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There appear to be some things that you need rigorous scientific testing in order to believe whereas I (and I believe some others here) only need some common sense and a couple of eyes and ears to believe.
"Common sense with eyes and ears" can (and have) been used to justify almost every belief under the sun both now and throughout history, including mutually exclusive propositions. That's as awful an epistemology as Woodduck's "my strong feeling = knowledge."
 

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Discussion Starter · #842 ·
SanAntone: "For some time the audience for Classical music has become almost entirely passive, consumers, and musically illiterate. All which contributes to a desire to remain within their comfort zone with the music they've heard countless times."
When do you believe that the audience for CM became stultified and unadventurous consumers of music? And where in CM do they stop listening? I personally am a Bach to Bartok enthusiast but have no interest in music that wanders farther afield tonally or melodically than those boundaries. I think that the transition from, say, Brahms through the Impressionists through to Bartok was a challenge, but that the journey to post-Bartokian music--serial, aleatoric, electronic was a far higher hurdle for large audiences to surmount. Bach to Mozart or even Beethoven is one thing, but the latest transition post-Bartok (or even up to Bartok). is another. We may be nearing the point (Babbitt again) where only a tiny audience will follow when they have a choice of brand-new music or the old favorites. CM concerts aren't cheap (though we used to sneak into Carnegie Hall during intermission up in the balcony and occupy empty seats or sit in the aisles.) We live in a time when we are reaching an end in all sorts of human endeavors and when life is becoming more fraught and complicated. It is to be expected that there be a retreat or a return to the familiar.
 

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I kind of want to emphasize "trivially true" because one reason I didn't really want this to be a point of contention is that I frankly don't think it matters all that much, to the point that I kind of feel bad if it's an idea that offended people, or seemed belittling to their musical taste.

What I mean to say is that musical popularity and renown is not the result of a lot of people happening to the same independent choice in a total contextual vacuum, as if in some kind of massive double-blind test - music is a part of our culture. The fact that Beethoven's music has been renowned through so many different cultural contexts doesn't imply that people are sheep following what books say - in fact it implies that Beethoven's art has shown the ability to endure, and be a part of later romantic culture, modernist culture, post-modern culture, and whatever other cultures you can think of.

As to why it has this ability - hell if I know.
I agree with you here and I certainly wasn't intending to offend or insult anyone. It's like when I talk about the universality of cognitive biases; we all have them. Some may be more aware of them and more or less influenced than others, but none of us are perfectly rational, and none of us are uninfluenced by our societies and culture. The only point I'd push back on slightly is that I think Beethoven's music continuing to be renowned can be a product of both its intrinsic qualities and its ability to continue to appeal to people's subjectivities across time; as well as the socio-cultural perception of Beethoven being one of the artistic titans of culture and many people just accepting that as a given. These two elements are mutually dependent and mutually reinforcing. Disentangling them to determine how much each influences any individual is nigh impossible to measure or determine, but I think it's foolish to over or underestimate the influence of either.

I feel like we're saying the same thing to each other here. I'd prefer to say that the response of Beethoven's peers and listeners is a cause of historical impact, but yeah, you can also call it a three step process where Beethoven's music caused great response which caused historical impact.
Here's how I'd model it:

Beethoven's music -> individual subjectivities -> positive response -> cultural impact -> (cultural impact + Beethoven's music) -> individual subjectivities -> positive response -> historical impact

In other words, Beethoven's music interacts with individual subjectivities, this interaction creates the effect of a positive response (and both the objective qualities of the music and subjective qualities of the listeners' minds are required for that response), which creates a cultural impact due to most people having a positive response. Because of this cultural impact, later generations are exposed to Beethoven, and these people experience both the music and the awareness of the social impact, and because of this now 3-part combination (the knowledge of the cultural impact, the music, and the individual's subjectivity), they still end up having a positive response, and this cycle over time creates historical impact.
 

