Receive a weekly collection of news, features and reviews
Mark and Amfortas, to make it clear once more: It is not Dudamel himself who provides the claim that "Music is a human right". It is the journalist who interviewed him (you may read my introductory as well as my first posts of this thread), based on what the young and ambitious maestro has already done (and said): e.g. by creating and supporting youth orchestras as well as by bringing the Music to the less advanced areas (mostly of his country).
On the contrary, I do not see how Music (the good musical language, not any music anyone can create, find anywhere etc.) can fit in any existing definition of "human right". Definitely, I cannot see it as a "Natural" right, as long as one has to put enough efforts, time and financial resources to get through its value, significance etc. It cannot be "legal", since it is not a need for everyone. There is no content in it to justify its role for the protection entailed by its supposed legal character and there are not legal ramifications, if a society has to live with or without it.
Mark, I cannot see how Music can fit even in the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Even if we consider Music falling in the very broad definition of "Education" (Art.26), it will entail only the educational part of teaching it (and only a preliminary part) in (some) schools, which has nothing to do with the actual production, performance and support of this Art. Article 27 does not prove that Classical Music can be part of the "cultural life" of any Community. In other words, there is no feature of universality, standard behaviour from members of the society and no particular need for the humanity to have, claim, seek for it and, accordingly, for governments to protect it. In a nutshell, it is not a recognised right.
On the other hand, it has quite a few features of a privilege, as I have already mentioned in my previous posts. Once more: a) Music affects, concerns and can be comprehended, appreciated by those few who have to try hard to pursue it. b) Those who follow this procedure, they feel proud of their efforts and results (while the "outsiders" care less) and, finally, c) those few interested, affected and involved have to protect what they managed to achieve to get (again no signs of universality, of common need etc.).
Hello Parla ,
“b) Those who follow this procedure, they feel proud of their efforts and results (while the "outsiders" care less) and, finally, c) those few interested, affected and involved have to protect what they managed to achieve to get (again no signs of universality, of common need etc.).”
I am afraid to say that none of the criteria you have defined in your last point are part of what would constitute a privilege. Someone can pursue an interest (as you say) and fail miserably to comprehend the subject matter, Equally someone can purse an vocation with fanatical zeal, but in the end they could be a complete failure.
A privilege if not a natural right, must be contractual, (set under law) as far as far as the state is concerned. For instance a king can grant a subject a "knighthood or a Dukedom this is a privilege. A government can appoint a person to a cabinet position or to the role of a High Court Judge that is a privilege or privileged position. The state can also remove that privilege "that right".
Look to history , one of the fundamental facets of French Revolution in 1789 was that they aimed to abolish all privileges from the First and Second estate, so privileges are very much a contractual arrangement between the state and the community, which can be granted or removed under the social contract.
Following on from my last post. in you want to argue that ""Good Music" is a priviledge then you would argue something like.
"Classical music\Opera in the in the twenty first century is no longer an avenue open to all, in fact music has become marginalized in general education and the civic spaces of public life. Where once it held a privileged place as part of society’s cultural identity, it has now become an object of derision or ignored completely. Only those who make a special effort to explore and understand classical music, to aspire to something higher are in a position to appreciate something that has been lost to rest of society, in affect classical music and opera has become the preserve of the privileged few"
NB: I was a bit abrupt with my last post, my apologises
To start with you, Tjh. Of course, none can "force the real value" upon anyone as well as it is quite possible (I won't go that far to talk about "rights") and acceptable that someone cannot "be moved at all by the opening of Beethoven's 5th". This is my point too, since I cannot find any grounds how Music can be or become any sort of a "human right". Thus, it cannot be "forced" or protected (by law).
Amfortas, in my post #6 of Jan. 25 (on the previous page), I referred to a definition I found in Miriam Webster Dictionary, on which I built my view why Music may be considered as a privilege to those who pursue, indulge and, eventually, comprehend its real value and actual benefits.
