General Headscratchers for Music are listed below. Please make sure you are not duplicating an existing Headscratcher before adding a new one. New entries should go on the bottom of the page, and no complaining.
How is it that all humans automatically recognize music as music? All other animals seem to just hear meaningless noise. Does this mean other animals recognize things as music that we just take as meaningless noise? How is it that we categorize whalesong and birdsong as "music," but nothing else? Why have we, as a species, developed this complex form of expressing ourselves for no purpose other than entertainment? This has Just Bugged Me for as long as I can remember.
Bigger brain. It's like asking why we're the only species to have developed written language. We just do.
It may be an urban myth, but lots of animals have been said to be calmed by classical music.
It's not an urban myth. Many of our dogs have loved it. Some of them have regularly sung along by howling.
My cat can tell the difference between tuneless whistling and whistling that follows an actual melody. She strongly prefers the latter.
There was a recent Wired article that showed that some species of monkeys enjoyed music that had been made up of sampled monkey sounds.
There's some research that suggests that the human love of music works with the same part of the brain that birds use when interpreting bird songs, and that our ability to sing came before our ability to speak. One theory is that humans once used mating and territorial songs to communicate with each other just like birds, and that, since civilization and language has done away with that need, we've cranked our musical ability way Up to Eleven and adapted it for a whole new purpose.
Then again, maybe it's not for a whole new purpose...
The findings, based on a study of 120 infants between 5 months and 2 years old, suggest that humans may be born with a predisposition to move rhythmically in response to music.
Read the book This Is Your Brain on Music, folks. It delves very insightfully and fascinatingly into the mystery.
Basically, the same part of the brain that analyzes rhythm is that same part that controls movement. This is why upbeat music makes people want to dance more. Upbeats are harder to follow than downbeats, which means the brain needs to work harder, meaning that people instinctively move.
Why are albums released first in Japan, and only later in the rest of the world?
I think you're thinking of video games.
Nah, he has a point. It really depends on the type of music. Things like glam metal (such as TNT) always get released in Japan before other regions, because glam metal practically shaped the Japanese rock industry. Germans Love David Hasselhoff.
More importantly, why do albums get extra tracks when released in Japan?
Because CDs are more expensive in Japan. Putting bonus tracks on the Japanese versions gives them incentive to buy local instead of importing the cheaper international releases. It's a bummer for the rest of us, but what are ya gonna do?
Download the foreign versions (and if I ever meet him, slap Marilyn Manson for all the exclusive tracks all over the world, then give him a bearhug).
1) They may well prefer just to earn a good buck making the music rather than risk going solo 2) Being a solid musician is not necessarily enough to make it in the pop music world. There is a reason why David Bowie made it as a a solo artist and Mick Ronson (despite his talent as a producer/instrumentalist/arranger) didn't.
Also, who is to say that they aren't trying? Lots of these musicians are in more than one band and play a variety of instruments in various venues.
Let's not forget two facts here: 1. Instrumental ability does not equal songwriting creativity, and 2. Mainstream music is 90% dictated by marketing. A lot of the time they're just not marketable enough.
Why does almost every musician sing in an American accent? Why can't they change it up occasionally? It seems like people did used to sing in non-American accents regularly (the Beatles sang in English accents quite often, Syd Barrett sang for Pink Floyd with an English accent, Harry Belafonte even affected a West Indies accent even though he was American) but it fell out of fashion somehow.
Speaking out of my ass as an American, I think it as has something to do with America being a very visible audience and having slightly xenophobic attitudes. Either that or perhaps many artists are simply influenced by American singers.
It varies. Some people do sing in almost comically different accents from their speaking voices (e.g., Elton John), and most of the early British rock bands used more American pronunciation (although usually not using rhotic accents). However, British bands in the 80s (the ones that used synthesizers) used British accents, and this was so much a part of that genre that Germans like Alphaville and Norwegians like a-ha imitated British accents rather than American. So maybe it's just an extension of how a genre gets associated with an accent, like the weird accent used for choral singing and the Southern US accent used for country.
Ah, to hear a Canadian sing in a Southern accent...
