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But that's just it. If you really and truly feel that it all comes down to completely subjective individual opinions, then it doesn't matter. All you can say is "well, I don't know for sure. Maybe I am being fooled, but I like this stuff anyway".
I won't rule out the possibility of composers who don't believe in what they're selling & are just out to dupe people, but if there are people out there who like it, it shouldn't be too far-fetched to believe that the composer himself likes his compositions.
 

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How is that any different from being told that I love Bach because of the influence of the "received wisdom"?
If someone says the sole reason you like Bach is because he's popular, then that would be comparable. Saying that Bach's work is of enough historical import to be influential on the way we listen to classical music, how we evaluate it, and the culture of classical music at large is not only not the same, it's actually a tremendous complement to Bach.
 

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What always strikes me about your posts is how differently you seem to consume music than the way I do. I've never been one to dive into scores, get into theoretical analysis, or really try to figure out how a piece works, but it clearly gives you a lot of joy to do that.

I don't think that's unusual or a particularly stunning observation; in fact I think a lot of great art can be experienced from a variety of approaches like this.
It's just me. My career has been briefing chemists and physicists. No mentions of likes or dislikes.

And a piano teacher, tuner, part time. Children don't like this or that, endlessly.
Tuning customers like or don't like a stretched treble or rounder bass notes. Always something..
I get fed up, but I sublimate it or rationalize it away (it's still in my unconscious coloring everything, apparently).

I'd like to share the joy of analysis, but I've learned in here how difficult that is. And yet, in our talkbacks (explaining things) after our performances, we get a very good turnout.
 

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It's just me. My career has been briefing chemists and physicists. No mentions of likes or dislikes.

And a piano teacher, tuner, part time. Children don't like this or that, endlessly.
Tuning customers like or don't like a stretched treble or rounder bass notes. Always something..
I get fed up, but I sublimate it or rationalize it away (it's still in my unconscious coloring everything, apparently).

I'd like to share the joy of analysis, but I've learned in here how difficult that is. And yet, in our talkbacks (explaining things) after our performances, we get a very good turnout.
It's comparable to me talking with other film lovers, I think. There are some people who really love getting deep into the technical aspects of cinematography, editing, and direction, and write all sorts of fascinating formal analysis on that aspect of film, and others who love film but don't really care to look at that kind of thing in scholarly detail.
 

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I won't rule out the possibility of composers who don't believe in what they're selling & are just out to dupe people, but if there are people out there who like it, it shouldn't be too far-fetched to believe that the composer himself likes his compositions.
That's the way it is with Satie. I don't know completely what was in his head or if there is a serious/satirical dividing line there, but I enjoy listening to and playing his music either way.
 

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I won't rule out the possibility of composers who don't believe in what they're selling & are just out to dupe people, but if there are people out there who like it, it shouldn't be too far-fetched to believe that the composer himself likes his compositions.
Cage is one of those cases where even if you take the view that he didn't take his music seriously (which I doubt - Cage was many things but I never think he was insincere) - so many composers and musicians I admire took inspiration from him that I can't personally just dismiss it, as strange as I find some of his music.
 

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^ The question cannot be satisfactorily answered, either by an aesthetic subjectivist or an aesthetic objectivist (assuming we know what these terms mean). Since there are no criteria universally agreed that should apply when making an evaluation, all such evaluations are necessarily incomplete. If one wants to dispense with criteria altogether, one could just say, no, not all art is equally good; some is better than another, and I can tell you that I know the 'good' when I see it (or listen to it.)

Neither is satisfactory.

Since no-one here actually believes that all art is equally good, the question seems pointless.
"The question" in question is posed to someone who denies that any criteria exist by which anyone, including the artist, can determine levels of excellence in works of art. "The question" is not pointless.

Just a quick note: If someone has been paying attention to these hundreds of posts over many threads, that someone would see many posters asserting that the subjectivist view demands that all art be equal. In a sense all art is equal in having no properties--measurable properties beyond mass, color, odor, duration, creator, date created, size, shape etc.--that can possibly be used to rank, grade, otherwise evaluate it other than by each individual perceiver or, through polling and clustering, or other pure assertion. Other than size, etc., which planet is better than another? If you say "better for human beings", you are imposing your unique (or even very widely shared) standards upon the hapless planet when all it did was to be.

