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In your opinion, what aspect of music makes the biggest impact?

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In your opinion, what aspect of music makes the biggest impact?

Postby YoungCapone » Tue Mar 10, 2020 4:36 am

To be clear, YES I know this is a very broad question and YES I know there are a million different answers. I’m just very curious what everyone thinks about this and would love to hear as many perspectives as possible. In your opinion, what makes people enjoy listening to music/ what makes music compelling/ what makes you want to listen to it again, There are no wrong answers...GO!
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Re: In your opinion, what aspect of music makes the biggest impact?

Postby Wonks » Tue Mar 10, 2020 11:50 am

For me, it has to be a good tune, followed by being performed well.
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Re: In your opinion, what aspect of music makes the biggest impact?

Postby desmond » Tue Mar 10, 2020 11:53 am

It has to connect with the listener in some way.
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Re: In your opinion, what aspect of music makes the biggest impact?

Postby The Elf » Tue Mar 10, 2020 11:53 am

The 'song' and the performance. These above anything else.

And not necessarily in that order...
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Re: In your opinion, what aspect of music makes the biggest impact?

Postby MarkOne » Tue Mar 10, 2020 12:11 pm

Someone once said to me "Write music that moves you - If it moves other people that's a bonus, but if you can't emotionally engage with it, chances are nobody will"

It can be the song, lyrics, arrangement, recording, or all of the above. When the magic happens and you're listening to something and it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up - That's the biggest impact.
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Re: In your opinion, what aspect of music makes the biggest impact?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Mar 10, 2020 3:02 pm

This ^^^.
It has to trigger an emotional response in me otherwise it's really just noise. I'm really a song person at heart, so that combo of words and melody is critical.
Not that I don't appreciate a good instrumental work, but if I could work out my all-time top ten pieces of music I doubt there'd be more than 1 instrumental on there.
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Re: In your opinion, what aspect of music makes the biggest impact?

Postby desmond » Tue Mar 10, 2020 3:14 pm

trigger an emotional response

This is really what I meant in my post above.

- It might be just the right groove when you're on a dance floor.
- It might be a killer lyric that really homes in on something meaningful to you.
- It might be a particular choice of synth sound that you particularly love.
- It might be a singer delivering a killer performance.

Lots of ways. I think as musicians, in some ways while we're more cynical ("Oh good grief, another I-IV-V chord sequence in C", "Wow, D50 preset there, hardly original", "Ah, that whole song is a Garageband loop" and so on), but because we're very close to music, there are additional ways we can be triggered because the music matches things we personally like - sound, arrangement and melodic choices, even production choices and so on.*

But basically, different music triggers different things in different people. As long as it's doing *something* good to *someone* (even if it's just the composer!), then it has some worth. I tend to find melody and harmony has more weight to me than rhythm, and I know people who are the other way around.

* One thing I particularly like is when a musician makes a choice that is completely different to how my brain works, and takes me by surprise. I remember one track had a little simple guitar solo, but the way it was phrased kinda broke my brain, in that it just did something that I would never have come up with. Instead of ending the phrase when my brain would be saying "that feels musically complete and satisfying" it continued the phrase for a three more notes. It was such a simple thing, but it really ran across and broke down some brain borders I had without really realising it. I love stuff like that!
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Re: In your opinion, what aspect of music makes the biggest impact?

Postby John Egan » Tue Mar 10, 2020 5:14 pm

YoungCapone wrote:To be clear, YES I know this is a very broad question and YES I know there are a million different answers. I’m just very curious what everyone thinks about this and would love to hear as many perspectives as possible. In your opinion, what makes people enjoy listening to music/ what makes music compelling/ what makes you want to listen to it again, There are no wrong answers...GO!

I think that context is the most important element in making an impression. Where are you when you first hear it ? What frame of mind are you in ? Who are you with ? First impresions count. All the other factors come into play to solidify the relationship.
Regards, John
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Re: In your opinion, what aspect of music makes the biggest impact?

