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«MUSICOLOGICA OLOMUCENSIA VII Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci Olomouc 2005 The present volume was submitted to print on 6 April 2005. Dieser Band ...»

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Taste judgments are primarily applied in the area of aesthetics reception and less in the area of the creation of aesthetic values or, in the creation of art; it was Rousseau who made the fitting comment that taste chooses but genius creates. An individual applying a taste judgment reviews what has already been created and chooses from the complex of “ready-made” values with the help of both objective as well as subjective norms and standards. On the other hand, at the moment of creation the artist stands in front of “nothing,” in front of an emptiness that he is inspired to overcome, to fill. He creates something that has never existed before and at that time norms and the application

thereof are of potential and significant, yet not decisive, importance. The need for selfexpression, the need to express the changing world and life (or more precisely stated:

the need to express oneself to the changing world and life) necessarily leads to breaking norms and conventions and bringing forth new rules by promotion of the creation itself, but sometimes by means of explication and exegesis as well. The creation by means of its definition is not solely the result of the application of taste judgments even though the artist consistently judges his theme, its intended form, and contents during the creation process and that not only by means that are generally available but also by those which he must yet discover, try, and use. As opposed to the recipient of the creation who can view everything at a surface level, the artist concentrates on depth.

It is therefore no surprise that artists even when they are not creating and are making their own taste judgments apply taste that is more clear-cut rather than vague, or very flexible or even elastic; this applies primarily to taste within their own branch of art.

Their taste judgments then reflect an affinity and declaration for “their own blood type” and often unfriendliness toward phenomena that are in opposition to their feelings and understanding of the world, their expectations about the mission of art, and their methods of working. For example, consider Spohr’s lack of understanding of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (it’s ugly, in bad taste, and cheap), Berlioz’s opinion on Wagner (he’s insane), Rossini’s statements on Wagner (he had some good moments but some dreadful quarterhours), Wagner’s judgment of Brahms’s chamber music (it’s boring and banal; add to that Wolff’s comment that the ability to compose without ideas found its most distinguished representative in Brahms), Stravinsky’s judgment of Richard Strauss’s operas (banality triumphs therein, etc.). Of course in some instances, competitive jealousy plays a role (let us remember Wagner’s attitude towards Meyerbeer as related to Wagner’s anti-Semitism), but more often it is an emphatic announcement of the different positions taken by the artists in question or an indirect announcement of the quality of one’s own creation. Revulsion towards a different “taste perspective” is related to the creator’s natural egocentricism which, in order to be able to submit to the torments of creation (when it comes to creating, there is always uncertainty of the results and thus risk), must always be convinced of the correctness, the necessity, the sole option of one’s own work, one’s own path.

Kant, who has already been mentioned within this text, also specified that taste judgments are applied primarily in the area of fashion and that is the domain of the changing and of the unnecessary, i.e., of something that can be either one way or another: fashion embodies no other norm other than consensus (he also noted that it is better to be a fashionable lunatic than to be opposed to fashion). It is also said about fashion that it is a short-term preferred (or forced) ideal of beauty, that it varies from individual taste by its very “staidness” (it tends toward uniformity but at the same time is also an expression of being different “from those others” who do not follow fashion, or cannot reach it), that it is at home primarily within a wide aesthetic sphere (but not necessarily in art).

The aesthetics associated with an individual’s appearance are primarily concerned with that which is possible to change and influence (attire, hairstyle, cosmetics, accessories, etc.), an individual’s living environment (primarily interiors and their furnishings, fashion trends in design, etc.), lifestyles (such as fashionable ways of spending leisure time or fashionable vacation spots, but also fashion trends in selecting names for children, in manners of expressing oneself, etc.). Fashion (fashion trends) differ from style (or even composition) by their limited longevity (fashion items “morally age” – for example, many think that wearing “last year’s fashions” means losing prestige), by the fact that changes in fashion are not dictated internally, but rather externally through social dictates, by the fact that changes in fashion are closely tied to the market and its demands, by the fact that fashion generally turns to clear-cut social groups (special fashion for the young, for white-collar classes, etc.).

