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Forums » Lounge » Effective Criticism


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Still no explanation on effective criticism...what is it? Why paste almost a novell here over my effective criticism that explains nothing?

I still think this thread must be closed for boredom.
Just act with respect and keep it simpel.

Latest Song: Harvest Moon
Artist Page Send Message Sep 26, 2011 | 2:32 pm

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new song. demo of my box. bear in mind that this was spontaneous and hastily improvised, not rehearsed.
Latest Song: Triumph (Dubstep)
Artist Page Send Message Oct 03, 2011 | 11:44 pm

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Ok, I'm sure that nine pages later, effective criticism has already been explained.

But to sum it up, it's simply the listener being able to hear a song for exactly what it is, not for what they want it to be. This takes a lot of skill.

Then the listener has to demonstrate respect by praising the good parts of the song, to put the tortured mind of an artist at ease.

Then the listener poses "effective" criticism, in the context of what the song IS in and of itself, by offering specific areas that could be improved to STRENGTHEN the song, and specific ways to make those improvements.

Because the whole point is for artists to keep CREATING. You don't become a good artist by perfecting ONE piece of work. You become a good artist by making MANY pieces of work.

And since it's easy to become discouraged with art, or caught up with one piece, it's important for critics to help the artist learn and move on with dignity and inspiration.
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Artist Page Send Message Oct 04, 2011 | 4:44 am

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I like that bit about dignity and inspiration Smile Well said Marc
Latest Song: Willow Weep for Me
Artist Page Send Message Oct 06, 2011 | 5:43 pm

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Well Done....
Artist Page Send Message Jul 27, 2012 | 11:04 pm

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I'm going to chime in without reading all 9 pages.

Many artists (myself included) have fragile egos at times. It's popular not to want to trample on those egos, but to encourage creativity for it's own sake.

However, there is another side of this. I have encountered many a talentless (I may be one of them) artist who kept making stuff even though it was terrible, because no one bothered to tell them it was terrible. I don't mean beauty is in the eye of the beholder type terrible, I mean truly terrible. And while I was not the one to drop the bomb and scuttle their plans for art domination, I was very careful to never, ever, encourage them to continue anything worthless. I would and do, best as I can, try to push them in any other direction to do something decent instead of the garbage they were creating. Sometimes though, the best criticism is silence.

I have been fortunate to have a few critics who, gently, pointed out major flaws in my musical work. I need this. With no musical training and not the best ears for tonality, I really need that kind of help. However, one of the best things to happen to me was a friend of the family, an accomplished musician wanted to hear some of my tracks. I shared them, and he said nothing to me about them. I asked if he got them and he acknowledged that he did, but said nothing more. I didn't press the point, the silence said enough.

Effective criticism is like Briar Rabbit's laughing place. What's effective for one person is useless to someone else.

If I have anything intelligent to say on this subject it's this. Don't encourage bad art/music, even mine.
Latest Song: Stealing the Code
Artist Page Send Message Feb 27, 2013 | 11:40 am

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My approach to music that I find terrible is usually - silence

It is also a matter of taste. I am not a big fan of rap. I love electronic music but not if it hasn't gotten chords and melody. But lots of people love rap, And lots of people love music that is mainly a cool groove/beat. I love a good soundscape but not a 10 minute long dark expression of horror. I prefer happy or beautiful music. I am very broad in my taste. I like rock, metal, techno, classical, jazz, musicals... I am even a huge Celine Dion fan! But even I have limits. And instead of showing myself as a closed minded fool, I stay silent. Taste is taste and cannot be discussed. I think silence is the right reaction to that.

Then there is the difficult one. People that are not at a very high level musically. And there I choose to see the glass as half full. Even a beginner musician with the heart at the right place can move me. It happens every day. And then I encourage by saying what I find is good. And when more is posted by the person and I hear improvement, I comment on the improvement. Noone ever told me my piano play is primitive. I know it is. I practice every day. I get better every day. But it takes years to learn as a 47 year old. Thank God we have collabs when we really want a good musician for a song.

Only time I give negative feedback is with simple technical problems that only require a little instruction to fix.

I have personally received very nice feedback the past two years. As examples I have been told that my strings in classical pieces I made sounded like block chords and that I should try and make more swells. That feedback really helped me. I still fight to get it perfect. But my pieces are getting better and all I needed was to pay attention to the note velocity, attack settings, and create some note overlaps etc. A few hints helped me to improve.

