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Rune2000 View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Personal Grading Systems
    Posted: December 20 2009 at 04:51
After browsing quite a few reviews here on Prog Archives I noticed that many people have their own rating systems that they rate their music according to. I guess that it's an awesome thing especially if you can find a system that suits your personality and at the same time doesn't go agains the rating system that is defined on this website.  Bravo to all of you! Clap

My personal system is actually very simple. I rate every song/track a rating between 1 and 5 stars were 3 is average and 5 is a standout track. Then I multiply my star rating with the specific tracks length and then the sum all of them is divided by the total album length (it's easy when transformed to Excel).
This system fits me like a glove but I noticed that this rating system doesn't really show what I think about this particular album but instead show where this album is mapped in relation to all the other albums I have heard. For example if an album has a rating 4,15/5 then it means that it's slightly better than an album I gave a rating of 4,14/5 and so on.

So far this has basically worked flawlessly for me. The only possible downside is when I have to rate albums with very few tracks, and we all know that there are quite a few of those in prog! Wink
My biggest challenge so far has been Mike Oldfield - AmarokLOL

I also noticed that because I tend to be very generous with my track-ratings I rarely have albums rated below 3,00/5. So I adjusted my rating system once I started reviewing albums on PA. An here is what I came up with because I felt that it fit well with the sites guidelines and wasn't that complicated:

My rating | PA rating
---------------------------
4,50-5,00| 5 stars
4,00-4,49| 4
3,50-3,99| 3
3,00-3,49| 2
1,00-2,99| 1 stars

Well anyway, that enough of me babbling!
What I want to know is how you rate your albums and if you have found a system that suits you the most (in relation to PA-system)?

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harmonium.ro View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 20 2009 at 07:05
Yeah I've recently asked around how the hell are you rating albums coz I don't understand. LOL

Myself I rate albums intuitively, by directly assigning a grade/rating to the work in question.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 20 2009 at 07:15
Originally posted by harmonium.ro

Yeah I've recently asked around how the hell are you rating albums coz I don't understand. LOL


Thank you for your reply, I didn't realize that my reviews/ratings have already been a part of a different topic/discussion. Shocked

Yes, my system does seem very confusing doesn't it? Embarrassed

Originally I tried to give a star rating based on an album as a whole, but that only resulted in me giving out StarStarStarStar-stars to every single release! LOL
I realized that something had to be done because otherwise there would be no point for me of grading the albums. This is basically how I wound up where I am today.


Edited by Rune2000 - January 08 2010 at 08:27
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 20 2009 at 07:19
You should be aware that what you do is very misleading. At the end of the review you state something like "This albums gets 4.25" but the rating is *** LOL

You should put a disclaimer somewhere, like "Please read my profile for details on my rating system" (You'll get a profile page when you become a Prog Reviewer).
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 20 2009 at 07:33
Originally posted by harmonium.ro

You should be aware that what you do is very misleading. At the end of the review you state something like "This albums gets 4.25" but the rating is *** LOL

You should put a disclaimer somewhere, like "Please read my profile for details on my rating system" (You'll get a profile page when you become a Prog Reviewer).


Well, your example is incorrect (4 star = 4,00-4,49, so 4,25 is technically 4 star) but I see your point. I guess the best solution would be not to write the total rating as I have been doing for my first 106 reviews. Hopefully I can still leave the star ratings for individual songs because I think that it's important for others to know which tracks stand out/are average/fail miserably. At least that is what I have been lacking in many of the other reviews.

In the end it all comes down to personal preference. Big smile


Edited by Rune2000 - December 20 2009 at 07:35
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 20 2009 at 07:50
You ended Zepp III's review with "Total Rating: 3,45" and you gave it **, that's what I mean.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 20 2009 at 08:07
Originally posted by harmonium.ro

You ended Zepp III's review with "Total Rating: 3,45" and you gave it **, that's what I mean.


Guilty as charged! Embarrassed

Although it might seem that a rating of 3,45 is not far from 3,76 which I gave to Led Zeppelin II that album has actually received a couple of spins over the years, something I can't say for Led Zeppelin III. But I do enjoy Led Zeppelin III (3,45) more than Houses Of The Holy (3,44) so I guess my system works well for me! Big smile



Edited by Rune2000 - December 20 2009 at 08:13
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 20 2009 at 08:08
While I have yet to submit my first review (I'm still trying to decide which title will get the dubious honour) I have already come up with my ratings system to help guide me through the process. It's broken up into 5 elements and looks something like this.

