In everyday speech, the word criticism tends to evoke negative associations. And to be criticised by others is apparently something that we do tend to dread. But in a world where everything and everyone can be and is constantly rated and evaluated—by it in the form of likes, stars, hearts, points, a quick swipe on one’s phone, or similar—truly well-founded criticism of texts, pieces of music, performances, films, and even statements and individuals is a valuable thing indeed. Criticism serves to question, reflect, describe, point out relationships and distinctions, judge, and evaluate—so ideally, it gives us food for thought and helps us make progress. Just where the term comes from etymologically, how criticism as such has developed over the centuries, how artists deal with criticism, and why music criticism often devolves into mere music journalism are just some of the things you can read about on the following pages. Be critical—it’s worth it!

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