View Poll Results: Who is your favorite of the big 3 composers?

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  • Bach

    54 33.13%
  • Mozart

    37 22.70%
  • Beethoven

    72 44.17%
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Thread: Favorite of the Big Three (poll)

  1. #241
    Senior Member DaveM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chu42 View Post
    Am I late to the game? It was in this 31-page discussion where I argued incessantly that composers could indeed be ranked objectively, and I was then convinced otherwise by a large lot.

    Where are all these naysayers now? How very interesting.
    So you changed your mind. Who knows, maybe you’ll change it back.

  2. #242
    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    On several occasions you expressed your negative view on Beethoven that he superficially relies on dynamics and rhythm as a way of expression, and that "comparing Beethoven to Bach" is like "comparing rock to classical music". So what you perceive in Beethovenian aesthetics as "non-classical" is what you don't like about Beethoven? Now you quote a jazz musician to discuss matters of classical music. —would it be also appropriate to quote a rock musician who believes in "the supremecy of rock aesthetics" to discuss matters in classical music as well?
    I don't know why you and DaveM keep bringing this up, I already showed you that the same general point was made by famous classical composers as well. Its like you guys are so threatened by the idea of another composer being equal to the 'big 3', that you have to try and harp on this one minor thing for so long. I've already moved past it and then it resurfaces 'but look lets not forget you brought up a non-classical artist opinion into this, (OMG) that automatically disregards all of your other points! Even though you showed the same exact kind of attitude exists among classical composers!'

    For the record you are the one who brought up McCartney not me, though I happen to agree with his point that Monteverdi is arguably one of the greatest composers. That point happens to be true regardless of who says it. There are classical musicians who feel the same way. I only brought up one non-classical musician - Reinhardt. This is a musician whose creativity and improvisational abilities exceeds that of the many classical musicians. Did you know that arguably the most well respected classical guitarist of all time (Julian Bream) considered Reinhardt among the greatest guitarists? I think it is hubris to disregard the views of a musician of that calibre just because he is jazz. But if you want to go right ahead, because the same points are made by classical music experts as well. Lets not forget that Stravinsky placed higher than Beethoven or Mozart on a recent poll among contemporary classical composers. This is further evidence of my point that there are other composers that can arguably be considered as just as great. Monteverdi and Debussy are another two of those composers. Delius and Boccherini are not. Music is partially subjective, but not completely.

    I've said some things in the past about Beethoven that were off the mark. I accept that he is arguably one of the greatest, but I think there are other composers arguably as great. In my opinion I still do not think he is quite at the level of Bach or Mozart, especially Bach. That is just my view, and I don't think my view is the only valid view on partially subjective questions like that of 'greatest'. I do think it is interesting that Beethoven usually does better on polls where the question is: "favorite" of the big 3, rather than "greatest" of the big 3. So clearly there are others out there that acknowledge there is a difference between favorite and greatest.
    Last edited by tdc; Apr-01-2020 at 00:14.

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  4. #243
    Senior Member chu42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Hey, you're the one making claims here. I'm just questioning them. You said that answering certain questions, questions you posed, led to a necessary conclusion which you stated. That doesn't sound to me as if there's "nothing to answer." I'd say it puts you out on a long, thin limb.

    The music world is waiting to hear why its near-unanimous judgments that Bach and Beethoven are brilliant, profound artists have no more significance than somebody's enjoyment of peanut butter and chicken liver sandwiches, and why one of these things is of no greater objective value to humanity than the other.
    Does the perceived value of Bach have more value than than "somebody's enjoyment of peanut butter and chicken liver sandwiches?" Well, I don't at all value somebody else's enjoyment of peanut butter and chicken liver sandwiches. Quite a strawman of a question.

    My original thesis was that someone preferring Vivaldi over Wagner is no different than a matter of taste. You have now stretched it to encompass the idea of "value to humanity", which make much sense.

    A discussion can be certainly be had between the value of cuisine to humanity and the value of music to humanity, since they are both arts perfected over centuries which create emotional responses in us humans. What makes the combination of different flavors less valuable than a combination of different notes? Wouldn't answering that require you to be a culinary expert as well as a musical one?
    Last edited by chu42; Apr-01-2020 at 00:22.

  5. #244
    Senior Member chu42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveM View Post
    So you changed your mind. Who knows, maybe you’ll change it back.
    We, as a collective culture, have agreed on certain musical standards and values.

    Just because we agreed on it doesn't make it any less subjective.

    Just because a certain composer or piece holds a lot of value for me does not mean it should hold any value at all for anybody else. Do you think otherwise?
    Last edited by chu42; Apr-01-2020 at 00:27.

