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I'm not sure if by "musically inclined" you mean that they have more musical potential in some sense or if you mean they are more knowledgeable about certain aspects of music. Both are no doubt true. Even though I've read the vast majority of this thread, I'm not sure if the people posting here mostly view music appreciation as something one enjoys or something that requires specific knowledge. My estimate would be that roughly 5-10% of listeners would be capable of analyzing music from scores. Others listen and decide how much they like the music. I think the percentage of truly knowledgeable people might be even lower for literature, art, and sports so perhaps my estimate is too high for classical music.

The disconnect I have seen in these discussions I believe stems in part from those with specific knowledge and those without it attaching different meanings to concepts in discussions. Each side is certain what is being discussed, but I think each side is arguing something rather different, and hence, no or little progress is made.
It seems to be the same in very field, wherein experts study beyond the level of general knowledge and experience. With music though, i can't find a helpful analogy.

People like Pluto as the ninth planet for all the cute and comforting reasons. The planet scientists don't care about that. They care about facts, logic, consistency, helpful categories, and future applications etc.
 

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His were usually trying to reply to yours point by point. That usually took quite a mass of words and if nothing else I have to admire the effort.
First, I was responding to his posts point-by-point as he was mine. Second, I guarantee I could find plenty of long posts by Woodduck in threads I wasn't even apart of.

Objective/subjective, sure, but the topic itself actually is optional. Otherwise in the case of this thread it's a hijacking away from the topic to one that you like to show your reading about.
I was not the first to broach objectivity/subjectivity in this thread (beyond just alluding to the other thread). However, every concept discussed in this thread is philosophical: "understanding" is epistemology, "appreciation" is aesthetics, "inexorable logic" is, well, logic (one of the oldest branches of philosophy).

Well yes it does. Knowing the structure of a piece and its logical framework makes it something more than just a succession of tones, leading to a greater appreciation, leading to enhanced enjoyment. By what authority do you know what makes me or anyone else enjoy something more? You don't. It's more of your overbearing arrogance.
I didn't say it CAN'T lead to more enjoyment, I said it doesn't HAVE TO. I could teach someone to recognize sonata form within a week (probably less); it's not difficult. Do you think their ability to recognize/understand this form would automatically lead to them enjoying classical music more than whatever popular music they preferred before it? Of course not. Understanding how music (any music) works will only lead to more enjoyment for those who care about such things to begin with. Explaining a joke rarely makes a joke funnier; knowing how magic works rarely makes illusions more (rather than less) magical. Music is no different for many.
 

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Why does it feel as if our opinions - especially when based on peak experiences - are objectively true?
Blame evolutionary psychology. Evolutionarily speaking our brains treat anything that's important to us as if it were objectively true because our brains evolved to survive and reproduce. Anything that's important to us is (to our brains) important for our survival or reproduction, so it's useful to treat it as if it's true an not question it. You tend to see this mind-projection fallacy in any arena in which people are very passionate. Most don't care enough about music to think their tastes are objectively good, right, better, etc.; you only see these attitudes on forums like this where people are really passionate about music. You'll find the same is true in politics, religion, morality, etc.
 

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Most don't care enough about music to think their tastes are objectively good,
I have yet to read anyone's comment claiming their "taste is objectively good". Do you have a reference?

However everyone (except the most scrupulous of subjectivists I guess) does have an internal hierarchy that ranks things from high to low.
 

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The disconnect I have seen in these discussions I believe stems in part from those with specific knowledge and those without it attaching different meanings to concepts in discussions. Each side is certain what is being discussed, but I think each side is arguing something rather different, and hence, no or little progress is made.
Actually, I think you'd fine that one side (mostly myself and SM) were quite certain that we were UNcertain about what was being discussed, and despite our continued querying of what was meant by certain terms, no (or very little, and all very late) clarification was forthcoming.

Also, I dislike the dichotomous split between "those with specific knowledge" and "those without it." As I've said, I'm somewhere in the middle when it comes to music theory: I'm not an expert, but I understand it well enough to follow most scores and musical analysis. However, I'm also a rationalist with a strong distaste for woo and fake authority.
 

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Evolutionarily speaking our brains treat anything that's important to us as if it were objectively true because our brains evolved to survive and reproduce. Anything that's important to us is (to our brains) important for our survival or reproduction, so it's useful to treat it as if it's true an not question it. You tend to see this mind-projection fallacy in any arena in which people are very passionate. Most don't care enough about music to think their tastes are objectively good, right, better, etc.; you only see these attitudes on forums like this where people are really passionate about music. You'll find the same is true in politics, religion, morality, etc.
My problem with explanations like that is that they become just-so stories that can "explain" literally anything in any way you want. It's untestable.
 

