Aesthetics and Post-tonal Music

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walto
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Aesthetics and Post-tonal Music

Post by walto »

My paper on artistic value has finally come out in Perspectives of New Music and (except for 3 minor corrections) is available on my academia.edu page now:
https://www.academia.edu/26819479/TONAL ... mate_Proof_

I managed to get in mention of Erstwhile and Amplify!
"Freedom of thought and speech without available means of gaining information and methods of sound analysis, are empty. Protection and security are meaningless until there is something positive worth protecting." E.W. Hall

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jliat
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Re: Aesthetics and Post-tonal Music

Post by jliat »

Music = df. any event intentionally produced or organized to be listened to that either (a) has one or more of the sonic features of pitch, rhythm, melody, harmony, or counterpoint, or (b) is intended to be listened to for such features.
So Noise HN HNW is not music. (Vomir The Rita et al) Or conceptual works- of Cage and La Monte Young etc. and/but Birdsong is. I wont mention that in Modern Art some also threw out the aesthetic -dam I have just so!

“There are aesthetic objects which involve no work of art: natural objects that are aesthetically appreciated.”
There are art objects with no aesthetic value – Duchamp's urinal, Kosuth's one and three chairs...Conceptual Poetry? Such as Goldsmith's...


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_s ... mpositions

:shock:

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walto
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Re: Aesthetics and Post-tonal Music

Post by walto »

jliat wrote:
Music = df. any event intentionally produced or organized to be listened to that either (a) has one or more of the sonic features of pitch, rhythm, melody, harmony, or counterpoint, or (b) is intended to be listened to for such features.
So Noise HN HNW is not music. (Vomir The Rita et al) Or conceptual works- of Cage and La Monte Young etc. and/but Birdsong is. I wont mention that in Modern Art some also threw out the aesthetic -dam I have just so!

“There are aesthetic objects which involve no work of art: natural objects that are aesthetically appreciated.”
There are art objects with no aesthetic value – Duchamp's urinal, Kosuth's one and three chairs...Conceptual Poetry? Such as Goldsmith's...


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_s ... mpositions

:shock:
I have no problem with calling any of that music--or none of it, myself. The point was to come up with some kind def that Raffman et al. wouldn't sniff at. Also, I don't think anything in that paper requires art objects to have aesthetic value. I just wanted to be clear that HAVING aesthetic value doesn't make something a work of art. Nature can be beautiful--and as you point out--a carefully painted canvas can be worthless. Why not?

Also, the def of music you quote was specifically intended to cover Cage's "Silence": that was the point of the "or listened to for such features." The idea is that the coughs and chair scrapes (or even the listener's tinnitus) can together make up music--rather than, say, sculpture.
"Freedom of thought and speech without available means of gaining information and methods of sound analysis, are empty. Protection and security are meaningless until there is something positive worth protecting." E.W. Hall

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jliat
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Re: Aesthetics and Post-tonal Music

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OK I think I follow your reasoning for wanting such definitions was to address the proposition of the kind- “I claim ...” and look for internal inconsistencies..? “Raffman’s syllogism is not salvageable: it contains at least one false premise, and is invalid to boot.” But I don't think inconsistencies falsify (some) music, you seem to say so, “Are musical creations necessarily better if they don’t stray from accepted forms at any point?” so why not other things such as the argument Raffman makes? You appear to appeal to an aesthetic experience or judgement qua music, why not then for the Raffman theory. Why should the rhetorical force of 'Raffman theory' not be vindicated by your very argument? In making “logical mincemeat” of Raffman, a pro Raffman approach would be to adopt your own aesthetic defence of serial music as a defence of Raffman. In accepting the Raffman proposition in order to falsify it you offer the similar counter move of accepting your aesthetics as a means to validify it.

Just a thought....

I'm “riffing” here on Graham Harman's idea of rhetoric in philosophy, and aesthetics as a first philosophy.


“if we consider any scheme of philosophic categories as one complete assertion, and apply to it the logician's alternative true or false, the answer must be that it is false” Harman citing Whitehead. p.169 Prince of Networks.


“Any cocky, well-trained analytic philosopher can make logical mincemeat of Plato's Phaedo or Spinoza's Ethics in ten minutes...” ibid p. 168


Regarding 4'33” I actually think there is more than just listening... one that 'one cannot perceive a lack of perception'. Cage / Zen...! The impossibility of hearing silence, hearing a lack of hearing... is a priori. This IMO makes the work transcendently more than an empirical impossibility.

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walto
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Re: Aesthetics and Post-tonal Music

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Hi. That's interesting stuff, but I'm afraid I have to reject the analogy you're depending on between good arguments and good music. The latter, I think depends mostly on whether people are 'moved'. The former requires not only the truth of the premises but formal validity. Imho (you may differ) neither of those depends on what people think.

