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Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? #2347863
11/09/14 07:28 PM
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Some posters often claim their opinion is just as valid as anyone else's opinion. Or, it's all a matter of taste. Or, in evaluating a performance the only thing that matters is how much they like a performance, etc. Or, appeals to authority is an invalid form of argument.

I've never agreed with this notion. Here's a good essay about this topic:
http://thefederalist.com/2014/01/17/the-death-of-expertise/#.VF7ppChxK1M.facebook

Last edited by pianoloverus; 11/09/14 07:32 PM.
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Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347870
11/09/14 07:54 PM
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Art is personal.

Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347872
11/09/14 08:00 PM
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I originally came here with great joy and high expectations. Then these posts like "How do you finger a C scale?" kept popping up and, with the exception of a few threads, I sort of opted out... Still looking for a site geared to working musicians...


Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347873
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So a 5 year old's opinion about some musical topic is just as valid as Horowitz's opinion?

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Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347874
11/09/14 08:05 PM
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You speak as if they were debating over something objective. Art is not a boxing match. People's artistic feelings are valid to themselves, and that's what matters.

Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347877
11/09/14 08:18 PM
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I think we have to distinguish between everyday situations and contests (or situations similar to contests where more objectivity is required). In everyday life I do agree with Joel. If I listen to a performance I like and some experts don't like it... well.. I still like it.



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Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347880
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I was about to respond, but then I thought I better read your article first. smile

The mark of a true expert is how well he can explain himself. Someone who understands the underpinnings of his field so well, that he can explain it to a layman. Richard Feynman could do this with advanced physics, for example.

Someone who can't explain to me his field is less useful as an expert.

And finally, if I play a passage a certain way, and a five-year-old girl exclaims, "That was pretty!" then I respect her opinion very much, although she may not know what a diminished 7th is.


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Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347883
11/09/14 08:29 PM
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Some people's opinions on some musical topics are more equal than others.

Everything else being equal, only those who're equal to the task can tell.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: ChopinAddict] #2347884
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Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
I think we have to distinguish between everyday situations and contests (or situations similar to contests where more objectivity is required). In everyday life I do agree with Joel. If I listen to a performance I like and some experts don't like it... well.. I still like it.
I don't think that's the question. I think it's whether your opinion about liking it is as good as anyone else's opinion.

Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: phantomFive] #2347885
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Originally Posted by phantomFive

And finally, if I play a passage a certain way, and a five-year-old girl exclaims, "That was pretty!" then I respect her opinion very much, although she may not know what a diminished 7th is.
What if she said "That's terrible!"

Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347888
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by phantomFive

And finally, if I play a passage a certain way, and a five-year-old girl exclaims, "That was pretty!" then I respect her opinion very much, although she may not know what a diminished 7th is.
What if she said "That's terrible!"

I would take it seriously. At a minimum I'd try to figure out what element she thought was terrible.

Of course, that's hypothetical. No five-year-old has ever said my playing is terrible wink


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Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347890
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by phantomFive

And finally, if I play a passage a certain way, and a five-year-old girl exclaims, "That was pretty!" then I respect her opinion very much, although she may not know what a diminished 7th is.
What if she said "That's terrible!"

Though to be fair, if she has advice octave technique, I won't take that very seriously.

Unless she can give me good reasons backing up her advice. In which case I will be astonished and amazed and thank her profusely.


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Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347891
11/09/14 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
I think we have to distinguish between everyday situations and contests (or situations similar to contests where more objectivity is required). In everyday life I do agree with Joel. If I listen to a performance I like and some experts don't like it... well.. I still like it.
I don't think that's the question. I think it's whether your opinion about liking it is as good as anyone else's opinion.


Well, yes. Opinions are opinions, not facts, and they are all valid.



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Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: ChopinAddict] #2347892
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Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
I think we have to distinguish between everyday situations and contests (or situations similar to contests where more objectivity is required). In everyday life I do agree with Joel. If I listen to a performance I like and some experts don't like it... well.. I still like it.
I don't think that's the question. I think it's whether your opinion about liking it is as good as anyone else's opinion.
Well, yes. Opinions are opinions, not facts, and they are all valid.

But not all equally valid.


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Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: ChopinAddict] #2347894
11/09/14 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
I think we have to distinguish between everyday situations and contests (or situations similar to contests where more objectivity is required). In everyday life I do agree with Joel. If I listen to a performance I like and some experts don't like it... well.. I still like it.
I don't think that's the question. I think it's whether your opinion about liking it is as good as anyone else's opinion.


