What makes music authentic? By: Elizabeth Bommarito

What makes music authentic?

 Don’t you love an artist that writes a song that is pure, and authentic. The artist Halsey writes a song “without me”. It delivers a meaningful message to the world. Halsey conveys a song, that captures people’s attention, which sets them in any mood, emotion, or a time of them going through something similar. Halsey’s ingenuity is everything in this song. I say that because people interpret it in many ways, and that’s what’s great about music, because you can just fall deep into your emotions, and be free with your mind. Within the song, I was intrigued by how I could really connect myself with the artist. I chose this song not only because I can relate to it but do to the fact that the artist included her real like story and just convert it into a song that is so artistic, and I wanted to interview some composers from years ago and now and get their opinion on the song that I have chosen.

As I’ll be interviewing composers from the 18th century all the way to 2018, I’ll be generally discussing about who Halsey is, her music but focusing on typically the song I have chosen. I decided, to let them listen to the song with the lyrics and then making them hear the piano part of the song, with no lyrics. I want the composers to hear for the melody, harmony, rhythm, meter, dynamics, tempo, texture, instrumentation, form or text. 

Take a moment to listen to the song with the lyrics:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=   _nklnZX9z-E

Now, take a moment and listen to the instrumentation part of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1p4zNw9K68

Does Joseph Haydn and Clara Schumann share something in common?

The main focuses I’ll be trying to convey to my listeners, is applying the message of an artist being authentic in their song, and where they stand on that. Let’s jump right into it. One of the composers I chose to interview was Joseph Haydn, he is a male composer from the 18th century, he was one of the best composers, who was an important figure in the development of classical styles. He would be great to get an opinion on a composer like this who’s from the 18th century and has a whole different view on music. With a great amount of experience Haydn would be able to critique Halsey’s music piece and give some insight on it. Listening to the music piece with the lyrics, he explained how the artist itself portrays such a strong message where the piano part of the music isn’t what your focusing on, it’s more of the message you are listening to, which is a good point. Listening to it for the first time with lyrics was silence the second time hearing it without lyrics had got him to smile, that’s when he said “interesting”. He started critiquing it based on things he liked or didn’t like.  He does state that the tempo if far too moderate. He feels like at certain parts of the music piece it should be lento, and allegro. The whole idea of the piano is magnificent too. Listening to the whole piece the second time he did say that the melody there are high pitches in this music piece, sometimes low but he likes the way it ties it all together.  This all mattered to him because if the melody doesn’t flow together then the song itself wouldn’t flow the way it does.

The second composer I interviewed was, Clara Schumann. I was looking forward into interviewing her because she has great piano skills. Her take on the music was obviously knowing the instrumentation that was being used, which was the piano. She did have the same point as Joseph Haydn that her voice is powerful in the music that you forget the instrument is being played in the background. Both composers prefer to hear the instrumentation part vs Halsey’s voice. She noticed how beautifully it flowed together, and instantly she knew that this would be good music piece.  Clara is so used to playing the music she’s always been playing but it got her out of her comfort zone to play something else. Which led me to be in shock. During the interview I asked her what you think about the texture, “homophonic, it naturally draws your attention”, she says. Clara loves music that consists piano in the background because matters she says, “it ties it all together”. The technique she used during listening to the song was not her voice, but the piano how it played smoothly, and it hit the right notes perfectly.


Does Aaron Copland love Halsey’s music?

Aaron Copland is my next person I’ll be interviewing.  We discuss about both him and Halsey have in common. He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. I discussed with him about the music piece I will be introducing to him and he seems very excited… lets see how it goes. As he is listening to the music piece, he nods his head, and says, “I’m impressed that she’s young and she has so much potential in her”. He did come across the rhythm of this piece, it does have a strong beat followed by a weak beat as well. The notes itself, are long. He does feel like the meter is very well organized, how it flows all together, and that there are strong pulses in between. He did enjoy the music with the lyrics. Aaron sees how real she is, and that makes her unique in the music industry. Both Aaron and Halsey write out songs and that’s something that Aaron appreciated Halsey for.


Music news; Women power:

Having to interview Ariana Grande you can say her recent song called, “Thank U, Next”, is also about her past relationships. She explained to me that she can relate to Haley about that, and there’s nothing but love and support within one another. When I played the song with the lyrics, she just started singing and you can see her able to relate it. I introduced her as well to the piano part of the music with no lyrics and she still was able to feel the rhythm of the music. The dynamic of it, starts of moderate, then gets loud but not too loud. It’s such a dynamic song that everyone who hears it interprets it in so many ways.  The texts I provided consist of both with lyrics and without lyrics and no voice, just the instrumentation. Before leaving Ariana explained

to me its women power, we need to support and love one another. Lastly, Lady Gaga, another female artist in the music industry, a star. She is an idol to so many people and other artist as well. Her songs are just like was Halsey put out. Your able to relate to them, she is also pure.  She explains to me the form of the music, how it’s all separated. It tells us a story, starts off with an intro, that generates into a verse to a chorus, to verse, chorus, a bridge and then chorus again. It contains sections, and does have significant changed in the melody, harmony and texture as well.

What are my thoughts?

The purpose was to interview everyone to get their opinion on a music piece I have chosen, I wanted to see what they thought about music being authentic. Each person described the fact in the video where lyrics are presented and a voice, they can feel the pain, the message she’s putting put there in the world. Each person wraps their heads around something in the music that sticks out to them.

