The first thing you should understand is that good music is entirely subjective. You might be making music right now that’s not good to you, not good to most people, but good in someone’s opinion.
What makes music good or bad depends on the listener's ear, their preference, and their life experiences. Some of the technically greatest songs can be absolute garbage to someone who doesn’t have a taste for it.
With that being said, it’s possible to better your sound to the point where most people who enjoy your style of music will consider it good music.
You may still have a handful of people who love your genre and just don’t love you or your sound, but if you put in a reasonable amount of effort, you can make something “good.”
There are five things to consider when putting in the effort to make good music.
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The first thing you want to make sure of is that the talent involved with the music is good. You need to make sure someone makes the instrumentation with talent and a trained ear.
If there are vocals, you need to make sure the vocalist(s) have talent and a good ear as well.
This usually means that the person was professionally taught their skill or self-taught with a good amount of experience and feedback from others verifying the quality of their talents.
If your musicians and singers don’t have enough talent, you risk having a finished product that listeners may not enjoy.
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The next thing that makes for good music is its catchiness. Now not all good songs are catchy, and not all catchy songs are good.
Some genres require the music to not be catchy at all, so this quality is not the end all be all of a good song. But most independent artists create songs in genres like pop, dance, rock, and hip hop, where the song does, in fact, need to be catchy most of the time.
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The catchiness of the song will make or break its repeatability. Songs that people want to play over and over are usually catchy!
Making a song that’s catchy usually comes from having one or several repeated melodic sections that get stuck in a person's head. The trick to this is that you have to come up with something original, as thousands of catchy melodies are already taken.
The next thing that can make or break the goodness of your music is the sound quality. You need recording, mixing, and mastering to get good sound quality.
It’s an intense process that requires a professional, but it’s a process you don’t want to skip out on if you want to increase the number of people that will enjoy your sound.
A good audio engineer helps with the clarity and presence of each instrument and vocal, bringing it all together in a sonically pleasing way.
The lyrics of your song play into its catchiness, but it also can make people think about and relate to your song if you put a good amount of effort into it.
The lyricism in a song isn’t valued enough these days in popular music, but I must admit that popular lyric creation can still be quite challenging and is an art form in itself.
You have to try to find the balance between originality, good rhyming, relatability, and catchiness when it comes to lyrics.
A good song has all three of those elements. If your song is instrumental only, you don’t even have to worry about this factor!
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Emotion and lyricism in music often go hand and hand. To make good songs, the instrumentation and vocals must have the right amount of emotion in them.
Similar to the general relatability of your lyrics, the emotional impact of a song profoundly affects the listener’s judgment as to whether the song is good or not.
Some songs give off a feeling of joy, sadness, or carefree energy that will perfectly fit in a listener’s playlists, making it good, in their opinion.
If your song is sending mixed emotional messages, you could be messing up the song’s potential. For example, if your song is trying to give off peppy energy, but the singer sounds emotionless, it may not turn out to be a good song.
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her recent collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!
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