• There is no 'inferior'

    How can you just write down that certain types of music are inferior? Sure, the techniques, practice time and everything is much more advanced, but we can discredit the entire pop music industry just because of that. You have played a classical piece, ok good, but now try to go create a piece of pop music by yourself. All the instruments, all the notes, the singing, everything. You will then realize its not as easy as you think it is.
    Of course there are good classical and pop songs, but there are also bad of both. We can't just judge based on the few good classical pieces and ignore all the rest of it, while only taking the bad pop songs into account.
    I also see the 'every song is about love' argument a lot. Well if songwriters didn't write love songs, who would?
    I listen to both, I find them equally enjoyable, but they are suitable for different settings. For example, when I am on the bus alone, I listen to pop, but when I'm trying to do homework, I listen to classical.

  • Yes, pop music is inferior to classical music on several levels, most notably performance and training.

    Classical music is a higher art form than pop music. Composing and performing classical music requires rigorous training to acquire an expert skill set. In comparison, pop music is easy. Almost anyone can make a pop music record. There is nothing wrong with pop music, but it cannot compare with the art of classical music.

  • Pop is worse than classical

    Pop music is bad. The only good thing about pop is that it is catchy. Sometimes it has bad lyrics like in Nikki Minaj's song "I Love It", I hear"I DONT CARE" Some of the lyrics,are too fast. Some pop is annoying and damaging! Unwritten is one of those annoying songs to me. Classical music, some of it is beautiful! Meditation from Thais is balmy, beautiful, and soothing!

  • Mastery of fundamentals, superior musical expression, etc.

    This is a silly argument.
    If you're talking subjective, we're talking about "what you like"...Which is completely baseless. Therefore, talking about winning X number of grammys, selling X number of records, or "everyone likes it" means nothing.
    If we're talking objective, it's a silly argument. It's like comparing a Monet to a drawing of a stick figure by the average 5 year old. The average pro classical musician has extensively STUDIED music and musical expression, practiced his a$$ off for a LONG time, and has likely studied with several of the world's best on his/her chosen instrument. Objectively, there is no argument at all. Classical easily has the best instrumentalists and singers in the world. I don't care what you like....This is an OBJECTIVE statement. Also, I think that the silly statements about classical being boring and unemotional are stupid as well....You mean to tell me that a Shostakovich symphony about the hell that the Russians went through (during Stalin's reign) wouldn't be emotionally moving? Most people can't accept this, but it's elite music....In the same way that there's elite dancers, artists, athletes or gymnasts. There's a reason why you never see pop artists teaching voice in music schools.

  • Pop music is DISSONANT!!!

    Listen to pop music now. I have difficulty making out what they are saying. I understand the German version of "An die Freude ", or "Ode to Joy" better than I understand pop music now. Also, note how it might take years to be able to play classical music well. Pop music can be learned in a few months. Another thing is how in the end, pop music had to be copied off classical, along with a few strange, unusual, made up words. Finally, classical music consists of many different instruments, while modern music has really only three, not including the human voice : drums, guitars, and synthesizer keyboards.

    P.S: I wrote this while listening to Ode to Joy.

  • Yes, but the labels "pop", "classical" and "inferior" are so ill-defined and over-generalized by so many that depending on one's semantics both answers are right.

    If one were to fully define ALL the types of "pop" and "classical" [as pointed out both are in reality misnomers] I would have to agree that the best and even average examples of "classical" music as the current majority of culture understands the term is generally of a higher musical development, transcendence and evolution than "pop".

    However, I disagree with some of the Yes answers and agree with some of the No answers. Contrary to what was said under a Yes response, themes like "God, nature, eternal love, celebration, struggle" are absolutely fully represented in popular music and have been ever since the term ever existed. [Remember that popular music is not just what too many think of as the dumbed down commercial top 40 of today] The best of popular music has been and still occasionally is infused with some of the music elements and compositional qualities that admittedly expanded upon and developed to a much higher and "superior" degree in the best of classical music.

    But one cannot escape the fact that if we are comparing what the majority the masses are commercially fed in today's society under the term "pop music" to the amazing high level of "classical" music represented by immortal works of the last 450yrs that is performed, studied and recorded today, classical music is going to win out as the higher art form. If that fits the term of pop being "inferior" to classical then so be it. But this is just one semantic to infer upon using the term "inferior".

