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Is a musician always an artist? Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 12th January 2017
  #211
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
Is there any problem calling it a "painting"?

I swear to god I'm getting the feeling that people are incredibly 'attached' to the term "art" because they've viewed themselves as artists, and are now fearing that if that's not a view that the community shares in their case then better to define the term so it fits.... that's what it feels like.
Oh brother.

Most dictionaries define paintings as art, but whatever....

I can't imagine the answer, whatever it is, could possibly make a difference to whether anyone is an artist or a good artist or anything like that. Probably the opposite.

Okay, so some paintings are art, and some, apparently, are not.

In a nutshell, so I can bail on going back and forth for days, what's the point or use of your distinction?

For the record, I could not care less about the word "art" or the concept of being an "artist". Just words to describe things, and I think people making a federal case of what is art or who's an artist seem to be the ones that are "attached".
Old 12th January 2017
  #212
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
they can still evaluate two pieces of music and compare the two.

So, any consistent method would certainly determine that the song played in the first chorus here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMTQpkRmFFI

Is the same as the song played in the first chorus here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30FTr6G53VU
You have concluded that two versions of the same song are using the same notes? Wow. Powerful analytical tool you have there.

In your proposed hypothetical you were supposed to be able to plug in the notes and tell if an artist was doing "something new". Bringing something new to the table, was the operative phrase. If he was doing a "new thing". You can spoof this 'analysis' by changing one note! Is that what you mean by "new"? One note is new? Then everybody is new!

By this definition, every artist who is not outright plagiarizing is doing something "new". You can 'prove' Coltrane's uniqueness only at the risk of 'proving' an equal uniqueness for Kenny G - in fact for every single musician who is not actually directly stealing melodies.

I am reminded of those cheap production music libraries where they have a track called "Secret Agent" and it's almost the James Bond theme but just different enough to not get sued. And "The Fighter" sounds almost like "Rocky" , but again - thanks to the miracle of musical analysis - legal unpleasantness is narrowly avoided. And Space Wars...
Old 12th January 2017
  #213
Arguments about word definitions ultimately strike me as a bit silly,*‡ because the denotations and connotations of given words are often different from community to community and evolve and mutate over time across communities. Some folks might prefer that it were not so, but there's no stopping language from evolving and adapting. You can't tell it what to do. It's like a virus that uses human hosts to evolve and thrive... and remain unconquerable and uncontainable.


* Not as silly as those about whether subjectivity is subjective, maybe -- which is how a lot of arguments around here look when you boil them down.

Except for whether or not to call the polarity button on a mixer or other gear phase. Big mistake. We need to paint out all those faceplates and correct that. ASAP.
Old 12th January 2017
  #214
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
people making a federal case of what is art or who's an artist seem to be the ones that are "attached"


Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
I am reminded of those cheap production music libraries where they have a track called "Secret Agent" and it's almost the James Bond theme but just different enough to not get sued.
so true!
Old 12th January 2017
  #215
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RRCHON's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
Your view on this is seemingly quite egocentric. That's why it's similar to another guy here in that it's not without irony that you can proclaim that "it's art" yet at the same time proclaim it's entirely subjective and personal.

In other words, there is no such thing as an art object, there is only art emotions and sentiments. Nobody can ever state that anything is a piece of art, simply because there is no objective basis for saying so. Saying that the Mona Lisa is an art work is essentially moving beyond the boundaries of what can be known.

The only legitimate expression one can make, as an individual, which would then be correct, is "The Mona Lisa is a piece of art to me."

Thus, the question "Hey Frank, is the Mona Lisa a piece of art?" Can't be answered with a simple "yes" or "no", but should rather be followed up with a "To whom?". After Frank knows whose opinion we're referring to he can answer the question; "Yes, Jessie thinks Mona Lisa is a piece of art".



War is peace then, if we say so, is that correct?



Ignoring then for a second that dictionaries and various teachers etc disagree with you, wouldn't you then agree that the term is inherently meaningless? You're saying that making anything "into art" yields no "special qualities whatsoever", which in turn then leaves us with only what that object already was.

There is therefore no value in calling a painting "art", because that doesn't tell us anything about it, whereas "painting" does.



Right, just like all other words. I suppose the question is if we should try to give them meaning or just be like, 'whatever'...... The recent election should be a clue....
I am not sure if you are trolling, bored, being, pendantic or playing the devil's advocate. Though there is a bit of that truther tactic at work in some of your arguments.

