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the problem here is that this doesn't actually get us any closer to any understanding of what "profundity" in music is, at least in an aesthetic sense. It's sort of just turning it into a semantic null, or at least a synonym for "popular among classical music listeners".
Probably not, but then I'm not really interested in finding a scientific definition for every facet of existence.
"Oh so you're a subjectivist then!"
"Again, so what?"
 

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Probably not, but then I'm not really interested in finding a scientific definition for every facet of existence.
Attempting to reduce "profundity" in music to a popularity-based polling question actually is an example of trying to reduce an aesthetic evaluation to quantifiable, measurable metrics.

I don't think there's any kind of scientific term either, which is why I don't think that's a good idea, except in the sense that we might aesthetically compare music that people frequently describe as "profound".
 

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Discussion Starter · #104 · (Edited)
For purposes of discussion I will grant to the arts in theory a claim to use the adjective "profound" in some instances. Yet my point remains that the sciences offer the more sweeping, broad, and uniform notion of the sublime, the profound, than do the arts. I love Bach, etc. but one cannot equate Bach with Galileo, Darwin, Hutton, Hubble, Einstein, or even the poet Lucretius writing de rerum natura. Two different scopes entirely--one turns the world upside down in wonder and awe, the other reaches and resonates with a far more limited group. How profound is Bach compared to Mozart, Beethoven, Bartok? The dreaded and reviled poll of scientists will far more likely agree on the profundity of the discoveries that the aforementioned scientists--and many others--made and the awe and wonder of the extra-human world they inspire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #106 ·
Attempting to reduce "profundity" in music to a popularity-based polling question actually is an example of trying to reduce an aesthetic evaluation to quantifiable, measurable metrics.

I don't think there's any kind of scientific term either, which is why I don't think that's a good idea, except in the sense that we might aesthetically compare music that people frequently describe as "profound".
If you consider something as profound, then for you it is. My position deals here with a larger audience discussing What Is Profundity--What Is Profound.
 

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Anyone can honestly think that, for instance; "Of course Mozart is damn good; it's just that all (the advantage) he has over his contemporaries is creaminess, which is good for all of us for sure", —having both an objective sense of seeing things ("Mozart is good"), and a subjective opinion ("it's all creaminess") at the same time.
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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While I do not disagree with your first paragraph's description, I would not agree that coherency is a necessary component for profundity. This is something a lot of Modernists realized: much of human experience is chaotic, disorganized, the very antithesis of coherency, and that one could not capture that experience with art that was (at least not too) cleanly coherent. So the Modernist authors invented/experimented with stream of consciousness, poets invented/experimented with montage, polyphonic voices, and other techniques that undermined coherency. Now, the Modernists still often sought to find unifying elements, whether it was religion or tradition, but typically they failed (as Pound said of his Cantos: "I can't make it cohere"). But even before then a proto-Modernist like Whitman had said: "Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself. / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)"

The postmodernists, meanwhile, did not seek any coherency but have been, by-and-large, content to treat all artistic history as a playground of toys to be played with to their fancy's content. I think part of that is the result of them growing up in later societies that were already a melting pot of cultures, people, and the arts in which they experienced so much variety without the prejudices and classism of judging some as being "higher" or "lower."
I hope not. I made a claim only about music composed under Romantic expressive aesthetics — 19thc and some 20thc music. The systems of metaphor I was addressing are largely irrelevant to a lot of modern music. Profundity in music of other eras is SEP (someone else's problem).
 
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Attempting to reduce "profundity" in music to a popularity-based polling question actually is an example of trying to reduce an aesthetic evaluation to quantifiable, measurable metrics.
Well, I for one am certainly not proposing the use of polls in this regard. Though, if one polled a cross-section of well-educated adults and found that many of them have at least heard of the music of Bach, the plays of Shakespeare and the paintings of Rembrandt, to me that is significant, regardless of whether they liked any of it, as all of that art is centuries old, yet it lingers in our collective memories.
 

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Attempting to reduce "profundity" in music to a popularity-based polling question actually is an example of trying to reduce an aesthetic evaluation to quantifiable, measurable metrics.
What can you do if you outright deny that anything called "profundity" can even be applicable to art, and if quantifiable metrics is your only criterion for aesthetic knowledge or truth? Popularity polls is all you're left with. Is the art of Vermeer a visionary celebration of the perceiving eye and mind, standing head and shoulders above the genre scenes of his contemporaries, and setting a standard for technical brilliance that has left other painters baffled and reverent for centuries? Hey, I have an idea. Let's take a poll.
 

