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The question has come up many times here as to what is music.

Isn't that questioned answered by what you compose?

Isn't what you write a reflection of what you believe music is

and/or should be. Or are you merely imitating the efforts and

precedents established by others. This is not to suggest that

imitation and following an established form is a bad thing.

Compared to the number of composers, revolutionary innovators

are few and far between from an historical perspective.

Regardless, there are certain elements of sound and sounds that

seem to separate music from 'noise', and acceptance can be

both individual and regional.

Is there any one common characteristic, across the globe, that

qualifies and separates music from noise?

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Serenity,

1- please come out from and stop hiding behind the absurd alias.

2- please stop asserting your own personal opinion as though it

    is some obvious fact

3- We do not have to be 'verbally critical' of anyone's music...

    we are not obligated to listen a second time if we do not like the piece

4- The appeal of Beethoven is entirely between Beethoven and the listener.

     It is not a question of comparative analysis

5-  No one that thinks for themselves falls prey to anything someone else

     advocates

6-  Enemies of composers?...... can you elaborate and list these scoundrals?    RS
 
Serenity Laine said:

No rotten tomatoes are warranted here.

We should save up our rotten tomatoes and throw them at any conductor who plays Beethoven's Seventh, without omitting the first, second and third movements.  (The scherzo is repetitious, too).

Twinkle, twinkle little star, in it's simplest version (put the Mozart variations to the side for a moment) is obviously superior to almost anything Beethoven wrote.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk4KHNJjpjQ

Of course we must criticize Beethoven, and not be afraid to do so.

If we don't we may fall prey to those who are advocating a complete and total aesthetic relativism.

That's what the enemies of composers everywhere want us to do.



H. S. Teoh said:

FWIW, the only thing I like about Beethoven's 7th is the finale. The 1st mvmt is passable, but I expected better from someone of Beethoven's stature. The scherzo is OK, but being based on the tones of an ascending major triad arpeggio isn't exactly inspiring. The slow movement I find utterly boring, repetitious, and artificially-sentimental (especially because people seem to like it so much for reasons incomprehensible to me). The finale, OTOH, redeems the rest of the symphony by its pure exuberant excellence. Twinkle, twinkle, little star, OTOH, saw some of the most amazing variations by Mozart, and if I were to speak by the standard of my own preferences, it would rank higher than Beethoven's 7th, were it not for the redeeming finale of the latter.

(Yes, I expect the rotten tomatoes to fly now in my direction for daring to criticize Beethoven. So be it. :-P )

Thank you for all these interesting questions, Roger.  I will deal with those I think deserve special attention.

"Please stop asserting your own personal opinion as though it is some obvious fact."

I have to politely decline your request. I hope you don't mind. I wonder why you address this request to me, specifically.  Do you meticulously go through all the posts made on Composers' Forum and make the same request of everyone who states their own personal opinion ("as fact," as you call it).  I believe you often state your own personal opinions, "as fact."  Virtually all people state their opinions in such ways that they might appear to be "stated as fact."  You can make your request.  However, I believe I am free to decline.

"We do not have to be 'verbally critical' of anyone's music... we are not obligated to listen a second time if we do not like the piece ...."

No one is obliged to listen to anything, even a first time.  Certainly, if a piece is difficult or complex, no one is obliged to think in this way: "There may be something here I am missing, and perhaps if I listen to it several times, I may get something that I missed." There is no requirement for people to develop their listening skills.  No one should be compelled to increase his or her ability to appreciate different kinds of music, or overcome previous biases they might have had about this or that composer.  We are all free to do as we like. 

"The appeal of Beethoven is entirely between Beethoven and the listener.  It is not a question of comparative analysis."

A friend of mine said he did not like classical music, and that he didn't understand the appeal.  He mostly liked rock music.  I invited him to come to my home, and I played a very good recording of a performance of one movement from a Beethoven symphony.  He changed his views dramatically, and decided that COMPARED to what he had been listening to, this was something entirely different and superior.  From that point on, he cultivated a taste for great symphonic music, Beethoven, Brahms, Haydn and many more.  It seems that it CAN be question of comparative analysis.  Beethoven is better than Bob Dylan, sorry, but that's a fact, in spite of what the media may promote. It's precisely by comparing the two that one can tell.  Compare (1) a novel or short story by Dostoevsky with (2) the daily comic strip, and determine the objective value of each.  Compare (1) a painting by Turner with (2) a scrawl by your next door neighbor's kid (unless that kid is the next "Leonardo DaVinci.")  Compare (1) a Mozart overture with (2) the next commercial jingle you hear.  In each case, the first is vastly better to the second.  I might stress this: The statements I have made are factual, not merely statements of opinion.  Unless you believe there is no such thing as beauty or truth. 

