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Ludovico Einaudi — Time Lapse
Album: In a Time Lapse
Avg rating:
7.6

Your rating:
Total ratings: 2163









Released: 2013
Length: 5:20
Plays (last 30 days): 2
(Instrumental)
Comments (138)add comment
What an interesting series of posts... So much love or hate! Ratings are pretty high though.

Personally, couldn't give a monkey's whether it's classical or contemporary, it's just a sublime piece of very relaxing music

Love it - 8 on first listen. LLRP 
 cheflincoln wrote:
I'm really flashing back to the soundtrack for the Cohen brothers' first big film "Blood Simple"
 
This tune does remind me of something from a kind of  moody, atmospheric movie. I think you NAILED it. I've got to HAND it to you. 
 a_genuine_find wrote:
One of the greatest live performances I have ever witnessed
 

I agree. It was the honor of my life to be able to pay to see him in concert. I have seen some excellent concerts in my life but nothing compared to his show. Wow. I hope to do it again.
was listening to my other go-to commercial free music source.... KUSC.org,  and was surprised to learn that Ludovico's grandfather was the President of Italy between 1948 and 1955!
Awesome tune, Larry David!
Minimalism  at it's best is hypnotic and this is 
His "Seven Days Walking" project:  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Days_Walking
In love with Ludovico...!!!
 adib wrote:

Me too.  Normally Einaudi's music doesn't work for me, but this does.
 
And I have just bumped to an 8 - love this. 

Q: Why does his music normally make me want to crawl up walls? 
A: I think because there's a thin line between annoying/bland and simple/atmospheric.  This one is across that line for me.  Maybe for other people the line is in a slightly different place, so his other music works for them...?
One of the greatest live performances I have ever witnessed
Woohoo! Time Lapse.  Perfect name for this number
 gillespp wrote:
This track always makes me think of the soundtrack to Moon, an amazing little movie. (With a, ahem, stellar soundtrack.)
 
Me too.  Normally Einaudi's music doesn't work for me, but this does.
Long Live  Radio Paradise
Still considering raising from 8 to 9  but I have save 9 and 10  for even better 
      Great song !!
Soothing and unsettling all at once. Love his work. 
I'm really flashing back to the soundtrack for the Cohen brothers' first big film "Blood Simple"
pouring down rain is the background to this playing and I am blissed out for a moment in 2018. 
I change my opinion from 7 to 8 - Most Excellent   
Quick quick PSD you get King Crimson !
Hello?

- Is this the Bell family?

This is the Bell residence. Could you call back? There's something wrong with the picture.

- I'm trying to reach Tess Bell.

I'm sorry, she passed away some years ago.

- Are you sure?

Yeah, I think so. I'm her daughter. Can I help you?
Chill, friends... it's just Intellectual Trance.
Definitely very Moon-ish...
 Schmoogsley wrote:
The bass in this song is pretty cool. (for those with subs)

 
Agreed - sounding lovely on mine - I was thinking the same thing before I read your post!
"Hi Sam. It’s me. How are you? I got your last message, it was really great to hear your voice. I know you’ve been really lonely up there on the Moon, but in a lot of ways it’s been good for you, I think.  I hope you don’t mind me saying that. I’m proud of you. Cathy's birthday is next month. I thought we’d get her a play house for the garden. We could even pick it out together."
 yofitofu wrote:

Too many notes, Mozart!    -Saliere

 
That made me chuckle.
 Zocket wrote:

Enjoy the moment!

 
dance
 Spot_69 wrote:

Oh, please - by effete snobs, maybe . . . the rest of just enjoy what we enjoy, and don't worry about it too much.

Puts in mind of the scene from Dead Poet's Society where he has the boys rip out a page of "rules" from their poetry text book . . .

 
Enjoy the moment!
Too much of Ludovico Einaudi on RP !
Strangely compelling. The bass is indeed catchy.
The bass in this song is pretty cool. (for those with subs)
Bill, you should put Clint Mansell's "Moon" theme into rotation.  Einaudi's Time Lapse is from 2013, so I can't help wondering if it was actually inspired by the 2009 Mansell soundtrack.
 Spot_69 wrote:

Oh, please - by effete snobs, maybe . . . the rest of just enjoy what we enjoy, and don't worry about it too much.

Puts in mind of the scene from Dead Poet's Society where he has the boys rip out a page of "rules" from their poetry text book . . .

 
Too many notes, Mozart!    -Saliere
 Kaw wrote:

There are certain harmonic rules and musical patterns that are considered cheap and distasteful.

 
Oh, please - by effete snobs, maybe . . . the rest of just enjoy what we enjoy, and don't worry about it too much.

Puts in mind of the scene from Dead Poet's Society where he has the boys rip out a page of "rules" from their poetry text book . . .


Beautifully recorded, 
 SECA_Alan wrote:
This is simple, it may be technically simplistic and intellectually unstimulating, but it stimulates emotions just fine. It puts me in mind of Massive Attack rather than Wagner. 

This track works very well with the time lapse HD videos of earth taken from the ISS. 

 
Counter to many of the detractors' comments below, I wholeheartedly agree with you!
This is simple, it may be technically simplistic and intellectually unstimulating, but it stimulates emotions just fine. It puts me in mind of Massive Attack rather than Wagner. 

This track works very well with the time lapse HD videos of earth taken from the ISS. 


 fredriley wrote:

I can't understand the fear and loathing that Einaudi brings out in some RP listeners. At worst, it's boring elevator music - how can folk get so wound up about that. I love his work, which to me has hidden complexity in its minimalism, and is very evocative (particularly his previous works with Italian titles, such as Primavera and Andare), but I can understand how it would bore the crap out of others, and fair do's for that. Why, though, does it get the red mist treatment? I'm really curious.

 
There are certain harmonic rules and musical patterns that are considered cheap and distasteful. The Einaudi tracks are dripping from those. The music is repeating, contains lots of parallel notes and lacks dissonants, rithm or any other particular reason to make it interesting. It's for the easy listening crowd. It also has a stamp of intellectualism and eclecticism which I think is completely incorrect. It's the riverdance of classical/minimal music. There is so much better out there.
There is a lot of bass on this track, but on my system (with a subwoofer) it's absolutely clean. Could be that it's simply overloading systems that can't reproduce the low tones...

Responsibility lies with the producer of the recording rather than RP.

Sounds very nice to me tho... 
 BillG wrote:
Sorry about the sound quality issues on this song. It should be OK now.

 
not really...
bad record "frrr" "frrr" on deep basses
Very nice segue from Younger Brother's Shine to this....kudo!
Sorry about the sound quality issues on this song. It should be OK now.
Yeah, I love this piece but something's wrong with the file. 128k on iPhone app.
 dlaumor wrote:
still got this sound problem...

 

ditto.  Sad because music seems worth a listen.
still got this sound problem...
There is a problem with the file. Bass distortion (got it with .acc 128 and mp3.128)

By the way excellent music. 
Yikes, the whole thing is distorted/clipping for me, too. But I swear I've heard this before on RP with no distortion. Weird!
It sounds great here, like it a lot
No bass problem on my end.
This file is terribly distorted and should be replaced.
Very distorted. Makes it sound as if my speakers are blown. Hate that. 
Distorted audio quality.....but really nice song.
Definitely sound track music to a working day.

Bad sound quality on this one. Distorted especially in the bass.  Please fix or drop it
so progressive <3
Something is up with the audio quality on this one.

I actually down graded this one ... maybe hearing it too much?

Still like it tho


Love it. but not as much as "Life". Please keep ging that way, RP
Aaahh, Ludovico Einaudi, his music always touches my heart. However, this is not his best song, but still an 8 with easiness.
Poor Ludovico
Hated by lovers of contemporary music for being too classical
Hated by lovers of classical music for being too contemporary 
I personally love it and don't agree with many who label this 'simple'
Plain melodies but fantastic range of dynamics across all the voices 
Still to each his own

Great show live and I am going back for a second time. 
This is totally boring and lacks any imagination and creativity. Call it what you like, it's crap music.
Unbearable music.
This track always makes me think of the soundtrack to Moon, an amazing little movie. (With a, ahem, stellar soundtrack.)
Einaudi among VanMorrison and Sting - what a torture.
{#Music}
Sounds like a sound track cut.  Not a bad thing...
 fredriley wrote:

{#Clap} Kudos to your son, and I'm sure that Einaudi would be pleased to have inspired him into music.

 

Thank you for the kind words. Now I'm slightly jealous of my son's success and am budgeting to take my own lessons from his instructor this fall.  
 fredriley wrote:

I can't understand the fear and loathing that Einaudi brings out in some RP listeners. At worst, it's boring elevator music - how can folk get so wound up about that. I love his work, which to me has hidden complexity in its minimalism, and is very evocative (particularly his previous works with Italian titles, such as Primavera and Andare), but I can understand how it would bore the crap out of others, and fair do's for that. Why, though, does it get the red mist treatment? I'm really curious.

 
It could be lack of intelligence?
Reminded me of Clint Mansell's "welcome to lunar industries", fantastic
Greatest living composer delivers again.
Some of you need to get out more.
Ludovico Einaudi makes beautiful music.  Simply said.
 rdo wrote:

FO, OF.  You got a problem with people posting comments on a comment board?  It's not ego.  You are a fucking buffoon, but a funny one, so, you are OK by me.

One point to kcar's reply.  When critics talk about "emotional" response to music, I am at a loss.  Are you talking about the kind of thing people who listen to Julio Iglesias or Frank Sinatra experience??????????

It just goes to show how pointless music writing can be.  We are speaking two different languages.  

Pretty soon you'll be pulling the old "postmodern" trick out of you hat.  Fucking academic.

 

 
Well, yeah...but the irony of you bitchin' about his bitchin' is a bit much to not giggle over. We all get a say (except me when I bitch about Kathleen Edwards) 

As was said so well in "Mars Attacks", can't we all just get along? 
 Proclivities wrote:
It's odd how much animated and heated discussion this guy's music inspires.  I thought the whole point of this music was one of quiet reflection, or just to be "background" music.

