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Thread: What Role Does "Skill" Play When Evaluating Music?

  1. #241
    Senior Member DaveM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange Magic View Post
    I have no recollection of stating anywhere that Beethoven does not have "obvious skill" that is or may be an important factor in the quality of his work. Why insist that I posted thus? Beethoven has lots of skill; I am a big fan of Beethoven's music, though I prefer Brahms.
    Oh c’mon. Do I have to repeat your own words..again!
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange Magic View Post
    Alas! It seems I have failed completely to have you understand my position.
    First: "Obvious skill" is not necessarily an important factor in the quality of artworks. It may be a factor in some artworks... The fact that all aesthetics is opinion and that no art can be demonstrated to be intrinsically better than another grants me that power and mastery.
    I used your own words. You diminish ‘obvious skill as an important factor in the quality of artworks.’. You say that ‘the fact is...no art can be demonstrated to be intrinsically better than another. That is a broad statement with no equivocation and no exception. So it must apply to a Beethoven’s works vs. a journeyman’s such as Lange.

    You don’t get away with stating broad conclusions and then deny they apply when challenged using a practical example: Oh, I didn’t mean Beethoven!
    Last edited by DaveM; Oct-07-2019 at 22:44.

  2. #242
    Senior Member MacLeod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveM View Post
    It is relevant when it includes history and evaluation of the painting by on-site experts which I mentioned and you ignored. Do you continue to ignore things in black and white because they don’t support what you’re about to post?
    You didn't ask my opinion on what the experts said. You asked if I'd seen the painting and insisted that you had as if your seeing it was of some special significance. If you want me instead to comment on what the expert opinion was, you'll have to provide some detail. Otherwise, all you are asking me to do is to agree that because some experts have provided you with information and opinion about the painting, this confirms it must be...what...a great painting? Very skilful? A good example of Gainsborough's best work?

    Why would I need to do that? I am well aware of G's reputation among the cognoscenti and the art loving public. It doesn't mean I am required to agree with it.
    Last edited by MacLeod; Oct-07-2019 at 22:47.
    "I left TC for a hiatus, but since no-one noticed my absence, I came back again."

  3. #243
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveM View Post
    Oh c’mon. Do I have to repeat your own words..again!


    I used your own words. You diminish ‘obvious skill as an important factor in the quality of artworks.’. You say that ‘the fact is...no art can be demonstrated to be intrinsically better than another. That is a broad statement with no equivocation and no exception. So it must apply to a Beethoven’s works vs. a journeyman’s such as Lange.

    You don’t get away with stating broad conclusions and then deny they apply when challenged using a practical example.
    I give up. I have totally and completely failed to have you understand my position no matter how simple I make it. Can I not make you understand that skill is neither a necessary nor a sufficient ingredient or precondition for my assessment of artwork being, for me, "great"? Skill will sometimes, maybe often, be present in such artworks. Beethoven's works show much skill. Is this not clear?

  4. #244
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Let me now ask a few questions. Is it your position that, if a work exhibits great skill, it must be "great"? Is it your position that, if a (critical) number of critics say some art is great, you think it is great also? Must everyone else, upon receiving the critics' pronouncement, also think (ought to think) that the work is great? If the artwork was transported to T'ang China, would the famed aesthete The Count of T'ang also be required to give his assent? Do you prefer the Ingres to the Ryder? If so, why? If not, why?

  5. #245
    Senior Member DaveM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange Magic View Post
    I give up. I have totally and completely failed to have you understand my position no matter how simple I make it. Can I not make you understand that skill is neither a necessary nor a sufficient ingredient or precondition for my assessment of artwork being, for me, "great"? Skill will sometimes, maybe often, be present in such artworks. Beethoven's works show much skill. Is this not clear?
    When you make such broad statements without much or any qualifications, you’re going to cause confusion when you appear to counter them when asked for specifics (i.e. the Beethoven analogy).

    At least "Obvious skill" is not necessarily an important factor in the quality of artworks’ has progressed to ‘Skill will sometimes, maybe often, be present in such artworks.’

  6. #246
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveM View Post
    When you make such broad statements without much or any qualifications, you’re going to cause confusion when you appear to counter them when asked for specifics (i.e. the Beethoven analogy).