Usually fashions and fashionableness are fought against but even these phenomena have positive traits. They add to the colorfulness of the scene, sometimes bring new discoveries and attention to heretofore unnoticed and unused aspects of the phenomena and in the long-term might be transformed into long-lasting trends. The phenomenon of fashion or fashionableness is reflected even within a wide sphere of art, respectively within various transitional areas to and from art. However, fashion within art does not have the same organizational and ruling function that it has within the wider arena of aesthetics phenomena. A few historical examples: in the eighteenth century Italian opera was a fashion phenomenon in Paris, elements of “Turkish music” were fashionable in the period following the Turkish wars in the Central Europe (see some compositions of Mozart), Wagner and his Bayreuth were fashionable in their time, during the twenties of the previous century, jazz and modern dancing were in fashion, etc. Today music festivals are becoming fashionable (especially some of them – for example the reincarnation of the Bayreuth Wagner Festival), as well as certain types of artistic expression (such as the wave of musicals in the Czech Republic during the 1990s), some artists (for example some of the performers of classical music who reject traditional stage performances, dress, and behavior); some composers’ names, specific titles, recording, etc. can come into fashion.





The fact that fashion and fashionableness leave their mark on the image of musical life is apparent. Let us recall the way in which the work of Johann Sebastian Bach was undervalued after his death and the work of his sons acclaimed as compared to today’s Bach cult, which has in some aspects the form of pure fashion or even snobbery; let us also recognize the fact that it was only recently that Vivaldi’s compositions came into fashion. In today’s day and age, which has audiovisual technology, mass communications media, and expert marketing studies that were previously not available, now more than ever the success or failure of style, creators, and works is not decided solely (or chiefly) by the actual quality but rather through the strategies of dramaturgists, producers, mass media owners (companies operating within the sphere of the music or film, or within even a wider scope: within the entire leisure time industry). The fact that there is an immensely varied offering of (cultural) goods and thus opportunities for applying taste judgments is in and of itself actually ambivalent: within this overabundance our possibilities for guiding our own selection are paradoxically decreasing and the possibilities for our choices to be manipulated are conversely increasing.

The shorter the (potential) lifespan of an offered product appears to be, the more important it is for it (and its producers) to flow with the actual tide of fashion and to take advantage of its attractiveness. This conformability is to be seen mainly in the areas which are closest to industrial production, i.e., in the fields of mainstream pop songs, film or background music, etc. Nevertheless, even in these areas, there are some quality products that have real aesthetic (artistic) value and successfully avoid leaving the scene and function as “evergreens.” From this entire commentary it becomes apparent that there is no firm delineation between (musical) taste and tastelessness. It is definitely not the case that tastelessness appears only in the realm of popular (functional) music. The limits of good taste can be exceeded even in classical art music, e.g., by an extreme subjectivity of expression (in the area of creation – refer to some of the critical views into Tchaikovsky’s music), the creation of images of musical “stars” or “celebrities”. Tastelessness could be seen also in the snobbish selection of repertoires (good is only what is most known and acclaimed), in the selection of interpreters (the good ones are only those that are the most well-known and thus the most expensive), in the selection of exquisite or exclusive situations and locations for performing music (gala receptions, superfestivals, private parties, groups for private music performances, etc.). Of course there are more opportunities to display tastelessness within popular (functional) music as it offers a much wider spectrum of kinds of music, satisfies many (including non-aesthetical), is the source of musical experience for the majority of the population, etc. Therefore that is why it is often in this area (though not exclusively by far!) that extreme orgies of tastelessness in attire, behavior, performance, lyrics, stage presentation, etc. come to life.9 It is thus apparent that the problem of tastelessness is closely related to the problematics of schlock and kitsch, which is problem that cannot be discussed here.