 
I can't understand the fear and loathing that Einaudi brings out in some RP listeners. At worst, it's boring elevator music - how can folk get so wound up about that. I love his work, which to me has hidden complexity in its minimalism, and is very evocative (particularly his previous works with Italian titles, such as Primavera and Andare), but I can understand how it would bore the crap out of others, and fair do's for that. Why, though, does it get the red mist treatment? I'm really curious.
 tulfan wrote:
This artist has motivated my son to begin taking piano lessons and even early on, he is being highly praised by his instructor.

 
{#Clap} Kudos to your son, and I'm sure that Einaudi would be pleased to have inspired him into music.
This artist has motivated my son to begin taking piano lessons and even early on, he is being highly praised by his instructor.
 oldfart48 wrote:
WHY DON'T YOU PRIMA DONNAS EXCHANGE EMAIL ADDRESS AND GET LOST? THIS IS A PLACE FOR MUSIC NOT HUGE EGOS.....

 
FO, OF.  You got a problem with people posting comments on a comment board?  It's not ego.  You are a fucking buffoon, but a funny one, so, you are OK by me.

One point to kcar's reply.  When critics talk about "emotional" response to music, I am at a loss.  Are you talking about the kind of thing people who listen to Julio Iglesias or Frank Sinatra experience??????????

It just goes to show how pointless music writing can be.  We are speaking two different languages.  

Pretty soon you'll be pulling the old "postmodern" trick out of you hat.  Fucking academic.

 
This is beautiful ...
Wow, the hate is flowing like beer at a frat party.
Me, I quite like this (and beer, for that matter).
 RandomousJam wrote:
The notion of 'song complexity' is mentioned over 100 times on this comments board, but a precise definition seems to be elusive.

For anyone interested, here is a mathematical take on the subject (a little tongue-in-cheek) from a well-known computer scientist Donald Knuth ->
  www.cs.utexas.edu/users/arvindn/misc/knuth_song_complexity.pdf



 
Don Knuth, that wild and crazy guy! I think just looking at and comparing sheet music can give you an idea of which songs are more complex than others. I think...

From what I remember, my basic argument here is that some songs are so complex (i.e. have so much structure, overlapping musical lines and a higher number of musical ideas all demanding greater technical mastery by musicians) that listeners unfamiliar with that type or style of music may not immediately like those songs.

I think you can come to understand and perhaps intuitively like those kind of songs through exposure as a kid, training in playing a musical instrument and/or instruction in musical theory. Those three paths of learning help people hear more of what's "going on" in a piece; the wall of sounds turn into separate aural strands that people can more readily follow, remember and like.

Fr'instance, Bach and Brahms would embed snatches of folk songs into their pieces that people today wouldn't know. But both men were pulling at their contemporary listeners heart strings and pushing them to emotionally remember their villages, guilds, churches, etc and associate them with the piece that contained them. (Brahms composed the "Academic Overture" for a ceremony in which he was given an honorary doctorate but put snatches of college drinking songs throughout the piece. The academics recognized the drinking songs and apparently many laughed along with Brahms' poke at them. Wikipedia's brief entry on the piece echoes some of my ideas.)

Today's listeners wouldn't recognize the musical references that Bach and Brahms made. Learning about them and/or learning how to the play instruments for that piece may help you pick up on musical strands in the piece and may induce you to appreciate or even love the piece. Making those efforts may also not move the needle for you at all. 

Just because the Academic Overture has some complexity doesn't mean it's superior to other types of music. Learning how to play an instrument or learning about a piece or repeatedly listening to it doesn't make you a superior person; these efforts might expand the range of your musical preferences, though. You might get the same expansive benefit just by going through life and listening to different styles of music.

I think people go through the same process with books, visual art and other forms of art as they grow up. Most of us don't read the same books we read as kids; we look for books with deeper meanings and irony, plot complexity, more fully fleshed-out characters, a greater degree of loss in the story. rdo for instance, says that he loves Proust's "In Search of Lost Time". I believe that over the years, his experience of reading fiction allowed him to read more deeply and love one of the most complex literary works ever. I don't think he would have liked Proust as a kid and I don't think you could ask someone who'd never read a novel before to love Proust right away. Most readers today view finishing Proust or Joyce's Ulysses as a herculean project. But most of us come to love more complex stories as we read more and age, without even thinking about our own growth process. 

rdo is right to question whether a conscious effort to understand a piece of art is necessary or worth it.  If any of you are still reading this, look quickly at two shortish entries by Caroline Weber in the NYT about "In Search of Lost Time"; they make you realize that Proust was like Brahms making topical jokes to his contemporaries and that you're not likely to get those jokes without some research and help. 

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/05/02/books/proust-project.html#/#weber3

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/05/02/books/proust-project.html#/#weber2

Once you learn the cultural and artistic references that Proust used to poke fun at the pretentiousness and silliness of some of his characters, you realize that Proust could be very, very funny. But the jokes are like pressed and dried flowers: you can work at bringing them back to life but they don't have all the power that they did back in their day.

It's up to each reader and listener to decide how hard to work to understand and perhaps like a piece of music that doesn't appeal right away. It's up to each of us to decide how receptive to be to a piece or style or art, as rdo put it. As we age, I think our receptivity, and willingness to listen differently, declines. Most of us wind up preferring the music of our youth when a lot of popular music seemed to be speaking directly to us, seemed to be a soundtrack to our lives. 

 
Well, my english is not so good to fully understand what "sucko-barfo" is, but i hope it's bad enough word for this kind of "music"

my only "1" so far
This guy flows like a beautiful mountain stream . . . .
 nicknt wrote:
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhh ! 1/10

 
As much as that!?
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhh ! 1/10
{#Music}
This is great music for doing excel spreadsheets! Just keep it at the side and tinker
:)
Parb
The notion of 'song complexity' is mentioned over 100 times on this comments board, but a precise definition seems to be elusive.

For anyone interested, here is a mathematical take on the subject (a little tongue-in-cheek) from a well-known computer scientist Donald Knuth ->
  www.cs.utexas.edu/users/arvindn/misc/knuth_song_complexity.pdf


i find most of this guy's stuff pretty boring.
Wow! What a nice segue after Younger Brother's Shine! Serendipity or not, I enjoyed it! Thanks RP! {#Cheers}
next time it will be PSD, maybe two times, or even three
 That had an incredible restraint.. what a beautiful modern piano piece.   
 miamizsun wrote:

{#Lol}





and i like the song very much

 
Me too.
Nah, he just lives next door to Mr P Glass.
A musical alternative to diphenhydramine hydrochloride perhaps?
mark me down for the "Lovers" column please -- 7
 Proclivities wrote:
The apparent winner of the song with the longest post ever...the wheels have fallen off.
wheel 
It's odd how much animated and heated discussion this guy's music inspires.  I thought the whole point of this music was one of quiet reflection, or just to be "background" music.






 
{#Lol}





and i like the song very much
The apparent winner of the song with the longest post ever*...the wheels have fallen off.
wheel 
It's odd how much animated and heated discussion this guy's music inspires.  I thought the whole point of this music was one of quiet reflection, or just to be "background" music.


*Over 5, 900 words - 13 pages in MS Word.  Longer than Swift's "A Modest Proposal" and over twice as long as Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart".
Wow, looks like a little bed-time reading is in order...

Have never seen posts with so much research and intelligence behind them. I cannot read now as I am pretending to work, but am looking forward to the read later tonight!

It's refreshing, after so much "I don't like this band you do, you suck!"
In Italy you either love him and his music or hate it all. I absolutely belong to the latter group. 
WHY DON'T YOU PRIMA DONNAS EXCHANGE EMAIL ADDRESS AND GET LOST? THIS IS A PLACE FOR MUSIC NOT HUGE EGOS.....
 rdo wrote:

kcar wrote:

I do think that in general classical music and much jazz music are more complex and challenging than "eclectic" music ("mass-market" or "mainstream" would be a better term). Gutting agrees with me apparently and lists criteria for measuring complexity.

The process of becoming familiar with both types of music is largely the same, IMO, although the latter (classical) may take more work and formal education.


rdo responds:
 
Whatever the form of art we are talking about, the single most important thing on the part of the consumer of art is receptivity.  The novice consumer is required to be as open-minded as the experienced aesthete.  I think education brainwashes children into believing false notions like the existence of "fine" art.  It does expose them to classical, which is a good thing, but it does not seem to impact their receptivity.  Some people are going to be more responsive to art than others.  I love poetry, for example.  We do not need our children feeling stupid if they do not respond to the "fine" art of poetry.  I believe this false notion has led to the death of poetry, and it is slowly killing fiction.  These are things I care deeply about.

You and I do disagree about this notion of complexity, accessibility, and challenge.  I reiterate that if you are trying really hard to appreciate something, then it simply means that you do not like it (i.e. it’s a matter of taste).  Yes, give things many listens, be open-minded.  Give something, anything, 20 concentrated listens.  For me, complexity does not exist in music.  “Simple” songs or “complex” songs, classical or eclectic, both may require 20 listens before I respond.  Education is irrelevant.

As for my belief that eclectic is superior to classical...that's easy.  I attribute that to taste.  There is no contradication in my argument.  I never said you and Gutting are wrong in preferring classical to eclectic (that, of course, is a matter of taste), but I do stress that you are wrong in making the claim that classical music is objectively more complex and less "accessible".

IDIOTS.....ALL EGO, NO SOUL.
I truly enjoyed your post.  It is very well written, humorous, and we obviously agree on nearly everything, except maybe the points I make above.  Thanks.  I really appreciate that response.     {#Smile}



 


kcar wrote:

I do think that in general classical music and much jazz music are more complex and challenging than "eclectic" music ("mass-market" or "mainstream" would be a better term). Gutting agrees with me apparently and lists criteria for measuring complexity.