Repeating something over and over again and exploring radical tangents at every turn just isn't interesting to me.

War is not peace, and red is not black because those are defined. The dictionary is not relevant here to me because it is a tool used to introduce you to language or disambiguate things to a certain extent.

Regardless, you define art as what you want, I am too old to change how I define it and I am getting quite bored of repeating myself. I didn't start out to convince you or anyone about anything.

Also, its not nice to drag bad memories and politics into something like this as some chuckle way to try to be snarky and insinuate a brow beating. The recent election... come man, things get heated but lets not go there, please.

Now its getting on to bed time for me and this particular line of reasoning is akin to beating a dead horse, or pissing into the wind. I admire your conviction even if I do not agree with you. I've stated my views and have no need to convert you or anyone else. We are not on the same wavelength and outside the ultimate arbitration there is no way either of us is going to cede on their view so - que est - est.

Have a good night
Old 12th January 2017
  #216
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
You have concluded that two versions of the same song are using the same notes? Wow. Powerful analytical tool you have there.
Your unbecoming condescension aside my point still stands; you can use analysis of music to find out that something has been done before. You seemed to be saying one couldn't objectively figure that out, and I said one could.

It seems as if you're now agreeing with that statement. I suppose you could have left it at that.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
In your proposed hypothetical you were supposed to be able to plug in the notes and tell if an artist was doing "something new". Bringing something new to the table, was the operative phrase. If he was doing a "new thing". You can spoof this 'analysis' by changing one note! Is that what you mean by "new"? One note is new? Then everybody is new!

By this definition, every artist who is not outright plagiarizing is doing something "new". You can 'prove' Coltrane's uniqueness only at the risk of 'proving' an equal uniqueness for Kenny G - in fact for every single musician who is not actually directly stealing melodies.

I am reminded of those cheap production music libraries where they have a track called "Secret Agent" and it's almost the James Bond theme but just different enough to not get sued. And "The Fighter" sounds almost like "Rocky" , but again - thanks to the miracle of musical analysis - legal unpleasantness is narrowly avoided. And Space Wars...
All of the above is essentially just regurgitating what I already mentioned and subsequently explained, in 108 and 114.
Old 12th January 2017
  #217
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RRCHON View Post
or pissing into the wind
There's one thing pissing into the wind and rap have in common: you need a good flow...
Old 12th January 2017
  #218
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
you can use analysis of music to find out that something has been done before. You seemed to be saying one couldn't objectively figure that out, and I said one could.
oh come on - the ONLY thing you can 'figure out' with it is if that exact same sequence of notes has been done before. Note for note. And only if you are in possession of a non-existent database of every song ever written, every solo ever taken.

hat is not what we were talking about and you know it. Such analysis cannot establish that John Coltrane was a new and unique artist because by the standard of a: "these exact notes" standard, every artist is a new and unique artist.

If the person doing the "analysis" wants to, he can just keep on going until he finds his "something new". Even the two versions of the same song you posted were different tempos, different instrumentation, blah blah. If I notated tempos, instrumentation etc, I could give the second artist 'credit' for 'originality'.

Even a deliberate plagiarist will ultimately leave some microscopic trace difference that -if he wants to - the "analyst" can seize upon and say 'look they are unique' in some way.

I thought your "analysis" was supposed to tell us who was bringing something new to the table. Now we see all it is telling us is who is playing an exact sequence of notes that has not be used yet? What a letdown. I can stipulate that off the top of my head - without notating melodies - and of course without spending a lifetime compiling a database of every song that was ever written to check those melodies against!

If your 'system' pretty much automatically delivers a foregone conclusion, to everything it is applied to, what is its value?

You and sfilipee can argue it out as to whether these people (who are ALL doing something new!) are 'artists' or not.
Old 12th January 2017
  #219
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Yeah, you win...
Old 12th January 2017
  #220
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There are two definitions as to what musician means according to Webster..

The first defines a musician as one who takes music as a profession.

The second defines a musician as one who is skilled in music.

I'm going to presume you're talking about the second definition here.

Here is Wikipedia's definition of "artist" (I don't feel like going through all the dictionary definitions for this one):

"An artist is a person engaged in one or more of any of a broad spectrum of activities related to creating art, practicing the arts or demonstrating an art."

So yes, if we go by either definition, a musician is always an artist. I don't think that is what you're asking though.

