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The goal of a composition


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4 hours ago, Advanced Blowhard said:

And Warhol's soup can pictures awaken in me long lost nostalgia for those long winter days spent playing in the snow of the upper quad located behind the house (read mansion) and followed by cans and cans of tomato soup  - mater soup, we called it - lovingly prepared by Aunty Emily - yes, we did call her that! - before moving on to the nappy-poo portion of yet one more day of our pathetic existence. ((wow, was THAT a trip down memory lane)). So by my standards, Warhol's cans are way superior to any other damn thing, including the Parrish-es. Now of course I understand that my standards will not, should not and cannot be taken as golden. So whose can? No ones. The only standards that .can be used by any individual to determine the relative greatness of a work of art are ONLY those that exist within themselves and this is true whether they know that or not else we would need to conclude that it is actually possible for one person to impose their own ideas, conclusions, standards on another and make them take root and be fully internalized and believed.

The "nostalgia" you describe does not come from "art' but from consumerism; you're attaching a memory to a consumer product, it's no different than one having fond memories of playing a video game with their friends back in middle school.

But it says nothing about beauty standards. I do not believe you hold a red and white soup can to be a high-aesthetic standard; you may as well decorate your entire house with Polish flags if it's that easy.

A normal person, across various cultures I might add, can listen to both Beethoven and Schoenberg and clearly tell that Beethoven is better. They can't explain why, but they just know that it is. Those who'd say they prefer Schoenberg are an outlier. Many do it to be contrarian.  

By whose standards, you ask? 

Nature's.

What's interesting is that the modernist perspective is that is that it asks us to at once accept that beauty is subjective, but "what it means" is objectively discernable and those who "don't get it" are just too dumb to understand. An entirely conflicting view void of explanation. 

Lastly, the vast majority of people who hold this view are extremely pro-democracy, yet will dismiss the masses preferring Da Vinci to Kandinsky as "appeal to majority" or "mob mentality". :rolleyes:

 LCUmGGX.jpg

Like, the fact that you can sit a room full of ordinary people in front of the above two paintings and most of them will say the right example is pretty and left is ugly (clear-cut yes or no), but if you did the same with an abstract painting and asked the audience what they think it "means" you'd get a huge swath of different answers and a lot of "I have no idea" proves that it is beauty which is the more objective concept.

Edited by AngelCityOutlaw
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Yeah, I'm gonna stir the pot as I always do in these sort of questions but it's just being honest The goal of a composition is the same of all art: To create something beautiful and great. Rivali

On the first point I am not so qualified to speak as I have not constructed, discovered and/or composed many groupings of tones into combinations that might be called music but I will say that I canno

Are you asking about real emotions of the sort you would feel apart from any musical matters? Sing a song in such a way that you feel the same emotions that you would feel if a dear friend had di

6 hours ago, AngelCityOutlaw said:

much, some quoted below and responded to.

LCUmGGX.jpg

 

 

A number of drive-bys:

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The "nostalgia" you describe does not come from "art' but from consumerism; you're attaching a memory to a consumer product, it's no different than one having fond memories of playing a video game with their friends back in middle school.

Well, more to the point I would say is that I am describing nostalgia with reference to that yummy tomato flavoring that you can get out of a good soup can as well as to remembered feelings of love and contentment from Aunty Emmy ((((((((((ok, i admit, there was no Emmy, no Upper Quad, no Mansion, I just made all of that up in my attempt to make "points")))))))))) And who is to say what part of  my nostalgia I can and cannot make use of in whatever process that I am engaged in whether it be evaluating for myself standards of beauty?

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But it says nothing about beauty standards. I do not believe you hold a red and white soup can to be a high-aesthetic standard; you may as well decorate your entire house with Polish flags if it's that easy.

You would have to better define "high-aesthetic standard". Leaving that aside for now, I might, using my own personal definition of that term, conclude that a soup can poster would be a more aesthetically pleasing thing to hang over my TV than works by Titian but that might be because the Titian constrasts oh so much more with the empty water bottles, the unemptied ashtrays, day old pizza boxes containing day old pizza, etc, etc - and thus loses the contest in this context; other contexts could have different results but taking all together, you don't have an objective status of beauty else all such comparisons as the above one would give you definite conclusions. So yeah, I haven't said much about beauty standards here but there is more below.

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A normal person, across various cultures I might add, can listen to both Beethoven and Schoenberg and clearly tell that Beethoven is better. They can't explain why, but they just know that it is. 

Yes, using their own personal standards they could conclude that, and a perfectly valid thing for them to do, to decide for themselves which they like better, decide on which IS better...IS for themselves, but not for anyone else because I can tell you right now that I consider some works of Schoenberg to be better for me than some of Beethoven (thinking here of some of the mostrosities that make up some of the movements of his middle period pieces) and some of Beethoven to be better for me than some of Schoenberg's.

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Those who'd say they prefer Schoenberg are an outlier. Many do it to be contrarian.  

