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. #1621
    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amadea View Post
    Thank you!
    Yes, there's difference you are right, but I do not believe any of the composers which are considered great should not be considered that way today, do you? There are very objective reasons to consider them great, even when you don't like them. I think everyone deserves the fame, there are very underrated composers though. And what is great anyway? The problem is, that when asked about the greatness of a composer or a work, people have different things in mind. But if we put things in a context, and try to understand, it becomes more objective. Another problem is that there's not such a thing as "the greatest" or absolute greatness, that needs context too. The greatest at what? Great in what way? In other words, maybe greatness cannot or should not be determined without a context. It is not that obvious in real.
    Amadea, save yourself! Get out of this thread while you still can and save what little sanity you have. 108 pages with little consensus and precious few conclusions but a fair amount of sniping. It’s really not worth the bother.
    Last edited by Barbebleu; Apr-18-2021 at 19:32.
    "...it is said that first your heart sings, then you play. I think if it is not like that, then it is only just combination of notes, isn't it? " - Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Master of the Sitar.

    ‘When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!‘

    ‘Common sense is not a gift, it's a curse. Because you have to deal with people who don't possess it!’

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  3. #1622
    Senior Member Amadea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post
    This topic has been discussed on this forum in several threads and amounting to several hundreds of pages of posts. My own view is that one of those "objective reasons" is the canon of classical composers whose works make up the standard repertory. However, have you ever thought about how that canon came to be?

    In short, I think it was because of a collection of subjective responses to their music over time leading to a consensus which was codified into the canon. In other words, greatness is something members of the classical music audience can agree on only because they share similar taste in music. Millions of these subjective responses over centuries will still not convey objective greatness on any of these composers.

    Think about this: why do you listen to classical music? Then ask yourself if your response to the music is mainly because classical music is objectively better than all the other genres (jazz, blues, flamenco, Indian ragas, etc.) or that classical music just suits your personal taste in music more.
    When I think of objective greatness, I think of the greatness of a composer as it is thought by critics. In that case, the objective greatness generated consent through countless debates and logical considerations. I think about scholars and musicologists, of course they listened to many things they don't like and do not meet their taste, but analysing the compositions in deep (harmony, the innovation, the original style etc.), putting them in an historical context, the greatness cannot be really denied that much (today). Did they form canons? Yes, they are necessary for critics. But they are not aesthetic-based subjective canons, as for the average listener (or as for the old critics of the past, which were not like today's critics). The problem is, the average listener almost never puts things in context, never changes canons or challenges his/her views. I challenged myself listening to free jazz, I tried to get what might be the reasons why some think it's great, and now I like some of it. Of course, you find a certain degree of subjectivity in critics too, but today it is little in my opinion and it regards mostly controversial figures and works on which the debate isn't over. I mean, if you find a critic with weird opinions about Beethoven etc., it's mostly because he/she wants attentions, otherwise there is a consent based on objective merits. My opinion is that the average listener should try to put things in a context, that way he/she may consider great things he/she didn't like and overlooked before. That might sound obvious, but I think it isn't as I see many despising certain works mainly because they don't get them. I hated contemporary art, now I love it because I studied it, now I get its greatness. Anyway, I apologize if I added another post about this subject, I just wanted to express my opinion, no need to continue ahah.

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  5. #1623
    Senior Member Amadea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    Amadea, save yourself! Get out of this thread while you still can and save what little sanity you have. 108 pages with little consensus and precious few conclusions but a fair amount of sniping. It’s really not worth the bother.
    Oops. Too late? Ahah.

  6. #1624
    Senior Member Amadea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange Magic View Post
    Amadea, you might also want to check out this thread, as a newcomer to this topic. Much material there also to read up on and get the full drift and nuance of the topic. I had hoped to slightly alter the focus away from 'greatness" itself and to see if additional light can shown on people's esthetic views by considering the phenomena of polling and list-making.

    The other thread: A thought experiment for the objectivists
    Thanks!! I'll do it.