I think you're asking if a person that plays music is an artist. I don't think someone who plays music is necessarily skilled in music, but I do think that someone plays music is demonstrating music, which is a fine art, so by definition they are an artist. Someone who plays music incompetently is not a musician, but is an artist because he/she is demonstrating and/or practicing an art. There is not quite a snobby and strict definition behind the word 'artist' as is commonly perceived.

You may also be referring to people who do not compose music, but do perform it and asking if what they're doing is inherently "creative." Yes.. performance is creative in itself. The definition of "create" is "bring something into existence." While non-composing performers don't create the song they are playing, they create their own form of it. This can hold expressive power under most circumstances if that's what you're getting at.

So maybe you're instead asking, does a person who plays music (or rather is a musician) necessarily express oneself? Some will say yes, always, others will say sometimes no. It all depends upon whether you believe that all of what's being said always comes from within, or whether or not it's possible that it's just a reflection of what's around you. Some believe that composition has more innate potential for expression than arrangement, and that arrangement has more innate potential for expression than performance because each is rooted in it's former. Even if that's true, it still depends on whether or not you believe the artist is conveying their inner thoughts or simply reflecting their environment (for example, obviously, someone who directly steals a song is reflecting their environment) and everyone has their own beliefs on how to tell whether or not this is occurring in a given example of music. Have fun deciding all your opinions about everything based upon weak inductions!
Old 12th January 2017
  #221
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So you are saying John Coltrane isn't an "artist" because when he played My Favorite Things, he was "covering" Rogers and Hammerstein?



what a dumb premise[/QUOTE]

no, and don't assume blunt absolutes, its tacky.

Let me phrase it different: playing someone else's song is talent based on rehearsal. Creating then playing a new song is artistic.
Old 12th January 2017
  #222
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Here's my new answer.

Is every musician an artist? Yeah, of course. Is that a big deal? Sure, why not. Everyone is an artist. Everyone can paint or be creative. And everyone can sing. Even the most tone deaf can sing in church or along with the national anthem or at karaoke or in the shower. Singing is an art, it's music, and everyone can do it! Don't let any c*nts tell you otherwise.

Is there an objective way to measure art or artists or musicians? Yes. It's a popularity contest. Sorry, but that's just how it is. Is Michael a great artist? Crushed it. Britney? Crushed it. Beethoven? Crushed it. Bach? Crushed it. Coldplay? Crushed it. Kenny G? Crushed it. Vanilla Ice? Well...let's be reasonable....he crushed it on one song though, and that's a fact.

If people (even just one) think you're a great artist, you are. And the more that think it, the better you did or are doing. If your name is in the record books, or the hall of fame, or you've got grammys, you're on the radio, people are buying and listening to your art, and whatever else along those lines....you are a great artist. If some people subjectively don't think you're any good, or don't think you're an artist....f*ck 'em!

This ain't rocket science, and anyone who thinks so is in the wrong class!

Old 12th January 2017
  #223
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
Here's my new answer.

Is every musician an artist? Yeah, of course. Is that a big deal? Sure, why not. Everyone is an artist. Everyone can paint or be creative. And everyone can sing. Even the most tone deaf can sing in church or along with the national anthem or at karaoke or in the shower. Singing is an art, it's music, and everyone can do it! Don't let any c*nts tell you otherwise.

Is there an objective way to measure art or artists or musicians? Yes. It's a popularity contest. Sorry, but that's just how it is. Is Michael a great artist? Crushed it. Britney? Crushed it. Beethoven? Crushed it. Bach? Crushed it. Coldplay? Crushed it. Kenny G? Crushed it. Vanilla Ice? Well...let's be reasonable....he crushed it on one song though, and that's a fact.
I'm sorry, but popularity is in no way an objective way to measure artistry, especially in the mercantile manner in which art and media is distributed in our modern society, and given how easily and subconsciously people are swayed by media forces and machinations.

I think a truer measure is talent, honesty, expressiveness and sincerity, and if popularity is there, it's gravy, but not necessarily the most important determinant.

