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What's your point?
O you RLY don't know what I'm talkin' about?
"Pachelbel's canon has moved so many people in the world, but that says nothing about its profundity."
"Certain pieces of Bach is almost as popular as Pachelbel's canon because they're profound."
"The music of Strauss is popular because it's kitschy."
"Many people haven't grasped the true meaning of Wagner operas in their full length, hence they're not as much appreciated as the favorite excerpts."

etc, etc.
They're all rules you made up yourselves, just like
Who made up the rules that Bach, Mozart, Beethoven must be considered as "musical equivalents" of the David, the Mona Lisa, and the Sistine Chapel, and not just some popular "music-makers" (popular today for a variety of reasons described in #383). You.
Who
made up the rules that people must still respect Bach for his counterpoint even if they aren't "moved" by his music, whereas Zelenka with his double counterpoint in the Crucfixus of his ZWV21 TQ1BFI1Tahg&t=32m32s doesn't need to be treated with the same level of respect. You.
Who
made up the rules that the things Bach did were aesthetically "correct" objectively in all times and places (even with, for example, all the length, or the prominent brass in the Quoniam, Gloria, Sanctus, etc, and all the dance movements in BWV232, which would have been considered "undesirable" by, not only his predecessors such as Kuhnau, but also some of his contemporaries such as Fux). You.
 

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Strange Magic said:
Do we listen to music with the purpose of having our very lives and minds transformed (I exclude here those inspired to become composers themselves)? No we don't.
Rilke would disagree, for one.

...denn da ist keine Stelle,
die dich nicht sieht. Du musst dein Leben ändern.
 

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I never said that all honest responses to art were meaningful. I can't see in what way your post is a response to mine. Could you say what in particular you're responding to?
I mean your idea that the "subjectivist" position means that all responses must necessarily be equally meaningful. It's that at least for me, the "subjectivist" position does not necessarily mean all possible frames of view of art are meaningful (not sure what "valid" really means except "genuine). There may be edge cases (there are always edge cases) but there are constraints based on shared cultural knowledge of how art should be engaged with, and based on the aesthetic terms set by the art itself.

It's not really that profound of a statement, just that art has an audience and it's usually within this audience where we find the most meaningful responses - at least if we want to learn anything about the work itself.
 

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Oh I understand my position quite well, though I grant it may be too nuanced for some. Objectively all art is equal in that it is inert, neutral, reflective with no power of generating light from within that all--all--would see. To this all-reflecting ball we bring our own individual personalities, neurochemistries, histories--our very uniqueness, and endow the neutral ball with its meaning, status, rank, stature, value, etc. Canals on Mars. Faces on the moon, or images of rabbits? Some have observed that you want to have your cake and eat it too. Well, so do I.
I am genuinely mystified that this is such a point of contention. And as I've said, this reality is entirely consistent with the fact that Beethoven and Chopin each had prodigious musical skills. To use Wittgenstein's term, each of these composers played a "language game". If that particular game (and Beethoven and Chopin played different games, similar in many ways but distinct in many as well) is not to your individual subjective taste, then all of the composer's skill in execution is for naught. So, the artist has the challenge, not only to play his game with great skill, but to choose a game that will appeal to many audiences.

As audiences begin to view art further in time (and place) from its creation, even centuries removed, the challenge for that art to remain relevant and compelling ever increases. Yet, some works are up to that challenge. Not that they remain foremost in the minds of millions centuries later, but they persist somewhere in the framework of a culture, and their echo often can be detected, sometimes obviously, sometimes subtly. Finding and analyzing these echos is the job of the cultural anthropologist. They collect their data and try to describe the common cultural values of a society.

When large numbers of subjective individual tastes happen to coincide in a society, those areas of coincidence (which may be approximate, of course) are what I am calling "values". Man is a social animal, and people living together in a society actively seek out common cultural values. This phenomenon can be objectively, empirically observed and measured. This is entirely consistent with the fact that our individual tastes are entirely unique and subjective.

That is why we can appreciate, respect and celebrate the greatness of certain composers and their music while acknowledging the uniqueness and complete subjectivity of our individual tastes. Not everyone will like the music of Beethoven and Chopin, and of those who do like it, some will like it more than others, or prefer the music of Beethoven to that of Chopin, and so forth. No matter. Their art, and that of Debussy and Stravinsky, and Shakespeare and Flaubert, Joyce and Proust, Rembrandt and Titian, Picasso and Kandinsky, Cage and Stockhausen, George Gershwin and Irving Berlin, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis, Jack Kerouac and Alan Ginsberg, all contribute to our cultural values in empirically observable ways. India and China, both with sophisticated, highly developed cultures reaching back centuries if not millennia, have their own cultural polestars.

So I say, like what you want to like. Become an amateur cultural anthropologist if you want. A connoisseur of cultural nuances. Or not. That's all there is to it.
 

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there's something to that idea that art has an audience. The aesthetic experience occurs in the audience's response, not in the work of art itself, and so it would seem to me that it would be unreasonable to expect everyone to have a similar response.

