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nikolas

Is Music So Bad Now?

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"a. We compose music for ourselves, we remain true to ourselves and we do not sell out for the sake of anyone (the audience, the publisher, money, or other)."

I see this position as a response to an argument that gets thrown around here (rather than a distinction between b.): that because modern music is less popular with audiences, the composers behind it have failed somehow. It is a terrible argument.

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Exaclty what Ian said. It's not like I support any of the positions I mentioned above. But all these things got thrown into the thread...

Personally I'm very much in favor of finding the golden ratio between satisfying yourself and the others. I also take special care of the performers, since I'm very much attached to what they will do to my works! ;) It's very much worth considering that if you don't consider your audience, at least consider your performers!

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I think like all other genres, modern music has its highs and lows. As always, what is good will be remembered through the ages, while what isn't will be quickly forgotten.

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.....which could also mean....

...that some good music isn't remembered. I was talking about what usually happens.

btw: I like how you got me to finish your sentence, very teacher-like.

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To all the people who dislike "modern" music (I use the quotation marks because realistically we're talking about music that goes back as far as 1908, which is quite frankly, ridiculous), what have you done exactly to try to appreciate this music?

I'll admit, I didn't just fall in love with atonal music. It took a lot of work. I had to invest a lot of time to learn and understand what was going on; my ears took time to adjust, but eventually I got it and now I love it. Rightfully so because a lot of it is absolutely fantastic music that is on a par and in some cases better than the music of Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms etc.

You may say something like, "well yes, but somebody needs to educate the people. The composers need to make things clear for the uneducated"

No.

They don't.

The onus is on YOU to learn. Nobody owes you an education. Forget music for a minute; if you have this attitude towards anything in this life you will find yourself stuck in a bubble of ignorance and failure that is completely your own fault and when things do inevitably go wrong for you, you will always find somebody to blame. It will always be somebody else's fault. Take responsibility for yourself and lift your head out of the sand, then maybe you will see where some of us are coming from and why some of us can come across as condescending towards you.

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Just to clarify, I'm not trying to claim that my music is better than anyone else's because it is atonal. It is probably rather average but at least I know I'm on the path towards self-improvement.

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Nice in theory but you forget that modern music isn't exactly comfort zone material for most people. If they like listening to their pre-1913 music just fine why should they branch out if all they know (or their perception of it) is that modern music is terribly difficult to listen to and understand?

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Just because you're comfortable with something doesn't mean that its the best thing for you. So, why branch out, if you're already comfortable? I think that's obvious.

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Just because you're comfortable with something doesn't mean you its the best thing for you. So, why branch out, if you're already comfortable?

Reformulating the question: why branch out from what I already know is good, in pursuit of something about I'm not really sure if it's that good? Just wondering... Perhaps I can discover gold, but is it likely to be found?

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I agree with Phil. People shouldn't be forced to expose themselves. But the question Tuohey raises is that if people seem to have an opinion about something, they should back that with some serious effort in trying to understand what is going on. I am not interested in someones opinion if he only scrached the surface and comes with his superficial judgment. I rather prefer someone honestly saying that he doesnt understand what is happening. Or even better, that the result of combining the p7 and i2 tonerow isn't that special. But in that latter case he shouldn't brag about the geniality of a bach fugue either of praise the motivic cohesion of brahms or whatever.

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Reformulating the question: why branch out from what I already know is good, in pursuit of something about I'm not really sure if it's that good? Just wondering... Perhaps I can discover gold, but is it likely to be found?

Well, that may be just about the saddest thing I have ever read. Why try anything new in that case? Do you have that attitude towards food? Towards travel? Exercise? Study?? What are you afraid of?

If you want to know why modern music is worthwhile, go and find out. Listen and read beyond your comfort zone and you will come to love it. If you don't want to do that then that is fair enough. There is nothing wrong with that, but don't be surprised when your opinion is not taken seriously by anyone who has or is bothering to do those things.