The process of becoming familiar with both types of music is largely the same, IMO, although the latter (classical) may take more work and formal education.


rdo responds:
 
Whatever the form of art we are talking about, the single most important thing on the part of the consumer of art is receptivity.  The novice consumer is required to be as open-minded as the experienced aesthete.  I think education brainwashes children into believing false notions like the existence of "fine" art.  It does expose them to classical, which is a good thing, but it does not seem to impact their receptivity.  Some people are going to be more responsive to art than others.  I love poetry, for example.  We do not need our children feeling stupid if they do not respond to the "fine" art of poetry.  I believe this false notion has led to the death of poetry, and it is slowly killing fiction.  These are things I care deeply about.

You and I do disagree about this notion of complexity, accessibility, and challenge.  I reiterate that if you are trying really hard to appreciate something, then it simply means that you do not like it (i.e. it’s a matter of taste).  Yes, give things many listens, be open-minded.  Give something, anything, 20 concentrated listens.  For me, complexity does not exist in music.  “Simple” songs or “complex” songs, classical or eclectic, both may require 20 listens before I respond.  Education is irrelevant.

As for my belief that eclectic is superior to classical...that's easy.  I attribute that to taste.  There is no contradication in my argument.  I never said you and Gutting are wrong in preferring classical to eclectic (that, of course, is a matter of taste), but I do stress that you are wrong in making the claim that classical music is objectively more complex and less "accessible".


I truly enjoyed your post.  It is very well written, humorous, and we obviously agree on nearly everything, except maybe the points I make above.  Thanks.  I really appreciate that response.     {#Smile}


rdo, your compliments about my thoughts should likely go to Notre Dame philosopher Gary Gutting. I put up excerpts of his NYT piece  in a separate post because I thought they were somewhat relevant to our discussion. The boldfaced words in my 7/21/13 post @ 21:49 are all Gutting's, not mine.  

I am not Gary Gutting. I do not agree with everything that Gary Gutting writes in his piece, as I indicated. I have not read anything that Gutting has written besides this NYT piece. I have not read Alex Ross, although I did read the quote of Ross that Gutting used in his NYT piece. I know little to nothing about musical theory. I've had no formal training in musical theory or practice, including the playing of an instrument.  

"The most important assertion in my post, which you did not address, was that I find eclectic music more complex than classical." 
 

 This assertion

("If I had to say which type of music was more complex, classical or eclectic, then it would be eclectic music. RP music has more going on in it, there is more variation.")

didn't seem terribly important or fleshed out. Honestly, it felt like an aside. I did respond to it in a rough draft but cut out my response, vainly hoping to pare down my post. What I had in my draft is italicized--your words are boldfaced:

I really disagree with your statement that "If I had to say which type of music was more complex, classical or eclectic, then it would be eclectic. RP music has more going on in it, there is more variation." Complexity and variation are two different things.  


(Apologies for the odd formatting. I am having a lot of difficulty getting RP to put this up without sentences running on top of each other.)
 
First off: I have never said that complex music is better or superior in any way than less complex music. Never. I have said that some complex music deserves extra attention (even instruction) and hearings. I have said that people who go through that effort, that challenge, may come to understand and like such complex music. I think that holds true whether you're talking about jazz, classical or even intricately rhymed and scored rap. That obvious and innocuous assertion is largely what started this discussion. 

I say that some challenging or complex music deserves extra attention because many listeners may thereby come to love it, thus adding a piece to the catalog of works that they love. That in itself makes the challenge of paying more attention to the piece worth it to me.  

You apparently don't agree. You wrote "challenge…has no place in music appreciation. It's not a contest. It's not an ordeal." You seem to be saying that people shouldn't try to listen to a piece a few times or read about it in order to get a sense of what's going on in the piece. Instead, apparently, they should at all times go with their gut call after a few listens. Otherwise they run the risk of liking a piece because someone has told them that it's great. 

Back to your above quote. Yes, there's more variation in "eclectic" than most classical music. ("Eclectic" isn't a style of music; as Bill Goldsmith uses the term on RP it's a reference to a selection of works ranging widely across musical styles and formats.) There may be more styles and more instruments used in the former than the latter. But variation in styles and instruments across a number of songs doesn't mean that together they are more complex than classical works or that any one eclectic work is more complex than a complex classical piece. Radiohead's music is very different from The Wailing Jenny's stuff from Benny Goodman's, but such variety of styles doesn't mean that the music in this classification has more structure and intricacy in its musical scores than classical music does. 

I suppose it comes largely down to how you define "complexity." I like Eno's "Music for Airports" too as well as "Thursday Afternoon" and yes, they are subtly complex in their own ways. But when you write  

"If however “simple” is to be used as a pejorative, which it generally is, then I’d say Music for Airports is not simple at all, but instead it is possibly the most complex music ever composed." 

I have to ask: who's using "simple" as a pejorative? Not me. And how is "Music for Airports" possibly the most complex music ever composed? By what criteria? Btw, I never said that people can't like a complex piece right away. Sometimes it's love at first listen, sometimes it never happens.  

Complexity may also be relative to the listener. Someone who's grown up with jazz or classical or rap is likely going to find it easier to understand and quickly decide in a lasting whether he or she likes an especially difficult piece in that familiar style. How challenging a piece is to a certain listener, regardless of some objective measure of its complexity, likely also depends on the listener's musical background.  

"You write that being exposed to classical music as a child, and your education, makes you well equipped and specially qualified to judge and arrive at the conclusion that classical music is better and more complex and challenging than eclectic." 

I never claimed I was "well equipped and specially qualified" to pass judgment on musical styles. I never said classical music is better than eclectic. I do think that in general classical music and much jazz music are more complex and challenging than "eclectic" music ("mass-market" or "mainstream" would be a better term). Gutting agrees with me apparently and lists criteria for measuring complexity. 

However, I have never said that classical and jazz are inherently and necessarily better than mainstream music because of their complexity. Gary Gutting seems to want to make that assertion of superiority about complex art, but I don't agree. He does seem to agree with me that classical and jazz are generally more complex than mainstream music, though.  

I included Gutting's piece on RP because he touched on some ideas that we've been discussing here. As he notes, some people assert that complex art is inherently superior to simple art. They are countered by others who assert an artistic relativism, i.e. who's to say that one type of art is better than another? Gutting notes that such relativism disappears when people start talking about art they care about; they start citing objective criteria to prove that the stuff they love is better. (And this does go on all the time on RP. Why rdo, you did it in your last post.).   

Gutting does go on to assert that  

"Further, given the standards fans use to show that their favorites are superior, we can typically show by those same standards that works of high art are overall superior to works of popular art. If the Beatles are better than the Stones in complexity, originality, emotional impact, and intellectual content, then Mozart’s operas are, by those standards, superior to the Beatles’ songs." 

I don't agree with Gutting. I've commented on RP that one band is better than another as we all have, or that someone's an ersatz copy of another artist, but I am expressing opinions about my own musical tastes and NOT about some supposedly objectively based value ranking of musical styles or works stretching across time, place and population.  

I agree a lot more with Alex Ross…at least the quote from Ross that Gutting included in his NYT piece. Here's the Ross quote again: 

"Music is too personal a medium to support an absolute hierarchy of values. The best music is music that persuades us that there is no other music in the world. This morning, for me, it was Sibelius’s Fifth; late last night, Dylan’s “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands”; tomorrow, it may be something entirely new. I can’t rank my favorite music any more than I can rank my memories. Yet some discerning souls . . . say, in effect, “The music you love is trash. Listen instead to our great, arty music” . . . . They are making little headway with the unconverted because they have forgotten to define the music as something worth loving. If it is worth loving, it must be great; no more need be said." 

Frankly, I have the urge to tell Alex to have an MRI on his brain if he loves "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Looowwwlllands" that much, but as I have written in this thread before I can understand that he may have good reasons for liking that song. I can walk in his ears so to speak. Most of us can, no matter how strongly we feel about any given work. I do agree that people can and do rank music for themselves, largely on how it moves them.  

Can people rank one style of music over another in a way for all others to learn and obey? Perhaps, but it seems a thankless and fruitless task. I disagree with Gutting that Mozart's operas are objectively "superior" to the Beatles' songs. They may be more complex, even more original as Gutting asserts but I don't agree with Gutting that any criterion--complexity, length of piece, etc.--can be used to rate a piece as objectively superior or inferior, for all listeners and time.  

Gutting mentions nothing about modern-day love or passion for either group of works. By and large, most listeners today prefer the Beatles even though some of them might work at learning about the operas and come to love them too.  

But what does that prove, Alex Ross aside? I mentioned contemporary classical audiences in another post and how they were mad about some works. They likely would have abhorred the Beatles. We agree that musical tastes have changed; perhaps those now-dead audiences could have come to appreciate and love the Beatles after a few listens. If I'm correct on the last point, then it shoots a hole in Gutting's notion that we can objectively rank pieces of art for all time. Audience response doesn't make one piece objectively greater than another. 

But rdo, those dead audiences loved classical music because it moved them, aroused them, soothed them, inspired them. Classical music was worth loving to them and according to Ross thereby great to them. By and large they were not musically brainwashed or intimidated by peers or critics or nobleman sponsors. My guess is that they grew up listening to classical or works from which classical music developed and that as children their developing brains created strong emotional attachments to such musical styles and their underlying structures. Such people had strong emotional associations with songs and a place or person or notion. People of all classes played musical instruments for entertainment as well.  

As you noted, they were likely more intellectually and emotionally attached to with classical music than today's audiences. They would have found it easier to grasp and decide to like or hate a classical piece than an adult of today, never having heard classical before, listening to the same piece for the very first time. Classical music for those dead audiences probably didn't seem as difficult or complex to them as, say, Eric Dolphy's tougher jazz pieces, which probably would have sounded like impenetrable screeching to them.  

Nothing in the above paragraph means that classical music is better than "eclectic", today or yesterday or tomorrow. What I'm suggesting is that audiences during the classical era were just as genuinely and unforcedly passionate about the music of their time as audiences today are of today's music.    

You wrote 

"Western classical music requires special training, and is an institution that is 3000 years old." 