Full disclosure
This is were I will inform the reader of any factor which may influence my review, such as
"This is the only recording by this band that I have heard"
OR
"I have all the bands recordings and they have always been a favourite of mine"
OR
"I have participated in the production of this recording in the following areas"


1 - Production
I will discuss the production values of the recording in layman's terms.

2 - Song writing
I will discuss the song writing in a structural or impressionistic way

3 - Originality
I will discuss the sound of the recording as it relates to originality, such as
"This band has a distinct King Crimson sound"
OR
"This band is heavily influenced by the likes of ELP"

4 - Performance
I will discuss the band member's knowledge of their instrument as it relates to the music being played

5 - Overall impression
I will discuss the recording as a whole including continuity of sound or theme

Finally, my "Star" rating. Probably one of the most contested subjects on this site from what I've seen (next to the Emerson/Wakeman battles.

Each element gets a rating out of 20 for a possible grand total of 100. This number is used as a percentage value on the 5 star system.
For example:

1 - 15/20
2 - 12/20
3 - 20/20
4 - 10/20
5 - 13/20

Total is 70.
That 70% of 5 stars or 3.5

Does that sound reasonable? I'm happy to improve the process before I get into doing my reviews if anyone has a compelling argument.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 20 2009 at 08:30
Originally posted by JD


Does that sound reasonable? I'm happy to improve the process before I get into doing my reviews if anyone has a compelling argument.


That sounds like a very well thought through idea! Clap
Besides, I have seen a couple of people here on Prog Archives who use a similar system and since it seems to work for them I guess it should also work for you. Smile

Here are my thoughts on your system:

I know that this type of system would never work for me because I know very little about production values, as long as it doesn't sound date i.e. 80's metal etc. I would probably enjoy it just as much. I know that many of my friends can have long in-depth discussion about the production differences between the latest two Iron Maiden-releases, but that is something I know nothing about although I've heard the two releases. Cry

"member's knowledge of their instrument" is another thing that I have hard to analyze because I usually first listen to the compositions and it takes a long time until I start to notice the specific instrumentation arrangements as long as they aren't right in front of me. But I actually tend to dislike the in your face-type of musical arrangements no matter if an artist has skills or not. If it's a band then they basically have to sound like one.

It would be nearly impossible for me to rate something on a scale from 1 to 20 because that would mean that I would have to know what every specific rating implies. That is exactly why I rate every track from 1 to 5 and later the rating is calculated automatically based on those 1 to 5 song ratings.Smile

I would once again like to stress that this is my personal opinion and I have no intension of changing anyones personal opinion.




Edited by Rune2000 - December 20 2009 at 08:32
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 20 2009 at 11:10
I try to follow the meaning of PA's system as much as possible. I personally love the idea of only 5 stars because the meaning of each one is so distinct, it makes reviewing an album easier. 

I really want it to mean something when I give an album 5 stars (and even four stars), so I tend to be a brutal reviewer ... when rating an album, I just start at the top and count down star values, each time asking myself, "Would I be offended to have to defend the album at this star level?" This has even given music that I enjoy lower star levels then if I just reviewed it with the first number that came into my head. (Pendragon's Masquerade Overture got a 3 star instead of a 4, for example).
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 20 2009 at 11:38
Originally posted by TheGazzardian

I try to follow the meaning of PA's system as much as possible. I personally love the idea of only 5 stars because the meaning of each one is so distinct, it makes reviewing an album easier. 

I really want it to mean something when I give an album 5 stars (and even four stars), so I tend to be a brutal reviewer ... when rating an album, I just start at the top and count down star values, each time asking myself, "Would I be offended to have to defend the album at this star level?" This has even given music that I enjoy lower star levels then if I just reviewed it with the first number that came into my head. (Pendragon's Masquerade Overture got a 3 star instead of a 4, for example).


+1Smile


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 21 2009 at 12:35
Originally posted by Rune2000

Originally posted by JD


Does that sound reasonable? I'm happy to improve the process before I get into doing my reviews if anyone has a compelling argument.


That sounds like a very well thought through idea! Clap
Besides, I have seen a couple of people here on Prog Archives who use a similar system and since it seems to work for them I guess it should also work for you. Smile

Here are my thoughts on your system:

I know that this type of system would never work for me because I know very little about production values, as long as it doesn't sound date i.e. 80's metal etc. I would probably enjoy it just as much. I know that many of my friends can have long in-depth discussion about the production differences between the latest two Iron Maiden-releases, but that is something I know nothing about although I've heard the two releases. Cry

"member's knowledge of their instrument" is another thing that I have hard to analyze because I usually first listen to the compositions and it takes a long time until I start to notice the specific instrumentation arrangements as long as they aren't right in front of me. But I actually tend to dislike the in your face-type of musical arrangements no matter if an artist has skills or not. If it's a band then they basically have to sound like one.

