Author Topic: Art and Aesthetics  (Read 2048 times)

millions

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Art and Aesthetics
« on: May 13, 2012, 05:13:47 PM »
Unlike science, in the arts there is no purpose in attempting to assess or objectify the "development of esoteric and non-popular musical styles." This would be akin to making music criticism into a science. "Style," in particular, is a totally subjective matter, because 'style' might be relevant only in reference to a current artistic trend or dominance, or relevant only for a certain time-frame.

The arts do not accumulate objective knowledge or "progress" as apparently or definitively as science does, since any "progress" that is made in the arts is non-utilitarian, unlike scientific advances such as refrigeration and power-generation.

The only things which might approach doing this are new technologies such as electronic sound, which actually facilitate the production of new sounds which never existed before, or computers and sound analysis, such as what is being done at IRCAM.

I think a careful distinction must be made between "style" and "language."

"Language-expanding paradigms" which might "develop" musical styles or language, or make "progress" in some objective way are different from style. If objectively new ways of composing music are developed, I think these should be subsidized and explored, regardless of whether or not we are "entertained" or not; this, I think, is the great misunderstanding of Babbitt's "Who Cares If You Listen" essay.

Music is an art which has always involved mathematics and physics (sound), so there is bound to be some overlap or intersection with science and technology.

Also, the "language" of music itself is subject to mathematical considerations, since in the end it is a "modeling" symbolic language which deals with physics (actual sounds); and, like a language, it can be developed and expanded.

The big disconnect is that we all wish to be entertained; opera is the embodiment of this. We must learn to separate the subjective aspects of art from the objective factors, and realize that art is essentially "useless" in a literal utilitarian way; to say that its "utilitarian purpose" is to "entertain" us is selfish, short-sighted, and unadventurous.

But to develop this attitude takes effort, and a willingness to let things be what they will be, regardless of our own desire to be entertained.

If we want to be entertained, let us go to those things which entertain us. A broken refrigerator has no purpose if all we wish for it to do is keep things cold.

The same cannot be said for music which no longer serves our particular purposes. In such cases, we are expected to change our expectations.
"In Spring! In the creation of art, it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg
"The trouble with New Age music is that there's no evil in it."-Brian Eno

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Instrumental music and dramatic gesture
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2013, 08:11:35 AM »
Instrumental music and dramatic gesture 

Instrumental music is not, literally, about any particular "narrative." This doesn't mean it has no other meaning, such as evoking strong "emotional states," as in Schoenberg's Transfigured Night, Five Pieces and Mahler's symphonies.

Instrumental music, "musical sound", when divorced from "literal action" and drama, lost its connection to explicit meaning, and was revealed for what it is: a non-representational medium, the abstract evocation of "inner" states of being, which, coincidentally, is exactly what "abstract art" does: it reveals the artist's, and by empathy, the viewer's inner emotional state of being.

Music gradually divorced itself from drama over several centuries. Look at the rise of instrumental forms: the symphony, the concerto, tone poems, etc.

In instrumental Romanticism, although it was music divorced from drama, still had residual traces of drama, expressed as "dramatic gestures."

This "splitting" of drama from music opened-up a new can of worms, giving us the whole range of the non-specific "feelings" evoked by music, which are by their very "non-narrative nature" fleeting, transitory, and ephemeral, unclear, evocative, vague, and indefinable (meaning non-narrative).

Still, this is not a requirement for music to be expressive of emotion or states of being. To take matters even further into the fog, when we get into more modern music, I think "emotion" as a descriptive term begins to fail us. For example, in Schoenberg's Five Pieces for Orchestra, the "emotional gestures" expressed are so complex that we begin to experience them as "states of being," like anxiety, foreboding, fear, tension, awe, etc., creating in our minds, empathetically, a reflection of our own, and the artist's, "inner state of being."

Concerning modernism, it's true that in many instances the "evoking" of dramatic emotion, and dramatic gesture is absent (but certainly not always). Stockhausen evokes, for me, a sort of "Platonic classicism" in his Klavierstücke; with modernism, we must put aside our need for drama and overt emotion, and listen on the level of "pure abstraction," an enjoyment of color, sound, and timbre itself. In this sense, modern music is not "modern" at all; music has always been "abstract expressionism" when divorced from drama and opera.

