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Are Punk and Rap (and Graffiti) Art?


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For me, the answer is an easy yes, of course, why would one ask? Perhaps the idea that some people hold that art can be "good" or "bad" based on the craftsmanship or technical skill or compositional theory and an often stated distain for rap (and one would presume punk and graffiti) revolves around this idea. For me (as posted recently in the "Pono Seems Totally Irrelevant" thread, I believe that great art often involves either the discovery of something new or a perspective from another person's (often otherwise unheard) voice or perspective. I also commented that emotional connection with regard to the human condition, strong emotion, and art that demands a reaction can be great art.

 

So, is rap, punk, and graffiti art? If so, is it great art? Why or why not?

 

Best,

John

Positive emotions enhance our musical experiences.

 

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Sure, why wouldn't they? The fact that I personally cannot relate at all to any of these art forms and find them annoying doesn't mean they are not art per se.

 

I suppose the only thing I'd exclude is when you include into graffity stupid kids writing obscenities on a wall, but I suppose Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Beuys would potentially disagree. I suppose my personal definition would be that there needs to be some kind of skill and creative/inventive process involved.

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For those that say yes, what makes it/them art? Is it the emotion/reaction? Is it the alternative human perspective or commentary on the life?

 

For those that say no, does the lack of traditional composition, technique and aesthetic (on the surface skill and beauty) prevent it from being art?

 

What is it about rap that people hate so much that they always bring it up as the example of "not art"? Is such a reaction proof that it is art? How do we reconcile the idea that the very things that make "good" art "great" make something that is, too some "bad" also "great"?

 

Best,

John

Positive emotions enhance our musical experiences.

 

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I think many give one of those posters much too much attention. Just asking this question borders on rude. Art is an expression whether I can or cannot relate to, or like it.

Forrest:

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Who could argue that these are not art?

 

 

 

 

Thank you for this post. I really appreciate the first and third links in the context of this discussion.

 

John

Positive emotions enhance our musical experiences.

 

Synology DS213+ NAS -> Auralic Vega w/Linear Power Supply -> Auralic Vega DAC (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> XLR -> Auralic Taurus Pre -> XLR -> Pass Labs XA-30.5 power amplifier (on 4" maple and 4 Stillpoints) -> Hawthorne Audio Reference K2 Speakers in MTM configuration (Symposium Jr HD rollerball isolation) and Hawthorne Audio Bass Augmentation Baffles (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> Bi-amped w/ two Rythmic OB plate amps) -> Extensive Room Treatments (x2 SRL Acoustics Prime 37 diffusion plus key absorption and extensive bass trapping) and Pi Audio Uberbuss' for the front end and amplification

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I think many give one of those posters much too much attention. Just asking this question borders on rude. Art is an expression whether I can or cannot relate to, or like it.

 

Perhaps I don't understand how a discussion of artistic appreciation can be "rude"? Can you elaborate on your position a little, please?

 

The reason I created this thread is that in the cited Pono thread, on the one hand, someone asked for a separate thread, and, on the other hand, there were some very strong posting that basically stated rap, rock, and popular music wasn't memorable and the reason was it wasn't great art. If it were just the one person, then I'd dismiss it. However, there were several (many to my feeling) posts stating that rap was the least likely to be remembered in the future. While it doesn't really matter who is right, I am trying to understand if this is just personal preference bias or if some folks believe it isn't art. There were posts that stated traditional techniques and craftsmanship could be used to determine "good" and "bad" art, a position I disagreed with. I was just so surprised that such views existed on this forum, I wanted to get to the bottom of why this might be? To me, this would be like saying Huckleberry Finn isn't a great novel because it uses bad (vernacular) grammar...yet for most, that is part of the genius (along with the alternative perspective on the human condition). I really dislike the idea that we would wish to cover up this kind of discussion rather than shine a light on the ideas behind the posting we have all seen.

 

This kind of discussion, to me, isn't rude. This is interesting and informative. At the minimum, it helps me understand and articulate my feelings on the topic more clearly. To that degree, it is no different than asking for help with a technical setup question in that the goal of that is for an individual to learn something they did not already know. The bigger picture is that others may be interested in the same process...just like a technical topic can be informative to others. So if it is informative to me, then it is a success. If it is informative to others, it is even more so...

