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Thread: Is classical music "the highest form of musical arts in recorded human history"?

  1. #31
    Senior Member chu42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apricissimus View Post
    How many people who casually dismiss rap have actually spent a lot of time listening to rap? My guess is not many here have. (I don't listen to rap much either.) I don't know people who prefer art form A presume to have the ability to pass such judgment on art form B.

    So rap doesn't have the harmonic or melodic richness of classical music (or some other kinds of music). Okay, but so what. You may as well complain that painting doesn't have the same three-dimensional presence as sculpture. Or the kinetic dynamic of dance.
    Exactly. I love both hip hop and classical. Through much experience with them, I can come to the conclusion that there are great things to both genres.

    On the other hand, I haven't had much of a liking to country music, but I'm not going to go so far as to say that it's "lesser art" or even an epithet as judgmental and nonsensical as "not art". People will get different things out of different genres. Just because someone else gets more out of a genre than you do, it doesn't mean said genre is necessarily inferior.
    Last edited by chu42; Mar-29-2020 at 22:00.

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Is classical music "the highest form of musical arts in recorded human history"?

    Maybe, if it's in SACD. (bah-dah-boom!)

    A society will be judged by the kind of man it produces.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Mar-29-2020 at 22:05.

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  4. #33
    Senior Member chu42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnnie Burgess View Post
    Any music that gloifies killing cops and the mistreatment of women is bad.
    And you claim to be able to compress a massive, broad, diverse, genre into that one statement? That is just as asinine as assuming all classical music sounds like Mozart.
    Last edited by chu42; Mar-29-2020 at 22:03.

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  6. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by chu42 View Post
    And you claim to be able to compress a massive, broad, diverse, genre into that one statement? That is just as asinine as assuming all classical music sounds like Mozart.
    I did not say all did that, but the part that does is bad. Do you defend the bad?
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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    I do think the question implies something which must be accepted as a 'given' or as a distinction.
    High art needs to be distinguished from other more utilitarian art by its function.
    By the definition of art, it is designed for "divine contemplation." so it should have some kind of deep spiritual significance. (thus the centuries-old connection of The Church and art)

    If there is some rap which does this, then it is high art.

    If it does not, and is designed for dancing or the expression of lifestyle or making money, then it is more utilitarian.

    True "high art" is the expression of 'being.' True high art must be a personal expression of the artist's "being."

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  9. #36
    Senior Member chu42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnnie Burgess View Post
    I did not say all did that, but the part that does is bad. Do you defend the bad?
    The hip hop artists I listen to do not fall under the category of which you speak. There are certainly specific artists that I do not like. Hip hop is remarkably diverse anx if you do not have broad experience with it you are in no position to comment on it.

    Using up the worst elements of a genre in order to bring down the whole genre is a bad form of strongman argument. We judge a composer by his best works and not his worst, yes?

    Do you judge Wagner based on his piano sonatas?
    Tchaikovsky on his chamber works?
    Last edited by chu42; Mar-29-2020 at 23:46.

  10. #37
    Senior Member chu42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I do think the question implies something which must be accepted as a 'given' or as a distinction.
    High art needs to be distinguished from other more utilitarian art by its function.
    By the definition of art, it is designed for "divine contemplation." so it should have some kind of deep spiritual significance. (thus the centuries-old connection of The Church and art)

    If there is some rap which does this, then it is high art.

    If it does not, and is designed for dancing or the expression of lifestyle or making money, then it is more utilitarian.

    True "high art" is the expression of 'being.' True high art must be a personal expression of the artist's "being."
    I completely agree. Much of Nas, early 2000s Kanye West, Jay Z, Childish Gambino, MC Ride, Kendrick Lamar, among many others, is often high art. It either says something about society or contains deep personal expression. Here is a good example:



    This song has a vivid and humanitarian message. It is lyrical and expressive, and it is not meant to be danced to in a social setting.

    On the other hand, we have utilitarian hip hop. Most of the rappers that have "Lil'" in front of their name, makes up utilitarian rap. Others would include Soulja Boy, 50 Cent, Migos, Nicki Minaj, Pitbull, etc. Here is a good example:



    This song is only vaguely personal. It contains no strong message about anything in particular. But it is catchy and meant to be fun or humorous, and thus functions as utilitarian art.

    With that being said, these definitions do not necessarily mean good or bad. There is plenty of rap I consider high art rather than utilitarian art that I dislike. For example the music of Juicewrld, Lil Xan, and XXXTentacion is often deeply personal yet I don't see much musical value in it.

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    Since I am quoted in the OP I will first state that I didn't really believe that the assertion I made about 'classical music being the highest form of musical arts in recorded human history' would be in much contention, except perhaps from a culturally relativist perspective. It is possible that if you judge western classical music from another culture's values and traditions that it is not the highest form of musical arts. But for the values of western civilization (very broadly some concoction of objective truth, rationalism, individual rights) I don't think it's up for debate that classical music is the high water mark. Is some particular classical piece (such as Wellington's Victory) lesser than some particular rock/pop piece (such as Yes's Close to the Edge)? Sure, but that is not the discussion at hand.