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SM complains constantly that others don't understand his "position." I've found a number of instances of ambiguous or misleading wording in his posts over the years I've been reading them. I've sometimes wondered if it's not others, but SM himself, who doesn't understand his position, or at least doesn't hold a consistent position. SM is exceptionally good with words, and it's his responsibility, and no one else's, to choose the words that will make his views unambiguously clear.
One reason I write as much as I do is because I want my own posts to be as clear as possible, so I seek many different ways to clarify them. Most posters don't do this, for the sake of brevity perhaps, or possibly for other concerns; but the consequence of keeping posts relatively brief is you're inevitably going to use language that can be interpreted in different ways. When that happens, the onus may initially be on the poster to clarify what they mean if confusion arises; but when a poster has made their position clear time and again, at what point is the onus on the people reading him to interpret the words he uses in accordance with that position?

DaveM and I both read SM's words to mean, "I have 75 years of experience listening to music and I think I'm capable of judging what's good." If you think his words mean something else, goody goody for you. Don't tell other people how to read, or lecture us on "The Principle of Charity," or whatever other deep wisdom you think you're qualified to impart to a deluded humanity. It's astoundingly arrogant and presumptuous, and would be hilarious if it weren't so bloody irritating.
That sentence is perfectly compatible with the subjective frame of reference. The fact that you think it's not reveals that, to you, the objectivist position is the default one. This is a statement about your mind, it isn't a statement about "what those words usually mean" or what the default way to interpret them is. The fact that you and DaveM are so glaringly obviously misreading SM leads to one of several conclusions: you're either violating the Principle of Charity, you're violating Occam's Razor, or SM is absolutely correct in that you still don't understand his position. You can be offended and think me "astoundingly arrogant and presumptuous," but my "lecturing" is no more "astoundingly arrogant and presumptions" than you and DaveM assuming you have a monopoly on "what words usually mean" and failing spectacularly to understand someone who's repeatedly made their position crystal clear.

Responding to you has nothing to do with "deigning." It's mostly a question of deciding what's worth one's time and effort. I've often found it worthwhile, but not always. Once more you're implying some deficiency in others, because they happen not to find your every word fascinating and profound. So sorry.
You mistake me in thinking I was upset that you didn't respond to my last post; I was only upset at you not doing so and then making it seem as if the fault was mine for "lecturing." If, as you say here, that you didn't respond because it's "not worth your time and effort," that's fine; but then say THAT and don't offer the pretense of not responding because I'm lecturing you in a post where I wasn't.

This is horse pucky where it doesn't state the obvious, and yet another attempt to tell other people what they think and mean, or ought to. The fact that man evolved from other life forms says nothing about what is "higher" or "lower" in his nature, or about what these words even mean. I use them - when I do, which is not often - in a simple, very traditional way. The "few ways" in which we are "different" from other species involve everything in human life that's rooted in our ability to think conceptually: art, science, ethics, engineering, religion, politics, etc. It's only our rational faculty that makes most of a distinctively human existence, along with anything anyone calls "profundity," possible. "Few ways" doesn't approach the immensity of it. If you'd rather not refer to man's faculties as "higher" than the nerve impulses of an earthworm, suit yourself. Just quit trying to be the arbiter of meaning for others.
I wasn't telling you what you think/mean at all, I was simply explaining what the theory of evolution says; I'm sorry if what it says conflicts with your beliefs, but such is often the case with objective facts. Ask yourself this question: what made you decide what was the "higher" and "lower" aspects in man's nature? You say "our rationality." How did you come to that conclusion? You'd probably say "well, reason is what makes us different from other animals." Good, now what made you decide that what makes us different than other animals is "higher?" Also, if you bothered to study cognitive science even a bit you might be less impressed with man's "higher" capacity for reason, and you might also realize that the vast majority of time people put their "reason" to use in justifying their animalistic natures/desires. Humans are much better at rationalizing than actually reasoning.