 

Best,

John

Positive emotions enhance our musical experiences.

 

Synology DS213+ NAS -> Auralic Vega w/Linear Power Supply -> Auralic Vega DAC (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> XLR -> Auralic Taurus Pre -> XLR -> Pass Labs XA-30.5 power amplifier (on 4" maple and 4 Stillpoints) -> Hawthorne Audio Reference K2 Speakers in MTM configuration (Symposium Jr HD rollerball isolation) and Hawthorne Audio Bass Augmentation Baffles (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> Bi-amped w/ two Rythmic OB plate amps) -> Extensive Room Treatments (x2 SRL Acoustics Prime 37 diffusion plus key absorption and extensive bass trapping) and Pi Audio Uberbuss' for the front end and amplification

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John,

Forgive me if I offended or upset you. That was certainly not my intent. I had been watching that train wreck of a thread, and felt strongly. My intent was to imply that questioning that it is art leaves room that it might not be.

 

I never thought that you actually felt that way. :)

Perhaps I don't understand how a discussion of artistic appreciation can be "rude"? Can you elaborate on your position a little, please

Forrest:

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DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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From Wikipedia:

 

mu·sic

ˈmyo͞ozik/Submit

noun

1.

vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.

"couples were dancing to the music"

"he devoted his life to music"

a sound perceived as pleasingly harmonious.

"the background music of softly lapping water"

2.

the written or printed signs representing vocal or instrumental sound.

"Tony learned to read music"

 

From high school music appreciation class:

Music is a combination of melody, harmony and rhythm.

 

Rap therefore does not qualify as being music as it is pretty much nothing but rhythm. Whether it is art is another question. Not condemning it - just saying don't call it music.

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Rap therefore does not qualify as being music as it is pretty much nothing but rhythm. Whether it is art is another question. Not condemning it - just saying don't call it music.

 

And you are obviously clueless about this genre of music. It is music. Deal with it.

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From Wikipedia:

 

mu·sic

ˈmyo͞ozik/Submit

noun

1.

vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.

"couples were dancing to the music"

"he devoted his life to music"

a sound perceived as pleasingly harmonious.

"the background music of softly lapping water"

2.

the written or printed signs representing vocal or instrumental sound.

"Tony learned to read music"

 

From high school music appreciation class:

Music is a combination of melody, harmony and rhythm.

 

Rap therefore does not qualify as being music as it is pretty much nothing but rhythm. Whether it is art is another question. Not condemning it - just saying don't call it music.

 

Thank you for posting your thoughts. It is helpful to understand how you arrive at your point of view.

 

That said, when I went to your source (Wikipedia), I found that it was the opposite of what you posted. Perhaps you could send a link to that section? I just didn't see it (but in fairness, I didn't read everything).

 

Here is the actual first paragraph of "Music" from Wikipedia and the actual "Definition of music" from Wikipedia. To me, if anyone reads either of these primary wiki entries on music and the definition of music, one leaves with the opposite impression than what you "quote" and your argument falls apart.

 

Best,

John

 

 

 

Music - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch (which governs melody and harmony), rhythm (and its associated concepts tempo, meter, and articulation), dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. The word derives from Greek μουσική (mousike; "art of the Muses").

 

The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of music vary according to culture and social context. Music ranges from strictly organized compositions (and their recreation in performance), through improvisational music to aleatoric forms. Music can be divided into genres and subgenres, although the dividing lines and relationships between music genres are often subtle, sometimes open to personal interpretation, and occasionally controversial. Within the arts, music may be classified as a performing art, a fine art, and auditory art. It may also be divided among art music and folk music. There is also a strong connection between music and mathematics. Music may be played and heard live, may be part of a dramatic work or film, or may be recorded.

