The topic discussed under the “Music Minute” segment in our last podcast was whether or not we’re ever going to run out of good music. Now before you get to hippying out over how music is subjective and how there’s no such thing as “good or bad” music, allow me to explain. Of course the likeability of any art including music is relative to each individual. But, there is a such thing as music that can be generally described as good, and on the other hand technically just bad. The good we’re talking about here is the technical arrangement or even just the use of keys, scales, and chords that are pleasant to hear no matter who your are. So from this perspective, bad music would be, say for example, slamming your fingers all over a piano without any purpose other than to make noise. This is bad music.
Now that that’s straight, the question arises: Will we run out of music that is good but also original? Have we already run out? There are only so many chords and scales on the music spectrum, and so many variations of such chords and scales, and only so many different ways to compose said chords and scales uniquely. Of course, there are an exponentially vast amount of ways to originally compose various types of music and songs using what we have on the musical spectrum, but not an infinite amount of ways, and music has been around for a little bit, so we’ve used up a lot of those variations over the past thousand years or so.
On the podcast, we’d discussed if we’d already run out of new sounds to make and whether or not we’d ever hear something COMPLETELY original, since every musician is inspired by somebody. But that’s what I wanted to talk about here, to kind of flip the coin and consider the other end of the spectrum, to consider whether there being a deep history of music that artists today can draw from is a good thing.
Once music was discovered and instruments to make music began to be made and the “musical spectrum” of chords and scales that I’ve been talking about that are applied to said instruments began to expand, so many different genres, styles, and mixes of music have been seen and tampered with over the many centuries. If someone who’s never heard a single song before in their life were to become a musician, he most likely wouldn’t come up with anything original. He’d arrange chords and scales in a way we’ve heard it before. So is that to say that there can be nothing “new” in the world of creating music?
I personally think that the rich history of music isn’t a hindrance, but perpetuates change and originality. Most if not all musicians are inevitably directly or indirectly inspired by some other musician or past style of music. The fact that so much has been said and done only encourages originality though. It makes it hard to be different, sure, but since so much has been done, perhaps everything as far as musical compositions go, those who are truly creative are incited to take what’s been done and turn it on its ear, to change what we all know and what our ears have already heard.
Musically speaking, there may not be any more to discover, but because of that, there is so much to do. So I’m not talking about a musician coming up with anything that simply sounds good; Musicians have been doing that for years, and all of my favorite artists sound good to me, but they all use scales and chords and arrangements that have been used before or are inspired but someone else before them. Now that music is trending in culture more than ever, people are much more open minded to change in this area. Social media allows people to express their ideas and creativity. Technology and ease of use allows anyone to express what they have in their mind. This is an exciting time for music.
What’re your thoughts? How is music progressing in our culture today? Share down below!