I've been wondering the same thing. If the one thing really implied the other, I would have to despise quite a few of my friends and family.
Looking down on someone doesn't imply despising them.

If anybody's idea of what is "great" is as meaningful and legitimate as anyone else's - which must be true if "all aesthetic judgments are subjective" - then greatness has no real meaning and can be dispensed with.
Completely wrong. It can only be dispensed with in the objective sense. It's still perfectly viable in the subjective sense, or even in the sense of "polling many subjectivities."
 

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..The fact that you and DaveM are so glaringly obviously misreading SM leads to one of several conclusions: you're either violating the Principle of Charity, you're violating Occam's Razor, or SM is absolutely correct in that you still don't understand his position. You can be offended and think me "astoundingly arrogant and presumptuous," but my "lecturing" is no more "astoundingly arrogant and presumptions" than you and DaveM assuming you have a monopoly on "what words usually mean" and failing spectacularly to understand someone who's repeatedly made their position crystal clear..
Do you think that repeating the same thing over and over is going to make your argument any more convincing or more righteous for that matter. Not to mention that one might get away by presenting affectations such as ‘Principle of Charity‘ or Occam’s Razor once, but more than once reminds of someone who thinks they’re speaking from a pulpit or as a philosophy professor rather than on a simple forum. I’ve already mentioned that my view is that SM meant exactly what he said without realizing that it exposed a weakness in his previous comments and then backtracked. You, of course, conveniently ignored it and continue to sing the same song as before, as if SM needs your protection, like some Jeanne d’Arc riding a very high horse.
 

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Go reread the post you initially responded to and you'll find your answer there.
No, I didn't see it. Frankly you and Strange Magic are the only commenters in the thread that have come close to exemplifying that particular attitude, although based on the notion that you are guardians of some "truth" the we poor ignorant nobs can't quite grasp.
 

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When do you believe that the audience for CM became stultified and unadventurous consumers of music? And where in CM do they stop listening? I personally am a Bach to Bartok enthusiast but have no interest in music that wanders farther afield tonally or melodically than those boundaries. I think that the transition from, say, Brahms through the Impressionists through to Bartok was a challenge, but that the journey to post-Bartokian music--serial, aleatoric, electronic was a far higher hurdle for large audiences to surmount. Bach to Mozart or even Beethoven is one thing, but the latest transition post-Bartok (or even up to Bartok). is another. We may be nearing the point (Babbitt again) where only a tiny audience will follow when they have a choice of brand-new music or the old favorites. CM concerts aren't cheap (though we used to sneak into Carnegie Hall during intermission up in the balcony and occupy empty seats or sit in the aisles.) We live in a time when we are reaching an end in all sorts of human endeavors and when life is becoming more fraught and complicated. It is to be expected that there be a retreat or a return to the familiar.
It is a big question which I don't want to guess at an answer.

Instead I will offer my hope for reversing the dichotomy of old vs new music. That CM lovers cultivate two traits: 1) curiosity about the music being composed by living composers; and 2) an open mind concerning what they hear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #848 ·
It is a big question which I don't want to guess at an answer.

Instead I will offer my hope for reversing the dichotomy of old vs new music. That CM lovers cultivate two traits: 1) curiosity about the music being composed by living composers; and 2) an open mind concerning what they hear.
That would be fine but I doubt it's going to happen. CM, like many other of our pastimes, is an escape from the realization of the growing dysfunction of our society and of the general state of things in the environment and in the state of world order. These times are different from past times in several extremely important ways.
 

