Is hardship and struggle needed to create great music?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by acemachine26, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. acemachine26

    acemachine26 Active Member Thread Starter

    I've often wondered about this, are the greatest pieces of music created as a response to the dark times that the artist has gone through? Is that the required catalyst needed for an artist to create their masterpiece?

    Some of the greatest jazz records were created by black artists in the 50's, an era where racism was at its height. Marvin Gaye's masterpiece What's Going On was a direct response to police brutality, the war in Vietnam, the state of Detroit and his own drug addiction. Tons of other great albums were also created out of an anti-war sentiment brewing through the world. Krautrock was created in Germany after the second world war where the youth felt like they needed music of their own since their culture had been destroyed by years of war and turmoil.

    On top of that, many artists have created their best work when faced with personal tragedy like the loss of a loved one.
     
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  2. Man at C&A

    Man at C&A Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    Of course not, though as you give excellent examples of, hardship has inspired a lot of great music.
     
  3. ndoheny

    ndoheny Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Sacramento, Ca
    In a lot of cases yes but Paul McCartney is one of our greatest songwriters and that guy seemed perpetually content and happy.
     
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  4. Brian Lux

    Brian Lux Forum Resident

    Location:
    Placerville, CA
    Needed? No. Often the case? Absolutely! And not just in music but writing and art as well.
     
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  5. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Location:
    Little Britain
    Not at all.
     
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  6. DTK

    DTK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europe
    I think it's more about experiences, good or bad, as most great songwriters draw inspiration from their own lifes. The mental processing of big life events and struggles can trigger great songs. So, partly, yes.
     
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  7. DTK

    DTK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europe
    Well, for example, Jimi wouldn't have written Stone Free if he had been accepted for who he was in Harlem...or Hear My Train if his upbringing in Seattle had been happy and fulfilling...or Crosstown Traffic if he hadn't been angry with "electric ladies" :).
     
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  8. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Could give the hunger, propelling greatness with fire and skill.
     
  9. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Location:
    Little Britain
    Oh yes, hardship can be an inspiration but it isn't needed in order to create great music.
     
  10. mpayan

    mpayan Forum Resident

    Do you guys write music?
     
  11. YardByrd

    YardByrd Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Helsinki
    An age old question in regards to all art... personally I am not interested in any art that doesn't find itself driven by friction, conflict, tension, tragedy etc.
     
  12. mr.datsun

    mr.datsun Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    I've heard this said before. I think it can be a factor, but I think there are others. And not everyone who experiences hardship makes interesting music. For those who do not experience hardship and yet still make interesting music there have to be other factors. Maybe there are too many to generalise. But I wonder about a more general sense of dissatisfaction, for example? Sometimes hardship comes in forms which are not obviously apparent.

    Frisson. I think that helps.
     
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  13. mr.datsun

    mr.datsun Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Why are you asking?
     
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  14. delmonaco

    delmonaco Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    One needs concentration in order to create, and often, when the circumstances are very hard, the artist detach himself from the outside world and the everyday life, and can spend more time by himself, reflecting and concentrating. This state of mind can help gems to be created.
     
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  15. mpayan

    mpayan Forum Resident

    Because every artist is different. Some do need hardships. To some its needed. And if you arent a writer of song who has experienced better writing through hardships, then you dont really know.
     
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  16. Rodney Toady

    Rodney Toady Waste of cyberspace

    Location:
    Finland
    That's just a myth.

    Hardship and struggle may lead to the need to express oneself, but that doesn't necessarily lead to great results.
     
  17. eric777

    eric777 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tennessee
    I think it's more about what the listener connects with. Hardships don't have to be there to make great music ;however, most people can relate to having struggles in there lives. Having music that can connect with these emotions can be a helpful thing just like having music that is positive.
     
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  18. raphph

    raphph Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    The key to creativity is limitation.... i.e. Having to record the greatest album ever in Four Track / or shooting sci-fi epics with models-on-strings....

    Having no limitation to what you want to create seems to have reduced the craft in the process....We can now get any special effect we want to see on screen effortlessly, and we can now even correct the pitch of singing with unlimited tracks on record...

    Having barriers in the way of creating and crafting the art that you want to put out seems to enhance the final product....
     
  19. garrincha

    garrincha Well-Known Member

    Location:
    plymouth
    can't think of many all-time jazz greats who didn't experience some sort of turmoil during their lives.

    this is just an observation btw
     
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  20. Harvest Your Thoughts

    Harvest Your Thoughts Forum Resident

    Location:
    On your screen
    No
     
  21. garrincha

    garrincha Well-Known Member

    Location:
    plymouth
    can't think of many all-time jazz greats who didn't experience some sort of turmoil during their lives.

    this is just an observation btw
     
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  22. GuildX700

    GuildX700 Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I am fully convinced and I am seriously of the opinion that there HAS to be a muse in order to create "art", whatever type of art that may be for each artist, be it music, poetry, art....no muse, whether known to the artist or not, no art IMO.

    For example, the poet Schiller used to keep rotten apples under the lid of his desk and inhale their pungent bouquet when he needed to find the right word.

    O Muse! You Do Make Things Difficult!
     
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  23. GuildX700

    GuildX700 Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I am fully convinced and I am seriously of the opinion that there HAS to be a muse in order to create "art", whatever type of art that may be for each artist, be it music, poetry, art....no muse, whether known to the artist or not, no art IMO.

