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Music can be objective, listing all songs in order from good to bad is possible.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/8/2014 Category: Music
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 640 times Debate No: 54251
Debate Rounds (5)
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First round is to set up the rules, and my possible opponent's opinion on those.

I would not like to see any sources on this one. My opponent will most likely argue that music is perception (which is true) and that therefore no list could be made. He'll be able to find plenty of sources to prove this, but if that is how the debate will be decided then there is no point.

I can already tell you that I'll be arguing that music consists of both melody and rythm as essential core, while lyrics, choice of instruments and music videos are additional "decorations", that could be very beautiful and of high quality. IMO, on their own, they cannot be seen as music: at least rythm is needed to make it music, and therefore musically it is of low quality.

Hopefully, someone will accept the challenge!


I accept your challenge.

Please fully explain your opinions on this topic, and I will debate them.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks to con for accepting this debate!

My opinion is that music really can be listed from good to bad. The reason why I've come up with this subject will make it easier for you to picture. Plenty of people nowadays, especially children, will be a fan of a certain artist and believe this artist as the best. An example is Justin Bieber: very popular amongst teenage girls, yet any music critic will be able to tell you that his music is of low quality.

That is, ofcourse, when working with comparison. You can't judge a song unless you compare it to a similar song.
Yet, when you'd compare a true fan's favourite song to a complex and beautiful composition of Mozart, he'll deny that Mozart is melodically stronger. The best comparison I can find is Bohemian Rhapsody by queen, as everyone knows that particular song. Unfortunately, children don't actually want to admit that this song truly is better than anything they like.

This is why I've come up with this debate, and here's where my personal opinion begins: nowadays, people fail to see that rythm and melody are the essential parts of music and now they value the decorations such as lyrics, or in the case of Bieber, even looks. I believe that the true strength of music lies in rythm and melody, and that things like lyrics, instruments or the voice that sings the song are just decorations, side things to make it only slightly better. But, in the end, a song with a better melody sung by an ugly voice will still be musically better than a simplistic song that was sung by a great voice. As an example, I'd say that Smashing Pumpkins (with Billy Corgan's ugly voice) are still better than Adele and her beautiful voice.

This is then my -kindof- second opinion: you can list all songs by quality. To do this, you would have to focus on rythm and melody, and take away all decorations; all songs are sung by the same person, all instrumentals played by the same instrument (For example, a piano). But then again, no human can make this list as it is hard work do determine the minor differences between two songs by the same band. One person is simply not capable of this, you would have to ask the entire world to choose between 2 songs and even then it might be 50-50.
So, it is impossible that such a thing would ever happen for every existing song. What we could do, is make a list that includes only the very best songs ever - although people would still vote for the song that plays in their head. You wouldn't vote for Adele's melodies on piano if you had never heard them before, but exactly BECAUSE you know the song, you'd still vote for it. That is just plain wrong, as people simply vote for the "decorations" like Adele's voice rather than for the actual melody behind it.

My final point is that such a list does exist, as one melody will always be better than another. It's just that at this moment, humans are not capable of determining which song is better. In the end though, when comparing 2 songs, one will always be the victor. That immediately results in one song being on the very top of the list, and one song being all the way down.

This might be hard to understand, I hope con will set out his opinion elaborately as well!


Thank you for the reply, it was very well laid out. One thing though: it's rhythm, not rythm.
So by what you wrote, you are trying to say that music is based off popularity, and that people don't like the songs themselves, they just like it because they know it. I understand your point, but here is my counter argument:
Yes, there are fans out there that don't really like songs because they like them, but because it's popular, but there are people with very different musical tastes as well.

I think that YOU are your own example of this. From what I gather from your post, you yourself put a lot of thought into the music you like, and focusing on the rhythm and the instruments. While I have had my share of girls who scream over One Direction, I do know many people with very different musical tastes.

An important thing to note is that people like music depending on what they like, but they must have a specific interest in this thing to like music from it. So, you could say music is based on perception, because if you hear a song that relates to something that you like, you are more likely to enjoy this song, regardless of it's popularity.

For example, the interest that changes someone's music taste the most is probably language. My father was always into the popular music as a young adult, but when he started learning German, his interests shifted to music like Rammstein; a German heavy metal band. It was exactly the same for me, except I was never into the "popular music"from the start, as I was more of a classical music person. I always liked foreign things, songs, and TV shows as well, so when I started learning Japanese, my tastes immediately shifted to Japanese music, and everything Japanese, as keep in mind that these factors can effect your views on things like TV shows, not just music.

I just think that what music you like depends on the person's likes, dislikes, age, gender etc. But the person you go to must have an open mind and be able to think about music in a way that suits them, instead of just following the crowd.

