May 2nd, 2010


Aural relativism - a morality play

Simplicio: Do those who deny the existence of God believe in absolute musical value, and if so, how do you determine what it is?

Salviati: As an atheist, I think I'm qualified to answer your question! I have to say that I do not believe there is an absolute truth in musical matters. Music and musical value is something that lives in our heads, not some absolute truth that can be discovered. Though I do not believe in absolute musicality, this does not mean that I am completely amusical. I have my own musical taste; I recognize it is subjective, but it is nevertheless my own. And I really do believe these things. Just as I have my own subjective appreciation of beauty or morality. I do not expect everyone to share my judgment that Beethoven is greater than Bach, but I really do think Beethoven is greater than Bach. So my musical taste is not 'anything goes' [though I do love that song]. I have musical tastes, and I will defend my taste (or modify it if I become convinced by an alternative view or exposure to new musical ideas).

Simp.: Salviati, I never would have suspected you of being an aural relativist!

Salv.: Nevertheless, it is so, Simplicio.
Collapse )