 

To many people in many cultures, music is an important part of their way of life. Ancient Greek and Indian philosophers defined music as tones ordered horizontally as melodies and vertically as harmonies. Common sayings such as "the harmony of the spheres" and "it is music to my ears" point to the notion that music is often ordered and pleasant to listen to. However, 20th-century composer John Cage thought that any sound can be music, saying, for example, "There is no noise, only sound." Musicologist Jean-Jacques Nattiez summarizes the relativist, post-modern viewpoint: "The border between music and noise is always culturally defined—which implies that, even within a single society, this border does not always pass through the same place; in short, there is rarely a consensus ... By all accounts there is no single and intercultural universal concept defining what music might be."

 

 

 

Definition of music - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An accurate and concise definition of music is fundamental to being able to discuss, categorize, and otherwise consider the phenomenon of what we understand as being music. Many have been suggested, but defining music turns out to be more difficult than might first be imagined. As this article will demonstrate, there is on-going controversy about how to define music. One way of judging the success or failure of a definition is by "genus and differentia" which uses the criteria that a definition must state the essential attributes; may not be circular; may not be too broad or too narrow; should not be expressed in ambiguous, obscure, or figurative language; should not be negative where it can be affirmative.

 

The Oxford Universal Dictionary defines music as, "That one of the fine arts which is concerned with the combination of sounds with a view to beauty of form and the expression of thought or feeling" (Little and Onions 1965, 1300). However, the music genre known as noise music, for instance, challenges these ideas about what constitutes music's essential attributes by using non-traditional elements of music (Priest 2013, 132). (See also musique concrète.)

 

A famous example of the dilemma in defining music is John Cage’s composition titled 4'33''. The written score has three movements and directs the performer(s) to appear on stage, indicate by gesture or other means when the piece begins, then make no sound and only mark sections and the end by gesture. This has form and other important attributes of music, but no sound other than whatever ambient sounds may be heard in the room. Some argue this is not music because, for example, it contains no sounds that are conventionally considered "musical" and the composer and performer(s) exert no control over the organization of the sounds heard (Dodd 2013). Others argue it is music because the conventional definitions of musical sounds are unnecessarily and arbitrarily limited, and control over the organization of the sounds is achieved by the composer and performer(s) through their division of what is heard into specific sections (Gann 2010).

 

Problems of defining music also arise from differences in the conception of music in different cultures.

Positive emotions enhance our musical experiences.

 

Synology DS213+ NAS -> Auralic Vega w/Linear Power Supply -> Auralic Vega DAC (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> XLR -> Auralic Taurus Pre -> XLR -> Pass Labs XA-30.5 power amplifier (on 4" maple and 4 Stillpoints) -> Hawthorne Audio Reference K2 Speakers in MTM configuration (Symposium Jr HD rollerball isolation) and Hawthorne Audio Bass Augmentation Baffles (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> Bi-amped w/ two Rythmic OB plate amps) -> Extensive Room Treatments (x2 SRL Acoustics Prime 37 diffusion plus key absorption and extensive bass trapping) and Pi Audio Uberbuss' for the front end and amplification

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John,

Forgive me if I offended or upset you. That was certainly not my intent. I had been watching that train wreck of a thread, and felt strongly. My intent was to imply that questioning that it is art leaves room that it might not be.

 

I never thought that you actually felt that way. :)

 

Thank you, Forrest. I, too, hope I did not offend or upset you. If I did in any way, I am sorry. My intent is to have an open discussion where differing points of view are welcome. That said, I come to the discussion with a strongly felt point of view and will respond as such (in a respectful way, I hope). In our case, we seem to (mostly) agree and share a common perspective.

 

Best,

John

Positive emotions enhance our musical experiences.

 

Synology DS213+ NAS -> Auralic Vega w/Linear Power Supply -> Auralic Vega DAC (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> XLR -> Auralic Taurus Pre -> XLR -> Pass Labs XA-30.5 power amplifier (on 4" maple and 4 Stillpoints) -> Hawthorne Audio Reference K2 Speakers in MTM configuration (Symposium Jr HD rollerball isolation) and Hawthorne Audio Bass Augmentation Baffles (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> Bi-amped w/ two Rythmic OB plate amps) -> Extensive Room Treatments (x2 SRL Acoustics Prime 37 diffusion plus key absorption and extensive bass trapping) and Pi Audio Uberbuss' for the front end and amplification

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Yes, but smooth jazz is not.