You'd have to ask someone more knowledgeable about Western classical music to date it for you. It certainly isn't 3000 years old; Wikipedia starts it around 1000 AD, tops. Does it take special training to play Western classical music? Yes. Does it take special training to listen to it and enjoy it and embed it into the fabric of your emotional and intellectual experience? No.  

I have in my iTunes library an album called "100 Must-have Movie Classics." It's filled with works that have been used in Hollywood movies to great effect. Also Sprach Zarathustra (in the movie "2001"), Claire de Lune ("Twilight"), Barber's Adagio for Strings ("Platoon"), Ravel's Bolero ("10), Ride of the Valkyries ("Apocalypse Now"), Eine Kleine Nachtmusik ("There's Something About Mary"), Mendelssohn's Spring Song ("Titanic"), Waltz of the Flowers ("Caddyshack"), etc. And everybody seems to love Mars, The Bringer of War from Gustav Holst's musical suite "The Planets": 

https://www.screened.com/profile/zombiepie/proof-that-everyone-uses-gustav-holsts-mars-the-bringer-of-war/233-2485/

 Hollywood used these pieces of music because they still have the power to grab listeners and move them immediately, instinctively, powerfully. Hans Zimmer has made a fortune from writing classically oriented pieces for movies including Gladiator and the Batman movies. The shit still works, rdo, even though movie audiences largely haven't received instruction in classical music or any other styles, and certainly aren't going to accept being told what to like.  Complex music? Relatively, I think. But movie audiences of our time loved those complex pieces immediately, without external prompting--just as you loved the complex "Music For Airports" the very first time you heard it.  

 You wrote

"Is not your taste explained by and reflected in your education and upbringing? Should it surprise anyone that someone who grew up listening to classical, and has been educated in classical, would also have a preference for classical? Would they not also naturally claim that it is superior, and more complex, to that type of music to which they are less inclined?" 

Actually, that's largely what I've been saying in all my posts. As I wrote to you in a private message: 

I still am not fully sure what you mean by the "accessibility rationalization." Basically, I think that you can use the term "accessible" for relatively simple music as well as complex stuff. The process of becoming familiar with both types of music is largely the same, IMO, although the latter may take more work and formal education. Greater familiarity with a piece or musical style makes such work accessible to a listener. It's easier to become familiar with a piece or style if you were frequently exposed to it as a child. For instance I suspect that there's an age cut-off for really liking rap and that you're on the "wrong" side of that divide. I know I am.  

A person who grew up with rap or jazz or classical is more likely to listen to and prefer rap or jazz or classical as an adult. It's going to be easier for them to understand and pass judgment on a more difficult or complex piece that's in a musical style they grew up with. I think we agree on this.

A style of music that she first encounters as an adult may not be as familiar to her, so it's going to be more difficult, more of a challenge for them to understand and pass judgment on it. She might come to like that style over time; we say it grew on her. You could say that appreciating the new style was a challenge for her, but that the challenge was worth it to her. RPers post comments along these lines all the time. That process apparently contradicts your early assertion btw that "challenge…has no place in music appreciation. It's not a contest. It's not an ordeal." 

Would she say that the musical style she grew up with is superior? She might, but she'd be hard-pressed to make that claim stand up for all people and all time. When challenged on this point, she might say that the familiar style is superior in the sphere of her own musical tastes, and not necessarily for all others. As Gutting notes in his long piece, people make these "superiority" claims all the time--hell, even he does it, ultimately.  

I don't make these claims, however. My very first post on this "Time Lapse" thread was a direct response to your quote just above. Here's my post: 

"Gotta disagree. Some music requires you to hear more than once to understand and appreciate it. Not everyone has to create music as accessible as Einaudi or George Winston's. " 

Einaudi and Winston's stuff are in my experience pretty straightforward, simple and easy to listen to. I can listen to the songs once or twice and vote thumbs up or down for myself (NOT for everyone else). John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker typically had so much going on in their works that listening to them was at first like listening to a high-speed conversation in a language whose basics you barely grasped. These guys didn't have to make music as simple as Einaudi and Winston's. For me, it was worth the challenge of listening to them repeatedly simply because I then had the opportunity to like more music. You apparently couldn't agree with that idea at the outset of this thread ("challenge…has no place in music appreciation."). 

And once again: I have never equated musical complexity with superiority or said that challenging music was superior to easy music. I have never, never said that music which you don't like at first but love after a familiarization process is always and objectively superior to music you liked right away. Again: I don't think that challenging or complex or more structured music is objectively better than easy or simple or less structured music, for myself or anyone else. I don't think struggling to like any musical piece makes you a better, more informed, more cultured person.  

Gutting states that Mozart's operas are more complex than the Beatles' works and I would agree. That doesn't make Beatles' songs inferior for me, contrary to what Gutting asserts. I'd much rather listen to the Beatles than Mozart's operas which have mostly bored me when I've listened to them.  

You wrote:  

"I find it surprising, given the diversity of responses we see here on this comment board, that you don’t realize that people have different tastes, and that there is absolutely no objective means whatsoever to establish what is and is not a superior, complex work…How can it be that some people, merely because of their education, have superior taste?" 

I think you might want to take up this issue with Gary Gutting. At the end of the post that I excerpted on this thread, Gutting mentions that he'll be posting on this topic next week (NYTimes.com; look for "The Stone" section under I believe "Opinons.) It'll be interesting to see how compelling a case he can make for ranking music and art. Gutting looks at external, objective criteria to measure superiority. On the other hand you, Alex Love and I apparently all believe that you have to measure greatness by how a listener feels about it and that you can't pass judgments of superiority for all people and time. 

I don't equate the relative complexity of one musical style with its relative superiority over another musical style. I think one can objectively if imprecisely say that one musical style is in general more complex than another musical style. Pretty sure you can objectively say that in general a one-hour classical symphony is more complex than a four-minute Top-40 song. Gutting agrees and provides some good ideas about how to measure musical complexity. I don't think that the symphony is objectively better than the pop song, though. I go with Alex Ross on this. Gutting disagrees. 

I would be very surprised if the majority of classical fans today think that classical is superior to all other styles. They like classical because they like it. A classical piece is great for them because they love it as Alex Ross notes. Most of these classical listeners enjoy other styles of music a great deal too.

Who has the time or interest to sit around and write a ranked list of musical styles or rate their relative complexity or how challenging they are? If they have anything like a personal Top 100 pieces of all time, it's likely a jumble of works and artists from all styles and periods of time. And it's personal: they're not musical imperialists or purists scourging the inferior before them. They may state that the Beatles are better than the Stones on RP, but if pressed they'll mostly acknowledge that's a reflection of personal taste. 

And if people like Gutting do list criteria identifying and ranking musical superiority in a supposedly objective way, that list comes from their own thoughts and not from received or dictated wisdom from on high. They have a right to make those lists and debate their merits. 

They haven't memorized criteria based only on peer pressure or formal training for objectively determining musical superiority. They don't publicly pronounce complex or classical music as The Best For All, despite secretly loathing the "best" styles. There is no Stalin or Kim Jong Un imposing musical preferences on everyone, no matter how rarefied or musically trained the social circle.  

Take a look at my list of rated songs on RP. I do it for fun like everyone else on RP. It's not based on careful measurements of simplicity or complexity or assessments of musical style or how challenging a piece is. The list is just a recording of my emotional reaction to the piece when it was being played at one moment in time. Some days a "10" piece grates on me and I don't want to hear it. I am never going to demand that others adopt that list as their own. No other sane RPer is going to make such a demand.  

You wrote: 

"Have you noticed that the classical music tradition is dead? We hear performances of past masters, but not contemporary composers. There is absolutely no reason why it should have died, other than the fact that it is inferior. Marketing, as you rightly point out, can explain this partially, but not totally to the extent that you suggest. Contemporary classical obviously could not stand up to the superior, more complex works being made today by eclectic artists. If anything, jazz/classical had all the advantages going for it, it had history on its side.  There is today a hungry, large, audience for complex music, myself included. I listen to just as much classical as eclectic. I can judge. I too like a lot of classical -- some of my favorite works are classical! You do not know what I listened to as a child. I have not disclosed this." 

rdo, you had been claiming up now that there is no way to find objective measures of musical superiority and stating that "“Complexity” is a problematic concept when applied to music appreciation."  Yet in the excerpt just above you suddenly seem to decide that…"eclectic" music is SUPERIOR to classical! Apparently because it has a bigger consumer market than classical! You just relied on the "accessibility rationalization" that you supposedly hate. Only it's not some nobleman or music critic dictating which kind of music is superior, it's now the cash register. 

Are these the best, most complex songs of all time?  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_singles
 

Thoughts:  

1. You are consistent in claiming that "eclectic" music is more complex than classical music. At some you need to define complexity for your arguments. Here, because I keep referring you to his piece: Gary Gutting implies that complexity can relate to time span of the piece, number of kinds of instruments involved, level of virtuosity, compositional techniques and availability of resources. You might agree, you might not. Again, however Gary thinks these criteria point to classical being more complex AND superior to popular music. 

2. "I too like a lot of classical -- some of my favorite works are classical! You do not know what I listened to as a child. I have not disclosed this."   

Strangely, I don't feel like fainting LOL. Shrug. Hey, there's a lot of great classical. And true, you have been a Man of Mystery about the history of your musical journey. 

3. If you think that classical music is dead, you're not listening or looking in the right places, such as the theaters or TV. If classical as not as popular as it used to be, that is in part because musical tastes have changed towards shorter, simpler songs that are easier to listen to. Again: classical music was very popular in its day too because people were familiar with it and loved it. Not because they would have been whipped had they complained.   

I don't fully understand why you suddenly want to pronounce eclectic music superior to classical. You may not find fair the following re-quote with substitution but here it is: 

"Have you noticed that the classi…err, concept album tradition is dead? There is absolutely no reason why it should have died, other than the fact that it was inferior." So..."Pet Sounds" and "Sergeant Pepper's" were inferior to today's #1 single, "Best Song Ever" by One Direction. Because One Direction sells more music now? Or because somehow the band's music is more complex than the Beatles' or Beach Boys'? 

