View Poll Results: Do you believe in greatness in music?

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  • Yes.

    108 84.38%
  • No.

    20 15.63%
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Thread: Do you believe in greatness in music?

  1. #1591
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange Magic View Post
    While one of the other threads on the Big Issues of Esthetics is temporarily shut down to allow 2 or 3 people to cool off, we can ponder why we have so many polls here in the Polls section; why so many people like polls, polling, being polled; why there are longish lists of candidates within each poll question; and why a multiplicity of answers as to Best, Greatest, etc.?
    In general people like polls to see what other people think about issues that interest them. People like to compare their views with others. Presumably the same is true of classical music polls.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "longish lists of candidates", but I assume many use the 15 options to include as many potential answers as possible. Most polls have people bemoaning the fact that the poll maker did not include various "obvious "answers, so I assume poll makers try to include more rather than fewer composers or works.

    Quote Originally Posted by Strange Magic View Post
    What do polls and polling and its popularity tell us about music and art and esthetics?
    I think the vast majority of polls tell us something about the interests and musical enjoyment of TC members. I think most people answer greatest polls with their favorites (except maybe for the top few). People often overly worry about the accuracy of polls here. Rather than view poll results are precise answers for all classical music listeners, we can look at the number of participants, think a bit about who answers the polls, and make some general conclusions.

    I have sometimes been rather surprised with poll results. When I first came here, I assumed almost everyone would place Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart as their favorites. I didn't need good statistics to realie I was very mistaken.

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  3. #1592
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post
    Being told that composer X is great according to a canon or consensus, etc. does not interest me.
    Did that ever interest you?

    When I first started (and I mean first started) exploring classical music, I had heard of several composers, but I knew very little about them. I thought Dvorak wrote very unpleasant music (i.e. for someone who liked Beethoven and Mozart). I was thrilled to get a book that essentially had a canon (Gould's Classical Music: The 50 Greatest Composers and Their 1, 000 Greatest Works). In my life that book has had by far the greatest impact on my classical music exploration and, I think, on my learning to love classical music.

    I can only imagine if I had gone on the Naxos Music Library and randomly listened to composers and works. I actually did that after a few years of listening, and it was without question the most useless way to explore music for me.

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  5. #1593
    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmsbls View Post
    Did that ever interest you?

    When I first started (and I mean first started) exploring classical music, I had heard of several composers, but I knew very little about them. I thought Dvorak wrote very unpleasant music (i.e. for someone who liked Beethoven and Mozart). I was thrilled to get a book that essentially had a canon (Gould's Classical Music: The 50 Greatest Composers and Their 1, 000 Greatest Works). In my life that book has had by far the greatest impact on my classical music exploration and, I think, on my learning to love classical music.

    I can only imagine if I had gone on the Naxos Music Library and randomly listened to composers and works. I actually did that after a few years of listening, and it was without question the most useless way to explore music for me.
    I went to music school and received a good grounding in the basic repertory. But it did not take me long to discover that the music I was most interested in wasn't included in the canon: 20th century music, Stockhausen, Cage, Boulez, Webern, and my main interest was jazz anyway.

    My point in that post you quoted was not what I listen to, but the kind of discussions I prefer to have, i.e. hearing about the music others love instead of a discussion of "great" works according to some authority.
    Last edited by SanAntone; Apr-17-2021 at 21:02.

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  7. #1594
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post
    I went to music school and received a good grounding in the basic repertory. But it did not take me long to discover that the music I was most interested in wasn't included in the canon: 20th century music, Stockhausen, Cage, Boulez, Webern, and my main interest was jazz anyway.
    In all honesty, I think every extended canon in classical music includes 20th century music, Stockhausen, Cage, Boulez, and Webern. I certainly began exploring these composers using Dubal's The Essential Canon of Classical Music. I do understand that for most of us, canons no longer contain as useful information as they did when we first explored classical music.