A benefit of my position is that everyone can make a god of their own artistic requirements, findings, preferences, and share them if they choose (and we all choose, don't we) with other autonomous perceivers of art. We are even free to agree or disagree on the proper criteria for judging art. Uhuru!

I don't know how to be more clear.
:rolleyes:
The statement in bold above appears to be intended as the clearest you can make. Here it is:

"In a sense all art is equal in having no properties--measurable properties beyond mass, color, odor, duration, creator, date created, size, shape etc.--that can possibly be used to rank, grade, otherwise evaluate it other than by each individual perceiver or, through polling and clustering, or other pure assertion."

I don't know whether "in a sense" is intended as a qualifier to "all art is equal," which is what it would be in normal usage. It would imply that in some other sense, not all art is equal. But, letting that go, I will point out that nothing is evaluated "other than by each individual perceiver." Evaluation is the activity of a brain, and only individuals have brains. That leaves only one essential idea in your assertion, the idea of measurement. Your contention is that artistic value - quality or excellence - can't be measured - quantified in numbers - and therefore cannot exist outside the mind of the individual observer. The premise assumed by this requirement for physical measurement is that no value judgments of any kind, except those of simple physical utility ("this is better for this purpose than that") have any validity outside the mind of an individual, since values are not measurements of physical properties. As a thoroughgoing materialist, which you've said you are, you must believe that all value judgments, including moral judgments, rest finally upon personal feelings - tastes, sentiments, wishes, whims, etc., and that no objectively valid jusifications for them can or need be made.

This is a logically consistent position. If you can live by it, accepting all of its implications all of the time, congratulations. I know I can't, and I know that artists who create these magnificent works we all love can't. They actually think that their struggles to find the better note, color, line or word is in fact a struggle to find something better - something that makes their work more coherent and meaningful - not merely a way of making themselves feel better. But then a preference for coherence and meaningfulness is a value judgment, and since coherence and meaningfulness can't be physically measured...

The reason I suspect you of doublespeak is that you occasionally make a statement such as the one above: "This does not mean that all art is equal." What does that mean to you? In what "sense" are works of art not equal? You can't mean "not all art is equal in my personal judgment," since that's established and indisputable, and no one has raised an objection to it. Nor can it mean, "not all art is equal in reputation," for the same reasons. I recall a similar statement in another thread which seemed even more explicit in its apparent contradiction of your thoroughgoing subjectivism. Such statements inevitably raise doubts about your consistency. Is it possible that your views on art are more nuanced than you claim they are? Hope springs eternal... :)
 

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In reading the various posts, it becomes ever more clear that many do not grasp my fundamental position that all esthetics are personal. I liberate completely the individual's ability to enjoy, loathe, admire, grade, rank any and all art. This does not mean that all art is equal; it means that the individual controls the grading and ranking to suit his/her own requirements. People are equal in their right, validity, freedom, to hold fast to those things that are important to them as art and the experience of art. Whether one chooses to follow the guidance of another or of a cluster or of critics is a matter of individual choice--we all actually thus pick and choose--it cannot be denied. What is non-demonstrable is that some art is greater than some other art merely by the fact that a consensus, a cluster, an authority figure says so. Art just is; we endow it as individuals with qualities and properties beyond those clearly and universally measurable.
All true. Also, there is no such thing as an absolutely unbiased or neutral audience member. Our aesthetic tastes are always inescapably impacted by our particular upbringing, life experience and environment, and our general cultural and social context, in countless ways, large and small. One corollary to that is, one individual's tastes can never perfectly and completely match another's. But there is also the important and empirically observable phenomenon that people from similar environments and backgrounds tend to share many aesthetic tastes and values, at least in an approximate sense.
None of that has any relevance to the "right" of the individual to his or her own individual tastes. In fact, it is more than a right, it is an essential part of human nature.
The empiricist comfortably accepts all of that and doesn't fall into the trap of trying to prove the objective validity of any aesthetic principle.
 

