Judging musicality

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larryace

"Uncle Larry"
That whole exchange between Matt and James got me thinking about something. James said you can't prove that Travis is better than Buddy. You can however take a vote. So if you got together a few million people (humor me here) and did a versus thing with videos of each, and took a vote, would that count for anything if one was the clear winner? (operative word clear) I'm going with yes. If I'm right, then is that proof? I'm stickin with yes. Feel free to shoot holes in my theory.
 

JPW

Silver Member
Are all opinions equal? Pick a 1000 15 year olds and your result will be much different than if you'd pick 1000 teachers from music universities. =P
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Obviously you would have to have as wide a variation of people as possible. Let's just say the entire civilized world, for arguments sake. That way the jury can't be weighted.
 

JPW

Silver Member
I don't think it works that way. You can't judge something you don't know much about. There are artists that are really musical but most people just don't get it. So while popularity can be measured by voting, I'm not sure musicality can.

What is musicality?
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
So if you got together a few million people (humor me here) and did a versus thing with videos of each, and took a vote, would that count for anything if one was the clear winner?
It would give you a clear winner for the title of "most broadly appealing of the two video clips" but not much else. Most people are not qualified to judge musicality/musical ability or much of anything else relating to music- the only thing they can really tell you is whether something conforms to their taste or not.

I missed the original discussion- Travis who?
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Wasn't there already an album out called "50,000 Elvis fans can't be wrong"?

Or was that 5,000,000? Well, there you go.
 

ChipJohns

Senior Member
That whole exchange between Matt and James got me thinking about something. James said you can't prove that Travis is better than Buddy. You can however take a vote. So if you got together a few million people (humor me here) and did a versus thing with videos of each, and took a vote, would that count for anything if one was the clear winner? (operative word clear) I'm going with yes. If I'm right, then is that proof? I'm stickin with yes. Feel free to shoot holes in my theory.
I agree with you wholeheartedly Larry... Except for one thing. But this is actually going to give more creedance to your argument


JPW ...I don't think it works that way. You can't judge something you don't know much about. There are artists that are really musical but most people just don't get it. So while popularity can be measured by voting, I'm not sure musicality can.

What is musicality?
The premise is that musicality is subjective. What I like may not be what you like. Even, though this is true, it has nothing to do with musicality. I am going to push JPW's statement even further. I am going to include most of us are on the list of people who cannot distinguish what TRUE "musicality" talent is. (Sorry to burst your ego dudes, almost all of us fit into this category.)

Instead, if you were to take the top one hundred symphony conductors in the world, they have what it takes and CAN define and identify the "musicality" of a person.

If we could get them in a room and analyze a group of drummers, guitarists, keyboardists, or any instrument, they would be able to accurately quantify and and identify their skills.. They do this all the time, and they're good at it

These people (conductors) are just amazing.
 
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motojt

Guest
It comes down to semantics again:
Point #1 Musicality
Point #2 Musical
Point #3 Talent

So musicality is possessing a quality that is defined as a subjective thing or a subjective measure of a subjective thing. Subjective because what's appealing to some, may not be for others, and what's artistic to some is crap to others. Some people like gangsta rap, but I sure as hell don't. I like hip-hop, but I know a lot of people who don't. I think taiko is annoying as piss, but most Japanese folks seem to like it just fine. So I might hear some guy beating on some drums thinking he's just making noise, but taiko lovers would recognize it as being musical. Is abstract really art or is it just a bunch of random lines and splotches being called art by some hippy douche who can't paint apples and bananas? So, by definition, yes, all opinions of what is musical are equal.

To directly answer your question, no, you wouldn't have a definitive "more musical" drummer, you'd have a consensus of people who believe that drummer is more musical. You'd basically have the Drummerworld version of American Idol.

