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I want to go further, I know plenty of people who are musically trained, who can read scores, and don't know the first thing about music, they like things that Luchesi would probably find abhorrent, they don't have a feeling for it, they don't have a good ear, they may be technically proficient but completely inept, to use your words, emotionally and philosophically. Knowing music theory doesn't guarantee anything about taste and, furthermore, it makes you arbiter of nothing
I agree. I would go further in another direction. Plenty of people can't read music or don't when listening to classical music, yet they love many classical works. I can technically read music, but I never use scores to try to understand music. I've never tried to compare scores. I listen and enjoy just as a high percentage of others do.

All that's necessary to enjoy classical music is listening. Not everyone will enjoy it, but plenty will. Many on TC have made it clear that music theory is not necessary to enjoy classical music from any era.
 

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Eclectic Al, I don't view my comments below as critiquing yours but rather adding to yours. I suspect you agree with some or much of what I wrote.

...For an out and out relativist I guess the statement reflects a truism. Everyone is as good as everyone else, so they would be in agreement with arpeggio's refusal.
Yes, a complete relativist would probably agree. But we have also had some other threads where myself and others have argued that there are reasons to believe contemporary composers likely are as good as past composers. Comparing the works of contemporary composers and past ones is difficult, but it's hard to understand why contemporary composers would not be roughly as good given present conditions. There are many more people studying composition, composers are able to sample music from all times and places quickly and easily, there exist excellent tools for composition, and increases in societal wealth allows a greater percentage of society to study composition.

...I think it is in the academic route that you find the foundations of the animosity in this sort of thread, and the animosity which undermines the "modernist versus traditionalist" spats. As so often, it's about the money, and I think that is the answer to SanAntone's question about the strength of feeling here.
I don't know much about the academic environment in classical music composition. I do know about that environment in other areas. In general people view the academic environment as greatly favorable to the advance of various fields for a variety of reasons. Some people have tenure and can focus on what they feel are the most interesting or valuable avenues of research (composition) without worrying about external factors. The environment allows and encourages members to interact closely with others working in the same area and to understand a range of new thoughts. Academics interact frequently with students who bring enormous enthusiasm and often suggest new ideas.

Perhaps some here are not so interested in classical music change and innovation but would rather see a continuation of what has been composed earlier.

The traditionalists think that academic views of music have control over resources (not just directly, but also over influence on matters such as wider commissioning of music, and also of things like concert programming). They believe that there is an over-allocation of resources to modernist music. They also believe that there has been institutional capture by modernist tendencies, so that the next generation, and the next generation, of musical influencers in academia have themselves been raised in a modernist environment, and pass that on.
In other fields these are considered positive attributes.

They don't like this because they feel that if those resources were allocated (and the academic influence) was more focused on more traditional styles then the music environment might deliver more music that they would appreciate.
For centuries we have seen how classical music has evolved, and the vast majority are thrilled that composers use new instruments, do not only compose using modes, and have moved music through the various eras so that we can listen to Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music. The question is how contemporary composers could compose in a new style and also provide the vast majority of listeners music they enjoy.

Who is correct? I don't really know, but going back to the original question I think it is up to composers to find an audience.
Partially. I think the entire classical music community should try to find ways for classical music to be relevant today. I do feel that composers must decide individually what to compose. For me, it's the artists who must determine the content of art. Who else knows better than they?
 

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The thread has become a bit testy due both to some political content and to personal comments. Understandably, political content can be murky with grey areas that some view as political while others do not (or at least problematic due to the content). Personal comments are easy to spot so please refrain from posting them. Some posts which include clear political references such as left, conservative, Trump, marxist, etc. likely fall into the category of political comments which we wish to avoid.

Some further posts may be edited or deleted as moderators continue to review the thread.
 

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Radio? Do people still listen to it? Most everybody I know listens to music from their phone. Also, composers writing new classical music rarely would be programmed on a classical music station which from what I've heard plays only pablum works., more like easy listening.