Actually, it's been proved that the American accent is the easiest accent to sing in. To be honest, it's not really an 'American accent', it's more like a 'universal pop accent'. British singers who attempt to use their native accent tend to have to strain their voice more than they would need to if they were singing using the American-type accent. Think about it, the way you pronounce words tends to be slightly different when you sing, as your mouth and vocal chords have to move differently to produce different pitches and sounds. This is coming from a Brit who sings a lot, and I can tell you, singing 'My Heart Will Go On' while attempting to sound like Lily Allen is not fun in the slightest.
If a singer's got any training, they've likely been taught to sing without an accent, just as newscasters have to learn to speak with a neutral accent.
There are more than a few American singers who affect a quasi-British delivery (Billy Corgan comes to mind).
i assume you mean English music? most music that is in other languages use different accents, Japanese music comes to mind
The Beatles spoke to this in their very first American press conference: Paul: The Liverpool accent - so, the way you say some of the words. You know, you say GRASS instead of GRAHHSS, and that sounds a bit American. So there ya go.
Why don't more musicians do rock/metal stuff with orchestral backing? Metallica did it with S&M, and I consider that the best album I own, bar none. Even if that's a minority opinion, it has to be worth a try, to see if it works for other bands.
There's actually a ton of bands that do that, most of them just aren't very mainstream (at least in the US). If you mean why don't more of your typical (non-symphonic) rock/metal bands do it, probably has to do with funds. Orchestras ain't cheap, and the record label is holding the purse strings.
"World" music. I do enjoy listening to tunes from all over the globe, but why this term? To this troper's ears, "world music" seems to means "music that isn't from the West and sounds foreign enough" - wouldn't that be kind of exclusionary? I mean, wouldn't someone from Africa/Asia/wherever else scoff at the idea of some Westerner calling his traditional music "world music"? And despite the effect of American pop culture on the rest of the world, would you hear those in said places referring to Western pop music as "world music"?
That particular label is primarily for commercial/marketing purposes: a way of gathering to together a broad range of musics connected by a similar audience, rather than by any intrinsic quality. See also: "Pop," "Folk," "Traditional."
It's also a good catch-all for a lot of music that fuses together a lot of different styles. There's a trope for that, something about Zydeco Punk Rockabilly.
What exactly is the difference between synthpop and electropop?
It's synthpop with extra emphasis on the electronic production. It's also more minimalistic, and has a bit of a colder and more robotic sound to it. It's just a synthpop sub-genre.
As an actual Fridge Logic example, if Alternative Rock is for all intents and purposes mainstream in terms of popularity amongst the various rock genres, what is it an alternative to? I can understand what The Sex Pistols were an alternative to (Progressive Rock) and what the like of Nirvana were an alternative to (Hair Metal), but if alt rock is the most mainstream type of rock music at the moment, why does it still bear this name?
Nowadays it's mostly an alternative to pop and hip-hop music.
But what is it actually? It doesn't seem to have anything that defines it's sound other than being rock music.
Why is it that Dark Neoclassical is listed as a subgenre of Dark Wave on The Other Wiki? I know that a lot of groups use synths to create that sound, but what about groups who create this type of music with acoustic instruments?
Probably a sort of "subgenre by association" thing, like how Neofolk developed out of the Industrial scene despite many Neofolk bands' sound having nothing to do with actual industrial music. Still doesn't quite make sense.
It's really not enough to warrant its own page but... It's Raining Men is a song sung by a group of women. As in, females. They're excited—soaking wet, even—about how many guys they can pick up. It's all about girls on the prowl. WHY IS THIS SONG NOW A GAY ANTHEM!? I'm bisexual myself and this still boggles the living crap out of me.
It's not terribly uncommon for the male gay community to adopt female anthems, or to identify with the female's traditional role in romantic situations. See "I Will Survive" for a perfect example.
Not to mention that many, many songs are sung by the opposite sex than the supposed narrator. "Spanish Lady" is obviously supposed to be from the viewpoint of a traveling man (most likely a merchant or soldier), but is most often sung by a woman/women. From this, we get the possible funny implication of a lesbian woman watching the Spanish lady. In a similar way, 'Raining Men' is about being excited about the availability of attractive men; that it's sung by a woman is immaterial.
