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What is Good Music?

Music is “sound”; and many sounds are irritating when we first hear it until we come accustomed to it the time that sound stops and we wonder what happened to it?

There’s no end of opinions about “what music is”; but basically,  music is organized noise, just as speech is. If you don’t know Hebrew or Russian or any other foreign language, it’s just a lot of “noise” until you learn it, or at least get used to hearing it.

It’s the same with music. Judgments vary depending on both culture and familiarity.

Instead of asking: ‘What is music?’ it might be easier to just ask: “What do we recognize, or accept, as music?” And the most honest response may be “I’ll know it when I hear it; again.”

Psychologists state that people prefer things they’ve experienced and  have known before, especially with art and music,  It’s when an unfamiliar genre or style is introduced, be it by Picasso, Mahler, Elvis Presley , “Rock and Roll” or the Beatles.  What is often criticized, even vilified, eventually becomes “familiar” and we begin accept it.

It’s a common trait. Research shows people begin to like or accept something the more they see and/or hear it; and music is the perfect example.

How many new music styles started out being criticized, even denounced, before they became popular?  Many of the classical music we listen to today were debuted with criticism, even hatred.

Oddly, the success of some of their works turned the composer himself into this own critic.

Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture won him fans and fame all over the world, yet he personally hated the piece. One critical reviewer called it “A very loud, noisy and completely without artistic merit, obviously written without warmth or love was penned by Tchaikovsky himself.