Or maybe because they say it because, like me, they simply sometimes like hearing the atonal piano pieces of Schoenberg to the Beethoven piano sonata I heard this weekend, last movement, it being a cacophony of sound to rival anything ever produced by Schoenberg. Do you hold that such a thing as I have stated here is at least somewhat possible or not at all?

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Nature's.

Ah, but nature produced the Schoenberg lovers as well as the Beethovenian ones.

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What's interesting is that the modernist perspective is that is that it asks us to at once accept that beauty is subjective, but "what it means" is objectively discernable and those who "don't get it" are just too dumb to understand. An entirely conflicting view void of explanation. 

By golly, a point of agreement doth approach! Yay!!! I am not "up" so much on modernist perspectives about beauty being subjective but I disagree with them if they say that the meaning of a piece of art is objectively discernable. For one thing, many works have both no meaning while at the same time they mean everything. Of course contradictions abound here but that is ok, that can remind us of the sometimes seeming infinite number of possibilities in art.

Leaving the drive-bys behind and moving onto other points...


I am addressing here the idea that it is logical to conclude that it possible to determine if one piece of art is better than another, if one painting is better than another, whether it is more artistic or less artistic, and so on. Similarly for musical works. And if you are going to compare paintings to paintings and sonatas to sonatas then next we can compare fugues to Russian balalaika music, Russian balaliaka music to paintings by Thomas Cole and see if the fugues or balalaika or the Cole's come out ahead. But who gets to decide "who comes out ahead"? The only way I can think of to do it (I mean, given the increasingly addled state of my brain)  maybe someone else has a better one?) to do it, I say, would be to assign every person a vote and whichever candidate gets the most votes wins the award. Now, in this scheme, maybe, in order to get what some people would call a better result, i.e) one that conforms more to their way of thinking than other results, maybe we weight all the votes, those who have 5 years of experience listening would get 0.5 extra of a vote, those with 10 years, 1 extra vote, etc. Problem, maybe the person with 5 years has been a more attentive listener and thus has realized many more things about the art in question than the 10 year person and thus able to appreciate it more. So do Mr 0.5 and Ms 1.0 exchange weightings? Do we even want to consider length of listening or should we completely replace it with another standard? Hey, I know...let's vote on it! We now approach ever closer to the turtles all the way down conundrum as far as using votes to determine objective standards so maybe we should (note to self: avoid temptation to bring out the "let's vote on it" line more than once, doing so would eliminate retroactively the argumentative force of its first usage) maybe we should....maybe....hell if I know. Anyone got any great ideas?

Let's imagine a scenario where someone did actually come up with a great idea for artistic greatness and greater-than-ness determination that would actually WORK (still cant imagine what it would be but most likely an all-knowing, art loving divine being would need to be involved and carrying a BIG STICK in order to force any of its recalcitrant beings back into line if they disagreed with it. Leaving aside the question of whether or not there ARE any divine beings, I do not believe they are likely to wade into these debates any time soon. So, still stuck. Not sure what to do next but I will say this: I will be godddamned if I am going to let some Yahoo off the street to come in and tell ME that the music of Schoenberg is better than a ham sandwich with mustard (Goulden's, natch). How dast a creature such as that even suggest such a vile notion to ME! Damn Yahoos off the street, you just can't trust them, I always say. What you could do is come at those Yahoos saying "Ham sandwich with mustard, Ham sandwich with mustard" and the other crew would come back with "Schoenberg! Schoenberg!" and "Ham sandwich/mustard" "Schoe! Schoe! Schoe!" "Ham/mush, Ham/mush, Ham/mush, Ham/mush" and both groups come to their semi-functioning senses and say "WHAT IN THE EVER-LOVING FRICK ARE WE DOING ARGUING OFTEN DISSONAT TONES COMBINED WITH NICE RHYTHMIC STRUCTURES AGAINST PIG PRODUCTS?!?!?!?

Yeah, that is a difficult thing to, determine an answer to the DISS-RHYS vs pig debate. But if you think that it is difficult to do that then what would you say to a debate on which second entry of a fugue subect in all of the fugues from Book I and II is greater than all others. Similar difficulties abound that cannot be figured out so perhaps we should take a simple way out. Drop all the debates about specific levels of greatness and instead conduct in-depth conversations about the works at hand, then we might really learn something.

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7 hours ago, Advanced Blowhard said:

Yes, using their own personal standards they could conclude that

When "personal standards" of beauty across millenia and cultures remain consistent, it does not suggest a high-degree of subjectivity exists regarding the subject. 

At the most basic level, a dissonant harmony of say a minor second or tone cluster will sound dissonant and a major chord will sound consonant. The laymen will be inclined to say that the latter "sounds better". The perception of consonance and dissonance is not a subjective phenomena. It is a reality of physics and the structure of the human ear.

Few will disagree with that, but for some reason will argue that this objectivity ends there...

7 hours ago, Advanced Blowhard said:

Ah, but nature produced the Schoenberg lovers as well as the Beethovenian ones.

