The Transitive Property of Music Appreciation

Is music appreciation transitive?

  • Yes

    Votes: 5 71.4%
  • No

    Votes: 2 28.6%

  • Total voters
    7

valacirca

Trooper
Inspired by the mechanics of The Iron Maiden "Head-to-Head" Song Tournament

In terms of liking a song, is it true that:
1) If X > Y
2) and Y > Z,
3) then X > Z?

In other words:
1) If you like "Aces High" more than "Fear of the Dark"
2) and you like "Fear of the Dark" more than "Paschendale"
3) Is it safe to conclude that you like "Aces High" more than "Paschendale"?

I've been thinking about this and my opinion is yes. I could make a list of songs, and be able to order them by how much I like them, so appreciation must be transitive. Of course there can be ties and appreciation can shift very fluidly at times, but transitive for sure. If it's not, then making individual lists which rank songs/albums makes no sense. Put more simply, if music isn't transitive, then how can you rank anything? You end up having circular arguments, making it impossible to rank anything.

Thoughts?
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
what's with the Dokken thing? Did I miss something?
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
This Dokken-thing has something to do with polls. I am not playing along but to me it sounds like a synonym for saying "I don't give a shit".
 

Black Thunder

Ancient Mariner
Yes, I believe in such property. Even if I can't put my top 10 Maiden material and sort them in order that I like them.
 

Wästed The Great

Minister Of Chicks, Metal&Beer; Cool & Froody Dude
Staff member
Onhell said:
Yes, you'v3 missed the tr000 power of DOKKEN

Aren't there varying powers of Dokken?  Really, the Dream Warrior Dokken is different from the Maddest Hatter Dokken.
 

LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
I absolutely give a shit. I vote in the threads! And then I report my vote as Dokken. Call it saying "I don't care to discuss whom I voted for."
 

Reumeren

Trooper
I don't think so. Appreciation is not something that can be represented mathematically. Some songs have different properties that makes them good for different reasons. I can never decide if I like Revelations or The Aftermath the most.
 

Wästed The Great

Minister Of Chicks, Metal&Beer; Cool & Froody Dude
Staff member
I say 'yes'.  Choosing between two songs is difficult, however, if I like Revelations better than Powerslave, and I like Rime better than Revelations, then I really do like Rime better than Powerslave.  If I'm choosing between the three, they will rank like that.
 

Invader

Ancient Mariner
I would say no.  I would say now that I like These Colours Don't Run more than Revelations, and Revelations more than Fear of the Dark, but I'm not sure I like These Colours more than Fear.  Anyway, between such equal songs, my opinion might change in a month, a week, or a day.  So I definitely can't rank Maiden songs; at most, group them into different tiers, and even that isn't cast in stone.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
I'd say yes. But I don't feel the need to do this with three (or more) songs when my goal is to only compare two.

I always pick the two songs of which I will choose my favourite. And I can always make that choice, and reason well why I prefer the one over the other.

I believe that the people who say no, have more problems with such reasoning. Also I'd like to see an example of:

1) If X > Y
2) and Y > Z,
3) then X < Z

As long as no one has made an example (which is true according to the member who makes it) plus explanation, I am not convinced it can be "no", yet.
 

valacirca

Trooper
Invader said:
So I definitely can't rank Maiden songs; at most, group them into different tiers, and even that isn't cast in stone.

Haha, it's funny that you should mention this because that's exactly what I'm doing now :p I'm trying to rank my Top 150 songs by the band (I think they have 157 all in all, excluding covers) and rank their albums as well.

I've been at it for several weeks. I initally grouped their songs into high-level tiers... then more detailed tiers... then ranked those groups of songs within themselves... put all the groups together in order and now I'm in the process of tweaking the sequence of things :p
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Sounds like a big undertaking. Please post the result and explain which choices were the most difficult and tell us how you made that choice (how did you reason/follow your feeling), which aspects of the song made it better in your ears than the other. Looking forward to it.
 

valacirca

Trooper
If ever I do, it would probably be best to put it in the IMC subforum, yeah?

Well, at least for now I could say that the top of the list is the easiest to rank. Favorites will be favorites, I guess. It's when one gets towards the middle of the list when things get frustrating to order.

