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This phrase has always hit me as somewhat foreign.  It makes more sense to me when applied to an instrumentalist… But for a composer, this idea sounds somewhat constricting.  What if one arrives 'at this voice'.  Does one then just hang onto it?  A lot of artist and composers seem to.  To make a niche that is all their own, is the goal it would seem…  Some composers/artists  have found great variety within their 'voice' ..and it seems to have not limited them at all… 

Yet this idea seems to have also limited some composers'/ artists' expressive scope..

Today we can fill ourselves with the vast historical record of what has been done, like no other time before…  Pour all these musical shapes and attendant responses deep into the psyche for a few decades… Who can say how the unconscious mixes it all up, and how it expresses it's fullness in our compositional creativity...

To me, each piece has a voice that wants to be released - if we are lucky -….. The parameters ('style') in which that happens - to me is quite fluid… and can shift radically from piece to piece.. And even within one piece one can imply many styles - that are going thru and around… 

Funny, it seems that Bowie - if he would've hung on to Ziggy Stardust -As his voice, we never would have gotten his great funk album "Young Americans', with the 'thin white duke' … Or his progressive side with "Station to Station"… to his breakdown album 'Aladdin Sane" - 'Breaking Glass'…to his minimalist heroic "Heroes" with Fripp and eno's colorful light display… to 'Scary Monsters' and 'Fashion' as social commentary thru acerbic wit and grit..

I guess Bowie comes to mind, in order to address this idea of 'identity' (voice) - and question if 'finding one's voice' is a good idea at all?

When Bernstein went Broadway, Koussevitzky - and many others thought ill of his decision.

Miles always wanted to do a rock album,,, but didn't...

Mozart's mass in C minor ( a Later work) sounds a lot like Bach.

Perhaps this is just semantics, and some identities have just greater scopes than others, and that is neither a good or a bad thing in and of itself. (?)

For me, (mostly) composition wasn't something about finding my voice - 'not sounding like another'…  but more that each piece Is its own voice…  (if it works) … and it may indeed sound like many others,  however much derivative (pejoratively or not) - is in the ear of the beholder...

Some random thoughts at the end of the day…  


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Hello Roger,

Thank you for your comments and replies.

You said,

"Ondib, you certainly seem to have a lot of nerve... at least in the context of the unreal internet."

I am not sure what you mean by "a lot of nerve" exactly. Perhaps I should take it as a compliment. As far as "the context of the unreal internet is concerned," I am not sure this context is any more real or less real than any other location in which words might be exchanged. Still, my wife has always observed that often words are more easily misconstrued in email messages and internet communications than in face to face contact, since one doesn't observe emotion directly, or see any expression or hear any nuance in the voice. Therefore, some communications often seem harsher or less friendly on the internet than they might otherwise be perceived. I think that's a fairly good observation. It may explain some of our mutual misunderstandings.

"I wonder how things would go in a 'face to face' discussion."

Probably, almost certainly, a greater understanding would be achieved, since more words could be exchanged, and fuller appreciation of the person could be attained, or at least a partial recognition of the personality, as being constituted by something more than a mere reflection of scattered thoughts and concepts on a screen.

"Do you really believe that your initial response to the first 'generalized' video I showed was 'reasonable' and not what Peter alluded to as being a typical
reactionary liberal ploy, known as crying 'foul'?"

What was the very first video? I don't recall it. Nor do I recall the very first reaction. So I cannot qualify it. In my communication with you right now, I am not so much interested in your interpretation of what you think Peter was alluding to. I am not even sure he was referring to my "initial response" to something. I have asked him about his statements, and he can respond to them for the sake of clarification if he likes. I am more interested in your reactions to my specific questions which were addressed to you. Such as: can you clarify whether you disbelieve in democracy as a viable system of government; and if you don't believe democracy is viable or useful, what kind of non-democratic system of government do you believe is superior, either as a matter of historical practice, or in theory.


On the question of my response to any particular statement you have made (or any set of statements, or any video link you have posted), I think you will have to be more specific. Please quote the response you are referring to. Otherwise, it's very hard to evaluate the particular response.

"Is that how Plato or Socrates would
have responded ?"

Excellent question. Both Plato and Socrates had very different reactions, or verbal responses, that they gave to very different types of interlocutors. For instance, when Socrates spoke to Meno, Protagoras or Gorgias, the tone and substance ranged from friendly to mildly antagonistic and oppositional, but always in a respectful manner. With other very hostile speakers, like Callicles or Thrasymachus (who worshipped power and wealth above all), Socrates was often highly critical, and even strident or hyperbolic. In extreme cases, when his life was in danger, and his interlocutors even threatened him with death (with the ability to carry out their threats, as they eventually did), Socrates was alternatively ironic, sincere, and unapologetic for his criticism of his foes. So there were many kinds of responses he would give, depending upon the audience and the interlocutors. Logos (Logic), Ethos (Ethics) and Pathos (Emotional expression, where appropriate) were always in force, to varying degrees.