Of course, these can and will be subjective criteria, as it should be - it should be determined by how the individual perceives it, from a gut level, from an emotional and intellectual vantage point...though people can be brainwashed into thinking something is this or that by external forces, like popularity, or peer pressure, but I don't think that's necessarily the most organic nor best/judicious way to come to a conclusion.
Old 12th January 2017
  #224
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
You misunderstand the argument. The argument isn't that there is an agreed upon standard for evaluating whether or not something is new, the argument is that regardless of whatever parameter we choose - as long as it's measurable - we can see if its value is new or not.
I get where you're coming from, but... (Yeah, you probably guessed there'd be a "but"!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
So, for example, we can look at a piece of jazz right now and analyze the basic chord structure of the tune. I don't have to agree with how you notate that chord structure, in the sense that I would notate it differently. I might even argue that there are other ways of interpreting the chords. But as long as your system of chord notation is internally consistent I can most certainly use it to see if whatever chord structure you just analyzed has been done before. If it has, then we have shown that it isn't new.

So from the standpoint of not having a biased researcher that's what I mean by "objective", as opposed to "it's all opinion", which in this case it isn't.
...here is where it already begins to look a little shaky to me. First off, you've already said that different people might notate it in different ways. So we have a potential subjective judgement call in the process already - different people can notate the same thing in different ways. One such scheme may identify or focus upon different details to another, depending upon the intent or wishes of the person defining the scheme.

OK, so we first of all have to get them to agree on sharing a notation scheme or we have to use the same one consistently. Fair enough, you've already made that clear and it's not an insurmountable problem. It's (slightly) analogous to everyone deciding to use SI units or to accept that a particular test procedure is the standard one that will be used for a particular purpose in a lab. So, let's continue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
Like I said, if I play "Coltrane Changes" you can use contemporary jazz notation and analysis and write down what I played. You can then look at older music an analyze it using the same system, and come to the conclusion that those changes weren't new at all. You could probably also use classical notation and again come to the very same conclusion, even if your notation is different. See what I mean?

So really the only questions here are how many parameters do we want to use to evaluate a piece of music, are there limits to how many we can use, and are there limits to what we can measure?... All within reason.
And this is the point where any real objectivity can very easily go out of the window. We have a test to tell us whether two people are playing the same notes. That's fine and simple and as close to objective as we can get in this game, but it's actually a fairly trivial test in real terms. You raise a much more important issue when you ask "how many parameters do we want to use to evaluate a piece of music". This is the point where it does all break down, particularly in the context of what is being discussed in this thread. Because different people can (and will) choose different parameters. It's not like weighing a house-brick, where you can stick it on a machine and it will tell you (in kg, lbs or whatever units you like to use) exactly what it weighs (plus or minus the error bounds of the machine, which are also well-defined and known). From the point of view of myself and most folks with a science/engineering background, that is what objective really means. It doesn't matter what you think or believe or how you choose to view the "process" of weighing something or what assumptions you make about how things should be weighed. The weight of the brick is completely well-defined, in and of itself and is not subject to variation depending on experimental methods or what any particular researcher thinks should be the right answer. No-one, absolutely no-one, has to make a judgement call on it at any point.

And, when it comes to things like judging art or artistry or music, there is absolutely nothing analogous to that. Sure we can construct analysis methods to help us try to quantify things or gain a clearer understanding of something, but none of them are ever going to achieve the kind of objectivity that I'm talking about here. They're all, ultimately, going to be underpinned by a whole bunch of subjective assumptions about what's important or of value in the piece of art or music in question. And different people will be able to come up with different metrics that give different answers and none of them will be any more right than any other. You don't get that situation when it comes to weighing house bricks.

