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(Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. :))

Interesting you would mention that because much as I like the song and as much as I agree with you on what a beautiful creature she was in her prime, Brightman’s histrionics in the performance were a bit much.
I agree, but was overwhelmed by her pulchritude. But she has always has had an over-the-top approach to her craft, presumably to the delight of the cluster of her fans.
 

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I’m confused by the ‘subjective (obviously so)’ as if that’s where it ends, particularly since your follow up would suggest that the evaluation of and statement of ‘greatness’ is not totally subjective.
I'll answer in two ways. First, if there are both subjective and objective components to an evaluation, the overall evaluation must be considered subjective. Only a completely objective analysis can be viewed as objective.

Second, I'll use an argument I made earlier in the subjective/objective thread. It's mathematical but hopefully still useful. There are many metrics or criteria with which people can evaluate music. For simplicity, let's imagine 3 - innovation, melody, and funkiness. Again, there are many more, and some may be considered more important, but my argument would be the same if we included all of them. To compare works and conclude one is better, one must essentially calculate a value we can use for comparison, perhaps called its Greatness, G (one could call it lots of things, but hopefully calling it Greatness will not be problematic). To calculate G we would use the equation (assumed linear for simplicity):

G = a*innovation + b*melody + c*funkiness (or G = a*I + b*M + c*F)

We would then evaluate the works based on innovation, melody, and funkiness. It's possible that someone could create an objective method for assessing innovation, but I doubt everyone would agree on its merit, and subjectivity starts to creep in. I'm pretty certain no one would argue that melody or funkiness could be assessed objectively. So we are left with subjective assessment of the values for I, M, and F. But let's assume that somehow everyone agrees perfectly on assessing those factors, and somehow, they develop what everyone also agrees is an objective valuation. The real problem is the weighting constants a, b, and c. These essentially determine how important are the individual factors in the overall evaluation. Is innovation twice as important as melody? Is funkiness remotely important? If one asks 10 people or even 10 experts, I think it's likely one would get 10 different answers especially if the number of factors were increased to be more inclusive.

Any evaluation of works will include subjectivity on which factors to include, subjectivity on how to evaluate those factors, and subjectivity on how to weight the factors. For example, I have said for a long time that Beethoven's 9th is my favorite work and the "greatest" work of music. But my friend, Monty, thinks Parliament's P-Funk is better. I would assess the innovation and melody (and other factors) for the 9th and Monty would do the same for P-Funk. Monty actually thinks the 9th scores very high on I and M but rather low on F. P-Funk scores modestly on I and M but very, very high on F. The difference is that my weighting factors are all roughly equal; whereas, Monty's are a = .001, b = .001, and c = .998 (i.e. it's all about funkiness). When he evaluates the works, P-Funk easily beats the 9th. It's difficult to say why he's wrong because it's his evaluation based on what matters to him.
 

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I'll answer in two ways. First, if there are both subjective and objective components to an evaluation, the overall evaluation must be considered subjective. Only a completely objective analysis can be viewed as objective.

Second, I'll use an argument I made earlier in the subjective/objective thread. It's mathematical but hopefully still useful. There are many metrics or criteria with which people can evaluate music. For simplicity, let's imagine 3 - innovation, melody, and funkiness. Again, there are many more, and some may be considered more important, but my argument would be the same if we included all of them. To compare works and conclude one is better, one must essentially calculate a value we can use for comparison, perhaps called its Greatness, G (one could call it lots of things, but hopefully calling it Greatness will not be problematic). To calculate G we would use the equation (assumed linear for simplicity):

G = a*innovation + b*melody + c*funkiness (or G = a*I + b*M + c*F)

We would then evaluate the works based on innovation, melody, and funkiness. It's possible that someone could create an objective method for assessing innovation, but I doubt everyone would agree on its merit, and subjectivity starts to creep in. I'm pretty certain no one would argue that melody or funkiness could be assessed objectively. So we are left with subjective assessment of the values for I, M, and F. But let's assume that somehow everyone agrees perfectly on assessing those factors, and somehow, they develop what everyone also agrees is an objective valuation. The real problem is the weighting constants a, b, and c. These essentially determine how important are the individual factors in the overall evaluation. Is innovation twice as important as melody? Is funkiness remotely important? If one asks 10 people or even 10 experts, I think it's likely one would get 10 different answers especially if the number of factors were increased to be more inclusive.

