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


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Showing 101-125 of 197 posts in this discussion
Posted on Feb 15, 2012 4:01:30 PM PST
Stratocaster says:
James Howsmon says: "but don't we all agree on beiber vs. mozart? the people who share the other point of view don't have much of a sense of music..."

Personally, yes, I agree 100%. That would be my contention all along. But there are still those who would disagree with even a "common sense" statement to that effect, and would argue that a comparison between Beiber and Mozart is still only "personal opinion" and that if Beiber "moves" you more then Mozart, then he is in fact the better artist.
That's where I get my feathers all ruffled.
But then again, being my own devil's advocate, maybe that's over oversimplifying the argument in the other direction. But yes, if two guys at a bar pulled me into an argument over who's better, let's say......Deep Purple or Black Sabbath, then yeah, I'd just have to say that's just a matter of personal taste and opinion. A completely objective argument.

Posted on Feb 15, 2012 4:03:46 PM PST
thank you strat!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 15, 2012 5:45:05 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 15, 2012 6:17:07 PM PST
Roeselare says:
Thanks, that's interesting. It's a wide definition of Art. I'm in a combo, and I'm expected to improvise, but if I was intending to compose something it wouldn't be off the cuff. Composing is a very self-critical process (for most players it's often overly self-critical, and so, in my experience - they don't attempt it).

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 15, 2012 5:45:59 PM PST
Roeselare says:
That's a good point. But you might change your opinion after years and years..

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 15, 2012 6:15:39 PM PST
Roeselare says:
It's interesting that you think that, because Mozart was more technically complex than Salieri, and the Beatles were more technically complex than the Kinks. I'm not saying that it's that simple, because the true barometer seems to be a large and consistent package of cleverness.

Now, the problem is, depending upon the experience or educational level of the audience, 'cleverness' and innovation and especially 'effectual' can be very subjective. But there's no debate that it comes with exposure..

Posted on Feb 16, 2012 1:54:11 PM PST
Comment Man says:
ZZ it isn't a contradiction to admit ignorance. I don't know very much (at all) about visual art and so I don't try and say this artist is good and that artist is bad. This is the point of view behind the statement "I don't know art but I know what I like." IF you argue that artistic judgement is totally subjective, then despite the fact one is utterly ignorant of what an artistic work is trying to accomplish, or anything else about it, your judgment is just as valid as any other possible judgment. The fact that I am not competant to judge visual art and have only the most vacuous comments to make about it (I went to an Egyptian art exhibit today and pointed out to my wife that some of the hieroglyphs looked like a face. She just looked at me like--"DUMMY"!!) does not invalidate my larger argument about art.

Posted on Feb 16, 2012 1:57:54 PM PST
Comment Man says:
Musical genius is definitely not cleverness or technical ability. Salieri is a good example, since he had to have some massive technical ability: his students include Beethovan, Schubert and Listz and maybe even Mozart. The guy was not all that hot a composer, but I cannot think of a teacher with more distinguished students in the entire history of music.

Posted on Feb 16, 2012 2:27:36 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 16, 2012 2:36:44 PM PST
ZzBridges says:
Comment Man:

I guess I "misread" your post. What I took from it was not what I hear you saying above:

"the point of view behind the statement "I don't know art but I know what I like."

as opposed to the original.

"This does not mean solipsism is acceptable--"I don't know art but I know what I like" is, as is any admission of ignorance, just annoying."

As far as solipsism, I personally am not saying that nothing exists outside my mind, I'm just commenting on, what is more important, what factually (provably) exists and should that be only what determines artistic merit?

Posted on Feb 16, 2012 2:29:27 PM PST
tommee maxx says:
I can't dig thru all of this, but really this is a nearly impossible question to answer on a definitive level. Certain art (music in particular in my opinion) is clearly a product of its time/era and when you are long removed/not part of that time/era then what you listen to can have no and/or lose context.

Case in point I was showing my friends 8 y/o son some stiff on gtr (he asked - I'm not giving him lessons)...we just started playing (I hadn't seen him in a year and was curious where he was at) and he plays this little lick..I asked him where he got that...he said The Beatles "Revolution"...hmmm I said...you know that's a Chuck Berry lick...to which he said "Who's Chuck Berrry".