    I don't really think most rock fans (especially prog and metal fans) would even argue for the notion that their favorite genre is a higher form than classical. It seems generally to be people who are fans of genres that place a decidedly low emphasis on achievement, skill, or merit such as rap or punk rock. Most apologia of this type in years past seem to be jazz fans who think the improvisational aspect of the genre achieves what classical cannot, but again that would be judging these forms on some other cultural values that emphasize 'living in the moment.' I would fully concede this point I just do not find it to be a useful metric for what is a European art by and for European people.*

    *this does not mean others cannot enjoy and even participate, just that it arose in a separate tradition

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    As to the rap question, I stand by what I said that it is not music. That is not meant as a criticism, but merely fact. When I said it is retrograde art that was a criticism. I don't care to argue for whether it's music as others have been more eloquent than I would be able to on why it is not. In the end it doesn't matter just as the notion of whether a teepee counts as architecture does not, ultimately, matter.

    I will add too that I am young enough to where it would have been impossible for me to have not been exposed to rap. I have heard a lot of it, and I don't even hate all of it. For instance I thought Wu Tang Clan's 36 Chambers was an interesting piece because of its cinematic scope, style, and infectious rhymes. However, on the whole, I dislike the genre.
    Last edited by bz3; Mar-29-2020 at 22:50.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bz3 View Post
    As to the rap question, I stand by what I said that it is not music. That is not meant as a criticism, but merely fact. When I said it is retrograde art that was a criticism. I don't care to argue for whether it's music as others have been more eloquent than I would be able to on why it is not. In the end it doesn't matter just as the notion of whether a teepee counts as architecture does not, ultimately, matter.

    I will add too that I am young enough to where it would have been impossible for me to have not been exposed to rap. I have heard a lot of it, and I don't even hate all of it. For instance I thought Wu Tang Clan's 36 Chambers was an interesting piece because of its cinematic scope, style, and infectious rhymes. However, on the whole, I dislike the genre.
    Please, demonstrate your thought process that led you to the "factual" conclusion that hip-hop is not music. You can't cop out and say you don't care to argue when you make a hugely contentious claim against an entire culture. I stand by the fact that you are speaking of ignorance, or possibly hatred—your mention of

    European art by and for European people
    ... leads me to believe that your motivations here are beyond the purely musical, to put it nicely.

  14. #41
    Senior Member chu42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bz3 View Post
    As to the rap question, I stand by what I said that it is not music. That is not meant as a criticism, but merely fact. When I said it is retrograde art that was a criticism. I don't care to argue for whether it's music as others have been more eloquent than I would be able to on why it is not. In the end it doesn't matter just as the notion of whether a teepee counts as architecture does not, ultimately, matter.

    I will add too that I am young enough to where it would have been impossible for me to have not been exposed to rap. I have heard a lot of it, and I don't even hate all of it. For instance I thought Wu Tang Clan's 36 Chambers was an interesting piece because of its cinematic scope, style, and infectious rhymes. However, on the whole, I dislike the genre.


    You consider this retrograde art and not music?
    Last edited by chu42; Mar-29-2020 at 22:57.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    Please, demonstrate your thought process that led you to the "factual" conclusion that hip-hop is not music. You can't cop out and say you don't care to argue when you make a hugely contentious claim against an entire culture. I stand by the fact that you are speaking of ignorance, or possibly hatred—your mention of



    ... leads me to believe that your motivations here are beyond the purely musical, to put it nicely.
    Fine it's music. Does that make you happy?

    And if classical music was not by and for European people then who was it by? Who was it for? I have no 'extra-musical' motives I was simply informing an earlier statement that when I made the original assertion about classical music being the high water mark for music that I was using the standards within the culture where it was birthed. Of course others can participate and enjoy a European art, plenty of Europeans participate and enjoy other culture's traditions.

  16. #43
    Senior Member chu42's Avatar
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    I must add that for all of my hip hop "apologism", I do firmly believe that Western classical music contains most of the high points of human musical achievement.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bz3 View Post
    Fine it's music. Does that make you happy?
    You seem to play fast and loose with your "facts". And here I thought you actually had an explanation behind that assertion.

    Quote Originally Posted by bz3 View Post
    And if classical music was not by and for European people then who was it by? Who was it for? I have no 'extra-musical' motives I was simply informing an earlier statement that when I made the original assertion about classical music being the high water mark for music that I was using the standards within the culture where it was birthed. Of course others can participate and enjoy a European art, plenty of Europeans participate and enjoy other culture's traditions.
    Classical music was birthed in Europe, yes. But by no means does it or has it ever carried an exclusive stigma of being strictly for Europeans, especially in this day and age when classical music is just as popular in Asia and the Americas as anywhere else.

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    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    Just an idea but when actually searching “low art” and “high art” it seems that classical music is just defined as part of “high culture” and pop music as part of “low culture” thanks to its mass appeal. That does not mean that pop music is actually in any way lower (how could one even evaluate such a thing?) than classical but it has just been categorized that way for a long time. You could exchange the “high” for X and “low” for Y. “High” and “low” are just definitions but correct me if I’m wrong.
    Last edited by annaw; Mar-29-2020 at 23:17.

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