Thinking Out Loud – Happy Mistakes?

This is a philosophical issue that I have been struggling to resolve, so do not expect there to be a right or wrong (or even a conclusive) answer at the end of this blog post. The purpose of today’s post is to pose a debate.

The scenario:

Say a person was asked to write a hit pop song combining modern influences of the time with trap beats, EDM-like bass, and retro synthwave dance. That was the person’s intention. After writing the song, it happened to become a classical song worthy of Mozart’s praise.

Did this person write a good or bad song?

Is it good because the music is good and the person is being artistic? Or, is it bad because it did not fulfill the original intention?

If you say that the song was good, then how do we define a good or bad song then if it seems the only criteria for it to be good is that it received praise?

On the other hand, if you say that it was a bad song, does that mean all “happy accidents” (like playing an unintentional note during improvisation, but working really well with the harmony) are labelled wrong or unmusical because they were done without fulfilling the original intention?

Personally, I am still undecided, but it is still worth to talk about and say…

Just thinking out loud.

Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

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