Postby MOF » Tue Mar 10, 2020 5:34 pm

It’s principally the combination of melody and lyric for me but then it’s down to performance/voice quality and arrangement e.g. Badfinger’s “Without you” isn’t a patch on Nilsson’s version.
Then, where applicable, it’s the drums/percussion elements.
I’ve had a similar question to yours for some time (more of a theory really), do we become so accustomed to a full track with all its elements that we assume that the melody is intrinsically great or is it everything else that locks it all into place?
By that I mean, it would be interesting to send out three songs top lines, played on a synth sine wave, maybe with a metronome count, to a large group of people and ask them to rate the songs 1-10.
Then a week later send out the same songs with a vocal line and basic guitar or piano accompaniment and then finally the full song arrangements and see how the scores change over time.
My hunch is that they would change because of the way a lyric can work symbiotically with the melody (it makes the note sequence more memorable) and then the added instruments, voices, drum grooves and production.
It’s a case of not being able to un-hear a song, once you know it you’ll fill in the blanks when hearing it live for instance. The same holds true for instrumentals, except for the lyrical contribution, imagine Beethoven’s 5th Symphony just as a top line, it might take a while to appreciate it without all the counter melodies and orchestration, the opening eight notes need the impact of those orchestral stabs.
It explains how a good A&R person/Producer in the old days would hear the potential of a song when others had passed on the same demo.
There’s also often the requirement for repeated listening before a song becomes ‘good’ to the listener. I found this with Sting’s ‘Nothing like the sun’ album, I was about to return it (too jazzy) and then a few more listens and suddenly it was a great album.
That’s my take on your question. As you say there are no right answers.
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Re: In your opinion, what aspect of music makes the biggest impact?

Postby CS70 » Tue Mar 10, 2020 5:46 pm

It's like asking which aspect of someone makes the biggest impact. There isn't such a thing.

Look at modern viral hits (which happen without gatekeepers) and you will find any opinion above negated tenfold. Not because they're wrong (I share many of them) but because every aspect makes some impact and it changes al the time.

Certain factors (like a good production, for example) used to be pretty stable but likely that was mostly due to gatekeeping (crappily produced stuff had no outlets worth speaking for, so all that stuff that actually reached a critical mass of people was relatively well produced because, well, it was an assumed part of the gatekeeping process). Look at TikTok, and you won't find great production values.

Nothing wrong with that by the way. We are driven by the urge of classifying, finding predictors and what is "best" and "biggest" (what's the best guitarist, the biggest band, the greatest singer) while little of that ever resist a little examination.
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Re: In your opinion, what aspect of music makes the biggest impact?

Postby N i g e l » Tue Mar 10, 2020 7:37 pm

What aspect of music makes the biggest impact?

The MTV video, or equivilent !


Is there still a space for low key subdued performances ?
A strange one for me was Abba's The Day Before You Came. My 1st thoughts were that it was boring, nothing happens and its 6 minutes long.

It quickly grew on me to become a classic.
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Re: In your opinion, what aspect of music makes the biggest impact?

Postby MOF » Tue Mar 10, 2020 7:55 pm

The MTV video, or equivilent !

There are some that are so naff that they might do the opposite. Thankfully I heard Celine Dion's "A new day has come" before I saw the video some years later. Just my personal opinion. :lol:

I loved "The day before you came" straight away and couldn't understand why it didn't go to No1. I still love it, one of their best.
I do find that some artists singles get eclipsed by album tracks after a while, maybe due to over exposure when they first came out.
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Re: In your opinion, what aspect of music makes the biggest impact?

Postby FrankF » Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:18 pm

It has to have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but not necessarily in that order (with oblique apologies to Eric Morecambe).
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Re: In your opinion, what aspect of music makes the biggest impact?

Postby Watchmaker » Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:51 pm

the binding of the ethereal to the emotionally real. music is the attempt to connect, the seeking of self, the use of personal content to create meaning in a social context, identification with self and other. this demands a guileless honesty that when it happens, transcends "ordinary" experience and literally enriches the universe by giving form to the unmanifest. For me anyway, in a word, its the act of magic. I'm very forgiving of all those who strive and have yet to find a way.
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