It’s such a mix song that contains so many mix emotions that leads people to listen and feel anger, empowerment, happy, sad, and just in a shock mode, which leads it to be a dynamic song where you can use your imagination and just let your mind be free. At the end, isn’t that what music is supposed to do? Realism is what Halsey puts in her music. Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande see what she has in her. It brings out her work even more, her uniqueness that she has, and that we have which stands us out from the crowd. It’s rare finding an artist or even people who are themselves. Authenticity still wins out in this world, its organic and rare but it’s still there. You just must see who still has it in them. Do you love when your favorite artist is authentic in their song?



Elizabeth Bommarito




















  1. Elizabeth, to answer your question, yes I do enjoy love when my favorite artist is authentic, or as you said “real”. My favorite artist is The Weeknd, and listneing to his music is something different then I heard before becuase he expresses his deep feelings of being sad, or upset, or overall any emotions he feels. He puts his emotions into his piece of work which is authentic, and he expresses it in the words that he sings. I think being real and authentic is what makes an artist different, and stand out for being themseleves. A question I have for you is do you think there are artist out there copying other’s authenticy? And if there is how does that make you feel?

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I listen to songs I enjoy when artists are “real” in their music, which is why I love when music is authentic. I do feel like there may be artist out there who copy’s someone’s work. I feel like no one should be copying another artist work because first its wrong, and second it would make me upset because why still someone’s work. Is it because you don’t put much thought into the music, or you just don’t know what to put in your song, so you rather just steal someone’s work, and take all the credit.


  2. To answer your question and agree with the comment above yes I as well like when my favorite artist is authentic. That’s the reason why I listen to him in the first place because I like his flow and style of music. In rap there are multiple rappers who try to copy and switch up there flow and it doesn’t work well. A boogie is a consistent and one of a kind of rapper who brings his own to the game who pours his heart and his struggles in life to his music and expresses it very well. One question that I have is that do you think it is okay for an artist to copy another artist if that artist music is no longer catching the audiences attention?

    Liked by 1 person

    • To answer your question, its not okay for an artist to copy another artist work because after the artist who made the song put time and effort another artist can’t just take it and change it up and say they did it and take all the credit. It is wrong to do. I do feel like if an artist copies someone’s work, there may be people whose attention isn’t caught, why? because they probably already heard it in another song and they feel like its the same.


  3. i honestly like how you put this article together going out there talking to real people, getting real artists opinions to explain about authenticity, honestly i was confused in the beginning but when you were able to put together your listeners ideas and interpret them it made things clearer about keeping it “real”. to answer your question; yea i love it when my favorite artist is authentic ( real) especially when i listen to the sounds of the emotion with out the lyrics makes me feel the the struggle or journey they are going through and thinking about similar experiences.


  4. I would like to add a lot of dialogue. I know a lot of people that would agree with this especially old rappers because the whole base of rap is to have an original story of your struggle and something you actually experience in life. One rapper I know who would completely agree with this is XXXentancion; he always believed in originality and he called out Drake when Drake had copied part of his music. XXX was one of the most unique and different rapper of all time.


  5. To elaborate to your question, I completely agree with the fact that a producer, artist, ghostwriter and composer should be authentic. I feel like why copycat when you can be original rather than copying off others. However, if an artist or composer’s music is not original right away it is often judged or compared to another artist song, either the flow was the same or they copied the beat and therefore people get very upset. For example, Juice World is getting sued because his song Lucid Dreams flow is the same as Stings song “Shape of my heart”. In today’s industry copying somebody else’s music is a serious matter because if an artist uses somebody else’s beat they get sued. Juice Wrld did not acknowledge Stings music and used it as his own in his record called “Lucid Dreams”. To use someone else’s beat or flow you must ask permission first and Juice world did not do that. Juice world is currently getting sued and is only receiving 15% of that songs profit. I think from this example an artist’s music should be authentic and they should not steal other people’s ideas and make it as their own. Everyone who created a song, a beat and a lyric should always acknowledge where they got their idea from. However, I have listened to both pieces and I see why Sting is upset because his flow was used in Juice Worlds song and that’s not cool. As a listener I think both pieces do sound the same but it’s different lyrically. If Juice went about it the right way he would have not been getting sued right now.


  6. In response to the question, it is certainly commendable when an artist is authentic as can be. It works in a way to elaborate the song of choice when music artists incorporate originality and certainly sparks the interest of something new to listeners. Surely sometimes it might just be an inspiration but other times its a blatant rip off from another song. One slightly copied song that raised controversy recently was Lana Del Rey’s song “Get Free”. Many had speculated that her song was highly comparable with Radiohead’s “Creep”. The intros both have similar melodies however it is not entirely the same. It is noticeable that when all music sounds the same, listeners grow tiresome and a new mainstream genre emerges. Music should always be authentic and not a fabrication of someone else’s hard work.


  7. A question I can raise is “Are artists today all about authenticity? Or are they unoriginal?”. This is a question that can have mixed opinions and for myself, it is hard to distinguish with the variety of artists nowadays.


  8. I’d like to add another artist who would be a 6th listener to this piece would be Phora. Phora is a west coast rapper who I think is authentic and if he listened to this piece you presesnted he woulda enjoy the lyrics more. The words are what matter to see the message or image that artist is trying to deliever. Another question I have for you is do you think there are artist who try to be authentic for popularity?


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