Author Topic: What has taste got to do with it?  (Read 8279 times)

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: What has taste got to do with it?
« Reply #40 on: February 12, 2013, 10:30:49 AM »
the use of "taste in music" in "given my taste in music, what would i enjoy" seems to be misunderstood as referring to one's favourite music, as opposed to how one actually approaches listening to music in the first place.

a more accurate phrasing of the question would be "given that i am a conservative and narrow-minded listener..."

(an open-minded listener would not ask the question in the first place; they would just listen!)

Too passive. An  open minded good listener would listen and try to understand what the performer was saying. And then he would try to see whether what was being said is worth saying.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: What has taste got to do with it?
« Reply #41 on: February 12, 2013, 10:32:24 AM »
But about some things, e.g. Beethoven is a great composer, all musicologists do agree.

Just a general additional point. It would be a mistake to confuse subjective and difficult to apply or disagreement about the application. And it would be a mistake to confuse objective with widespread agreement.  There are lots of very objective concepts which are very contentious in hard cases -- this very often happens in law, when you have to apply a jurisprudential idea to a new hard case. Whether the doctors have the right to turn off the life support, that sort of thing, furnishes example where the judgment about whether someone has a right is certainly not subjective, but is very disputed. 

There's also widespread agreement that Brussels Sprouts  taste rubbish, but it's not objective.

Deciding whether some concept does apply -- whether it's leaden or gravitas or something else -- may be very difficult. It may take a listener with lots of experience and lots of familiarity with musical criticism to reach the correct application.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 10:37:05 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline some guy

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Re: What has taste got to do with it?
« Reply #42 on: February 12, 2013, 11:20:29 AM »
It may take a listener with lots of experience and lots of familiarity with musical criticism to reach the correct application.
It is just this, however, which is chimerical. "The correct application" simply does not exist.

As for "a" listener with lots of experience et cetera, apparently you missed my previous comment about that.

In the real world, there are many listeners with lots of experience and lots of familiarity with musical criticism, and those listeners do not agree about everything.

As I said before, you can only make your points by positing a single listener or a single oenologist. The fact still remains.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: What has taste got to do with it?
« Reply #43 on: February 12, 2013, 04:13:56 PM »

Did Ms Lim win a Grammy?

Would it have mattered if she did? The Grammy Awards are one of the biggest jokes of the music industry.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 07:52:39 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline max

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Re: What has taste got to do with it?
« Reply #44 on: February 12, 2013, 06:17:24 PM »
Countless times, people that I work with or others in everyday life that listen to music other than Classical Music have this as a response to me:

Ray:
"I listen to Classical Music"

Response:
"Wow Ray, that is impressive!  You have very good taste in music.  I was never really into classical, although it is really great music to relax to!"


You know how impressive it is when people start snoring out of pure bliss and make a quintet out of a quartet. I'd have to laugh at this response, like Newton who it is said laughed very heartily only once in his life when asked "What is the use of geometry?"

Offline jochanaan

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Re: What has taste got to do with it?
« Reply #45 on: February 12, 2013, 07:15:11 PM »
I think that there are certain objective standards that we can apply to music.  Are all the notes played correctly and recognizably as the composer wrote them?  (Unless you're improvising or arranging, of course.)  Is the player's tone and dynamic range adequate and more or less appropriate both to the written music and to what is commonly known about performance styles when it was written?  Do the tempos match (again, more or less) what the composer indicated?

But beyond these easily identifiable attributes, it's very hard to nail down objective qualities.  I'm not saying they don't exist--just that it's hard to quantify them.  How do you measure excitement?  "Depth" or "heart"?  Some would say (to use an easily identifiable example) that Sergiu Celibidache's tempos are "too slow," while others (and I confess I'm one) admire how he gives time for every note and chord to make its maximum effect.  (To judge from the applause included on his live albums--and he never recorded in the studio--I'm not his only admirer.)  Is my taste "better" or "more refined" because I like Celibidache's Bruckner better than, say, Zubin Mehta's?  Who can judge, in the long run?
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ibanezmonster

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Re: What has taste got to do with it?
« Reply #46 on: February 12, 2013, 07:24:56 PM »
Who can judge, in the long run?
The Pink Harp and James... but if their opinions clashed, it would create a paradox!  :-X

snyprrr

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Re: What has taste got to do with it?
« Reply #47 on: February 12, 2013, 10:41:48 PM »
I think "taste" has several dimensions. Roughly speaking bad taste = lack of understanding coloured with personal preferences while good taste is understanding coloured with personal preferences.