    And further, there are exceptions to every general conclusion, and some of the very best finely crafted popular music would be considered better than much of modern atonal "classical" music of the past 50 years and today, even by traditional "classical" music lovers many of whom can't stand the ultra modern stuff. All in all, too many variables involved in such a simplex question that need more quantifying/qualifying terms to be properly and accurately answered. Selah!

  • Classical music is "more music"

    I mean, todays music is basic lyrics with chords (if any), aiming primarily to sell (or be successful in any sense)... Classical music focus in the real deal: rhythm, melody and harmony. That is music. Lyrics are poetry, not music. Off course we can combine the two, but it will be a bundle of music and poetry... Besides that i believe people from that era were more profound than from this era. We live in a fast paced society which very often lacks interest in the essence of things. A superficial society. When one goes to a pop artist concert, they most of the time want the artist, the party, not the art... One goes to a rave party to dance, to get inebriated, to get laid, not to appreciate the rave songs. It's important too but, not essential... Classical music is pure, essential, in its own. Thats why you sit down, and just listen to it. It's far more important than the musicians... Think about it, nobody look to the sky anymore, neither to themselves... People just look their cell phones, counting likes, envying each other for material goods and social status...

  • Classical music is more complex and full of emotion without the need for words.

    Art IS subjective, to a point. Which is better, McDonald's or a French fine cuisine restaurant? Obviously the fine cuisine. But isn't the food subjective too? So what makes it better?
    The variety in classical music is far greater than in pop music (which is just the same basic four chord progression over and over with an extra chord in the bridge) and its emotions are more poignant.
    Of course, these are generalizations, and there are always exceptions. But in general, classical music is a higher art form. It makes you think, and that's what art should do.

  • Of course it is

    Pop is garbage. What are some ''good'' pop ''artists''? Justin Bieber? Madonna?? Rihanna???? Is that considered good?? Just no. Classical composers were geniuses: Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi and Bach, to name a few. These four had more intelligence, dignity and talent than any of these pop ''musicians''. Their melodies are amazing and beautiful, there's nothing better than that. All these pop ''artists'' sing about is about sex, superficial love and partying. That's it. It's embarassing.

  • Classic music is, in fact, more superior

    Because it actually can soothe your brain and maybe even sharpen it. Classic music also give your mind an array of pictured situation. For example, Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata actually have a sad, happy, calm, and slightly haunting feel to it. Following the statement, one can picture the situation of going to an old, abandoned, and nostalgic mansion or staring up to the night sky and the moon. Compare to pop, which can only focus on one or two emotions and have lesser or even no pictured situations. In one word, classic IS truly superior.

  • Simply Put: NO

    I honestly find the whole premise of this type of argument wholly fallacious: music is subjective! This argument is honestly just a specific type of music elitism grounded argument that is no different than the ridiculous Rockism problem pop music criticism is currently suffering from.

    Inferior is a subjective term. You have to establish a desired set of features/outcomes to determine between a given set of objects which are superior or inferior. E.G. A toaster (#A) that can produce 2 pieces of toast simultaneously will be superior to a toaster (#B) that can only produce 1 piece of toast at a time. The aforementioned statement is true because a toaster's primary function is to produce toast, therefore the more toast produced in the same amount of time, the more superior the toaster. It does not matter if #B was crafted by the finest metallurgist/wood artisan, or that you believe it has more "personality"; That metal, factory manufactured toaster with the two bread slots will continuously out sell the "fancy, intricate" model that is #B. For those of you who did not pull any parallels from that example to the question on hand, allow me to explain more plainly.

    1) The music buying public did not come to the consensus that "complexity" or "expert skill" should be the barometers for music quality. Even more to the point, classically trained musicians are simply experts at classical music not music in general. One of the most ludicrous and illogical statements I have ever heard is that "anyone can do pop music"...It always sounds like the not-funny-at-all punchline to a bad joke. 1000s of new pop acts fail everyday to even sell a 1000 copies of their album, BUT ALLEGEDLY ANYONE CAN BE A POP STAR. I dare any Classical musician to attempt to outstage the likes of Beyonce, Michael Jackson, or Tina Turner! The fact that people you think are untalented are allowed to make CDs is no winning argument either; right now there are 1000s of classically trained musicians that my personal music coach and 100s of others can not believe were allowed to obtain a degree in music. More to the direct point, NONE of this is relevant because the general public is not under your assumption that "complex music made by expert musicians" is the end goal or even important for music. The GP believes a song should move you, and they have chosen the various phases of pop music the last 100 years by continuously buying it!

