Writing about World Music

Davidson College, Fall 2015

Musical Geniuses: Are They Really That?

In class last week, we briefly touched on the career of the famous classical composer, Ludwig van Beethoven.  We discussed on his widely celebrated musical genius and how he is recognized as possibly the greatest musical mind of all time.  We also discussed the possibility that his widely praised career was only the result of his social connections as opposed to sheer possession of musical talent.  We find his compositions to be heavenly in terms of music and almost untouchable.  But are they really?  I personally am not sure.  I am most impressed by the fact that he create music while nearly to completely deaf.  The problem is we have no viable evidence that his music was so popular even during his lifetime.

I personally began to think about this later.  What if his music was actually just carried on because of his association with social elites?  The world would be turned totally upside down if this fact was found true.  I began to think about who possibly could be thought of as one during our time.  Some would argue Justin Bieber, Drake, etc.  I couldn’t logically agree because none of their music can be viewed as original.  All modern artists seem to copy each others’ music in some way and if not, then they have unknowingly taken from an older musician/ artist.  I think a musician/ artist’s ability to be a musical genius involves not only impressive musical control but also originality and creativity, which I don’t see in modern artists unfortunately.  They too are also boosted musically by fan bases and not strictly musical talent.

1 Comment

  1. I would have to agree with your claim that society today really lacks true musical geniuses. Most mainstream pop, r&b, and hip hop music these days is produced through a group effort, even if credit is only given to the vocalist. In the production of many songs, for example, there involves a producer, usually the person who creates the beat of the song, a technician, who works on the sound quality of the song, and the vocalist, who is usually attributed the majority of the credit for the song. In addition, many vocalists receive help with song writing and lyricists (shoutout to the Meek Mill vs. Drake beef). The musical geniuses of today’s world are therefore much harder to identify with all the help they receive in the production of their songs.

Leave a Reply