"I seriously doubt it."

You doubt Socrates would respond to you as I have done. I am sure that's right. I don't claim any ability to imitate Socrates with precision; I just say that Plato and Socrates (and many other philosophers and thinkers) inspire me. That's all. I do the best I can.

"With a discussion of ANYTHING there are pro's and con's."

Ah. Well, I think that's almost certainly incorrect. I doubt you would say, in this day and age, that there are pro's and con's to slavery as an established institution, for instance. At least, I hope not. I doubt you would agree that there were pro's and con's to the Stalinist purges and mass executions that took place in Soviet Russia. Nor would either of us say that there were pro's and con's to the mass rapes of countless innocent women that have taken place during war. In the Balkans, for example, or anywhere, for that matter. I don't even think you believe your own statement that "with a discussion of anything" there are pro's and con's, unless you are in love with sophism or moral relativism. Please correct me, if I have misunderstood your meaning. To go a bit further, if we say 'anything' can be debated, with attention toward the "two sides of an issue" we end up with a problem of "false equivalency." If we have a discussion about the "pros" and "cons" of Newton's Theory of Gravity, or of the "theory" of a heliocentric planetary system, we would have to agree at the start that one side is right, and the other is wrong. In moral questions, such as Hitler's decision to kill millions of people based upon the race, ethnic origin or religious heritage of certain people, we can agree that it was wrong, and most definitely NOT debatable. (Though you can give me a better example if you can think of one).

You asked me,

"Do you really think that anything 'con'trary to your beliefs has to be based on hatred?"

I don't REALLY think that, or even think that. Amongst "beliefs based upon hatred," I include so-called "systems of thought," like Nazism. I include any view that fosters generally—based on false stereotypes, bias and scapegoating—the assumption of the spiritual and moral superiority of a race of people. Although I disagree with Constitutional Monarchy, and it is contrary to my beliefs; and although I think that John Kasich's brand of "Republicanism" is largely misguided (and contrary to my beliefs), that does NOT mean I believe such beliefs are based on "hatred." I would say that "most" beliefs which contrary to my own, in a wide range of areas, ARE NOT based on hatred. This is the case, whether such beliefs have to do with the fields of culture, politics, economics, sociology or religion. However, I think anti-Semitism, homophobia, sexism, and racism are based on kinds of hatred.

"You are the one that is blindly assuming, and attempting to censor an open and HONEST discussion."

What is the evidence I have ever tried to censor anything? I have never done so here, or in any web venue, internet forum, listserv, chatroom, bulletin board or area where views are expressed, even when I had the power to do so. I have never even torn down one of my own threads here, on Composers' Forum, when people expressed views that I might have strongly disagreed with. So I have to say: either you are deliberately lying about my actions, when you say I am "attempting to censor" anything; or your memory is very poor; or you are mistaking me for someone else; or something else has led you to say that. Perhaps you could explain why you have made such an erroneous statement about me. (I am absolutely sure you cannot name one single instance of my having censored one word that anyone has written down on this forum).

"I for one , (since and only since, YOU wish to make a major issue of it) would like to know, and put this anti-semitism notion to rest."

I don't make an issue of this. You do, when you post certain links, or when you refer in glowing terms to certain authors, such as Eustace Mullins. I have received private communications from other members of this forum who make the observation that it is you who disseminate anti-Semitic views and links here, and people have made their views known on the Forum in open comments, even to the point where two moderators have had to intervene. So you know I am not making this up.

"What is the reason, from your well studied perspective, that the Jews have been
so maligned throughout history?"

Racism. (I know you like short answers. How's that?)

"Do you think you could narrow this idea down, and state a constructive answer in 2 or less paragraphs?"

Certainly. It only needed that one word, really. Still, permit me to say, in this context, the question has a hidden and false premise. One may as well ask why the Kurds, Native Americans, Black Africans, Tamils, Arabs, Irish, Slavs, Persians, Catholics, numerous religious minorities, homosexuals, and women have been so maligned, mistreated, and abused in so many historical contexts. The answers will vary slightly from nation to nation, region to region, and from commentator to commentator. You can be sure that prejudice, bias, race hatred, religious bigotry (as well as false propaganda, opportunistic scapegoating, indoctrination, land grabbing, property confiscation, justifications for imperialism and rationalizations of slavery) are involved one way or another, in most of these situations. There is no more reason to ask the question about Jews than there is to ask it about any other minority people that has suffered persecution historically.