    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post
    My point in that post you quoted was not what I listen to, but the kind of discussions I prefer to have, i.e. hearing about the music others love instead of a discussion of "great" works according to some authority.
    Yes, I know.
    Last edited by mmsbls; Apr-17-2021 at 22:37.

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  9. #1595
    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmsbls View Post
    In all honesty, I think every extended canon in classical music includes 20th century music, Stockhausen, Cage, Boulez, and Webern.
    In the '70s they weren't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post
    In the '70s they weren't.
    Even Webern? Were Schoenberg and Berg in?

  11. #1597
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post
    In the '70s they weren't.
    It's very difficult for composers to get canonized before they die, or at least before they finish the bulk of their work.

    Ligeti died in 2006. Stockhausen died in 2007. Carter died in 2008. But they were already in canons and spoken of as "greats" long before then, which speaks to how the informed view their work.
    Last edited by chu42; Apr-18-2021 at 01:41.

  12. #1598
    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmsbls View Post
    Even Webern? Were Schoenberg and Berg in?
    I am talking about the composers who were taught at my school. It was a pretty conservative curriculum. While the prepared piano pieces by Cage were mentioned it was in course on the 20th century looking at a few experimental composers from the 20th century (although I don't remember Stockhausen coming up), among other more conservative composers 2nd Viennese School, Copland, Barber, and others.

    The meat and potatoes of the curriculum was 18th and 19th century music.

    My original post was not meant to define the classical music canon during the 1970s, or whether Stockhausen was considered a great composer or not. I was alluding to the fact that I discovered Stockhausen (Stimmung was a work I remember discovering) and others outside of my music school's curriculum, which mainly covered Palestrina to Mahler, with most of time spent on Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.

    You can argue all you want, but my experience will not change.
    Last edited by SanAntone; Apr-18-2021 at 02:17.

  13. #1599
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post
    I am talking about the composers who were taught at my school. It was a pretty conservative curriculum. While the prepared piano pieces by Cage were mentioned it was in course on the 20th century looking at a few experimental composers from the 20th century (although I don't remember Stockhausen coming up), among other more conservative composers 2nd Viennese School, Copland, Barber, and others.

    The meat and potatoes of the curriculum was 18th and 19th century music.

    My original post was not meant to define the classical music canon during the 1970s, or whether Stockhausen was considered a great composer or not. I was alluding to the fact that I discovered Stockhausen (Stimmung was a work I remember discovering) and others outside of my music school's curriculum, which mainly covered Palestrina to Mahler, with most of time spent on Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.

    You can argue all you want, but my experience will not change.
    Thanks. I wasn't arguing. I was asking questions because you know more than I do about the canon at that time.

  14. #1600
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    Default The Crowd: Lonely or Not?

    Seventy years ago, sociologist David Riesman published The Lonely Crowd. I read it a dozen years after its publication. The following several paragraphs, edited for length, are from a brief discussion of Riesman's book:

    "It was accessible and jargon-free....as the 20th century came to a close, the public had purchased more copies of The Lonely Crowd than any other work written by a sociologist in U.S. history. In it, Riesman classifies all of humanity into three general character types, which emerge at different times depending on a society's point in history. They are:

    1) Tradition-directed: This type, which has existed the longest, is molded by ritual, religion, and routine. Survival is key, familial bonds are strong, and social structures are more or less rigid. The guiding emotion for this type is shame.

    2) Inner-directed: This type is forged in an era of rapid economic expansion and technological transition, where novel problems and opportunities are abundant. While parents still inculcate their children with lifelong goals and values, it's up to the children to navigate this developing landscape as they themselves grow into adults. Riesman credits the Renaissance and Reformation for giving birth to the West's inner-directed orientation, and assigns to it the now somewhat dated metaphor of a gyroscope, which, once set in motion, maintains its balance despite any external movement. The guiding emotion for this type is guilt.