On a side note, I don't know why I argue semantics so much. I think it's my OCD. We all get to have at least one, right? :p

EDIT: So I'm sitting down to take a shit and I had a thought on JPW's point about not being qualified to judge something. It really sounds good, really, you just don't get it. You know, that point. Anyway, say Tony Williams and Buddy Rich are hanging out one day. Right then and there Buddy writes what he believes to be a great song and plays it for Tony who thinks it's shit. Who's right? Do they have to get the opinion of Joe Morello to break the tie? Is three people enough? Shouldn't they get input from non-jazzers too? What if all the drummers in the "master drummers" club end up 50/50? If Tony bangs on trees and hubcaps making random noise and calls it music, is it music? Is a singing bird really making music or just random sounds? Music is in the ear of the beholder. Anyway, I gotta wipe now. What do you think, Larry? Mummy hands?
 
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ChipJohns

Senior Member
It comes down to semantics again:
Point #1 Musicality
Point #2 Musical
Point #3 Talent

So musicality is possessing a quality that is defined as a subjective thing or a subjective measure of a subjective thing. Subjective because what's appealing to some, may not be for others, and what's artistic to some is crap to others. Some people like gangsta rap, but I sure as hell don't. I like hip-hop, but I know a lot of people who don't. I think taiko is annoying as piss, but most Japanese folks seem to like it just fine. So I might hear some guy beating on some drums thinking he's just making noise, but taiko lovers would recognize it as being musical. Is abstract really art or is it just a bunch of random lines and splotches being called art by some hippy douche who can't paint realistic looking things? So, by definition, yes, all opinions of what is musical are equal.

To directly answer your question, no, you wouldn't have a definitive "more musical" drummer, you'd have a consensus of people who believe that drummer is more musical.

On a side note, I don't know why I argue semantics so much. I think it's my OCD. We all get to have at least one, right? :p
I mildly disagree with this. There are many different styles of music. But,musicality is musicality. Most things we tend to measure; I think musical ability cannot be quantified, but it can be identified, It can be assessed, It can be judged, and it can be compared.

I'm going to go back to my last post because classical music is so very special. Most of these musicians are extremely musical. The ones that are first chair in the big orchestras and symphonies are just unbelievable musicians. They are the most technical, and they have the ability to play a piece with not only their own feeling, but, also borrowing the feelings of someone else, the conductor.

The ability to assess the musical abilities of these individuals is much easier due to the style of music they play. It puts their abilities and skills right out there where you can see it.

However, these skills are the same skills that anyone that is musical possess. It's just a little more difficult to spot them with different types of music.

I would still bet my life on my opinion that these people who train the best, who conduct the best, they are qualified and possess the ability to accurately assess anyone's musical abilities. And, they have the ability to transcend styles of music they do not prefer and see individuals for what they are.

Don't get mad at me motojt,My OCD is acting up too.... @:))
 
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motojt

Guest
@Chip, the first musicians in history created the standard by which we now decide what is acceptable as music. To an infant, the noise of the dishwasher is musical. Neither every person, nor every society appreciates western classical music, or western music at all for that matter. Why should the rules of our ancestors dictate what we appreciate as music or disregard as noise? Would Bethoven have appreciated the blues? If not, does that mean the blues is not music?

And don't worry, I never get emotional on internet forums. It's all just code to me. :)
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
That whole exchange between Matt and James got me thinking about something. James said you can't prove that Travis is better than Buddy. You can however take a vote. So if you got together a few million people (humor me here) and did a versus thing with videos of each, and took a vote, would that count for anything if one was the clear winner? (operative word clear) I'm going with yes. If I'm right, then is that proof? I'm stickin with yes. Feel free to shoot holes in my theory.
I think your question/theory about musicality is way to specific and well-defined for us to discuss. Pick something fuzzier to discuss.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
...I am going to include most of us are on the list of people who cannot distinguish what TRUE "musicality" talent is. (Sorry to burst your ego dudes, almost all of us fit into this category.)
I don't know what your definition of TRUE musicality is, but I'm pretty sure that it's unique to you. The problem is is who gets to define what TRUE is? Is it you, or is it in your next paragraph?
Instead, if you were to take the top one hundred symphony conductors in the world, they have what it takes and CAN define and identify the "musicality" of a person.
They wouldn't be a bad place to start, but they're inevitably as biased in their musical opinions as the rest of us are, so making a value judgment from their collective opinion probably wouldn't favor a Ringo, for example, so asking them wouldn't answer the question.