So, in a sense, this is an "internal narrative" we share with the composer, but indefinable in literal narrative terms, because these are transitory, fleeting states by nature; simply "gestures of meanings."

Our general knowledge, and the historical context of a work can provide a source of "general narrative content" which can add greatly to the meaning of a piece, if only in our own minds. This always happens for me with Shostakovich (images of Soviet Russia) and with Webern's Op. 6 (Six Pieces for Orchestra), which always evokes in me grey images of Europe immediately preceding the World Wars. With Mahler, the Sixth Symphony snare-drum always evokes images of some malevolent military presence marching through our once-peaceful existence.

I think in many cases, the composer actually is composing with a specific narrative in mind, from his own emotionally-charged experience of events in his life, and then leaving it up to us to interpret it as we will; but we will never know for sure. That's the beauty of poetry; it is open-ended in meaning.

That's a useful distinction, I think; instrumental non-narrative music (containing "dramatic gesture") is more like poetry, whereas the explicit meaning and narrative of opera is like a story or novel.

Perhaps that's the reason opera seems to lend itself to an audience more easily; the "poetry" of instrumental music is an "inner" experience, more solitary in nature, like reading a book of poems by yourself. Maybe sitting there in the concert hall listening to instrumental music gave audiences too much idle time to think.
"In Spring! In the creation of art, it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg
"The trouble with New Age music is that there's no evil in it."-Brian Eno

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Western Tonality: Running From the Devil
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2013, 08:15:29 AM »
Western Tonality: Running From the Devil 

Our Western classical music is tonal, and can be subsumed under the larger umbrella of "harmonic music." All harmonically-based music has an effect on us, because we have ears, a brain, and a nervous system. Some harmonic music makes us want to dance; some makes us cry, or relax, or become anxious. There are a plethora of "New Age" books which discuss this effect music has on us, including the little book which accompanied the best-selling "Chant" album. This spiritual aspect of music seems to be a sustainable trend.

The North Indian classical tradition is basically an expression of religion and spirituality. It is based on the elaboration of scales called "ragas" which are played over a "drone" of the root note and its fifth. This creates a very harmonic, resonant effect, even physical in nature, not unlike our early Gregorian chant.
Many folk musics are drone-based; lots of Irish jigs and airs have a mono-tonic feel, seeming to revolve around a root note.

I can remember my introduction to "the drone" when I heard The Beatles album "Revolver," with songs like "She Said," "Tomorrow Never Knows," George Harrison's Indian-sounding "Love You To," and from the same period, the single "Rain" B/W "Paperback Writer." The Beatles had obviously tapped into some sort of "drone" which made them even more "heavy" and profound than before.

Western tonality is based on harmonic function of chords within a key area, in relation to a main home-key chord, numbered 1-7, using Roman numeral "I" to denote the root chord, followed by ii, iii, IV, V, vi, and vii.

The importance ranking of the chords in this Hierarchy is not numerical in order, but goes by fifths; therefore, I, V, and IV are most important, since they represent the root and its most audible harmonic, the fifth, and its inversion, the fourth, followed by the less-important small-numeral chords: vi, ii, iii, and vii.

So Western classical music, as it developed this "harmonic function in time" aspect, became less centered, less "droney," and more varied and moving. In contrast to Hildegard von Bingen's exquisite drone-chants, notice how Beethoven is quite the opposite, always having a "thrust" or forward-momentum in his music. Bach, too: his sequences of V-I-V-Is fly by so fast, always in constant harmonic motion.

Yet, something had been lost: Bach is religious music, but where had the spiritual centeredness of Gregorian chant gone? What happened to make this music go from static roots, with no movement, to a restless, constantly shifting progression of chords away from, and returning to, a key center? It was "developing," becoming more elaborate, but to what end? What did this development and elaboration of music reflect, if not a change in Man and his outlook?

The Baroque, and the Age of Enlightenment are perhaps the answer. As science developed, and we learned that our Earth was not the center of the universe, and thinking developed, a new emphasis on the "nobility of Man" emerged, leading to the gradual loss of power by The Church, then Kings and nobility, then finally, Democracy, and the Rise of the Common Man.

Man was more conscious now, more cerebral. He did not need to submit to the drone's power like he used to; he wanted to actually do God's work, and dominate and conquer his world, in the name of God.