    At least "Obvious skill" is not necessarily an important factor in the quality of artworks’ has progressed to ‘Skill will sometimes, maybe often, be present in such artworks.’
    Again, I give up. You have no interest in answering my questions and you do not understand my position. What more is to be said?

  7. #247
    Senior Member DaveM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange Magic View Post
    Let me now ask a few questions. Is it your position that, if a work exhibits great skill, it must be "great"?
    For me, there is a significant, but not necessarily 100% correlation between the degree of skill present in the creation of an artwork and the likelihood that it is good, very good and maybe even great, especially (for me) in classical music.

    Is it your position that, if a (critical) number of critics say some art is great, you think it is great also?
    I don’t know what a (critical) number of critics are.

    If a given work appears to be the result of great skill, along with my own assessment -assuming I have experience in the art form- I might be influenced by an educated critic I respect that the work might be great, but to me the ultimate sign of a great artwork is one that has, over decades and centuries, been accepted as such by -for instance in the case of classical music- listeners, other composers, critics and musicologists.

    Must everyone else, upon receiving the critics' pronouncement, also think (ought to think) that the work is great?
    See above. I’ll just leave it at that since ‘everyone else’ is too general.

    If the artwork was transported to T'ang China, would the famed aesthete The Count of T'ang also be required to give his assent? Do you prefer the Ingres to the Ryder? If so, why? If not, why?
    In replying to other posts, I had to re-read a number of past posts and you kept referring to the T’ang this and the T’ang that to the point that I began to think there was a long lost Chinese dynasty I’d never heard about. I understand that it has a great significance in your belief system, but this has been addressed by others (I think woodduck) in the past so all I’ll say is that what the T’angians or even the Neanderthals in ancient parts of Europe and Asia might have thought is irrelevant to me. What I do think is significant is the major acceptance of western classical music by the very different cultures in China and Japan.

    I like both those paintings. My wife wouldn’t let me hang the first one and the second one is interesting, but a little creepy.
    Last edited by DaveM; Oct-08-2019 at 01:39.

  8. #248
    Senior Member DaveM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange Magic View Post
    Again, I give up. You have no interest in answering my questions..
    I just spent precious minutes of my life answering your questions.

  9. #249
    Senior Member DaveM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod View Post
    You didn't ask my opinion on what the experts said. You asked if I'd seen the painting and insisted that you had as if your seeing it was of some special significance. If you want me instead to comment on what the expert opinion was, you'll have to provide some detail. Otherwise, all you are asking me to do is to agree that because some experts have provided you with information and opinion about the painting, this confirms it must be...what...a great painting? Very skilful? A good example of Gainsborough's best work? Why would I need to do that? I am well aware of G's reputation among the cognoscenti and the art loving public. It doesn't mean I am required to agree with it.
    Well what is clear is the level of educated background you had for saying I should have picked a better painting: Nothing!
    Last edited by DaveM; Oct-08-2019 at 05:33.

  10. #250
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveM View Post
    For me, there is a significant, but not necessarily 100% correlation between the degree of skill present in the creation of an artwork and the likelihood that it is good, very good and maybe even great, especially (for me) in classical music.
    This brings up a question that's been on my mind. Does skill, and perceivable skill, correlate with overall quality in music as much as it does in other arts? If so, or if not, why? How can we tell? We're talking a lot about paintings here, in which the physical manipulation of paint is a conspicuous skill in its own right. Isn't it harder to distinguish idea from execution - or "inspiration" from "skill" - in music?

  11. #251
    Senior Member DaveM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthusiast View Post
    Now you've lost me, DaveM. Firstly, I'm not a member of any group and we don't have secret meetings to elect spokespeople! Technically (objectively) that is a slightly paranoid suggestion on your part. I'm an individual participating in a discussion thread.
    Paranoid? In that entire post and in the entire post below you are referring to ‘We’. Who is the ‘We’ you’re referring to?: Presumably the people including you who responded with what you must be assuming had a similar perspective, sometimes known as a ‘group’ and if it wasn’t a similar perspective, why again are you using ‘We’ as if you are all of one mind? And if you are just ‘an individual participating in a discussion thread’, why again are you using ‘We’?