    For example, the poet Schiller used to keep rotten apples under the lid of his desk and inhale their pungent bouquet when he needed to find the right word.

    O Muse! You Do Make Things Difficult!
     
  24. GuildX700

    GuildX700 Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I am fully convinced and I am seriously of the opinion that there HAS to be a muse in order to create "art", whatever type of art that may be for each artist, be it music, poetry, art....no muse, whether known to the artist or not, no art IMO.

    For example, the poet Schiller used to keep rotten apples under the lid of his desk and inhale their pungent bouquet when he needed to find the right word.





    O Muse! You Do Make Things Difficult!
     
  25. GuildX700

    GuildX700 Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I am fully convinced and I am seriously of the opinion that there HAS to be a muse in order to create "art", whatever type of art that may be for each artist, be it music, poetry, art....no muse, whether known to the artist or not, no art IMO.

    For example, the poet Schiller used to keep rotten apples under the lid of his desk and inhale their pungent bouquet when he needed to find the right word.





    O Muse! You Do Make Things Difficult!
     
  26. aussievinyl

    aussievinyl Forum Resident

    If you need to be creative in music, then I would think that you have your own process for writing a song. I can't remember when I first got an idea for a song of mine. I know I was very happy when the idea came to me. I came up with another good one, in a sad mood, thinking of a woman I liked, but hadn't been able to connect with. I don't think one was better because it came from disappointment. The hard part comes when someone or other says 'this song is better than that one'. Perhaps the chords are great, but the lyrics are average, or vice versa. The fact that the listener gets your message is the main thing. I'm just not into music that sounds depressing or relates to politics in any way - it's not why I listen, though I'm sure some great music fits into those categories. It's just not in my collection.
     
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  27. optoman

    optoman Well-Known Member

    Location:
    London. UK
    I am not sure that Krautrock was related directly to any suffering. I agree that young people looked for new form of artistic expression but at the time German economy was expanding rapidly, most young artists came from middle class backgrounds. The pop music scene at the time was dominated by Schlager music which is sweet and sentimental and hardly likely to appeal to a rebellious young person.
    In general I agree that great music can be a response to dark times, but equally it can reflect good times and access to new technologies, new drugs and desire to make money
     
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  28. optoman

    optoman Well-Known Member

    Location:
    London. UK
    I am not sure that Krautrock was related directly to any suffering. I agree that young people looked for new form of artistic expression but at the time German economy was expanding rapidly, most young artists came from middle class backgrounds. The pop music scene at the time was dominated by Schlager music which is sweet and sentimental and hardly likely to appeal to a rebellious young person.
    In general I agree that great music can be a response to dark times, but equally it can reflect good times and access to new technologies, new drugs and desire to make money
     
  29. mr.datsun

    mr.datsun Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    I understand your point. However, I'm not a song-writer but I can think it through. I can listen and work it out for myself. I know when people have something interesting to say and I know when they're doing it in an interesting way. I can imagine how leading safe secure uneventful lives leads to blandness. I can hear it in the music.
     
  30. optoman

    optoman Well-Known Member

    Location:
    London. UK
    I am not sure that Krautrock was related directly to any suffering. I agree that young people looked for new form of artistic expression but at the time German economy was expanding rapidly, most young artists came from middle class backgrounds. The pop music scene at the time was dominated by Schlager music which is sweet and sentimental and hardly likely to appeal to a rebellious young person.
    In general I agree that great music can be a response to dark times, but equally it can reflect good times and access to new technologies, new drugs and desire to make money
     
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  31. optoman

    optoman Well-Known Member

    Location:
    London. UK
    I am not sure that Krautrock was related directly to any suffering. I agree that young people looked for new form of artistic expression but at the time German economy was expanding rapidly, most young artists came from middle class backgrounds. The pop music scene at the time was dominated by Schlager music which is sweet and sentimental and hardly likely to appeal to a rebellious young person.
    In general I agree that great music can be a response to dark times, but equally it can reflect good times and access to new technologies, new drugs and desire to make money
     
    Man at C&A likes this.
  32. optoman

    optoman Well-Known Member

    Location:
    London. UK
    I am not sure that Krautrock was related directly to any suffering. I agree that young people looked for new form of artistic expression but at the time German economy was expanding rapidly, most young artists came from middle class backgrounds. The pop music scene at the time was dominated by Schlager music which is sweet and sentimental and hardly likely to appeal to a rebellious young person.
    In general I agree that great music can be a response to dark times, but equally it can reflect good times and access to new technologies, new drugs and desire to make money
     
  33. BLUESJAZZMAN

    BLUESJAZZMAN Forum Resident

    Location:
    Essex , England.
    Not always but it does help with the emotional side of things. There seems to be an honest, raw and gut wrenching quality to those that have come from that background!!!
     
  34. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen PORKCHOPS! Productions

    Indeed, and in the case of McCartney, he did Tug Of War in the wake of John Lennon's murder, and Flaming Pie after Linda McCartney was diagnosed with cancer. Arguably two of his best albums. Point being, as perpetually happy as the guy is, personal crisis tends to light a fire under McCartney's butt. See also Band On The Run, when he had two fifths of Wings quit at the last minute.
    I do, and made what I consider my best album during a period of personal turmoil. It's called Dark Days for a reason.
     
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  35. mr.datsun

    mr.datsun Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Hardship might one way but it will will only get you you so far. But there is another way. Imagination. That's what it's for. Fake it.
     
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