Besides that, the "drone" had always been associated with "primitive" Eastern and foreign musics. Western Man was an active, moving, conscious man, and his developed harmonically restless and moving music reflected this. There was no need to sit in front of a candle, sing droney chants, and "lose one's ego in submission to God." We had bigger fish to fry, and our new harmonic juggernaut would aid us in spreading the glory. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Onward, Christian soldiers!

The drone was now seen as what it always was: a dark, sombre vision bordering on nothingness: the cessation of will, stillness, quiet, meditative, lacking movement. Perhaps a little too close to the heretical, forbidden "nothingness" of Eastern religions and rogue, uncontrolled "spirituality." Too close to the Devil!

Now, Western music had become elaborate, full of detail, magnificent in form. Quite a bit of conscious cerebral effort was needed to follow these long developments; not a task for the zoned-out monks who chanted their way to ecstacy.

So here we are in the 21st century. What has happened since Gregorian chant appeared? A lot of harmonic development, that's what, finally culminating in the late-Romantic chromatic wanderings of Schoenberg, Strauss, and Mahler.

So, as in my other blog about the "universes" of music, we see that Man's attitude toward his world, himself, and his God, have shaped his expressions of it, through his art.

All of this still holds true today. The same listeners who complain bitterly about Serial music, almost always reject Minimalism as well, even though Minimalism is very harmonically rooted, almost simplistic. Perhaps it is too much a return to the old "drone" of chant; not enough movement, too "boring" for today's developed Western man. Also, too repetitious, too "primitive," too likely to induce trance-states (in the case of early Philip Glass, Steve Reich, and Terry Riley), and too closely associated with Eastern thought, and its associated drone, evoking ego-death, leaving a black void in the center of its listeners' being, leaving room for The Devil to jump in!

Heresy!
"In Spring! In the creation of art, it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg
"The trouble with New Age music is that there's no evil in it."-Brian Eno

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Re: Art and Aesthetics
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2013, 08:28:10 AM »
Understanding Bartók 

I'm skimming through "Bartok: An Analysis of his Music" by Elliott Antokoletz, and there's an interesting chapter called 'Basic Principles of Symmetrical Pitch Construction."

It states, basically, that traditional Western music was based on an uneven division of the octave, namely the perfect fourth and fifth.

Look at all the intervals: all of them have complementary intervals which add up to an octave (min. 3rd/maj. 6th, etc.), and the smaller of these two complements generates a cycle which divides the octave symmetrically: one cycle of m2, two cycles of M2, three of m3, four cycles of M3, and six cycles of tritones; except the p4 and p5: this complementary interval does not generate a cycle which divides the octave symmetrically, but must extend through many octaves in order to reach its initial starting point again. Thus, there is only one cycle of perfect fourths, or perfect fifths.

In terms of pure set theory, the reason that perfect fourths and fifths behave this way is that 5 (a perfect fourth is five half steps) and 7 (a perfect fifth is seven half steps) are not divisors of 12...neither 5 nor 7 go into 12;
until:

5 goes into 60, a multiple of 12 (circle of fourths, five octaves: C F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb B E A D G)

7 goes into 84, a multiple of 12 (circle of fifths, seven octaves: C G D A E B Gb Db Ab Eb Bb F)..."

The reason why this 'difference' of fourths and fifths was brought up is because the author of the Bartok book is saying that Bartok based his music on an even division of the octave, namely, the tritone.

From a perspective of pure arithmetic, the octave can be seen as 'unity.' The octave, without regard to register, in terms of pitch identity and relation to a 'root,' can be called '1' or unity. On a number line, anything less than one, proceeding back to zero (infinity), is fractional. Anything larger than one proceeds forward, into the 'other' infinity of octaves.

Perhaps this is why the 4th & 5th are different; instead of dividing the octave fractionally, they are expansive by nature; they go 'outward' past one, past the octave, into other 'root' stations. Hence, the use of 4ths & 5ths to create root movement.

Every interval has its complement. All the intervals except perfect fourths & fifths have a smaller number which divides the octave (12) symmetrically;

So each interval has 2 numbers which add up to an octave.

The m2 has itself 1 and 11;
M2 is 2 and 10;
m3 is 3 and 9;
M3 is 4 and 8;
p4 is 5 and 7;
tritone is 6 and 6;
p5 is 7 and 5;
m6 is 8 and 4;
M6 is 9 and 3;
m7 is 10 and 2;
and M7 is 11 and 1.