    2) Classical Music is a misnomer at best! Are you referring to Baroque? Romantic? "Modern"? The ancient music of Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America came out at the same time, so why isn't it called Classical (you know why)? Anyone every pondered why this "inferior" music seems to resonate so well with people across all socio-economical stripes, while "classical" music seems to only appeal to the Upper Class/Elitist mentalities? Because "people are stupid"? Answering yes leaves my point made.

  • Neither is better

    You can not say that any is inferior to the other. Classical music was simply the pop music of its time. Some may say that classical music had feeling and emotion to it but of you listen closely to most of the lyrics so does pop music. Therefore I say No.

  • Frankly, there's good and bad classical and pop music

    I'm a classical pianist myself and enjoy playing, in particular, Rachmaninov, Liszt and Jopin (so where does he sit then?). I take great pleasure in listening to all types of music from classical to rock, pop to folk, electro to techno. Now, take Liszt. A prolific composer indeed with more than a 1000 pieces (some of them transcriptions from others). But many of the more seldom-heard pieces in his repertoire are not particularly inspiring in my book. You see, we can list our favourite classical composers in a couple of sheets of paper. How many thousands of obscure and unsuccessful classical composers have there been? It's likely that we will always keep Led Zeppelin as a classic rock group. What about the myriad of smalltime hits we hear now which are forgotten next year? There are many who say that classical music is more complex. Well, there are glaring exceptions here, and it's what makes these exceptions stand out. Listening to Richard D James (aka Aphex Twin, Polygon Window etc) is highly complex stuff although definitely not everyone's cup of tea. This is even termed as the much maligned Intelligent Ambient music. What about some of those progressive rock bands (e.G. Yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer). Pretty complex stuff. On the other hand, there are thousands of very simple classical melodies from (which, by the way, are frequently used by modern music as a base). Modern classical music, with all its polyphony, atonalism, discorfance and serialism, can be very challenging to listen but can be very satisfying. Listening to the 4-hour piano marathon,Opus Clavicembelasticum by Sorabji whilst reading its score is devastatingly mindblowing. But, at the end of day, I would far prefer to listen to some complex electronica than listening to the way-overperformed 4 Seasons by Vivaldi!

  • None of them are better.

    Each one has its good and bad things, it's just that they are different. Everyone should be able to choose whether they like one or the other, or both of them. In my opinion, pop music helps you to understand your feelings. Teenagers can identify better with it. On the other hand, classical music is more complex. The structure is less boring and repetitive, and there are more types of music: coral, chamber, orchestral, etc.

  • Pop is just as good as classical.

    If you dig as deep as you possibly can into five of your favorite songs, you will find that they are just as complex as classical. If you just look at what meets the eye in pop, you will think it is easy. Pop is just as hard to make as classical.

  • Pop music and classical music are both genres. One is not inferior to the other.

    Both pop and classical music are types of music! They are both equal. You may think one is slightly better than the other, but that is an opinion. Both of them have good and bad things about them. For example, Gangnam Style may be a catchy tune, however it isn't inspiring and meaningful.

  • Classical Music Was The Pop Of Its Time

    I don't know how we can argue that pop is better or worse than classical music, because pop music encompasses such a huge amount of music. Classical music was the pop music of its day. It was written for the nobility to entertain them, much like music entertains us today. So it's not really better or worse.

  • No, it's not

    Pop is, at its most base, just music, the same as classical. It is neither inferior nor better, simply different. Liking and disliking certain kinds of music is all subjective and depends on the person, so no one can really say with certainty that one kind is definitely inferior than another.

  • Subjective and mythical

    All forms of music are unique and have their own structure. Each possess complex and simplistic approaches, and can require much training to produce sound quality. The amount of effort needed to learn a genre holds about as much weight in proving superiority of a genre as arguing popularity.

    Each side can throw the usual Classical music is harder or Pop gets music awards arguments, neither side can and will prove either genre superior nor inferior. As a musician, I've come to learn that there is "genius" to simple and complex music. I've encountered clever compositions in pop as I have in classical and have found crappy songs in classical as I have in pop. Just like Classical music is artistic, so is pop. Just because some artists choose poor methods of producing pop, doesn't mean the entire genre should be judged accordingly. There are a number rot hard working pop artists, who approach their music like it's a canvas.

