Classical Music Forum banner
1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,963 Posts
Some ways that music could be political without using words or actions is through the use of nationalist tunes or patriotic songs.

Very few could hear the 1812 Overture and think it's not politically loaded, given its use of La Marseillaise combined with cannons. But as to what the work is actually saying about France is more subjective.

If I were an English composer in the early 20th century protesting the treatment of Irish people, I may sneak in a couple of Irish folk tunes into my work.

If a totalitarian regime banned religion, a composer may include snippets of hymns from their religion to protest or subvert the regime's policies.
None of these examples apply if the audience hearing the music is not familiar with the history/nationality/sociology of the context within which the composer is working. Russians were perfectly happy to listen to Finlandia when labeled Impromptu. The politics is entirely within the context, and not in the music. One of the most interesting borderline cases might be having a cultured Japanese audience listen to Respighi's Circenses without a written program in their laps. What would they make of it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,963 Posts
What about my example of the politics implicit in the inequality of a virtuoso concerto like the ones by Chopin? Or the opposite: the egalitarian nature of a number piece by Cage? Or a graphic score designed to get the creative involvement of people who have never had a musical education like Cardew's Treatise.

When Lachenmann wrote Guero, he was saying to the bourgeois audience of a piano concert: watch out, there's another way to see the world, the old hegemony is over!
i think you use the word politics in a new and unusual way and context. Lewis Carroll would approve:

When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean-neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master-that's all."

Orwell, maybe not so much.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,963 Posts
Many ask that question, and the term is probably bad because of that. The term is not self explanatory, but I have no better one atm.

I understand cultural marxism as leveling of cultural values. (Like marxism overall is a leveling of economic differences.) More modern marxists concentrate their efforts on culture, since the straight forward marxism in the east did not work that well. Culture is the always the output of humans, humans which marxists want to equate. So the cultural marxists say all culture is equal in order to make it easier to equate all humans afterwards. So the Beethoven's 9th symphony has the same value as Cage's 4'33''. That is obviously nonsense from an artistic point of view. Its cultural marxism.
I gather, then, that those of us who assert that all esthetics is personal and subjective are cultural marxists. Who knew?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,963 Posts
No, I think aesthetics are subjective too, but I as a subject can say Beethovens 9th has more aesthetic value than 4'33'', and I do it. This is a subjective evaluation but there is no reason for self denial, and most humans have somewhat similar feelings.

To say that all music has the same value is a subjective evaluation too, but I doubt that anyone with a functioning ear really feels this way. Ideological motivations behind such statements are obvious.
The ideological motivations are not necessarily obvious. It's like astrology--if there is no evidence to support "value'' inhering within works of art, beyond individual or polled group opinions, then ideology doesn't enter into it. Anybody with functioning ears or eyes has his/her/their own unique opinions of any given piece of music or art. No Sale.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,963 Posts
- Value always depends on individuals or groups. It doesn't make sense to search for evidence for objectively inhering value within something.
- It is a matter of fact that things have (different) values for people, while there is no evidence for astrology.
- It doesn't make sense to state that different art pieces have the same value, because it is impossible that they have exactly the same value for living beings, and apart from that nothing has any value objectively.

And now? Should we take no opinions seriously because everyone has a somewhat different opinion?

Why is the most played classical music so different from the recently created classical music? This sounds very unhealthy.
You are attempting to have your cake and eat it too.

Of course values always depend on individuals and groups. And surely, surely there is no point in seeking for value within things (art, music, or astrology) if none have been shown--through empirical examination--to contain value.

Of course art objects have "value", though, imposed upon or ascribed to them by the subjective emotions and thoughts of individuals and groups. The value is not found within the art object itself.

Nobody (not me certainly) is asserting that art pieces have exactly the same value. But once we get beyond music and the arts, and those other areas where opinion alone generates our responses, our "evaluation", we find (sciences, mathematics) areas where conformity to objectively measured and agreed-upon data or axioms can be a measure of "value"=adherence to the data or axioms.

In the arts and music, we are free to take any or no opinions seriously or not seriously as each individually chooses. Iconoclasts mostly prefer their own opinions exclusively. People identifying more with groups will more willingly share the group's shared values/opinions.

And the reason the most played classical music sounds so different from recently composed music is the same reason why vanilla ice cream is eaten more than zucchini ice cream--more people like it; it satisfies them better. Leonard Meyer worked out much of why some musics please more people than others, and there are other factors in neurology/physiology that are at play. But if one likes zucchini ice cream and prefers it to vanilla, there is cause for neither shame nor exultation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,963 Posts
Questions:

What are the musical/art preferences of left-liberal atheists?
What are the musical/art preferences of left-liberal believers?
What are the musical/art preferences of right-conservative atheists?
What are the musical/art preferences of right-conservative believers?
What are the musical/art preferences of libertarians who are atheists?
What are the musical/art preferences of libertarians who are believers?

Answer: I don't know. :confused:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,963 Posts
Why is my speculation in this thread creating such reactions? It's because it concerns the membership, and the perception or speculation that a segment is aligned against 'modern, avant garde, serial' music, or whatever you want to call it. People will listen and like whatever they want.....
I am astonished to read that there is a "perception or speculation" that there is "a segment...aligned against 'modern, avant garde, serial' music, or whatever you want to call it." Is this really true? Unbelievable. A revelation. Again I ask, Who knew?