It's funny, you say you don't want this to be about anti-Semitism, and then you ask why Jews are maligned. Of course, anti-Semitism is, in its origin and nature, "the maligning of the Jews as a social group." (Whether you wish to call Jewishness a racial, an ethnic, a cultural or a religious characteristic, or all four of these). So why do you ask the question, if it is not to continue this discussion (in light of your stated desire, using your words, to "put this anti-semitism notion to rest?)" [As if there is one single "anti-Semitism notion"; there in fact a great many].

You say, "I have black friends, and I have Jewish friends." ... "I have agnostic friends and I have Pentacostal friends" ... "Those few that I meet and talk to, that I have differences with, are still not my enemies, and I do not hate them for our/their differences."

I take you at your word. Still, I would be interested to witness a conversation between you and one of your Jewish friends, after you read to him out loud the first several pages of Eustace Mullin's "New History of Jews." I would be interested in your friend's reaction, and I wonder if you would be friends for much longer.

It's doubtful you would remain on very friendly terms with a Black person after reading a manifesto of the KKK out loud to him, and then saying you think there are "a lot of good ideas here." If you collected Donald Trump's negative statements about Mexicans all together, and read them out loud to your Chicano, Latino or Hispanic friends, and said, "there is much positive food for thought here," such friendships might be slightly strained, to say the least.

"These confrontations should be viewed as learning experiences. Can you grasp the 'spirit' of such a notion without it being clinically defined?"

Clinically? I usually don't define things "clinically," though you have attempted to make actual "clinical psychological diagnoses" over the internet, during some of these forum discussions. We can leave that to the side. I totally agree that CONFRONTATIONS are almost always learning experiences, and that the way you suggest is the best way to view them.

Regarding "socialism," you add a postscript,

(though the rather complex and long history of "socialism," and its current relevance to the election debate alone, indicate it deserves more than a mere postscript).

"ps- the idea of any form of socialism is to create a fiction...."

Interesting. But no data, once again, or any evidence. Nor any attempt to address the REALITY OF DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM (I notice you drop back into the use of the almost vaporously broad term "socialism," instead of addressing my suggestion to learn about and focus upon the democratic variety, as practiced in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Holland, Switzerland, to varying degrees; and upon the FACT that every economically advanced nation, except the US, has a form of "socialized" medicine, which has been implemented democratically, through the ballot box).

"it is not a real entity and never will be."

It is a form of government, practiced in many locations.

Now on one level, I can agree with you, when you say,

"you are, and I am- real .... all governments are 'ficticious entities' and false authorities, and only the Individual is Sovereign."

I agree that the individual human being (human personality, human soul) is REAL, sovereign and possessed of the priceless gift of free will. I agree with you that human beings have a kind of reality, and deserve a kind of respect (in the Kantian sense) that mere transient political arrangements and governmental systems do not deserve.

As Kant says, human beings should be looked at as "ends in themselves," and never as a "means to an end." All constitutions, laws and social arrangements are means to an end, hopefully the best that can be contrived at a specific point in history.

"Who and what are you answering to?"

Is that a serious question, or a joke question? I am not sure what you want to know. I have a boss, at the University where I teach, a Campus Director, whom I "answer to." I answer to the local, state, and federal laws, as enforced in my community. The members of my family "answer to each other." We all "answer to" the moderators on Composers Forum, if certain difficulties arise You'll have to focus the question more sharply if you want to want a more precise answer. But this isn't really about "me." It's more about the issues under discussion.

grerorio, you mention that possibly 'fear' plays a part in the why of anti-semitism.

I'm not so sure. Looking at the history of it, I don't really see anything to be afraid

of -especially when compared to stories of the Mongels for instance and even some

of the stories of the Vikings, and present day 'terrorists' (whoever they are).

The sense I get from what I read and view, and what seems more compelling,

is the practice of 'usury'.

Whereas most religions around the world, more or less condemn the practice, in the Torah it is

stated that Jews can practice this with people outside of their belief, but never

with and amongst themselves.

I am interested in hearing what you think about this as a lens to an insight.        RS
gregorio X said:

Thank you for entertaining the question , Roger.

I guess, for me, the idea of hating a person Because they are part of a ethnic/religious/non religious etc, group, is pre-judging them w/o knowing them as a individual.  So it translates to me as a kind of blind hatred…  As far as 'why' this may happen, is probably a very complex question, but i would think thatwould play a part in there... fear

Personally, i can't think of anyone i know, that i hate… and i am thankful for that.  It must be most difficult for those who have this emotion as part of their emotional make-up...