Anyway, I'm still baffled by the habitual need to make it a competition - to be able to quantify who's "better" or "best". It's art, for crying out loud, and there isn't a standard all-encompassing metric that we will all ever agree on, so to keep trying is just to bang your head against a wall.

It goes straight back to that joke someone posted recently about the letter to "The World's Greatest Drummer". (I loved that one!)
 

ChipJohns

Senior Member
I don't know what your definition of TRUE musicality is, but I'm pretty sure that it's unique to you. The problem is is who gets to define what TRUE is? Is it you, or is it in your next paragraph?
They wouldn't be a bad place to start, but they're inevitably as biased in their musical opinions as the rest of us are, so making a value judgment from their collective opinion probably wouldn't favor a Ringo, for example, so asking them wouldn't answer the question.

Anyway, I'm still baffled by the habitual need to make it a competition - to be able to quantify who's "better" or "best". It's art, for crying out loud, and there isn't a standard all-encompassing metric that we will all ever agree on, so to keep trying is just to bang your head against a wall.

It goes straight back to that joke someone posted recently about the letter to "The World's Greatest Drummer". (I loved that one!)
Pretty interesting. I have been a little perplexed with this and after about 45 minutes of research and reading I found the answer that you gave in your post. I should have just checked here sooner.

We all are expressing our opinion on the subject. If one of us would say, " Let's find the most musical drummer using "these criteria," we may be able to get closer to an answer of how to do it. But each of us have our own definition of what musicality "truly" is and we are all right. EXCERPT OF SOMETHING I READ: "Reimer warns of the dangers of
creating a definition of musicality that imposes “rigidity.” In his words, a definition
should be used as “tools for thought rather than a prescription to be followed slavishly” - http://act.maydaygroup.org/articles/Jaffurs3_3.pdf

But you are 100% correct Mike. I am making statements with the presumption of what my definition of musicality is. and this is fine from the perspective that I am thinking, but, it really doesn't go any further than my own nose!

I was trying to figure out why I felt so strongly about being right on this and now I clearly see the flaw in my analysis. It's not incorrect in and of itself, its just prejudiced. @:)

Second point: It's funny because I also agree with you. Generally speaking I hate to compare musicians from any standpoint as to whose better. As a matter of fact way back in high school, the band I was in talked the school into making the talent show, just that and NOT a competition. They went for it and it was the best talent show ever! All the bands pulled together and had a great time.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
To clarify, the vote is asking who do you think is the better drummer, not who is more musical. I really misnamed the thread. It should have been named, judging betterness ha ha. That changes things. Better is very vauge, but when you compile millions of votes, a pattern should emerge.
 
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motojt

Guest
Anyway, I'm still baffled by the habitual need to make it a competition - to be able to quantify who's "better" or "best". It's art, for crying out loud, and there isn't a standard all-encompassing metric that we will all ever agree on, so to keep trying is just to bang your head against a wall.
Damn straight. It's like asking who's better, Monet or van Gogh.

If, however, you really, really want to start rating people, as I said in the other thread, we shouldn't ask, "Who's a better drummer?" Instead we should ask more than one question. Such as, "Who is more diverse?" "Who is more technically proficient?" "Who is faster?" "Who has created more unique music?" We can then use the answers to those questions and add our own opinions to the intangibles like style, swing, influence, etc. Then we can take the final tally and apply the Megometer™ score as discussed. ;)
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
It's just that people have a need to quantify. All along everyone has said you can't say someone is better than another. I'm not so sure about that. I don't need to prove anyone better than anyone else, I'm just questioning status quo, can't help it..
If you have 75% of the people who think Buddy is a better drummer than Travis, that's gotta count for something. If this were a court of law, pitting one drummer against another, I think that guidelines could be established.
 
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