The Instigator
Pro (for)
1 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

A Person's Musical Taste Is Only As Valid As His Knowledge

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/1/2012 Category: Arts
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 986 times Debate No: 23987
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)




What I mean by this is that the validity of a person's musical taste can only be justified through musical knowledge. This is not to say that a person does not have a right to his/her opinion on a song even if he/she is ignorant on musical terminology and concepts in general, but a person who has studied music theory and understands these concepts has more weight on his/her opinion than the former.


I thank my opponent on this debate.

My opponenet my justify here remark: 'a person who has studied music theory and understands these concepts has more weight on his/her opinion than the former.'

Since my opponent gave no resolution here goes:
A unknowing music lover can have as much musical taste than a studied theorist. We negate my statement.

1. Proper manners
2. stay on topic

1. agreement
2. arguement
3. conclusion

Thanks to my opponent for this debate.
Debate Round No. 1


My belief stems directly from the fact that music is indeed a prominent study just as much as any other respected subject is, ie: Math, Science, Literature, etc... In those fields, the people with more experience and understanding are higher up in the chain of respect (and even command most of the time) than those who have less experience or knowledge. An example of this is I (college student) will undoubtedly be agreed upon as more knowledgable in calculus than a 4th grader, and again I will be agreed upon less knowledgeable in calculus than a rocket science/math professor/etc...

In the same manner somebody such as I (not doing an ego boost but just using myself as an example I know well) have played piano since I was seven years old, studied music theory, the psychology behind music, taken many college level theory classes in high school, and now I produce music. Do I not have more say about what is "correct" or at least what is in good taste, despite how finite that might be, in music than somebody who has never done any of these things?

Also another point I would like to make is that yes people have opinions and yes taste is composed partly of personal opinion but as psychology has proven certain genres (such as let's say classical) are more productive for our mental health and state of mind as others (let's say rap which is far more promoting towards aggression, not necessarily making it bad, just an example of differences). As well as the fact that what we as humans consider "music" is all just organized noise that we have defined certain rules for, ie: harmony, rhythm, melody, counterpoint, dynamic range, timbre, etc... "Songs" that do not have some of these traits, or at least simplified versions of these traits, are without a doubt less "human" and less "music" than ones that do all of this in proficiency.

An example of what I am trying to say is, a human fart is not music by most accounts yes? Well then wouldn't it be safe to say that a song by Beethoven is considered by most/all people to be more "music" and "better" than said human fart? In the same sense, there is always going to be a song closer to the fart (as a negative ideal) and the piece by Beethoven (as a positive ideal), so even in opinion, there is always a "better" track in the comparison of two tracks just by the definitions that we as humans have created.


I want to thank my opponent for debating.

This is not my usual topic or knowedge, please bare with me. I will try my best.

I will agree with my opponent that people who work at something become better at it. With that experience comes respect and authority.

I'll supply you with the age old quote:
"Practice makes perfect."

This is seen in nature and all throughout history. Though just because someone takes a lifetime working and perfecting something does not mean they are the best at it. I will even go further and say that someone with far less experience (maybe even none) can grasp and obtain perfection in the same craft.

Process Zone:
The process zone is the person becoming to be with no help or guide. It is self sufficiant.

Process" is the operative word. And living the process can be like working air traffic control. Pure "process" requires a constant stream of inherent energy, an unwavering desire to grow and improve, an ability to transcend the inevitable muck and litter of negative energies that would interfere, and process requires complete, unfettered, focused attention.
Process is more than just a defiant, "I WILL succeed." attitude. In fact, telling oneself, "I won't fail." has nothing to do with process. Beware of easily subscribed-to attitudes that really are negative statements cloaked in positive affirmations.

This is how it works. Process is programmed. The only natural musician I've ever known is one who comes from a background of other so-called natural musicians … or artists, or successful (fill in the blank). They are successful and competent at what they do because they are living "process. " Talent is not genetic. The affinity for becoming what we have come to recognize as peculiarly talented is, instead, a programmed ability to live the process. Some people naturally fall into the process zone.


Natural talent vs. hard work is a topic that has been debated by people of all professions throughout history. It's also known as Nature vs Nurture, the difference between one's innate ability vs. ability affected by personal experiences.
The term "talented' or "gifted" is often mentioned in the artistic field. The achievements of artists, both in fine art and performing art are more obvious and visible. I have yet to find the reason why people have the need for such debate or self-awareness. Perhaps for some, it's to gain self assurance, while for others it is to be hopeful.

But fictions are fictions, they teach us the moral of being humble and diligent. Reading Bono's excerpt, I can't help but to consciously wonder if there's such a thing as natural talent, especially when it comes to creativity.

