composition and let us describe it in musical notes. To go further , two probabilistic concepts should be taken into consideration. Firstly, the more statistical data you have, the easier it is to find out whether there is trend or not. Secondly, if there is a trend you can predict its future data with a certain degree of exactness.
People often say that pop music is the same. And from the mathematical point of view it's the truth simply because in a given point of time we can find an almost linear relation between the popularity of a given song in general or in a given genre etc and it's acoustic qualities. Proceeding from the previous paragraph we can be sure that there is quite enough statistical data to say that we can simply measure what acoustic qualities of compositions in a given period of time are trendy thus we can write a formula of pop music for a given period of time which can look something like this (only an example):
α = S1+ S2 + ... + Sn. But unlike the previous formula this formula has a certain degree of variability , thus it's not a determined acoustic interpretation of a given song but a formula that shows us most though not all possible proportions and successions of different acoustic qualities.
Firstly, there is no doubt we can prove that trendy music is trendy. Secondly, it seems like pop artists can feel the trend, they have an almost mystical understanding of probability of art. For instance, Lady Gaga managed to hit major charts simply because she intuitively managed to comply with the rules of the abovestated formula by writing several ridiculously popular songs.
On the other hand, people that devote themselves to a limited amount of genres and are proud of it, have nothing to be proud of. In fact, genres like or have even less variable acoustic formula than GaGa has. The situation from this point of view is even worse for genres like or etc.
If we push this probabilistic concept of quality of music even further then academic composers create the best music, in other words their music can't be even observed as a formula . Moreover, academic music has been progressing and creating innovations for more than 1000 years and that means that it is continuously becoming more and more sophisticated and the theory is more and more complex. The greatest example of such fact is Iannis Xenakis. Many pretentious people say that art is art and theory is theory but they are wrong. As now you know that a musical composition is a formula then it's easy to comprehend that an average academic composer have better formal skills in or let's simply say better at creating formulas that an average amateur composer. Simply because of the skill. Somewhat similar thing with playing a musical instrument - if you have skills you play better.
To sum up, people are different ,thus for most of us originality is not equal to enjoyment so there is nothing wrong with listening to pop music ( no one knows what's good and what's bad anyway) but you should really think about what you are listening to if you want to call yourself a person with a good taste in music.

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    I barely ever read something evenly stupid. You bring musics quality down to a formula wtf? Are you retarded or something? Do you really wanna say more complex, trickier and more sophisticated music is better? So for example the 3chordsbased blitzkriegbob is a bad song just because your formula says that? Do even know what art is? art is to 99% based on a creators/composers feelings and mood, skill is just a help. If it was the opposite such clowns as Yngwie Malmsteen or joe satriani would write good music just because they are more skilled, in this case the beatles would suck anyway because until 1966 they did the same as LadyGaGa, writing simple, stupid formulas hitting the zeitgeist/trend somehow. :D You have to be talented to write songs that really touch the people, that have a chorus, which anyone likes to sing all the time, I mean talented in songwriting as creating something, to express an idea via music more or less independently from any kind of instrumental - or in your special case:math - skills. Besides what sucks in pop music is not that it is "bad" music, it is the whole system you robot!!

    Dez 30 2010, 16h33

    Well I like at least one word of this whole piece of crap: "probabilistic", that was a nice one

    Dez 30 2010, 16h35
  • blackless

    LAMPDANIEL,Sorry but I think you didn't understand the idea of my post, or didn't read carefully enough. I didn't mean to judge what music is better or worse or offend anyone like many LastFM users do ( which I metioned in the last paragraph). 70% or more of the post are purely theoretical, I just introduced some mathematical concepts of music especially in the context of theory of probability. Actually many modern composers are experts in this field.Such concepts let us think much, really much wider about music. Moreover, I also said that USUALLY BUT NOT ALWAYS artists with good formal skills(not necessarily mathematical) create better art. Musical education help you express your talent better, doesn't it?! Otherwise you may be a super talented artist but may not know how to express yourself. Unfortunately, many people have somewhat religious attitude to music and say that it can't be explored at least to some extent even if they are atheists which is contradictory. If you don't believe in God then there can't be anything magical or touching about music, it becomes just like sex and we know different people have different SKILLS AND TASTES in the art of sex. And finally, though it's not that obvious but "my" formula doesn't tell that the more complex the music is, the better it is! I also enjoy Lady GaGa and raw black metal.

    Dez 30 2010, 23h39
  • blackless

    BTW, GaGa managed to create songs that really touch the people, that have a chorus, which anyone likes to sing all the time. She expresses her ideas independently from any kind of instrumental. So, I am waiting for more to-the-point and competent criticism.

    Dez 30 2010, 23h45
  • blackless

    Sometimes, but as I said in many cases you can't do without skills as they help you express your creativity. Though it's not the main message of my article.Why noone has commented on my theoretical hypotheses yet?

