SCV's show was an epic musical fail.

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As someone also studying for his BM, I’m confused how someone could go to Juilliard and come away with such a two dimensional sense of what good music is. I’m Confused with several of your points, esp

There's a well-known and studied psychological phenomenon called the mere-exposure effect (also called the familiarity principle). It means people develop a preference for things merely because they a

Scott - you have made a wonderful assessment of this activity we all enjoy and want to continue. Although I'm not a musician, I am impressed by your evaluation and agree to your premise. I will note this part of your message about successful music:

1. It moves you emotionally on the FIRST listen.
2. It is memorable—you can actually hum or sing some of it after one hearing—and ALL of it after several hearings.
3. It has a steady, consistent pulse that you can slip into and feel—in a sustained way—while you listen.

Fully agree!

Here is an activity that moves all around the country performing for various local audiences, most of which are neighborhood residents and curious "newbies." These types shouldn't have to hear our music more than once to appreciate it. For many, they only get one shot! Melody is extremely important!

As wonderful and talented as Santa Clara Vanguard is this season . . . . I would much rather have my novice neighbors next door witness the Blue Stars, as one example.


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While your theory is interesting, it fails to include one simple ingredient: personal taste. I'm not a fan of The Beatles, Elvis Presley, or Michael Jackson. Personally, their music falls flat and does not stir me at all. But they have millions of fans who totally disagree with me because of taste. I saw SCV one time all summer. I didn't understand the show, but I liked it. It grooved, it raised up and down, and it sounds brilliant to me.

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I fully expect many people to make the "all music is subjective" argument. (Or the "personal taste" argument.) What I'd love to hear (which admittedly takes a bit more time) is more detail—focusing particularly on the underlying elements of (in this case) SCV's music that you liked.

It's certainly okay to say "I liked it." I'm just politely asking people to explain why they liked it. (I'm happy to explain further why I didn't—but it'll take some time and specific musical references to the show.)

Heck, I'm even willing to watch (and listen) to SCV's show a dozen more times in a genuine attempt to appreciate it. But one of my points is that I shouldn't have to.


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While I don't think I would go so far as to claim that their shows was "an epic musical fail" (there very distinctly were times of melody and rhythm, notably the Peter Gabriel and the drum & bass), I don't necessarily disagree with the overall thesis that overexposure to an artistic work can create an undeserved perception of quality. Whenever I listen to shows for the first time, I always try to enjoy them on both artistic merit and creative cohesiveness; I appreciate the performers always, but I will readily tear to shreds the designers if they put together what I feel is a sub-par product. In general, this year felt rather bland to me across the board; no single show completely gripped me, and, agnostic to the achievement of the performers (that is, if each and every show were performed by hypothetically "perfect" performers), I don't think that I could root for any corps' show to win. 

This isn't to say that there aren't great moments in various shows; of course, the hit in SCV's ballad is incredible, as is the Bluecoats' vocal integration and low tessitura trumpet solo. However, while in other years I have been captivated by the holistic product that certain corps have presented, this year I was not moved by any. 

I predict that this thread will not engender any meaningful discussion, as most posters on here default to the mentality that any criticism must automatically be hater-talk and therefore dismissed out-of-hand (and, admittedly, the OP is rather unnecessarily harsh in their presentation of their thesis), but on the off chance that a real discussion does happen, I would like to contribute my piece: I think it's okay to not like shows, if one feels that the show has not moved them personally.

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