here's my 2 cents on the whole pleb/patrician thing (I know anyone who actually takes that stuff seriously is a moron, but hear me out). It's an objective fact that music is subjective (from a sense of personal enjoyment/value). I feel that anyone who really explores and gets into the music they like, no matter what kind, is a "patrician." You like Nickelback? Get the fuck into Nickelback. Taylor Swift? Rock that shit. As long as you really take the time to get interested in music and explore what you like, listen to the whole album/discography from a band, and have a clear idea of what music you enjoy, I respect your musical tastes. The only thing that annoys me is people who say "I'll listen to anything" or "I don't really have a preference." People who only listen to singles and just turn to whatever pop radio station is on, that is the only kind of person I really consider a "pleb." Thanks for reading.
>tl;dr: If you like music and take the time to explore your tastes and get into the artists that interest you, I respect you regardless of genre
Well, I mean, the literal definitions for the words do interest me and I do take those words seriously at their roots. I mean, I don't see "pleb" as derogatory or "patrician" as exalting. I just see it as the dichotomy of normal people who are content with the popular aspects of art and more inquisitive people who are interested in discovering lesser-known aspects of art on all levels. If I'm being honest, I'm kind of a pleb. There's this one kid from Minnesota who, though he loves Pop music and the like, delves into so much music, film, art, and poetry. He's definitely a patrician. I'm just kind of a commoner. And I know that. So, yeah. Detaching those words from the negative connotations from the people who tend to use them, I can see these words being used seriously.
you're both right to a point, but a big part to me is how much knowledge you have on the subject
if you;re an experienced listener, you're more likely to have a well rounded musical vocabulary when listening to other music so you can judge it respectively.
in terms of solely what's popular, I can see your point. Patricians like stuff that is less popular and less customary. Except nothing defines what's popular except for... what's popular. There's no reason experimental shit should be any less popular than pop music except for the fact that people like pop music more on a mass scale, or that pop music is more ubiquitous and widespread. I feel like the pleb/patrician thing is based entirely on what has become popular, one way or another. So it's more of an abstract concept than something to lend real credence to.
These are actually pretty good definitions. From what I've seen the the common meaning of "patrician" on /mu/ is music made by artsy people. I prefer your definitions though.
My point is that what's popular is readily accessible (not on an aesthetic basis, on an exposure basis) and that it's not really hard to get into what's more popular because of the amount of people talking about it, the number of plays it receives on a widespread basis, and the information about those things. I largely agree with you that there's no reason that one type of music should be inherently more popular or less popular than another kind of music, but that's not the reality of the situation. The friend I was referring to kind of treats all music the same, or at least tries to, and has himself formed this view of music. But, yeah, you're right, the dichotomy is kind of predicated on what's popular, but that's kind of the point of those terms. Commoners/plebeians like what most other people like (I'm not saying that they like it BECAUSE other people like it, by the way) and aristocrats/patricians like things that are available to them that may not be so readily available to others. And Experimental music tends to be on the "Patrician" side.
I mean, I don't really think it's a big deal. That's just how I process those terms and look at the situation.
Well, those are kind of literally the definitions. At least according to how they are traditionally/originally used (my explanation is a little off, but that's because it involves my own personal view of the dichotomy and not strictly the definition of the words themselves).
well, more well rounded knowledge of music and forms of music and whatnot. i dont think i said expert listener, but that's sort of what i mean i guess. it isn't really a deep addition to what you guys were saying, it's just something i personally look for in someone who's judging music out loud; it helps me gauge how informed they are and how much they're talking out their ass, like people who say "noise isn't much" when i's something like... yellow swans or sunn o)))
yeah, that makes sense. I'm right with you on the accessible basis. The bottom line is that I don't care what music you like as long as you like music. Except I will make some exceptions for people who only like a certain band/artist for ulterior motives rather than how it sounds. For example, girls liking Justin Beiber because he's "hot" or people liking a certain song because it's trendy and they want to seem cool.