Well, yes. Opinions are opinions, not facts, and they are all valid.
So Argerich's opinion on some musical topic is only as "valid" as a five year old's opinion?

Last edited by pianoloverus; 11/09/14 09:04 PM.
Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: Polyphonist] #2347895
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
I think we have to distinguish between everyday situations and contests (or situations similar to contests where more objectivity is required). In everyday life I do agree with Joel. If I listen to a performance I like and some experts don't like it... well.. I still like it.
I don't think that's the question. I think it's whether your opinion about liking it is as good as anyone else's opinion.
Well, yes. Opinions are opinions, not facts, and they are all valid.

But not all equally valid.


There are informed opinions and uninformed opinions. I usually consider the former more useful, but few opinions are without merit at some level.


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Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347913
11/09/14 10:12 PM
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Interesting article, I see a lot of the "confidence of the dumb," effect on the Internet.

>>... the dumber you are, the more confident you are that you’re not actually dumb .. >>


I've seen beginners take on the aura of expert on some forums mostly because they repeat themselves with confidence, even though a lot of what they spout I would consider drivel, even though that pretend expert is a mere beginner. Repetition is a powerful thing. A sycophant or two (sometimes even a sock puppet ID) is often all that is needed to validate the expertise of the dumb person in the eyes of the novices.

I think it is important to separate likes and dislikes (eg: I like baroque music more than I like romantic music), vs. matters of experience and execution. For likes and dislikes there is no real argument, anyone can like or dislike whatever they want, for whatever reasons.

However, for something such as the value of practicing scales, a teacher's opinion would tend to carry more weight to me, than the opinion of a self-taught beginner. Then there are facts, such as prices paid, sales figures, dimensions, physics. The latter is where the Internet can be valuable, though there is a lot of bad info out there as well.

The loud and vocal tend to get more attention than they deserve, but it is also a real life effect, as well as on the Internet. The social misfits (aka as haters) also tend to get a lot of attention and a lot of them spend a lot of time on the Internet.

Last edited by Sand Tiger; 11/09/14 10:26 PM.
Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347914
11/09/14 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
I think we have to distinguish between everyday situations and contests (or situations similar to contests where more objectivity is required). In everyday life I do agree with Joel. If I listen to a performance I like and some experts don't like it... well.. I still like it.
I don't think that's the question. I think it's whether your opinion about liking it is as good as anyone else's opinion.


Well, yes. Opinions are opinions, not facts, and they are all valid.
So Argerich's opinion on some musical topic is only as "valid" as a five year old's opinion?


Well, of course not, but you wouldn't tell a 5-year old to shut up either because s/he is too young to have an opinion. You know it is the opinion of a child and not an expert's opinion and take it as such. S/he would probably just say s/he likes it or doesn't like it rather than going into technical details.
The Internet, however, can indeed be a bit dangerous in terms of opinions/fiction/reality... as a recent case has shown.



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Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: Sand Tiger] #2347918
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Originally Posted by Sand Tiger

I think it is important to separate likes and dislikes (eg: I like baroque music more than I like romantic music), vs. matters of experience and execution. For likes and dislikes there is no real argument, anyone can like or dislike whatever they want, for whatever reasons.
But even for liking a piece(or perhaps more precisely deciding how great a piece is), I think there are bad opinions and good opinions. It is highly unlikely that a knowledgeable person would say fur elise is greater than Symphony No.9.

Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: ChopinAddict] #2347919
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Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
I think we have to distinguish between everyday situations and contests (or situations similar to contests where more objectivity is required). In everyday life I do agree with Joel. If I listen to a performance I like and some experts don't like it... well.. I still like it.
I don't think that's the question. I think it's whether your opinion about liking it is as good as anyone else's opinion.


Well, yes. Opinions are opinions, not facts, and they are all valid.
So Argerich's opinion on some musical topic is only as "valid" as a five year old's opinion?
Well, of course not, but you wouldn't tell a 5-year old to shut up either because s/he is too young to have an opinion. You know it is the opinion of a child and not an expert's opinion and take it as such. S/he would probably just say s/he likes it or doesn't like it rather than going into technical details.
The Internet, however, can indeed be a bit dangerous in terms of opinions/fiction/reality... as a recent case has shown.
I think the same kind of argument would apply to a person of any age with little musical knowledge/experience. I used a 5 year old as my example because someone that age would automatically have little knowledge/experience.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 11/09/14 10:43 PM.
Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347920
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Let's make it harder, plover. What about two highly educated music professors who can't agree on the greatest piece of music?

Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: JoelW] #2347924
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Originally Posted by JoelW
Let's make it harder, plover. What about two highly educated music professors who can't agree on the greatest piece of music?
I don't see any reason for making it harder. That has nothing to do with the article or my question which assumes one person is far more knowledgeable than the other.

In some cases, both opinions could be considered equally good. But your opinion about something musical is not the equal of Chopin's opinion. As Irina Morozova often says...if you imagine you were taking a lesson from Chopin on one of his pieces and he wrote some direction in the score would you play it the way he said? Only an arrogant person would have to think about the answer.

Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347926
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Unfortunately people's opinions in classical music are sometimes influenced by other factors.
In the recent case about fiction and reality the real pianist has more views and less likes than the impostor, and no comments at all as compared to the impostor who has quite a few positive comments because some of the people who commented developed a certain idea of the impostor as being glamorous and worthy of praise?



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Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347928
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
But even for liking a piece(or perhaps more precisely deciding how great a piece is)...
I don't think these are the same thing at all. There are plenty of pieces which I like, but which also I consider to be nowhere near the top of the "greatest" scale.

You need to decide whether you're talking about a personal preference (and surely everyone is entitled to that; you can't tell me that I don't like something), or about an opinion on the music's quality.


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Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: currawong] #2347929
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Originally Posted by currawong
You need to decide whether you're talking about a personal preference (and surely everyone is entitled to that; you can't tell me that I don't like something), or about an opinion of the music's quality.

What determines quality?

Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: ChopinAddict] #2347930
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The sad fact is that the louder you SHOUT, the more people take notice - as evidenced by a poster earlier this year who has since appeared to have taken himself (?itself) elsewhere - assuming he/it wasn't given a life ban.

Despite the fact that the vast majority of his posts were half-baked, Googled irrelevancies which he spouts as 'scientific' facts, many people here appeared to take him seriously. We can see this Dunning-Kruger Effect all the time, all around us: he who shouts loudest gets heard. And apparently gets taken seriously, even despite evidence to the contrary.

Students think they know as much (usually more) than their teachers; children's opinions on everything from what is good for them to what they should be taught are as important as their parents'. Except of course, in certain cultures, where we can see the results in terms of their children's achievements.


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Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347932
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Sand Tiger

I think it is important to separate likes and dislikes (eg: I like baroque music more than I like romantic music), vs. matters of experience and execution. For likes and dislikes there is no real argument, anyone can like or dislike whatever they want, for whatever reasons.
But even for liking a piece(or perhaps more precisely deciding how great a piece is), I think there are bad opinions and good opinions. It is highly unlikely that a knowledgeable person would say fur elise is greater than Symphony No.9.


Greater than is different from liking. If someone likes Fur Elise better than another piece that is valid opinion. It could be because they played it at a recital at age 13 and forever have fond memories of that time in life. It doesn't matter why. A person is entitled to like something or dislike something.

Greater than is a different matter, a rather big can of worms that will never be settled for those that like to argue. That's where the loud and vocal, and social misfits come in. The more controversial, the dumber the opinion if you will, the more attention it gets on the Internet, when it comes to greater than. Add in a couple of sock puppets IDs and the dumbest greater than opinion, can appear valid to novices reading along that don't know much. Repetition, popularity, can sway novice opinions.

Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: JoelW] #2347933
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Originally Posted by JoelW
Originally Posted by currawong
You need to decide whether you're talking about a personal preference (and surely everyone is entitled to that; you can't tell me that I don't like something), or about an opinion of the music's quality.

What determines quality?
Good question. What do you think?


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Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: currawong] #2347935
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Originally Posted by currawong
Originally Posted by JoelW
Originally Posted by currawong
You need to decide whether you're talking about a personal preference (and surely everyone is entitled to that; you can't tell me that I don't like something), or about an opinion of the music's quality.

What determines quality?
Good question. What do you think?

For one, I think there are two different kinds of quality. Theoretical quality, which would be more objective, and the other kind, which is less definable. For example, Bach's B minor mass, said to be one of it not the greatest pieces in the world, is obviously of theoretical quality according to experts, but yawn...

...OR a pop song which has correct harmonic usage and voicing with no awkwardness in the writing, yet, to me, is garbage.

Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: JoelW] #2347938
11/09/14 11:25 PM
11/09/14 11:25 PM
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 6,452
Land of the never-ending music
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member
ChopinAddict  Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 6,452
Land of the never-ending music
Originally Posted by JoelW
For example, a majority of Beethoven's sonatas (I hate to pick on him grin) are obviously theoretically masterful works, but yawn...


I respect your opinion. However, I love the majority of Beethoven's sonatas. They really touch something deep inside me. smile



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