What is good music…?

Music, as an art form is conveyed in as many ways as there are emotions, personalities and mediums. Just as poetry, painting and craft, Music is a mode of expression. So to measure it’s value through some linear form of measurement would make very little sense. However, the quality of the music can be defined by it’s staying power and it’s contribution to humanity as a whole. This is also true for other art forms.

An artists ability can also be judged by the evolution and development of his/her skill over the passage of time. Let’s look at the example of the carpenter. As an apprentice the carpenter merely planes the wood and makes straight and horizontal cuts for the veteran journeyman. Over time however, with practice, determination and experience the young apprentice develops his skills as a respected carpenter. Experience and time however do not themselves determine ability. For instance, I know many mechanics who have been working on cars for over 20 years, but there is no way you could ever convince me to bring my car to them. This brings us back to the qualities of staying power and the contribution one makes with their art form. By earning these qualities an artist earns respectability. Staying power means that an artist’s work has stood the test-of-time, and that it is immune to the corrosive power of evolution. The contribution one makes is what the artist gives to the art form, which is of benefit to future generations. The more you give, the more staying power you earn.

Now, by no means am I saying that unless your music fits the above descriptions you don’t qualify as a musician. I want you to come back to my blog for goodness sakes! For instance, my brother is a fantastic guitarist and pianist however his music makes very little contribution to society and he’s definitely not looking to earn staying power. My sister-in-law is an amazing singer, but you’d have to put her through Guantanamo Bay to get her to sing! The qualities which I’ve listed above are more applicable to the “macro” perspective of music; the genres, styles and approaches. I’m talking more about music than about the musician.

On the subject of Music, Baha’u’llah reveals:

“We, verily, have made music as a ladder for your souls, a means whereby they may be lifted up unto the realm on high; make it not, therefore, as wings to self and passion.”

“…music, sung or played, is spiritual food for soul and heart.

The musician’s art is among those arts worthy of the highest praise, and it moveth the hearts of all who grieve. Wherefore, O thou Shahnáz, play and sing out the holy words of God with wondrous tones in the gatherings of the friends, that the listener may be freed from chains of care and sorrow, and his soul may leap for joy and humble itself in prayer to the realm of Glory.”
My personal interpretation of these Writings is that Baha’u’llah is emphasizing the importance of the audience rather than that of the artist. The quality of music is judged by it’s effects upon the hearer rather than the opinion of the contributor.
Of course this is only my opinion and is itself subject to change as I get older and wiser. So to sum up, let’s put aside our differences and listen to some good music. I love it when people do this kind of thing. I feel fantastic after watching this video:

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