"No one that thinks for themselves falls prey to anything someone else advocates."

I am not sure.  If a person does some genuine thinking, yes, you are right.

"Enemies of composers?...... can you elaborate and list these scoundrals?"

It's a fair question.  But I used the phrase in the context of a discussion of "aesthetic relativism," a discussion of the attitude that says all things in art or music are equally beautifully or equally ugly.  I don't think you believe in "aesthetic relativism."  I think people who do might be considered enemies of beauty, enemies of truth, and therefore enemies of art and music.  But that's a matter for deeper debate and discussion.  Of course, individual composers, like Beethoven,  had many "enemies," or saw themselves as having enemies.   Who were these enemies and why were they enemies?  That also is a deeper question, that may warrant more discussion.  

OOoOOOOoooOoOo, so you dodge the first point and obfuscate on the others.

Why even bother to respond? You state a position that you think is 'obvious'?

Is it more obvious to you because you think you are more learned ?

Is it obvious to you because you have a greater sense of what is better music?

What is your objective measuring stick?

Let's have that discussion on 'aesthetic relativism'.

'I like it or I don't like it'.

'You like it or you don't like it.'

 End of discussion.

Why waste words?

Simplicity is the essence of wisdom

Complicating things is the focus and fodder of foolishness

and fanaticism. (and many wasted words)           RS

"Why even bother to respond?  Do you not want me to respond?

"You state a position that you think is 'obvious'?"  Yes. I do sometimes. Sometimes I don't.

"Is it more obvious to you because you think you are more learned?"   What is "it?"

"Is it obvious to you because you have a greater sense of what is better music?"  Again, what is "it?"

"What is your objective measuring stick?"  Do you use a stick to distinguish good from evil, the beautiful from the ugly, and the true from the false?

"Let's have that discussion on 'aesthetic relativism'."  Okay.

'I like it or I don't like it'. There are more possibilities. This is what might be called a false dichotomy. I won't list all possibilities. That cannot be done. You might partly "like it." You might partly dislike it. You may feel ambivalent. You may like it less today, but more tomorrow, and even more the day after tomorrow. You can imagine an infinite number of possibilities. If the maximum amount of liking something is 1.0 and the minimum is 0.0, then any number in between may apply. But we are talking about the value of a piece of music. We are not talking about whether a person "likes" a thing. The intrinsic value of a musical composition may be something entirely different from whether or not you "like it."  A meaningful distinction exists. If you want a purely hedonic calculus, then the experience of a high dose of heroin would be something a person "likes" better than any piece of music. The drug will give a person pleasure. He will like the pleasure. Deciding the aesthetic value of a work of art is an entirely different matter, don't you think? 

 "End of discussion."   Oh, that's odd. You say, let's discuss 'aesthetic relativism', and before I even have a chance to respond, you say, "end of discussion."  That doesn't seem very cricket of you.

"Why waste words?"  This is a forum, after all. Words are used. If we are concerned about too many words, why not change this into a Composers' Non-Forum. It could be a Composers' Silent Meditation Site.

Simplicity is the essence of wisdom. Complicating things is the focus and fodder of foolishness and fanaticism. (and many wasted words) . . . The Essence of Wisdom?  Didn't you say you were  ... what was the phrase  ... a common rube?   Well, aren't we all?  Can any one person say what the exact "essence of wisdom" is?   The Buddhists of the Nitartha school describe their approach to the Essence of Wisdom as follows:

"The Buddha taught three wheels of dharma, which comprise a complete path to enlightenment. The first wheel is study, which begins with learning the general structure of the three yanas and gradually progresses to comprehending their details. This process involves training in the art of listening, in eloquent speech, and in precise thinking."

I won't gainsay this, or affirm it unconditionally, but there are many approaches, within all Eastern and Western traditions, and some appear "simpler" or "more complex" than others. Suppose I said, "From one point of view, I entirely agree with you; and from another point of view, I disagree?"  