But, inviting myself to speculate also, I think maybe--if there indeed is such a faction--they don't like the way the music sounds.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,963 Posts
There is a discrepancy now between what the audience likes and what composers compose. And this discrepancy did not exits in the 18-19th century. During the Vienna classical period the Vienna classical period was more popular than Baroque music. But now during the New music age the New music isn't more popular than the Vienna classical period. So something changed. The composers and the musical establishment are disconnected from the audience today.
I agree completely with this. Therefore? Is this politics? I think it is just people turning toward music they like (melody, harmony, rhythm) and away from music they don't.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,963 Posts
I completely disagree, since all art is a mirror of Humanity. Art and music are inter-subjective. In your thinking, art is just an object, devoid of symbolic meaning. Get past that and realize that the art object is only the conveyor of meaning; meaning exists in humans, not objects.

I disagree with this, since it ignores the inter-subjective nature of art and music. By your thinking, the listener can choose to place (not just ignore) any kind of political message and significance on to music they wish, as Hitler did with Wagner.

This is what has happened here; a certain faction has chosen to meld politics with modern music.
MIICMM
Again, a case of trying to have one's cake and eat it too. We are to both assert that art objects only "convey" meaning, with meaning only existing in human minds, but that the idea that art is "just an object" devoid of symbolic meaning is something one must "get past".

Also, I note that not only can a listener choose to ignore or to place a political message or significance onto a piece of music, but a third possibility is that the listener remains blissfully unaware of any impulse or need or requirement to infer a political message to either ignore or embrace. My mythical, cultured esthete, the Count of T'ang, whom I often invoke as a specimen listener from another time and place, can listen to whatever with great equanimity and not be aware of any impulse to invoke a political consideration. He'll just like it, or not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,963 Posts
Too one-sidedly subjective. Art is inter-subjective, so art reflects its time, place, and politics as it is created and consumed. After-the-fact subjectivity which excludes the possible intent of the artist is myopic, and is missing some pieces.
I'm such a simpleton. I didn't realize that I was required (and was always able) to know the time, place, and politics of an artwork, or of its intent. The cave paintings of Lascaux, for example, I've always loved, but clearly my love is shallow and insincere because I don't know what the artists had in mind The same with enormous masses of art and music of many sorts where one encounters it by happenstance yet is able to be deeply moved by it though there is little or no context whatsoever with which to imbue it.

There actually is no necessary connection between art, its origins, or our ability to enjoy it. There often--maybe even usually--is a connection because the artist's time, place, politics at the moment of its creation are known to us, and that's fine and good, icing on the cake. But artwork continues to exist and to be important to individuals whether they can or do know about its "politics". So why do I get the impression from the quote above that, unless one discovers or maybe even concocts a context within which the art was created, one suffers from myopia? One wonders, though, who is actually the myopic one?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,963 Posts
millionrainbows: "But this interpretation ignores the fact that as times change, as context changes, and as events change, the art's meaning can change as well, on the subjective part of the audience. The "intent" has also changed, and represents its new use and context, divorced from the original intent in favor of its "universal" and visceral qualities.

That "none of this is really in the music" presupposes a one-sided view of art which is formal, objective, and academic.
The other side of the art equation is that art's essential meaning can be whatever we see in it, which is the approach most listeners here take."
Isn't this just a repeated, repeated, repeated way of saying that there is nothing inherently political within those artworks that do not wear their explicit message on their sleeve: propaganda posters, Hitler Youth marching songs, etc.? That whatever politics or other "messages" that the art is supposedly transmitting is entirely in the mind of the viewer or auditor? Is there some profundity in your analyses that we are missing?

Goya's painting may (it doesn't, but hypothetically may) show the vile collaborators of the hated French being justly executed by loyal and patriotic Spaniards.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,963 Posts
Sorry if it doesn't relate to the theard and I'm being nitpicking, but isn't the Third of May depicts French soldiers about to shoot Spanish rebels? This doesn't change what your original post's message, though.

Link to source: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanit...romanticism-in-spain/a/goya-third-of-may-1808
I said that it does not show (we know this) Spaniards shooting Spanish collaborators--we know--even me--that it shows the French shooting Spanish victims. But thanks for helping out. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,963 Posts
There is an almost palpable desperateness in so much art today to be different. People sense that maybe all the good ideas have been used up already, but feel a "creative" urge and flail about, looking to feel noticed and to be noticed. The New Stasis, instant communication, and the enormous global population makes this inevitable. But, looking at the bright side, now everything (artistic) is possible. We need merely to pick and choose. :):(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,963 Posts
Different from what? I mean, IMO there's a lot of recent music which is like Cage's number pieces from the last century, or electroacoustic music which isn't so different from stuff that Bernard Parmegiani was doing yonks ago. Not to mention the endless rip offs of James Tenney's canons and La Mont Young and Scelsi's minimal drones.

So no. I think you're wrong.
In today's world of art, everything is true simultaneously. There is The New, the Striving to be New, the Old, the Aping of the Old..
To quote Dostoyevsky in another context, All Is Permitted. Something for everybody.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,963 Posts
That is modernism. That is the essence of modernism, the perfect synthesis of the modernist predicament.

However, we live in a postmodern age.
Exactly, yet beyond. Post-modernism, modernism, and every other sort of ism now coexist as white noise. All are subsumed within the New Stasis. All is enveloped--attempting to tease out each separate strand requires an infinitely large army of people armed with tweezers. It can be done, but there one is, with a tiny individual nugget within one's tweezer's grip, surrounded by a similar multitude each gripping a nugget.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,963 Posts
But the whole concept of a symphony in the style of Beethoven is intrinsically anti-democratic, because when it gets performed, the musicians inevitably organise themselves into something which is inegalitarian -- conductor at the top directing the lackies in the orchestra. The way musicians come together to make their music is a metaphor for larger society. That's where music is political.
Therefore, orchestras without conductors (persimfans, Orpheus) are also political, celebrating equality and self-reliance as opposed to hierarchy and control. I would be interested in learning if anything is not political--the net cast is so broad that both whales and plankton are engulfed.
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top