In conclusion we can state that the concept of “taste” (including all of its variations and antonyms) has in more modern times lost much of its strength and utility in standard communications and even more within the context of aesthetics: it is somewhat blurred and hard to identify. Many times it is possible to replace the concept of “taste” with expressions such as “preference,” “interest,” “orientation,” etc., but such changes lead When making judgments in this area, care is most appropriately recommended as experience has shown that much of what has come across as shocking tastelessness can in time become a generally acceptable phenomenon or even a norm. Let us recall David Bowie with his extravagant costumes, cosmetics, bisexuality, and transformation into the “Ziggy Stardust” phenomenon or let us consider the transfer of poetics from comics into musical video clips. Basically, in general terms, when creating “image” today, almost any materials can be used. If the position of the “Good Boys” was occupied by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones programmatically created the opposite image for themselves, i.e., the image of the “Bad Boys” or “Rebels.” Thus for a specific purpose even schlock and kitsch can be programmatically useful… the discourse somewhat away from aesthetics and into social psychology and sociology.

So within (musical) aesthetics the concept of “taste” can and must remain – only it is necessary to handle this concept with extreme care…

–  –  –

Jak je patrné z názvu, východiskem zkoumání je fenomén vkusu v obecné rovině, avšak stať věnuje speciální pozornost vkusu v oblasti hudby. Jejím východiskem byly dva texty, jež autor publikoval v českém jazyce (K problému hudebního vkusu, in: Hudební věda 1972, č. 2, s. 99–116 a heslo Vkus in: kniha Stručný slovník hudební psychologie, Praha 1984). Ve srovnání s oběma připomenutými texty zde předkládaná verze akcentuje spíše přístup estetický, než přístup psychologický a sociologický.

Oblast vkusových soudů překračuje oblast umění, týká se i chování, životního způsobu v nejširším slova smyslu. Stať rozebírá oprávněnost i omezenost dvou krajních pojetí vkusu, z nichž jedno je možno charakterizovat známým rčením „De gustibus non est disputandum“, druhé pak tak, že vkusu je možno se naučit a je vlastně přijetím normy.

Autor se věnuje rysům resp. charakteristikám vkusu, aby se pak zabýval třemi hlavními momenty, jež se podílejí na vytváření hudebního vkusu a vstupují do něj: jednou sférou je sféra hudebních zkušeností jedince, druhou sféra mimohudební v rovině individuální psychologie, třetí kulturní determinace v nejširším slova smyslu. Vkus se uplatňuje spíše v rovině recepce, než v rovině tvorby. Fenomén vkusu souvisí s fenoménem módy; autor poukazuje na skutečnost, že módu nelze chápat jen jako výlučně negativní jev, což je sledováno zejména na oblasti moderní populární hudby; rozhodně neplatí, že nevkus se projevuje výlučně v této oblasti, i když je zřejmé, že její sociální existence a funkce způsobují, že je k nevkusu značně náchylná.

Stať je uzavřena konstatováním, že pojem vkus ztratil v novější době v běžné komunikaci i v kontextu estetiky hodně ze své nosnosti a použitelnosti: je poněkud rozplizlý, obtížně verifikovatelný atp. I když však je mnohdy možné jej nahradit pojmy „preference“, „zájmy“, „orientace“ atp., přece jenom tyto posuny vedou diskurs jaksi „ven z estetiky“ do sociální psychologie či sociologie. V (hudební) estetice pojem vkus může či musí zůstat a lze s ním při náležité opatrnosti pracovat.

–  –  –

Wie aus der Überschrift ersichtlich ist, ist der Ausgangspunkt der Forschung das Phänomen des Geschmacks in der allgemeinen Ebene, wobei die Abhandlung eine besondere Aufmerksamkeit dem Geschmack auf dem Gebiet der Musik widmet. Ihr Ausgangspunkt waren zwei Texte, die der Autor in tschechischer Sprache veröffentlichte (Zum Problem des musikalischen Geschmacks, in: Musikwissenschaft 1972, Nr. 2, S. 99-116 und das Stichwort Geschmack im Buch: Ein kurzgefasstes Wörterbuch der musikalischen Psychologie, Prag 1984). Im Vergleich zu beiden erwähnten Texten akzentiert die hier dargebotene Version eher eine ästhetische Auffassung als eine psychologische und soziologische.



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