>Except I will make some exceptions for people who only like a certain band/artist for ulterior motives rather than how it sounds
See, that's what is so weird to me. I've gotten accused of being pretentious by some of my in-town friends because I like and talk about GY!BE, This Heat, Animal Collective, Bikini Kill, and St. Vincent, but I just don't get this. I think people listen to that music and think that the artists themselves are pretentious, which is maybe understandable in This Heat's case or GY!BE's case, but I think that those musicians genuinely want(ed) to make something unique, and weren't trying to be esoteric or strange for the sake of doing so. And even then, Godspeed have some really sweet melodies and This Heat had some really interesting hooks. And then a lot of those same people will laugh at me for listening to Taylor Swift or Kanye West even though the things I'm listening to caused them to think that I was trying to be intelligent or cultured in the first place. It's insane to me. One minute: "You're pretentious for listening to GY!BE"; the other minute: "You're a dork for listening to Taylor Swift".
i'd say there's an extent to which you have to consider the situation relative to the context somebody listens from.
like, if somebody listens exclusively to harsh noise because that's all that appeals to them, there's nothing wrong with that, and you can have a fantastic conversation with them about noise, and i'd say that falls under 'patrician', to an extent. but if you were to judge them by their knowledge of jazz, or disco, or polka, or whatever, they'd appear ignorant, and you could say they were a 'plebian', but that's not really fair. they just really like one thing.
i guess all i'm saying is well-roundedness isn't necessary, it's just nice and makes you more flexible in what kind of music you can talk about. i just think it shouldn't be a catch-all for musical 'expertise'.
you're pretentious for listening to GY!BE, you're a hivemind for listening to Taylor Swift, you're immature for listening to blink-182, you're edgy for listening to Metallica, you're a redneck for listening to country... people will always come up with some negative stereotype of the music you listen to, so I've learned never to let it phase me at all. As an aside, I'm not sure how I feel about artists being different just for the sake of being different. It seems like they're just going through the motions, but I've actually had urges to make experimental music just to be different (I even put a speech from youtube into the middle of a song), but that was just to experiment and break from the norm. So I understand it, but I don't think I would like it just for being different unless I would like it anyway. In other words, music being generic doesn't bother me. It's nice to shake things up, but if it doesn't work on its own merits, I'm not gonna like it just for being different. /ramble
If you only listen to harsh noise you are pretentious and a nerd. Patricians are well rounded and open minded music fans.
Good music doesn't need to be experimental or obscure
yeah, kinda like I was saying in the OP, as long as you are very knowledgable in one field of music, I can get down with that.
Also, I feel like the true genre you really like should appeal to you on the most basic basis. You love the way it sounds, not because of the (visual) aesthetic or the fact that it's not very popular. That's why I like punk and pop punk, it's immediately energizing and intense. Makes me want to move. That's why I can't really relate to people who like really inaccessible stuff. But I can see why they do as long as they like it for the same reason I like my music: that it actually sounds good to me. Anyone who says "music isn't entertainment; it's something to be studied" is a fucking boring-ass full-of-shit fuck
Yeah, I like everything you have to say here. Sometimes I've categorized Vampire Weekend's Contra as trying to be different for the sake of doing so, and in retrospect I feel this is a bit unfair. Yes, they were trying to experiment with sound and push the envelope in terms of what they had previously done, but they also had clear goals and wanted to achieve them fittingly. As for the negative stereotypes, I'm not sure it affects me emotionally, but it does kind of annoy me. You know, my friend listens to a lot of Buckethead (and I respect Buckethead and think that he's an interesting artist, don't get me wrong here) but he kind of pretends like Buckethead is the most experimental or avant-garde artist, and it's almost like he's listening to Buckethead just because he's a bit different. I know we all have done this at some point, so I think I'm judging him the same way others have judged me. I know he's just a big fan of Buckethead and think he's a cool artist, but I still have an underlying suspicion that he mainly likes him because he's weird. Which isn't really a bad thing either. Music doesn't exist in its own bubble separate from the context of the intent of the artist. Maybe it should, but it doesn't, and never will. And even Buckethead knows this. He's formed a mystique around his image and music.