  6. #245
    Senior Member DaveM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdc View Post
    I don't know why you and DaveM keep bringing this up, I already showed you that the same general point was made by famous classical composers as well. Its like you guys are so threatened by the idea of another composer being equal to the 'big 3', that you have to try and harp on this one minor thing for so long. I've already moved past it and then it resurfaces..
    Yes, we know you’re a prince. I don’t keep bringing anything up in a vacuum. Please point to any post of mine that indicates that I’m ‘threatened by the idea of another composer being equal to the 'big 3'.
    Last edited by DaveM; Apr-01-2020 at 00:32.

  7. #246
    Senior Member DaveM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chu42 View Post
    We, as a collective culture, have agreed on certain musical standards and values.

    Just because we agreed on it doesn't make it any less subjective.
    Yes it does.

    Just because a certain composer or piece holds a lot of value for me does not mean it should hold any value at all for anybody else. Do you think otherwise?
    This isn’t about my personal opinion. If you think it is then that’s where you are going wrong.
    Last edited by DaveM; Apr-01-2020 at 00:37.

  8. #247
    Senior Member chu42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveM View Post
    Yes it does.
    Ah, so the Große Fuge, Prokofiev's 2nd Concerto, the Rite of Spring, Tristan und Isolde, etc. were all objectively bad when they were premiered because everybody agreed that they were bad?

    Why are these works now considered "objectively good" when they had previously been considered "objectively bad"?

    How can musical taste be objective when it has changed drastically over time?
    Last edited by chu42; Apr-01-2020 at 00:50.

  9. #248
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chu42 View Post
    Does the perceived value of Bach have more value than than "somebody's enjoyment of peanut butter and chicken liver sandwiches?" Well, I don't at all value somebody else's enjoyment of peanut butter and chicken liver sandwiches, while I value Bach very much—what a foolish question.
    I think it's perfectly clear what I mean when I say, "The music world is waiting to hear why its near-unanimous judgments that Bach and Beethoven are brilliant, profound artists have no more significance than somebody's enjoyment of peanut butter and chicken liver sandwiches, and why one of these things is of no greater objective value to humanity than the other." I'm not asking you to compare symphonies with sandwiches, but if you say, as you did say, "People overwhelmingly prefer the opera of Wagner and Verdi over, say, those of Vivaldi. People also overwhelmingly prefer chocolate ice cream over licorice ice cream", it seems that you are making that sort of comparison. My contention is that the two do not compare: aesthetic judgments are different, and have greater significance, than judgments about food.

    My original thesis was that someone preferring Vivaldi over Wagner is no different than a matter of taste. You have now stretched to encompass the idea of "value to humanity", which doesn't at all make sense.
    Oh, but it does. "Preference" may be used as a synonym for "taste"; to say that "someone preferring Vivaldi over Wagner is no different than a matter of taste" is simply tautological. It doesn't say anything. But it's clear that mankind places art in a different category from food. Why does great art offer value to humanity - and I mean real, lasting value, not just momentary pleasure? What's in the art that accounts for that? What's in Beethoven's quartets that isn't in Cherubini's? Why are people moved to think and write and wonder about Beethoven's, but not about Cherubini's, which are fine, enjoyable pieces but don't seem to inspire much of anyone? They're all string quartets by technically accomplished composers of the same era, aren't they?

    This willingness to dismiss artistic valuation as nothing but "taste" gets us absolutely nowhere in understanding what is screamingly obvious in human experience, both within us and around us. It's shocking that people who claim to have a scientific respect for facts and evidence have so little curiosity about realities right in front of them but instead withdraw into a fortress of subjectivity.

  10. #249
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chu42 View Post
    Ah, so the Große Fuge, Prokofiev's 2nd Concerto, the Rite of Spring, Tristan und Isolde, etc. were all objectively bad when they were premiered because everybody agreed that they were bad?

    Why are these works now considered "objectively good" when they had previously been considered "objectively bad"?

    How can musical taste be objective when it has changed drastically over time?
    Things which are new and unfamiliar are frequently not understood immediately. But the fact is that most such works are very soon appreciated if people have a chance to be exposed to them. The initial resistance to works now considered masterpieces has been greatly exaggerated in popular mythology.

  11. #250
    Senior Member chu42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post

    Oh, but it does. "Preference" may be used as a synonym for "taste"; to say that "someone preferring Vivaldi over Wagner is no different than a matter of taste" is simply tautological. It doesn't say anything. But it's clear that mankind places art in a different category from food. Why does great art offer value to humanity - and I mean real, lasting value, not just momentary pleasure? What's in the art that accounts for that? What's in Beethoven's quartets that isn't in Cherubini's? Why are people moved to think and write and wonder about Beethoven's, but not about Cherubini's, which are fine, enjoyable pieces but don't seem to inspire much of anyone? They're all string quartets by technically accomplished composers of the same era, aren't they?