If you check various dictionaries, you'll find some definitions that go beyond the question of the connection of "right" and "privilege". Some other definitions, close to the one of Miriam Webster, read as follows: "something regarded as a special honour, a rare opportunity and bringing particular pleasure".
Just consider the case of pursuing to become the first in your class or your profession. None is going to give you any particular privilege/right, but you will feel proud of your success, satisfied by your achievements and you can have a sense of pleasure of what you are dealing with. You may have heard some speeches, in some special places and occasions, starting with: "I have the honour and the privilege to address you today". In this way, to indulge in, to pursue, to deepen your knowledge in Classical Music can make you feel proud that you grasped an opportunity to become a better educated person, to get a pleasure of something that others cannot or have not managed to achieve etc. Of course, few may succeed in doing so. There are plenty of failures. That's why, very aptly you mentioned in your second post today about "Classical Music and Opera has become the preserve of the privileged few" (I'm sure you do not and cannot mean any contractually privileged one).
Regards to you as well,
Tjh, I fail to comprehend in which way it is "debatable" the value of protection...In which way, legally speaking, one may protect the Music and why? From my side, I said quite a few times that I do not see any reasoning for any protection, since it is optional to any one to pursue the deepening of his/her knowledge, experiences and understanding of the Arts.
I have no problem either whith the general statement that "the outsiders (have) to be authentically moved by Music". However, there is always the problem of definitions for a common understanding. What does this "authentically" actually mean?
Besides, "the value of the 5th is not affected by outsiders in any event". Still, however, some influential (of any kind) outsiders can contribute to some practical damage to the "fate" of the Fifth (and of Classical Music, in general).
Finally, in the example of "being first in my class or profession", I do not see such a "difference". My "colleagues" can understand my pursuit, but they cannot feel the pride for what I have achieved, the job satisfaction and the pleasure of doing so (since they are not in the position I managed to be). Likewise, in pursuing the Music, the outsiders may understand that you do something at least "different", which does entail some sort of extra effort, knowledge and experience that they do not (or cannot or do not want to) achieve. So, they will never comprehend, experience what you actually do and feel, but they can recognise...the difference of your pursuit and, in quite a few cases, they may even understand the scope of it.
I have been following this thread from a safe distance, but I have to say three things before I make a constructive suggestion to get informed.
I have read various contributions with increasing amazement with regard to:
a) self-regarding indulgence of the listener to music who things that he/she has a human right to do so;
b) the reduction of music to classical music which other people appear not understand;
c) music is actually produced for us by musicians, and we are the privileged listeners to their performances.
Let me just say that international agreements do actually have something to say about the human rights of composers to compose and musicians to play music.
Music involves an unlimited number of possibilities for human beings to express themselves. Lyrics can bring detailed messages of love, hate, fear, violence, etc.A melody in itself can communicate joy, hope, sorrow, a dramatic event, a special mood or a sound image of everyday life. All of these different expressions fall under the protection of the freedom of expression in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 19.
The European Court of Human Rights has interpreted artistic freedom of expression in a broad way. In a judgement from 1988 the Court observed, that “Those who create, perform, distribute or exhibit works of art contribute to the exchange of ideas and opinions which is essential for a democratic society. Hence the obligation on the State not to encroach unduly on their freedom of expression”.
For musicians, freedom of expression particularly implies: freedom to play music in public as well as in private; freedom to give concerts; freedom to release CDs.
However, there are exceptions: propaganda for war is always unlawful, as is advocacy for national, racial or religious hatred; states may also limit freedom of expression if it is necessary for a certain number of other reasons; respect of the reputations of others (defamation); protection of national security, public order, or of public health or morals. In any case such limitations must be prescribed in a national law.
The above is quoted from the following website which you could do well to visit and become more enlightened:http://freemuse.org/archives/30
Let us stop being self-indulgent and address real priorities. The human rights of composers and musicians are primary and have to be protected. If they are not protected we have little to listen to. The basic human right of composing, playing and listening to music is the right to participate in cultural life.
