reply to post by GringoViejo
Hi Gringo -
Sometimes I feel that 'good Art' is something that one instinctively 'knows' but cannot always put into words - sort of like the dog who sees a
cat - he can't tell you what it is, but he'd know it when he saw it...
But separating out 'good art' from 'bad art' from 'not-art' is always going to be a little subjective...despite the efforts of the Greeks e.g.
Aristotle to put mathematical-geometrical etc. parameters around it to see if one can define exactly 'why' something is 'art' while 'something
else is just 'noise' or 'junk paper' or 'a pile of rubble' etc.
Fux in his Gradus Ad Parnassum (published in Vienna in Latin in 1725) quoted the Roman orator Cicero when he said in his chapter 'On Taste' ( 'De
Gusto') = quote: 'de gustibus non disputandum est' - which roughly means something like: 'when it comes to matters of Taste, there can be no
cogent or scientific Arguments...' and went on to describe a man who lived in a tree house for 20 years rapturously listening to what he called
'Divine music of Nature' i.e. listening to the the squauking of birds all day and night - whereas another person (with a 'different idea of
'taste') would be driven stark raving mad by the din of birds constantly clucking away..
In other words, to some, the 'sounds of birds' constantly 'singing' is called 'Music', to others it is a bird-language, to others it seems just
like some soothing background noise (remember one of the Latin words for 'hell' is...'Avernus' lit. 'no birds', and to others, bird-chirping is
nothing but random sounds that can give a person a big migraine if exposed to it too long etc.
Most of the classical definitions for 'art' (without going into what the differences are between 'art' and 'good art' and 'great art' and 'a
masterpiece' etc.) in the past (e.g. Leonardo in his unfinished 'Treatise on Painting') stated the axiom: 'All True Art MUST follow the
Dictates of Nature in its basic Design structure' in other words the closer something can use 'divine proportions' that 'exactly mirror or copy
the mathematical proportions found in Nature' the more it may be called Art - and the further away from 'the proportions of Nature' any so-called
'work of art' is, the less it may be called Art -
whether it be based on the 'Divine' proportions of Nature found in e.g.
The Fibonacci Sequence = 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987, 1597, 2584, 4181, 6765...
or the so-called 'Golden Ratio' (1.61803398874989...)
or if it makes use of the so-called Pi Ratio =
and other 'natural' proportions e.g. in music (1:1 = unison ; 1:2 octave ; 3:2 = 'perfect' Fifth; 4:34 = 'perfect' 4th) etc. which veer further
and further off from the perfection of UNITY (1:1) - which series according to 'Pythagoras' produced a natural series of 'overtones' in a sort of
Musica Mundana, echoed in Alberti's Treatise e.g. 'we shall our Rules for the Finishing our Proportions, from Composers, who are the greatest
Masters of these Numbering Systems, and from those Things wherein Nature shows herself most excellent & Compleat." Leon Battista Alberti (1407-1472)
- and all sorts of 'rules' to approaching perfect intervals in music were invented ('you may not approach a perfect consonance by Direct
Motion...') and approaching 'dissonances' also had their own rules according to Fux and others - 'every Dissonance in Music must be first
PREPARED, before being EXECUTED then strictly RESOLVED according to the Rules layed out...' - such 'rules which govern taste' influenced the music
e.g. of persons such as Handel and Vivaldi, and Bach and W.A. Mozart and Josef Haydn and Christoph Ritter von Gluck and Franz Schubert and Ludwig
Some would argue that e.g. rap 'music' does not follow the strict rules of composition laid out by persons such as Johann Josef Fux of Vienna (who
used the strictish polyphony of Palestrina as his role-model) and is therefore not 'art' ---but I suppose there are those who might disagree...!!