Peter, you said, "I find this to be a little disingenuous."  ... OLM said; ... "But this isn't really about "me." It's more about the issues under discussion."

And yet you begin your post by talking, not about any issue, not about something substantive. You begin by talking about a person. You do that rather than begin by conversing about anything connected to the topics under consideration. The same goes for the second paragraph, a personal characterization of an individual, and his activities as a teacher (a criticism which has no justification or basis, since you, Peter, present no evidence to indicate you have been in classroom (recently), or that you have any ability to judge what is good teaching; and I suspect it goes without saying you have not observed any member of Composer's Forum teaching. Am I wrong, or have you gone into the classrooms of any members of the forum, in order to see them teach, and evaluate their performance? )

All this constitutes the grossest form of ad hominem argumentation once again, attacking the person rather than addressing the issue. Do you know how many times you have done that now? Do you feel Peter, any sense of shame, or sense of hitting up against the limitations of your ability to form a coherent argument, after your seventh, eighth or ninth ad hominem attack on this forum? Can't you do better than begin your post with personal attacks? Frankly, I think you can.

I had said,

"All constitutions, laws and social arrangements are means to an end, hopefully the best that can be contrived at a specific point in history."

You replied,

"I probably would have used the words 'manufactured' or, 'constructed' in place of 'contrived' in this sentence."

Maybe you would have. But how would that difference in wording alter the argument? Do you agree with the main point which Roger made, namely, that people (living human beings) should be the primary focus, and are deserving of being treated as "ends in themselves" rather than as "means to an end?" Do you agree with Roger, in saying that governments, laws and constitutions are products of their time, and have an air of unreality about them? That was the point of his statement, I believe. I was agreeing with him.

You asked, " ... how might you describe 'the end' from which laws and social arrangements are the means from?"

I don't quite understand the question. Do you want to ask me "what is the end towards which the laws and social arrangements are the means?"

For the sake of simplicity, I would endorse the broad goals, the end for which we are striving, as stated in the Preamble of the US Constitution:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity ..."

Aristotle, Livy, Montesquieu, Locke, Rousseau, and Swiss and Dutch constitutionalists said this earlier, and in slightly different ways, but that is the gist, as large numbers of Americans understand it today.

I had said,

"There is no more reason to ask the question about Jews than there is to ask it about any other minority people that has suffered persecution historically."

You replied, without any support for your claim,

"Sounds like Olm is attempting to defend the indefensible in spite of what his very own knowledge base about Zionist Jews guarantee as fact."

You are falling into several errors here, again Peter. Simple logical errors, which have been pointed out.

You are conflating Zionism with Judaism, and Zionists with Jews. You also repeat the error of attribution. Most Zionists (people who support the current policy of Israel, and its expansion) are not even Jews. Most Zionists, in the US are fundamentalist Christians. Ted Cruz and virtually all the Republican candidates are Zionists. On these simple logical distinctions, Peter, you appear to be engaged in acts of conflation and obfuscation. Either that, or you simply don't understand the most elementary principles of logical analysis.

There are many more errors in your position, as stated, Peter. You make an assertion about my "knowledge base," in connection with Zionist Jews, but you don't say what knowledge is lacking, or how the supposed lacunae alter the discussion. What knowledge or opinion do you think should be put on the table? The discussion was not about Zionist Jews to begin with, but about racist statements made about Jews as a people. The anti-Semitic arguments which Eustace Mullins makes are not about Zionist Jews, as such, but about all Jews, as is clear from the examples I quoted in previous posts.

You said, Peter, as if to reassure people, that you believe the following:

"Of course, all Irishmen aren't alcoholics. All Indians aren't savages. all Germans aren't Nazis. All Greeks aren't gay and lesbians, All Mexicans aren't inbreeds. All Italians aren't mafia gangsters. All.... You get the point."

The fact that you even use such a term as "inbreeds" is an indication of something odd going on in your manner of presentation. The fact that you would echo the term "savages" is a bit bizarre. Actually, I am not sure people "get the point." Because the question arises: Even if people take you at your word, are you likely to turn around in a post or two, and utter another anti-Semitic statement or racial slur? [Why even utter all those racist generalizations above, in order to "make a point?" Is that productive or necessary? Does it prove something, to say that you believe "All people of race X are not possessed of characteristic Y"? I don't think it does.  It is also quite noticeable that you don't say in your list that "all Jews" should not be tarred with a single epithet.  ]

"It's clear and plain to see that, what he has been attempting to do in most of his post/blogs here is, confuse and obfuscate the points and opinions of nearly all who engage with him."