You can see the symmetry in this; and if we eliminate the redundancies, such as 10-2/2-10, we have 6 essential intervals.

Again, neither 5 nor 7 go into 12; until
5 goes into 60, a multiple of 12 (circle of fourths, five octaves: C F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb B E A D G)
7 goes into 84, a multiple of 12 (circle of fifths, seven octaves: C G D A E B Gb Db Ab Eb Bb F)"

The fourth and fifth, as pointed out, cannot be used as divisors of 12 (the octave); therefore, they can be seen as "expanding" in nature, as they generate cycles of 12 notes (outside the octave). Remember, 60 and 84 had to be used as the common denominators for 5 and 7. These large numbers can be seen as 'outside the octave' or as a 'greater referential point.' Hence, the reason the 4th and 5th are the basis of traditional Western music; this facilitates movement outside the octave, to a new reference point or new key.

This means that 'modern' music, like Bartok's, is 'inward-going' or 'introspective' if you like to indulge in metaphor (after all, this is art, not science). This is what Marshall McLuhan was getting at in his book "Through the Vanishing Point," in which he explains how our perspective on things is literally reversed in modern art, putting us at the other end of the 'vanishing point.' Like looking down the wrong end of a telescope, or rather a microscope, the 'inner' world now becomes our universe, heading towards the 'other infinity' towards zero; just like our number line, where anything less than one, proceeding back to zero (infinity), is fractional, and anything larger than one proceeds forward, into the 'other' infinity of octaves.

The Ernö Lendvai book deals a lot with the 'meta-concepts' of Bartók's methods. It generalizes to a great extent, and is not a very lengthy book, but it states the case elegantly, and it is a beautiful book. It divides Bartók's ideas into two main categories: the 'GS' approach, which has to do with the "Golden Section" and the Fibonacci series, and is also called his 'chromatic system'; and Bartók's 'diatonic system,' which is based on acoustic principles.

The beauty of all this is that the two approaches reflect each other in an inverse relationship.

In this quote by Ernö Lendvai, he reveals the most profound aspect of Bartók's system:

"A secret of Bartók's music, and perhaps the most profound, is that the 'closed' world of the GS (Golden Section) (1,2,3 and 6 being 'closed' or 'inward-directed' intervals, as opposed to 4ths and 5ths) is counterbalanced by the 'open' sphere of the acoustic system. The former always pre-supposes the presence of the complete system -- it is not accidental that we have always depicted chromatic formations in the closed circle of fifths. In the last, all relations are dependent on one tone since the natural sequence of overtones emerges from one single root: therefore it is open. Thus, the diatonic system has a fundamental 'root' note, and the chromatic system a 'central' note...Bartók's GS system always involves the concentric expansion or contraction of intervals..."

So we can see from this exposition of the intervals that modern music started moving away from traditional tonality by way of exploiting the INHERENT SYMMETRIES in the 12-note scale.

In the bigger picture, what these small, recursive intervals do is allow the creation of pitch cells; these are aggregates of notes which expand around an axis of symmetry. Thus, localized areas of tonal centricity can be created on any note.

An analogy would be, traditional tonality is like a tree which grows up in one direction from one 'rooted' spot; in the chromatic approach, tonality becomes radiant 'flowers' of pitch, centering on any possible note in the vertical spectrum.

Another aspect of Bartók's approach which has puzzled many is the fact that he still uses the fifth & fourth as generators of traditional tonality, sometimes mixing the two approaches.

All of these ideas were 'in the air' so to speak, around the turn of the century, and were not unique to Bartók; examples of symmetry began showing up as early as R. Strauss, in his 'Elektra' and 'Metamorphosen,' before he retreated back into conservative classicism. Debussy, as most of us know, used the whole-tone scale in his music, most notably the prelude 'Voiles' from Book I. The 6-note whole-tone scale itself is a symmetrical projection of the major second, and there are only two of them; Debussy exploits this characteristic to create 2 areas of contrasting tonality. Schoenberg was influenced by this idea as well.