  7. #1625
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange Magic View Post
    I had hoped to slightly alter the focus away from 'greatness" itself and to see if additional light can shown on people's esthetic views by considering the phenomena of polling and list-making.
    I too had hoped to alter the focus away from "greatness," but not in the direction of polling and list-making. I have made a number of attempts over my seven years on the forum to say something about the nature and content of aesthetic perception and creative choice, thinking this a good way to approach, among other questions, the question of WHY polls, lists, consensuses, etc., show what they show. The response to my efforts has been close to dead silence, followed by repeated assertions that people like what they like because they're the sort of people who like it, and frequently snarky demands for "proof," sometimes of claims I've never even made.

    I'm slow to pick up on some things, but I may finally be getting the picture here. If I want to talk about art in a meaningful way - meaningful to someone who's been producing it all his life and knows shytte from shinola - this is apparently not the place to do it. If you really think that very much "additional light can shown [sic] on people's esthetic views by considering the phenomena of polling and list-making," have at it. Count me out.

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  9. #1626
    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    I too had hoped to alter the focus away from "greatness," but not in the direction of polling and list-making. I have made a number of attempts over my seven years on the forum to say something about the nature and content of aesthetic perception and creative choice, thinking this a good way to approach, among other questions, the question of WHY polls, lists, consensuses, etc., show what they show. The response to my efforts has been close to dead silence, followed by repeated assertions that people like what they like because they're the sort of people who like it, and frequently snarky demands for "proof," sometimes of claims I've never even made.

    I'm slow to pick up on some things, but I may finally be getting the picture here. If I want to talk about art in a meaningful way - meaningful to someone who's been producing it all his life and knows shytte from shinola - this is apparently not the place to do it. If you really think that very much "additional light can shown [sic] on people's esthetic views by considering the phenomena of polling and list-making," have at it. Count me out.
    IN the other thread you responded to a post of mine in which I talked about the classical music audience being a "self-selected" group that shared a taste in music, a taste for classical music. I was unable to respond before the thread was locked.

    But, you then said that you did not know of this self-selected group before you discovered classical music and began a lifelong love affair with it. Or something to that effect.

    With this admission you demonstrated what I was talking about: you selected yourself to join the group of people who prefer classical music because you share a taste in music.
    Last edited by SanAntone; Apr-18-2021 at 19:56.

  10. #1627
    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    I’m disappointed W. I thought you might have used the phrase attributed to Sam Goldwyn at the end of your last post. It would have been entirely apposite! It was of course - ‘Include me out!’
    "...it is said that first your heart sings, then you play. I think if it is not like that, then it is only just combination of notes, isn't it? " - Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Master of the Sitar.

    ‘When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!‘

    ‘Common sense is not a gift, it's a curse. Because you have to deal with people who don't possess it!’

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  12. #1628
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    I’m disappointed W. I thought you might have used the phrase attributed to Sam Goldwyn at the end of your last post. It would have been entirely apposite! It was of course - ‘Include me out!’
    Another wonderful Goldwynism was "When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you." Sam is right up there with Yogi. "Anyone who goes to see a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined" is another.
    Last edited by Strange Magic; Apr-18-2021 at 20:42.

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  14. #1629
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post
    I prefer polls and lists of favorites instead of the obsession with "greatness." Hearing the composers a fan likes and why is interesting and a topic of discussion. Being told that composer X is great according to a canon or consensus, etc. does not interest me. I am interested in the people who like the music, not in some idea of abstract greatness.
    Well, you know it's quite fun and educational to be interested in greatness and why people like the music. I'm not that interested in the people who like the music, but the fundamental intellectual curiosity is always why do people like the music.
    Last edited by ArtMusic; Apr-18-2021 at 20:30.

  15. #1630
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    With Woodduck's assent, always welcome, I offer this notion: A thesis might be that those who assert forcefully both the existence of and the requirement for a rigidly-defined canon in CM are often predominantly of Riesman's Tradition-Directed personality type. Polls and lists are useful primarily in locating both Righteousness and Error.

