4. Author’s Anecdote #2

Author’s Anecdote #2

Depending on your disposition, the notion that music shouldn’t be governed by our opinions and subjective experiences could offend you. If you are an avid music listener, you may well also be a music collector, and to dismiss the role of your personal judgment would be to say that all the time and critical listening you have invested into curating your collection is for naught. I must therefore demonstrate why it is important to have such a resolute distinction between objective and subjective judgments about music.

During my sophomore year of college, I took a fine arts gen-ed class on the appreciation of American music. The instructor’s syllabus listed as one of the course objectives that students should leave the class able to objectively describe the music to which they listened. The instructor clarified that, upon listening to a piece of music, students should be able to discern musical facts from the performance. I hear a trombone would satisfy this requirement, as would identifying the name of the piece and/or its composer, or if it were, rhythmically speaking, in duple, triple, quadruple, or some other meter. I like this song, this song makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, and this guitar solo is badass would not pass the objectivity test.

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