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Discussion Starter · #849 ·
Do you think that repeating the same thing over and over is going to make your argument any more convincing or more righteous for that matter. Not to mention that one might get away by presenting affectations such as ‘Principle of Charity‘ or Occam’s Razor once, but more than once reminds of someone who thinks they’re speaking from a pulpit or as a philosophy professor rather than on a simple forum. I’ve already mentioned that my view is that SM meant exactly what he said without realizing that it exposed a weakness in his previous comments and then backtracked. You, of course, conveniently ignored it and continue to sing the same song as before, as if SM needs your protection, like some Jeanne d’Arc riding a very high horse.
It is true beyond contradiction that DaveM and his cohorts cannot understand my position. It is not that they will not, they just cannot--the wrench is just too great. Carefully erected intellectual and esthetic structures would collapse--actually without real harm--were my views to be widely accepted. Everything important remains in place for the CM listener--the music, the grading, the response to experts and critics and to clusters--all these things continue on but on a personal, individual level. Or even on a voluntary group level. There is just no more exoskeleton of "objectivity" or of metaphysical sanction to support one's inclinations. You are self-reliant and responsible for your own values and preferences.
 

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Discussion Starter · #850 ·
Wooduck: "DaveM and I both read SM's words to mean, "I have 75 years of experience listening to music and I think I'm capable of judging what's good."
I mean what I say and say what I mean--the quote of me is entirely correct: "I have 75 years of experience listening to music and I think I'm capable of judging what's good--good for me! For others, perhaps 75 year's listening is not good enough and they seek backbone and validation from others.
 

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The claim that CM audiences are less well versed now than they used to be needs some verification, not least that we are comparing like with like. It seems to me that those who listened to CM in Beethoven's day were largely the well-educated, musically, and comparable to those who would claim to be so today.
 

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Thanks. I remember reading this the first time, and can see, as you said, points of alignment with, and difference from SM's view.

You say that:

there are two crucial elements of the profound, one of which is tied to the sublime and the other is not. The first one that is tied to the sublime is the intensity of the emotions and experiences it stirs. The second one that isn't tied to the sublime is the nature of finding important patterns, even truths, that lie buried under the apparent chaos of our experience; whether we find such things in nature, as science does, or psychologically within ourselves doesn't make much difference, at least not to how I perceive the meaning of the word. By uniting patterns I don't simply mean, eg, the recognition of sonata form, but the way in which the various patterns of music provokes us to connect it metaphorically and isomorphically with either externally observed patterns or internally felt patterns, even emotional ones,
On the second element, particularly the point in bold, would you illustrate? Thanks
 

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I agree completely. My best guide to what is great is me. The best I can do with others is to recommend a piece of music by telling them I liked it and hope that they like it also. We however all have a tendency to equate our likes with "try it; it's great!" like Tony the Tiger. Force of habit and the suspicion that our tastes are inherently superb so everybody else will think so too.
Or our suspicion that our tastes are inherently inferior and we need confirmation that they are not?
 

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"Common sense with eyes and ears" can (and have) been used to justify almost every belief under the sun both now and throughout history, including mutually exclusive propositions. That's as awful an epistemology as Woodduck's "my strong feeling = knowledge."
Here's the rub. Your epistemology is something along the lines of (I apologise if I get this wrong) "we can know things when there is sufficient scientific evidence for them". But how do you know "we can know things when there is sufficient scientific evidence for them"? Maybe you claim it's because using this knowledge we can build rocket ships (amongst many other extraordinary accomplishments); but why should building rocket ships be taken as evidence for any sort of knowledge; alternatively, maybe the rocket ship is an illusion? Eventually, if you go far enough down this epistemological rabbit hole, you will find that the only possible answer to these questions is some variation of "common sense".

You are right that we can use this to justify most anything, but we can use most anything to justify most anything. We must tread carefully, and, most importantly, rationally, but not treading at all is a poor choice.

When I walk into a wall (as one does), I feel it hit me. When others walk into walls, they describe very similar sensations and observations. We can come up with explanations for why we should all feel running into a wall. You could explain this by saying all our subjective perceptions coincide, but there is no actual wall in any rational sense; there is nothing provably wrong with this explanation. Similarly, when I perceive art I find profound, read what other's perceive in art as profound, and look at commonalities in profundity in art across cultures, I could conclude that there is nothing too this profundity in art thing beyond a coinciding of subjective perceptions; there is nothing provably wrong with this explanation. However, there is a wall, and there is, as far as I can tell, characteristics of artworks that make them profound.
 