    Every genre has it masters, has its artists, has its simplicity, has complexity, and is too uniquely structured for either to truly go up against each other fairly, without undermining the others beauty. I believe all genres should be appreciated for what they uniquely offer us, and not spend so much time tainting the musical art form by adding, yet again, the same distracting and evil human flaw of logical reasoning. You like what you like, that's fine, enjoy it, it's meant to be enjoyed. But remember that every genre has its good and bad, its simple and complex, its masters and its posers, trained and untrained.

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thg says2013-07-30T06:05:50.390
While I agree with many of the comments posted on both sides of this opinion, I must say I believe the initial opinion question, while provocative, is really too ambiguous for me to weigh in. So I'll just include some thoughts here.

===="Inferior" is really an ambiguous term. I agree with the post that suggested that we really need to define our terms and standards in order to make meaningful comparisons.

====Nevertheless, I believe the initial question implies an attempt to make an assessment of artistry. While art surely involves more subjectivity than, say, sports, I still believe that we can evaluate artistic pieces and, with proper experience and education, we can usually tell whether or not a piece was made with great skill. What might some standards be when we evaluate musical works? Entertainment value is one factor, but that really is not directly applicable. One might be a great entertainer while still a poorly skilled musician. Entertainment might itself be considered an "art"...So, for example, we might consider Elvis to be a great entertainer (something hard to deny), but I know very few music critics (pop, rock, classical, or otherwise) who would consider him to be a "great" musician. Why is this? Musical complexity certainly can't be the only standard and has its own ambiguity, but I can say with reasonable certainty (being a professional and classically trained musician myself who also plays pop, rock, and other genres) that Elvis' vocal and guitar skills involve a good bit less complexity than those of even average classical musicians. I have very little problem playing along with most any Elvis tune with little or no rehearsal, but I can play even basic classical pieces only because I have had years of training and practice, and most classical pieces are either still out of my reach or take a good while to practice and master. The fact is that, from a music theory standpoint, classical music almost ALWAYS is FAR MORE complex than most pop tunes. Are there exceptions? Yes, but the general rule remains intact. No one who has a substantial music education would dispute this. And I would include jazz as well as classical. Both genres continue to be far more complex than the pop and rock genres. Hendrix might be considered one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time (again, "great" is an ambiguous term), but I don't know of any serious music critic (rock or otherwise) who would consider him to be a BETTER or MORE SKILLED guitarist than, say, the likes of Segovia (classical), McLaughlin (fusion), or Christian or Pass (jazz). So, perhaps we could word a question like this: Which genre requires more practice and training? The answer to this question clearly is that pop, generally, requires much less practice and training. I know this first-hand. Lifting off a pop tune is easy (for those of us who are trained musicians), while lifting off a classical or jazz piece is a completely different animal (lifting off means playing back a piece that you hear without the use of any written score).

====While we may confess that we are dealing with subjective and ambiguous terminology, we need to guard against total relativism. If a kid who's never taken a music lesson and can't read a note of music (despite having some innate potential) picks up a little skill here and there and is able to muddle through some piece (classical, pop, or otherwise), surely we're not going to grant that he is JUST AS GOOD as, say, Hendrix or Beethoven. So, yes, we are dealing with some degree of ambiguity, but most of us (even those of us who aren't trained) can readily tell the difference between such a kid and a polished, experienced musician. So, while there are ambiguities, we surely should admit that there is a difference between SKILLED and UNSKILLED attempts at musicianship.

====There surely are several other factors to consider, but even if we consider only the aspect of "complexity" or, say, "level of difficulty", I would assert that classical and jazz music is far more complex and difficult to master than pop and rock music. There may be a few exceptions here and there, but I'd bet that most instances of pop and rock that are more complex involve musicians who were classically trained and/or who are also skilled in classical or jazz genres.

====Part of why this entire question is problematic is because it is fairly difficult to clearly and completely isolate one genre from another. There truly has been a great fusion movement throughout the music world, and, therefore, many musicians and works involve combinations and cross-influences. Nevertheless, I'd still assert that a musician who is classically trained and can master more complex works (regardless of genre) is a BETTER musician...Or, at least, a MORE SKILLED musician...Than one who barely knows the difference between a C Major chord and a C7 -5 chord and who can barely play the latter even when the notes are staring him/her in the face.