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Musical Genius
7 November 2016
9.48am
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sir walter raleigh
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Who in music would you consider a genius. There are those from the 18th and 19th century such as Mozart, Bach, Handel, Schubert, and Beethoven, but there are others in classic rock like Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, Brian Wilson, and Paul Simon.

Rick Wright from Pink Floyd I would also consider a musical genius, as well as Stephen Stills and Neil Young throughout their careers.

Lyrically, I think Lennon, Dylan, Simon, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell can be considered 'genius.'

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7 November 2016
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7 November 2016
3.38pm
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Beatlebug
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sir walter raleigh said

Rick Wright from Pink Floyd I would also consider a musical genius, as well as Stephen Stills and Neil Young throughout their careers.

This made me grin from ear to ear. Rick is my favourite Floyd, and I find his musical talents were often eclipsed by the others' egos, but they still shone in their quiet way. 

Speaking of Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett was a (possibly unwitting) genius too, both lyrically and musically -- though his work is far more esoteric. Roger Waters has had some real brilliant moments, but I wouldn't consider his formidable lyrical prowess 'genius', as it took him some years to hone his skills, and quite a bit of his work is average. 

And I don't know enough artists well enough to give you any more musical geniuses... ahdn_paul_01

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7 November 2016
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Evangeline
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Silly Girl said  

And I don't know enough artists well enough to give you any more musical geniuses... ahdn_paul_01

That must be so boring listening to those same artists over and over. a-hard-days-night-paul-3

 Ray Thomas from the Moody Blues is what I would consider a genius. He played flute in a rock band for crying out loud! a-hard-days-night-george-10 (Also composed some of their most famous songs.)

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7 November 2016
7.11pm
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Queen is a musical genius with all 4 of their members being a virtuoso, but more specifically Brian May and Freddie Mercury, with Brian being a great guitarist with great variety of sounds, while Freddie Mercury is a great vocalist that can stand any note given to him, even when dying. Also, the variety of genres between tracks is absurd, yet fits well and don't get me started with their backing vocals.

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7 November 2016
8.48pm
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Evangeline said

Silly Girl said  
And I don't know enough artists well enough to give you any more musical geniuses... ahdn_paul_01

That must be so boring listening to those same artists over and over. a-hard-days-night-paul-3

A rolling stone gathers no moss... and a revolving record gathers no dust. Too fab four you, sorry

a-hard-days-night-paul-11

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7 November 2016
9.37pm
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sir walter raleigh
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@Beatlebug If youre gonna listen to two bands on repeat, Pink Floyd and The Beatles are the two to do it with. 

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8 November 2016
1.51am
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I like Lou Reed's lirical stuff from his VU period (i didn't pay much attention to his solo output anyways) . i think it was clever and quite different from what was going on in those days, and even though musically their songs were really simple, as long as chords and structure, they also were quite innovative in the recording process and a high influence in other bands trough the years... So i think he could be considered as a genius... 

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8 November 2016
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sir walter raleigh said
Silly Girl If youre gonna listen to two bands on repeat, Pink Floyd and The Beatles are the two to do it with.   

My thoughts exactly! a-hard-days-night-george-9

The kind of music that not only stands up to repeated listenings, but demands it -- you just can't properly absorb the manifold splendours of Wish You Were Here until you've heard it at least ten times, in my opinion. 

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8 November 2016
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Personally, I feel the term 'musical genius' gets thrown about too liberally to the point of losing its value. Mozart was, without a doubt, a musical genius. I feel John Lennon was not, and neither is Paul McCartney , though one might argue his melodic gift is in a league of its own. I'm not so sure there have been any musical geniuses in our time but then again, which criteria must be met in order to earn that title?

p.s. I could get behind the idea that the Beatles as a whole can be categorised as genius, but I really don't think any of the individual members qualify. No idea why... a-hard-days-night-paul-10

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8 November 2016
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I don't think they test for musical ability on IQ tests. 

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8 November 2016
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I would probably consider Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull a legitimate musical genius.  Most obviously, he's an excellent flute player who can cover a variety of styles and make some truly weird sounds with his instrument.  He is a great acoustic guitarist as well.  As a musical arranger and composer, his ability is stunning.  The fact that Jethro Tull was able to construct not one, but TWO 45 minute suites and have neither of them get boring at any point is simply stunning to me.  Ian Anderson'a greatest strength however, is as a lyricist.  No matter what he's writing about, he's always able to to write super-clever lyrics that get their point across and sound great while injecting plenty of allusions, metaphors, and whatnot.  Plus, he is always great live.

