Musical Relativity

Attention! Any similarity with Einstein is unmeant.

This article has nothing to do with the mathematical and physical theory of relativity of Einstein, but there is - philosophically considered – a RELATIVITY of LIFE for all ranges of our society, thus also for music, musicians and listeners.

Music is affected relatively by the competence of the musician, and any relation to the audience is depending on the taste and mood of the listeners. Based on experiences, observed and stated, there are extensive RELATIONS in the TRIANGLE between MUSICIAN & MUSIC & LISTENER, because of the multiplicity of different distinctive musical talents, style directions and multi-cultural requirements on music of the potential listeners. Without listeners the music does not have communicative social value or external effect. Only by listeners the music get or doesn’t get acceptance, attention and publicity. However, music serves a personal purpose for the musician as one self’s own listener.

Music is mainly offered with few exceptions to the reachable current society, thus the relation between music and listener is essential for the acceptance. Therefore, music can only be RELATIVELY good or bad, depending on the tastes of the reached listeners. There cannot be ABSOLUTELY bad or good music, since it is individually differently judged by listeners. There is also no ABSOLUTE judgement, if e.g. a recognized music reviewer or also the music industry condemns the music offer. From my point of view, there are no absolutely comprehensive appraisal factors, which are sufficient to judge a certain music piece as good or bad for ALL listeners WORLD-WIDE.
However, the human ear has a strong dislike against so-called wrong tones, dissonances, clock offences, noise and others - at least observed within the industrial nations -, whereby this is differently noticed by listeners in different cultures. This dislike is sufficient for most listeners already, in order to reject a whole piece of music.
A musical presentation gets a relatively high acceptance and acclamation, whenever it meets exactly the taste of the majority of the reached listeners. It is relatively difficult to know in advance which listeners will be inspired exactly by a certain Song.

Who offers a music piece to the public, should already find out beforehand, when composing and producing, what’s the effect of the music for the listener. A set of social and psychological factors plays an important role for the acceptance and approval by the listeners:

1. The general social situation and mood, appointed by the spirit of the time, political and economic situation.

2. The personal nature and tendency, determined by own psychic, social, familial and financial situation.

3. The temporary dominance of certain style directions in an observed period of certain geographical areas (e.g. HipHop/Rap and electronic music in USA and Europe).

Who offers music with disregard of these psychological factors, can neglect the number of the listeners, with exception of relatives, friends and acquaintance, who are biased in an evaluation anyway.

Since the factors of influence on the audience at a certain time of the publication of a piece of music are so complex and extensive, it is practically not feasible, to forecast rationally one musical success. However, a small number of insiders of the music scene can meet a musical taste rather successfully according to the experience of intuition, to reach the right listener target group.

Whether a song becomes a world hit, nobody can forecast securely so far, because of the continuously changing complexity of the relativity between musicians & music & listeners.

Music is relatively simple to listen to, but it is relatively difficult to meet the tendency and the taste of a listener, with exception of the musical owner's taste.

Volker Zdunnek aka Philos60
Bergheim/Germany, March 3rd, 2005