The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #134020   Message #3047938
Posted By: Stower
07-Dec-10 - 03:10 AM
Thread Name: Are most composers smokers?
Subject: RE: Are most composers smokers?
Gibb, I was about to address similar questions to Rory as you. I'd also like to know, of his assertion that "it is hard to name a single worthwhile piece of music written by a non-smoker":

1. By what process do we discern what a "worthwhile piece of music" is, so that we can know the quality of smokers' against non-smokers' music?

2. Who did the survey of composers to find the percentage of smokers to non-smokers? I'd like the researcher, date, journal, time-frame, genre(s), geographical location, please. There would have to be many, many surveys, since we are discussing all music everywhere in all times.

3. It would also be helpful to know what constitutes a smoker. Do ex-smokers count who have recently packed it in? If so, how long ago? Do smokers count if they only smoke socially, say, one or two a week with friends? Should we factor in smokers who cannot compose any longer because they are (a) coughing up their lungs in a hospital bed - or (b) dead?

4. Has there been a meta-study conducted of all the other studies on this matter? Since the assertion is that "it is hard to name a *single* worthwhile piece of music written by a non-smoker", it may be easier to collate and process data from previous research (from all periods of history on all continents involving all genres of music).

5. On a related question, have any double-blind trials been conducted on the issue of smoking, creativity and "worthwhile" music? I would imagine it would have to involve three groups of composers - smokers, non-smokers, a control group - locked away in rooms for 48 hours to compose. The scientists or the study's listening participants would then have to discern which pieces of music were "worthwhile" but without, of course, knowing whether the composer was a smoker, a non-smoker, or a control, and the study's originators would have to have resolved issue #1 above.

Scientists would then have reliable raw data with which to judge the veracity of Rory's assertion. Still not sure we can have a 100% reliable definition of "worthwhile", though, so the study may be flawed.

I look forward to reading the research. I'm doing some research of my own. I can't think of a single worthwhile piece of music that wasn't written by a vegetarian or a vegan.