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Can "Art" or "Music" be graded with rules and ranked on an "artistic" level?

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Posted on Feb 13, 2012 8:41:19 PM PST
ZzBridges says:
M. Topper

You got a point but we still have Tony Bennett, Jack Jones from the oldies. Tony is still winning Grammies. Michael Buble and Harry Connick Jr. are pretty big these days still.
Your right though, we don't see The Seeds or The Strawberry Electric Suitcase melting the charts.

Posted on Feb 13, 2012 8:44:25 PM PST
@ZzBridges: oh yeah, I must've forgotten about those...deliberately. ;) In all honesty, I'd *much* rather see The Seeds burn up the charts than Tony Bennett. The Seeds are a perfect example of a vocalist that speaks more to me than the technically more "accomplished" Bennett. Sky Saxon was pretty frigging awesome!

Posted on Feb 13, 2012 8:46:57 PM PST
ZzBridges says:
Yeah, opinions...everyone has one and many....
I think we would probably be at very similar concerts if we had our choices.

Posted on Feb 13, 2012 8:52:52 PM PST
ZzBridges says:
I've kinda put down my remote while this I Love The 80's is on.
There, Anthony Bourdain.

Anyway, is popular culture considered a form of art?

If it is, that's gonna through a few of my theories out of kilter.

Posted on Feb 13, 2012 9:00:27 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 13, 2012 9:00:58 PM PST
@ZzBridges: of course pop culture is art. But it's considered "low art", as opposed to the "high art" of the past. Of course a lot of what is now considered "high art" was once considered "low art" when it began. We can see that transition happening right now with artists like The Beatles or the films of Alfred Hitchcock...which again blows a whole in the idea of objective standards. Truly objective standards would not be fluid and subject to change. Although now that Comment Man has accurately identified "grey areas", there's a lot less debate to be had IMO.

Posted on Feb 13, 2012 9:10:45 PM PST
ZzBridges says:
@Michael T.
Yeah I already knew it. I was just looking at some of the "low art" of the '80s and wonder how to grade a pet rock or that sitcom about the little robot girl.
Today we could grade the artist qualities of reality TV.
Maybe in the very far future someone will find these and actually think they are honest documentaries about current society.
Snooki will be in the ancient "Who's Who".

Posted on Feb 13, 2012 9:15:05 PM PST
I guess it's subjective. I still think there is high art and crap though. There is no way you can prove to me that Justin Beiber and N 'sync are better than Bob Dylan, David Bowie, The Beatles, and Beethoven. Musically, that is. But that's just me. Of course there are genres of music I prefer over others. But I still enjoy all types of music if I feel there is a bit of substance there. There has to be some depth and passion there. If it's mindless and specifically made for mass consumption, I could care less. There is no humanity or emotion in that type of music. And the people performing it are most likely not educated musicians either. However, there are exceptions. Take late 70's "Punk Rock" for example. The musicianship is not that strong but the desire, emotion, and passion is there with socially conscious lyrics. In cases like that, I can disregard their lack of playing skill because of other aspects that make their music important or relevant to me.

Posted on Feb 13, 2012 9:18:23 PM PST
ZzBridges says:
Well, later guys. Getting late.
Have fun all!

"We may not agree, but I'll defend your "right" to your opinion with my life" - Unknown (At least by me)

Posted on Feb 13, 2012 9:32:54 PM PST
@ZzBridges: "Small Wonder" was a scream!! As was "Webster", "Gimme A Break", "The Facts Of Life", "Punky Brewster", "Mr.Belvedere"...uh oh, I'm really betraying my age here...and I don't see why "Jersey Shore" wouldn't be considered an honest documentary on our current society. I think it and its popularity says some very honest things about where our society is at these days. But so does the brilliant "South Park" parody episode of it, and that would be considered "low pop culture" art, too!

@Metalhead Jay: I actually agree with almost everything you say here, even though my earlier comments may seem to belie it. Depth, passion and a certain sense of "realness" and sincerity are *huge* criteria I use to judge the quality of the music I listen to. Like you, it's not the only criteria I use, but it's a big one. It's just that I consider that part of my own personal judgement, and not something I would try to objectively force on anyone else making a determination (it doesn't help that the feeling of "realness" or "depth" coming from an artist is highly intangible and subjective--some of my favorite rock artists who I considered to have plenty of depth and sincerity, I've seen slammed by supposedly knowledgable rock critics as fake, insincere poseurs. Who is right?).

