Apparently there used to a be bitter theological debate about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. This one feels like that to me.
We live in a relative, conditional kind of universe where the physics we need to make sense of it make "truth" only "correct" to within degrees of probability. There are no absolutes in the physical sciences so how could there be in art?
How can quality be quantified in order to objectively evaluate it, even if we could agree what aspect of music to "measure" in order to do so?
Parla has never been able to back up his claim for the objective superiority of classical over other music. The closest he got was to list five criteria when we were discussing the relative merits of Bernstein's "Somewhere" and Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" - and gave up when asked to say specifically why the former met his criteria and the latter didn't.
You are arguing with a faith position that affords sanctified status by genre. Had any discussions with a creationist lately?
FW said it all in two lines.
Vic, you suggest, based on the "laws" (?) of physics, that we have to strive for the "probable" and the "correct" instead of the "true". Is that the case? However, even in the physics, the mathematics, we start with an axiom to build the rest of the "laws". In Faith (and Politics), we start with a dogma (or, in a more polite form, with a credo). So, in Arts, there is no starting point and no "laws"?. Is it just the opinion (taste, etc.) that lead us to compose what?
And Troyen, till we reach..."the end of the day, the final countdown", there is a long way to go...
JAH, maybe, you have to suggest (or initiate a new thread on) the ramifications of the worst record covers in our listening experience, in purchasing a specific CD, DVD, etc., so that we may have a new impetus for further discussion about not only the "worst" but also how the "best" covers (and packages) affect our listening experience and purchasing habits.
Parla, when flipping through cds of unknown music, as I have done many times, I take the cover as my first indication of the type of music it might be. I can't speak for anyone else, but the cover design counts for something. It is not just wallpaper used as a background for information.
Looking through some of the cover candidates in this thread, I can say that I would not want to sample the music. It is a snap decision. It is illogical, I know, but that is the power of the visual image.
On the other hand, a striking image, such as the muscled black man and the white swan, would compel me to try the music.
I see no need to start another thread to discuss this. May I politely suggest that you and your friends start a new thread to discuss non-cover matters?
Unfortunately once Parla has hijacked a thread, there appears to be no going back.
Yep. Just like a conversation with a creationist. Here goes, anyway.
Vic, you suggest, based on the "laws" (?) of physics, that we have to strive for the "probable" and the "correct" instead of the "true".
I suggest no such thing.
However, even in
the physics, the mathematics, we start with an axiom to build the rest
of the "laws".
No we don't. We start with a hypothesis.
In Faith (and Politics), we start with a dogma (or, in a more polite form, with a credo). Parla
"Dogma" is not a credo, Dogma knows; credo believes. Why am I not surprised that for you there is no distinction between them?
in Arts, there is no starting point and no "laws"?
There are conventions, not laws. And great art breaks them.
Is it just the opinion (taste, etc.) that lead us to compose what?
Whatever am I supposed to make of this? Dropping the last word, I'm guessing you are asking me what the impulse to create is. What else could it be but subjective?
Why don't you stop this waffle and give us the objective criteria (which means quantifiable characteristics) against which music can be evaluated. The fact that you don't - after thousands of words - means that you can't. Because they don't exist.
So, JAH, covers matter! That's the question! So either the "worst" or the "best", we are at the hands of some manipulative producers who can change the course of a recording performance. So, enjoy the "cover" issue.
As you may see, JAH, I simply respond to questions "my friends" (?) keep raising over and over. So, your suggestion to start another thread is predominantly addressed to them. I can stop responding, if they cease revisiting the same areas of an annoying stalemate.
Vic, creationist or not (inventive perhaps), I still have to respond:
If you "suggest no such thing", what exactly do you suggest?
In mathematics (e.g. algebra), we start with certain axioms. But, even if we start with "a hypothesis", do you suggest that we may treat music-making on the basis of "a hypothesis" and which one?
Regardless of the difference (or not) of "dogma" and "credo", can they apply to Music and Arts and, if yes, in which way? If no, why?