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All true. Also, there is no such thing as an absolutely unbiased or neutral audience member. Our aesthetic tastes are always inescapably impacted by our particular upbringing, life experience and environment, and our general cultural and social context, in countless ways, large and small. One corollary to that is, one individual's tastes can never perfectly and completely match another's. But there is also the important and empirically observable phenomenon that people from similar environments and backgrounds tend to share many aesthetic tastes and values, at least in an approximate sense.
None of that has any relevance to the "right" of the individual to his or her own individual tastes. In fact, it is more than a right, it is an essential part of human nature.
The empiricist comfortably accepts all of that and doesn't fall into the trap of trying to prove the objective validity of any aesthetic principle.

I don't want to speak for someone else, but the general impression I get is that a subjective view of aesthetics does not hold that all art is necessarily equal in every possible frame of reference. Instead it holds that a) art has no inherent value that can be separated from some sort of frame of reference, b) frames of reference exist where it is possible to compare and assign values to different works of art, and c) whether or not one accepts or sees art in a given reference frame is very much up to them (meaning that even if works can be compared within a certain framing, the importance that one assigns to this frame is very much down to the listener's own aesthetic values)
 

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Of course it does. As you would have it, pure subjectivity at the heart of all evaluations implies that all evaluations are equal. If they are not, then something objective is in play.
I don't believe this is what is being asserted - or, at least this is not what I believe.

An assertation that - oh, I dunno - Michael Haydn has had as much impact on the development of Western music, or as much repute as Beethoven is just factually wrong. That is the objective fact that is "in play". I think the subjective view does not state that an assertation that Michael Haydn was a "more major" composer than Beethoven is valid. Instead, the amount someone decides that they care about this fact when evaluating music is the question of subjective preference.

Lemme put it this way. If someone says Meyerbeer was a better composer than Wagner I'd put it down to personal preference. If someone said "Meyerbeer is a better composer than Wagner because his work is more enduringly popular" I'd ask what he's smoking.
 

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An assertation that - oh, I dunno - Michael Haydn has had as much impact on the development of Western music, or as much repute as Beethoven is just factually wrong.
different composers were "innovative", "influential", "inventive" with different things, under different circumstances. It's something we can't objectively measure quantitatively or qualitatively in various cases.

I also mentioned that Bruckner was avidly interested in F.J. Aumann's liturgical music, avidly revised the instrumentation and studied the counterpoint and the "colored harmony", in Sankt Florian.
"In Sankt Florian, most of the repertoire consisted of the music of Michael Haydn, Johann Georg Albrechtsberger and Franz Joseph Aumann." (wiki/Anton_Bruckner#Organist_in_Sankt_Florian)
With this in mind, I'll address dissident's question, which I missed some time ago:
"What does it say about the influence of Michael Haydn, beyond Schubert's weeping at his grave?"

Consider, for instance:
"The numerous settings of liturgical texts in German, the secular German part-songs and Lieder, together with his expanding sphere of influence as a teacher of composition in the 1790s, place Michael Haydn in a position of importance in the early history of both German sacred music and German song. One of his students Georg Schinn (1768-1833), left Salzburg in 1808 to take a position in the Munich Hofkapelle, where Michael Haydn's Latin and German sacred music was performed frequently throughout the 19th century." <Michael Haydn and "The Haydn Tradition:" A Study of Attribution, Chronology, and Source Transmission / Dwight C. Blazin / P.28>

Why assume that, if Beethoven was in Haydn's position, Beethoven would have influenced Mozart and Weber (who wrote some of his early dramatic works under Haydn's supervision) the same way Haydn did? No matter how highly you regard Beethoven, he wasn't the one who wrote watch?v=I-TeHK-bVvU in 1769.

"According to contemporary reports, instead of the usual Baroque scenery, in the subsidiary piece the theatre was made up »in the manner of an alpine hut. On one side there was a waterfall, on the other a high mountain cliff. In the morning and evening sunlight [...] one could see the cattle up on the Alpine pastures.« Haydn's Wedding on the Alpine Pasture was no doubt a pioneering work for the Salzburg Theatre. The individual arias and instrumental movements together with the entire singspiel were adapted by Haydn himself and other composers and - as witness numerous copies of the work - were soon in wide distribution in the abbeys of Kremsmünster and Seitenstetten or being taken further afield by the boatsmen who plied the waters of the Salzach river at Laufen." (an excerpt from the program notes for Brunner's recording of Die Hochzeit auf der Alm MH107)

Today, we are shoved in our throats, the dogma; "it was all about Bach, Mozart, Beethoven. They were the ones who did everything (pretty much)". But if we were educated from youth to be more open to free-thinking; for example, "Aumann could have been influential in ways Mozart wasn't", —our way to view classical music history could have been different.
 