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 13, 2012 9:33:01 PM PST
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Posted on Feb 14, 2012 12:04:03 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 21, 2012 4:20:52 PM PST
Obama is a better singer and person compared to all the Republicans running against him! I read body language very well and I can assure you on the "person" part. The "singing" aspect is obvious.

Posted on Feb 14, 2012 12:15:34 AM PST
"The Facts Of Life" was a much deeper show than many imagine(at least before Charlotte Rae left). They dealt with many topics/subjects that most shows at that time wouldn't touch. Plus, there was great humor and a wonderful cast that had excellent chemistry. The tension and battles between Blair and Jo were always entertaining to watch. Easily, one of the best shows of the 80's.

Michael, Rock critics are hired and payed. Rock fans are not paid. You know their views are not bought and paid for. For me, the fans have more credibility.

Posted on Feb 14, 2012 3:56:11 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 14, 2012 3:57:45 AM PST
Michael Topper says:
Sinatra is a perfect example of music that is clearly "dated", in that no-one sings like that anymore, but that a lot of people still like and enjoy today.
Michael Buble and Josh Groban are your modern day crooners. There music sells pretty well despite little to no radio play.

Posted on Feb 14, 2012 4:05:14 AM PST
D. Mok says:
> I don't necessarily believe you could or should "prove" any art is "better" than another.

You can prove it; it's just not absolute proof. But standards of excellence and aesthetics do exist. There *are* scientific principles in the arts (eg. pitch, harmony and timing in music; light, colour and detail in visual arts; verisimilitude, diction, clarity and depth in writing) which relate to how human senses and perception work.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 14, 2012 5:57:10 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 14, 2012 7:54:53 AM PST
Of the two crooners I mentioned, my favorite is Josh Groban. He's a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist (piano, keyboards, drums).

For his new album, Illuminations, Josh parted ways with producer David Foster and hooked up with legendary rock producer Rick Rubin, who chose to tone down the bombast of Josh's previous albums. Many of the songs are just Josh, a piano, and the occasional subtle violin or acoustic guitar in the background. Many of the tracks were recorded in one take, which is something that many artists these days would have trouble pulling off because many of them cannot sing without the crutches of various instruments, fluff and computerization. Because he wrote or co-wrote most of the tracks, it feels far more personal and more like the work of a songwriter than a singer. The more and more I listen to the album, the more and more I love it.

He tweeted recently that his career is Grammy adjacent. I think he means that the people he works with get nominated/win Grammys but, sadly, he does not, in spite of having sold millions of albums. This highlights to me the fact that the Grammys don't mean anything if one of the best male vocalists in the world can't win anything.

I think there's a few things about Josh that may be the reason why the Grammy keeps eluding him:
>He does his own thing instead of following trends - especially more so with Illuminations.
>As beautiful as they are, some people are turned off by the foreign language songs he sings. I've seen that mentioned several times in regards to his music.
>He's not a flashy performer. The thing that strikes me about many of the Grammy nominees is that there are a lot of caricatures up for awards. Being outrageous (in either appearance or performance - or both) seems to be the thing they are selling.

Posted on Feb 14, 2012 7:00:24 AM PST
J. N. Lake says:
As Frank Zappa once said, "The six most dangerous letters in the English language are MBA and LSD." MBA's spend their work careers assigning numerical values to human actions, emotions, et al. And we all know what LSD is supposed to do for creativity (dunno...never tried it). I completely agree with Metalhead Jay who says: I guess it's subjective. I still think there is high art and crap though.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 14, 2012 8:05:59 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 14, 2012 8:09:59 AM PST
@D.Mok: yes, those musical "standards of excellence" do exist and they are society's attempt to be objective when judging quality. The problem is, even things like pitch, harmony and timing can be disputed. They can certainly be measured, but there are people who may specifically like or value musicians who are off-pitch, off-timing or off-harmony. For example, back in the early 20th century many African-American jazz keyboardists began to play the notes "between" the keys, which by the 'objective' standards of the time was considered ugly-sounding and "bad". If those keyboardists had followed the standard of what was supposed to be "good" at the time, one of the most important developments in the evolution of jazz would have never occurred.

Similarly, the punk revolution in rock rejected the idea that proficiency on one's instrument was an important standard to follow, or that singing in pitch was more important than raw emotion (actually, these anti-values were already gaining ground in rock before the punk era).