"The are conventions, not laws". Is this a fact or an opinion? If it is the former on which criteria, objective basis do you make such a claim? And how can you objectively define which is "great art"? And in which way can you identify that "the great art" always (?) breaks The conventions and which ones exactly?
I'm not asking you about "what the impulse to create is". I'm asking you on which basis (musical, technical, structural, etc.) a composer should rely upon to start writing his works. "Subjective" cannot be only the taste or an opinion in random; could be a dogma, a credo and some more.
The "waffle" is not mine only; it belongs to all who participate in this repetitive debate. If you want an "exit policy", I may have some suggestions to make, but don't keep asking the same question, which, when I gave detailed answers, you dismissed them either as invalid or not making sense (to you). However, what kind of leap of logic is that objective absolutist assertion of yours "because they don't exist" (not even they might not exist)? So, if, tomorrow, somebody more lucid and bright than me comes with a better argumentation than mine and, somehow, sound convincing, are you going to accept that they might exist and you simply do not know them?
I really do not expect or wish to prolong the debate that, obviously, is at the detriment of quite a few other members. Do we have to consider of an exit policy, at least of this thread (for the sake of our pal JAH)? At least for me, FW, with his last post, has said it all and, actually, he has closed the matter.
"Of the Standard of Taste" an essay by David Hume
[I'm not saying I agree with it, but it's worth reading]
It is, surely, an absolute fact that, at the end of the day, at the final countdown, etc, etc, it all boils down to one's personal taste
I find it interesting that the people who were once condemning Parla for passing his opinions off as facts are now committing that very same crime.
Oh, I see, you listen to music not because you like it but because you feel you have to because people, like Parla, perhaps, say you ought to.
You must lead a very unhappy life doing things that others say you should rather than follow your own desires or...taste.
On the cother hand you have no idea what it is or have none...taste that is.
Now provide me with an argument to contradict that simple fact.
The "exit policy" is in your hands.
On and on he prattles with little idea of what he is posting or why.
A complete phoney, a troll...but why?
He has no choice in his addiction to the site? It is as difficult for him to pull himself away as an achoholic to give up drink.
Troyen1, you misunderstood me. I wasn’t taking the objectivists stand. I was merely saying that both view points of the issue can be thoroughly argued – thus, as a result, neither the subjectivist nor the objectivist stances can be said to be an absolute fact. This issue of tastes did not start on this website, it has been going on for centuries and will continue to do so. It is not going to end now with you saying “It is, surely, an absolute fact that, at the end of the day, at the final countdown, etc, etc, it all boils down to one's personal taste”. I truly believe that we simply do not understand art enough to begin with to say with certainty that it is subjective or objective.
With that said, let’s suppose I were taking the objectivist stance [which I’m not]. Believing that there is such a thing as high art, does not mean that that person does not still possess tastes or personal preferences. One may recognize the genius of Mozart, but that composer’s music still may not be to that individual’s likings. That person’s disliking of Mozart does not drive him to declare that art is all a matter of tastes, which would then, as a result, reduce Mozart to be the exact equivalent of Justin Bieber. But rather, instead of taking the subjectivist stand, he simply confesses that not all great art are in alignment with his tastes.
Troyen1 says “Now provide me with an argument to contradict that simple fact.” As I’ve stated, I wasn’t taking the objectivists stand. If you’d like to read a good objectivist argument, then read "Of the Standard of Taste" an essay by philosopher David Hume. It’s one of the most significant essays ever written on this issue:
Parla, I repeat:
This topic might be in the wrong thread, but it is relevant (it is about music) and it does address directly the little matter of why you provokes so much exasperation here.
Fact: You assert that classical music is objectively superior to other genres.
Fact: Objective reality is quantifiable.
Fact: A claim that something exists is different to a claim that it does not in that a negative cannot be proven - but you can prove a positive (to within degrees of probability). That's what makes it a positive.