Historically, it was the tritone (in both V7-I's and in diminished seventh chords) which was the first emergent symmetry which led to the expansion of tonality; this interval was the color tone in the V7-I progression, being the major third and flat-seven, which would then exchange places for the next cycle. This gave rise to new roots, moving chromatically instead of by fifths. This was tied-in (as mentioned above) with 'flat-nine' dominant altered chords, which are closely related to the diminished seventh. The use of 'flat-nine dominants' as true V chords appears as early as Beethoven and Bach. The vii degree of the major scale, a diminished triad, has always been treated as an incomplete dominant ninth with G as the 'imaginary' root, and resolved as a V7 chord would be (to C).
So, it can be seen from all this that 'tonality' underwent great changes around the dawn of the 20th century; and one should not confuse this expanded chromatic version of tonality with Schoenberg's 12-tone method, which just confuses the issue.

In closing, this quote by co-authors George Perle and Paul Lansky:

"Perhaps the most important influence of Schoenberg's method is not the 12-note idea itself, but along with it the individual concepts of permutation, inversional symmetry, invariance under transformation, etc.....Each of these ideas by itself, or in conjunction with many others, is focused upon with varying degrees...by...Bartók, Stravinsky, Berg, Webern, Varèse, etc...In this sense the development of the serial idea may be viewed not as a radical break with the past but as an especially brilliant coordination of musical ideas which had developed in the course of recent history. The symmetrical divisions of the octave so often found in Liszt and Wagner, for example, are not momentary abberations in tonal music which led to its ultimate destruction, but, rather, important musical ideas which, in defying integration into a given concept of a musical language, challenged the boundaries of that language."
"In Spring! In the creation of art, it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg
"The trouble with New Age music is that there's no evil in it."-Brian Eno

millions

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Re: Art and Aesthetics
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2013, 08:33:15 AM »
Tonality and Serial Thought: Two Different Universes

Tonality exemplifies the Newtonian model of the universe; Serialism and its subsequent developments exemplify a quite different Einsteinian model of the universe.

Tonality is an hierarchy; it relates all notes of the octave back to "1" or the key note; all the notes have an "identity," tied to a pitch/letter name. Tonality is best pictured on a circle, or clock-face.

In Serialism, all notes are equal, related only to each other. There is no "1" (as a root reference). The notes are placed on a number line, usually with "C" as zero, C# as 1, etc. Going forward (to the right) is positive, and going to the left is negative, just as on a number line.

In Serial thinking, the intervals and sets are treated as quantities. In Tonality, notes are treated as identities.

Inversion in tonality involves going to the nearest chord member; you can go clockwise from C to E, or counterclockwise to E. Clockwise, this interval is called a major third; counter-clockwise, it is called a minor sixth. We still hear the inversion of the C-E-G chord as a C major chord, any way you stack it; C-E-G, E-G-C, or G-C-E.

It is best to think of Tonality in terms of fractions, or divisions of "1".

In Tonality, the octave (12 half-steps) can be considered as "1" or unity. The steps of our scale, and the "functions" of the chords built thereon, are the direct result of interval ratios, all in relation to a "keynote area" or unity of 1; the intervals not only have a dissonant/consonant quality determined by their ratio, but also are given a specific scale degree (function) and place in relation to "1" or the Tonic. This is where all "linear function" originated, and is still manifest as ratios (intervals), which are at the same time, physical harmonic phenomena. (Harry Partch)

One (1:1) is the ultimate consonance. In the beginning was ONE. From this, sprang forth the universe.

"All musical understanding can be reduced to the understanding of one note."

Our understanding of number is still tied to identity in the way time is "measured" or experienced as durations. This can ultimately be traced back to religious thought, as the "center of being" becomes synonymous with the ultimate creator, God, the big "1" which always existed.

Additionally, "nothingness" or "emptiness" was seen as heresy, derived from the Eastern idea of meditation and "emptying" the conscious mind. The emerging Gnostic Christians who were influenced by this "nothing is real" idea were eradicated by the emerging Church Fathers by 300 A.D., as the Nicene Creed developed and the Bible was compiled.

So in this religious-based Newtonian view of things, time is seen as synonymous with being, and God the creator. If God created everything, how could there be "nothing"? "Nothing" is simply a lack, a deficiency, like a disease parasite; it cannot live without a host; it is essentially nothing. This is called the Doctrine of Privati Boni.

Applied to number, Zero was a forbidden concept, as "emptiness" and "nothingness" did not reconcile with the idea of God as creator of everything. Nothingness was impossible; God always was, and always will be.