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Discussion Starter · #112 ·
What can you do if you outright deny that anything called "profundity" can even be applicable to art, and if quantifiable metrics is your only criterion for aesthetic knowledge or truth? Popularity polls is all you're left with. Is the art of Vermeer a visionary celebration of the perceiving eye and mind, standing head and shoulders above the genre scenes of his contemporaries, and setting a standard for technical brilliance that has left other painters baffled and reverent for centuries? Hey, I have an idea. Let's take a poll.
I celebrate your personal love for and respect for the art of Vermeer. I love it also. But even if everybody else loathed his art or were indifferent to it, I would still love it. I have no need of belonging within the cluster of those who admire Vermeer as a validation of my admiration.
 

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Your counterexample of one! And Pollack, Cot, and Giorgione along a continuum. Let's add Kinkade, and the dogs playing poker. What are you contributing to the discussion?
Jackson Pollock please, not Pollack.
yours sincerely,
a concerned pedant.
 

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What can you do if you outright deny that anything called "profundity" can even be applicable to art, and if quantifiable metrics is your only criterion for aesthetic knowledge or truth? Popularity polls is all you're left with. Is the art of Vermeer a visionary celebration of the perceiving eye and mind, standing head and shoulders above the genre scenes of his contemporaries, and setting a standard for technical brilliance that has left other painters baffled and reverent for centuries? Hey, I have an idea. Let's take a poll.
And then if the poll results aren't to your liking, then Vermeer is only popular because he's well-known and wins in polls and because, well, we know what art historians say and we're just brainwashed.

What these threads make me wonder is: what's the goal here, or the "endgame"? Is it to help us poor benighted Bach-Mozart-Beethoven fans finally realize that our "idols" are really no better than Christmas with the Chipmunks? No matter how many debates or brilliant explications of subjective-objective-intersubjective we have, most people who are aware of both will still consider Bach's B Minor Mass more "artistic", more "monumental" and more "profound" than von Suppé's Leichte Kavallerie. But if a von Suppé fan thinks otherwise, more power to you.

"The most subtle question: whether a chimaera bombinating in the void can consume secondary
intentions..."
 

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Discussion Starter · #115 ·
Well, I for one am certainly not proposing the use of polls in this regard. Though, if one polled a cross-section of well-educated adults and found that many of them have at least heard of the music of Bach, the plays of Shakespeare and the paintings of Rembrandt, to me that is significant, regardless of whether they liked any of it, as all of that art is centuries old, yet it lingers in our collective memories.
With your idea of collective memories, I submit that you are in poll country, willing or not. Do more people love Bach than love Elvis? I don't know but I am sure we could find out, given enough time and money.
 

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I celebrate your personal love for and respect for the art of Vermeer. I love it also. But even if everybody else loathed his art or were indifferent to it, I would still love it. I have no need of belonging within the cluster of those who admire Vermeer as a validation of my admiration.
I am completely in accord with this. I'll wager most people are. Appreciating artistic greatness and profundity has never depended on belonging to a cluster. Rather, it's a primary - in many cases, I think, the primary - explanation for the existence and size of the cluster.
 

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With your idea of collective memories, I submit that you are in poll country, willing or not. Do more people love Bach than love Elvis? I don't know but I am sure we could find out, given enough time and money.
Is that a meaningful or useful question? What would such a poll tell us? What knowledge would we be seeking? Would we poll everyone? Of every culture, age and station in life? I sense a gorilla, an elephant, and lots of other creatures in the room...
 

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Is that a meaningful or useful question? What would such a poll tell us? What knowledge would we be seeking? Would we poll everyone? Of every culture, age and station in life? I sense a gorilla, an elephant, and lots of other creatures in the room...
It's very meaningful and useful for someone who's been rapped on the knuckles and looked down upon for their "unacceptable" tastes.
 

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So I repeat my thesis that profundity/sublimity in the Burkean sense is not really present in the arts to anywhere the degree that it is in science. The "Theories" of Relativity, the Expanding Universe, Plate Tectonics, Evolution, so many more, are what inspire, for me anyway, the most accurate and intense feelings of profundity
I understand that using quotes in "Theories" is supposed to mean that those are not theories but ....what exactly? Most philosophers of science like Kuhn or Popper, and very significant scientists, like Heisenberg and Hawkins, expressed the opinion that we do not exactly have the knowledge of the universe, we simply create the best mathematical models that help us navigate whatever is out there. From this point of view science is the most useful or arts.

What we, human beings, consider profound is this way or another a creation of human brain and spirit. From this point of view, I mean my point of view, Beethoven opus 131 is as profound as general theory of relativity. They belong to two different spheres of human interaction with the universe. Considering the mathematical complexity of Bach counterpoint no one can say what he could accomplish if he had an opportunity to apply the power of his brain to combinatorial mathematics.
 
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