If the artist is known for spending hours on sound engineering I will give him more critique on the sound than I do with an artist that plays his piano using the built-in mike on his Mac. It is good to know the level of an artist and adjust the critique to match. If in doubt I advice to leave it.

The one thing I never really use is the rating starts. I give none or full house 5. I cannot see what 4 starts gives anyone. Should they sell their car to buy more gear then to get 5 starts for production? So I let the starts mean - darn good, extra bravo. I think most here does that. And that is OK I think. I do not care if I get 3 or 4 starts for production. It is the words that count. And I love every bit of feedback I get. Even if it is just "Killroy was here and listened".
Artist Page Send Message Feb 27, 2013 | 6:26 pm

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I agree with Kenneth - the stars are not especially useful, and when someone gives you three or four for production you do end up thinking what are they suggesting you do to get five stars?

Far better is to give written feedback. Kenneth (@KennethLavrsen) is right, there are some on here who give excellent feedback - @PaulWilkins especially. Paul is happy to praise the things you do well, and he will also suggest something you can do to make the sound even better. And it is meant with complete honesty and generosity. This is useful feedback and it always goes down well, because you know that this is someone who (a) knows what he is talking about, and (b) is focussing on the technicalities of your production (it's not criticising a subjective part of your composition).

Silence - this is an odd one. I personally don't leave comments on music that isn't my kind of music. This is different from a silence where I think someone is rubbish at making music. So, it would be pointless in me commenting on someone's rap song, when I know I can't bear rap music.

However, it's trickier when you are being silent because someone is doing something a bit rubbish musically - which you can probably objectively all agree is not right, for whatever reason. Feedback on these things is hard, because we don't know what the person's musical background is; we don't know what their capabilies are; we don't know what software they have or how well-versed in it they are; we don't know how they hear the sound on their headphones/speakers; we also don't really know if they themselves think the music is good on an artistic level.

But it's perfectly fine, in my opinion, to give feedback that can help to correct something that is clearly wrong (a poor mix that is causing distortion, say).

I know from my own experience that I value feedback that is properly constructive, with suggestions; but I know I can take umbrage at feedback that appears to be on a subjective level - i.e. someone doesn't like a particular instrument in a composition.
Latest Song: The Morning After
Artist Page Send Message Feb 28, 2013 | 7:55 am

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Eido, coincidentally, the constructive comments I've ever had on here were from you. I specifically as for comments (good or bad) in my "about" section. How are you to be any better, when everyone's just trying to be courteous? I find that more insulting actually.

Nice post,

Latest Song: Countdown
Artist Page Send Message Mar 28, 2013 | 4:27 pm

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These days rarely spend much time planning how to critique or react to music. Just dig the listening.
Latest Song: So Long Single Life
Artist Page Send Message Apr 01, 2013 | 9:05 am

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This is how I act as a listener.

I always give a comment if I listened to the end of a song. If I think a song is not to my taste I normally stop half way and I never comment on a song I did not like.
I have a broad taste from classical, to hard rock, so I tend to comment a lot.

When I do give criticism I always try to imagine at what level the person is at. It is easy to tell a person that his piano play is computer mechanical, his vocal is untrained, his guitar play is not like a pro etc. But that you can say about 99% of us. I still play one hand at a time when I do piano and use all sorts of aids for it. And you can hear it. And the artist knows it already.

I cannot help a very skilled musician with his instrument. I can tell him when I hear something that is really good in my ears so he know that it is worth repeating again in future songs. Critique does not have to be negative to be effective.
Artist Page Send Message Apr 01, 2013 | 11:57 am

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Kenneth, I think you offer sound advice. I tend to review much in the same manner as you do. Most of the members on this site are not trained professional musicians, so much of what is posted here is not always of the highest caliber. When I come across something that is of merit or particularly well done, I will offer specific ideas for areas of improvement. I'm not a fan of the one word comment. Considering all the work that people undertake to create their music, I try to at least offer up some reason why I liked it.
Latest Song: Barcarolle
Artist Page Send Message Apr 01, 2013 | 12:19 pm

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Perhaps there should be a collaboration thread where people post their projects like some sites have. You you can see the discussion of the project so people can have advise along the way.
Artist Page Send Message Jul 04, 2013 | 11:15 am

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I thought we already had that and was called "posting a song". Razz
Latest Song: I Really Love You
Artist Page Send Message Jul 04, 2013 | 11:44 am

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@Chromatic There is a collaboration thread. It's on the main Forum page called, funny enough, Collaborations. Check it out.
Latest Song: Go For Broke (RR)
Artist Page Send Message Jul 04, 2013 | 2:19 pm
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