 

Fred, I love your sense of humor and the way you help to liven up this place.

Someone once said,'we're all Bozo's on this bus'. It does seem that some are

wearing bigger red noses than others.



Fredrick zinos said:

Roger, let me guess.. You are writing a book to be titled "Conversations with the Mentally Ill", and have decided to devote a chapter to the specimen at hand.

True understanding is not a fact or an opinion....

It is a resonance in tune with the universe.

Of course scoffers will deride and denigrate this.

Ergo; the parables .
 How many chalkboards full of equations did it take for Einstein to

'reduce' the expression to E=mc2?
Kristofer Emerig said:

So is this an opinion, fact, or an opinion posturing as fact?


roger stancill said:

Simplicity is the essence of wisdom

Complicating things is the focus and fodder of foolishness

and fanaticism. (and many wasted words)           RS

Dave, the only other 'phase' that comes to mind is 'a knowing'.

Can you define intuition? You can define the word, but can you

define the experience? There is a similar experience with music.

Is it individual, is it regional, or is it universal?

This is a part of my quest to try to get a better grasp on composition.

Mozart's music served his time and the genre of his time. Did he fathom the

idea of being a 'classical artist'? Probably not.

What purpose does your music serve? Why bother to write what you write?

Is it self expression, realized through established and accepted modes that

fulfill that dream?

Do you write what you write because 'that is where the money is'?

No telling where music will go in the future, but the human element will

always be the guiding light regardless of how far the pendulum swings.

Kris, It has nothing to do with what another experiences and finds to be true...

unless it does. Everything is not a competition. So no, you don't 'got it'.


 
Kristofer Emerig said:

Ah, got it. Everyone else's opinion is folly requiring rigorous proof as factual, whereas those who proclaim themselves divine resonators are to be assumed wise and correct, without support. I thought as much.

I sense a great deal of self amplification and resonant feedback in this circuit.. Tesla could nary do so well.

I write music because the chicks dig it, brother.

Ah, the Marvin Hamlish designation. I get that.

But that is short sighted if you are marriage and family oriented.

A resonance in tune with the universe..... 'a knowing'

That is the clarity. No tangent, no obfuscation, no complexity.

 Does overuse of the word "bloviating" qualify as a kind of verboseness? 

" . . .  we can supply our own anecdotes if that is the level of proof you need; my tutor who finds Beethoven overrated and much prefers Mozart . .. "

Sure you can.  It's a good anecdote.

Mozart and Beethoven are both at the top of the scale, with barely a hairs breadth between them.  Sousa isn't even on the scale. 

Look at several lists of the "Great Composers," modern, or historical.  Look at those where composers are ranked or unranked.  Sousa won't even be on the list.  Mozart and Beethoven will be at the top, or near the top, quite close to Bach and Schubert. Bob Dylan doesn't even qualify as a "composer."  He is a "songwriter, singer, artist, and writer."  Not the same thing.

 

 

Dave, just asking if someone 'possesses' such a thing shows a

lack of understanding. Have you ever possessed a 'moment of Zen' so to speak?

The appetite of scoffers and denegrators is insatiable.

I have never heard of anyone that existed in a constant state of Zen, yet those

'moments' happen. Are you familiar with the idea of syncronicity? Have you ever

experienced intuition?

If you go the grocery store, to the produce section, does there have to be a

label to signify the distinction between the 'small potato's' and the large potato's?

Of course not, you know 'small potato's' when you see them.

Large potato's are not better than small potato's, they have just grown more.
 
Dave Dexter said:

Do you possess a resonance in tune with the universe?

roger stancill said:

I write music because the chicks dig it, brother.

Ah, the Marvin Hamlish designation. I get that.

But that is short sighted if you are marriage and family oriented.

A resonance in tune with the universe..... 'a knowing'

That is the clarity. No tangent, no obfuscation, no complexity.

Kris, you're obsession with all this is almost, but not quite, flattering.

What is this? a gay Knight's Templar in front of a hungry vagina?

Sorry, but I'm not gay and I have red hair. Why does a man of your

caliber and sophistication apply himself to such a cause?

My intuition speaks... it says 'psycho-sicko'.

What goes around comes around..... you merely seed your own future.

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