Perhaps it's just that I'm a "strict" obtectivist?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
And so I'm back to what I was also saying, which was that if a player today sounded "exactly" like Coltrane - played the same songs, same keys, same solos, same tempo, same articulation, same type of instrument setup, same lineup etc - and tried to say that it was all new, then really what we're discussing if that would be somehow true is the smallest of details. And once we're on that level everything is new, because by definition it is (because of entropy basically). But then we've also pretty much reduced the discussion to meaninglessness. Not because it's inherently meaningless, but because that view is. For in real life nobody would accept that this player was doing something new, at least nobody with a knowledge of musical history and decent skills.
Leaving aside the impossibility of someone being able to reproduce exactly someone else's performance, what if someone in the audience heard Fred Squiggins (or whoever) playing a Coltrane piece exactly like Coltrane and turned around to you and said "Hey, he's really good. I found that new and fresh! What a great artist!" What do you say? Sure, you can explain that it's just a (very good) rendition of Coltrane. You could play him a recording of the original. You could dive into as much musicological analysis as you like to explain just how it wasn't new or Squiggins was just a tired old copyist. And at the end of this, our proposed audience member can turn around and say "So what? I think he's good because I connected with the music and I enjoyed it and I recognised his skilful playing. Couldn't care less if it's just a clever copy of Coltrane." And you know what - he's right. It doesn't matter how many people agree with you versus how many agree with him. It doesn't matter if you've got three volumes of learned analysis and critique that agree with you. Hell, it doesn't matter if I agree with you (which I probably would). None of it is worth a hill of beans because we're dealing with something here which necessarily falls into the domain of subjective judgement or taste. Your man liked Fred Squiggins and there's nothing in the history of music or musical analysis that says he really didn't or that he's not allowed to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
In the context of the original post I think it's pretty clear what the OP is talking about. I actually don't agree that novelty is a requirement for artistery, but I understand what he's saying. And I think many accomplished musicians can identify easily when something isn't new but plagiarized or 'copied'. Again though, the notion that even the smallest difference = new is really nitpicking for absolutely no good reason considering this context.
I think I do understand what the OP was saying and I really don't have a problem with it. I even kind of agree with it (up to a point). It's just that I still don't regard it as any kind of objective way of looking at this and would never try to make such a claim. Even if we want to go down the path of coming up with analysis schemes and trying to quantify what we're talking about, they're ultimately going to be of limited value and just give us the impression of some kind of objectivity. In real terms, they are just a crutch that we will be using to try to give our opinions - even if they are quite rational, well-reasoned and learned opinions - the illusion of "truth". Ultimately, the whole process is still going to be underpinned by a raft of purely subjective judgements as to what we think is important or what we should be looking at (or looking for). And that's OK. There's nothing wrong with things being based upon subjective assessments or opinions, but we should be prepared to accept them for what they are.

Last edited by adrianww; 12th January 2017 at 03:17 PM.. Reason: Damned Typos
Old 12th January 2017
  #225
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As long as you see art as a social/personal function i don´t think there is a much to talk about wether it is art or not. It´s just something people do because it helps them.

It became a question because of the attention markets which have grown since the invention of cities (as a place for concert halls, theaters etc.). It´s mostly a talk about control and money distribution. Divide et impera.

Everybody is an artist.
Old 12th January 2017
  #226
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adrianww View Post
You raise a much more important issue when you ask "how many parameters do we want to use to evaluate a piece of music". This is the point where it does all break down, particularly in the context of what is being discussed in this thread. Because different people can (and will) choose different parameters.
And again, in my first two posts I point out the context of all of this. If we're artists and someone says someone is doing totally new things, then a lot of us with good ears and experience will be able to tell if he is not doing that, because we can compare him to his predecessors. ALL parameters probably can be measured, but aren't and won't be for the foreseeable future simply because nobody cares enough about it. But if someone makes the statement that X is doing new things because of Y, then we can certainly measure Y and see if that's been done before. Of course that someone can then double-down on his statement but modify it and say that, well, now it's not because of Y but because of Z. Again we can check that as well, and as we both agree, at some point we'll get bored of doing this or have better things to do and simply say that oh well, I guess we disagree.

So, in the context of the thread and in the spirit in which I made my initial comment, the gist of it all is that I understand the thinking that some are doing new things and that some aren't and that in some cases we absolutely can measure that which supposedly makes them "new" and find out it actually isn't.

Again, that doesn't make them not artists to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by adrianww View Post
Leaving aside the impossibility of someone being able to reproduce exactly someone else's performance, what if someone in the audience heard Fred Squiggins (or whoever) playing a Coltrane piece exactly like Coltrane and turned around to you and said "Hey, he's really good. I found that new and fresh! What a great artist!" What do you say? Sure, you can explain that it's just a (very good) rendition of Coltrane. You could play him a recording of the original. You could dive into as much musicological analysis as you like to explain just how it wasn't new or Squiggins was just a tired old copyist. And at the end of this, our proposed audience member can turn around and say "So what? I think he's good because I connected with the music and I enjoyed it and I recognised his skilful playing. Couldn't care less if it's just a clever copy of Coltrane." And you know what - he's right. It doesn't matter how many people agree with you versus how many agree with him. It doesn't matter if you've got three volumes of learned analysis and critique that agree with you. Hell, it doesn't matter if I agree with you (which I probably would). None of it is worth a hill of beans because we're dealing with something here which necessarily falls into the domain of subjective judgement or taste. Your man liked Fred Squiggins and there's nothing in the history of music or musical analysis that says he really didn't or that he's not allowed to.
I get all of that. There's a difference however between discussing what we're discussing where we're discussing it, and the above.
Old 12th January 2017
  #227
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
I'm sorry, but popularity is in no way an objective way to measure artistry, especially in the mercantile manner in which art and media is distributed in our modern society, and given how easily and subconsciously people are swayed by media forces and machinations.