Any evaluation of works will include subjectivity on which factors to include, subjectivity on how to evaluate those factors, and subjectivity on how to weight the factors. For example, I have said for a long time that Beethoven's 9th is my favorite work and the "greatest" work of music. But my friend, Monty, thinks Parliament's P-Funk is better. I would assess the innovation and melody (and other factors) for the 9th and Monty would do the same for P-Funk. Monty actually thinks the 9th scores very high on I and M but rather low on F. P-Funk scores modestly on I and M but very, very high on F. The difference is that my weighting factors are all roughly equal; whereas, Monty's are a = .001, b = .001, and c = .998 (i.e. it's all about funkiness). When he evaluates the works, P-Funk easily beats the 9th. It's difficult to say why he's wrong because it's his evaluation based on what matters to him.
While you have clarified some of your position for me at the beginning of the post, the math-based analogy or metaphor lost me a bit. Fwiw, the reason I make it clear that I’m referencing the CP era, is to avoid the introduction of comparisons with other music genres eg. Parliament’s P-Funk or Justin Bieber.

I added the following Edit to my post you referenced above, but I was too late so here it is below:

My position on the subject (re: CP era): The word ‘great’ can be complicated by semantics. An individual can proclaim that Dvorak is in his/her list of top 5 of great composers. Fine, that’s the subjective feeling of that individual based on nothing more than his/her definition of ‘great’ and perspective at the particular moment in time of listening experience.

But the word ‘great’ as applied to composers has a more profound meaning based on the effect on the listeners, composers, musicologists over a long period of time involving comparisons with other composers, parameters of innovation and originality of harmony, counterpoint, use of available instruments etc. In this case, the evaluation of ‘greatness’ goes well beyond individual subjective feelings. Since the CP era resulted, over time, in a general blueprint for what listeners expected or were attracted to, I would posit that a level of objectivity in comparing the greatness of composers is possible. This doesn’t mean that everyone will agree exactly on the order of ‘greatness’, but there is a general consensus that is impressively consistent.

Fwiw, I find it interesting that there were at least two recent concerts in Europe to raise awareness and money related to the Ukraine situation. In both, the main works were Beethoven (not Dvorak :)).
 

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While you have clarified some of your position for me at the beginning of the post, the math-based analogy or metaphor lost me a bit. Fwiw, the reason I make it clear that I’m referencing the CP era, is to avoid the introduction of comparisons with other music genres eg. Parliament’s P-Funk or Justin Bieber.
I use the math because it's the only way for me to be explicit in my analysis of subjective/objective evaluations. I think the most important points are 1) evaluating particular factors (e.g. form, melody, innovation) will always be somewhat subjective because, for example, not everyone will agree on exactly how innovative a work is and 2) few will agree perfectly on how important the factors are relative to each other. I used P-Funk for fun, but I could have used any CP work and made a similar argument (uncertainty selecting factors, uncertainty evaluating factors, uncertainty weighting the factors). People will not all agree on these assessments. That makes the assessments subjective.

