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#2681505 - 10/12/17 10:46 AM Re: Why So Serious? [Re: wr]  
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,511
David Farley Online content
1000 Post Club Member
David Farley  Online Content
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,511
Chicago, Illinois
Originally Posted by wr
It has always been like this, more or less. Take a look at the Lexicon on Musical Invective. True, these quotes are from professional critics, and they are about composers, but the tone and spirit seems to be part of that general contentiousness surrounding the arts since pretty much forever.

Why it is this way is anybody's guess (I've got a bunch of theories), but at least it seems to show that people care a great deal about musical and artistic matters (along with their egos, of course).


People seem to react to viscerally to music in a way they normally don't react to the other arts. I've noticed that people like to overlay a moral dimension onto music that often doesn't fit well, considering the all-too-human foibles of musicians. "Sincerity" often has something to do with it. "I like this musician because they're sincere. But not that musician because they aren't sincere." Well what does that mean exactly? Pressing people on this point is a good way to get everybody angry. More often than the moral equivalence is simply a way to justify liking some music and not others. I've had professors dismiss entire genres of music for complicated moral/political/religious reasons when all it comes down to is, they don't like that music. But there has to be a reason. So music needs to be either good or bad, and the people who like good music are good and the people who like to bad music are bad.

The older I get, the less I believe music in itself has any moral dimension at all, and the more wary I've become of getting into conversations with people about "what kind of music do you like?"

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#2681518 - 10/12/17 11:35 AM Re: Why So Serious? [Re: David Farley]  
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 8,922
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member
wr  Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 8,922
Originally Posted by David Farley
Originally Posted by wr
It has always been like this, more or less. Take a look at the Lexicon on Musical Invective. True, these quotes are from professional critics, and they are about composers, but the tone and spirit seems to be part of that general contentiousness surrounding the arts since pretty much forever.

Why it is this way is anybody's guess (I've got a bunch of theories), but at least it seems to show that people care a great deal about musical and artistic matters (along with their egos, of course).


People seem to react to viscerally to music in a way they normally don't react to the other arts. I've noticed that people like to overlay a moral dimension onto music that often doesn't fit well, considering the all-too-human foibles of musicians. "Sincerity" often has something to do with it. "I like this musician because they're sincere. But not that musician because they aren't sincere." Well what does that mean exactly? Pressing people on this point is a good way to get everybody angry. More often than the moral equivalence is simply a way to justify liking some music and not others. I've had professors dismiss entire genres of music for complicated moral/political/religious reasons when all it comes down to is, they don't like that music. But there has to be a reason. So music needs to be either good or bad, and the people who like good music are good and the people who like to bad music are bad.

The older I get, the less I believe music in itself has any moral dimension at all, and the more wary I've become of getting into conversations with people about "what kind of music do you like?"


That's an interesting take on it. I hadn't thought of the good vs. bad thing very much as a moral dimension, but now that you bring it up, it does seem to have some of that going on. Personally, when I am thinking in terms of good and bad music, either in composition or performance, it is usually more about how I perceive quality in its many possible forms. But you are right, in some ways even when using good and bad as indicators of quality, I sometimes tend in some weird way to think of good quality as also being somehow morally superior over bad quality. Funny how that works, especially since I think very high quality music can be made by composers and musicians who I don't think of as being particularly "good" human beings.

#2681580 - 10/12/17 04:36 PM Re: Why So Serious? [Re: David Farley]  
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 4,490
JohnSprung Offline
4000 Post Club Member
JohnSprung  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 4,490
Reseda, California
Originally Posted by David Farley
[. "Sincerity" often has something to do with it.



Indeed, sincerity is the most important thing. Once you learn to fake that, you got it made.... ;-)

(... stolen from George Burns or Groucho Marx or somebody ....)


-- J.S.

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