What I'm trying to get at is that a lot of people like a lot of different music and art for a lot of different reasons. Some people like things because it's outside the norm. Some people like weird things because they are weird. Maybe it's never the only reason, but these kinds of things appeal to people on a wide level, and I understand why.
>but if you were to judge them by their knowledge of jazz, or disco, or polka, or whatever, they'd appear ignorant, and you could say they were a 'plebian', but that's not really fair. they just really like one thing.
Here's where the term 'entry level' factors in; will talk about this in a second.
Bikini Kill has feminist undertones and harsh instrumentation, so people think I'm trying to be an outsider for the sake of being so. And St. Vincent tends to have Art Rock and Baroque influences with her music, so people think that I'm trying to listen to cultured or esoteric music.
As for the 'entry level' thing, I believe that this also ties into the patrician/plebeian dichotomy in ways. Because even separate genres have a patrician/plebeian dichotomy, don't you think? I mean, Dave Brubeck's Time Out is certainly a lot more approachable and conventionally structured than Ornette Coleman's Science Fiction. Even separate genres have varying levels of "Pop" or "Art", you know what I mean?
>What I'm trying to get at is that a lot of people like a lot of different music and art for a lot of different reasons.
I think this is the only thing that really matters. I will admit, I can understand the appeal of liking less popular stuff. It feels good to feel like you have discovered your own thing. But also I like to like bands that aren't too unpopular, so I can occasionally have a talk with someone else who likes them. It is undeniably a factor in which music you are exposed to, but I don't think it should make or break whether you listen to a band if you like the sound or not.
>It is undeniably a factor in which music you are exposed to, but I don't think it should make or break whether you listen to a band if you like the sound or not.
Yeah, I agree. I don't believe you should listen to something just because others are or aren't listening to it, but it definitely does dictate to some degree how much people like something. At least some people (including me from time to time). There are a lot of people who, on Metacritic, will give an album or film a really low or really high score just because they feel others overrated or underrated it. It's kind of like a compensation thing.
see, that's where i disagree with you a bit. i mean, harsh noise was an example, substitute it for new wave, or disco, or whatever you want, i completely agree that music doesn't have to be experimental or obscure to be good, i just think that well-roundedness isn't necessary in an individual music fan.
i mean, look at it this way, i'm seriously omnivorous as far as music is concerned (it's been disco and hi-nrg this week, last week it was noise rock, i honestly just love everything), but because i'm like that, i really sacrifice depth in favor of breadth. at a point, i'm just skimming the surface of every genre instead of digging deep. it's like >>49239043 said, there's all kinds of variance of accessibility and popularity within individual genres. but i want to get at the good shit in every genre. so the easiest way to find the best of any given genre is to ask my friend who's really into that genre.
slowly, i do this with all sorts of music, and develop depth in addition to breadth. but in his specific niche, my friend will always know more than me, so i can always ask him for new stuff in that genre. and if he ever wants to branch out, he can just ask me. it's completely a group effort, and that's why i hang around places like /mu/ to begin with. the dynamics of preference and expertise are what make people come here in the first place. that and shitposting. definitely also shitposting.