"In the past, only a very tiny, miniscule number of white, privileged males could ever dream of becoming composers.  The rules and training for what could be composed were extremely restrictive and limiting. The talent pool now is thousands of times bigger than before. There are no rules.  There are simply more quality works now because more talented people are aspiring to be creative music artists than ever before." 

And yet the most successful classical composers like Beethoven were regarded as national heroes and geniuses by ordinary people who weren't being monitored by the government or noblemen for the correctness of their musical tastes. And one of the big themes in the history of classical music is that the younger generations were always innovating and breaking the rules imposed by the older ones. The dominance of noble or royal patrons in classical music was dying by the time Beethoven started composing, so there were less and less rules imposed on composers from "above." If anything, composers did have to respond to the tastes of their audiences, but they were often made up of ordinary people buying tickets to concerts and sheet music.  Classical composers likely did not base success on sales, however. I think most of the time they created and played their works because they viewed themselves as artists, creating art for the sake of art.

Is more music being today than ever before? Probably. That doesn't mean it's necessarily any better than prior works. Music made today may be more popular today than stuff made 300 years ago, but who knows how long that popularity will last? Today's hit is often tomorrow's "make it stop." And how are you measuring quality and superiority, rdo?  

If there were few formally trained professional classical musicians and composers "back in the day", that relative scarcity is not necessarily an indication of classical's unpopularity with the contemporary public but a sign of the significant hurdles aspirants needed to surmount on the way to even moderate success in that musical world. Training was lengthy and expensive because the music was hard to play and write, because it was based on complex ideas and practices.  

Beethoven was a prodigy as a piano player even as a child. Later, he would regularly write short passages in his work that demanded tremendous technique and dexterity. According to some musical historians it probably as a way of saying to other musicians "Bet you can't play this. I'm better than you." Yet despite natural gifts and years of childhood training in music with his father and other professional musicians, Beethoven at 22 was just starting to study advanced playing and composition with Joseph Haydn.  

Go ask a professional classical musician what it takes to play at concert level or succeed as a composer. Is success as a modern-day classical composer or player only based on merit? Of course not, there are politics involved in that business. But that's true of any segment of modern commercial music. 

This claim of yours caught my eye: 

"Classical composers never collaborated, that’s not how it worked." 

Classical composers actually did collaborate with each other. Some were secretive and unwilling to be involved with others--I think Beethoven was like that once he was on his own. He liked to throw down challenges to others, even his former teacher Haydn. But they learned from each other--Joseph Haydn taught Mozart and Beethoven among others--they used each other's feedback on compositions of works, they stole ideas from each other, they were influenced by each other, they rejected each other (The Economist had a great ad campaign about great people saying dumb things. At one point an ad showed the statement, "What a giftless hack!" It was Tchaikovsky dismissing Brahms.). The technique and tradition of counterpoint was passed down from one generation to the next likely a closely guarded guild secret. Classical composers were not reclusive hermits allergic to each other.  

Coming down the homestretch: 

"You make several needless observations about “mass” music.  I never claimed that all eclectic is good. Most is terrible. Most classical and jazz is awful too.  Classical has the disadvantage of being highly repetitive and structured. Perversely, you reward classical for being structured and repetitive! (“Wagner’s music is really a lot better than it sounds”, the saying goes). As does eclectic now, much classical and jazz also once appealed to large, mass, audiences in their heydays. The economics were much different before recording. Now that classical is dead, somehow its unpopularity becomes a virtue in your eyes!"

1. I never claimed that you believe that "all eclectic" is good. 

1a. If repetition and structure are disadvantages in music, Eno is fucked. So are most of the musicians on any Top 40 list.  

2. Really, most "eclectic", jazz, and classical music is awful by your lights? Why are you so choosy? 

3. I don't reward classical for anything. I don't reward and I don't value one type of music over another. I have never believed or claimed that my musical preferences are based on universal objective truths or applicable to all people for all time.    

4. Many people in the classical era relied on relatively cheap sheet music to play classical music. Orchestral works could be re-scored for groups smaller than an orchestra or that works were written expressly for one, two, three, four, five performers. People didn't need to have a complete orchestra to hear and play classical music.

5. "Now that classical is dead, somehow its unpopularity becomes a virtue in your eyes!" 

Well...(gritting teeth slightly): classical isn't dead. Just because it isn't as popular as it used to be doesn't make it an inferior style of music. I would say that oftentimes it isn't as easy to listen to as a four-minute pop, rock, or rap song. Oftentimes it's more challenging to like right away than a modern song that's designed to be catchy and to induce listeners to pay for it. 
If classical works are more structured, more rule-driven, longer, use more instruments, use more compositional techniques than popular music, I don't consider those disadvantages necessarily. It depends in part what you want from music at the time. Do you want to hear "The Wedding March" at your marriage ceremony or "Move Bitch" by Ludacris? Do the Brits want to hear "Jerusalem" composed by Sir Hubert Parry at a formal ceremony or "Trip like I do" by The Crystal Method? ("Jerusalem" always puts a huge lump in my throat. Parry wrote music to William Blake's poem in 1916 when so many good men were dying in the trenches. I'm sure it was hugely powerful at that sad time). 
  

"You also miss my point about accessibility and the library in Beijing. Let me try it another way. Let’s suppose I stood at the top of a staircase and held a bag filled with all sorts of household objects -- some pots and pans, breakable glass, some toys, bells, etc.. I then drop the contents of the bag down the stairs and record it.  Suppose one person hears this recording and says, in all honestly, “this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard”.  Further suppose that every single other person who hears it just hears awful noise.  Who is to say the person who loves it is wrong.  On what rational basis can you say that person is right or wrong, if they are telling the truth? Much classical worked this way. One wealthy patron liked some noisy work and then hordes of imitators followed suit trying to please him. The sycophants in his court claimed to like what the patron liked, and then you had a market, and then you had a theory to justify it for imitators. It’s not that difficult to understand. I find your admission that people do not make the rationalization I describe very surprising. I have personally seen it my whole life, all the time." 

You seem to contradict yourself again. Now you have abandoned your prior claim that any given noise is superior to another, that "eclectic" music is superior to classical. Go ask Gary Gutting which person is right and which is wrong about the dropped noises. Again look for his second column in the NYT this week. 

I ignored the Chinese library analogy earlier because it was misleading.   

"One wealthy patron liked some noisy work and then hordes of imitators followed suit trying to please him."  

I'm sorry. This doesn't make sense to me. Are you claiming that this went on throughout the history of classical music, even as composers broke the rules of previous generations, even as the patronage system of nobility disappeared due to the economic decline of noble classes across Europe, even as European states moved towards democracy, a broader distribution of wealth and mass consumer economies? That audiences couldn't reject a work or composer if somebody important gave a thumbs up? 

I'll grant you that some composers like Haydn had to compose works that appealed to his primary patron, Count Esterhazy. However, I doubt Esterhazy was that controlling of Haydn simply because he didn't know as much about music as Haydn. If anything there was peer pressure among musicians to follow accepted norms and practices. Haydn had gone through years of training and shared notions of what constituted excellence with his fellow musicians. He wanted to write great music. Over time his music changed with musical tastes. 

I'll grant you that classical music likely had many rules and restrictions. But again, composers over times bent or broke those rules. It would be interesting to learn how such composers pushed the envelope in a relatively conservative style during eras that did not encourage laxity or great artistic license. 

But such peer pressure not to put out works regarded as weird or crappy exists among musicians today. People like Screamin' Jay Hawkins were regarded as oddities by their peers. No one thought that John Lennon's recordings of his screaming with Yoko Ono were worthwhile. Steven Tyler ripped Red Hot Chili Peppers for going through the motions. 

 

 "I have personally seen it my whole life, all the time." 

Curious: isn't this line borrowed from Ring Lardner? Perhaps Twain? I confess it made me wonder whether you were being serious or just spinning a shaggy dog conversation.  

 


 Xstar wrote:
{#Sleep} 
rdo wrote:

kcar, I’d like to thank...


 

What frightens me most about Xstar's post is not so much the current pathetic state of Western Liberal Arts education, but the fact that it took him as long to write his post as it took me in writing mine......
{#Sleep} 
rdo wrote:

kcar, I’d like to thank you for writing a first-rate post in reply to mine. It’s the best post by far I’ve read on this web site.  Your position has enormous advantages over mine. You have the weight of 3,000 years of Western musicology at your back! My impression is that I am fairly isolated in my position. I confess I don’t follow music theory at all. I read an article here and there. I’ve read a bit of Adorno. One of my favorite authors, Thomas Mann, wrote on music quite a bit, which I’ve read. Proust has the best writing on music I’ve ever read. But I don’t agree with Mann or Proust either. These are probably the three greatest writers to ever write on music. The Bach’s of the world were not effective writers. They have nothing to tell us by their writing -- it’s their music that speaks for them. We will never know how Radiohead does what they do with such unsurpassed genius. It will forever remain a mystery. Even if a great musician like Johnny Greenwood happened also to be as good a writer as Thomas Mann, it would not settle anything anyway, as I will demonstrate. Like you, I’ve read a lot of Alex Ross too, including his recent book.

Aesthetics and musicology are two separate animals entirely. The most important assertion in my post, which you did not address, was that I find eclectic music more complex than classical. Yet you assert classical is more complex. You have many theories, an institutional tradition, and illustrious names to back you up. You write that being exposed to classical music as a child, and your education, makes you well equipped and specially qualified to judge and arrive at the conclusion that classical music is better and more complex and challenging than eclectic. There are certainly cultural factors at play here as well, with which I completely agree. Obviously, someone who has never heard classical music at all would be hard-pressed to judge it as you can. All this can and certainly does explain a lot, I agree.

