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Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347920
11/09/14 09:44 PM
11/09/14 09:44 PM
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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?

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Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: JoelW] #2347924
11/09/14 09:52 PM
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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
11/09/14 10:00 PM
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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
11/09/14 10:03 PM
11/09/14 10:03 PM
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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.


Du holde Kunst...
Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: currawong] #2347929
11/09/14 10:04 PM
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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
11/09/14 10:05 PM
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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.


"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: pianoloverus] #2347932
11/09/14 10:07 PM
11/09/14 10:07 PM
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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
11/09/14 10:08 PM
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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?


Du holde Kunst...
Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: currawong] #2347935
11/09/14 10:12 PM
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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 10:25 PM
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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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Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: ChopinAddict] #2347942
11/09/14 10:30 PM
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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...

This is a good example of a wrong opinion.


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347943
11/09/14 10:31 PM
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Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347944
11/09/14 10:35 PM
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I've seen this article make its rounds in facebook, and also read the accompanying discussions.

Bottom line is that it depends on which subject and why should we care. I don't care if my buyers are professionals or experts or what not. I don't care if they're good teachers or not (but prefer them to be good), etc. It's all there. The opinion of a paying mum is equally hefty as that of a soloist in terms of buying power! wink

In terms of actual validity there comes the question on how each person will use the product they bought: A bad artist will make a mess of it, a good artist will make art with it.

___________________________________

I think that there is a difference between ignorance and choice. You can hear it!

___________________________________

But ultimately, and because the article is NOT about music, unless we make it to be, the point is that if the world is getting dumber there's little we can do.

"Cure of cancer"
"The stars will be silenced"
"The Mayan calender"
"26 anti-wrinkle home creams"
etc

Many will promote this bull because they actually believe it. I'm trying to snope my way into these, but they don't seem to listen and will keep on feeding the public with their awful non knowledge!

So an expert in marketing is making a medical claim (about cancer). People are buying it. It is NOT true! We can do NOTHING ABOUT THIS and in fact I don't mind it all that much. There's the Darwin awards for a reason: If someone is dumb enough then so be it!

_______________________________

I'd like to change everyone's mind about bad music, but not only I can't fully judge good music from bad, based on taste alone, but then this would be a spice-less world... :-/

Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347954
11/09/14 11:17 PM
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Yes and no. Every person has their own reaction to music. No one can tell you "enjoy this music! because I said it's good!". However some people's opinions are more in-line with the average person, or the average professional musician, etc.

Last edited by trigalg693; 11/09/14 11:17 PM.
Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347976
11/10/14 12:22 AM
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I don't ask my teacher for her opinion about my playing. I ask her for the facts and she'll respond with something like "it's breathy and uneven", which I fully accept because she has knowledge to back up that judgement. Afterwards, she'll offer her opinion; "I think you can get much better". The first statement I know is truth, the second is completely subjective and somewhat suspect.

As many participants here (PC) are more science weighted than artistically minded, perhaps asking for opinions is the wrong path. Ask for comparison, argument and measurement to prove artistic superiority or inferiority of both judgement and evidence. /s

Why ask for artistic opinions, where even a five year old stands equal, when what desired is a technical accuracy weighting when compared to great or successful musicians? (Faster! More accurate! More true to the score! Appropriate facial expressions!)


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Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2347997
11/10/14 01:30 AM
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We've had versions of this discussion before, so I've stayed largely silent (which I'm sure some people enjoyed). But, I decided to weigh in and hopefully add to the discussion. Bearing that in mind, I'd like to address this in two ways: first, the article. Let's start by poaching specific lines:

Quote
When I say something on those subjects, I expect that my opinion holds more weight than that of most other people... Today, any assertion of expertise produces an explosion of anger from certain quarters of the American public, who immediately complain that such claims are nothing more than fallacious “appeals to authority,” sure signs of dreadful “elitism,” ... I fear we are witnessing the “death of expertise”: a Google-fueled, Wikipedia-based, blog-sodden collapse of any division between professionals and laymen, students and teachers, knowers and wonderers – in other words, between those of any achievement in an area and those with none at all.

Let's start with this wonderful nugget. It is completely contradictory. The author first asserts that his "expert opinion" is not an appeal to authority, but then later states that his "expertise" is due to achievement and, perhaps, not actual knowledge. I think this is very telling, both of the premise, and of the way the article is argued.

Because information is so freely available, we have a generation of young people that are, on average, far more knowledgeable than their ancestors. Wikipedia, for example, was found to have about the same number of errors in its content as Encyclopedia Britannica. This study was done in 2005, and has been improved on since: http://news.cnet.com/Study-Wikipedia-as-accurate-as-Britannica/2100-1038_3-5997332.html.