Someone lacking understanding might says: "J. S. Bach's music is boring because it hasn't got electric guitars in it". This kind of bad taste can/should be criticized.

Someone having understanding might says: "J. S. Bach's Partitas are awesome keyboard music, but I don't like them played on piano" while another person having equal understanding but different preferences might enjoy Bach's Partitas played on almost any keyboard instrument.

Another dimensions of taste might relate to the function of music (for relaxing, dancing, ...etc.) and the ways one listens to music (at home, in concerts live, with loudspeakers, headphones...)

WRONG! (cue 'McLaughlin Group')

'Taste' is what happens after one has heard exactly 26 different recordings of Le Sacre! If you do not HAVE taste by then,... well,... taste cannot be had.

snyprrr

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Re: What has taste got to do with it?
« Reply #48 on: February 12, 2013, 10:49:39 PM »
I recently ran across another iteration of a point of view that I just don't understand: another "given my taste in music, what would you recommend" request.

That inevitably reminded me of another idea about taste, which was that you can have good taste or bad taste in music. I recently mentioned a recording I like to a friend of mine, whose response was "Well, that just shows that you have good taste."

Gross!! This is music we're talking about. This is about an enormous universe of lovely and delightful things, from Perotin to Parmegiani. All I know is that the thrill I experience when I'm listening to music has nothing at all to do with taste. Taste doesn't enter into it. It's an impertinence.

And, the more I listen to new things (things I don't like, yet), the less useful having taste is to me. In fact, it simply gets in the way.

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it. :)

You know, they're making food with dirt in Japan. I'm sorry,... silt. Well,... dirt too!


"Perotin to Parmegiani"?... Oh Come On!! You haven't even made it out of the Ps!! 8)

And... those aren't even 'challenging' Composers to fully admire...

How about from "Glazunov to Lucier"? ??? Now THERE'S a challenge!! eeek

snyprrr

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Re: What has taste got to do with it?
« Reply #49 on: February 12, 2013, 10:56:09 PM »
You know, they're making food with dirt in Japan. I'm sorry,... silt. Well,... dirt too!


"Perotin to Parmegiani"?... Oh Come On!! You haven't even made it out of the Ps!! 8)

And... those aren't even 'challenging' Composers to fully admire...

How about from "Glazunov to Lucier"? ??? Now THERE'S a challenge!! eeek

I meant "Glazunov to Branca"! ;)

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: What has taste got to do with it?
« Reply #50 on: February 13, 2013, 10:29:11 AM »
I think that there are certain objective standards that we can apply to music.  Are all the notes played correctly and recognizably as the composer wrote them? [snip]

Tangentially . . . that said, it makes me smile when an enthusiast for a certain recording expresses that enthusiasm by claiming that it is "definitive" — without knowing the score, and thus with no awareness of the deviations which the recording takes from the composer's document.

And, why, yes: there are some such enthusiasts right here at GMG!


:-)
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Offline jochanaan

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Re: What has taste got to do with it?
« Reply #51 on: February 13, 2013, 10:43:34 AM »
Tangentially . . . that said, it makes me smile when an enthusiast for a certain recording expresses that enthusiasm by claiming that it is "definitive" — without knowing the score, and thus with no awareness of the deviations which the recording takes from the composer's document...
Indeed.  One of the most egregious examples is the second movement of Brahms' Symphony #4.  Now, that's marked Andante moderato, but the way most conductors (I won't name names, but one's initials are HvK ;) ) take it, you'd think it was marked Adagio lamentoso! ::)
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: What has taste got to do with it?
« Reply #52 on: February 13, 2013, 10:47:56 AM »
. . . (I won't name names, but one's initials are HvK ;) ) . . . .

Harold van Kujper? . . .
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline starrynight

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Re: What has taste got to do with it?
« Reply #53 on: February 13, 2013, 12:23:56 PM »
Personally, while I am aware of music history and who is ranked high, etc., I am not really interested in that kind of evaluation process.  And I think someguy is suggesting that folks not let those kind of judgments, or even their own preferences, about what is good or bad influence their curiosity about any music.