Why do 80's music channels still play Milli Vanilli despite the duo being frauds?
Any music channel that purports to play '80s music yet also plays Milli Vanilli IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED. END OF. Milli Vanilli didn't start charting until 1990, which is not a year from the 1980s. NOT AT ALL. Back away from those fraudulent "'80s music channels" NOW and look for some that actually play music from the 1980s.
Why do some classically trained singers have a hard time listening to singing by artists who... aren't (like a lot of Alternative Rock), but others have no problem?
For the same reason most painters aren't impressed by stick doodles. It's still art, and you can't objectively say something as subjectively as art is bad, it's just to someone who has spent years honing their skills it looks/sounds sloppy and amateurish.
Also, it's entirely possible that the singers you're talking about have perfect pitch, in which case it will (to them) sound objectively wrong, and in some cases painful.
A given singer may be compared very favorably to Mick Jagger yet very poorly to Enrico Caruso. Probably there's a distinction between singers who are willing to appreciate other genres' vocal styles on their own merits, and singers who instinctively evaluate all music by (admittedly tried-and-true) classical techniques. File under Values Dissonance, perhaps.
Why is the band Korn listed under Alternative/Indie in the Musicians page? I mean, there are a lot of bands in the Metal section that are just as heavy if not lighter.
They're part of the Nu Metal scene (iconic of it, actually), and as such are far too controversial to list in anything except "Alternative." On one side, you have the belief that their sound is sufficiently chunky and heavy to warrant classification as metal. On the other, you have the fair counter-argument that they don't actually have a metal sound - the riffs are not metal, the vocals are not metal, and the image is not metal (as silly as it is, image is a key aspect of metal, even as a genre that seems to eschew image).
Why do metal fans call bands that are clearly metal 'not metal' just because they dislike them?? As a diehard metal fan, that has always bugged me so much. I mean, explain to me how Slipknot, Bring Me the Horizon, Korn etc. aren't metal.
How are Slipknot and Korn clearly metal? The Korn example was already elaborated on above, and Slipknot has even harsher backlash than Korn ever did. Same problem: lack of metal sound and image. Their sound is certainly distinctive, even heavy, but it strays from some of those distinct metal ideas that are present in almost every metal album. Their image is far more reminiscent of a shock rock act like Marilyn Manson or Alice Cooper, and the fact that the band has an unnecessarily large number of members certainly doesn't help (we're talking about a genre which idolizes power trios like Motorhead and Rage). Plus, there's the unfortunate addition of hip-hop into the sound at times, which rarely gets a pass. Sometimes it's fantastic and even recognized by old guard metal heads as good (see: Rage Against the Machine), but other times, it falls flat on its face (see: Limp Bizkit).
As for Bring Me the Horizon, they're Metalcore. Another controversial genre which rides the line between being metal and being the descendant of hardcore punk and post-hardcore. Even The Other Wiki lists it as being more part of the punk subculture than the metal subculture. Moreover, there are elements of Emo that really piss off a number of old guard metal heads (people like my dad, who've been in the genre since the 70s).
If you want to make inroads, start using Between the Buried and Me as an example. They're progressive metal that rides the line between technical death metal and metal/deathcore. It's almost always better to start with a progressive example when you want your genre to become better accepted in the wider metal culture, since they universally have superior musicianship and frequently smarter songwriting and lyrics. It's a lot easier to convince someone that "Analyze my own matter from above/Blacked out eyes in an existence overgrown" is smart, innovative songwriting than, "SHE ISN'T REAL! I CAN'T MAKE HER REAL!"
I am quite confused by how doujin music industry works:
How much time does a doujin music singer spend on music recording? Several doujin singers appear as vocals in multiple albums by multiple circles in events which are spaced approximately 3 months in between.
How does the circle membership work? In the VG Mdb, I saw singers who are tied to one circle somehow manages to appear in music works outside of the circles they are associated in. Plus, Mitani Nana somehow manages to have an album tied to her own name rather than a circle. She may not be tied to a circle, but that makes me wonder how she managed to do it.