It's not at all "clear and plain." It's merely your assertion, and that assertion is stated without supporting reasons, evidence or valid inferences from data.

I just explained how your statement about Zionists was logically fallacious and misleading. I quoted your statement verbatim, and I offered two reasons it should be considered logically unsound.

If you want to say I have engaged in "obfuscation," then it would help your position to explain where and how the problem arises, and why you think it's obfuscation. As far as "confusion" goes, that's something you claim is happening; and if it is, it's something that is happening in your mind. If you have been confused, that's on you. You can remedy that merely by asking that the "confusing" statement or statements be explained. Making false accusations about "obfuscation," and then not saying where an argument appears unclear to you, is hardly helpful.

Sorry, about your conclusion, which hardly seems relevant: the baby, the contrition, hail mary's and so forth. Perhaps you could explain it. I don't go to Sunday Mass; I am not a Catholic, nor am I regular attender at any particular house of worship in any organized religion.

Permit to repeat a question, Peter, that you did not answer. I thought you were supporting Bernie Sanders. Now it seems you may be more sympathetic to the view that Democratic Socialism (or perhaps any kind of socialism) is not a way to address some of the social ills we have.

When you say that I am "defending the indefensible," what do you mean? I am mostly defending the ideas of Democratic Socialism, as put forward by Bernie Sanders, and as exemplified in Scandinavia and elsewhere; and I am defending the rights of all racial, ethnic, religious and cultural minorities to live in a society where they are not victims of prejudice or discriminations (that includes Jews, Hispanics, Native Americans, Arabs, Kurds, and the Irish as well, all equally).

Why any of those efforts to defend and support are "indefensible" remains unclear. What is it you are supporting and defending, Peter?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Calling a spade a spade)
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To "call a spade a spade" is a figurative expression which refers to calling something "as it is",[not verified in body], that is, by its right or proper name, without "beating about the bush"—being outspoken about it, truthfully, frankly, and directly, even to the point of being blunt or rude, and even if the subject is considered coarse, impolite, or unpleasant. The idiom originates in the classical Greek of Plutarch's Apophthegmata Laconica, and was introduced into the English language in 1542 in Nicolas Udall's translation of the Apophthegmes, where Erasmus had seemingly replaced Plutarch's images of "trough" and "fig" with the more familiar "spade." The idiom has appeared in many literary and popular works, including those of Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens, and W. Somerset Maugham.



Roger, I think it's advisable to steer clear of using the word "spade," in order to avoid the perception that you are using a racist term.  See the following entries from contemporary online dictionaries, and please try to be a bit more sensitive to modern and common 20th century usage:

Definition of spade


 ...   b :  a black figure that resembles a stylized spearhead on each playing card of one of the four suits; ...

  usually offensive :  black


 Another online dictionary.

 spade2  /speɪd/  noun

 2.  a derogatory word for Black




Urban Dictionary:   


1.  spade

A derogatory term for an African American ...  "No you can't sit with me, you damn spade."

2.  Spade

A offensive nickname for a african american.   [The example given here is too offensive for me to repeat].

 5.  Spades


African Americans


"There sure are a lot of Spades in here"


8.   Spade

Spade, is a name given to a black person much like "n----r,"  But not in a friendly Fashion.



People can find a dozen or more contemporary dictionaries online that would define the word "spade" in this way, as one of its connotations.   Roger, I think I said it would be good to get a dictionary written SINCE 1927, NOT before.  You are missing the fact that the term "spade" has acquired a racist connotation over time.  You are going backwards, to the 19th century, the 15th century, and even as far back as Plutarch [100 AD], who wrote in Greek and Latin, not in the English language, which didn't even exist during that time.  That's all irrelevant to the way the word has been used during the last century and now, during the early 21st century. 


O, once again you try to destoy and waterdown things to fit your own agenda.

You take 1 word of a phrase and try to 'capitalize' on it.

I merely showed the 'root meaning' and where the PHRASE originated.

I totally understand that word meanings can morph and be used otherwise.

This happens frequently , but again, I think you twist the intent and use here

just to suit your own argument. It can still be used 'as a phrase' based on it's

original conception. Whether you like it or not , or whether you agree or not

is not relevant. You are not the end-all validator of anything.     RS

After a number of complaints and some deplorable conversation...

I am closing this thread because majority of this the post in here have nothing to do with music or with the original topic. Suspensions will most likely result as well. 


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