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Music and Truth

offline welt on 2018-01-03 17:52 [#02541454]
Points: 1862 Status: Lurker

Do you think music as such does express or state truths?

Do you think - for instance - the music of J.S. Bach's Cello
Suite in G Minor is indeed a truth-claim about the
state of the world, just as a gangster-rap instrumental is?
[The former truth-claim might roughly be put into verbal
language as "The world is basically harmoniously strucutred"
while the latter truth-claim might be put into words as
"Life is war and you either kill or get killed" or something
along those lines].

I actually DO think music is in the business of making
truth-claims. And I think it's an unfortunate development in
the Western world that music is largely seen as
entertainment or "just art" or as merely expressing emotions


offline welt on 2018-01-03 17:53 [#02541455]
Points: 1862 Status: Lurker

Major, not Minor ...


offline Indeksical from Phobiazero Damage Control (United Kingdom) on 2018-01-03 18:12 [#02541458]
Points: 9327 Status: Regular | Show recordbag

What's the difference between a 'truth-claim' and evoking
imagery or an emotional response?


offline welt on 2018-01-03 18:36 [#02541461]
Points: 1862 Status: Lurker

What’s important about truth-claims is that they aspire to
be objectively valid. And, I guess, I would say that an
emotional response normally is a type of truth-claim
that aspires to be objectively valid. .. When, let’s say,
you walk down the street and see people fighting and respond
with an anxious feeling .. then this emotional response
feels you something about the objectively dangerous
situation (just like the truth-claims of empirical
statistics do) …. That's part of the reason why I said I
take issue with treating music as merely expressing
emotions … since that downplays the "truth-claim-aspect"
of emotions ... which is similar to the demand for
objectivity in the (currently) more respected sciences.


offline RussellDust on 2018-01-03 19:02 [#02541463]
Points: 12349 Status: Addict

It’s subjective to the listener, ultimately. But yeah,
Nietzsche for example fell out of love with Wagner and his
music because he thought it as the sound of grandeur and
wars. Francis Ford Coppola and many others went on to agree
with the latter part.

Oddly enough I’m about to start a comic book/graphic novel
and was wondering if drawings could lie. I came to a quick,
maybe too quick, concluion that drawings can lie, and often
lie. I think with music it’s the same.


offline RussellDust on 2018-01-03 19:03 [#02541464]
Points: 12349 Status: Addict

Minor over Major any day for me! Major lies much more.


offline Indeksical from Phobiazero Damage Control (United Kingdom) on 2018-01-03 20:32 [#02541501]
Points: 9327 Status: Regular | Followup to welt: #02541461 | Show recordbag

For something to be objectively valid doesn't it have to
have a static (and thus truthful) language that we can use
to communicate with each other? Does music have that or can
chord progressions, instrument choices, tempo etc and their
meanings always be interpreted differently based on the
person listening, the context of the listening experience
etc? If it does have this language does that benefit or
diminish music? is it a language that must be learned and if
so does that mean there is a 'right' way to convey an idea
in music?


offline Indeksical from Phobiazero Damage Control (United Kingdom) on 2018-01-03 20:34 [#02541502]
Points: 9327 Status: Regular | Followup to RussellDust: #02541463 | Show recordbag

Photos can lie so drawings definitely can.


offline fleetmouse from Horny for Truth on 2018-01-04 00:16 [#02541512]
Points: 18042 Status: Lurker | Followup to welt: #02541454

I think music can express propositions, yes, even if they're
a bit vague. Now in your examples, which one you will find
true depends on your lived experience and degree of
privilege, if you mean by truth a proposition that
corresponds to a perceived state of affairs.


offline welt on 2018-01-04 18:23 [#02541534]
Points: 1862 Status: Lurker | Followup to Indeksical: #02541501

It depends on how one defines objectivity, I guess.

1. If one means by the objectivity of truth-claims that
their correctness can be checked inter-subjectively
using reliable and precise methods
, then music doesn’t
make objective truth-claims. I’m thinking of truth-claims
such as „The Tabasco is in the fridge, behind the
cheese“ or „It’s 40 °C in Karthoum today“.
There’s no way that music can express such facts about the
world. Music doesn’t have the necessary grammar for it.
[You could of course construct a musical „vocabulary“ ..
you could define that the A minor chord means „Fuck“ and
the E minor chord means „you“ .. and then the
chord-progression a / e would mean „Fuck you“, but
that’s of course not how music is composed, and therefore
has almost nothing to do with music in the normal sense].

2.If one means by the objectivity of truth-claims that those
truth-claims refer to a reality that exists independently
of human opinions
, then I think music does make
truth-claims. But the truth-claims are usually not of the
sort mentioned above - precise statements about sattes of
affairs. Rather the truth-claims which music expresses are
more general, ethical truth-claims such as „Life is
harmonious“ or „Life is a struggle“ or „Let’s
fuck, cause we’re horny animals“ or something like that.


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