Top 10 Common Mistakes Many People Make When Commenting on Music

The Top Ten
1 Thinking a vocal range is the highest note a singer can hit

No. A vocal range is NOT one note - it's an interval with many notes. A range is the distance between the highest AND the lowest note a singer can hit. This distance is measured in octaves (number of notes), where one octave has 8 notes.
Example - if a singer's range is 3 octaves, this means that the distance between his highest and his lowest note is 3 octaves (3 octaves contain 24 notes, 3x8).

2 Thinking a singer who hits higher notes has a bigger range than a singer who hits lower notes

This mistake is a result of #1 mistake - thinking that a vocal range is the highest note a singer can hit, but the range is NOT ONE NOTE and a singer may hit higher notes, but another singer may have a bigger range. Example:

Whitney Houston range - 2 octaves, 4 notes

James Hetfield range - 3 octaves, 3 notes

Whitney Houston hits higher notes than Metallica's James Hetfield, but her range is much smaller than that of Hetfield. She just has a higher voice, but this doesn't always mean the singer has a bigger range. As you can see, James Hetfield can sing a whole octave lower than Whitney and this makes his range bigger than hers.

3 Thinking the worst musicians are the musicians with the worst personalities and on lists about worst musicians you can see some actually very good musicians who did or said bad or controversial things

I've seen this mistake many times on this site - for example, on lists about worst singers some people add and start debating singers with bad personalities and not singers with bad singing skills.

But musical skills are different than the personality and they MUST be separated. There are good musicians with bad personalities and vice versa. There are many examples.

I agree - if you want to talk about personality, then make the discussion about personality. But don't say that a musician is a bad musician just because they are a terrible person. There are an innumerable amount of amazing musicians who are awful as human beings.

4 Thinking that if a singer's voice fits the songs they sing, it's proof the singer is good

This is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard. It's usually a desperate attempt to defend a bad singer.
No, this doesn't prove the singer is good because people who write the songs for that singer take into account the vocal abilities of the singer. Examples:
Dave Mustaine wouldn't write a song for himself that he couldn't sing. Dave wouldn't write a song that only Luciano Pavarotti could sing.
Tony Iommi wouldn't write a song for Ozzy that only Rob Halford could sing.
Songs are written for somebody's voice.

5 Thinking that if a music artist sold many copies it proves they are good

It's mostly dumb people that would think that. There are also many people that think that way about movies. They would think that if a movie does big in theaters, that proves the movie is good. There are many people whose taste in things suck. The fame of justin bieber, lil wayne, nicki minaj, and kim kardashian makes that very clear. I know that kim kardashian is not a music artist, but her being famous at all proves that there are many people whose taste in things suck.

Thank you! I don't know how many times I have heard people try to defend certain crappy artists because they sold a ridiculous number of records. Many top selling records are designed to follow a specific formula to sell as many records as possible.

Keep in mind that both Creed's Human Clay and Limp Bizkit's Chocolate Starfish sold over 10 million copies in the U.S. alone

6 Thinking a song is good based solely on the lyrics and not the music

Thank you, christangrant! I always felt these are two different things - music is a different genre of art than literature/lyrics. I'd second christangrant: "I'd rather hear a song with "bad" lyrics with great music over the vice versa".
This explains why I like 'Something In Your Mouth' by Nickelback - this song has great heavy riffs, intense melody, catchy chorus and fitting bridge. Music to this song is absolutely perfect to me, including Chad's vocals (both aggressive and softer vox).

Good lyrics do not equal good song.

I'd rather hear a song with "bad" lyrics with great music over the vice versa.