I think a truer measure is talent, honesty, expressiveness and sincerity, and if popularity is there, it's gravy, but not necessarily the most important determinant.

Of course, these can and will be subjective criteria, as it should be - it should be determined by how the individual perceives it, from a gut level, from an emotional and intellectual vantage point...though people can be brainwashed into thinking something is this or that by external forces, like popularity, or peer pressure, but I don't think that's necessarily the most organic nor best/judicious way to come to a conclusion.
I don't know that coming to a conclusion even matters. If someone decides that Coldplay or KennyG are lousy or unoriginal based on a personal opinion or some sort of scientific note analysis, what difference does it make? Does it matter to Coldplay or people who enjoy their music? If the point of sharing one's art is to touch or entertain people, than Coldplay and KennyG have succeeded. People who like them measured their talents with their ears and gave it the thumbs up. And even on the more obscure side of music, it still takes people to give whoever and whatever it is the thumbs up. That's the measure. Most people don't measure art by how many notes or what notes someone uses, or whether something has been deemed art or not by scientists, which seems laughable. They measure it by if they like listening to it. And the only collective measure we have and play by are the things I mentioned. People don't have to care personally, but that's the system.
Old 12th January 2017
  #228
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
I don't know that coming to a conclusion even matters. If someone decides that Coldplay or KennyG are lousy or unoriginal based on a personal opinion or some sort of scientific note analysis, what difference does it make? Does it matter to Coldplay or people who enjoy their music? If the point of sharing one's art is to touch or entertain people, than Coldplay and KennyG have succeeded. People who like them measured their talents with their ears and gave it the thumbs up. And even on the more obscure side of music, it still takes people to give whoever and whatever it is the thumbs up. That's the measure. Most people don't measure art by how many notes or what notes someone uses, or whether something has been deemed art or not by scientists, which seems laughable. They measure it by if they like listening to it. And the only collective measure we have and play by are the things I mentioned. People don't have to care personally, but that's the system.
I guess you and I just view things differently.

For me artistry is based on things that move me - things such as displays of talent, exceptional performance, the composition, the production, whether it moves me, whether I think it's awesome,etc...but not necessarily because it is wildly popular.

I have nothing against something being popular, and there are many things I like that are popular and successful - but, I think it's weird just because something is popular that that is a real barometer of artistry, because there are so many cases for me where that's not the case at all, for me there's a lot of crap that's very popular.

But hey, if that's your measure, it's what it is...I just don't view it like that. And, I do understand there are people who think that way, whether it's conscious or unwittingly. I had a friend in high school who religiously collected Billboard magazines, and diligently collected every #1 single.

Again, I think because marketing plays a huge role in making things popular and successful, things that objectively could be substandard artistically can become bonafide hits. To me that's not artistry - to me that's taking advantage of the ignorance of the public, and quite frankly it's anti artistry in many ways.
Old 12th January 2017
  #229
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I just make music. I leave it up to the listener to determine if it is art.
Old 13th January 2017
  #230
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
And again, in my first two posts I point out the context of all of this. If we're artists and someone says someone is doing totally new things, then a lot of us with good ears and experience will be able to tell if he is not doing that, because we can compare him to his predecessors. ALL parameters probably can be measured, but aren't and won't be for the foreseeable future simply because nobody cares enough about it. But if someone makes the statement that X is doing new things because of Y, then we can certainly measure Y and see if that's been done before. Of course that someone can then double-down on his statement but modify it and say that, well, now it's not because of Y but because of Z. Again we can check that as well, and as we both agree, at some point we'll get bored of doing this or have better things to do and simply say that oh well, I guess we disagree.
Yes, I get all that and - broadly speaking - I agree with you. My only quibble is the regular claim that cropped up earlier in this thread that doing something like this is somehow "objective". In a very real sense, it isn't. Doing some kind of analysis such as you suggested, or just relying upon the accumulated knowledge of other musicians to make a determination one way or the other, certainly gives you something a bit more methodical than simply sticking your finger in the air and saying "well, I think so" but it still doesn't make any such assessment some kind of objective test. The whole thing - the overall decision making process - still ends up being rooted in personal assessments, assumptions and opinions. The very fact that we're having a discussion about "if someone makes the statement that X is doing new things because of Y" but then they can modify their statement to say "it's not because of Y, it's because of Z" makes a mockery of the word "objective". If something really can be objectively determined, no-one even has the option of salami-slicing the argument in that way. Conversely, if you're looking at something that can easily be argued about or re-defined in that way, you're probably looking at something that doesn't have a clear objective basis in the first place.