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11 November 2016
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Ah the question of musical genius. Throughout musical history, musical geniuses were Oners. A strange thing happened last century. Combining extremely talented musicians for a short run has never been seen as synergistic genius. But...Jazz was blown apart by the late 40's. Trios, quartets, combos traveled off in all directions, creating brilliant moments that sometimes only lasted a year or so even creating its own genre.  Rock and Roll, relatively new & crude, in 10 years was to become the leader in musicianship & awesome talent. Again it took a certain combination of individuals working together, not just the Oner standing out alone. Beatles, Beach Boys , Traffic, The Band, Queen, Who, The Mothers, Pink Floyd etc (sorry if I missed your faves) were a kind of temporary synergistic genius. It was the right time and place, even for just a few brilliant moments. And many of these just happened. No one "created" that magical combination on purpose. Then, the magic stopped, the brilliance poofed, rarely happening again. I'm rambling, but ya know what I mean? Is there transient synergistic musical genius?

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11 November 2016
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How is musical genius defined and measured? Certainly the Beatles as a collective changed the form and content of popular music...as did Brian Wilson, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan. I don't personally find instrumental prowess or technique relevant to genius. Innovation, uniqueness, creating something different that is also interesting to listen to, e.g. not just different for its own sake...  I'm not sure I would consider John or Paul geniuses on their own, but the Beatles as a group were certainly greater than any one of them individually.

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12 November 2016
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I agree with @Mademoiselle Kitty. A genius is someone who has natural ability almost without trying. Mozart writing an overture the day an opera premiered would classify as this. 

The Beatles were and are not geniuses. They worked tirelessly to be incredible. Their lyrics and melodies themselves are genius, but they worked hard to improve (and that's how we get to see such differences in just one decade!) That is not to say that they did what anyone could have. But they weren't naturally born with perfect pitch and writing minuets at age 5.

Who's a musical genius, then? Any classical composer and anyone alive today who can read symphonies effortlessly and then play them in concert by memory. Suffice it to say, I'm perfectly fine that the Beatles aren't full-fledged "geniuses." They're so much more relatable.

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7 December 2016
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^^ In concurrence with the above few posts I find the following quote by Jimmy Page: 

The only term I won't accept is "genius." The term "genius" gets used far too loosely in rock & roll. When you hear the melodic structures of what classical musicians put together and you compare it to that of a rock & roll record, there's a hell of a long way rock & roll has to go. There's a certain standard in classical music that allows the application of the word "genius," but you're treading on thin ice if you start applying it to rock & rollers. The way I see it, rock & roll is folk music. Street music. It isn't taught in school. It has to be picked up. You don't find geniuses in street musicians, but that doesn't mean to say you can't be really good. You get as much out of rock & roll artistically as you put into it. There's nobody who can teach you. You're on your own and that's what I find so fascinating about it. 

So I'm revising my opinion: none of the individuals mentioned here (apart, perhaps, from Syd Barrett) could really be considered geniuses on their own. However, as @SaxonMothersSon proposed, perhaps the chemical reactions created by multiple talents working in conjunction could be considered a sort of 'transient musical synergistic genius' (I'm not too sure what that means, but it sounds good). 

In other, less, words: there's certainly a brand of magic in those groups, and the three- or four- or five-headed monsters could be considered a sort of genius, even if the individuals were merely talented people; because what talented people can create together is often far greater than the sum of its parts.

Case in point: The Beatles. 

Nuff said Too fab four you, sorry

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8 December 2016
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Well when are you a genius? It's a difficult term with a heavy load and I am a bit hesitant to refer to modern day musicians such as Pauk and John as geniuses. 

And in the present, the real modern day, I LITERALLY can't think of anyone.

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8 December 2016
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Linde said

And in the present, the real modern day, I LITERALLY can't think of anyone.  

10 years ago I might have said "Thom Yorke" but now...not so much.

 

There are a lot of great songwriters out there, some amazing studio wizards, incredible instrumentalists, but geniuses? I'm not so sure...

8 December 2016
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It could be due to the fact that people on this forum tend not to seek newer music so the geniuses go unknown.

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8 December 2016
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Starr Shine? said
It could be due to the fact that people on this forum tend not to seek newer music so the geniuses go unknown.  

I've got 3 kids, 2 of whom are young adults with their own very distinct tastes, and I actively seek out new music in addition to being exposed to whatever they are listening to. I have friends in the music industry who push new artists on me. I think rock and roll and pop music are utterly fragmented - there is very little new territory to conquer and artists are working in their niches rather than across them. The industry itself has lots of room for innovation - there are plenty of unique artists working in isolation without commercial pressure. There is a ton of great music out there. But is any of it truly trailblazing to the level of someone like Jimi Hendrix or Bob Dylan or the Beatles or even Nirvana or Radiohead? Not to my ears...

 

Of course that could change tomorrow and I hope it does!

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