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Sibelius, Beethoven, Satie, Debussy
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How can you "understand" a work, and not "appreciate" it? Maybe you think you "understand", but in reality there are still some things about the work you don't "understand", so you don't "appreciate" it?
Does the term "understanding" have significant meaning when it comes to music appreciation?
Perhaps you'd first tell us what you take the two words to mean in the context of listening to classical music.
 

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Sibelius, Beethoven, Satie, Debussy
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I've seen a number of courses titled Music Appreciation and Understanding Music - and they essentially teach the same thing: a survey of music across different periods and genres through informed listening. A text that is often used is Understanding Music by Jeremy Yudkin - which is a music appreciation text.

I think it is a semantical issue, IMO, a distinction without a difference.
Well we can all offer our own understanding and appreciation of what these words mean. We all have access to the same online dictionaries.

But if the OP wants to raise this as an issue, they would be better understood if they made sure we fully understood their position and agreed with their use of the terms.
 

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Sibelius, Beethoven, Satie, Debussy
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How can you "understand" a work, and not "appreciate" it? Maybe you think you "understand", but in reality there are still some things about the work you don't "understand", so you don't "appreciate" it?
Does the term "understanding" have significant meaning when it comes to music appreciation?
The difference is too vague to me, I can't know for sure. Even "being familiar with a work" seems less vague an idea than "understanding a work".
Even if you descriptively understand what each of the gestures in a work would have meant for/by the composer when he was writing them, if they don't genuinely inspire feelings in you or move you (the true purpose of music), how can you say you've understood them? -is sort of like the question I'm asking.
Thanks for your reply.

As others have said, I think it's possible to appreciate (recognise the value of) a work, and to understand a work (become sufficiently familiar with a work to recognise its structure and shape, its component parts) without necessarily either enjoying it (intellectually, emotionally) or being moved by it.

It's quite possible that some of the works I've listened to often without being moved by it or enjoying it are, as you suggest, simply ones I've not properly understood.

Jeux by Debussy, for example.
 

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Sibelius, Beethoven, Satie, Debussy
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If that is the definition of "understanding" a piece of music then it offers nothing towards my enjoyment of it. The way you are defining "understanding music" is similar to knowing how to spell a word and what it means as well as recognizing the grammar of a sentence (a pretty low threshold). They are certainly prerequisites for knowing how to read but do not get you very far regarding the enjoyment of literature.
Well, it's not 'the' definition...just mine.

However, if I want to talk about enjoying music, I'd use the word...

...enjoying! ;)
 

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Sibelius, Beethoven, Satie, Debussy
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How can you "understand" a work, and not "appreciate" it? Maybe you think you "understand", but in reality there are still some things about the work you don't "understand", so you don't "appreciate" it?
Does the term "understanding" have significant meaning when it comes to music appreciation?
More seems to be made of this than necessary, not least because the OP first quotes a thread from 2013 which talks about 'understanding' and 'liking', but then substitutes 'appreciating' for 'liking' in his query.

The original discussion he references seemed simple enough: is "understanding" music a necessary pre-requisite to "liking" (wrt serial music)? It seemed obvious to me that the question was about the extent to which we need to develop some familiarity with the unfamiliar before we can conclude that we "like" it, but that even if we did gain some familiarity, there's no guarantee that liking would follow. 'Liking' is a conscious, deliberate act: it requires a decision to be made. 'Understanding' and 'appreciating' (in the sense of getting to know) are processes that don't require a decision, though one might declare that one is beginning to appreciate (the virtues) of Ligeti's Etudes.

'Liking' seems to have acquired a negative connotation in some discussions here (not just in this thread), as if it is a trivialising of the act of fully appreciating and understanding, reaching the lofty heights of deep aesthetic comprehension.

Me, I'm happy that when I say I 'like' a piece, I mean that I have decided that the various responses I have had to it - emotional, intellectual etc - are sufficient to make me want to repeat the experience, to buy the work, stream it...whatever. There may be degrees of liking, as in "I quite like a bit of Mozart, but not enough to splash out on a complete set of symphonies", but the word has its place in the lexicon of musical appreciation and enjoyment (there's another vilified word).

I just don't see the need for the philosophising. Plain English will do.
 

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Sibelius, Beethoven, Satie, Debussy
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This is such a good place to discuss these particulars. Where else?
It can be curiously unpleasant if your view of music has long been very different from that of a nerdy analyzer.

But again this is the same in any technical subject. However, we know that there's a spiritual feeling in and about music, which is dulled in other subjects. It's an interesting phenomenon.
I don't see the need for philosophising in this particular instance. I don't routinely object to nerdy analysing. :)
 

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In what subjects do you feel there's a need for philosophising, just so I can understand you.

Philosophy is the love of wisdom so if we put personal limits on it we're easily misunderstood.
"Philosophy is the love of wisdom" - not in my dictionary. It may be the direct translation of the Greek, but it's come to refer to "the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence".

If members want to have a philosophical discussion about what music is, or what beauty is, or how to "understand" music in the various ways that this might be interpreted, that's fine. I sometimes join in. In fact, in the long thread about 'beauty', I joined in quite a lot.

But in this thread, the question asked didn't seem to me to need a particularly 'deep' response.
 

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Did I miss where someone mentioned how the "inexorable logic" of CPT got subverted and CM explored such a diverse range of options that it was difficult to find any logic whatsoever?
 

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I wonder what are the chances that it could be better. Very small.

Lennon and McCartney (and Harrison) played so many live gigs, for long hours, that they could break some conventions while composing (by ear) and get a better result (for their audience). It was very exciting when they pulled it off (and a little awkward/cringeworthy). Critics of this view will say that no, it was their blues background. But mostly they didn't know, didn't care. It was part of the rebellion.
The masters - pop, rock, painting, CM - have often reworked their product, so whatever inevitability may have at first been evident, it soon gets overturned into the ambiguous.