As for the (massive) powers of 'well-trained analytic philosophers' to refute Spinoza and Plato, I'd say that depends on whether those guys made mistakes. But in any case, if Raffman would like to use those powers on me, I encourage her to try. X>{ :o
"Freedom of thought and speech without available means of gaining information and methods of sound analysis, are empty. Protection and security are meaningless until there is something positive worth protecting." E.W. Hall

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Re: Aesthetics and Post-tonal Music

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If you forgive me for continuing. Firstly if philosophy is subject to logical or scientific refutation much of it – or for some all of it, would be consigned to be 'nonsense'. That it isn't by many is that it's thought to have a value which is not subject to such verification. This accounts for why Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, Sartre et al. are still taught and read. No modern cosmologist pays much attention to the details of Ptolomaic cosmology. But philosophy like art isn't science. IMO there are 'good' arguments in Nietzsche (and bad ones) that Zarathustra is a fiction is not even unimportant, its a devise which places these arguments in the way the author wished. It's complicated – not just about listening, I'd argue listening to the theme to the film 2001 is not the same as listening to the tone poem – after or before reading the book. Poets are anyway notorious liars- how can one wander like a cloud, clouds are water molecules! Raffman's argument that "To that extent,twelve-tone music is fraudulent, and so not art.” is breathtaking, if she really thinks being fraudulent makes something not art. Breathtaking because ALL literature which is fiction is not 'true'. It's a long list, includes Shakespeare, Dickens, Joyce and other art- all representational painting, especially using perspective. Even if the composer intended to communicate via pitch related musical meaning hasn't she heard about the intentional fallacy, death of author criticism. No one would 'get' the 1812 without historical knowledge, art operates in a context, good art by some is good because of not just how it sounds or the 'nice' colours but these contexts and things called 'ideas'. And no amount of listening will always reveal all of these. And emotions, a drama works on our emotions such that we feel these, but we don't dial 911 in a theatre when an actor acts being shot. But maybe the composer like an architect uses a technique not for its sake but in support of something else, we do not see the rebar in buildings, does such a deception disqualify them aesthetically? I see Raffman is a philosopher in the Anglo American tradition so thinks vagueness a problem. The methods she uses are those of analytical philosophy which is in itself contradictory, her faith is that the world is accountable in syllogistic logic. Such faith, which runs counter not only to the vagaries of art but also of physics and mathematics itself. I could go on but it may be isn't worth the effort, maybe its best just to call Raffman's ideas just nuts. Then modern psychology ignores much of Freud as being not true, yet it's still used in analysis, still works and seems to offer insights into the human condition which are in many ways similar to Art.

“What lends greatness to a work of art are not the feelings and emotions themselves, but the nature of the artistic process by which they are synthesised. The artist is responsible for creating "the pressure, so to speak, under which the fusion takes place." And, it is the intensity of fusion that renders art great. In this view, Eliot rejects the theory that art expresses metaphysical unity in the soul of the poet. The poet is a depersonalised vessel, a mere medium."

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Re: Aesthetics and Post-tonal Music

Post by SqDanceCallingSteve »

Great discipline and restraint in trashing what seems on the face of it not only a specious but startlingly anachronistic argument, notwithstanding the claims of fresh supporting scientific data!

I'd have had a hard time focusing the paper on the strictly musical since such obviously analogous transformations can be seen across the board in modern visual, literary, theatrical, architectural, choreographic, and virtually all the others arts. But I'm sure Aesthetics has ground rules of its own and I'd be called off-sides or something.
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walto
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Re: Aesthetics and Post-tonal Music

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SqDanceCallingSteve wrote:Great discipline and restraint in trashing what seems on the face of it not only a specious but startlingly anachronistic argument, notwithstanding the claims of fresh supporting scientific data!

I'd have had a hard time focusing the paper on the strictly musical since such obviously analogous transformations can be seen across the board in modern visual, literary, theatrical, architectural, choreographic, and virtually all the others arts. But I'm sure Aesthetics has ground rules of its own and I'd be called off-sides or something.
Thanks. To tell you the truth, I really don't know myself, SqD. I'm not up on contemporary aesthetics lit. Raffman's article (and several Taruskin pieces) just pissed me off so much I that felt somebody ought to respond. The first thing I did was send an email to Fred Lerdahl, who's a good composer and who I'd thought would be annoyed at having his writings (which I hadn't yet seen myself) used incorrectly and for such a shitty purpose. But I ended up finding out that he sort of, in a way, a bit, etc. agreed with Raffman (or some of what she wrote, etc.) and had no interest in responding himself, so I ended up throwing him into the flames too. I think the referees at the journal thought that everything I said ought to be pretty obvious to readers of their stuff (which is probably true), but they decided to publish it anyhow. I'm happy about that, because I wasn't really directing it to THEIR readers but, mostly, to Raffman, Taruskin, and anybody who has happened to step into their poop.
"Freedom of thought and speech without available means of gaining information and methods of sound analysis, are empty. Protection and security are meaningless until there is something positive worth protecting." E.W. Hall

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Re: Aesthetics and Post-tonal Music

Post by schiksalgemeinschaft »

jliat wrote:If you forgive me for continuing. Firstly if philosophy is subject to logical or scientific refutation much of it – or for some all of it, would be consigned to be 'nonsense'. That it isn't by many is that it's thought to have a value which is not subject to such verification. This accounts for why Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, Sartre et al. are still taught and read. No modern cosmologist pays much attention to the details of Ptolomaic cosmology. But philosophy like art isn't science. IMO there are 'good' arguments in Nietzsche (and bad ones) that Zarathustra is a fiction is not even unimportant, its a devise which places these arguments in the way the author wished.
The main point Richard Rorty tried to make in some of his later work was exactly this: philosophy is a form of literature: a form of 'private' thinking/writing rather than 'public' thinking (like science).

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