I've agreed with pretty much everything that's been said in this thread. You're all right, anon. It's nice to finally have an actual music discussion here without some pretentious losers coming in and insulting everyone
I really appreciate that viewpoint and approach to consuming music. You're not afraid of looking into things that may or may not be approachable from a layman's perspective. But the reason I brought 'entry-level' into this is because I believe that certain music appeals to a widespread audience whereas other music appeals to a more secluded and perhaps well-versed audience. Yeah, you're right, the best people to go to regarding a genre is a person who is well-versed in that genre, but a lot of people don't find out about music in that kind of way. A lot of people just flick on the radio and hear about X being influenced by Y, so they began looking into whatever genre Y is. It's like how a lot of people got into Blues by listening to White Stripes or Black Keys and continued listening to Blues Rock alone because they didn't really know any better. Blues purists would probably talk a lot of shit about that person or their perspective on the genre of Blues, but you and I both know that it's a give-and-take relationship. I think we see eye-to-eye regarding genres and how people approach them. I try and approach music the same way you do, by the way, but I just see a lot of people exposed to things differently than that. I don't see this as inherently more "pleb" or "patrician", but commoners do tend to gravitate towards a specific type of music and aristocrats do tend to gravitate towards another. That's how I see it.
That's true, but again, the only reason things are entry-level or not is based on how people react to them, hoe popular they are, etc. So I don't really feel bad about listening to what some would consider "entry level: music
Same here. It's just that I genuinely believe that some music is more easily approachable than others, but that may be only because I see simpler song structures and more melodious tones as having an intrinsically approachable quality to them. I would call The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band a more accessible and entry-level record compared to Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica, but that doesn't mean I think that TMR is better by default. I just think it's more challenging and complicated, and therefore less approachable by the standards of most people.
that's true. I guess stuff that is more complicated can be seen as less accessible. It's hard because it's always a case-by-case basis: there can be a complicated song that is still more accessible than a simple song, and vice versa. There are so many variables, it's hard to come up with a defining rule. I like to stick with the "music is completely subjective" viewpoint just because the objective parts are so hard to pinpoint
see, i still feel like a bit of a hypocrite talking like that, because the truth is i will kind of indwardly make fun of people with 3x3s which are entirely ' ' '/mu/core' ' ' (rather not turn this into a discussion about that specifically though), or get mad about people enjoying dumb radio pop, even though the truth is a lot of things i enjoy were dumb radio pop in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s, and a lot of my favorite albums are often far less musically complex and more accessible in many ways than the stuff that gets pegged as '/mu/core'.
i think mostly it's just that it's hard to separate that music from the context it's seen in (i.e. people i know and dislike listen to rihanna, so i see it in a bad light, or people who shitpost a lot also listen to death grips, so the music carries a little bit of that stigma), so it's hard to separate the music from the people who listen to it. i'd probably hate disco if i were alive in that era, but i wasn't and i don't have that context, so it doesn't bother me. it's hard to judge music on its own merits with all the cultural noise surrounding it, and i think that makes discussing new music much more complicated than discussing music from a few decades ago (although obviously the problem still stands with, say, the beatles).
i think the problem with the pleb vs. patrician attitude is its proponents tend to focus on context rather than content, which kills intelligent discussion. i don't pretend to not be part of that problem, a little bit.
I think you should just try to be honest with yourself and try to acknowledge that people have different preferences and tastes. I mean, yeah I've gone through stages where I've been a bit of a snob to people, and maybe it's a stage a lot of us go through. But also, I feel that it's important to criticize music and other people. You're not a snob for not liking something or for criticizing the sensibilities of another person. You're a snob and, by extension, an elitist when you decide that something is bad and that the tastes of somebody else is bad because of prerequisites like style, popularity, image, or whatever else. I'm trying to get your meaning, and I think I do, but I see that dichotomy as being relevant and existent and STILL feel that both context and content are important.
Ezra Koenig said something really interesting on Bret Easton Ellis' podcast once, and I'm paraphrasing here: "A lot of my contemporaries wish that it could all be about the music, but it's not and never was". I don't really think that it should be "all about the music" either, because I value the context that a lot of music exists in. I value the intent, opinions, and mindframe of an artist, and their style and presentation does have an effect on how I view their actual work. I don't have a problem with cherishing both context AND content. I feel they feed off each other.
you know, i think you're right about that, i hadn't really thought about it in quite that light. thanks for the discussion, it's a new feeling to actually have a real conversation here.