Then, there is this unbelievably arrogant nugget:

Quote
Rather, what I fear has died is any acknowledgement of expertise as anything that should alter our thoughts or change the way we live. This is a very bad thing.

So, this author is upset because people won't change the way they live based on his beliefs? Really? And to be clear, I'm pretty sure he's not high-roading this and talking about something like global warming. This is way too personal for him. Reason I say this is, he goes on a rant about doctors having better success than your Aunt Ginny. Yep, that's why most people go to see a doctor when they get sick. So, I'm not sure where he was going with that...

Quote
To reject the notion of expertise, and to replace it with a sanctimonious insistence that every person has a right to his or her own opinion, is silly.

So is the idea of rejecting the notion that everyone is entitled to think for themselves. (I'll get back to this later.)

Quote
Yes, I said “Western civilization”: that paternalistic, racist, ethnocentric approach to knowledge that created the nuclear bomb, the Edsel, and New Coke, but which also keeps diabetics alive, lands mammoth airliners in the dark, and writes documents like the Charter of the United Nations.

None of which (he stated in the beginning) he is an "expert" on. I'm looking at night landings here... no idea where he's going with that.

Quote
And to refuse to acknowledge alternative views, no matter how fantastic or inane, is to be closed-minded.

You mean... like the opinions of others? Just saying...


Quote
Critics might dismiss all this by saying that everyone has a right to participate in the public sphere. That’s true. But every discussion must take place within limits and above a certain baseline of competence. And competence is sorely lacking in the public arena. People with strong views on going to war in other countries can barely find their own nation on a map; people who want to punish Congress for this or that law can’t name their own member of the House.

This, I agree with. More on this when I finish the article. (This is "part 2," or "the reason the discussion probably exists".)

Quote
(Most people I encounter, for example, have no idea what a non-sequitur is, or when they’re using one; nor do they understand the difference between generalizations and stereotypes.)

Okay, seriously.. someone wrote this article as a joke, right? (See many of the above contradictory arguments and flawed logic...)

Quote
Once upon a time — way back in the Dark Ages before the 2000s — people seemed to understand, in a general way, the difference between experts and laymen. There was a clear demarcation in political food fights, as objections and dissent among experts came from their peers — that is, from people equipped with similar knowledge. The public, largely, were spectators.

This is some kind of rose-lensed nostalgia BS. I need only point out the 60's to disagree with it. Not that there aren't thousands of example going back millennia..

Quote
I like the democratization of knowledge and the wider circle of public participation.

Could have fooled me...

Quote
But it is also because the primary requisite of seniority in the policy world is too often an answer to the question: “What did you do during the campaign?” This is the code of the samurai, not the intellectual, and it privileges the campaign loyalist over the expert.

To go back to his first point, campaign loyalists have achieved.. hence, their opinions should weigh more than the vague "experts". Right? Wonder why he's angry about this.. I thought he would have agreed with it..

Quote
Personally, I don’t think technocrats and intellectuals should rule the world: we had quite enough of that in the late 20th century, thank you, and it should be clear now that intellectualism makes for lousy policy without some sort of political common sense.

Honestly, someone fill me in here.. did Al Gore really invent the internet? I thought that was a joke?

And now I'd like to transition this wandering commentary to music. I'll do so using this quote:

Quote
...an expert is far more likely to be right than you are. On a question of factual interpretation or evaluation, it shouldn’t engender insecurity or anxiety to think that an expert’s view is likely to be better-informed than yours. (Because, likely, it is.)

This quote is entirely true. However, it has absolutely nothing to do with having an "opinion". We shouldn't confuse "facts" with "opinions". So, when we talk about having an opinion about music, the statement presented here is irrelevant. In that light, we can definitively say that yes, everyone's opinion is of equal weight. Now, let me qualify it by comparing two sides of this discussion:

On one side, we have the group that believes art/music is objective. It can be quantified, measured, and found to be "better" or "worse" than other art/music without respect to opinions. I fully expect this group to decide that, no, not everyone's opinion is of the same "quality", because they will take the word "opinion" and try to convert it into a "fact". That is, they will take what someone feels, and try to weigh it against what they think they know. Now, all of this is very personal, and what I mean is that I am discussing what an individual's opinion is irrespective of others. If we examine an opinion that would affect others, but remain fact-free, ie, "This music is better than other music, so you shouldn't listen to that pop garbage," opinions still hold equal weight. Others will naturally disagree, and they are allowed to do it. Why? Perception is reality. No one has the right to tell others what to think or believe in.

If we examine an opinion that would require an expert.. well, I'm not sure how to separate this kind of an opinion from a fact-finding statement, so someone will have to give us an example we can discuss. I'm assuming we will be presented with a fact (whether valid or invalid), and not an opinion, but I'm holding out for someone to come up with something good... smile


Naturally, on the other side of this argument, we have people who believe art/music is subjective. I fall on this side of the argument (it's probably been quite obvious over the years). People on this side do not believe an opinion is so universal/factual, that others necessarily must believe it. In other words, in this area, an opinion doesn't lead to one inherently being "wrong" because the opinion cannot be defeated factually (because there is no objectivity in the subject).

