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Old 10-29-2004, 10:45 AM   #189
Late Istar
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,150
Aiwendil has been trapped in the Barrow!
The Saucepan Man wrote:
Aesthetically beautiful by whose standards? I don't understand how a work can be described as aesthetically beautiful if no one perceives it as such.
Well, as I said earlier:
A whole debate could be had of course concerning just how invariant aesthetic pleasure is from mind to mind - but I think that would be beside the point.
If there is sufficient invariance among human minds that "aesthetic beauty" simpliciter could be defined, then aesthetic beauty would be a simple property of objects. So, though aesthetic beauty is defined in relation to the human mind, it would be perfectly sensible to talk about the aesthetic beauty of a work of art without reference to any human.

A work, then, could be aesthetically beautiful but, for one reason or another, not liked. Maybe there are non-artistic prevailing attitudes that disincline people toward the work (this I think is the case with many "serious" composers for a big part of the population). Maybe the work is not accessible for some reason (a novel written in Tocharian A could in principle be great, but only a few philologists would be able to read it). And I think there are a great many popular works of art that are not good, but are liked for non-aesthetic reasons - for a surprisingly large segment of the population, I think, musical taste is dictated by "image" rather than by the aesthetics of the music itself.

Mark12_30 wrote:
Aiwendil, I certainly meant no offense, and I apologize if any was taken.
None at all. You'll have to try much harder if you want to offend me.

My point in using the term "Indifferent" was geared strictly towards the pursuit of Truth within the work of art. One viewer (Saucy's "believer") is actively seeking Truth as the art is considered. The other (Saucy's 'non-believer') is, as the art is perused, consciously indifferent to the impacts and effects of Truth on his enjoyment of the art. He ony cares whether he enjoys it or not. Hence, for that moment, regarding the connection between Truth and the art, he is Indifferent.
So essentially the distinction is between those that share your theory of art and those that do not. I only harp on this because, as you know, all these capitalized terms give me a headache; I would prefer to state things clearly and plainly.

In that last sentence, do you imply that Truth transcends abstract objects (like parallel fourths?) I would say, there are truths that are transcended (one might say 'trumped') by higher truths; justice can be trumped by mercy, without truth being violated. There are many times when the parallel fourth law is a good one (as is the law of justice, a good law); but there are also times when a different, higher harmony (like mercy) will prevail. As in Frodo's protection of Gollum, it may not seem to make sense; but in the end, the Truth will shine through.
An interesting analogy. But I'm afraid my question was intended in the most crassly literal way. If aesthetic beauty derives from "Truth", then the details of what is beautiful must derive from Truth. My concern is that I don't see how this is possible in some cases. What is it about Truth that makes parallel thirds aesthetically pleasing and parallel fourths not so?

Tar-Ancalime wrote:
The only compositions in which parallel fourths sounds "displeasing" are those written in the functional harmonic style of the 17th through 19th centuries. In fact, while these works were being written there was no such "rule."
As I said, in traditional tonal harmony. But traditional tonal harmony is still quite prevalent outside avant-garde circles. Even a lot of the important modern composers (like Copland, Holst, Shostakovitch) used tonal harmony (of course, there have been major stylistic changes in the past 400 years, but with the exception of serialism and the like, they've been changes within the context of tonal harmony). As far as the avoidance of parallel fourths not being a "rule" in the 17th through 19th centuries - I must disagree. True, no one at the time said "parallel fourths are to be avoided", but that does not make it any less true that such avoidance was an implicit or emergent rule of the style. Nor do I think that it was merely a convention followed because of style. I know that I have heard pieces where something struck me as unpleasant, and only later discovered that the reason for the this was motion in parallel fourths, or some other violation of a "rule" of harmony.
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