Musical Talent – Fact or Opinion?

If you’re like me, music is an enormous (or at least very significant) part of your life.  Finding new artists to obsess over and rave about to your friends is a normal part of your day.  So when you find out that one of your friends hates your new favourite artist, the first question (or exclamation) you have is, “WHY?!”

Why, indeed?  Personal opinion is all well and good, but when you’re talking about an occupation or activity that requires some talent to succeed, is there actually a set definition of “talent” to follow?  I’ve often wondered this when my friends and I differ on what music artists we like, or even who we think is “better” than who.  (Usually, we’re talking about the musical talent of the artist, not necessarily the genre of music that artist falls under, since my friends and I all tend to like the same kinds of music…)

So is talent something you can really measure or even define?  Or is it something that must be purely based on others’ opinion and the parameters of the genre or job description?  I mean, I don’t particularly like screamo rock, but that’s because I don’t think it takes much talent to scream into a microphone at the top of your lungs for four minutes straight.  But then again, I don’t know that genre very well, so I could be missing out on a lot of really great artists who do have a lot of talent…..  I don’t think I am, but you never know.

Or here’s an interesting angle: is our taste in music (specifically our talent-taste, not genre-taste) dependent or at least somehow related to our own musical proficiency?  For example, if we’re tone deaf, does that mean that we can’t hear when other people aren’t hitting the notes perfectly on key?

“She’s pitchy on the high notes too often.”  “He has a weird vibrato.”  “Her voice is too nasally.”  “They don’t harmonize well.”  Are these facts or opinions or both?  And does the answer to that question determine whether that artist is talented or not?

I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts!

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Inspiration Feature

Well, seeing as it’s time for my weekly post and I’ve had some trouble finding inspiration this week, I thought I’d do a feature post about a few artists whose work never fails to inspire me! You may be the type of person who gets inspired by things other than visual art and writing done by others, but those two things happen to be 2 of my top 5 inspirations (the other three are music, movies/TV and nature).  As I’m sure most of you know, my main writing social-networking site is mistressofquills.deviantart.com, and I’ve found it to be (among other things) a gold mine full of amazing visual artists and writers who create breathtaking artwork. Some of these people have become my friends, and others I simply “watch” in order to get notifications when they post new work.  Either way, I’ve found and met an enormous number of incredibly talented people, so I thought I’d introduce some of them to you!  (Side note: all these people go by usernames on DeviantART, so that’s what I’ll use to refer to them. I’ll provide links to all their profiles, too.)

First up is “Ninjatic,” a digital artist who paints beautiful landscapes and settings, as well as fantasy creatures and characters (ninjatic.deviantart.com).  Here are a few examples of his work:

misty_mountains_by_ninjatic-d6lksii substrata___unexpected_quest_by_ninjatic-d6ggoi6 substrata___until_then____by_ninjatic-d6opcqw substrata___a_visit_from_an_old_friend_by_ninjatic-d6nv871

Next is “Rona-Keller,” a skilled photographer who captures her images with warm colors and interesting concepts (rona-keller.deviantart.com).  Here are just a few examples of her work:

autumn_is_for_going_out_there_by_rona_keller-d6nue60 someone_like_you_by_rona_keller-d6btki6 thinking_back_by_rona_keller-d6rnoq4 traces_of_the_seasons_to_come_by_rona_keller-d66a8d6

AlectorFencer” is a professional digital artist whose work includes intricately detailed fantasy creatures and characters, as well as some beautiful leatherwork (alectorfencer.deviantart.com).

story_time_by_alectorfencer-d5h7ntv Fireplay_by_AlectorFencer morning_by_alectorfencer-d5j2m5s we_are___friends_by_alectorfencer-d5x1ife

Next is one of my favourite writers on DeviantART, “colbalt-rain” (colbalt-rain.deviantart.com).  She is an amazing writer with a talent for identifying with her reader even when the circumstances she’s describing might not be something the reader had experienced.  She captures ideas and concepts in her poetry that resonate with the reader in a very compelling and vivid way.  A few of my favourite poems by her include:

  1. “breaking a writer’s heart.” (colbalt-rain.deviantart.com/art/breaking-a-writer-s-heart)
  2. “adults.” (colbalt-rain.deviantart.com/art/adults)
  3. “red leaves and Robert Frost” (colbalt-rain.deviantart.com/art/red-leaves-and-Robert-Frost)
  4. and “bodies like star systems.” (colbalt-rain.deviantart.com/art/bodies-like-star-systems).

Please take a moment to read a piece or two of her work!  You won’t regret it! (If you only have time for one, read “breaking a writer’s heart” (: It’s my personal favourite!)

Next is “PixieCold,” a traditional-style visual artist whose paintings are creative and colorful as well as unique and beautiful (pixiecold.deviantart.com).  She also does some amazing make-up art!  Here are just a few pieces of her work:

goddess_of_galaxy__original_on_sale__by_pixiecold-d6g5j0k pale_moon_by_pixiecold-d5ynuxj sunken_treasure_by_pixiecold-d5miq94 the_last_snow_by_pixiecold-d5z82m4

Another of my favourite DeviantART writers is “DearPoetry” (dearpoetry.deviantart.com).  Her ability to write is breathtaking – one moment you find yourself reading a poem, and the next, you find yourself being pulled away into an impression or feeling or environment where all you can sense is what she’s describing to you.  Her use of language is (in my opinion) exquisite.  My favourite poems by her include:

  1. “Writer Scars” (dearpoetry.deviantart.com/art/Writer-Scars)
  2. “Dear Poetry,” (dearpoetry.deviantart.com/art/Dear-Poetry)
  3. “9729 kilometers away, to be exact.” (dearpoetry.deviantart.com/art/9729-kilometers-away-to-be-exact)
  4. and “Poetry,” (dearpoetry.deviantart.com/art/Poetry).

Be sure to read some of her work!  (Especially “Writer Scars” and “Dear Poetry” – I can’t choose which one is my favourite!)

My last visual artist to show you is “tachit,” a digital artist who works primarily with fantasy characters and landscapes (tatchit.deviantart.com).  Here are just a few pieces of his art:

and_time_stopped_by_tatchit-d5qjdzw for_mom_by_tatchit-d4zslwn heart_attack_by_tatchit-d6l9o6l keres_by_tatchit-d6jdwra

I hope this (really) long post was interesting and helpful, especially for those of us looking for inspiration!  There are hundreds, thousands even, of talented artists and writers that I couldn’t mention on DeviantART, and if this is a well-accepted post, I may do another in the future… especially for those of you who aren’t familiar with DeviantART! Anyway, let me know if this was helpful and if you would like to see similar posts in the future!  Also, tell me: what inspires you the most?  As always, thanks for reading!