Anyway as far as art goes (and music is my thing) often times if something survives decades and decades then one would think that is saying something about the quality of the piece (for example I could listen to Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" every day of my life and never get tired of it (no reason to ask why - it just is).

I also recall being at the National Gallery in DC and going thru the Dutch Masters section. There were a lot of commissioned portraits in there (an artist has to make a living right), were those any less art than the other paintings?

I can't think of anything else...I'll go read some more of these posts as it's been good so far to read/see the other perspectives here.

Posted on Feb 16, 2012 2:34:22 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 16, 2012 2:36:07 PM PST
ZzBridges says:
FAMILY GUY!

I can still watch rerun after rerun and still get a chuckle on occasion from something I've seen before a couple of times......Now that's ART! ;)

Almost forgot the little winky thingy

Posted on Feb 16, 2012 3:58:18 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 16, 2012 4:36:58 PM PST
ZzBridges says:
Speaking of "The Show", just heard Alice say something kinda funny about the state of todays taste and what they expect in shock rock: "The only thing you can do today to shock, is to cut your arm off and eat it....And you can only do that twice". A joke but, is it getting to or, will get to that level?

Posted on Feb 16, 2012 5:01:18 PM PST
J. Hand says:
I think you can dissect music into its component parts and other forms of art to some degree as well. But, you could never get a set of universally applied standards that were also universally agreeable to all consumers of art as to its merits. Hitler and other totalitarian regimes tried and failed, even under force of law. In the US Atty General John Ashcroft. an obscenity in his own right, had statues draped in cloth because he didn't approve of their nudity. It had never been done before because people understood it as art. Ashcroft had different standards. Look at the outrage against Mapplethorpe, the photo called Piss Christ, and later the artist who worked in elephant dung who created a Virgin Mary painting using his favorite medium. Remember Ice-T & Body Count with Cop Killer? The PMRC and those stupid little stickers we were left with? The rallies against pulp fiction, comic books, rock and roll, and even the outrage Stravinsky caused with Rites of Spring? Some people don't consider Jackson Pollock's work art. Later pieces done by Salvador Dali were done just to make money and capitalize on his fame, not because he had the passion to create those works. Is that still art?

I just don't see how standards could ever exist to OBJECTIVELY define art of any kind. Art speaks to each individual through that individual's filters, intellectual and emotional hence all art, IMHO, is a subjective experience, hence it's value and merit is also subjective.

Posted on Feb 16, 2012 7:14:31 PM PST
Well, "talent" isn't always so easy to quantify, and isn't, necessarily, synonymous with virtuosity. For instance, one hears that guitarist A is infinitely better than guitarist B because he's got better "chops"--is demonstrably able to play more complex music faster and more correctly. However, in many cases, guitarist A seems to be unable to express anything whatsoever with his playing beyond "check out my chops!" while, despite less agile fingers and inferior knowledge of musical theory, guitarist B might create music that makes people's lives feel a little bit more worthwhile. So, while one has more technical skill, the other, arguably, has more talent when it comes to actually affecting a listener who's looking for more from music than a show of impressive "chops."

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 17, 2012 5:25:57 AM PST
tommee maxx says:
J.S. - great point...I learned early on how to speed up and down the fretboard....quite impressive but I was saying/communicating nothing, so I had to go back and re-think. The technical ability derived from learning how to play fast was invaluable tho' and I would not trade that for anything. When I speak to young musicians I stress the importance of listening and I like to start gtr players out who want to "learn how to solo" on learning the melodies of some of their favorite songs as a gateway to their expression.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 17, 2012 5:27:39 AM PST
tommee maxx says:
ZZ - LOL...I was at a friends house for the SB and his son (13) didn't get why everybody said Gaga was a "2nd Madonna"...his argument was that Madonna never wore a dress made out of meat...I nearly died laughing!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 17, 2012 5:29:10 AM PST
tommee maxx says:
J Hand - "I just don't see how standards could ever exist to OBJECTIVELY define art of any kind. Art speaks to each individual through that individual's filters, intellectual and emotional hence all art, IMHO, is a subjective experience, hence it's value and merit is also subjective."

Uh...I think it's game over...this is 1000% correct!