Though it is eloquently presented, there is a great deal of fallacy in your argument. In fact, I can help you to distill the classical music argument into one word: education. To me, the tautological aspects of your argument are painfully obvious. Western classical music requires special training, and is an institution that is 3000 years old. Obviously, anyone who devotes their life to classical music is surly going to be partial too it, Right? Didn’t I already say we could much more easily explain the discrepancy in responses to taste?  Is not your taste explained by and reflected in your education and upbringing? Should it surprise anyone that someone who grew up listening to classical, and has been educated in classical, would also have a preference for classical? Would they not also naturally claim that it is superior, and more complex, to that type of music to which they are less inclined? Of course Stravinsky was partial to classical music. He was a classical composer. Also, he never heard the Beatles or REM. The fact is we don’t know what Bach would think of Radiohead. I suspect he would find it every bit as complex as I do.

I find it surprising, given the diversity of responses we see here on this comment board, that you don’t realize that people have different tastes, and that there is absolutely no objective means whatsoever to establish what is and is not a superior, complex work. It’s all a matter of taste. Everyone here has good taste, yet discrepancy in responses abounds.  Do you not see this?  How could this not also apply to those specific classical works which you hold up as exemplars of unquestioned, absolute, complex value? How can it be that some people, merely because of their education, have superior taste? My common sense alone would never allow me to believe such a thing.

Have you noticed that the classical music tradition is dead? We hear performances of past masters, but not contemporary composers. There is absolutely no reason why it should have died, other than the fact that it is inferior. Marketing, as you rightly point out, can explain this partially, but not totally to the extent that you suggest. Contemporary classical obviously could not stand up to the superior, more complex works being made today by eclectic artists. If anything, jazz/classical had all the advantages going for it, it had history on its side.  There is today a hungry, large, audience for complex music, myself included. I listen to just as much classical as eclectic. I can judge. I too like a lot of classical -- some of my favorite works are classical! You do not know what I listened to as a child. I have not disclosed this.

In the past, only a very tiny, miniscule number of white, privileged males could ever dream of becoming composers. The rules and training for what could be composed were extremely restrictive and limiting. The talent pool now is thousands of times bigger than before. There are no rules.  There are simply more quality works now because more talented people are aspiring to be creative music artists than ever before.  Most importantly, we have collaboration now, the greatest innovation of all.  Classical composers never collaborated, that’s not how it worked.

You make several needless observations about “mass” music.  I never claimed that all eclectic is good. Most is terrible. Most classical and jazz is awful too.  Classical has the disadvantage of being highly repetitive and structured. Perversely, you reward classical for being structured and repetitive! (“Wagner’s music is really a lot better than it sounds”, the saying goes). As does eclectic now, much classical and jazz also once appealed to large, mass, audiences in their heydays. The economics were much different before recording. Now that classical is dead, somehow its unpopularity becomes a virtue in your eyes!

You also miss my point about accessibility and the library in Beijing. Let me try it another way. Let’s suppose I stood at the top of a staircase and held a bag filled with all sorts of household objects -- some pots and pans, breakable glass, some toys, bells, etc.. I then drop the contents of the bag down the stairs and record it.  Suppose one person hears this recording and says, in all honestly, “this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard”.  Further suppose that every single other person who hears it just hears awful noise.  Who is to say the person who loves it is wrong.  On what rational basis can you say that person is right or wrong, if they are telling the truth? Much classical worked this way. One wealthy patron liked some noisy work and then hordes of imitators followed suit trying to please him. The sycophants in his court claimed to like what the patron liked, and then you had a market, and then you had a theory to justify it for imitators. It’s not that difficult to understand. I find your admission that people do not make the rationalization I describe very surprising. I have personally seen it my whole life, all the time.



 


kcar, I’d like to thank you for writing a first-rate post in reply to mine. It’s the best post by far I’ve read on this web site.  Your position has enormous advantages over mine. You have the weight of 3,000 years of Western musicology at your back! My impression is that I am fairly isolated in my position. I confess I don’t follow music theory at all. I read an article here and there. I’ve read a bit of Adorno. One of my favorite authors, Thomas Mann, wrote on music quite a bit, which I’ve read. Proust has the best writing on music I’ve ever read. But I don’t agree with Mann or Proust either. These are probably the three greatest writers to ever write on music. The Bach’s of the world were not effective writers. They have nothing to tell us by their writing -- it’s their music that speaks for them. We will never know how Radiohead does what they do with such unsurpassed genius. It will forever remain a mystery. Even if a great musician like Johnny Greenwood happened also to be as good a writer as Thomas Mann, it would not settle anything anyway, as I will demonstrate. Like you, I’ve read a lot of Alex Ross too, including his recent book.

Aesthetics and musicology are two separate animals entirely. The most important assertion in my post, which you did not address, was that I find eclectic music more complex than classical. Yet you assert classical is more complex. You have many theories, an institutional tradition, and illustrious names to back you up. You write that being exposed to classical music as a child, and your education, makes you well equipped and specially qualified to judge and arrive at the conclusion that classical music is better and more complex and challenging than eclectic. There are certainly cultural factors at play here as well, with which I completely agree. Obviously, someone who has never heard classical music at all would be hard-pressed to judge it as you can. All this can and certainly does explain a lot, I agree.

Though it is eloquently presented, there is a great deal of fallacy in your argument. In fact, I can help you to distill the classical music argument into one word: education. To me, the tautological aspects of your argument are painfully obvious. Western classical music requires special training, and is an institution that is 3000 years old. Obviously, anyone who devotes their life to classical music is surly going to be partial too it, Right? Didn’t I already say we could much more easily explain the discrepancy in responses to taste?  Is not your taste explained by and reflected in your education and upbringing? Should it surprise anyone that someone who grew up listening to classical, and has been educated in classical, would also have a preference for classical? Would they not also naturally claim that it is superior, and more complex, to that type of music to which they are less inclined? Of course Stravinsky was partial to classical music. He was a classical composer. Also, he never heard the Beatles or REM. The fact is we don’t know what Bach would think of Radiohead. I suspect he would find it every bit as complex as I do.

I find it surprising, given the diversity of responses we see here on this comment board, that you don’t realize that people have different tastes, and that there is absolutely no objective means whatsoever to establish what is and is not a superior, complex work. It’s all a matter of taste. Everyone here has good taste, yet discrepancy in responses abounds.  Do you not see this?  How could this not also apply to those specific classical works which you hold up as exemplars of unquestioned, absolute, complex value? How can it be that some people, merely because of their education, have superior taste? My common sense alone would never allow me to believe such a thing.

Have you noticed that the classical music tradition is dead? We hear performances of past masters, but not contemporary composers. There is absolutely no reason why it should have died, other than the fact that it is inferior. Marketing, as you rightly point out, can explain this partially, but not totally to the extent that you suggest. Contemporary classical obviously could not stand up to the superior, more complex works being made today by eclectic artists. If anything, jazz/classical had all the advantages going for it, it had history on its side.  There is today a hungry, large, audience for complex music, myself included. I listen to just as much classical as eclectic. I can judge. I too like a lot of classical -- some of my favorite works are classical! You do not know what I listened to as a child. I have not disclosed this.

In the past, only a very tiny, miniscule number of white, privileged males could ever dream of becoming composers. The rules and training for what could be composed were extremely restrictive and limiting. The talent pool now is thousands of times bigger than before. There are no rules.  There are simply more quality works now because more talented people are aspiring to be creative music artists than ever before.  Most importantly, we have collaboration now, the greatest innovation of all.  Classical composers never collaborated, that’s not how it worked.

You make several needless observations about “mass” music.  I never claimed that all eclectic is good. Most is terrible. Most classical and jazz is awful too.  Classical has the disadvantage of being highly repetitive and structured. Perversely, you reward classical for being structured and repetitive! (“Wagner’s music is really a lot better than it sounds”, the saying goes). As does eclectic now, much classical and jazz also once appealed to large, mass, audiences in their heydays. The economics were much different before recording. Now that classical is dead, somehow its unpopularity becomes a virtue in your eyes!

You also miss my point about accessibility and the library in Beijing. Let me try it another way. Let’s suppose I stood at the top of a staircase and held a bag filled with all sorts of household objects -- some pots and pans, breakable glass, some toys, bells, etc.. I then drop the contents of the bag down the stairs and record it.  Suppose one person hears this recording and says, in all honestly, “this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard”.  Further suppose that every single other person who hears it just hears awful noise.  Who is to say the person who loves it is wrong.  On what rational basis can you say that person is right or wrong, if they are telling the truth? Much classical worked this way. One wealthy patron liked some noisy work and then hordes of imitators followed suit trying to please him. The sycophants in his court claimed to like what the patron liked, and then you had a market, and then you had a theory to justify it for imitators. It’s not that difficult to understand. I find your admission that people do not make the rationalization I describe very surprising. I have personally seen it my whole life, all the time.


rdo, I've enjoyed this discussion...mostly. But I assure you I'm not trying to hide behind the word "accessible." Also, you and others might find this New York Times op-ed by Notre Dame philosopher Gary Gutting quite relevant and interesting.  It may touch on things that you find irritating and I'm not sure I agree with all of Gutting's conclusions. But here's the gist: 

 

https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/14/mozart-vs-the-beatles/

 

"How do we know that there are any objective criteria that authorize claims that one kind of art is better than another?" 

... 

(A)t all levels, claims of objective artistic superiority are likely to be met with smug assertions that all such claims are merely relative to subjective individual preferences. 

... 

Centuries of unresolved philosophical debate show that there is, in fact, little hope of refuting someone who insists on a thoroughly relativist view of art...But in practice there is no need for such a proof, since hardly anyone really holds the relativist view. We may say, “You can’t argue about taste,” but when it comes to art we care about, we almost always do.

For example, fans of popular music may respond to the elitist claims of classical music with a facile relativism. But they abandon this relativism when arguing, say, the comparative merits of the early Beatles and the Rolling Stones. You may, for example, maintain that the Stones were superior to the Beatles (or vice versa) because their music is more complex, less derivative, and has greater emotional range and deeper intellectual content. Here you are putting forward objective standards from which you argue for a band’s superiority. Arguing from such criteria implicitly rejects the view that artistic evaluations are simply matters of personal taste. You are giving reasons for your view that you think others ought to accept.