 

I'm still chuckling at your humor.

 

So I ask you: can Muzak actually be music? It does meet Coot's "definition" of music...

 

Best,

John

 

From Wikipedia:

 

mu·sic

ˈmyo͞ozik/Submit

noun

1.

vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.

"couples were dancing to the music"

"he devoted his life to music"

a sound perceived as pleasingly harmonious.

"the background music of softly lapping water"

 

From high school music appreciation class:

Music is a combination of melody, harmony and rhythm.

 

 

Muzak Holdings - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Muzak (formerly Muzak Holdings) is a subsidiary of Mood Media best known for distribution of background music to retail stores and other companies. Mood Media purchased Muzak Holdings for $345 million in 2011, including $305 million in cash.[1][2] The company has chosen to consolidate Muzak into a sensory overload system to manipulate buying habits.[3] Muzak's restructuring through Mood Media is reportedly intended to allow the company to calm their audiences and make them more receptive to advertising.[3]

 

The word "Muzak" has always been a registered trademark of Muzak LLC,[4] although it dominated the market for so many years that the term is often used (especially when used with lowercase spelling) as a generic term for all background music.[5] In 1981, Westinghouse bought the company and ran it until selling it to the Fields Company of Chicago, publishers of the Chicago Sun-Times, on September 8, 1986.[5]

Positive emotions enhance our musical experiences.

 

Synology DS213+ NAS -> Auralic Vega w/Linear Power Supply -> Auralic Vega DAC (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> XLR -> Auralic Taurus Pre -> XLR -> Pass Labs XA-30.5 power amplifier (on 4" maple and 4 Stillpoints) -> Hawthorne Audio Reference K2 Speakers in MTM configuration (Symposium Jr HD rollerball isolation) and Hawthorne Audio Bass Augmentation Baffles (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> Bi-amped w/ two Rythmic OB plate amps) -> Extensive Room Treatments (x2 SRL Acoustics Prime 37 diffusion plus key absorption and extensive bass trapping) and Pi Audio Uberbuss' for the front end and amplification

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From high school music appreciation class:

Music is a combination of melody, harmony and rhythm.

 

Using your high school teacher's "rules", namely, that "music" must have all 3 elements- a view you hold to be true:

 

This is not music:

 

BillDixon_zps19377d0f.jpg

 

His drum solos are not music:

 

ArtBlakey_zps50848621.jpg

 

His singing is not music:

 

Pavorotti_zps26db142a.jpg

 

 

What constitutes music? What constitutes art? It is in the eye of the beholder. Forgot your rules.

 

We are not machine men, with machine minds and with machine hearts. Do not give in to these unnatural men who would would tell you what to think, what to believe...

 

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For those that say yes, what makes it/them art? Is it the emotion/reaction? Is it the alternative human perspective or commentary on the life?

 

For those that say no, does the lack of traditional composition, technique and aesthetic (on the surface skill and beauty) prevent it from being art?

 

What is it about rap that people hate so much that they always bring it up as the example of "not art"? Is such a reaction proof that it is art? How do we reconcile the idea that the very things that make "good" art "great" make something that is, too some "bad" also "great"?

 

Best,

John

 

I listen to a lot of metal and industrial music which many would say is just noise and not art. To answer your question, to me it is art because of the emotion / reaction it invokes. If I listen to classical music, jazz, or many other types, they do nothing for me. To me, that is just noise in the background. Put on some heavy metal, and my soul stirs. I immediately want to get up and dance, run around, go crazy. It takes all of the feelings I have inside and brings them out and amplifies them.

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Personally I often ask myself whether a DJ is an artist and his mix is a piece of art ... or if someone is plagiating the intellectual property of someone else while showing off his own personality ...

 

This strongly depends on the DJ. Back to Grandmaster Flash:

 

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Personally I often ask myself whether a DJ is an artist and his mix is a piece of art ... or if someone is plagiating the intellectual property of someone else while showing off his own personality ...

 

Here is Episode 4 from Jon Leidecker's brilliant Variations podcast series on the history of collage in music, produced for MACBA, Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona -

 

RWM - CURATORIAL

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