Posted on Feb 17, 2012 8:36:29 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 17, 2012 10:23:24 AM PST
ZzBridges says:
Hey Gang,

I'm not trying to detour the topic here (well maybe a little), but I think this applies here.
To 'splain a little, I was over on another thread and our bud Hinch brought up a good point....Do we use IMO, (lol, OMG, IMHO etc...He only mentioned IMO) to much in discussions that for the most part involve opinion as their basic motivation to begin with? I agreed that I do, mostly because I'm really new to this discussion thing, or for that matter, just talking to people in "full conversations" on the keyboard. Anyway I think one of my motivations to using that particular acronym is related to me personally trying to distinguish between fact and opinion in music and if we can (which we'll see I guess...definitely not yet) apply that revelation to other areas of interest. For me, and I'm not saying anything negative about anyone personally (we all have our opinions and mine you don't necessarily want to smell) but there is an awful lot of "That's my opinion and it's fact over your "opinion". The point of this thread I guess. Anyway, why do I and some others feel the need to use that acronym when it "should" be "understood" that it is IMO. I think I might try a little experiment, on other discussions, and not use it and see how many replies I get like "well you're wrong" or "well that's just your opinion". That's part of my problem being a newby to this "new fangled" age of communication, although I have been on this net thingy since I was building my own machines and having to dial a number for each BBS I wanted to visit and my kids were in diapers and now they are helping me sometimes with the "new stuff". So if your there with me, on other threads, please bear with me, or you could join in the experiment. You'd be amazed, or maybe not, at the responses you may get. IMO!!!!!

Later Gang

Posted on Feb 17, 2012 2:12:28 PM PST
Comment Man says:
J Hand continues his false dichotomy. Either art apparently must have "universally applied standards that are also universally agreeable to all consumers of art"--a standard, that since all humans are consumers of art, is unmeetable--or it must be subjective. As a thought experiment, consider that no theory of science meets this standard--if you insist that it is "universally agreeable" to all "consumers of science." It is simply a false standard of objectivity.

I think in music for example a vast majority of the hypothetical "consumers of art" would demand some minimum standard of competence in singing and instrument playing. If music is taken to be ENTIRELY subjective, how can you demand this?

I also find J Hand's insistence--which he has repeated several times across these discussion boards--that associates those of us asking for recognition of some standards in art with Nazis and John Ashcroft deeply disappointing. This time of vile guilt by association attack is simply a nasty and uncalled for persona argument.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 17, 2012 3:13:23 PM PST
Roeselare says:
Read Salieri's scores. If you think they're technically innovative then yours is a rare opinion. Can you back it up?

He was famous, he made his way into the court, and so he was able to attract students. Did any of them praise him highly for his musical achievements?

Posted on Feb 17, 2012 5:35:33 PM PST
J. Hand says:
@ comment man - Geez, man! Do you even know what a "Theory" is? A theory is a belief that is accepted as 'fact' but isn't necessarily definitive or absolute. Theories can become updated, outdated, or obsolete. Most science is based on theories because the body of scientific knowledge is constantly growing. New ideas come in; old ideas fade out. That's a huge difference to equate scientific theory to your contention. What's ironic is your take on standards being possible would fail miserably under proving it by SCIENTIFIC METHOD.

You quoted my "universally applied standards that are also universally agreeable to all consumers of art" which I said would be necessary to answer "yes" to the original question of "Can "Art" or "Music" be graded with rules and ranked on an "artistic" level?" Note that the question wasn't exclusive to music. And, if you are so self assured that such standards exist or could, name me a piece of art that has universal agreement about its worthiness? I don't care what it is. Name a painting, drawing, sculpture, book, poem, piece of music, anything that EVERYONE from all educational levels, all cultures, all nationalities, all economic, social, political, religious, or what have you backgrounds would all universally agree about. I'm not talking exclusively scholars, musicologosts, art critics, or any of the self-proclaimed 'I'm educated so I know more than you' types. I'm talking about the hoi-polloi!