We may differ with respect to our personal evaluation of the quality of different musical genres, but this entirely irrelevant to the fundamental issue of human rights.
Please address these fundamental issues. In the meantime, I will research your human rights to listen to music. Or contact your elected representative in your parliament if you feel that you are denied your human rights, or go to a court of justice. If this is not possible, then you really do have a problem of your human rights to listen to music.
enjoy with music
Thanks again, Tjh, for another stimulating post.
Protection is not meant only against "assault". It entails any kind of protection against any practical damage from any source or even lack of action.
I can "accept Music being treated with disinterest" as long as this disinterest does not create or constitute a threat or damage to the development of Music.
The phrase "I do not see any reasoning for any protection" refers only to legal protection.
I used the word "fate" exactly because the "influential outsiders" cannot affect the value of the work but they can contribute to the negative effects of its fate (e.g. as a result, the Tragic Overture not to be performed but rarely; it can be neglected or forgotten etc.).
Broadcasting in elevators or restaurants etc. Classical Music works can be tolerated. However, those who see it as a negative act against the Music may voice their disagreement, at any time and at anyone involved.
By saying "to indulge in, to pursue, to deepen your knowledge in Classical Music can make you a better educated person..." has nothing to do with the disinterest of others; it has to do with me only. That's why I claimed I feel proud and privileged.
Thanks a lot for your contribution, Socrates. Allow me some sort of response to some of your points you raised:
- As long as I and all those of us who do not recognise Music as a "human right", there is no "self-indulgence" whatsoever of any listener.
- There is no "reduction of music to Classical Music". It is the fact that the question I raised is based on an interview by maestro Dudamel, from which the interviewer journalist claimed that "Music (treated) as a human right". Since the young and aspiring conductor is dealing, promoting and, most importantly, serving Classical Music (the good musical language), the issue is not to deal, generally, with any music anywhere, but with a more specific, relevant and difficult to properly access (in many ways) musical genre.
- The human right of the composers does not justify that their products constitute a human right too, as long as this product is not a factual need for each and every listener.
- Likewise, artistic freedom of expression has nothing to do with the outcome of it. Hence, the obligation of the State is "not to encroach unduly on their freedom of expression", because exactly the actual human right is the freedom of expression, not the encouragement, promotion and protection of its product. In other words, there is no ground of claiming any sort of "human right" for promoting, spreading or providing free access to Music as long as the potential listener can always claim "I do not need this Music".
Unfortunately or not, people can and do live without Music, at a quite high ratio, woldwide. This fact only can prove that, no matter how hard any Dudamel (or jounalist or institution) will try, there can never be a justification for calling, much more treating, Classical Music as a "human right".
Thanks again to you, Tjh, as well. Allow me please to clarify, a bit further, my position in relation to your last post:
- The "self indulgence" reply to Socrates had to do with his claim that the "self-regarded indulgence of the listener to music who things that he/she has a human right to do so". So, I responded that, as long as I do not recognise any "human right" in listening, pursuing, indulging in Music, I do not see any "self-indulgence" to that effect. Besides, indulging in Music is not exactly the same thing as indulging "in me only".
- I defined privilege based on one of the definition of the word given in a couple of well-established dictionaries.
- If you value that much "sitting next to me in a concert", that can be your privilege, regardless of whether I acknowledge it or not (and vice-versa).
I'm happy that in the following paragraphs you refer to "rights" and not human rights. By all means, one can say "no" to any right, but not to human rights. The right to shelter or food or clean water are so fundamental that none can deny them and they should be protected (both legally and in practical terms). Listening to Music might be an optional need and, in certain ways, a right, but not a human right.
◦ 13 issues per year
◦ 45,000 reviews online
◦ Digital archive since 1923
The latest news, features, blogs and reviews delivered weekly to your inbox!
User our new store map to help you find your nearest Gramophone stockist
If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.
Gramophone is brought to you by Mark Allen Group
Gramophone is part of MA Music, Leisure and TravelAbout Mark Allen Group | International licensing