But the word ‘great’ as applied to composers has a more profound meaning based on the effect on the listeners, composers, musicologists over a long period of time involving comparisons with other composers, parameters of innovation and originality of harmony, counterpoint, use of available instruments etc. In this case, the evaluation of ‘greatness’ goes well beyond individual subjective feelings. Since the CP era resulted, over time, in a general blueprint for what listeners expected or were attracted to, I would posit that a level of objectivity in comparing the greatness of composers is possible. This doesn’t mean that everyone will agree exactly on the order of ‘greatness’, but there is a general consensus that is impressively consistent.
I agree with everything here except your term "level of objectivity." The listeners, composers, and musicologists still will differ in their assessments due to individual tastes, views, expertise, etc.. You are referring to a consensus that is not simply the voting of those without expert knowledge. The consensus is between those who have heard a lot of music, been exposed to writing and scholarship on aspects of music, discussed aspects of the music that appeals to them and others, and thought hard about what matters about the music to them and others. Basically, they ask, "What aspects of music affect us strongly? How do composers' works vary in the application of those aspects? How do composers' works which so many of us adore differ from other works?"

It is not an objective evaluation but rather a practical evaluation. They are essentially saying, "Composers A, B, and C wrote works that many of us greatly enjoy. Composers D, E, and F wrote many fewer works that many of us greatly enjoy. Anyone spending significant time listening to classical music and learning what others have learned will likely come to enjoy/appreciate the works of composers A, B, and C more than works of composers D, E, and F. Not only that, but we can give specific reasons why that is likely to be true." Personally, I think that's enormously valuable.
 

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Everyone in the world could believe that a Rembrandt is superior to the stick figure and still view all art as subjective.
Regardless of what exactly it means, that statement needs one heck of a defense.

The formulation "view all art as subjective" itself needs defense, but first it needs translation.

The creative powers required to produce the masterpieces of world art are not "subjective."

This ought to be obvious to everyone who appreciates music enough to be on this forum. But then it's eternally surprising what magnificent things are not obvious or appreciated.
 

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My only caution is that experts are often great at telling you about all the objective features in a work, but that there is still an unbridgeable gap between what a work IS and whether or not it's great, good, bad, better, best. etc. One thing I find is that people think that an expertise in facts makes one an expertise in value judgments, and that's not the case; the two things simply inhabit completely different spheres. As a rather absurd example, an expert on colors still has no real authority on what the best color is.
It's perplexing that otherwise insightful people continue to talk as if ranking works of art - which are comparable in some respects but not in others, with the latter prevailing - rigidly and definitively in terms of 'great, good, bad, better, best. etc.' is possible or valuable. I suppose such an idea has to be disposed of at some point, but I'd have thought that done a long time ago. The 'best color'? Holy ****! What could that even mean? Is the conversation really still stuck at this primitive level?
 

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Regardless of what exactly it means, that statement needs one heck of a defense.

The formulation "view all art as subjective" itself needs defense, but first it needs translation.

The creative powers required to produce the masterpieces of world art are not "subjective."

This ought to be obvious to everyone who appreciates music enough to be on this forum. But then it's eternally surprising what magnificent things are not obvious or appreciated.
Just as several of us have stated, I think you and I are using terms differently. My post above essentially defines (or perhaps describes in great detail) what I mean by subjective. Simply put, people use different methodologies to evaluate works of art (or actually anything in the world). In particular, people will assign differing importance to the factors that they use to evaluate works. There are other aspects of subjectivity in art evaluation as I discuss above. The result is a subjective evaluation.

I'm not sure what you mean by creative powers. If you mean brain modules, neural interconnectivity, and other relevant aspects that allow thinking, I would agree. These, in theory, could be described objectively. I'm actually not sure that everyone who appreciates music would find that obvious.
 

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Just a reminder that it's fallacious that possible differences of opinion disprove the existence of objective values. Well-composed music is well-composed whether any individual can hear that it is or not, and in this universe good composition is a positive value. Mozart's mastery of form and his melodic inventiveness are not up for a vote.
 

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Completely subjective but hierarchical. Doesn't compute. Well, it does in the sense of having your cake and eating it too.

Here's a question: are Bach and Beethoven "great" in any objective sense, or is it possible given obvious subjectivity to say that they both were hopelessly inept? If one individual, or twenty or a million say that both of those were utterly inept, does that make that statement true?
Bach and Beethoven didn't exist until people heard their music.
 