My argument has never been AGAINST any piece of art - all I have maintained is people have different tastes and no set of standards could be developed that could be universally applied to define 'good' or 'bad' art. My examples, which you so thoroughly twisted out of context, were off the top of my head examples of cases where a government, an individual, or a group belived that this setting standards could be done. Each time it failed or was the result of their own tastes. In another thread I thought I did a decent job of describing my reaction to the photograph called "Piss Christ" which you no doubt intentionally ommitted. I notice you strategically omitted where I mentioned the Artist Who Belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame thread, the Billy Joel thread, the anything with 'Beatles' in the title threads, the [Name Your Band] was the best band ever threads, the Music of 40 Years Ago is Better Than the Music of Today thread as perfect examples of the impossibility of universal standards. (I didn't name all those, but I did name several and the rest support my premise)
Even the brainiacs in the computing world can't create blocking software that can distinguish between a porn site and a breast cancer awareness site or a porn site and a street car site with Hot Rod in its name. What was the infamous quote by bthe Supreme Court judge about porn? "I can't describe it but I know it when I see it." and what did terms like 'community standards' and 'artistic merit' meanin that context. They were as slippery as holding an eel with petroleum jelly coated rubber gloves.

My use of examples where people and groups have attempted to impose standards by placing definitions on what constituted 'good art' are simply that: examples. In no way have I ever implied any of you elitists who think you can grade everything around you are such, Nazis and the like, simply because you lot want to be arbiters of taste and think you are smarter than everyone else. Your implication that that's what I meant is just a cheap shot attempt to level some BS crap at me to attack me on a personal level because you have nothing else but you own egoistic sense of self importance. I can assure you any such interpretation like that exists purely in your head. Since you can't even objectively comprehend what people write/say, running it instead through your own filters and twisting it into what you want to have believe, how can you think you, or anyone else, have the objectivity to set meaning standards?

Let me guess: What Comment Man says is good, is good. What Comment Man says is bad, is bad. Why? Because Comment Man says so and he knows more than the rest of us.

Regardless, I don't think you are in the majority on this one, not that number count when you're simply wrong. You are just another cricket chirping in the woods on this one.

Posted on Feb 17, 2012 6:21:34 PM PST
alysha25 says:
"J. Hand says:

I think you can dissect music into its component parts and other forms of art to some degree as well. But, you could never get a set of universally applied standards that were also universally agreeable to all consumers of art as to its merits. Hitler and other totalitarian regimes tried and failed, even under force of law. In the US Atty General John Ashcroft. an obscenity in his own right, had statues draped in cloth because he didn't approve of their nudity. It had never been done before because people understood it as art. Ashcroft had different standards. Look at the outrage against Mapplethorpe, the photo called Piss Christ, and later the artist who worked in elephant dung who created a Virgin Mary painting using his favorite medium. Remember Ice-T & Body Count with Cop Killer? The PMRC and those stupid little stickers we were left with? The rallies against pulp fiction, comic books, rock and roll, and even the outrage Stravinsky caused with Rites of Spring? Some people don't consider Jackson Pollock's work art. Later pieces done by Salvador Dali were done just to make money and capitalize on his fame, not because he had the passion to create those works. Is that still art?

I just don't see how standards could ever exist to OBJECTIVELY define art of any kind. Art speaks to each individual through that individual's filters, intellectual and emotional hence all art, IMHO, is a subjective experience, hence it's value and merit is also subjective. "

Suddenly an episode of "Ugly Betty" popped into my mind. I doubt you've watched it. But Betty has a boyfriend who kind-of secretly paints in oil. And one day he puts on a great gallery art display. The paintings are all about his failed relationship with her. It's just so vivid in my mind as I read your interesting post! You would have to see it.

Posted on Feb 17, 2012 10:54:35 PM PST
J. Hand says:
Hi Alysha. I haven't seen any of the Ugly Betty shows although I'd like to see the one you referred to. It does sound interesting.

I simply believe that as humans, we DO share universal experiences such as pain, joy, fear, love, friendship, loss, and more. But after that I think it stops and that's where individuality takes hold. I've had the pleasure of living a unique life and meeting all sorts of people. My own existence has been a contradiction because on the one hand I have always been a biker, the bad boy kind, but I have also been well educated (IMHO), had a long successful career in technology, and somehow managed to balance the two. I know and appreciate diversity and, to me, people are their own works of art. They also create art which flows from their individuality and the path(s) traveled.