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I think Robert can be tempted to try newer music. At least that is if he wants to. But sofar I have seen him being openminded, so do not lose heart tuohey :)

I think some things are just taste based, and I am fine with that. Again: people shouldn't expose themselves just for its own sake. But neither should they limit themselves. I mean, have you lost any curiosity at all? If you like macaroni, that doesn't mean you'll eat macaroni your entire life, does it? I think in these kinds of debates one need to appeal to that curiosity, and not argue all too offensive (I wont say "that may be just about the saddest thing I have ever read", but I don't judge ;) )

I wonder, (but maybe we should start a post 1913 appreciation class, to gradually expose people, at least that worked for me), I wonder, what is the most out of the box music you actually liked, and why? Then try too expand on that, give something slighlye furter out your comfort zone a few listens. And gradually it starts to make sense, and there is no shame in slowly appreciating things :D

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Well, that may be just about the saddest thing I have ever read. Why try anything new in that case? Do you have that attitude towards food? Towards travel? Exercise? Study?? What are you afraid of?

If you want to know why modern music is worthwhile, go and find out. Listen and read beyond your comfort zone and you will come to love it. If you don't want to do that then that is fair enough. There is nothing wrong with that, but don't be surprised when your opinion is not taken seriously by anyone who has or is bothering to do those things.

Man, you're picking on the wrong guy.

Did I state anything implying that this is the way I think, and not the expression of thoughts by a certain percentage of potential audiences?

I could refute your assumptions about me by bringing out my trips covering every continent but Australia, studying accomplishments in quite diverse fields (beyond music), or else - but I don't really think I can reinforce my point by boasting (not to mention I'd be using an authority fallacy to counter your ad hominem fallacy :cool:). You're even assuming that I reject any "modern" music altogether and without ever exposing myself to it - a notion about which fortunately Jaap knows me better :thumbsup: .

Some of us, after an initial reluctance, might eventually learn to enjoy Stockhausen, Ligeti or Xenakis, for a few names. But, in my view, this ability by itself doesn't lay any claim of superiority over those other music lovers who choose to stick with Tchaikovsky or Mozart, and can be as serious about them as the former.

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Some of us, after an initial reluctance, might eventually learn to enjoy Stockhausen, Ligeti or Xenakis, for a few names. But, in my view, this ability by itself doesn't lay any claim of superiority over those other music lovers who choose to stick with Tchaikovsky or Mozart, and can be as serious about them as the former.

Yet again a nuance in opposite direction. Superiority is not the issue, and if it was it shouldn't be. The point is if there is a certain openness to expose oneself to new music, is there a certain curiosity?

Tuohey stated rightly that many (not Robert) argue along a wrong line of argument: New music is just noise and stupid, just because Mozart was such a genius.

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Man, you're picking on the wrong guy.

Did I state anything implying that this is the way I think, and not the expression of thoughts by a certain percentage of potential audiences?

I could refute your assumptions about me by bringing out my trips covering every continent but Australia, studying accomplishments in quite diverse fields (beyond music), or else - but I don't really think I can reinforce my point by boasting (not to mention I'd be using an authority fallacy to counter your ad hominem fallacy :cool:). You're even assuming that I reject any "modern" music altogether and without ever exposing myself to it - a notion about which fortunately Jaap knows me better :thumbsup: .

Some of us, after an initial reluctance, might eventually learn to enjoy Stockhausen, Ligeti or Xenakis, for a few names. But, in my view, this ability by itself doesn't lay any claim of superiority over those other music lovers who choose to stick with Tchaikovsky or Mozart, and can be as serious about them as the former.

I'm sorry. I just assumed that when you wrote, "Reformulating the question: why branch out from what I already know is good, in pursuit of something about I'm not really sure if it's that good? Just wondering... Perhaps I can discover gold, but is it likely to be found?", you were expressing what you thought, rather than what a certain percentage of potential audiences thought. You did write it after all. But if that is the case then you are correct, I am picking on the wrong guy. I suppose I should be picking on a certain percentage of potential audiences instead ;D

It's not really an ad hominem fallacy is it. I simply expressed my sadness at your (or rather, a certain percentage of potential audience's) view that just because something may not be good it should not be explored. I'm sure you are well travelled. I was just posing that as a question to highlight the absurdity of the statement rather than trying to attack your character. I think I was entitled to do that because in fairness, it was a very closed minded thing for you to write. Reading your reply though, it seems that it doesn't apply to you as you have at least tried to appreciate some modern music. I can accept if you don't like it. I suppose I would encourage you to give it another try because I believe it is ultimately worthwhile but if not, fine. My objection is more with the people who won't even take that first step.