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Unfortunately, his main message is not making the implied point above.
Here's my main message:
Things can be and have qualities to be popular, but whether or not they're popular because they're superficially appealing, sentimental, or over the top, or have attractive concepts (eg. "avantgardists of their time", "tortured artists", "musical philosophers", "masters of universal laws of complexity/simplicity") etc, still depends on how each one of us perceives them.
 

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I don't believe this is what is being asserted - or, at least this is not what I believe.

An assertation that - oh, I dunno - Michael Haydn has had as much impact on the development of Western music, or as much repute as Beethoven is just factually wrong. That is the objective fact that is "in play". I think the subjective view does not state that an assertation that Michael Haydn was a "more major" composer than Beethoven is valid. Instead, the amount someone decides that they care about this fact when evaluating music is the question of subjective preference.

Lemme put it this way. If someone says Meyerbeer was a better composer than Wagner I'd put it down to personal preference. If someone said "Meyerbeer is a better composer than Wagner because his work is more enduringly popular" I'd ask what he's smoking.
Well, you seem to be making a case for there being objective reasons why Beethoven and Wagner reign above Michael Haydn and Meyerbeer, respectively, and God bless you for it. :)
 

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Well, you seem to be making a case for there being objective reasons why Beethoven and Wagner reign above Michael Haydn and Meyerbeer, respectively, and God bless you for it. :)
I don't know if this has been contested seriously. Where subjectivity comes into play is if someone doesn't agree with the value system which values certain works higher based on influence or impact.

Or as one of the philosophers of our age, Kanye West once said - "what's a god to a non-believer?"
 

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Well, you seem to be making a case for there being objective reasons why Beethoven and Wagner reign above Michael Haydn and Meyerbeer, respectively, and God bless you for it.
but they weren't the ones who wrote
in 1771. Unless you can prove "if they had their prime years around that time, they would have done things just as good or even better", it's essentially a useless debate in terms of "objective profundity" or whatever.
 

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Here's my main message:
Things can be and have qualities to be popular, but whether or not they're popular because they're superficially appealing, sentimental, or over the top, or have attractive concepts (eg. "avantgardists of their time", "tortured artists", "musical philosophers", "masters of universal laws of complexity/simplicity") etc, still depends on how each one of us perceives them.
Here‘s my main message:
In the arts, once, for whatever reason, a blueprint or foundation for what attracts a sizable number of people, with all their various individual subjective persuasions, has been created, then there can be objective reasons why certain artists excel above others. Thus, in the CP era, we have blueprints including the sonata form with a theme and the development of a theme, orchestration with particular instruments that individually were developed and improved, solo compositions for piano, violin, cello etc., each with characteristics attractive to those drawn to the genre.

Thus we have a scenario under which one can see objective reasons why the works of Bach, Beethoven and Mozart stood out. This can be particular excellence in the various subsets of symphonies, concertos, sonatas, opera (Mozart and Beethoven, though opera not so much for the latter) or in one particular subset such as opera (Wagner). Of course, it’s a little more complex than that.
 

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I'm about to finish listening to a Michael Haydn symphony cycle right now, not long after completing Joseph's. I'd say their "hit-or-miss" rates are roughly the same, at more or less 42%. To my ears, they are equally good, but Joseph has the advantage of quantity. I can understand if "received wisdom" makes people unfairly overestimate Joseph Haydn's music, but I don't see why this bias towards Joseph necessarily means that people would be reluctant to listen to Michael or rush to put him down. I would be thrilled to find out that so-and-so composer is just as good as so-and-so. Wouldn't people want to be exposed to more great music?
 

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I think Haydn also has the significant advantage of historical repute as a pioneer of musical form - both with symphonies but also notably with his string quartets.

Agreed though that there are a lot of composers who wrote technically proficient classical music that nobody really pays attention to these days. Cherubini comes to mind. I think there's an entire thread about underrated classical-period composers somewhere.

e) Mozart and Joseph Haydn also had very recognizable personal styles, and this, I think is where changing tastes can be a part of things. A lot of listeners very much value personal voice/style in artists these days more than strict textbook-correct use of counterpoint and classical period form.
 
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