Which is fine. Not everything is amenable to objective determination, particularly when it comes to purely human constructs such as music or art or literature or whatever.
Old 13th January 2017
  #231
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
I guess you and I just view things differently.

For me artistry is based on things that move me - things such as displays of talent, exceptional performance, the composition, the production, whether it moves me, whether I think it's awesome,etc...but not necessarily because it is wildly popular.

I have nothing against something being popular, and there are many things I like that are popular and successful - but, I think it's weird just because something is popular that that is a real barometer of artistry, because there are so many cases for me where that's not the case at all, for me there's a lot of crap that's very popular.

But hey, if that's your measure, it's what it is...I just don't view it like that. And, I do understand there are people who think that way, whether it's conscious or unwittingly. I had a friend in high school who religiously collected Billboard magazines, and diligently collected every #1 single.

Again, I think because marketing plays a huge role in making things popular and successful, things that objectively could be substandard artistically can become bonafide hits. To me that's not artistry - to me that's taking advantage of the ignorance of the public, and quite frankly it's anti artistry in many ways.
I never said you or anyone had to like anything or be moved by something just because it's popular.

You can think something is crap, you have the right as anyone does, but it doesn't matter. It's not crap to people who like it.

Something being popular is as much of a verification of something being officially "good" as there can be, I think. And as I said, even if just one person thinks something is good...then it is. That's proof that it's good and it's art and it's artistry. That's the measure, that's the science, a person or people liking something, and people knocking it can't take that away no matter how much science they apply.

I also said that it simply is a system, and it's the only one, as far as how the world can possibly look at things "objectively". If a song is listened to and enjoyed by millions, if it sells x amount of copies, that's a fact that can be counted. I don't see how that is meaningless, but someone suggesting that it is really crap and people are just brainwashed or ignorant is meaningful. If something sells zero copies or everyone on earth agrees that something is crap, than I suppose that something can officially be deemed crap.

I just was looking at something about the worst songs ever, and one of them, maybe the top one, was Ob La Di, Ob La Da. I thought, that's the worst song? Really? I like it. I bet everyone here knows every word and every little lick whether they like it or not. The song was number 1 or top ten in many countries around the world.

Then I watched a couple of live performances by Sir Paul in Brazil and Mexico, and 50,000 people are cheering and smiling and singing along and loving it. Yeah, it's one terrible song, the worst ever....all those people are just ignorant and brainwashed.
Old 13th January 2017
  #232
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
I never said you or anyone had to like anything or be moved by something just because it's popular.

You can think something is crap, you have the right as anyone does, but it doesn't matter. It's not crap to people who like it.
As I said, you and I just view things differently...ain't nothing wrong with that.

I guess that applies with a lot of other people as well - so be it, not that it matters at all to either me or those other people...
Old 13th January 2017
  #233
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
As I said, you and I just view things differently...ain't nothing wrong with that.

I guess that applies with a lot of other people as well - so be it, not that it matters at all to either me or those other people...
I suppose, but the way I'm looking at it includes whatever you like, too. You like Coltrane and so do a lot of other people. I assume it's because you like listening to it. (You weren't brainwashed into liking it, were you?)
Old 13th January 2017
  #234
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
I suppose, but the way I'm looking at it includes whatever you like, too. You like Coltrane and so do a lot of other people. I assume it's because you like listening to it. (You weren't brainwashed into liking it, were you?)
It took awhile for me to get into Trane.

I first got hooked on Charlie Parker - he was the main reason I got into music, and this was early in high school.

I not only like Coltrane, I was very obsessed with him - I've listened to everything he's recorded commercially many times over, as well as most of the documented bootlegs in circulation. I've also transcribed more than a hundred of his solos. I can point out mistakes in many of his biographies - I'm a stickler for historical detail.

