Friday, October 3, 2014

The Bad Music Playlist

Reading something where the writer was proposing that there be a National Museum of Kitsch, I immediately thought, "and a bad music playlist!" So as not to be accused of being a snob (I'm not a snob; I'm an elitist--there's a difference!), I will try to find examples from all genres.

Here is some particularly low-hanging fruit, but I had to start somewhere:

Another easy one:

And here is a dubstep mix of "Beat It" which very much does so:

Now for some classical. Here is a Grand Galop Chromatique that should never have seen the light of day. Composed by Franz Liszt:

For some of the best music that exhibits vulgar gaiety we turn to Offenbach:

Baroque composers couldn't reach the depths of badness that Romantic ones could. About the worst they could manage was a kind of mind-numbing boredom where every dull idea was immediately repeated. Here is a lute concerto by J. F. Fasch:

And that's at least the beginnings of a Bad Music Playlist! Enjoy.


Rickard said...

I haven't been reading the blog lately (thus there's much catching up to do) as I've been quite busy doing other things. Anyways, you said a few times that a large percentage of baroque music is bad. I wonder if you can explain why you think that is. What are baroque composers (for the most part) doing wrong? Where lies the problem? Is it in composers not leaving their harmonic comfort zone? Are they bad at writing melodies? Boring structure? And so on. It would be an interesting topic for a post I think.

Rickard said...

Another idea: What makes good baroque music good. Or you could combine the two (bad and good).

Bryan Townsend said...

I thought you were busy with something!

I don't think I said Baroque music in particular had a lot of bad music. If I did, I didn't mean it. What I do think is that all genres, including Baroque, has lots of bad, or at least mediocre, music, and a few great pieces. For every Moonlight Sonata there are a hundred dull, uninspired piano sonatas. But I think that the characteristic weaknesses of poor Baroque music are different than those of, say, Romantic music. Poor Romantic music tends to be vulgar, while poor Baroque music tends to be just, well, dull: boring and predictable. This might reflect who the music was typically written for. Maybe I should save this for a whole post!