    The thesis would then posit Riesman's more Inner-Diected personality as one seeking to learn more generally ("natural" curiosity) about others. Lists and polls help identify future friends and perhaps those less likely to share one's specific enthusiasms. The idea of a canon would be more broad and inclusive.

    The Other-Directed cohort would be those looking at polls and lists in order to determine where the center of bell curves of approval lie so that they find themselves comfortably within like-minded groups. Here, the idea of a canon is essentially perceived as a peer-group consensus, whether tight, loose, or non-existent.

    Food for thought, or for instant dismissal.

  16. #1631
    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    I’m kind of with SA on this. I don’t really care why people like the music they do. Even if we share similar likes I’m pretty sure none of us are hearing what the other is! I’ve no clue as to what you hear when you listen to a Mozart symphony and you all have no idea what I’m hearing when I listen to that same piece of music. That’s the joy of listening isn’t it?

    It will either provoke and stimulate the intellect or tug on the heartstrings. Both are acceptable, welcomed even and if you’re lucky both will happen at the same time.
    Last edited by Barbebleu; Apr-18-2021 at 20:41.
    "...it is said that first your heart sings, then you play. I think if it is not like that, then it is only just combination of notes, isn't it? " - Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Master of the Sitar.

    ‘When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!‘

    ‘Common sense is not a gift, it's a curse. Because you have to deal with people who don't possess it!’

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  18. #1632
    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtMusic View Post
    Well, you know it's quite fun and educational to be interested in greatness and why people like the music. I'm not that interested in the people who like the music, but the fundamental intellectual curiosity is always why do people like the music.
    I don't remember anyone telling me the reason why they like Beethoven is because he is considered a great composer. They usually describe a work of his and how they respond to it and how it led to the discovery of other classical music. They may have met their wife through an interest in classical music, or something else because of this interest. But I am interested in them, as a person, first, who shares a taste in music with myself, second. We can have endless talks about the music we like or sometimes dislike, and compare notes (no pun intended).

    Abstract discussions about "greatness in art or music" is not interesting to me, since as I said, I am much more interested in the people and their taste in music, who often become friends, than philosophy.

  19. #1633
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post
    I don't remember anyone telling me the reason why they like Beethoven is because he is considered a great composer. They usually describe a work of his and how they respond to it and how it led to the discovery of other classical music. They may have met their wife through an interest in classical music, or something else because of this interest. But I am interested in them, as a person, first, who shares a taste in music with myself, second. We can have endless talks about the music we like or sometimes dislike, and compare notes (no pun intended).

    Abstract discussions about "greatness in art or music" is not interesting to me, since as I said, I am much more interested in the people and their taste in music, who often become friends, than philosophy.
    That's the point of music schools and why musicians go learn music theory, so we can see why Beethoven was so capable in composing what he did, and this leads the listener to be better educated in appreciating the music. Nothing could be better for classical music if the general masses attained education in music, while I know this will never happen of course, you could imagine the good this could do on classical music.

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  21. #1634
    Senior Member Luchesi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtMusic View Post
    That's the point of music schools and why musicians go learn music theory, so we can see why Beethoven was so capable in composing what he did, and this leads the listener to be better educated in appreciating the music. Nothing could be better for classical music if the general masses attained education in music, while I know this will never happen of course, you could imagine the good this could do on classical music.
    We (TCers) can agree that CM helps us in our lives as our appreciation matures, long after our years of education. For me it's the ever-curious individual who's helped the most. And s/he probably needs it more than pop culture fans anyway. There's a well-worn path, but they need to know there’s actually something there to find. Some day they’ll remember it’s there, when they might need it. If they miss it while they’re young, it’s unlikely to be developed later. Time flies!
    Albert Einstein, "I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.

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  23. #1635
    Senior Member arpeggio's Avatar
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    I recently saw an interview of John Corigliano were he admitted that he was not a musical genius like Beethoven. I also learned from the interview he was not a prodigy and a weak instrumentalist.

    So what? I still enjoy listening to his music.
    It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious. And I am a very ingenious fellow

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