Fact: You are making the claim therefore the onus is on you to provide evidence, not for us to prove there is no evidence available.
No one here is denying that there are not objective criteria relevant to what helps to make art, here music, great. In two pieces of music by the same composer, or two paintings by the same artist, one might involve greater technical complexity than another, but that won't be the aspect than makes one "greater" than the other. That lies deep within a whole range of subjective factors in both the creator and the audience. It is in the emotional realm, beyond bean-counting measurement.
So provide us with the objective criteria that would give support to your assertion. Give us evidence to back up your claim. Just how would you prove that Beethoven is greater than Puccini, and Puccini greater than Paul Simon?
Why pursue this point? Why, as you say, "go round in circles"? Why not just accept your persistent evasions and move on?
Because of the difference between dogma and belief. Because of the humility of doubt and respect for the views of others. Because, in the end, by focusing on the particular, your seeming assumption of mastery of the general is exposed a little more. No other reason at all.
Thanks a lot, fw, for your excellent post. It practically gives us an "exit policy" (or a sort of it) to this endless argument. The essay by the philosopher David Hume is a brilliant one that, at least, can make you wander at the certainty of the "subjectivist's" point of view.
Vic, I start realizing that there is no hope to communicate. You don't answer my questions, while you keep repeating the same old stuff.
The funny thing is that both the subjectivists and (obviously) the objectivists claim that their views are the absolute fact (or the truth: a forgotten word). In both cases, however, the claim of one side appears as an opinion to the other. However, the subjectivists make their statements and they do not bother to provide any argument to that effect. It's self-evident, they say and we are done! Their main argument (or weapon) is that they cannot find any merit in any argument from the side of the objectionists. And how can they? If you treat their statement as an opinion, you will treat their arguments the same way. In opinions, we don't need explanations: those who agree with the statement, they don't need any explanation and those who don't agree, they don't bother to listen to any.
The only way to find a possible "exit" is to consider that there is an objective way to "measure" the compositional skills of a composer and a work, at least at the level of the composition (the creation, the music-making), like any creation in any field (not only in Arts). This is measured, as it is taught in the appropriate schools, by the rules and laws which have been established by years of such creative work. So, if we may simply contemplate that, only in technical matters, there is a "measurable" way to evaluate the work in question, there is enough room to say after that, at our personal (or even collective) level, we might not like it at all.
In other words, at least as far as I am concerned, I don't try to deprive anyone's taste, choices, opinions etc. I just try to say that, in technical matters (they way the different works are composed), there is a way to appreciate Art beyond our limitations. There are people who have studied, done researche, know anything they should know about music and they have indulge in it for a lifetime. These are the composers themselves, the performers, the producers, the scholars, the professors, etc. who have to say something about why Beethoven's compositional writing is more skillful than Puccini's, despite the latter was more able in orchestration. And why Puccini's arias are more elaborated than the songs of Paul Simon and so on.
Think about it.
There are people who have studied, done researche, know anything they should know about music and they have indulge in it for a lifetime. These are the composers themselves, the performers, the producers, the scholars, the professors, etc. who have to say something about why Beethoven's compositional writing is more skillful than Puccini's, despite the latter was more able in orchestration.
Parla, these are very interesting assertions. I wonder if you could help in providing some references to any published works - analytical studies, articles, theses etc - which would help one further explore them? One would naturally expect that the collective body of expertise and knowledge to which you refer would have resulted in various sources which other professionals,students, researchers (and interested amateurs) might wish to consult for further study and possible enlightenment.
It seems as though the original subject of the this thread is now lost in the fog of distant memory - well, at least mine - so apologies if this has been mentioned before. Cecilia Bartoli's Sacrificium must surely be in the Premier League of Tasteless Covers.
Fantastic! Back to covers.
JKH, one person's tasteless is another's striking visual image. I'm not sure of the symbolism, or its relevance, but I like it.
Aren't we searching for the WORST cover? Tasteless is an art in itself. Remember, Manet's 'Olympia' was regarded as tasteless.