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Music appreciation & meaning

  1. Dec 15, 2011 #1
    Sometimes songs and artists just become much more special when you understand what the artist is truly singing about. What information or experience has helped you to fully appreciate certain music?

    I'll give you an example: I never cared for Eric Clapton. That is, until today, when I came across a 'love letter' he wrote to a woman named Layla:

    Reading this, it really hit me just how terrible I am at expressing my feelings compared to him, and how deep his love really was. I listened to the song "Layla" and I can just feel the passion in the melody and lyrics. Before today, I would have thought it was just an average old song.

    Sorry for the wall of text, please post your examples and experiences!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 15, 2011 #2
    I think the fact you didn't notice the song till you read the lyrics pegs it as an unsuccessful song. A successful song ought to work without the lyrics on some important level. It should be music first and foremost.

    In a similar vein, I notice that I like certain music videos while not liking the songs in particular. The visuals; the editing/montage, choreography and cinematography, can make a fairly dull song into something that seems a lot better than it actually is.
  4. Dec 15, 2011 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    When I discovered the true meaning of Puff the Magic Dragon, I was scarred for life!
  5. Dec 15, 2011 #4
    I hear you, but I think a lot of artists (music/painting/etc) do their artworks from the soul and if people like it, great. For a lot of them expressing themselves comes first (which is what sets a lot of them apart).
  6. Dec 16, 2011 #5


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    It matters more to an artist to get the performance and expression out there. (As a musician, I feel OK about stating this so plainly.) If the populace wants to read more into your performances than you intended, you can just let the speculation steep or you can use the opportunity to set things straight.

    Need an example? How about Peter Green's (Fleetwood Mac) song Long Grey Mare? I've got a Long Grey Mare, but she won't let me ride...

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  7. Dec 16, 2011 #6
    What I'm saying is that he probably didn't express himself "from the soul" if the music isn't as moving by itself as the music + lyrics. If the melody supported the emotion the melody itself ought to be passionate, haunting, whatever. As it is, he wrote a passionate poem, but the music he set it to doesn't, itself, stir that same passion.

    Compare "Layla" to "Oh Darling" by the Beatles, for example. Similar message.
  8. Dec 18, 2011 #7
    Hi. The letter, and the song, are written for a woman called Pattie Boyd. She was the wife of G. Harrison. Clapton was in love with her.
    Sorry if my english is bad, I'm mexican.
  9. Dec 18, 2011 #8
    I'm reading the book Life by Keith Richards right now. He explains a lot the inspirations for the songs sung by the Rolling Stones. So I guess in a way I am able to better appreciate the music. He also goes in to the Chicago blues influence which I am able to discern now in their work. He also goes in to the chords in depth and explains the open tuning of a six string guitar to a 5 string. I now have a deeper respect for the accomplished guitar player!
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