Definition of Art, Music, etc.

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Definition of Art, Music, etc.

From Juan Carlos Martinez

Published before 2005


To all who have contributed to this thread recently (thanks for your comments, they're very useful).

BTW, I should preface my remarks below with the statement that I definitely include music as one of the fine arts and was in no way suggesting that it shouldn't be so included. My interest in this thread was merely in trying to put music comfortably into a 'definition' of art similar to the one that Brian uses.

Also BTW, I recently spoke with an architect friend of mine who said that when he studied architecture some years ago, they took a class in Aesthetics (nails, hair, make-up and such :-) ). Anyway, they concluded at the end of the course that ALL expression was art. Period. I was surprised to hear this. Is it not logically incorrect and untenable to say that 'since all art is expression; all expression is art'? Nevertheless, it seems that is what they were saying. No wonder we get so much body fluid spatterings on canvas, etc.

Anyhoo:

Juan wrote:
Can we refine the definition somewhat to encompass music more readily (as it should)? Or does it already and I'm simply not seeing it?

Then Brian wrote:
What do you have in mind?

In your definition, Brian, rather than saying the 're-creation' of some aspect of reality, one might change that part to the 'representation of'. Additionally, I would like to include the word 'evocation'. This term may be a problem here but I'll keep going with it.

After changing around some of the word order, I've got:
"Art is the expression of an idea (or ideas) by representing or evoking some aspect(s) of reality through the (skilful)manipulation of a medium."

I'm still not clear how this slightly re-worked definition would encompass music perfectly (at least insofar as what we currently know about music). Perhaps this is why I've tried to include "evocation" rather than only representation. Music, although not obviously representing aspects of reality, may well evoke them (consciously or subconsciously). Unfortunately, there's probably arguments to be made that non-representational art 'evokes' these things as well, so then even the worst offences to good art may be included in this definition. However, if a 'modernist' or 'post-modernist' artist wants to evoke an idea of anything other than of an emotional response (such as anger or disgust), I don't think they'll be able to and therefore will fall outside the bounds of this definition even with the inclusion of 'evocation'.

I look forward to hearing what your thoughts are on this.

Juan