I have a quite extensive and varied collection of music which I keep in iTunes, and this in turn allows me to rate each piece which, in turn, makes my listening pleasure more versatile.
1 – star rating = waste of time listening. These will be the first to go if memory space is ever an issue.
2 – star rating = Okay, but dispensable if necessary.
3 – star rating = Quite nice but nothing soul stirring.
4 – star rating = Really nice.
5 – star rating = Excellent.
What I have found interesting is the variety of 5 – star ratings. How do Belinda Carlisle’s “Leave A Light On”, Gustav Holst’s “Jupiter”, Bee Gees “First of May”, Clannad’s “Buachaill an Eime” etc. etc. all get 5 – stars? So far I have not come up with a clear answer, except that there are variables.
An instrumental piece could present a reaction based on melody, or structure (build ups/crescendos), or mental images created (“dreamscapes”).
As soon as vocals are introduced, so are many other variables. I could get absorbed by the lyrics (Moody Blues – “Watching and Waiting”), or by the vocal sounds (Lisa Gerrard – “Sanvean”). Then I have foreign language songs that I do not understand (Celine Dion – “Pour Que Tu M’Aimes Encore”).
Looking at the “big picture” of my music, does it really matter? In the context of listening pleasure, I don’t suppose that it does… but then … how does yesterday’s 4 – star song become today’s 5 – star song? The obvious response is probably my mood. Today my mood could dictate sensitivities that perhaps were subdued yesterday. At this moment I am listening to Al Stewart’s “Lord Grenville” and I am sitting in a Toyota dealership while my car is being serviced. Perhaps after paying the eventual bill, I shall drive home listening to Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb”?
Rating all my songs is important enough to me to spend a lot of time on it, but really? Can’t I just remember what I like? Is this really a good productive use of my time?
I am now going to listen to “To Turn the Stone” by Anni-Frid Lyngstad… and it’s not because of the lyrics. Perhaps its the arrangement after 3:00? Next up is “The Hills of Glencar” by the Ars Nova Singers/Bill Douglas, to be followed by “Mir ist die Ehre widerfahren” (from Der Rosenkavalier), and sung by Teresa Stich-Randall and Christa Ludwig (this version is tearful after 2:25).
This is so complicated!