    3) Other-directed: This type is formed in cosmopolitans where individuals no longer look back at tradition or up to their elders for direction on how to live; rather, they look left and right at their peers. Mass media has eclipsed adult authority as the primary agent of socialization. Advertising, branding, public relations, and the importance of popularity flourish. Comparing the other-directed character to a radar, Riesman argues that people become sensitive to the desires of others and keep in constant contact knowing that these desires are likely to change. The guiding emotion for this type is anxiety.

    As Riesman states in The Lonely Crowd, modes of conformity have always existed, and there's nothing inherently wrong with their existence. But people today have tools of expression unimaginable to people a century ago. The power and responsibility held by practically anyone with an Internet connection can often be great.

    What Riesman did argue for was autonomy. He urged individuals to find "the nerve to be oneself when that self is not approved of by the dominant ethic of a society." In the final pages of The Lonely Crowd, Riesman describes "the autonomous" as "those who on the whole are capable of conforming to the behavioral norms of their society ... but are free to choose whether to conform or not."

    https://psmag.com/books-and-culture/...al-media-68487

    One of the attributes of social behavior is what Riesman called Taste Exchanging--finding out what others like and dislike reciprocally. It is or can be a means of learning about those around one, bonding with some and perhaps assigning a status to one another. It seems to me that Riesman's tripartite division can be replotted as three ingredients within each personality comprising a final mix, with any one of the three being more dominant than the others, depending on the same sorts of factors that go into esthetic choices and the nature of each individual's esthetics.

    In turn, the final mix will determine what comprises a canon in people's opinions--will it be rigidly defined, and achieved legitimacy from authority? Or will it be flexibly defined to include disparate works in time and structure? Or will the idea of a canon melt away? And to what extent will any of these be individual decisions; to what extent will group dynamics color those decisions? Views on polls, polling, and the interest in the results of polls can be a clue.
    Last edited by Strange Magic; Apr-18-2021 at 13:25.

  15. #1601
    Senior Member Luchesi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    Hmmm. What if geologists were asking which rock is the best?
    I know rockhounds who mostly care about the color and texture of the rocks they hunt for. They don't care about their age or composition, and least of all - the objective findings and the big picture of geology.

    I know music fans like that too..
    Albert Einstein, "I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.

  16. #1602
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luchesi View Post
    I know rockhounds who mostly care about the color and texture of the rocks they hunt for. They don't care about their age or composition, and least of all - the objective findings and the big picture of geology.

    I know music fans like that too..
    Yes. Crystal enthusiasts. Fluorescent mineral collectors. Fossil collectors. Meteorite hunters. Often we find many of these do know quite a bit about geology, certain aspects anyway. Find such in all fields.

  17. #1603
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post
    I went to music school and received a good grounding in the basic repertory. But it did not take me long to discover that the music I was most interested in wasn't included in the canon: 20th century music, Stockhausen, Cage, Boulez, Webern, and my main interest was jazz anyway.

    My point in that post you quoted was not what I listen to, but the kind of discussions I prefer to have, i.e. hearing about the music others love instead of a discussion of "great" works according to some authority.
    So you didn't come to CM being a young fan of the lyricism of Chopin or Mozart. That offers a hint about how you are.
    Albert Einstein, "I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.

  18. #1604
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange Magic View Post
    Yes. Crystal enthusiasts. Fluorescent mineral collectors. Fossil collectors. Meteorite hunters. Often we find many of these do know quite a bit about geology, certain aspects anyway. Find such in all fields.
    Where hills are cut by highways, these folks I know don't care about the history right there in front of them. They care about the patterns and the pretty colors they 'like'.
    Albert Einstein, "I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.

  19. #1605
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luchesi View Post
    So you didn't come to CM being a young fan of the lyricism of Chopin or Mozart. That offers a hint about how you are.
    What's that supposed to me?

    He's different from you. And ... ?
    Casual composer, pianist, music enthusiast

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