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Discussion Starter · #857 ·
Or our suspicion that our tastes are inherently inferior and we need confirmation that they are not?
I don't know about you but 65 years of listening rapturously to cante ffamenco white being surrounded by armies of those who find it distasteful at best and hideous at worst does not lead to feelings of inferior taste but perhaps to a feeling of greater expansiveness and scope than the average bear, when combined with many decades of listening to broad swathes of other sorts of music before I was aware that anyone else was out there listening. I am ancient enough to recall the early days of Doo-W0p and R&B on AM radio, and it being either ignored or castigated by the mainstream Tin Pan Alley establishment--then Tin Pan Alley began to embrace it via Pat Boone, the McGuire Sisters, even Perry Como!
 

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I don't know about you
Well, precisely. Joking aside, it's a curious paradox that we (sorry, "some of us") like to feel that we're in the avant-garde, smarter than the average bear, but, simultaneously, want to be in the big gang that recognises the same tastes, thereby validating our own.

I note you've got round the problem of the system not liking the word w0p. It also doesn't like h0m0.
 

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Discussion Starter · #859 ·
Here's the rub. Your epistemology is something along the lines of (I apologise if I get this wrong) "we can know things when there is sufficient scientific evidence for them". But how do you know "we can know things when there is sufficient scientific evidence for them"? Maybe you claim it's because using this knowledge we can build rocket ships (amongst many other extraordinary accomplishments); but why should building rocket ships be taken as evidence for any sort of knowledge; alternatively, maybe the rocket ship is an illusion? Eventually, if you go far enough down this epistemological rabbit hole, you will find that the only possible answer to these questions is some variation of "common sense".

You are right that we can use this to justify most anything, but we can use most anything to justify most anything. We must tread carefully, and, most importantly, rationally, but not treading at all is a poor choice.

When I walk into a wall (as one does), I feel it hit me. When others walk into walls, they describe very similar sensations and observations. We can come up with explanations for why we should all feel running into a wall. You could explain this by saying all our subjective perceptions coincide, but there is no actual wall in any rational sense; there is nothing provably wrong with this explanation. Similarly, when I perceive art I find profound, read what other's perceive in art as profound, and look at commonalities in profundity in art across cultures, I could conclude that there is nothing too this profundity in art thing beyond a coinciding of subjective perceptions; there is nothing provably wrong with this explanation. However, there is a wall, and there is, as far as I can tell, characteristics of artworks that make them profound.
A thoughtful post. At one point early in this thread I introduced Burke's concept of the Sublime as not necessarily a counterweight to profundity but as a thinking aid to help us understand the Profound. But having done that, I have separated the Sublime from the Profound, finding CM (and all non-verbal arts) to be not explicit enough nor outwardly-directed enough (to the extra-human world) to carry the weight of profundity. Sublimity, yes. Profundity, no. One might cite La Mer as being sufficiently attuned to the natural world to bring it to Profundity, but we recall the critic who wrote that he could neither hear nor see nor feel the sea in the work. Most of us can now, having been brought up with it titled The Sea and making the association. Yet it requires both the title and a bit more intellectual (verbal) content to raise it up from sublimity to profundity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #860 ·
Well, precisely. Joking aside, it's a curious paradox that we (sorry, "some of us") like to feel that we're in the avant-garde, smarter than the average bear, but, simultaneously, want to be in the big gang that recognises the same tastes, thereby validating our own.

I note you've got round the problem of the system not liking the word w0p. It also doesn't like h0m0.
And it hates Maine C00n cats too! I'd like to see a George Carlin-like list of the forbidden words.:rolleyes:

As far as being in the Big Gang, that is a goal that arouses mixed feelings. Everybody loves company, yet the same person, like two hearts beating within one breast, likes the exclusivity.
 
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