    This willingness to dismiss artistic valuation as nothing but "taste" gets us absolutely nowhere in understanding what is screamingly obvious in human experience, both within us and around us. It's shocking that people who claim to have a scientific respect for facts and evidence have so little curiosity about realities right in front of them but instead withdraw into a fortress of subjectivity.
    This is where you misunderstand me, since you seem to be bemoaning a sort of complacency or ignorance that can be developed when everything is considered "subjective". On the contrary, my passion is for music history and music theory. I have read dozens of books about the subject you speak of.

    Let me show you a quote from the book I am reading right now, called The Romantic Generation by Charles Rosen. Here he explains why a particular passage from Schumann's Kreisleriana (almost unanimously agreed upon to be one of the greatest piano works) is so remarkable:

    The scherzando character piece is unique in its treatment of the bass. Schumann has placed many of the bass notes on the wrong beat: coming too late or too early for the harmony, emphasizing the weakest beats with no justification from the melody, emphasizing the weakest beats with no justification from the melody, at odds with the rest of the texture. The melody is played, all twenty-eight bars of it, three times in a simple ABACA rondo form; the first of the subsidiary sections is a long lyrical melody played in the left hand in a duple time against the right hand's continuous dotted triple time, while the second is an outburst of power marked "With all force" in the dotted rhythm, both sections in striking contrast with each other as well as with the playful opening strain. The range of sentiment is remarkable. Each time the opening section comes back, the bass returns in a more different, more and more unexpected way.
    In my opinion, it is a great sequence, and Rosen is clearly mesmerized by it. To you or me, Rosen may perfectly illustrate why it is beautiful, as he does with hundreds of other sequences.

    But to somebody else, they may not care or find the same sequence beautiful even if they understand what is going on. They may say that the factors that Rosen believes to make the sequence great actually makes the sequence sound awkward or clumsy. They may say that the melody is not a memorable or likable melody. They may say that the rhythm is jarring and irritating. All these factors that led Rosen to enjoy this piece can be refuted even by someone who understands it well. The same can be done with literally any analysis of a "great" work.

    That's what makes it subjective.

  12. #251
    Senior Member chu42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Things which are new and unfamiliar are frequently not understood immediately. But the fact is that most such works are very soon appreciated if people have a chance to be exposed to them.
    Does that still not suggest a change in the supposedly "objective" musical standards? How do people change the course of musical history at all if it has always been objective?

  13. #252
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    Quote Originally Posted by chu42 View Post
    Does that still not suggest a change in the supposedly "objective" musical standards? How do people change the course of musical history at all if it has always been objective?
    The same way scientific beliefs change over the course of scientific history; increased understanding.

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  15. #253
    Senior Member chu42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BachIsBest View Post
    The same way scientific beliefs change over the course of scientific history; increased understanding.
    Ah, but that is building upon previous known facts; when someone like Beethoven or Charles Ives upsets the established order of their times, this calls for a dramatic change taste and not simply an addition.

    If a scientist were to overturn previously developed theories (such as Copernicus with heliocentrism) , then these previous theories were objectively wrong. Such is not the same with music, because—you guessed it, art is subjective.
    Last edited by chu42; Apr-01-2020 at 01:52.

  16. #254
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chu42 View Post
    Does that still not suggest a change in the supposedly "objective" musical standards? How do people change the course of musical history at all if it has always been objective?
    No, I don't believe it does. It indicates only a change in what people are familiar with and expect, and it shows that change can be growth, not negation. Even if people considered, say, Don Giovanni a great opera, which it is by any reasonable standard, appreciating Tristan und Isolde doesn't necessarily mean that their former values must be abandoned, but that they can be expanded. It can take exposure and time to see that certain criteria of excellence can pertain to works so radically different, and that both can be superb musical creations. Some people may have thought that operas must be in the style of Don Giovanni to be considered great operas, or that Mozart's style represented some eternal standard against which all others must be measured and found wanting (I think some people believe this even now!), but all that shows is that some people have more to learn than others less narrow-minded. That such learning is possible is proved over and over again.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Apr-01-2020 at 01:55.

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  18. #255
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    Quote Originally Posted by chu42 View Post
    Ah, but that is building upon previous known facts; when someone like Beethoven or Charles Ives upsets the established order of their times, this calls for a dramatic change taste and not simply an addition.
    I wasn't talking about building upon known facts but there is a sort of argument that an equivalent thing happens in art.

    Quote Originally Posted by chu42 View Post
    If a scientist were to overturn previously developed theories (such as Copernicus with heliocentrism) , then these previous theories were objectively wrong. Such is not the same with music, because—you guessed it, art is subjective.
    That makes no sense. Why can't you just equivalently claim that the judgement of the time was objectively wrong and that the Grosse Fugue, for example, is an objectively great piece of music (just for clarification there was some positive reception to the Grosse fugue during its time)? To just state that such is not the same with music without providing any reasoning is just stating your claim with no evidence.

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