Further, given the standards fans use to show that their favorites are superior, we can typically show by those same standards that works of high art are overall superior to works of popular art. If the Beatles are better than the Stones in complexity, originality, emotional impact, and intellectual content, then Mozart’s operas are, by those standards, superior to the Beatles’ songs. 

On reflection, it’s not hard to see why — keeping to the example of music —classical works are in general capable of much higher levels of aesthetic value than popular ones. Compared to a classical composer, someone writing a popular song can utilize only a very small range of musical possibilities: a shorter time span, fewer kinds of instruments, a lower level of virtuosity and a greatly restricted range of compositional techniques
.
...

But, as I write, there come back to me Alex Ross’s words in his 2004 essay, “Listen to This”:

Music is too personal a medium to support an absolute hierarchy of values. The best music is music that persuades us that there is no other music in the world. This morning, for me, it was Sibelius’s Fifth; late last night, Dylan’s “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands”; tomorrow, it may be something entirely new. I can’t rank my favorite music any more than I can rank my memories. Yet some discerning souls . . . say, in effect, “The music you love is trash. Listen instead to our great, arty music” . . . . They are making little headway with the unconverted because they have forgotten to define the music as something worth loving. If it is worth loving, it must be great; no more need be said.

 ...

But another reason to love a work of art is that it has the stunning intellectual and emotional complexity and depth of Homer’s “Iliad,” the Chartres cathedral, or Bach’s Mass in B minor. My argument is that this distinctively aesthetic value is of great importance in our lives and that works of high art achieve it much more fully than do works of popular art.

... 

But the danger for many of us is that love of popular art is so easy, so comfortable, so insisted on by our commercialized environment that the less accessible world of high art is ignored. To some extent, as Ross points out, this is the fault of the way high art currently presents itself (a topic I hope to take up later). But it is also due to the blindness of the lover to any merits the beloved lacks. My argument has tried to show lovers of popular art how much more there is to love. 


rdo wrote:

"
You write that some classical works are challenging for you. I take your meaning to be that if you don’t at once appreciate a reputable work of classical music, then you explain it with the rationalization that the work is too complex for you to appreciate it, and that perhaps with time and focus you will learn to appreciate it. This of course begs the question, When you don’t like a reputable work played here on RP, do you make the same rationalization to explain it?" 

You can use the same explanation, yes.  

Let me repeat right off: all of my comments on this topic are not restricted to works typically played by RP and never have been. I'll say this again too: challenge can have a place in music appreciation, even when it comes to RP-only music. 

There may be an issue--familiarity with a musical style--that underlies how accessible a piece of music is, whether it is complex music or not. My guess is that early exposure as a child to a certain style of music--classical, jazz, rap--will make it easier for a listener to understand and appreciate that style of music and new pieces in that style. My guess is that you didn't listen to rap as a youngster which may explain why you're "suspicious" of rap now.  

As you pointed out, people may not understand or like a style of music for reasons that have nothing to do with the complexity of the piece. My guess is that those reasons have a lot to due with familiarity and whether you heard that style of music as a child. I think familiarity with a musical style leads to accessibility, or how quickly you can understand and make up your mind about a style or piece of music.  

Styles of music that aren't familiar to you may be hard for you to listen to at first. They are typically not accessible to you at that time. They sound weird or unpleasant or all the same and you don't know what to make of them. They're not necessarily complex, they just have a lot of atonality, rely on non-Western scales, consist of looping sounds and rhythms (Steve Reich's "After the War, played on RP), use unusual instruments (Dengue Fever, played on RP), rely on dense, slanging rhyme (rap), etc. Many times people dismiss such music as "annoying", "weird", "grating", "tiresome", "off-kilter", "repetitive"...whatever. You might come to like them by repeatedly listening to them…or not. You could call these works relatively simple but inaccessible. Some of the music on RP falls into this category.  

Other works are simply so structured and complex that almost all listeners, whether familiar with the musical style or not, are baffled by them or unwilling to pass judgment on them after the first hearing. Complexity in my opinion is not necessarily the same as unfamiliarity. You might be familiar with and like Tchaikovsky but don't know what to make of Mahler. Complexity of a piece can also lead to inaccessibility since you don't know what to make of the piece. (And yes, RP does play some pieces like this).  

Such musical works require repeated hearings and even explicit verbal guidance for people to understand what the composer was trying to express. Those works I describe as complex and relatively inaccessible. Typically they have so much structure and overlaying patterns that you can't take it all in at once. You have to *work* or *be trained* to understand and possibly like them. I include the twelve-tone works of Webern and Schoenberg. Mahler's works, works of opera and some of John Coltrane's stuff ("Epistrophy", played on RP) fit that bill for me. These are "you have to learn to like it" works. Appreciating such music can be challenging, rdo, but worth it.  

Over time, people who do put in that work may come to like the complex pieces they've heard--perhaps for comprehending the pieces intellectually but also because the pieces are now familiar and more listenable, more accessible and more enjoyable to them. The people who have gone through that two-step process were likely going through a structured, conscious effort to understand. But it's largely the same process of becoming familiar with a musical piece or style as you go through when you listen to simpler but still inaccessible music. Adults who formally learn about a work are largely going through the same process they went through informally as developing children: they're learning how to listen.  

My vague guess is that this process of familiarization is largely about discovering and tracking patterns within the music, which makes it more predictable, more easily broken into perceivable chunks and easier to understand as a whole. (Because of damaged hearing I have to listen to a rapidly spoken rap song a few times before I can understand all the words. Sometimes I really like what I've figured out.)  

You wrote 

"Most people do not really like classical music.  Therefore, the tendency is to dismiss it outright. That, however, leads one to the perils of being labeled a philistine by those listeners who do like it, or who pretend to like it anyway. This is an unfortunate, and ugly, aspect of music appreciation. It’s not just applicable to classical. So, people understandably feel anxiety when they do not respond to a reputable work. They reconcile this inner conflict with the “accessibility” rationalization." 

I don't agree with your "'accessibility' rationalization." Frankly, I think we're long past the power of shame in our Western culture. I don't think many people feel anxiety "when they do not respond to a reputable work." Instead, they typically value the worth of their own tastes and immediate reaction to such a work more than the worth of received wisdom from a music critic or intellectual. People used to listen to and read great works to "improve themselves" (eg. Harvard Classics aka Dr. Eliot's Five Foot Shelve of Books, encyclopedia sets, musical concert subscriptions) but they typically don't have an inferiority complex about such things anymore. Most people who don't like classical or complex jazz say so without consciousness or shame and don't hide behind this "accessibility rationalization" that's apparently pissed you off so much.  

Some people won't admit that they dislike a work of art and hide behind a theory, as you note. Or they'll get lost in artistic theory. I think that happens more often in visual art and architecture. Boston's City Hall, for instance, is loathed by most of the people in the city but called the 6th greatest building in the history of America in a poll conducted by the American Institute of Architects. IMO those polled had more architectural training than common sense. 

Finally, about "the discrepancy of responses between eclectic and classical" music that you mention. Modern musical tastes have moved away from complex, structured works often found in classical music. Again, I think a lot of it has to do with familiarity, with the styles of music people heard in their youth. People today typically didn't get exposed to classical when they were kids and don't easily learn to appreciate it as adults.   

I got that exposure, though. As a five year old, I heard enough Beethoven that I'd ask my dad to play the 5th symphony by humming the opening bars. It moved me tremendously, like a huge caffeine jolt and still does. And contemporary audiences were passionate about classical works. By the time he wrote the 9th Symphony, Beethoven had become a cultural hero. Sibelius's Finlandia provoked demands from Finnish audiences that it be played again right after the orchestra finished it because the work expressed feelings of patriotism in a land ruled by Russia. Audiences rioted when they heard Stravinsky's Rite of Spring because it broke so many musical conventions that people thought it culturally dangerous.  

Audiences back then had grown up with classical music but even then they only came to like some pieces after they had come to grips with them. It's not as if everyone waited around for some Great Man to pass judgment on a work before falling into his line out of fear or dittoism. Sometimes they loved a work right away (Beethoven's 9th), sometimes they hated it right away for all time and sometimes they came to love it over time (Beethoven's 5th).  

Also remember that a lot of mass-market music today, which I think captures a lot of what RP plays, is supposed to be easy to listen to and like. You don't have to listen to it more than a few times to love or hate it…and that's the intent of the musician and record companies; they'd go out of business otherwise. I would call that music accessible. Not all mass-market music today appeals to every available listener--hence the label "crossover artist" when somebody does reach across market segments.  

Classical music by and large isn't supposed to be easy to listen to because composers mostly were expressing their own musical ideas and not necessarily for mass audiences. But they did go downmarket sometimes: when piano manufacturers started producing the instruments on a large scale for prosperous middle class families, many composers including Ludwig did compose brief, accessible piano works and called them "bagatelles."


 kcar wrote:

 I disagree with your earlier assertion that " a challenge...has no place in music appreciation.  It's not a contest.  It's not an ordeal."

Most of the songs here on RP are pretty accessible for all listeners. You can readily say to yourself, "Yes, I like this song on RP" and "No, don't like that one." 

But RP doesn't play all types of music, and I was not restricting my thoughts to just RP's playlist when I made that comment .  As I wrote earlier, "some music requires you to hear more than once to understand and appreciate it. Not everyone has to create music as accessible as Einaudi or George Winston's."

You want examples of music that's not as accessible as Einaudi's? Try works by 12-tone works by Anton Webern and Arnold Schoenberg. Or something easier like Gustav Mahler's symphonies. Hell, many Beethoven's Fifth Symphony was openly mocked and dismissed at first but by the time of Beethoven's death it was regarded as a masterpiece. Opera in general is a hurdle I can infrequently surmount. 

Challenges do have their place in music appreciation, just as they do in appreciation of literature, painting, etc.  Sure, you can stick to a gut reaction to a piece of music. But sometimes when someone explains to you how a piece of art was constructed, you come to understand and like its complexity. You look at the piece with fresh eyes or hear it with fresh ears. 