Therefore, Tonality is best seen as the identity number ONE and its fractional divisions. ONE is the root, the center, around which all things revolve, and which everything else is subordinate and related. God, and his favored creation, Man, are at the center.

In Serial thinking, quantity, not identity, is the norm. Inversion in Serialism is literal. The inversion of the major chord C-E-G, inverted serially, becomes C-Ab-F, or F minor. The major/minor quality of the chord has been changed.

This serial type of inversion can be applied to advanced harmonic tonal music as well, as Howard Hanson and Vincent Persichetti have demonstrated; hence, Serialism becomes not just a "school" of music in a brief period of the post-war era; it is a way of thinking about musical materials which still influences composers today, many who would not dream of calling themselves "Serialists."

In the Einsteinian Serial universe, gravity is gone; but local masses can attract, just as in outer space. Bartók created localized areas of tonal gravity around "seed" notes, which appear temporarily, but do not last for the entire composition. Also, other hierarchies can replace Tonality's root ranking; the Fibonacci series was also used by Bartók, and ideas concerning the Golden Mean.

John Cage and Pierre Boulez were important post-war musical thinkers, and their correspondence in the 1950s reveals that they both desired to achieve the same goal, which was a music freed from the constraints and controls of "the ego" or the conscious mind. Cage was seeking to do this through chance procedures, and his interest in Eastern religion; Boulez was influenced by the French Surrealists, with their automatic drawings and imagery which sprang from the "unconscious." Boulez was also motivated, early on, by political motives which sought to undermine nationalism.

So the Serial way of approaching music was more than just a different use of materials; the aesthetic itself, which rejected the heroic ideal of Man and God as the center of his universe, sought to create great edifices of Art which stood as mysteries, with no special sympathy for Man, his ego, and his God, or the outmoded nationalist aesthetic which had nearly destroyed Europe in WW II.

We were now in a different universe, a more indifferent universe, which engendered a new art, free from the encumberance of past tradition, and which nurtured strange new works of beauty never heard before.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 08:43:44 AM by millions »
"In Spring! In the creation of art, it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg
"The trouble with New Age music is that there's no evil in it."-Brian Eno

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Re: Art and Aesthetics
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2013, 08:31:48 AM »
Much of the Western classical tradition sprang from, or exemplifies a concern with religion, regardless of whether or not one considers religion not as simply dogma, but as a tool for reaching greater spiritual awareness. This is a universal concern.

If we see the newer concept of "art" and art music as a secular continuation of this, with more universal qualities, then "art" music, and art in general, satisfies this ongoing concern with the metaphysical which Western music started with.

The notion of "materialism (or consumerism) vs. spirituality" did not really exist in the past, which put the older classical music by default into 'higher' category of "non-utilitarian," since the Church was the only game in town, and there were no real secular forces which empowered popular music enough to present any real competition with this power position.

By the late 18th century, with the advent of the new concept of art to carry on this function, the criteria for "art" music continued and expanded the older "high art" paradigm, by empowering a new intellectually-based scholar class which continued the priest/scholar tradition.

These scholar/composers now serve as the forefront of music theory and musical thought, and create non-utilitarian art which largely serves intellectual aims, such as expanding the language of music and art.

The notion of "art" itself has expanded the possibilities, enabling music from any geographic location and culture to permeate and cross-breed with Western tradition.

"Art" is now the larger umbrella, subsuming the Western classical tradition and allowing any form of music, from whatever source, to be considered as "art" which fulfills the art criteria for enhancing man's awareness, knowledge, and spirituality.

This means that all music which originated and is connected to the historical Western tradition, up to and including modern music to the present and into the future, is "art music," and benefits mankind.

With the advent of recordings, a large consumer-based economy, the mass media, and the proliferation of popular music and music in general, the art tradition has been marginalized compared to its previous position of power, and the playing field has been leveled, or even skewed in the direction of the mass consumer market.

Therefore, "value to Humanity" of any form of art or music must be seen as a far-reaching, objective assessment of its intrinsic value and qualities, without being distracted by elitist attitudes or absurd, inappropriate criteria, and not as exclusively related to the Western classical tradition.
"In Spring! In the creation of art, it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg
"The trouble with New Age music is that there's no evil in it."-Brian Eno