Now, there are facts we could discuss: speed/accuracy, dynamic choice/control, stylistic interpretations and whether they adhere to period conventions, etc. But it would be sheer and utter arrogance to believe any of that lends to one's opinion of the quality (separate from accuracy, which is quantifiable) of the music/performer being inherently better than another's opinion on the same subject.

So, in essence, each side is often arguing two different things. Objectivists are usually measuring/arguing quantifiable things in the music, while subjectivists are usually discussing qualifiable things in the music. What is quantifiable can be proven. What is not, cannot be proven, regardless of supposed "expertise". In this light, the 5 year-old's opinion weighs every bit as much as Martha Argerich (or any other "expert"). However, if we move into what is quantifiable, Argerich may have a little more to say on the subject of what can be factually verified.

I think we all make this mistake of thinking we're giving an opinion if asked, "Do you think...?" Really, the answer given may or may not be opinion at all, depending on whether the qualifying portion of that question is factually verifiable or not. If it is, the answer is not an opinion; it is a fact (valid or invalid). If it is not, then opine away...


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: Derulux] #2348009
11/10/14 02:23 AM
11/10/14 02:23 AM
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About music me and Derulux seem to think mostly alike. Only I am not sure a 5 year old's opinion is quite as interesting as Martha's. Why? Because when you are five you've usually had very little encounter with the world and our opinions tend to change all the time when we do. With time they usually get more coherent and thorougly thought out. Someone who has heard and played music for over 50 years is more likely to have coherent opinions than a 5 year old, even when we are talking about art and subjective opinion.

So the 5 year old's opinion is not invalid, but Martha's opinion bears a bit more weight in my eyes. But it does not necessarily bear any more weight than someone's who has never played a note in her life but has been listening to music just as long. Martha's opininion on how it feels to play something would, but not her opinion on the value of the music for a listener. Just like a composers opinion on the technical skill behind a piece is usually more interesting than most listeners, but how relevant is that really compared to the opinion of those who are supposed to listen to the music?

An expert's opinions are often more coherent on a specific area and therefore do bare more weight than someone who just digs out random pieces of information without much critisism. But it doesn't mean that the expert's opinions necessarily can be transferred to the more complex reality without problems. In the worst case an expert is too focused on his little field and unable to see the bigger picture.

Last edited by outo; 11/10/14 02:24 AM.
Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: pianoloverus] #2348038
11/10/14 06:36 AM
11/10/14 06:36 AM
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Everyone's entitled to express a preference. But such statements are about the person making them and do not bring anything of interest to any discussion about the quality of a piece of music. In that case any "opininion" can be considered as valid as any other - for what it's worth.

As a musically educated musician, I have no problem with the judgment that some music is better, as music, than some other music is, as music. We have no problem when furniture experts see relative quality in different chairs - even if our taste/liking/preference might differ. People seem to have a real problem accepting that some are (more) expert (than them) in the field of music.

John


Vasa inania multum strepunt.
Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: drumour] #2348041
11/10/14 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by drumour


As a musically educated musician, I have no problem with the judgment that some music is better, as music, than some other music is, as music. We have no problem when furniture experts see relative quality in different chairs - even if our taste/liking/preference might differ. People seem to have a real problem accepting that some are (more) expert (than them) in the field of music.


As far as I have seen no-one has ever been able to define quality in arts in any consistent way. Just like chairs can be measured either by their design value or their value as useful objects, can music be valued by it's artistic value or it's value to it's consumer = listener. Sometimes design experts are able to agree on the former, but just as often they can't. I'd be intrested to know how you as an expert define music's artistic quality?

Re: Is everyone's opinion on some musical topic equal? [Re: drumour] #2348054
11/10/14 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by drumour
Everyone's entitled to express a preference. But such statements are about the person making them and do not bring anything of interest to any discussion about the quality of a piece of music. In that case any "opininion" can be considered as valid as any other - for what it's worth.

As a musically educated musician, I have no problem with the judgment that some music is better, as music, than some other music is, as music. We have no problem when furniture experts see relative quality in different chairs - even if our taste/liking/preference might differ. People seem to have a real problem accepting that some are (more) expert (than them) in the field of music.

John
Exactly. And some of those who don't accept that others may know more about music and have more correct opinions on something musical are often IMO arrogant or at the stage of not even knowing what they don't know.

Some on the thread keep saying things like anyone can have an opinion or no one can tell me what to like, but I don't think this has anything to do with the title of the thread or the article.

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