The only thing that people should use to judge a piece of music is their own mind, but of course those new to a style may feel they lack the confidence and experience to do that.  A listener has to grow out of that early insecurity by simply listening to more music in the style concerned. 

the use of "taste in music" in "given my taste in music, what would i enjoy" seems to be misunderstood as referring to one's favourite music, as opposed to how one actually approaches listening to music in the first place.

a more accurate phrasing of the question would be "given that i am a conservative and narrow-minded listener..."

(an open-minded listener would not ask the question in the first place; they would just listen!)
 

I think taste is simply that though....what someone's most favourite music is.  Only those who are very narrow would use it define all that they listen to (and therefore excluding so much).  So why let such a prejudicial view of music prevail over the surely more reasonable one?  Most people have favourite pieces or styles that they come back to, but that doesn't exclude them listening to all other music.


As for music being a kind of food that you taste, I suppose it is something that helps sustain us more so perhaps in our modern world than ever before with the widespread availability of music.  Composers of the past would never have imagined that it would occupy such a central place in most people's lives now and that as a result much music of the past has been far from forgotten.  Taste also suggests something that is immediate and which can give continuing pleasure like food, but which can have the potential for obsession.  The food analogy hardly works well with the artistry of the orginal composition and discounts the strongly intellectual aspect of art music which is obviously very important even while the sensual aspect will still exist.

Offline max

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Re: What has taste got to do with it?
« Reply #54 on: February 13, 2013, 12:27:06 PM »


But beyond these easily identifiable attributes, it's very hard to nail down objective qualities.
That's why there can be an endless variety of interpretations based on what is really one set of notes unless like Mahler you want to rewrite some favorites like Beethoven's Nine. There is no such thing as a definitive performance objectively.  It's all degrees of perception, meaning effect. External to that there is absolutely no value to it.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: What has taste got to do with it?
« Reply #55 on: February 13, 2013, 01:43:32 PM »
I think that there are certain objective standards that we can apply to music.  Are all the notes played correctly and recognizably as the composer wrote them?  (Unless you're improvising or arranging, of course.)  Is the player's tone and dynamic range adequate and more or less appropriate both to the written music and to what is commonly known about performance styles when it was written?  Do the tempos match (again, more or less) what the composer indicated?

But beyond these easily identifiable attributes, it's very hard to nail down objective qualities.  I'm not saying they don't exist--just that it's hard to quantify them.  How do you measure excitement?  "Depth" or "heart"?  Some would say (to use an easily identifiable example) that Sergiu Celibidache's tempos are "too slow," while others (and I confess I'm one) admire how he gives time for every note and chord to make its maximum effect.  (To judge from the applause included on his live albums--and he never recorded in the studio--I'm not his only admirer.)  Is my taste "better" or "more refined" because I like Celibidache's Bruckner better than, say, Zubin Mehta's?  Who can judge, in the long run?

Stuff like depth and heart and excitement are hopeless really. They're really subjective. I find Fey's Haydn boring and brash, someone else finds it thrilling. I find Hantai's Scarlatti cold and virtuosic, someone else finds it fulll of humanity. There's no fact of the matter as far as I can see.

But I think there are more promising examples of musical values which are more objective.

 integrates the music into a whole (Richter  in Brahms op 119 vs Kempff; Gieseking's Ravel Pavane)
stresses beauty of tone rather than dissonance (Rosenthal in Chopin vs Weissenberg; Hantai2 in the Goldbergs vs Mortensen)
Finds a variety of emotions (Verlet in WTC 2 vs Glen Wilson; Rozhdestvensky's Prokofiev 7 vs Malko)
« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 02:10:41 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Florestan

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Re: What has taste got to do with it?
« Reply #56 on: February 17, 2013, 09:10:31 AM »
Composers of the past would never have imagined that it would occupy such a central place in most people's lives now and that as a result much music of the past has been far from forgotten. 

Indeed.
"I don’t know why I give preference to Chopin’s works. They always touch me deeply. His music is akin to my soul." --- Milii Balakirev