Debatable to the extent that such is actually true given that Schoenberg and his serialism was not an organic development, but a concerted effort he made to bring "equality" into music.

As I said in my original post, the vast majority of those who have not be indoctrinated, don't seem to like serialism.

7 hours ago, Advanced Blowhard said:

those who have 5 years of experience listening would get 0.5 extra of a vote, those with 10 years, 1 extra vote, etc. Problem, maybe the person with 5 years has been a more attentive listener and thus has realized many more things about the art in question than the 10 year person and thus able to appreciate it more.

 Music and art do not require "experience" or education to appreciate. It's either good or it's not.

There is no way to suggest how a more "educated" person on art should have a better understanding of what makes a painting the masses would say is ugly ACTUALLY beautiful or good that does not involve abstract conceptualist "artspeak" unrelated to the actual work.

You will notice that art and music which has stood the test of time generally requires a mastery of the craft so far above that of the layman's ability, it seems to rival the skill of nature or God's creation itself. 

The ugly "Venus of Willendorf" is something I could've sculpted.

However, standing before something like this

the-rape-of-proserpina.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

I am in awe. This clearly is the work of a master and as a result, looks infinitely better than the Venus of Willendorf. Anyone who says they'd rather have the mediocre skill to sculpt it rather than the skill required to make this work is simply lying.

When one looks at these statues, it is almost impossible to believe that a mortal man was able to create such lifelike people from a block of stone and yet they have.

It's the same with music and every other creative pursuit. The best ones rival nature's aesthetics and when they do, people respond to it most positively. The architecture we used to have complemented the natural scenery in which humans lived, today it is an affront to it.

Nature sets the standard.

Edited by AngelCityOutlaw
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11 hours ago, AngelCityOutlaw said:

At the most basic level, a dissonant harmony of say a minor second or tone cluster will sound dissonant and a major chord will sound consonant. The laymen will be inclined to say that the latter "sounds better". The perception of consonance and dissonance is not a subjective phenomena. It is a reality of physics and the structure of the human ear.

 

 

Summarizing my view of current proceedings, if I may. 

You are a lover of music, painting and other arts, you believe that works from those area as can enrich our days, our lives, our very souls and in order to allow such conditions to exist that will make more valuable works possible, as opposed to those that certainly (read "perhaps", in my view) have no logical, rational or any right at all to exist. You have joined the battle and are fighting the good fight! Good show, old (AngelCityOutlaw)-chum(ette)! I truly thank you for these actions if they your actions be and I hope that you, I and all others who wish to join us will remain victorious against rampant consumerism, philistinianism and, among many (unfortunately) others, dilettanteishness. Yes, that is an actual word, I know this because I just made it up out of whole cloth. Can Webster's be far behind? Wish me luck! 

Well, as we continue these discussions over the coming days, weeks, months, years?, longer time periods? <<<scary!!!>>>, I look forward to reading more of your on-point and insightful comments and discussions; perhaps during this time even a few twigs from the tree of knowledge (yeah, right) that constitutes my increasingly addled brain/head combination will fall near your own path...but just one thing...at times during these journeys may I at least at times be allowed my beloved Schoenberg even if that means I must, for a time, temporarily push the honorable Ludwig Van* out of the way?

And I now take my leave (don't worry guys, as Ahnold forever after in MovieLand always says, "I'll be baaack!" to which  I always invariably add "but I'd rather be Beethoven!" but to be truthful, that is not really true at all), it is still early and their is a keyboard behind me (behind me and slightly off to the right) and it now MUST be played - demanding little devil, it is.

*I freely acknowledge my debt to other writers in referring to Beethoven without the "Beethoven"; it can be quite fun to go all-Clockwork-Orangey and sh*t every now and again. Capriccio?

[Regarding the quote of yours way above...well, of course music does need dissonance at times - for instance what would a toward-tonic-pushing dominant seventh chord, without the presence of our good friend, the dissonant tritone, be? Well, for one thing it would not be as toward-tonic-pushing as certainly desired and it would certainly no longer BE a dominant seventh. I know this is blatantly obvious. Instead of waffling on about it in pedantic terms, I would like to point out a few little discoveries that I made in Mahlerian harmony, stumbled upon while playing the piano accompaniment to "Wo die schönen trompeten blasen" from Des Knaben Wunderhorn:

F-C#-E-A : resolved into Bb-D-F-A.

Eb-Bb-A resolved after an achingly long 2.75 measure spread, upward no less, to a single B.

Gb-Db-C : not "properly" resolved to adjacent tones, a broken chord Gb major in the bass is left to suffice.

Biting, wonderfully expressive dissonance all, serving as an example of how Mahler's harmonic choices often straddled the late 19th century and the harmonic developments of the twentieth century. I am pretty sure that no music theorist has yet to name at least one of those tone combinations and I wonder if any similar ones exist in Brahms, Tchaikovsky, even Wagner or Sibelius.] 

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