I'm a freak - I'll admit it...though there are other genres and artists I really admire, it's a very eclectic and very wide range, if I do say so myself.
Old 13th January 2017
  #235
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adrianww View Post
The very fact that we're having a discussion about "if someone makes the statement that X is doing new things because of Y" but then they can modify their statement to say "it's not because of Y, it's because of Z" makes a mockery of the word "objective".
I think we disagree on the usage of that word. In my opinion, objectivity in a lot of cases really comes down more to consistently applying a thought process or principle or policy rather than it residing or originating outside of the individual. In other words, in the example above the definition isn't so much a moving target as it is constantly evolving by adding parameters. As long as whatever parameters are chosen are used consistently by the individual it is a far more objective than subjective use.

In contrast, you could take someone who loves a player called Frank, comes up with why that is and when we then see that Joe does the same this person suddenly ignore that for Joe, but maintains it's still true for Frank. So the standard is double. One set of "rules" thus is applied to Frank and another for Joe. That's what I was juxtaposing "objectivity" to. And I did that because of what I thought was the proposition that nothing can ever be certain in arts because of its fuzzy nature. But as others have pointed out as well, it's actually not entirely fuzzy. Quite far from it. We can and do analyze music and it yields absolutely tremendous results (which, again, are evident if one goes to college or university to study music theory for a few years). So, if that analysis didn't work then teaching wouldn't work near as efficiently as it does.

And lastly; I don't think we should be so quick to throw out actual objective evaluation of the arts with the argument that it's so easily argued, because if that was the case you'd have to explain just how the earth being older than 6-10,000 years is a more objective issue. A great deal of Americans believe in a young earth. Many believe man and dinosaur lived together. So, if the mere fact that a large amount of people find it easy to argue or redefine what some consider to be objective makes it not objective then...
Old 13th January 2017
  #236
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
We can and do analyze music and it yields absolutely tremendous results (which, again, are evident if one goes to college or university to study music theory for a few years). So, if that analysis didn't work then teaching wouldn't work near as efficiently as it does.
Dare I ask, but what does this analysis have to do with the basic question of whether a musician is an artist? Even if you could show that someone did or didn't do something technically "new" musically, this means what?
Old 13th January 2017
  #237
Here for the gear
 

O wow, what a debate. I have been a singer and then songwriter since I was 15, 23 now. Never once have I considered myself to be a musician. I dont know why. When I hear "musician" I think of music teachers or "housebands" on tv or someone really good at playing guitar, piano etc. That said, musicians LOVES music. They can learn and play and listen just because they love doing it.

I do envy that. I write and write and write. And I can't write one word or listen to a single song without questioning "WHAT DOES THIS MEAN???!!" In the past I have dismissed so much music because of an analytic nature and a will to create something meaningful, which really is a curse. I'm starting to loosen up and realize that musician or not, it all comes down to an unquestionable and undying love for music. Artist or musician, defining yourself or others by labels with fixed attributes will limit your artistry as a whole is what I have found. You can be either one, I believe, but to be the most you can be, you have to just let them intertwine. All attributes.
Old 13th January 2017
  #238
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Obviously the answer lies in the definition, which has certainly changed over generations.

I still hold the same opinion. The definition of what is "art" is in the beholder, not the creator.

A lot has been proposed....as far as music....is composing a factor in being an artist? Classical musicians do not compose. But the art IMO, is in the conveying of emotion from the written piece.

Some say art is done for it's own sake, not monetary proposes. That's a cool definition...at least it does not exclude my contributions...lol.

I remember my 5th grade history teacher ('79 if my math is correct) was explaining the definition of leisure. Of course, we kids assumed it meant sitting on the couch watching the Flintstones. But he explained that it was the time you had when not having to basically defend your territory or find food. And in that respect, leisure was the time found to create art....something perhaps needed, but not necessary.
Old 13th January 2017
  #239
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Porto View Post
I still hold the same opinion. The definition of what is "art" is in the beholder, not the creator.
The definition of 'art' should be from the beholder, and who's to argue that?

A definition of 'art' can, or may come from the creator - now, that can be argued...
Old 13th January 2017
  #240
Gear Addict
Art has nothing to do with the beholder. The beholder merely is inspired by the communication, or doesn't care. As for art, it is a representation of the persons emotional and conceptual take of a situation. Just because someone else does not understand that view does not degrade it's message or value.
But some things are valuable and others are not, especially when you take note of the greatest of artists.
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