To come back to food, I'll give you an example. I have a friend who is a very fussy eater and he couldn't stand olives. It turned out he had never actually tried them before. Anyway, I told him to just try them. He didn't like them at first but I wouldn't give him anything else. Now he loves olives and has asked me since if I had any; it just took those first few tries to break through and expose his taste buds to this new sensation. I think that music works in a similar way and just needs time for the ear to process it. Of course, after that you may still not like it but nobody can ever accuse you of being ignorant.

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Yet again a nuance in opposite direction. Superiority is not the issue, and if it was it shouldn't be. The point is if there is a certain openness to expose oneself to new music, is there a certain curiosity?

Tuohey stated rightly that many (not Robert) argue along a wrong line of argument: New music is just noise and stupid, just because Mozart was such a genius.

Yes, this is pretty much it for me. There are elitists on both sides but as you state, it's not a case of superiority. Personally I love Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart etc. just as much as Carter, Ligeti and Lutoslawski and if I'm honest the first 3 have probably influenced my composition more than the second 3 in terms of learning how to develop material throughout a piece and come up with structurally sound, goal orientated compositions but these are all things that mostly still happen in contemporary pieces. It's just that the language has changed and so it should with time. It may be hard to deal with at first but give it time for your ears to adjust and the forms, structures, themes, motives, textures and harmonic progressions will reveal themselves. Some people just aren't willing to even try to do that. Therefore their opinions on what is a good or bad piece of modern music are completely irrelevant.

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If you want to know why modern music is worthwhile, go and find out. Listen and read beyond your comfort zone and you will come to love it.

lol, oh really now?

Of course, after that you may still not like it but nobody can ever accuse you of being ignorant.

And yet people would.

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And yet people would.

As I said in an earlier post, there are elitists on both sides but in my opinion you can tell the ones who have done the necessary work and still don't like it. There is a certain respect for it still, a recognition that it is well crafted music but it falls outside of their taste. Unfortunately most don't want to do that work and their ignorance is blatantly obvious by the way they attack the music then qualify those attacks in ways that make no sense.

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Come on, no need to play the victim. A bunch of sympathizers of 'modern' music are as often the aggressors in heated debates nowadays: you aren't fooling anyone either :P.

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They're about as dead as those who dismissed it altogether as "degenerate art". No need to feel persecuted (or to persecute).

It's 2012, not 1936.

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I know how committed you are to your misunderstandings. Glad to have kept this amicable :thumbsup: .

Same for you :toothygrin: .

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As I said in an earlier post, there are elitists on both sides but in my opinion you can tell the ones who have done the necessary work and still don't like it. There is a certain respect for it still, a recognition that it is well crafted music but it falls outside of their taste. Unfortunately most don't want to do that work and their ignorance is blatantly obvious by the way they attack the music then qualify those attacks in ways that make no sense.

Well, it seems like this elitist still hasn't changed his tune despite having 1.75 feet in the grave:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/3702982/Pierre-Boulez-I-was-a-bully-Im-not-ashamed.html

It pisses me off to see him continue to say those things, but I mean, it's fine, really. Composers throughout history have hated one another's works or hated the works of some earlier composers (substitute another word for "hate" if you like). You might even say it's natural to do so. Just realize that they've often been "wrong" in the eyes of history (though probably quite correct with many mediocrities we no longer remember), and therefore you (not you specifically) might be too. And the greatest composers usually fused a number of different styles together, so fetishizing one approach over another is probably not the smartest route to creating great music.

But they're not: that's the thing.

Payback is a scallop, I guess.

Are you still convinced that Adorno and the Webern cult are still alive today?

Unless I'm mistaken: it is 2012, not 1955.

I thought they were churches now.

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