Here's my opinion on natural talent vs. hard work:

Of course there's natural talent, it's not a myth. My statement comes from the achievements of people like Mozart , Michelangelo, Einstein, Michael Jordan etc. and my association with some very smart people in real life. I believe some people have more natural aptitude than others in certain areas. This is what I call natural talent.

However, the verdict of someone being naturally talented is often skewed. For example, when we see a fine piece of art or music, we often conclude that the artist must be really gifted. We come to this conclusion because we're judging the end result – the art work itself. We tend to forget about the process and the journey of getting there. The artist may have been practicing for many years to get to that point. In which case hard work plays a huge role, regardless of whether he/she is naturally gifted or not.

In many discussions I've seen, talent and hard work are often talked about in a dichotomical way. E.g., Gifted people are perceived as complacent and lazy; while non-gifted people work harder to make up for it. In reality, talent can only carry you so far, the rest is hard work. The two are not mutually exclusive.

I also believe tenacity itself is a form of natural talent. It's not something everyone is capable of. Being able to work hard towards a goal, consistently, despite hardship, is a gift. It's easy to judge talent by a painting, photo, music score or fanbase because they're more conceivable.

Another factor that's often ignored in such discussions is Passion. Passion makes us strive for excellence. Talent + hard work + passion is a winning formula for success.

Natural Musician v. Naturalized Musician:

The so-called natural musician seems to understand this formula for success, without ever translating it to actual words. So, what's that all about? How does that work?

One of the great mysteries of music is how it affects us in multitude of ways. Whether talking about our individual tastes as listeners, or individual differences as performers, what are the psychological qualities that can turn some people into great musicians, but not others? Is it down to genes, sheer hard work, or some other quality in the individual?


I would say that an ability to read music could exist in someone who was illiterate, but this would be rare. It is almost certain that buglers and drummers would be taught by ear. A bugle has few notes and it would be easy to remember the limited number of ceremonial "calls" required. Also the bugle tends to play solo and is not strictly a band
instrument, unlike the trumpet which has valves and a full scale of notes for which the ability to read band parts is essential. Indian classical music is mostly taught by ear even though it is very complex, so I would guess your more limited buglers could easily have managed without reading anything.

I think I have exstablished that natural talent and lack of experience can result in someone understanding and knowing great music. In fact I think there are many great people who have suceeded in many genres without experience or teaching.

I thank my opponent. I wish to say in the next round I would like to Conclude and clarify the conclusion.!
Debate Round No. 2


Zerocloud411 forfeited this round.


I do not know my opponent did not post?

I think anyone can know good music without schooling and being taught.

I thank anyone who reads and hope it was insightful.

Thank you! And vote CON!
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Zerocloud411 4 years ago
i've got no respect for self entitled ignorant people who say they wont answer and answer like 4 days later
Posted by ScottyDouglas 4 years ago
Lol! no respect for your attitude. Please Go find Jesus. I worked out a arguement the best way possible. But anyway.Vote Con.
Posted by Zerocloud411 4 years ago
You took so long that i forgot to actually check back...i thought you had forfeit, and about all of your points, they all dodge the debate in well as the fact that they are fuking stupid. Just because a person who has done music their entire life and MAY not be better at music than somebody else doesn't mean you should take that incredibly low percentage and null the entire statement...that's the dumbest logic i have ever heard, also creativity IS natural, creativity is only a very small percentage of what composition is made up of though, you would know this if you knew a single thing about music. i'll leave you to go listen to your dubstep lmao
Posted by ScottyDouglas 4 years ago
I get what yiu are sayingpost your feeling on the matter ill oppose and make my own case.
Posted by Zerocloud411 4 years ago
No...I clearly said they have the right to their opinion BUT their opinion should not be accounted for as MUCH, this does not mean that they are wrong, just that their opinion shouldn't be cared for as much. this is also speaking in default. I am sure there are plenty of random kids with no knowledge of anything musical that end up liking amazing music but just as a teacher's opinion is valued more than a student's the same should work here
Posted by ScottyDouglas 4 years ago
Thats what you said tho.
Posted by Zerocloud411 4 years ago
It is fine, but i do not want to argue whether or not a person with no musical knowledge CAN have just as much taste, of course they can but just the concept that a well a person with a plethora of musical knowledge should have his opinion counted and respected more than a person with no knowledge on music.
Posted by ScottyDouglas 4 years ago
sorry for my communication skills there. My typing sucks.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by buckIPDA 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:16 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfiet, and in the last round too :Some of Con's grammar was awkward, everything else flows Pro.