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I have yet to read anyone's comment claiming their "taste is objectively good". Do you have a reference?
It's a logical consequence of thinking some music is objectively better than some other music. If you prefer this objectively better music you would then have objectively good taste by preferring the objectively good/better music.

However everyone (except the most scrupulous of subjectivists I guess) does have an internal hierarchy that ranks things from high to low.
Yes, except your parenthesis is wrong: why in the world would "the most scrupulous subjectivists" NOT have an internal hierarchy?
 

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My problem with explanations like that is that they become just-so stories that can "explain" literally anything in any way you want. It's untestable.
Perhaps, but we know evolution happens, and we know we're the product of evolution, and we know evolution tunes us for survival/reproduction. None of that is a "just-so" story as evolution itself is, outside of some theories in physics, the most rigorously tested theory in the history of science. Knowing that it's just a matter of figuring out why or how any aspect of a species, including their psychology, could've benefited their survival and reproduction. That may not be a fool-proof method for a number of reasons, such as the idea that vestigial features can exist that never served much purpose but didn't cause harm either and were thus never bred out of the species (like male nipples).
 

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You don't recall seeing some people claiming some music is objectively better than other music?
No, most of what I have seen is the thought that there may be objective elements to musical "greatness". I don't recall ever seeing anyone say Bach is objectively greater than Beethoven or the Beatles for that matter.
 

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Actually, I think you'd fine that one side (mostly myself and SM) were quite certain that we were UNcertain about what was being discussed, and despite our continued querying of what was meant by certain terms, no (or very little, and all very late) clarification was forthcoming.
Fine. What I meant was that each side argued a particular meaning of particular terms and felt they knew the clear meaning of what they were arguing. Because each side was arguing about a different meaning of the same terms (e.g. "inexorable logic" and subjective/objective), little progress was made. I care vastly less about whose "fault" it was.
 

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No, most of what I have seen is the thought that there may be objective elements to musical "greatness". I don't recall ever seeing anyone say Bach is objectively greater than Beethoven or the Beatles for that matter.
That's interesting since I believe some of us felt that many, many pages of the debate between subjective and objective greatness had one side arguing that greatness is subjective while the other side argued forcefully against that (i.e. greatness is objective). Personally I felt that no one believed that greatness is truly objective, but the faction that argued against the subjective side certainly pushed back quite hard for a long time.
 

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My honest answer is that it's apples and oranges.
If this is what you truly think then you're basically saying the same as us subjectivists. Your entire issue seems to be that "we" can't explain why many consider Bach or certain composers great. I've tried to explain that that's a question only science can truly, definitively answer. Anything else is just a guess, and while objective musical analysis is fine it's only ever going to get us part of the way there.
 

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Fine. What I meant was that each side argued a particular meaning of particular terms and felt they knew the clear meaning of what they were arguing. Because each side was arguing about a different meaning of the same terms (e.g. "inexorable logic" and subjective/objective), little progress was made. I care vastly less about whose "fault" it was.
Normally I wouldn't care about "fault" either, but it's hard to overlook when things start becoming rather hostile. I just don't get why it was so hard for many here to clarify what they meant. I'm always ready to clarify what I mean to the best of my abilities, but then I get accused of writing too long posts when I do that; but we've also seen what happens when ambiguity runs rampant.
 

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I have yet to read anyone's comment claiming their "taste is objectively good". Do you have a reference?

However everyone (except the most scrupulous of subjectivists I guess) does have an internal hierarchy that ranks things from high to low.
A glimmer of understanding. To my knowledge, every subjectivist has their own unique and authentic hierarchy ranking things from low to high. I certainly do. Don"t we all? Why would anyone think otherwise?
 

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If this is what you truly think then you're basically saying the same as us subjectivists. Your entire issue seems to be that "we" can't explain why many consider Bach or certain composers great. I've tried to explain that that's a question only science can truly, definitively answer. Anything else is just a guess, and while objective musical analysis is fine it's only ever going to get us part of the way there.
All the rancor aside, I would agree. I do not pretend to know and be able to pinpoint every single thing that makes Bach great to me and to millions of others, or Handel or Mozart or Beethoven or the Rolling Stones for that matter. I don't think even experts in music theory can do such. They may be able to identify and express some things with a little more precision. But the problem I have with the debate is that there seems to be this tendency among, shall we say, card-carrying subjectivists that if someone says "Bach is the greatest composer ever" -- or Beethoven or Wagner or whoever -- then we get the sermons about how there really is no good, better, best, worst. And that doesn't resolve or explain anything. Nor does the pointless Strange Magic type of trollish badgering for "proof". I don't need any proof, nor have I ever asked for proof in support of someone else's preferences.
 
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