Saturday, August 1, 2020

My musical preferences

Since I said I will discuss my preferences in music and dance, here is a post on that. Here are descriptions of what I enjoy in music and dance, and what I wouldn't enjoy (or may even find irritating) done in and towards different aspects of music and dance.


First, I listen to and watch only music and dance that is secular, and without sexual objectification. Also, I am aesthetically a musical and dance formalist, which means I appreciate music and dance for their abstract, 'physical' beauty and direct effect and not for their emotional stimulation or associations. Associating explicit emotions with music and dance are undesirable to me, and this is of course only personal. So my preferences in various aspects are below. Some of these are just preferences and others are essential to me in music and dance, where I find the opposite very irritating, so that I may not be able to appreciate performances where these are not followed.

1. Rhythm: 

Like - Balanced, beautiful rhythmic composition, balance between repetition and variation, downbeats and syncopation, regularity and irregularity. Limited usage of uneven metre and uneven divisions of phrases, and those should still be considered as variations of even metres and divisions, nothing particularly distinct except just being a different variation. Giving value to beauty of rhythmic patterns over complexity.

Dislike - Extreme variation, extreme irregularity and unnecessary complexity. Too much use and craze for uneven metres and phrase divisions, stressed to be distinct and more complex than even metres and phrasing. Judging the value of rhythmic patterns by their complexity and irregularity as positive.

2. Instrumental music and musical sounds:

Like - Proper use of rhythmic instruments to play rhythmic music, and only rhythmic instruments and not purely melodic ones. Distinguishing properly between rhythmic and purely melodic instruments and playing methods if an instrument can be both. Distinguishing between tuned rhythmic and purely melodic instruments and playing differences in instruments that can be both. Using an instrument according to its proper function as rhythmic or purely melodic and recognising natural differences making instruments suitable to certain kinds of playing, sometimes exclusively. Recognising the importance of form of sound in variably pitched instruments and giving it adequate importance as separate from rhythm. Recognising rhythmic nature of rhythmic tuned instruments irrespective of being tuned, and importance of rhythm in their music. Understanding that a kind of instrument can be used in different styles with varying effects. Appreciating that an instrument may be played solo suitably to its music without lacking musical content. Recognising the importance of both rhythm and sound in rhythmic instruments, both tuned and variably pitched. Looking at instruments first functionally as rhythmic, purely melodic, independent, accompanying, etc. before the sounds they make. Balance between musical layers. Distinguishing between rhythmic and purely melodic ornaments.

Dislike - Improper usage of instruments for rhythmic music, using instruments that are not rhythmic or even rhythmic instruments used in another non - rhythmic way. Not distinguishing clearly between rhythmic and purely melodic instruments and playing methods for each. Lumping all tuned instruments together without the distinction between rhythmic and purely melodic instruments, and wrongly interchanging them. Not differentiating between the concept of rhythm and actually performing rhythm by playing it. Improper use of instruments for rhythmic and purely melodic music. Ignoring or refusing to recognise the importance of form of variably pitched musical sounds and limiting them to rhythms without consideration to forms of sounds. Not giving proper consideration to the rhythmic nature of rhythmic tuned instruments and ignoring the importance of rhythm in their music. Stereotyping instruments stylistically and thinking of their music and effects in a very narrow and limited way. Looking down upon solo instruments for being minimalistic and calling their musical content simple just for being solo, or even disrespecting particular instruments. Not appreciating the individual playing of variably pitched instruments and different variably pitched sounds they make as musical and beautiful (in general). Dividing instruments as variably pitched and tuned while ignoring their different functional roles as rhythmic, purely melodic, independent and accompanying instruments, etc. Craze for very heavy musical textures. Ignoring the difference between rhythmic and purely melodic ornaments.

3. Pure dance:

Like - Beautiful musical movements with clear rhythms that can be made out by watching. Controlled movements in limited space, a limit on broad and long movements and leaving the ground. Emphasising musicality and beauty over athleticism or posing. Balance between repetition and variation. Using at least one proper rhythmic instrument in the music. Proper importance given to both rhythm and form in dance. Proper attention given to every body part that has a dance movement.

Dislike - Extremely irregular rhythms and a craze for them. Lack of clarity in rhythm in dance movement, movement not respecting rhythm. Extreme and repeated spreading, overuse of broad and long movements and leaving the ground and craze for such movements. Overuse of athleticism and looking at dance at a sequence of poses. Too much variation. No proper rhythmic instrument used in the music. Not giving proper consideration to or ignoring rhythm and sometimes even form. Ignoring the movements of some body parts even when they are present in the choreography.

4. Tonality and pitches:

Like - Balanced and limited ornamentation, density of chords. Recognising the equal importance of harmonic tonality and melodic tonality in general, and appreciating each of their structure in music using one of these. Giving enough importance to the movement of pitches as separate from the movement of chords, in harmonic tonality. Appreciating tonal structure in melodic tonality and its strength even without using chords. Appreciating the harmonic tonal structures in music with harmonic tonality and the movements between chords with limit to their density. Recognising music in free rhythm as not having any rhythm, and that pitch movements are independent of rhythm.

Dislike - Extreme ornamentation and chord stacking, judging beauty by these. Craze for melodic tonality and modal structures, not seeing harmonic tonality and structures. Craze for harmonic tonality and chords, ignoring and not appreciating the structures in melodic tonality. Not appreciating music without harmony. Craze for reducing all pitch movement to chords in harmonic tonality. Considering rhythm to be found in all music, including music in free rhythm, and considering rhythmic patterns to come before pitch movements and pitch movements to depend on rhythmic patterns. Craze for absolute or perfect pitch and the ability to detect it.

4. Singing:

Like - Clear singing in a range suitable to the singer. Importance given to musical content and not voice range or even timbre by itself. Appreciating a singer's natural vocal range in appropriate limit, regardless of absolute pitch level. Balanced and limited ornamentation. Using a voice naturally suitable to the singer. A somewhat moderate absolute pitch level.

Dislike - Craze for broad voice range. Obsession with singing high pitches (notes of high absolute pitch). Favouring higher pitched singing and not judging by musical content. Ignoring musical content while stressing on the timbre of the voice. Excessive ornamentation and judging singing by it. Forcing an artifical way of voice production unnatural to the singer. Very high, shrill pitches.

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So these are things that I appreciate, and things that I dislike in music and dance.

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