Musicality, what is it?


Bronze Member
Username: Ca_convert


Post Number: 40
Registered: Jan-05
And is it more important than tonal balance. Is musicality measurable, and if so how? Is there something beyond the mere scientific comprehension of new millenium man that explains the importance of music, and therefore its' critical components.

From this, is there a "pseudo" scientific explanation of the vinyl v digital debate?

Unregistered guest
To me it's the same as "natural".
Instruments and voices sound real and alive and you're experiencing music only, not drawn too much into hifi-details.
But it's subjective too: a bright sounding system can be very "musical" for someone who likes it lively and detailed, for someone else it's artificial.
My system sounds mostly "musical" to me for it doesn't emphasise the crap sound of a bad recording. (It seems that for many people bad recordings have to sound really crap on their hifi as a proof that their system is true and neutral. My system must be crap then, in their view).
Sometimes I listen to hifi, especially with some over-produced pop cd's, which sound is mixed to impress, I then listen to artificial stereo imaging, grainy close-miked voices and annoying details.

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

I would agrre with nout that the better the system the more accessible the music. I still may decide I don't care for the music, the perormers shouldn't be allowed to record or the engineer should get a hearing aid, but, I can get a better understanding of the music the more musical my system becomes. Much of that is still from my days of selling hifi and the schmoes that had very expensive systems that were meant to eliminate their music choices down to a few approved audiophile discs. The idea that, "with my system being so revealing, I just can't listen to ... ", always seemed the wrong way around to me.

I don't think you can, at this point quantify what makes a piece of audio equipment musical. That is what is and has been at the heart of the disagreement between subjectivists and objectivists for the past half century. One group believes numbers can tell them everything they need to know; and, they only need to look at a spec sheet to choose a good system. The other side prefers to throw away the spec sheet and just listen. So, no, I don't think you can place a label on musical, otherwise everyone would build musical components. And we likely all agree that isn't happening.

I'm equally certain that what makes music important to modern man has been the subject of many theses. Likewise its critical components.

As to the debate over vinyl/CD, I would be suprised if you could get much consensus on that subject. Too many people will argue their system is just as musical as the next guys, if not more so, and they prefer to listen to one or the other. That topic is in the realm of tube/transistor and will never be decided except on an individual basis. However, the fight will be waged after the battles of Honda/Toyota, Canon/Nikon, Ali/Foreman, and Italian/French wine have been settled.

I just got a message the forum won't allow the word, "put(space)a". I had to change it to "place a". Try it and see what you get. Now I'm interested in why that would be. Anyone have any ideas?


Unregistered guest
-Put- and -a - written without space between them means a word which I cannot post either, a woman who sells her body in Portugese.
I cannot write put and a with a space between them either?????

Unregistered guest
The word begins with a W, followed by H, O then R and finally E
I'm not very fond of this censorship :-(

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

But with the space it means that?
What horseshit!


Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 212
Registered: Sep-04
Nout, J.Vigne,

Maybe I know good sound, maybe I don't - but I fail to see how details can annoy an audiophile. Isn't that what it's all about?

I only class myself as one up to the point where the equipment stops and the music begins. Yes, I'm listening to the system initially, but I'm trying to get to the music. I hasten to add, I do not have to try very hard at all these days....

I have found that with my experiments in different cabling, speaker positioning, cable routing, cabinet, spikes, sellotape, bits of string, milk bottle tops etc, etc.... That I'm getting what you might call 'analytical' sound. That is to say I'm hearing (possibly) everything there is to hear on the CD. To me, that's the music. It's made of those different sounds and I wish to hear them all seperately and enjoy each one in it's own right. I'm stationary, if you like, and quite close to a painting, where I can see every detail and move from place to place on the canvas, perhaps seeing something new each time I view it. This is opposed to standing at a great distance, and getting the whole picture all in one go.... but with the downside of the image being slightly blurred by this distance.

"The idea that, "with my system being so revealing, I just can't listen to ... ", always seemed the wrong way around to me."

Well, that is wrong to me, too. Wrong, in a head-slapping; "Go home and paint your toy soldier's" kind of way. Personally, I've always believed and have indeed found to be true - the fact that having natural sounding audio allows one to listen to music one might normally dismiss as 'not my genre'.

To expand, I mean to say that all music has a beat, but not all music has a 'tune'. Rythym differs between musical types, but appeals to the senses in an almost universal way. Where there is music I simply don't regard, because of either it's cultural refs, or it's 'happy-crappy' mood, or boring tune etc; whatever I DON'T happen to like is seperated nicely from something I can get along with. For instance, I could only appreciate Jazz, since I bought my first decent amp. Why? Because to me, Jazz was confusing and tuneless - stopping and starting; making me itch. Put on the glasses, and I can see further into it, examine the microscopic details.... Inside here, I found the music. Standing outside of that area, it's an out-of-focus racket to me.

Another example is: I don't like 'boybands' - (who the hell does?) - but I caught Take That on MTV while I was seeing someone out of the door. When I came back, I listened and had to remark to myself how musically involving this work was. Not because it was a good song, but I was listening to a recording of professional session musicians doing their best with a crap and slushy song. I got into it. If your system can do that for you - and push the envelope a little on your tastes, then I'd say that's good audio. The fact that a box of pots, wires and transistors can widen your cultural perspective, to me is what it's all about.

I'm now listening to Mahler as I type - because I know I can without hearing a piece of generic classical music now - it's an interesting landscape of sound, whether I like the tune or not.

Dunno if I've put my intentions across here, but I'm sure you'll know what I mean.



Bronze Member
Username: Ca_convert


Post Number: 42
Registered: Jan-05
Varney, I like your comments about "boy bands", since these and many other "manufactured" bands are usually supported by pretty hot session musicians, so whilst the songs and perhaps the delivery is somewhat lacking in emotion you can at least appreciate some skilled craftsmen and women plying their trade anonymously. Perhaps, then it is the quality of the backing band that provides the strong rhythm, and therefore subconcious appeal of this type of music.

Perhaps another example, though artistically incomparable would be take a blues guitarists such as BB King or John Lee hooker. Their playing depends far more on rhythm and timing than it does on complex harmony. Listen to a poor musician playing the blues and it is lifeless, even if technically "advanced", and comprises the same scales and progressions.
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