I'm no artist, but my wife is. I've lost count of the times she's asked me to look at her work and give her my (amateur, but precious) opinion on whether something is finished or not. I know this is something dear to Woodduck's heart - the honed sensibility of the artist to what is "right", and his belief that this can be applied to CM as well. However, the fact that there is a doubt in the artist's mind confirms to me that there is no such thing as "inexorable logic" in matters of art, except to the extent that the artist plays by some pre-determined rules: the writer sets out to craft a sonnet - the inexorable logic is that there will be 14 lines and the last two should rhyme. Unless you're an artist who bends the rules, in which case, there might not.
 

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Actually, there are a lot of ways to craft a sonnet; most all of them will have 14 lines, but pretty much everything else is up for grabs. The last two lines rhyming became known as the Shakespearean sonnet, because that's the form he preferred; while the older Petrarchan sonnet model used ABBAABBA for the octet and CDCDCD or CDECDE for the sestet (no rhyming couplet at the end).
Yes, yes, yes, but the point is that the sonnet had a definition and variations - it wasn't just any old poem which would reach perfection by woo-woo, and "inexorable logic" would only get you so far.
 

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I take it that you cannot see the larger implications of EB's notion of inexorable logic. It can be applied to any purposeful human activity--we act as we do because we must. Again, this conveys no useful information. And we still haven't explained why Prokofiev revised the 4th symphony or the cello concerto. If both were written under the lash of logical inevitability, then the inexorability was somewhere deficient in the first instance. Of course people will find a way to have their cake (original inexorability) and eat it too (later inexorability). All that term does is to inhibit thought and conjecture by way of pure assertion to be taken at face value without question.
Prokofiev just got it wrong, that's all. If it's like the inexorability of maths, Sergei just made 2+2=5 and had to go back and correct his formula, that's all. Duh. ;)
 

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“Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.”
Tennyson
How would we improve it by changing letters or adding words or deleting words?
It already achieves its purpose artistically.
I think it's the same with music. It's so difficult to come up with something excellent. And changing it doesn't change the original achievement.
Well a slight improvement is possible:

"Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
 

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Oops my bad.
Bad example.

I wonder if this effectively illustrates that someone in one field is uninformed about the subtle details in another mostly unrelated field? It makes sense to me, how much can outsiders know?

Imagine the mistakes that a non-musician would make in composing or playing, or even discussing the world of experience a musician has.
Well only you will know how/why your error was made. I would of course assume it's an innocent typo, and not that you don't know your Tennyson. ;) These days, of course, one only needs to be a specialist in internet searching. I didn't get out my Complete Works of Tennyson to check - just typed into Google, wondering if my memory was false, or that that 'never' had been deliberately placed to disrupt the meter and I'd not previously noticed.

There are degrees and types of specialism (pun intended), but having a mere honours degree, or a masters or a doctorate doesn't imply greater knowledge of understanding, only a greater length of study in an increasingly specialised subject. Your distinction between musician and non-musician seems rather simplistic to me, and doesn't take account of the full range of capabilities of the music lovers here.
 

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You are correct I believe Forster in that in depth study does not imply greater knowledge of understanding, it actually leads to a greater understanding, how can it not? I'm not suggesting superiority in any sense of the word, especially here, but it's a mistake imv to think that the depth of study and the concomitant aesthetic introspection a composer experiences and subsequently employs in his/her work can be anything but a specialised, profound knowledge allied to a deep understanding, especially of how it ultimately pertains to their unique artistry.
That knowledge of understanding - of craft, it's practical and aesthetic pedagogy and expressive musical result - is a critical and basic requirement for 'classical' composers imv.
It can do, but a certificate is only as good as the study actually undertaken and the knowledge and understanding gained, retained and put to good use. Passing exams in an education institution means only that sufficient work was done and set hurdles cleared.
 

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It can do, but a certificate is only as good as the study actually undertaken and the knowledge and understanding gained, retained and put to good use. Passing exams in an education institution means only that sufficient work was done and set hurdles cleared to meet course requirements. There are many who study without a course and many who fail to understand despite a course of study.
 

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Yes I agree with that for sure. Wits are granted more to some...I understand your pov now.
TBH, I was thinking of my own qualifications (nothing to do with music) which may have provided me with a key to a professional career, but by no means equipped me to be either an expert in my field, or a superstar in my profession. Having spent the last 20+ years watching many other teachers teach and headteachers headteach, I do feel somewhat qualified to assess my own knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to theirs: I have met some real superstars in both the classroom and in the HT's office.
 

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I see no reason to believe that we can determine which of this piece of CM or that is the greater by looking at the score.

Would anyone like to give me one?
 

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Actually I do have an example - I think the oft shared (especially on social media) "chart" on which keys correspond to which emotions is basically pseudoscience masquerading as music theory.
I take your point. And yet, isn't there a grain of truth in the idea that some keys are more likely to provoke certain emotions? Film composers build their careers on such connections, and one of the basic appeals of pop music is that it does the same.
 

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It's not emotional for me. A piano concerto by JC Bach and one by Mozart. Where is it better and how is it better? Let's look at them. Let's learn something specific.
Compare two scores. Wouldn't it be obvious to a trained person? You can see what both composers were doing. [...]
In a perhaps overlooked post, I asserted that comparing scores is not a valid of way of being able to determine which is better (assuming we're comparing the comparable). So, Luchesi (or anyone else) how would you argue that such comparison would help such a determination?
 
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