Wittgenstein also said that when we use words like "beauty" we are really just grabbing a tool out of our tool box of language to describe a feeling we have, but that word may not be the best tool for the job. So even in how we describe our reactions, we may say the same thing but still have very different reactions

Now music having a value in and of itself...that's a difficult point to make, I think.

I believe that within a group of people who have similar tastes you can say that Beethoven and Chopin were great and profound, but if you were to travel to someplace where the people listened to something else, who knows what you might get.

an "amateur cultural anthropologist" is a pretty good description of the endeavor, actually
 

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I am genuinely mystified that this is such a point of contention. And as I've said, this reality is entirely consistent with the fact that Beethoven and Chopin each had prodigious musical skills. To use Wittgenstein's term, each of these composers played a "language game". If that particular game (and Beethoven and Chopin played different games, similar in many ways but distinct in many as well) is not to your individual subjective taste, then all of the composer's skill in execution is for naught. So, the artist has the challenge, not only to play his game with great skill, but to choose a game that will appeal to many audiences.
One odd thing is that a lot of the arguing for an inherent musical value comes from (not to imply anyone here) people who were seeking to somehow "prove" the badness of serial music while still maintaining the idea that this was an objective fact. This usually involved a) reduction to polling, b) special pleading that the opinions of composers and theorists, so often cited in justifications of popular classical music, don't count in the cases of modernists because of ideological bias, or c) things which were just blatantly subjective ("yes, it had influence but it had bad influence"). The reality is that the serialists made a new musical language that a lot of people didn't share, and as such, it wasn't particularly popular among most audiences.

Whether or not the music is good is obviously up to you, but whether or not you think it's a bad thing to write music with limited audience appeal depends a lot on your conception on the purpose of art, which I certainly don't think is any sort of objectively known concept.
 

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there's something to that idea that art has an audience. The aesthetic experience occurs in the audience's response, not in the work of art itself, and so it would seem to me that it would be unreasonable to expect everyone to have a similar response.
Someone here said that when they didn't care for a work, they liked to think "I guess this isn't for me", or "I'm not in the audience for this" rather than "This is bad". I wouldn't say this in all cases, but the idea of an audience is important, I think. "This isn't for me" and "This is bad" is, to me, two separate responses depending on whether I judge myself to have affinity for what the work is trying to do. My response to most opera is "This isn't for me", but I'd rarely have that response to a genre that I have affinity for.
 

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If that particular game (and Beethoven and Chopin played different games, similar in many ways but distinct in many as well) is not to your individual subjective taste, then all of the composer's skill in execution is for naught. So, the artist has the challenge, not only to play his game with great skill, but to choose a game that will appeal to many audiences.
While I agree with your post, in it's large point - I take issue with your description of the artistic process. For sure all composers hope to find an audience and acknowledgement of their work. But they also have an internal artistic drive that dictates their style and manner of composing. History is filled with artists who have been said to have been ahead of their time. Beethoven's late works fell into this category to some degree. Van Gogh certainly experienced this phenomenon.

The primary quality all artists have, along with talent is an individual voice and artistic integrity. The best artists find an audience, if not in their lifetimes, then at some later date when the culture catches up to them. I don't buy into the overlooked genius theory.

The big question is what is it about the great artists' work that resonates with audiences across periods?
 

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Ah, but that wasn't the question. The question is, is that what the objectivists claim the subjectivists believe, os is it only what the subjectivists think the objectivists think the subjectivists believe? 🤯
Yes, it's the same in any technical subject in which, by definition, an educated, experienced person can be objective.
 

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[QUOTE="SanAntone, post: 2312588, member: 56608"
The primary quality all artists have, along with talent is an individual voice and artistic integrity.
[/QUOTE]
Yes, indeed. But choosing that individual voice is a major challenge, often involving much formal study, soul-searching and changes of direction, especially early on. Miles Davis studied at Juilliard for a year, but then got his father's permission to drop out. Look at Picasso's earliest paintings or Schoenberg's early string quartet in D, or Stravinsky's early symphony, Op. 1. Starting out, all of these artists got thorough training and experience in well-established traditions. When they struck out in new directions, they were experienced and educated, both culturally and technically. Beethoven was already 34 by the time he composed his revolutionary Eroica Symphony. All that is no accident.
 

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Yes, indeed. But choosing that individual voice is a major challenge, often involving much formal study, soul-searching and changes of direction, especially early on. Miles Davis studied at Juilliard for a year, but then got his father's permission to drop out. Look at Picasso's earliest paintings or Schoenberg's early string quartet in D, or Stravinsky's early symphony, Op. 1. Starting out, all of these artists got thorough training and experience in well-established traditions. When they struck out in new directions, they were experienced and educated, both culturally and technically. Beethoven was already 34 by the time he composed his revolutionary Eroica Symphony. All that is no accident.
Yeah I wasn't implying that artists are born with a voice, nor that their style doesn't move in a variety of directions over the course of their career. And of course all artists, composers, musicians go through a lengthy period of training either formally at school or orally in an apprentice/master relationship.

