The Official KSAND Kent Sandvik Web Site

Producer, guitar player, composer and maker of noise.

Music as An Art Form Where Quality Could Be Noticed

Posted on | November 18, 2010 | No Comments

Queen's Bath, Kauai Hawaii sun beamI was thinking about the various art forms and how they relate to each other concerning how the audience reacts to the quality aspect. Let’s say  with photography, you could take any kind of photo from super-photo realistic images to totally over-exposed material and still call that art. Same with painting. Video has its cases of terrrible video quality but nowadays even badly digitized YouTube material is used on broadcast TV so it’s accepted.

As for music, the audience could quickly register if a particular presentation lacks the quality aspect. Let’s say a badly tuned guitar, or the musicians not playing in sync, or each one playing a different take or odd scale. Or the drummer not keeping the pace. There are exceptions like the early day punk movement even if I do think they masked their shortcomings by playing loud and fast so such cases were not recognized. And even if you think Deerhof is a bad band, they are actually doing pretty amazing music by using banality as the key to their success.

For me, I could tolerate a lot, but hearing copycat versions of euro-trans songs one after another — like at a jazzercise class — is where it hits a nerve on me. Well played but super-boring, so the quality aspect is there. I could stand a badly playing band if they sound interesting, but I have a hard time listening to something that is banal and super-commercial to the point so it’s like sugar on top of sugar.

Maybe the closest other art form where quality is apparent is literature, someone who can’t write will seldom  become a successful writer. Those who know that hire ghostwriters.

Going back to music, at jams there are different tolerance levels for quality. Some don’t like the sloppiness of musicians that can’t play a song or can’t play together. Others ignore this as long as the presentation is interesting. I could tolerate it but I’m less inclined to listen to a really boring presentation of yet-another-blues cliche song. So we are all different. As for mixes, a really badly mixed version is not fun listening, the quickest way to turn away a consumer from your music is not spending enough time doing a properly mixed (and mastered) version. This is where the amateurs are separated from the professionals.


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