It would be nearly impossible for me to rate something on a scale from 1 to 20 because that would mean that I would have to know what every specific rating implies. That is exactly why I rate every track from 1 to 5 and later the rating is calculated automatically based on those 1 to 5 song ratings.Smile

I would once again like to stress that this is my personal opinion and I have no intension of changing anyones personal opinion.





Thanks for the feedback, and I understand your comments, I would certainly not get into any deep technical discussions on Production or Performance as I believe the majority of readers are either at a layman's level (not to be condescending) or really don't care that much about those elements at that deep a level.

 The score out of 20 is more of a math thing (with five main elements) but still easy enough for me to work within as a 0, 5, 10, 15, 20 score system (still basically 5 points). And while I know that a lot of reviewers do the track by track evaluations I like to try and consider the project as a whole. Maybe because that's the way I approach the recording process, as a project.

At the end of the day, and other have brought up this point, it's the verbiage that is most useful for me as well. The rating system is simply a guide, a five circle target with the bullseye being something that should demand my attention at least once.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 21 2009 at 13:23
Originally posted by JD


Thanks for the feedback, and I understand your comments, I would certainly not get into any deep technical discussions on Production or Performance as I believe the majority of readers are either at a layman's level (not to be condescending) or really don't care that much about those elements at that deep a level.

The score out of 20 is more of a math thing (with five main elements) but still easy enough for me to work within as a 0, 5, 10, 15, 20 score system (still basically 5 points). And while I know that a lot of reviewers do the track by track evaluations I like to try and consider the project as a whole. Maybe because that's the way I approach the recording process, as a project.

At the end of the day, and other have brought up this point, it's the verbiage that is most useful for me as well. The rating system is simply a guide, a five circle target with the bullseye being something that should demand my attention at least once.

Thank you for this clarification/explanation, now I'm really looking forward to reading your reviews. Thumbs Up


Edited by Rune2000 - December 21 2009 at 13:24
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 21 2009 at 13:40
Originally posted by Rune2000

Originally posted by JD


Thanks for the feedback


Thank you for this clarification/explanation, now I'm really looking forward to reading your reviews. Thumbs Up


Me too, if I could only decide which one to do ! I may work on a few over the next week with  the goal of having my first review posted at the beginning of the new year. Time is always against me with so many thing on the go.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 21 2009 at 14:08
Originally posted by JD


Me too, if I could only decide which one to do ! I may work on a few over the next week with  the goal of having my first review posted at the beginning of the new year. Time is always against me with so many thing on the go.

That's why I decided pretty early on that I will not write any long reviews. They are time consuming and take a lot of effort for the reader to actually get through. Wink
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 21 2009 at 14:13
Originally posted by Rune2000

Originally posted by JD


Me too, if I could only decide which one to do ! I may work on a few over the next week with  the goal of having my first review posted at the beginning of the new year. Time is always against me with so many thing on the go.

That's why I decided pretty early on that I will not write any long reviews. They are time consuming and take a lot of effort for the reader to actually get through. Wink


Ahh, brevity, another important factor to a successful review. Absolutely agree.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 24 2009 at 12:57
Your system is good, but what about albums with lots of segues/interludes?
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 24 2009 at 19:27
I think you're overthinking this.

Why did you put a clappie emoticon? I'll grant you I only care because emoticons for threads annoy me, but it's still mystifying.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 25 2009 at 05:17
Originally posted by Henry Plainview

I think you're overthinking this.

Why did you put a clappie emoticon? I'll grant you I only care because emoticons for threads annoy me, but it's still mystifying.

I think it's pretty obvious why I put the "clap"-icon, just read my initial comment. Smile


Originally posted by Conor Fynes

Your system is good, but what about albums with lots of segues/interludes?
 

I'm not sure who's system you are referring to but in my case it's actually better to have albums with many segues/interludes. For example it would have been really hard to rate The Residents - Commercial Album if I wasn't relying on the rating system to generate a sufficient rating.
Soon I am planning to review Fantômas - Suspended Animation which is also a quite tough album to rate. LOL






Edited by Rune2000 - March 16 2010 at 15:43
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