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 14, 2012 8:19:02 AM PST
Roeselare says:
Hi ZzBridges,
Yes, it's far less than 100 years when musicologists compare composers. Mozart started young and died young, so he's evaluated within the longest range of time, CPE Bach and JC Bach to early Beethoven.

You said, "Even two music scholars who agree that music can be "objectively" measured, and who use the exact same 'educated' yardsticks to measure quality, will frequently find themselves disagreeing on who was better, Mozart or Beethoven."

I said, Scholars will tell you that Mozart and LvB are better than JC Bach or Weber or Hummel or Dittersdorf or any of their contemporaries. How do they all agree upon that broad statement? Is it just their likes and dislikes?

I wonder why non-musicians assume that evaluating a famous composer against their contemporaries has anything to do with likes or dislikes, because it should be understood that it's too long ago. With have their output, we have what came before and what they developed, and what came after. It's not about what appeals to us today, it's objectively about their achievements. This is a huge subject and this is what we study in musicology.

Posted on Feb 14, 2012 9:55:58 AM PST
ZzBridges says:

Without breaking down and giving examples of your response, overall I still feel I hear you describing "talent" and not "artist" quality. (If there is a such thing. That's what I'm here for right). I agree that most would agree that Mozart was a "better" composer than say Salieri. (Even he said that, "In the movie". But Ol' King George said "There were to many notes". Not serious example). That may be my personal feelings and opinions talking, HA, HA. (Thank you for being thought out and on point with your comments. That's not as common as it should be. Not referring to this discussion).

Posted on Feb 14, 2012 10:31:10 AM PST
do you guys think it's possible to completely disregard opinions when rating music like that? because i always find the most musically talented and the best songwriters, are my favorites. i don't think that is a coincidence.

Posted on Feb 14, 2012 10:37:59 AM PST
James Howsmon says: "because i always find the most musically talented and the best songwriters, are my favorites"'s more like, *because* they're your favorites, *you* call them the "most musically talented" and "best songwriters", not the other way around. You're leading the cart before the horse in your argument.

Posted on Feb 14, 2012 10:45:06 AM PST
never heard that expression before... i do see your point but also consider, i believe iron maiden to be more talented and better songwriters than the beatles. however, most would disagree. do you think i veiw iron maiden this way because their my favorites? or their my favorites because i view them this way? (please remember, everything i say in opposition to the beatles is in my opinion, no need to argue about it, i've done plenty of that lately)

Posted on Feb 14, 2012 11:02:23 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 14, 2012 12:02:13 PM PST
@James Howsmon: that's what I'm saying, that you view Iron Maiden as more talented and better songwriters than The Beatles because they're your favorites. And that statement is perfectly valid, but from your point of view only. Because obviously there are many people who would disagree with you.

Actually, the reverse statement that they're your favorites because you view them that way is also perfectly valid--but that's not quite what you implied in your earlier post. You implied that they're your favorites *not* because "you view them that way", but because your faves *are* that way (ie. musically talented and best songwriters). That's an attempt at blanket objectivity that just can't hold up.

Posted on Feb 14, 2012 11:05:52 AM PST
topper, i guess your right. never thought of it that way

Posted on Feb 14, 2012 12:51:47 PM PST
Stratocaster says:
ZzBridges says: "The Show" for me is an art form in itself. There is talent and artistic imagination involved in causing 10's of thousands of people to be transfixed and hopefully entertained. It doesn't hurt if the music is good too right".

Although a "stage show" holds no redeeming value to me personally whatsoever, for the most part, I would think many would agree with your statement. But you also have to consider that those stage shows are typically NOT the product or imagination of the performer themselves. There are professional choreographers involved, set designers, lighting designers and technicians, special effects technicians. And that doesn't even get into the musical aspect, for which there are songwriters, keyboard programmers, studio musicians, engineers, lip sync coaches, etc.

It'll all make you ponder for a second - what if you took away the dancers, stage set, lighting effects, digital vocal processing, and all of the other stuff, and just handed someone like...........lets say, Katy Perry, a guitar and a mike, and asked her to perform a song, what would you end up with? And would anybody want to hear it?
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Discussion in:  Music forum
Participants:  29
Total posts:  197
Initial post:  Feb 13, 2012
Latest post:  Feb 29, 2012

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