I was responding to your comment about an artist trying to appeal to an audience. While an artist hopes to find an audience, his internal drive to actualize his artistic vision dictates his style and finding his unique voice more so than chasing what he may see as a stylistic trend that currently enjoys a large audience. I am speaking here of true artists with a long view, not commercial songwriters/performers writing music designed to sell quickly.
 

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The primary quality all artists have, along with talent is an individual voice and artistic integrity. The best artists find an audience, if not in their lifetimes, then at some later date when the culture catches up to them. I don't buy into the overlooked genius theory.
The big question is what is it about the great artists' work that resonates with audiences across periods?
"One critic shaped how we look at a half-century of painting. If Pollock was overrated, Clement Greenberg was the one doing it. We just followed his lead. So what is the correction here? It's not to discount Jackson Pollock. It's to give more attention to those other abstract expressionists as well. And to know the critic who decided which names we'd learn."

I'm necessarily saying the same thing happened in classical music, but the power of "influencers" (critics such as Donald Tovey, Charlatan Rosen, Landon) shouldn't be underestimated.

If Leonardo Bernstein wasn't a star, would Mahler's music have become as popular as it is today?
 

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Jackson Pollock is one of my favorite artists. I don't think he is overrated at all.

And It would be untrue to say that Bernstein put Mahler on the map, though his words sometimes gave that impression. Leopold Stokowski, Bruno Walter and Dimitri Mitropoulos had long championed Mahler in New York, and a parallel Mahler revival was in progress in Europe, spearheaded by John Barbirolli. (New York Times)
 

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I don't know that it matters to second guess history in that way. Fame and renown is the product of many things, not just genius - while I applaud innovators I don't necessarily subscribe to the "great man" view of it as a product of a single genius mind. So many innovations in music and art which have been attributed to one person have, upon historical view, been the results of trends that more than one artist was exploring at the time, but one artist was in the right place at the right time to "expose" it.


Like the quote you posted said, despite the clickbait title of that video, it's not to denigrate famous artists but to point out artists who were innovating in similar ways but didn't have the right combination of exposure to perhaps get the credit for innovating along the same lines of the capital-G Greats. Certainly I think it's a shame that the only classical period composers that get played by most listeners are Mozart and Haydn .
 

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To put it another way, it may be healthy to subscribe to the view that all the Greats are perhaps just a bit overrated - not in their status as composers who made wonderful art, but their status as the sole, singular creative minds that drove art forward. Progress in art, history, and the sciences are generally more complex than this simple view of artistic innovation.

Not just for the reason of giving other artists credit (though that can be nice) but to keep our ears open to great music outside what always gets played.
 

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"One critic shaped how we look at a half-century of painting. If Pollock was overrated, Clement Greenberg was the one doing it. We just followed his lead. So what is the correction here? It's not to discount Jackson Pollock. It's to give more attention to those other abstract expressionists as well. And to know the critic who decided which names we'd learn."

I'm necessarily saying the same thing happened in classical music, but the power of "influencers" (critics such as Donald Tovey, Charlatan Rosen) shouldn't be underestimated.

If Leonardo Bernstein wasn't a star, would Mahler's music have become as popular as it is today?
Since you're knowledgeable about this topic, I'm curious to know how widely revered Bach, Mozart, & Beethoven even were in their own times. Not as much as they are today, surely? I'm aware about Bach falling out of style until Mendelssohn, & Mozart on the same track if not for his wife's efforts.
 

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To put it another way, it may be healthy to subscribe to the view that all the Greats are perhaps just a bit overrated - not in their status as composers who made wonderful art, but their status as the sole, singular creative minds that drove art forward. Progress in art, history, and the sciences are generally more complex than this simple view of artistic innovation.

Not just for the reason of giving other artists credit (though that can be nice) but to keep our ears open to great music outside what always gets played.
For some time and what with the plethora of doctoral dissertations examining composers we've never heard of, and with the easy access to recorded catalogs of many out of the way composers I don't think one can claim that there is a lack of access to all but the most famous composers.
 

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While an artist hopes to find an audience, his internal drive to actualize his artistic vision dictates his style and finding his unique voice more so than chasing what he may see as a stylistic trend that currently enjoys a large audience. I am speaking here of true artists with a long view, not commercial songwriters/performers writing music designed to sell quickly.
Very true. But it's interesting when looking at the careers of famous musicians of a variety of genres to see how diligent and thorough music students they were early on, educating themselves in existing well-established musical traditions, including classical music, before establishing their own styles. Their eventual "individual voice" is almost always created from a foundation of already known and accepted musical traditions in their culture. So while there is no guarantee that audiences will roar with immediate approval when they strike out in new directions, at some level there are principles and features that audiences will find at least somewhat familiar.
Unless we're talking about someone like the provocateur and conceptual artist John Cage, who often in his career (not always, mind) intentionally did the opposite, cutting the audience off as completely as he could from any comfortable frame of reference. But here the exception proves the rule, I think.
 
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