Originally Posted by Funny Cat
Well 1st off, EVERYONE in the world appreciates SOME form of music. That being said:
-Do you need to make music to appreciate it
-Do you need to make music in order to FULLY appreciate it
For example, could someone who does not play guitar ever fully
appreciate the years of dedication to practice and playing (not even mentioning the sacrifice) that it takes to play Rock like Jimmy Page? Or Blues like B.B. King? Or even pop like John Mayer?
Could someone who does not play drums ever fully appreciate how difficult it is to get to a level of musicianship on par with drummers like Steve Gadd? Or John Bonham? Or Carter Beaufurd?
The key is to be able to disengage the producer/engineer/player button
when listening to music for pure enjoyment....and it is possible, by the way.
The term "appreciate" is one that, in this context, has a variety of legitimate interpretations. We can appreciate beauty, technique, effort, rarefied references and subtle patterns, et cetera.
So this discussion can bear some fruit as long as we keep this in mind. One shouldn't rush to refute someone else's post, without first seeking to understand what they (i.e. the other) held as the subject of "appreciation."
Better yet, of course, posts should explicitly define their subject (i.e. subject of appreciation).
I think one can apply to this discussion Vladimir Nabokov's take on reality, insofar as it is an analogy for the gradation of detail-perception possible by a casual listener, a trained virtuoso, and members of the tiers in between:
Reality is a very subjective affair. I can only define it as a kind of gradual accumulation of information, and as specialization. If we take a lily, for instance, or any other kind of natural object, a lily is more real to a naturalist than it is to an ordinary person. But it is still more real to a botanist. And yet another stage of reality is reached with that botanist who is a specialist in lilies. You can get nearer and nearer, so to speak, to reality; but you never get near enough because reality is an infinite succession of steps, levels of perception, false bottoms, and hence unquenchable, unattainable.
A skilled, learned musician will be able to perceive in music certain intricacies and patterns that a layperson will not. So, if you define "appreciation" as a recognition of below-the-surface patterns, the maker of music "appreciates" music more than the layperson.
But is a lily less beautiful to someone who knows little about the science of flowers than to a scientist? Its power to evoke emotion, through its inherent beauty, isn't reduced by lack of understanding of taxonomy, its means of reproduction and energy generation, etc. So, if you define "appreciation" as recognition of beauty, and the ability to be affected by it, casual listeners can appreciate music just as much as anyone.
On the other hand, in songs there could exist some below-the-surface beauty that skilled music makers can perceive -- subtle indirect allusion to other works (as opposed to direct allusion [e.g. sampling] or obvious parody [e.g. YouTube - Dudley Moore Beethoven Sonata Parody
]; and to clarify: specifically allusion in the music itself, not in the lyrics), motif manipulation in works of the classical masters, etc -- the rarefied stuff that goes over the head of the casual listener.
Beauty can come in the form of awe -- an ability to truly understand the amount of hard work required to make music and empathize with those who put in that hard work, which comes after setting out to do so yourself and either failing or having to put a shit load of effort in.
Or, perhaps, because making music is your job and hobby, you might be truly interested in (and derive appreciation from) the abstruse technical details of the processes of a wide variety of artists (e.g. which amp does X band use and which compressor was used on the drums of X track) -- just as a fledgling botanist might read, with zest, stuff about Leonhart Fuchs and Otto Brunfels; this, of course, being stuff that is of no consequence to regular listeners, who aren't exactly missing out, because they think that stuff is totally boring.
So yeah, I believe that people who make music can appreciate more (i.e. a wider range of things). But casual listeners can appreciate the emotion-affecting beauty (which is the lion's share of what there is to appreciate, imo) and don't at all feel as if they are missing out by not being able to glean from the music the more subtle and obscure and tangential things.