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Just as several of us have stated, I think you and I are using terms differently. My post above essentially defines (or perhaps describes in great detail) what I mean by subjective. Simply put, people use different methodologies to evaluate works of art (or actually anything in the world). In particular, people will assign differing importance to the factors that they use to evaluate works. There are other aspects of subjectivity in art evaluation as I discuss above. The result is a subjective evaluation.

I'm not sure what you mean by creative powers. If you mean brain modules, neural interconnectivity, and other relevant aspects that allow thinking, I would agree. These, in theory, could be described objectively. I'm actually not sure that everyone who appreciates music would find that obvious.
My statement means that appreciating classical music will entail some appreciation of the fact that the human powers needed to create it are - objectively, if it need be said (and here it apparently does) - beyond the ordinary, and the more we appreciate the music's qualities the more impressive those powers will appear. It isn't a matter of 'describing' the powers, but of recognizing their unusual magnitude. In the case of the greatest composers, the magnitude should astonish us.
 

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My statement means that appreciating classical music will entail some appreciation of the fact that the human powers needed to create it are - objectively, if it need be said (and here it apparently does) - beyond the ordinary, and the more we appreciate the music's qualities the more impressive those powers will appear. It isn't a matter of 'describing' the powers, but of recognizing their unusual magnitude. In the case of the greatest composers, the magnitude should astonish us.
I agree completely.
 

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Just a reminder that it's fallacious that possible differences of opinion disprove the existence of objective values. Well-composed music is well-composed whether any individual can hear that it is or not, and in this universe good composition is a positive value. Mozart's mastery of form and his melodic inventiveness are not up for a vote.
Very much so. Just because someone doesn't recognize Mozart's mastery of form or his melodic inventiveness, it doesn't mean they don't exist objectively. It just means that person is ignornant or for some other reason fails to perceive what is objectively great. Now that person may not care about musical form or melody and that is a completely subjective stance but to deny their existence is to deny reality.
 

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I'm also back like DaveM but only to chide Luchesi for asserting despite all evidence to the contrary that I am not approaching this subject in accordance to my science-based focus. Indeed, it is because I know a bit about how to conduct science that my approach to this topic is as it is. The assertion that there are "objective" aspects of art other than measurable properties that can be replicated by all perceivers who do not suffer from a brain erosion or deprivation of their several senses, is To Be Demonstrated (and is not).

Those measurable properties, as I have stated beyond misinterpretation, include properties such as mass, color, size, when created and by whom, duration if applicable, units moved in commerce, and polling results that are carefully examined as to group polled, etc. Can't get any plainer.
I know you so I don't think you're mad at me, but I don't see any emoticons..

I only meant that scientists pull things apart and try to make sense of the separate objective facts. Musicologists and musicians and composers do that too. We pull things apart for whatever the immediate task is. We reduce them until we can find something to proceed with objectively

Hand a musician two very different scores and he can probably very quickly tell you which one is better. How does he do it? It doesn't matter if he sounds correct to someone else. He can point to the score and give objective reasons for his evaluation, so it's a level playing field among knowledgeable people. Does that sound condescending?
 

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..It is not an objective evaluation but rather a practical evaluation. They are essentially saying, "Composers A, B, and C wrote works that many of us greatly enjoy. Composers D, E, and F wrote many fewer works that many of us greatly enjoy. Anyone spending significant time listening to classical music and learning what others have learned will likely come to enjoy/appreciate the works of composers A, B, and C more than works of composers D, E, and F. Not only that, but we can give specific reasons why that is likely to be true." Personally, I think that's enormously valuable.
(Appreciate the response)

One man’s ‘practical evaluation’ is another man’s ‘objective evaluation’. :) Actually, I believe they are saying, among other measurable things, that Composers A, B and C composed works in a clever way never seen before and which were appreciated in a major way at the time and/or before long and continued to attract a broad cross-section from the target-rich environment over generations to the present. Take Mozart’s final operas starting with Idomeneo, for instance: People had never heard operas on this level before. Can one deny the presence of objective reasons why these operas created such a response/stir at the time and have continued to this day?
 