7 Thinking the best singer is their favorite singer just because they are their favorite singer

What if your favorite singer sings off-key and you don't know? But you claim s/he is the best singer, or better than singers who at least don't sing off-key. Sometimes, there's a big difference between what we like and what is actually the best. I respect people who are aware of this difference - people who say, "I prefer X but I know Y is better". My opinion is in two parts:
1) I don't mind if somebody prefers Lil Wayne over Freddie Mercury and says "I like Lil Wayne more than Freddie". It's a subjective opinion, a preference. We should respect personal music preferences.
2) But I'd strongly disagree with a further conclusion: that Lil Wayne is a better singer than Freddie just because that guy prefers Lil Wayne. Unlike in 1), this conclusion is a subjective opinion that is presented as a fact (I.e. something objective), which isn't true. This is music ignorance and we shouldn't accept, tolerate and respect ignorance. I respect all music preferences, but I can't respect ignorance.

8 Thinking the singers of most popular bands are automatically the best singers
9 Thinking the songs played on the radio are automatically the best song in existence
10 Thinking a bigger range always means a better singer

I don't really think there is any objectively right way of judging music but for me Barry White is probably the best example range not being the only important factor his range was extremely limited but he sounded amazing within that range.

No, it doesn't. A big range is a great gift but other things are also important.

For example, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd has a remarkable range of almost 5 octaves but David Gilmour is still a better singer.

The Contenders
11 Thinking all high notes are called falsetto

I have read comments of this type "Nobody can hit those falsetto notes like her/him", even though the notes weren't in falsetto, they were just high notes.

12 Thinking if a singer sings about sex they are not a good singer

A lot if singers sing about sex. Storyline doesn't mean vocal performance. I prefer people cleverly using sex talk in their songs, but still it wouldn't be bad - just depends on how they set it up.

13 Thinking high-pitched singing guarantees good singing

No, it depends on how good the high-pitched singing is performed. While Rob Halford of Judas Priest has an excellent high-pitched voice with excellent vocal technique, some other singers just try too hard to hit high notes that unfortunately sound weak or shouted. This happens when the singer wasn't born for high-pitched singing or when s/he has no good vocal technique.
As Hansi K├╝rsch said, "there is only a small difference between a controlled raging high pitched distorted performance and an almost hysterical, desperate attempt of a poor scream".

No, but all my favorite singers have a big range, so they can hit the high notes.

14 Thinking an octave has 10 notes

No, it has 8 notes. And a vocal range of 3 and a half octaves = 3 octaves, 4 notes.

I think it's 12 notes. The chromatic scale covers an octave and has 12.

You'd think the oct- prefix would be a dead give away that it's 8 notes.

15 Thinking as long as a concept album's story is good, the whole album is automatically great

I'm not among those people for sure. For me music is always first, lyrics - second. I'm mostly a music fan although I love good lyrics as well.

I feel like this is my problem with Between the Buried and Me's latest efforts, great story and concept, not as good music to accompany it

16 Thinking if a live performance doesn't sound like the studio version it's because of AutoTune

It might be but there are lots of other vocal effects that are used in the studio plus singers in the studio usually do several takes as opposed to a live performance.

17 Thinking if the singers do horrible things they are automatically bad

A lot of singers, especially in the 70s do horrible things. Even though they are terrible person, if they make good music they are good musicians. Unless they mentions about that horrible things in their song.

18 Thinking good singing guarantees good music

It's not about how talented you are. It's about how you use your talent.

19 Thinking their favorite singer can't have a vocal range of less than 6 octaves
20 Thinking an artist's lyrics are the only important thing

Although it can be important, some songs are for entertainment, not for studying.

21 Thinking lyrics are more important than music
22 Thinking there is only one correct way of judging music

There are multiple items about people judging the lyrics and not the rest of the song but I don't think it's wrong that for some people the lyrics might be hugely important and for others not important at all. The same applies for pretty much anything else about music.

23 Thinking singers with a wide vocal range make better music than singers with smaller range

So common, especially on this site.

24 Thinking all songs in the charts are pop songs
25 Thinking musicians with most talent are the best

Music now are treated like sports, who plays the most notes are better, who sing the highest notes are the The main purpose of music is to entertain people. I don't care how talented you are, I want a music that's emotional or entertaining.

There's a difference between impressed by an artist than liking the artist

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