Re: Re : (junk yard dog in) hidden place

Subject: Re: Re : (junk yard dog in) hidden place
From: Owen Green (
Date: Thu Sep 15 2005 - 05:18:35 EDT

I wasn't making any sort of case for the possibility of a reductive set
of general criteria on which music could, or should be judged. I was
saying that an idea like innovation - which makes claims to some sort of
objectivity - has problems for making judgements, or least ones that you
are then going to talk about, because it isn't even stable for the
individual, and becomes tangled in the politics of repertory at a
collective level; I was also not saying that people don't do this

Of the further criteria you offered, two openly imply subjectivity
('ability to make you <x>'), but still unstable - what makes me dance
tonight may leave me cold tomorrow* - and, as such, I (at least) would
hesitate before basing a /lasting/ judgement of a work upon them.

Coolness has application /only/ in the sense of some wider discourse, as
it is basically a euphemism for 'what group <x> will find acceptable',
and is also demonstrably unstable and often acritical (in the sense that
the status of cool can be awarded upon wholly extra-musical criteria).

*Given that such fickleness is likely to be a function of social context
at any given moment (including considerations of coolness...), we begin
to see that the distinction between individual and collective reaction
can be fuzzy, and that talking of subjects autonomous from all around
them breaks down quite quickly (although I did so unashamedly in my last
  post, sorry :)



Morgan Sutherland wrote: > I find that it's a good thing when judgments are not so concrete. It > gives us things to talk about and things to think about. If there was > some general rule by which we could rate music, it would be quite > boring. Judging music by innovation is just another way of judging, > just like all of the other methods. Some other methods of judging? > "Coolness", ability to make you dance, ability to make you cry. And > yes, there are people who devote their music listening to rating music > based on those criteria, just as unstable as "innovativeness".

>>I don't think it's a stable concept. There is a disjuncture between >>innovativeness (sorry) as individually perceived, and as a structure in >>wider discourse. Individual perceptions of what may or may not sound >>innovative are mediated not only by the individual's experience up to >>the instance of perception, but also by a whole bunch of contextual >>variables we may apply to what we hear - so we may judge innovation in >>terms relative to a genre we associate the music with, and also within a >>historical context ('innovative for its time'). In any case, I'm still >>not sure that it has any bearing on whether one is engaged by the >>experience or not. > >

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