For anyone to suggest that this creative ability and output can be universally categorized may be possible, but to apply any such criteria and arrive at full agreement of good and bad is ludicrous. This is the idiocy that seeks things like "the criminal gene". To believe that good and bad as it pertains to art, can be expressly defined and everybody gets on board with those decisions denies the very diversity and individuality that makes up the human being.

I have yet to see any evidence to the contrary.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2012 4:36:16 AM PST
RE: Anyway, why do I and some others feel the need to use that acronym when it "should" be "understood" that it is IMO.

I think that a lot comes down to writing style, and really it's partly personality as well....and how that comes across in their writing style. There are some people who, while obviously only giving their opinion, tend to shove it down people's throats. These would be people whose style makes them sound like they're presenting facts. Then, sometimes, when they get negative feedback for that reason, they tell you something like "Of course it's just opinion".....even though it does not come across that way. (Or sometimes they just tell you you're stupid, or the like.)

There are others who can write opinion and have it come across as thought-out and insightful but make it obvious to the reader that it's only opinion.....with no qualifications required. These people are gifted communicators.

And there are some who are somewhere in the middle. Sometimes, when you have a strong opinion but don't want to sound like you're trying to be too authoritative about something, you can qualify it with an "IMO." OTOH, it's possible to overdo it with "IMO." If you do it once in a while, people get to know you and it's understood that you're just giving your .02 worth.

Not everyone or everything fits neatly into one of those boxes, but I think there's something to it. Everyone has a different style, and some are more effective than others. It's really all about skill levels at effectively communicating. Some are very good without stating that it's their opinion (because it's obvious), some are OK but make an occasional adjustment ("IMO") at times that makes them more effective, and some just are not very good at it and come on too strong.

I think it's kind of interesting because I notice it when people some on strong, as if they're talking fact when they're talking opinion....and then they go on and on about it. Even though it should be obvious that it's opinion, sometimes you can't tell if the person simply believes it's fact and those facts are on his/her side -- the "I'm right and you're wrong" type. As you mentioned, it should be understood that it's only opinion.....but because of different writing styles, it doesn't always work that way.

I'm not talking about you since I don't know you and haven't read many of your posts.....but there are definitely some cases where a post can use an "IMO." It's not necessarily to soften it because it may be a strong opinion, but sometimes if there's doubt it can help readers to discern that the writer is not pretending that the opinions are facts; it can help the writer from coming off as a know-it-all sometimes.

Posted on Feb 18, 2012 10:44:02 AM PST
ZzBridges says:
zapatos espinados: Excellent descriptions of the uses and need for IMO. IMO!!

Yeah, there are still folks that will respond with "you're wrong" even after you use IMO. I'm not sure how to respond to something like that without looking silly myself, so I usually don't.
I meet these people in daily life on occasion. I may go , "hey have you heard this band, their great". The response might be "no there not, they suck".

I've even tried once, I thought obviously, to "mess" with someone and agree with their opinion, after they were just saying mine was "wrong". "Yeah, I guess your right". I have actually got, if not a "See-ee-e", at least a nod of approval on occasion. I don't "discuss" much with these folks.

A friend and I were in one of our good natured political "discussions" that we use to have on breaks with some of the other guys. My friend basically stated his beliefs about whatever the topic was ATT. Next, another guy began his "statement" that was more or less the opposite of what my friend said. While he was talking, my friend was going "yeah", "you're absolutely right".... This went on for a good 5 minutes. I sat there giving a knowing look to my friend. The other guy never caught on. I guess he thought so much of his opinion that he assumed he could "convert" someone else just by stating his.

I guess that my story o the day.

You're right, some of it is writing style and some of it is maybe defensive writing. It's just much easier in my experience (IME) to "discuss" with someone face to face than writing or posting. You have facial expressions, tone of voice etc... This posting thing for me has some advantages also. I have time to fine tune my responses. I have been known to speak before the words go through my brain first. It also doesn't hurt if you know the person.

I can also ramble in both types of communication.....So Later!

Posted on Feb 18, 2012 11:03:19 AM PST
J. Beaver says:
Objectivity is a myth.
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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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