I look forward to your reply!
Debate Round No. 2


Sorry for my spelling mistake, English is not my native language you see!

I'll clarify the first part: I say that people more and more begin to like songs because of the "decorations" that come around the melody and rhythm. A song already being popular also counts as a "decoration". Your counter argument is that there are people with different tastes as well, that is true. Music fans of all sorts can be found, mainly divided into genre groups. As for that, nowadays, alot of rap fans are actually in for the lyrics rather than the rhythm. This is partly why people like Drake even get to have success. Ofcourse there are people who value the true nature of music (rhythm and melody) but alot of people focus on a certain decoration and perhaps even limit theirselves to one type of "decoration". I might have to remind you here that by "decorations" I mean the additional beauties of music asides from melody and rhythm. For example, some people will really like the sound of a guitar while others wont.

That I would be my own example is very true - no matter how beautiful a Mozart symphony is, I'll prefer to hear different genres over classical music. But that counts for you too: you have a special place in your heart for Japanese music (as do I, by the way). By that you are not looking objectively at the music, because as you said, it is a perception and a personal interest for this specific "decoration", that is, the Japanese language and the typical instruments from there. I personally believe though, that when I would ask you if a Japanese song would be better or "under the bridge" by the red hot chili peppers, you would most likely prefer the Japanese song.
BUT, here's the catch. Had you never heard either of the songs, and both songs were presented to you in the same language, with the same instrument, then you would most likely prefer "under the bridge" (although some Japanese compositions will probably have an even better melody).

By that logic, so far I have concluded that every person will always be able to choose the better melody should there be no added "decorations", that might concede with that persons personal interests. In other words, melodies can be objectively sorted given that they all have an equal chance - and therefore the 2 central elements (rhythm and melody) in music can be used to objectively listen to music as a whole.

Now I'd really like to thank you, after reading everything (I read a paragraph and then reply to that one, before reading the next paragraph)! I seriously could not have hoped for a better person to discuss this with, as you are obviously very interested in music yourself! I'm very certain this will not become as hostile as some debates on this site tend to be. Would you mind posting a link to some of your favourite Japanese songs in your next answer? I'd be glad to hear them!

Thank you, I'm eager to discuss this further! Don't keep me waiting!


Wow, you obviously know your music!

I think you have an amazing point, and I'm afraid I can no longer debate with you.
I misunderstood your first post and went against it, but now that you've clarified your meaning, I find no further reason to debate this with you, as I do share a similar point. I thought the meaning was popularity-wise, but now I see that no matter what your interests are, if you hear a song without the "decorations", there is a 50/50 chance of what the person will like more.
So instead of debating you, I feel like I agree and am with you.

Your argument is so strong, well-structured and well though-out, that I'm actually shocked that English isn't your first language. I can't believe how though provoking it was.

I'll enjoy reading any other debates you take part in, and I know you will fit in with this community.

I'll forfeit the other rounds, as I feel that you have already won.

My favourite Japanese song: Sakura no Ame by Matsu Takako (who also plays Elsa in the Japanese version of Frozen)
Debate Round No. 3


Although now I do feel proud, I'm also a bit dissapointed that the talk will you will be over so soon...

I've actually had the talk with my dad (whom is a great music fan) and he stated that the list of melodies, won't be the same as the list of actual songs (as they are, with decorations) in order. He says that songs with great lyrics, a nice voice and good instruments will score higher on an actual song lists. He has a point there, like you proved, that when actual universal votings would happen, people would choose Adele's voice over that of Kurt Cobain. I wonder if you agree with him there? Should a song with better vocals be chosen over a song with a better melody, but with a bad singer?

Thank you for all your compliments, you yourself are most certainly a great debater (the fact alone that you'll give in to some arguments proves that) but most of all a very kind person - the sort we need to see more on this site!

By the way, as I wrote this I've listened to that Japanese song. Beautiful indeed! I'd love to here more songs that you like, your music taste is obviously a great side of you!

Hopefully we will meet again on this site, and if you'd like, we could talk some more through messages!


Your dad has a point, but in the end it all depends on what the person's tastes are.

If a person is more into instrumentals, they probably won't mind if the singer is awful, but if the person is more into the singing part of the song, then it is important that the singer is good. Otherwise, the person may not appreciate the song in the same way as someone who would if they payed more attention to the actual music in it.

I think there are more people who prefer the singer over the music, but I am not one of them myself. So, I guess I stand by what I said at the start; depending on what the person's tastes are, they could like or dislike the song by focusing on a single part that they like.

Also, if you're looking for music that has no singing and is simply music, check out thesecession's channel. My favourite song by them is "Emotional Music: Moment Of Inertia. Here it is:

Hope this helped!
Debate Round No. 4


revic forfeited this round.


WatashiwaKoharudesu forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
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