As I said those who are interested know where to find new classical music.
I believe I understand your point, but I think one problem with contemporary classical music is that it's not so easy to find it. When I was young, I listened to the radio for popular music, and that's where I heard new songs that I liked. There was a clear place for me to go where new music was introduced. When I became interested in contemporary classical, I had no idea where to find it. Basically I used TC as a source of that music. After awhile I slowly came to learn of other sources for contemporary classical, but it was frustrating not knowing how to find the music.
 

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What about those who don't have kids? My nephews and nieces although taught me a lot of about internet features that I won't have known, are not interested in contemporary classical music so their help on that matter is rather limited and distance separate us. Often google search and this forum is my only recourse to diving into contemporary classical music.

Would you be willing to share some online sources on contemporary classical music that you find to be helpful?
This thread has links to composer sites, radio stations, and other sources for contemporary music.
 

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Indeed. I am currently semi-retired, and am filling my time pursuing a PhD after a life working in the commercial world. It has been an eye-opening (although not entirely surprising) time. Some points, which may or may not be relevant in academic fields relating to music, but which occur in the field I am involved in:

- Academic research is much less academic (in the sense of objective and seeking to avoid self-interest from shaping the conclusions) than professional research.
- References to a myriad of other papers are primarily used to exclude other voices, by intimidation and ridicule. ("You haven't read X & Y 1998 and C & D 2018, etc. Well you don't know what you're talking about then.")
- Group think is rampant, where getting published depends on "joining the conversation" (which means accepting the premises of the dominant clique) and not undermining the reputations of those on editorial boards by challenging their positions. A cites B cites C cites A, etc.
- There is a huge problem, the "replication crisis", where findings cannot be repeated (and indeed, few try because work which simply checks the findings of others is not novel and interesting and will not advance one's career: agreeing previous work is not novel, and disagreeing is problematic).
- Specialisms such as the one you refer to have a vested interest in generating provocative "findings" which support their prior theories as applied to whatever area they are investigating, as that is "interesting".
- Social science is interested in producing "new theory", but not so much in having the theory tested. For example, you investigate something, come up with your ideas of the themes that might explain what you see, and cross-refer that against prior work from others in your clique, seeking to demonstrate that you have extended or slightly corrected the prior work, and citing your chums in the process. You hope this will get you published because it supports the prevailing prejudices, and that will then advance your career. Much of this stuff is not falsifiable, as it is little more than speculation, so you end up with a self-perpetuating network of mutually referencing papers which is good for nothing more than appearing to support your prior (often politically motivated) prejudices and boosting your reputation with people who already agree with you.

One way of summarising all this is that it provides a leisure activity for an intellectual class which is well remunerated (if you are successful), delivers status, and allows the advancement of political postures. Nice work if you can get it.

I hope that the academic approach to music is not similar to the above, but every time a post here links to a political stance my heart sinks a little further.
I suppose this is somewhat off topic, but I was rather struck with the description of academic research above. I assume you are in the social sciences. My career has been in science related academia. I would say each of your conclusions for social science would be exceedingly different (almost opposite) in the areas of science where I have worked. Based on the relatively little I have read, I have assumed that humanities would be even further from the sciences in terms of the above conclusions, but I don't know. The fields are all clearly different.

I read about Susan McClary and assumed she was rather an outlier within music related academic research.
 

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I sometimes wonder what the credentials are to call oneself 'a composer' these days. I don't know what the statistics are, but my guess is that (outside of the filming industry), the majority of those who call themselves composers can't make a living out of it alone. Ideally, it would seem that there should be something other than just self-declaration that establishes the cred that goes with being a composer.

It doesn't help that, as others who like contemporary music in general and avant-garde in particular, have admitted, the less structure and more dissonance, the more difficult it is to tell the more talented composers from the less talented. I don't think putting a few works on YouTube defines one as a composer either.
I guess I'm wondering whether it matters. On tax returns people might put an occupation that supplies at least a reasonable percentage of their income. In life, people can identify their occupation however they wish. If one has written two compositions which no one has recorded, it might be a stretch to call oneself a composer rather than say one wishes to be a composer. But I think this thread concerns those who spend a significant amount of time thinking about composing, writing compositions, and trying to get their works performed. What is their life like?
 
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