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^^^^@annaw: A fine example of the disconnect of craft and esthetic judgement is that of the painter Ingres and several later Academy painters who painted kitsch in exquisite detail. ...
What is "kitsch" and who's judging it? I mean, it's your term. Do you have an objective standard for separating it from "non-kitsch"?
 

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^^^^@annaw: A fine example of the disconnect of craft and esthetic judgement is that of the painter Ingres and several later Academy painters who painted kitsch in exquisite detail. There are instances in music of skilled composers also writing boring music--too long, dull, generic, pedestrian, or indecipherable as music.
Would be interested to know which composers and works you have in mind. (Serious question.)
 

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I think judging the craftsmanship of music is significantly easier than talking of proper aesthetic judgments (where neither might be subjective contra a widely held opinion). That is simply because we follow certain rules of compositional writing when we make judgments about its craft. Someone might be able to write excellent fugues, and we can recognise that (and an expert might recognise that even better!), but this does not mean that an expert is uninterested in the aesthetics. What is a good fugue worth, if it is not backed up by proper aesthetic choices?

So I think that, ultimately, while you are right that craft can be easily judged, such judgments would be relatively useless when separated from aesthetics. I deeply doubt that experts who judge music do not care for aesthetics. Similarly, an artist might have excellent technical skills of painting but when they use them to paint something disgusting, those skills hardly amount to anything of value. Sure, an expert might recognise those technical skills but I hardly see what help that would be. For this very reason, I also think it's rather questionable to think that an aesthetic judgement of someone who has no knowledge of the craft is useless or means absolutely nothing (it certainly means something!). I mean, useless for what? What is the use even supposed to be? (I don't think we ever think we are doing something particularly useful when we make an aesthetic judgement--rather, we simply express something and that need seems to have to do with human nature, not with anything pragmatic.) An expert opinion about the craft is not going to overturn someone's aesthetic judgment and the latter is, in the end, important.
This brings to mind a recent video game stream I watched of someone playing Metal Gear Solid for the first time. That game is now over 20 years old but was something of a watershed for the medium when it came out in the late 90s, with its creator (Hideo Kojima) becoming one of the most famous, successful, and, really, first "video game auteurs" in the world. Of course, 20 years is a long time for a fledgling artistic medium to progress, and we now live in a world where video games have the budgets of mainstream blockbuster films and feature major talents in every field (including professional film/stage actors and directors) working on them. Anyway, the point is that the game undoubtedly seems quite cheesy by today's standards: "as if an edgy 14-year old wrote it" was one comment. Someone else commented: "If Kojima took a creative writing class, he'd definitely get some notes." Also, yes; but that made me reflect on the rather absurdity of that statement: why would one of the most successful people in arguably the biggest (in terms of money) creative field today need to "take notes" from any professor? If anything, shouldn't it be the reverse?

I think the thing I took away from that reflection is how easily we get our priorities reversed, where principles of aesthetic craft take priority over the actual results of that craft, as if "good" exists in a bubble of eternal principles as opposed to the proof being in the pudding of what people like. If someone can arise to the top of their profession by breaking every rule of aesthetic "good taste" (good composition, good writing, good directing, etc.), then to me that should provoke us to, at the very least, reconsider our standards for what counts as "good taste" rather than condemning the thing for being in bad taste.
 

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As you know, I very, very rarely disparage the preferences of others. If your intent is to goad me into breaking that rule, it will not be realized. Surely you can think of your own examples where composers have produced works you find unworthy of their craft.
Not sure why you would come up with a nefarious motive from a simple question. When it comes to works where composers have ’produced works unworthy of their craft’, I can come up with relatively few. IMO, the quality of output of composers of the CP era was so high that even their lesser works were worth spending some time with.
 

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Not sure why you would come up with a nefarious motive from a simple question. When it comes to works where composers have ’produced works unworthy of their craft’, I can come up with relatively few. IMO, the quality of output of composers of the CP era was so high that even their lesser works were worth spending some time with.
Perhaps our standards differ.
 

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I think the thing I took away from that reflection is how easily we get our priorities reversed, where principles of aesthetic craft take priority over the actual results of that craft, as if "good" exists in a bubble of eternal principles as opposed to the proof being in the pudding of what people like. If someone can arise to the top of their profession by breaking every rule of aesthetic "good taste" (good composition, good writing, good directing, etc.), then to me that should provoke us to, at the very least, reconsider our standards for what counts as "good taste" rather than condemning the thing for being in bad taste.
Perhaps ‘good’ and ‘bad’ taste don’t exist. There is only ‘my’ taste and ‘your’ taste. :giggle:
 

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^^^^@Forster: I am reminded of the old story of the four tailors doing business on the same street in Paris (or anywhere--it doesn't really matter). The first tailor put up a sign saying he was the best tailor in Paris. Spurred on, the 2nd tailor put up his sign, saying he was the best tailor in France. The third, not to be outdone, hung a sign claiming to be the best tailor in the world. But the 4th tailor put up a notice that he was the best tailor on the street.
 
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