It's a fun undertaking for me though. I love lots of bands; but for some bizarre reason, Iron Maiden has the only discography where I can fathom doing this kind of thing and not get bored with it... and they aren't even my favorite artists!
 

Invader

Ancient Mariner
Forostar said:
I'd say yes. But I don't feel the need to do this with three (or more) songs when my goal is to only compare two.

I always pick the two songs of which I will choose my favourite. And I can always make that choice, and reason well why I prefer the one over the other.

I believe that the people who say no, have more problems with such reasoning.

I don't know about you, but I find it strange to use logic and reason in what is ultimately a matter of emotions and holistic judgements.  And even if your reasoning goes something like "X has better melodies and lyrics, but Y has such a great riff that it's better", those are still emotional judgements upon which you base your reasoning.  

Overall, I find it a bit strange to forcibly rank and order songs; can't one acknowledge that the songs are equally good?  And for how long will a particular list last until one changes his/her mind? E.g. Before the Final Frontier tour, surely Blood Brothers (for most people) would have placed lower than now in a ranking of Maiden songs?

Forostar said:
As long as no one has made an example (which is true according to the member who makes it) plus explanation, I am not convinced it can be "no", yet.

See my earlier post, but I can give you more:
Paschendale > Hallowed, Hallowed > Rime; but Paschendale < Rime.
The Evil that Men Do > 23:58, 23:58 > Trooper, but The Evil < Trooper
The differences in the value/quality of the songs are so small that I find it irrelevant to even rank them; I would prefer to just call them equally good.
 

valacirca

Trooper
Invader said:
I don't know about you, but I find it strange to use logic and reason in what is ultimately a matter of emotions and holistic judgements. And even if your reasoning goes something like "X has better melodies and lyrics, but Y has such a great riff that it's better", those are still emotional judgements upon which you base your reasoning.
Music appreciation is a purely subjective affair; and as I said, there can be ties and appreciation shifts very fluidly at times. However, that doesn't mean that it's necessarily devoid of logic. In the daily song series by LooseCannon, don't we assign ratings to tracks? If we can assign numerical ratings indicating our appreciation for certain songs on a scale of 1 to 10, I don't think it's any stretch of the imagination to be able to manipulate those ratings using basic mathematical properties such as transitivity to draw conclusions (or at the very least, "educated guesses").

Invader said:
Overall, I find it a bit strange to forcibly rank and order songs; can't one acknowledge that the songs are equally good?  And for how long will a particular list last until one changes his/her mind? E.g. Before the Final Frontier tour, surely Blood Brothers (for most people) would have placed lower than now in a ranking of Maiden songs?
One can acknowledge that songs are equally good, sure. One can do that in the same way as one can forcibly rank and order songs. It's just a matter of inclination. On my part, I rather enjoy the undertaking of ranking them.

Having said that, I acknowledge that lists will definitely change. If I start a thread today counting down my Top 150 Iron Maiden songs on a daily basis, by the time I'm done with it, the order would surely have changed. Would that mean that the project was a waste of time? Certainly not. I think that immersing oneself in a collection of songs so much that he's able to rank them with relative accuracy can be an enlightening musical experience such that one discovers things that haven't been discovered before... one realizes why he likes/hates a song... how much he likes/hates a song... and a handful of other things.

Emotion and logic don't have to be mutually exclusive when it comes to music appreciation.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Invader said:
I don't know about you, but I find it strange to use logic and reason in what is ultimately a matter of emotions and holistic judgements.  And even if your reasoning goes something like "X has better melodies and lyrics, but Y has such a great riff that it's better", those are still emotional judgements upon which you base your reasoning.

My emotions rule my choices. I use my reasoning to phrase it for myself, and it helps me to explain the total picture when I'm comparing.

Invader said:
Paschendale > Hallowed, Hallowed > Rime; but Paschendale < Rime.
The Evil that Men Do > 23:58, 23:58 > Trooper, but The Evil < Trooper

Huh? But could you expain how this has happened? Which aspects of these songs rule in your first decision, and are later less important?
 

Perun

In the labyrinth of eternity
Staff member
Invader said:
can't one acknowledge that the songs are equally good?

That's my big problem. I have spent a lot of time trying to explain to a lot of people that I don't believe I must always voice a preference. I've had a lot of people not understanding it.
 
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