The Formula To Rate Music – Some Examples

Here’s a response I got for my post on the music rating formula:

I agree that I should have probably included some examples but the post was already quite long and I was feeling lazy! So let me give it a shot now. The two examples below illustrates how the formula helps bring in a level of objectivity and ensures that I consider all factors that contribute to a good song. The formula is just a guide and certainly not the only way to rate a song. I am not justifying it, just explaining how/why it works for me. I would love to hear from others who have used other techniques. Other than the “pick a number out of thin air” technique that is – that I am very familiar with!

Jab Koi Baat Bigad Jaye (Jurm, 1990)

Composition = 5, A very, very melodic song. Great instrumentation, love the piano, acoustic guitar, whistling, saxophone. Awesome chorus/harmonies.

Vocals = 4.5, Does not demand a lot from singers. Still a simple song sung well. One of Kumar Sanu’s best sung songs. Doesn’t sound as nasal as he can sometimes. Not Sadhna’s best song but still pretty good.

Lyrics = 4.5, Simple, easy-to-remember lyrics but not simplistic. The mukhda lines are killer.

Originality = 3. Here this song gets dinged because it’s mukhda is a copy of this song. Didn’t give it lower than 3 because it has original bits and the adaptation is done very well.

Popularity = 5. A huge, huge song. Was easily the biggest song on campus during my 4 years of college.

Score = 0.35 * 5 + 0.2 * 4.5 + 0.2 * 4.5 + 0.15 * 3 + 0.1 * 5 = 4.5


Hamse Hai Sara Jahan (Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, 1992)

Composition – 4.5. Nice, fresh tune. Well done arrangements. Liked the use of horns.

Vocals – 3, Jatin’s singing sucks away the song’s energy. A bad, bad choice. JJWS happens to have another brilliant song that would have been better off without him – Roothkar Hamse.

Lyrics – 4, This song spoke vividly about the hope, joy and friendships of youth. Was one of our anthems during a college election. And to think it was written by a 71-year old man, the great Majrooh Sultanpuri!

Originality – 4.5, I give it high marks on originality because it sounded really different and really fresh when it first came out (still does). People who lived through the insufferable 80s would appreciate how sweet the music from the early 90s sounded and Jatin – Lalit were one of the composers who led the way in that period.

Popularity – 4.5, The song was popular but not as much as Pehla Nasha or even, Yahan Ke Hum Sikandar.

Score = 0.35 * 4.5 + 0.2 * 3 + 0.2 * 4 + 0.15 * 4.5 + 0.1 * 4.5 = 4.1

4 thoughts on “The Formula To Rate Music – Some Examples

  1. Rahul

    This is analysis of paralysis..this rating is by perception though I reckon wisdom of expert/musicologist counts more over the wisdom of network…I still whine for the analysis of Mr. Sayani used to convince for Binaca Geetmala..nonetheless you have a start since the end point is recommendation ( which is a different vector than playlisting)

    1. Param Post author

      Described on a blog post, it does sound like analysis paralysis but for me, all that processing happens while listening to song. We think a lot faster than we do anything else! Music is all about taste and perceptions, it is natural that ratings reflect that subjectivity – the formula was just a way to inject a little objectivity. Experts like Sayani saab are great but they are human beings and therefore tend to have blind spots and biases. We’re probably better served by complementing expert advice with other means.

  2. Rohwit

    Can never appreciate any ‘formula’ for music rating. NEVER, but this is my personal view 🙂

    Also, you do know that the ‘tune’ u gave a ‘5’ was a direct lift from ‘100 miles’ song? so no parameter for any originality?

    Flawed. sorry.

    1. Anonymous

      Rohit – It looks like you had decided to disagree with the post before you gave it a fair read! 🙂
      1. I would understand if you disagreed with the concept of a rating – that’s just a matter of opinion – but it doesn’t make sense to me that you agree with the concept of having a rating but disagree with a formula to come up with it. Anytime you have a number, you can have a way to calculate it. In fact, having a framework/formula to come up with rating is far more meaningful that pulling a number out of thin air.
      2. Please re-read the post (and the prior one). There is a parameter for originality. I rate Composition as I would rate the song assuming it was original. I rate Originality separately.
      3. I do refer to 100 miles and link to it. I also explain my score for Originality for Jab Koi Baat Bigad Jaaye.

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