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I know you so I don't think you're mad at me, but I don't see any emoticons..

I only meant that scientists pull things apart and try to make sense of the separate objective facts. Musicologists and musicians and composers do that too. We pull things apart for whatever the immediate task is. We reduce them until we can find something to proceed with objectively

Hand a musician two very different scores and he can probably very quickly tell you which one is better. How does he do it? It doesn't matter if he sounds correct to someone else. He can point to the score and give objective reasons for his evaluation, so it's a level playing field among knowledgeable people. Does that sound condescending?
I know from your posts that you’ve been spending a lot of time exploring scores and I find it a useful perspective. Though no expert on the subject, to me it’s intuitive that significant evidence of the differences we hear in the music that differentiates the ‘greats‘ from the also-rans lies in the scores.
 

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(Appreciate the response)

One man’s ‘practical evaluation’ is another man’s ‘objective evaluation’. :) Actually, I believe they are saying, among other measurable things, that Composers A, B and C composed works in a clever way never seen before and which were appreciated in a major way at the time and/or before long and continued to attract a broad cross-section from the target-rich environment over generations to the present. Take Mozart’s final operas starting with Idomeneo, for instance: People had never heard operas on this level before. Can one deny the presence of objective reasons why these operas created such a response/stir at the time and have continued to this day?
I believe your view and mine are very close. They might be essentially identical. I think we just choose to use different words because we think of the term, objective, somewhat differently. I would amend your last sentence to read something like "Can one deny the presence of historical and psychological reasons why these operas created such a response/stir at the time and have continued to this day?"

To me objective reasons are things like a gold 1 cm diameter sphere weighs more than an aluminum 1 cm diameter sphere because gold's density is 19.3 g/cm3 compared to aluminum's 2.7 g/cm3 or the Tesla won the drag race over the Porsche because the Tesla's electric motor generates significantly greater torque at low speeds than the Porsche's mechanical driveline. I don't see how anyone could compare a Mozart opera to a Wagner opera in the same manner. Yes, both are spectacular creations that boggle the mind, but the arguments used to speak about them are, in my view, fundamentally different than those used to compare weights of metal spheres.
 

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Sure, I can admit that "Rowan Atkinson is a genius actor who showed enormous skill and talent in entertaining his audiences. He surely deserves his popularity and fame. Who can argue that?"
Just cause there are people who go further to find "meaning" in his acting, it doesn't mean I have to sympathize with them; doesn't matter how many there are. Whether or not a piece of music strikes as a "kapellmeister work", for instance, even though the skill melody, harmony, form, or whatnot is outstanding, belongs in the realm of subjectivity.
 

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Well, unless I’m misunderstanding, you seem to be playing both ends against the middle. You say you ‘don’t hold these opinions’, but your final sentence suggests otherwise.
How? I only meant that Mozart doesn't have to be treated as some sort of deity compared to the other composer, who is pretty much forgotten. I don't need to indulge in any idolatry about Mozart to admire his music, or brand anyone as a weirdo going against "objective values" for having a view like:
"I find it unfair that an "indecent pot-boiler" like Cosi fan tutte survived, while stuff like the "proto-Schubertian" pastoral poem, Die Hochzeit auf der Alm with its later added supplemental music and its "anthem of fidelity" and Die Ährenleserin did not. I find the dramatic structure of this Dzmj8lRLHh0&t=10m43s Dies irae (which integrates the Lacrimosa) more interesting than the one from Mozart's sketchy requiem. I find that none of Mozart's symphonies before No.31 are as "mature" as watch?v=e8ba5g_jF5M , watch?v=v80s4yjSdQM , watch?v=ppTToo8lrMQ " (and so on..)
 
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