    Dez 31 2010, 20h45
  • Sunaralos

    Is this real.

    Dez 31 2010, 21h56
  • aeonfusion

    well anyone that's willing to argue that music isnt theoretical is just wrong. all music can be broken down into numbers, it is at it's core audible mathematics. While human characteristics such as passion, inspiration and sensibility do come into it (jim morrison or iggy pops yelling, stevie ray vaughans and jimi hendrix's slurs and beating of guitars) the rest is pretty much all numbers, if you want to argue, go read a music theory book and then argue

    Jan 2 2011, 18h13
  • blackless

    Yes, music is per se an audible form of mathematics. Moreover, composing is an art of mixing.The composer combine sounds and sometimes melodies he has heard before. Some modern composers like Stockhausen also create (synthesize) new sounds.

    Jan 2 2011, 19h31
  • blackless

    Sorry, but you didn't understand the article. I didn't write any words about such things as musical complexity and enjoyment and I didn't say that the more complex the musical piece is the better it is. I only said that musical theory is becoming more and more complex and this advanced theory brings more sophistication to our compositional skill because it breaks all barriers and obstacles that otherwise may prevent from expressing your creativity and talent in music to your fullest potential.

    Jan 3 2011, 17h39
  • halfmike

    Nice proof. I would say something like "Suppose we can judge the quality of music by listening to it. Then by exhaustion, contemporary pop music sucks."

    Jan 4 2011, 16h43
  • a_ste

    old music was made with a markup language, but the future form of music is dinamic. generated by body movement with algorithmical methods and computer assisted. in pop music the target is not the skill but the taste, i think Brian Eno, Colin Thurston, Conny Plank are/was real artist with exceptional good taste. the artist of the future is a programmer with good taste.

    Jan 5 2011, 4h07
  • naterade20

    I dont even what is this??

    Jan 8 2011, 7h28
  • BagelsArePwn

    @LAMPDANIEL: Yngwie and Joe Satriani wrote brilliant music, The Beatles were highly overrated, and all music can be represented with math.

    Jan 8 2011, 23h48
  • otherstonelion

    bagels are pwn

    Jan 9 2011, 10h50
  • wiedrzensky

    I like the way you wrote this article, especially the summary. music without a concept sucks anyway. but, I guess, like everything is just a matter of perception

    Jan 10 2011, 17h11
  • Dreamsomnia

    Ach so... o_0

    Jan 12 2011, 15h58
  • BFD31095

    "music is per se an audible form of mathematics" Music transcends mathematics. Of course, "all music can be broken down into numbers", but as a wise man once said, "the whole is more than the sum of its parts". Besides numbers, music can have emotions, it can have a soul and it can be meaningful; therefore, music is above and beyond mathematics.

    Jan 13 2011, 3h56
  • BFD31095

    But yeah, pop music sucks.

    Jan 13 2011, 3h57
  • blackless

    BFD31095 - What do you mean when you say that music is beyond mathematics? It always has mathematical model. Moreover, I didn't write much words about perception of music, I was mostly talking about how to prove the presence of trend in a given form of music. If you say that there is some kind of inexplicable beauty in music that can't be explained then you accept the possibility of existance of God. It's may be your hidden religious belief. Just like you most people who listen to antichristian & antireligious bands tend to hide their religious feelings. It's an unconscious process.

    Jan 13 2011, 11h24
  • BFD31095

    "It's may be your hidden religious belief" Hidden? Not really. Most of the music I listen to is spiritual/religious (Enemite, Gorguts, Worship, JS Bach). That's exacly why some music transcends mathematics - it reaches for something that can't be explained by numbers. Music that is just mathematics sucks exactly because of that - its just numbers, and nothing more.

    Jan 13 2011, 18h57
  • blackless

    Maybe. I don't know for sure it yet. Probably I will be doing some research in this field. Probably.

    Jan 13 2011, 20h21
  • Dreagan_luna

    it's the listener that decides if music is good or not. read up on peirce, assuming the music as a language to bring forth structured ideas. the In the relationship between sign and absent idea, it is purely regulated by the listener, placing the listener at a key point in the interpretation of music. It's never about the music itself, or the quality it has/lacks, it's all about how it passes through our interpretational system. And it's only after enough people have formed a knowledgeable opninion/interpretant, a concensus can be formed and a relatively acceptable connotation can be given.

    Jan 14 2011, 0h24
  • Dreagan_luna

    Also in this regard: the more knowledge a listener has, the better he can interpret the music. This means that for people with a low level of musical intellect complex music is not to be properly understood, and for people with a high level of musical intellect simple pop music can be a bit dull.

    Jan 14 2011, 0h26
  • blackless

    Yes, I agree. Also, music interpretation has something is common with calculation. Some are born with developed skills some are not, though everyone can develop themselves.

    Jan 15 2011, 0h29
  • becker_90

    obvious troll is obvious

    Jan 15 2011, 9h43
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