 If this happens, it doesn't necessarily mean that you've been snookered or educated out of all common sense or infected with "a mental virus in art with an ancient pedigree." It just means that you've changed your viewpoint, perhaps only temporarily. 

Hell, that's happened to me with RP music. I used to hate Steely Dan, but now I love 'em. Many RPers have commented that they used to hate a song on RP but over time the song has come to grow on them. 

Finally, you wrote "So, if I hate a song, then it means I cannot fathom why anyone else would love it.  If I love a song, then I cannot fathom why everyone else does not also love it.  This is a normal, expected feeling in art appreciation." 

That feeling may be normal and expected, but it ain't the only feeling allowed. I understand why people like Yoko Ono and Sigur Ros and Lana Del Rey (playing right now, OhChristwhere'sthatfrigginPSDbutton), but I hate 'em. I love the Finn Brothers and Led Zep but I can fathom why people detest them. You really can walk in other people's ears. 

At end of the day (and it takes a day to read this, I know), I don't know what your point is or why you want to "demolish" my comments or "fight...as long as I breathe."  Please calm down. 

 

You write that some classical works are challenging for you. I take your meaning to be that if you don’t at once appreciate a reputable work of classical music, then you explain it with the rationalization that the work is too complex for you to appreciate it, and that perhaps with time and focus you will learn to appreciate it. This of course begs the question, When you don’t like a reputable work played here on RP, do you make the same rationalization to explain it?  If not, Why?

In Beijing there is a library with many books. The books are written in Chinese, a language I have never studied. Those books are inaccessible to me, and it would be quite challenging for me to read them. The fact that they are inaccessible, or challenging, says absolutely nothing about their intrinsic quality, aesthetic value, or complexity. The words “inaccessibility” and “challenge” imply the existence of barriers. Perhaps, at the young age of four, my attention span and sensory capacity was such that there could have been a barrier to my fully appreciating some complex works of music. Later in life, and perhaps even still, my suspicions and prejudices about the value of certain works of music pose a challenge to my appreciating it. For instance, I am suspicious of rap music despite the fact that there are plenty of music fans who attest to its value. This barrier exists to some extent for every listener. However it is not a barrier related to the complexity of the music. We all choose to seek greener pastures in our listening experiences. We have limited time and money to spend on music, so we tend to focus on the artists whose work we have the most confidence will sound the most pleasing to us.

No doubt some music grows on me. I’ll give anything at least several listens, unless it displeases me right away. Usually, though, I like my favorite works within the first five listens. One does notice new things after repeated listens, this is true, but that holds true whether the music is the eclectic type played on RP, or classical. If I had to say which type of music was more complex, classical or eclectic, then it would be eclectic music. RP music has more going on in it, there is more variation.

“Complexity” is a problematic concept when applied to music appreciation. Take Brian Eno’s work Music for Airports, for example. There is not much variation in notes or harmonies in it. There are only a few instruments played at one time, and no lyrics. One could argue that it is very simple music indeed. If however “simple” is to be used as a pejorative, which it generally is, then I’d say Music for Airports is not simple at all, but instead it is possibly the most complex music ever composed. I loved it the first time I heard it.

Most people do not really like classical music.  Therefore, the tendency is to dismiss it outright. That, however, leads one to the perils of being labeled a philistine by those listeners who do like it, or who pretend to like it anyway. This is an unfortunate, and ugly, aspect of music appreciation. It’s not just applicable to classical. So, people understandably feel anxiety when they do not respond to a reputable work. They reconcile this inner conflict with the “accessibility” rationalization. However the discrepancy in responses between eclectic and classical is much more easily explained by differences in taste than by the purported complexity of music. 


 rdo wrote:


People with good taste will always disagree.  That is to be expected.  As always, I maintain that when I say I "love/hate" a song, I mean that from the bottom of my heart.  So, if I hate a song, then it means I cannot fathom why anyone else would love it.  If I love a song, then I cannot fathom why everyone else does not also love it.  This is a normal, expected feeling in art appreciation.  What gets me upset, though, is when a pretentious fool tries to rationalize it with a "Theory".  This is a mental virus in art with an ancient pedigree.  It is positively destructive and has no place on the board.  Of course they are free and welcome to post that, but I will fight it as long as I breath.

 
rdo, I get the impression from reading your comments on this song page that you're spoiling for a fight. I'm not interested in one. 

 rdo wrote:

Yes we disagree.  Would you mind providing an example of a song that is not "accessible"?  I will grant that often a song can take many listens before it hits you.  Or that it may require your attention...but I do not think this applies to you me or anyone who listens here.  We are all grown ups and that comment is a diss to these artists and I will assure you I can demolish it.
 
 I disagree with your earlier assertion that " a challenge...has no place in music appreciation.  It's not a contest.  It's not an ordeal."

Most of the songs here on RP are pretty accessible for all listeners. You can readily say to yourself, "Yes, I like this song on RP" and "No, don't like that one." 

But RP doesn't play all types of music, and I was not restricting my thoughts to just RP's playlist when I made that comment .  As I wrote earlier, "some music requires you to hear more than once to understand and appreciate it. Not everyone has to create music as accessible as Einaudi or George Winston's."

You want examples of music that's not as accessible as Einaudi's? Try works by 12-tone works by Anton Webern and Arnold Schoenberg. Or something easier like Gustav Mahler's symphonies. Hell, many Beethoven's Fifth Symphony was openly mocked and dismissed at first but by the time of Beethoven's death it was regarded as a masterpiece. Opera in general is a hurdle I can infrequently surmount. 

Challenges do have their place in music appreciation, just as they do in appreciation of literature, painting, etc.  Sure, you can stick to a gut reaction to a piece of music. But sometimes when someone explains to you how a piece of art was constructed, you come to understand and like its complexity. You look at the piece with fresh eyes or hear it with fresh ears. 

 If this happens, it doesn't necessarily mean that you've been snookered or educated out of all common sense or infected with "a mental virus in art with an ancient pedigree." It just means that you've changed your viewpoint, perhaps only temporarily. 

Hell, that's happened to me with RP music. I used to hate Steely Dan, but now I love 'em. Many RPers have commented that they used to hate a song on RP but over time the song has come to grow on them. 

Finally, you wrote "So, if I hate a song, then it means I cannot fathom why anyone else would love it.  If I love a song, then I cannot fathom why everyone else does not also love it.  This is a normal, expected feeling in art appreciation." 

That feeling may be normal and expected, but it ain't the only feeling allowed. I understand why people like Yoko Ono and Sigur Ros and Lana Del Rey (playing right now, OhChristwhere'sthatfrigginPSDbutton), but I hate 'em. I love the Finn Brothers and Led Zep but I can fathom why people detest them. You really can walk in other people's ears. 

At end of the day (and it takes a day to read this, I know), I don't know what your point is or why you want to "demolish" my comments or "fight...as long as I breathe."  Please calm down. 
{#Sleep}{#Sleep}{#Sleep}
 JIan wrote:
rdo, kcar, is it not possible that the comment from WonderLizard that started this commentary was simply referring to the level of how "...musically challenging..." this composer's work is meant his comment more toward the playability of the music versus the listenability?  If so, would that not render the 'disagreement' between you two as unfounded?  {#Think}


rdo
Posted: Mar 20, 2013 - 16:56
 

 
Yes we disagree.  Would you mind providing an example of a song that is not "accessible"?  I will grant that often a song can take many listens before it hits you.  Or that it may require your attention...but I do not think this applies to you me or anyone who listens here.  We are all grown ups and that comment is a diss to these artists and I will assure you I can demolish it

 



 

People with good taste will always disagree.  That is to be expected.  As always, I maintain that when I say I "love/hate" a song, I mean that from the bottom of my heart.  So, if I hate a song, then it means I cannot fathom why anyone else would love it.  If I love a song, then I cannot fathom why everyone else does not also love it.  This is a normal, expected feeling in art appreciation.  What gets me upset, though, is when a pretentious fool tries to rationalize it with a "Theory".  This is a mental virus in art with an ancient pedigree.  It is positively destructive and has no place on the board.  Of course they are free and welcome to post that, but I will fight it as long as I breath.
 kcar wrote:

Proverbs 16:18  Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

But speaking of franchising...have you considered produce
 

We be working on it...  but we be in a time lapse dancing right now...  time flies when we're having fun...  hope you are having fun right this minute...

love this minor key music...  reminds me of Barbra Streisand singing "The Way We Were"...

 
Music for shops, showrooms, elevators ... 
 Lazarus wrote:


I have many churches now...  we are franchising faster than McDonald's...

love this marvelous music...



 
Proverbs 16:18  Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

But speaking of franchising...have you considered produce

orange crate art with Jimmy Swaggart promoting Cry Baby oranges 
 scott_bruce wrote:
What, do you live in an old church or something?
 

I have many churches now...  we are franchising faster than McDonald's...

love this marvelous music...


 asusinskas wrote:
I for one, really enjoy this...  {#Chillpill}

 

{#Meditate}  ME 2 {#Meditate}
rdo, kcar, is it not possible that the comment from WonderLizard that started this commentary was simply referring to the level of how "...musically challenging..." this composer's work is meant his comment more toward the playability of the music versus the listenability?  If so, would that not render the 'disagreement' between you two as unfounded?  {#Think}


rdo
Posted: Mar 20, 2013 - 16:56
 

 kcar wrote:

Gotta disagree. Some music requires you to hear more than once to understand and appreciate it. Not everyone has to create music as accessible as Einaudi or George Winston's. 

  
Yes we disagree.  Would you mind providing an example of a song that is not "accessible"?  I will grant that often a song can take many listens before it hits you.  Or that it may require your attention...but I do not think this applies to you me or anyone who listens here.  We are all grown ups and that comment is a diss to these artists and I will assure you I can demolish it

 


 Lazarus wrote:

Everybody in my church loves this music...
 

 

What, do you live in an old church or something?

  
Love this...{#Heartkiss}
Has a Harold Budd/Brian Eno or Craig Armstrong vibe...