What Earns the Title of Music?

I found this question posed on another WordPress Blog, and thought it was interesting enough to post here and share with you. I’d love to hear what you think. I’m also very interested in what Tommy thinks. I know he loves emotional music, but does bland sell-out type noise constitute music if it invokes emotion in its fans–even if they have a very low level of appreciation for music?

What is music?

We hear music everywhere we go and yet we call almost every sound the sound of music. But what really is ‘music’? How can we define it?

I believe music is that which causes emotion.

If music causes one to feel anger, hate, jealousy, that is music.

If music causes sadness, feeling, and fear, that is music.

If music causes happiness, goodwill, and well-being, that is music.

As long as music causes a change in mood, a change in emotion, then that is what I define as ‘music’.

You may see it differently, so I would like to know what your definition of music is!”


11 thoughts on “What Earns the Title of Music?

  1. I like that definition. I appreciate music on a deeper level than the average person; I appreciate a well-written song with good flow and resonating melodies. I also enjoy aggression and intensity in music. When those things are all in play and strong emotions are portrayed, then that usually does the trick for me. Disturbed is a band that exemplifies these elements.

    Also, while a lot of the music I listen to tends to have dark lyrical content, it doesn’t make me feel sad or depressed as a result. I truly appreciate the emotion and power that is expressed in that type of music, and oftentimes it’s powerful enough to send chills down my spine. People always joke with me and ask if I had a rough childhood or if I am in depression, and quite honestly, that really bothers me, because it just shows that they don’t understand the effect that music of that quality and power has on me as a listener.

    Back to the definition, while I detest Katy Perry’s music, and most new-wave pop, rap, and hip-hop, I will say that these genres do fit the bill so long as they change the mood of their fans (if they feel more excited or are put in a fun, outgoing mood). Of course, the quality of that type of music simply doesn’t compare to most of what’s in the rock genre. Am I a musical snob? Maybe, but anyone who truly appreciates music for music’s sake should agree with me.

  2. I have to disagree with the definition on this basis. If music is any sound that creates a emotional response then wouldn’t a siren that causes people to be upset or irritated constitute music? I think there is more to it than the author puts it, but nevertheless it is an interesting angle.

    Secondly, let me counter you. You said you are offended when people joke with you about liking music with dark lyrics, however you did tell me that dark music resonates with you more, is more powerful, and more real real. Therefore it isn’t a stretch to think that dark times had to happen for them to “resonate” with you in such a powerful and real way. I’m just playing the devil’s advocate, but you shouldn’t find peoples conclusions so far fetched.

  3. And they shouldn’t just jump to conclusions before they know the real story. I even told you that lyrics aren’t hugely important to me. I do appreciate good lyrics, but for the most part, as long as they are not completely stupid, I’m fine. It just so happens that dark lyrics tend to create darker music, which generally has more power and raw emotion that I APPRECIATE more as a listener, but don’t necessarily RELATE to.

  4. Fair enough, I was only playing devil’s advocate. I merely wanted to show you how people may jump to that conclusion, especially if you’ve told them that type of music “resonates” with you more (as you told me).
    Songs like Shinedown’s 45 can be less relatable for some people and thus make them less appealing. A great deal of people enjoy music that relates to their life. In many instances I am one of them.

  5. Obviously many people enjoy relating to song lyrics. If there are some good lyrics that I can relate with, then that’s cool. But the sound of the music is the #1 factor for me personally. I obviously don’t relate at all to the lyrical content of 45, because I’m happy with my life and I’ve never had suicidal thoughts of any kind. But I think the song sounds awesome, so I like it a lot.

  6. And to clarify, by “resonate”, I just meant that the emotions expressed are more raw and powerful, and can “wow” people as a result.

  7. Upon further review, I heard some rap today, and I take back what I said. There is no way it’s music. Regarding the definition, I will say that the best music does invoke some REAL, DEEP, emotion, or at the very least, it portrays emotion on a level that listeners can appreciate.

  8. Why were you subjected to rap?
    I think the caveat to definition above is that to qualify as music it has to be created artistic intent. You can’t just put junk together to make money (Katy Perry) or to be cool (Justin Bieber) and call it music. Even if that makes people happy, it’s fake. The emotion has to start with the artist not a giddy 14 year old.

  9. I agree completely.

    As for the rap, my roommate just had some on, testing out his new stereo system. It wasn’t really an issue, but after I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that rap really doesn’t qualify as music. So when people say “rap music”, that’s an oxymoron.

  10. Pingback: Emotionally Packed Songs – List & Discussion « Ryan's Rants & Tommy's Tirades

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