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

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post

    Uit could be argued that the entirety of Western Classical music is a genre which requires and favors the educated elite,
    Correct.


    Fmecndmnndmnc d,cj

  2. #32
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    Twas bryllyg, and ye slythy toves
    Did gyre and gymble in ye wabe:
    All mimsy were ye borogoves;
    And ye mome raths outgrabe.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Sep-24-2019 at 15:45.

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  4. #33
    Senior Member isorhythm's Avatar
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    Skill is necessary but not sufficient to make great music.

    The more ambitious the composer's aims, the more skill he or she likely needs to realize them.
    Last edited by isorhythm; Sep-24-2019 at 15:14.

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  6. #34
    Senior Member MacLeod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eva Yojimbo View Post
    1. How big of a role should skill play when determining the value of a work or the greatness of a composer?
    Um...not readily quantifiable, so I'll not offer a numeric value, but certainly a significant role.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eva Yojimbo View Post
    2. How much does the assessment of skill depend upon subjective (the impression the work leaves on an audience) VS objective (the ability of an artist to do something, like playing 16th notes at 200bpm) factors.
    I think that we could evaluate an opera by Mozart by pointing to certain skills and, by comparing them with how those same skills have been exercised by other composers with the same musical purpose, establish some (semi)-objective criteria and agree that Don Giovanni is, in that specific regard, better than, say The Barber of Seville.

    But that would be only part of the evaluation. If one wanted to evaluate the skill level by assessing the impact of the works on the listener, the subjective inevitably comes into play.
    "I left TC for a hiatus, but since no-one noticed my absence, I came back again."

  7. #35
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    Self-centred narcissist.
    Not at all. Just being honest.
    Last edited by DavidA; Sep-24-2019 at 16:05.

  8. #36
    Senior Member MacLeod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Not at all. Just being honest. I leave the delusions of grandeur to others!
    Just answering a question that wasn't asked. It wasn't about your skill in evaluating.
    Last edited by MacLeod; Sep-24-2019 at 15:31.
    "I left TC for a hiatus, but since no-one noticed my absence, I came back again."

  9. #37
    Senior Member Fabulin's Avatar
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    The best composers are those who willingly and with a great insight compose for the most complex instrument of them all: for human psychology.

    Effect per second is more impressive than notes per second.

    When I am presented with a claim of a composer being great, I expect him or her to smash me, not the keys or strings. Because even if he or she torments (be it personally or via the performer / performing machine) some instrument in a most mechanically impressive way, but it sounds like horrible noise, the type of respect that is due will be something between that for a circus juggler and for a savant who memorized hundreds of digits of pi. There is a difference between 'cool' and 'great'.

    Violin, orchestra, or music theory etc. are just tools, like a sharp rock is.
    Last edited by Fabulin; Sep-24-2019 at 15:59.

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  11. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Not at all. Just being honest. I leave the delusions of grandeur to others!
    I shall remove my post, it comes across as too agressive in writing, it’s one of the problems with the medium I’m afraid. Anyway, I’m sorry for being so blunt.

  12. #39
    Senior Member isorhythm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    I wonder if our assessment of “skill” doesn’t follow our assessment of the work in a more subjective fashion. We ooh and ah over Stravinsky’s skillful use of rhythm in Rite of Spring, but if the work didn’t impress us, we might never think to do so.
    Yes, they can be hard to separate.

    On the other hand, I can recognize the technical skill of someone like Medtner without thinking his music is all that great.

  13. #40
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    I shall remove my post, it comes across as too agressive in writing, it’s one of the problems with the medium I’m afraid. Anyway, I’m sorry for being so blunt.
    No problem! It is one of the problems of the written word that it can come over as too aggressive. You know how I know that!

    PS I've just edited my reply which was also aggressive!
    Last edited by DavidA; Sep-24-2019 at 16:05.

  14. #41
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod View Post
    Just answering a question that wasn't asked. It wasn't about your skill in evaluating.

    Never mind!

  15. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveM View Post
    Do you think you could have composed something on a par with Beethoven’s quartets? How could anyone have a reaction to them subjective or otherwise if they hadn’t been written. Do you care whether you compose skillfully? If not, how can your works be any good? How many late 18th century & 19th century composers can you list whose music was subjectively popular but the music wasn’t any good because they weren’t skilled in composing?
    The only par a composer should set is the one they decide for themselves. There is no absolute par by which to compare your works to.

    To exemplify, if your goal is to write songs like Dylan and Neil Young, Beethoven's SQs are not the par you are setting for yourself. If writing Romantic Era symphonies is your goal, Beethoven might be a fine par to set for yourself.

    You are too set on the idea that there is absolute greatness in art imo.

  16. #43
    Senior Member DaveM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captainnumber36 View Post
    The only par a composer should set is the one they decide for themselves. There is no absolute par by which to compare your works to.

    To exemplify, if your goal is to write songs like Dylan and Neil Young, Beethoven's SQs are not the par you are setting for yourself. If writing Romantic Era symphonies is your goal, Beethoven might be a fine par to set for yourself.

    You are too set on the idea that there is absolute greatness in art imo.
    You evaded my questions and who said anything about absolute greatness or absolute pars? You are missing the point completely or choosing to evade it. If your goal is to write songs like Dylan and Neil Young, the assumption is that you have skill doing so or they won’t be like Dylan and Young.

  17. #44
    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    Skill is to an extent a by-product of a musician with something to say, acquiring the tools necessary to say it. In itself it is not the most important aspect of music, but it has value. I admire skill because to me it shows that the individual cares about their craft, and wants to take it to the highest level they can. It also shows they are aware of the vast possibilities of music and want to explore, discover and branch out as much as they can.

    Artists that have lots of natural talent, but seem content with a very basic musical skill set, I generally find boring.

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  19. #45
    Senior Member Eva Yojimbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Throughout most of the history of music, in Western and other cultures, composers work with established techniques in creating original works. Those techniques consist of more or less binding principles - principles of melodic, harmonic and rhythmic organization, along with the effective utilization of sonority - which are the vehicles through which the artwork is perceived as coherent and meaningful by the listener. The ability to create structures, utilizing these principles, which listeners find coherent and meaningful is the essence of the composer's skill, and it's fundamentally important and can in numerous respects be analyzed and evaluated. The ability of the listener to perceive coherence and meaning in the composer's exercise of his skill might also be described as a skill or set of skills - cognitive skills - which, of course, the composer himself had to possess in order to acquire and utilize the specific skills involved in composing.

    The importance of skill as a marker of artistic "greatness," relative to other possible virtues such as imagination, expressiveness and richness of meaning, will vary, depending on the nature of the music. In the composers most often regarded as "great," compositional skills are manifested at a high level but also are employed in strikingly original forms, made possible by the composer's ability to see ways in which his traditional language can be inflected to express new things while retaining its fundamental coherence for the listener.
    I agree with MacLeod in not disagreeing with the general thrust of this, but my concern is how to take this very generalized, fuzzy perspective and get precise about quantifying what we're actually talking about. Among my concerns is that I think the kind of skill that's objectively quantifiable, the simple ability of a composer to do whatever it is that can be done, means very little in the final evaluation of music; while the final impact that creation has on listeners means a great deal, and it's very easy for listeners to project our feelings of greatness onto the "skill" of the composer. I also feel like many elements within music, like melody, rely far more on ephemeral inspiration than any cultivated skill. Of course, I agree that listening is a skill as well, but are there not examples of "good" listeners who hear in a work or composer what many consider to be skillful, while still thinking the work or composer bad?

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