    Hold on now, it just came to me, I may be mistaken about your reference to a group! You are actually using the royal ‘We’. That makes much more sense.

    even though none of us expressed this "knowledge". I think we all recognise that Gainsborough had portrayed a person and various objects in a fairly accurate and realistic way. I think we all recognised that this was (objectively) the manifestation of a skill. Did we have to say this? Can you really believe that, because we didn't express it, it must be that we hadn't noticed it?...
    Since here you sound like you are speaking for a group, how do you know the workings of other persons’ minds if they don’t express it? The posts speak for themselves: They were almost universally critical, and not just a little bit, about that painting with not a mention of the skill required to paint it.

    ...But I think we all did recognise that a trick was being played - who watching would not have done? - and you have posted nothing that demonstrates that this might not have been the case.
    You keep saying that ‘we all did recognized that a trick was being played’. The initial posts show nothing of the kind. You need to stop using ‘We’. It implies that you speak for everybody and, in the alternative, you’re not royalty.
    Last edited by DaveM; Oct-08-2019 at 02:47.

  12. #252
    Senior Member DaveM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    This brings up a question that's been on my mind. Does skill, and perceivable skill, correlate with overall quality in music as much as it does in other arts? If so, or if not, why? How can we tell? We're talking a lot about paintings here, in which the physical manipulation of paint is a conspicuous skill in its own right. Isn't it harder to distinguish idea from execution - or "inspiration" from "skill" - in music?
    I’ve listened to classical music and played it for so many years -since age 3- that when it comes to baroque to classical to romantic to even atonal music (which I mostly dislike) I feel as if I have a pretty good sense of skill. To me, idea, execution and inspiration are all part of the skill, Beethoven perhaps being the perfect example.

    Fwiw, my recognition of skill in the most abstract/avant-garde -shudder- music (think Ferneyhough) falls apart and I’ve seen no evidence that there is any skill to evaluate when you remove melody, harmony and most everything else that constitutes classical music as I’ve known it.
    Last edited by DaveM; Oct-08-2019 at 03:09.

  13. #253
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Dave, thank you for at least partially answering my questions. Here's the Wikipedia article on the T'ang Dynasty (I've seen it spelled with and without the apostrophe). There was a Count of T'ang, the father of the founder of the dynasty. I cast him as an aesthete, in that on an episode of Antiques Road Show here in the USA, a woman brought in an authentic T'ang sculptured horse that brought Lark Mason, the show's resident expert in Chinese antiques, as close to tears of wonder and joy as I've ever seen him exhibit. So I use the Count as my specimen aesthete far removed from us in space and time, and wonder if he would respond with that universal approbation to our standard "great Western art" that we are assured is triggered in most everyone when presented with it.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tang_dynasty

    If you like both paintings (equally?), that's just fine with me. Otherwise, we're done here--what's left to say?
    Last edited by Strange Magic; Oct-08-2019 at 13:01.

  14. #254
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange Magic View Post
    Dave, thank you for at least partially answering my questions. Here's the Wikipedia article on the T'ang Dynasty (I've seen it spelled with and without the apostrophe).
    "T'ang" is correct per Wade-Giles romanization, which was widely used prior to the founding of the PRC. The PRC later adopted Pinyin romanization, where it is spelled "Tang" without the apostrophe. That is now the most-accepted standard, including in Wikipedia.

    When I was living in that area, anybody using Pinyin romanization in Taiwan was likely to end up on Green Island. Not a happy prospect!
    Last edited by KenOC; Oct-08-2019 at 05:20.


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  16. #255
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    "T'ang" is correct per Wade-Giles romanization, which was widely used prior to the founding of the PRC. The PRC later adopted Pinyin romanization, where it is spelled "Tang" without the apostrophe. That is now the most-accepted standard, including in Wikipedia.
    T'arnation! What were Wade and Giles thinking, having us write "Tao" instead of "Dao," and then representing the sound of T with T'? They'd have had astronauts drinking T'ang, which t'astes t'errible, and we'd have had to sing "t'ing t'ang walla walla ping pang." (K'ool sung, pai the wei.)

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