19
Feb 02

BEETHOVEN vs BACH

I Hate Music8 comments • 1,731 views

BEETHOVEN vs BACH

Another trawl through my always riveting mail finds alongside the requests for me to eviscerate Gong and Genesis(The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway – and gets run over by me in a monster truck, etc etc) this curious note from Tonamel Rhysthal:

“It seems to me that even though you hate -all- music, your site seems curiously devoid of classical composers…
And if you do it, don’t go lumping them all together, because Bach, and Beethoven sound absolutely nothing alike.”

You are right of course, I have hithertoo shown little interest in them, mainly because they are all dead and can do no more harm (a reason which unfortunately cannot be applied to John Lennon). But of course I know the difference. Bach is the twiddly one that all sad, dull mathematicians like. Beethoven is the pompous, lazy one who couldn’t be arsed to finish his symphonies and was so bad, so very very bad that his own body could not stand listening to his crap and made him go deaf. See. Alike only in their lack of quality.

Comments

  1. 1
    justin on 30 Oct 2006 #

    this site sucks ass i cant find anything i need you douch bages

  2. 2
    Marcello Carlin on 30 Oct 2006 #

    Hey Timberlake, your second album was nothing like as good as the first one, deal with it!

  3. 3
    john fraser on 2 Jun 2008 #

    lyk omg lolz dat was so funny!

  4. 4
    Ralf Schumacher on 30 Dec 2009 #

    Claim 1: “You are right of course, I have hithertoo shown little interest in [Bach and Beethoven].”

    Claim 2: “But of course I know the difference.”

    Claim 3: “Bach is the twiddly one that all sad, dull mathematicians like.”

    Claim 4: “Beethoven is the pompous, lazy one who couldn’t be arsed to finish his symphonies and was so bad, so very very bad that his own body could not stand listening to his crap and made him go deaf.”

    I would be perfectly all right with the above claims if any of them were justified. However, (1) negates the following three claims beyond any shadow of a doubt. Without ever having shown any interest in music, how can you even claim to have heard the music of either of the above named composers, let alone be unbiased in your opinions?

    Either, at some point, you did not hate music, in which case your assertions are quite ridiculous and obviously contrived, or you have always hated music, in which case your opinions on music of any variety is not to be trusted!

    At this point I have demonstrated the sheer ridiculousness of your blog, but I will go further.

    (2) “I know the difference” is disproven by (3) and (4) given the following reasoning:

    The factual accuracy of (3) and (4) are necessary predicates for the accuracy of (2).

    (3) “All sad dull mathematicians like [Bach].” ‘Sad’ is an adjective describing a temporary frame of mind (a mood) and not a state of being. Therefore (3) is false. I’m not sure what “twiddly” means but I’m quite sure that it does not apply to Bach. FURTHERMORE, your claim that all mathematicians like Bach is actually a compliment. You are quite right in this assumption: That Bach’s music is grounded in mathematics (to the extent that some of his pieces can be reduced to mathematical equations), and that mathematical perfection is an essential attribute of his music. But this is not an insult. Mathematics is the most pure field in all of thought (it is not, for example, polluted with empirical fact). That his music can cohere so beautifully with mathematics is a testament to its genius. Therefore (3) is both inapplicable to your own line of reasoning and it is false.

    (4) You claim that Beethoven is “lazy” because he “couldn’t be ared to finish his symphonies”. What does this mean? Beethoven wrote 9 symphonies, all of which were completed. The only reason he did not complete his 10th symphony (which only ever was developed to a very preliminary degree anyway) is because his untimely death got in the way. Furthermore, the aesthetic “goodness” of a piece of music contributes in no way to the physical effects that it has upon the listener: thus a “bad” piece of music played at a reasonable volume would not contribute any more to hearing loss than a “good” piece of music played at the same volume. Beyond this, Beethoven went deaf because he was poisoned. Music did not contribute directly to his hearing loss. His so-called “pomposity” is up for debate, but I highly doubt that your contributions to such a debate would be in any way helpful to anybody. Care to defend your opinion? All right then, what are your opinions regarding the Violin Concerto? The Emperor Concerto? The Fifth? The Ninth? The Missa Solemnis? The Edgmont Overture? The middle Piano Sonatas? The late String Quartets? The Triple Concerto? How about the pieces corresponding to opus numbers 131, 111 and 130? Do you have any rational opinions at all? Hmm, I thought not. (4) is false.

    —————————————————————-
    Q.E.D.

    And that bit about “quality”. I’m sorry, but I won’t address that. After what I’ve just written, it speaks for itself.

  5. 5
    Alan on 30 Dec 2009 #

    Claim A
    “[Claim] (1) negates the following three claims beyond any shadow of a doubt. Without ever having shown any interest in music, how can you even claim to have heard the music of either of the above named composers…”

    This does not follow. There are many musical artists i have little interest in, but have heard and heard about through no fault of my own. Through awful muzak in shops, and awful logic-chopping bores at parties they were mistakenly invited to.

    Claim B
    “[how can you even claim to …] let alone be unbiased in your opinions?”
    This is not claimed.

    Claim C
    “Either, at some point, you did not hate music, in which case your assertions are quite ridiculous and obviously contrived, or you have always hated music, in which case your opinions on music of any variety is not to be trusted!”
    It does not follow that the assertions above are ridiculous and contrived if the writer once liked music – please show your working. And if they are ‘obviously’ contrived, then there can be no alternative ‘or’. But if, as the unnecessary alternative ‘or’ demands, the writer has always hated music, then her opinions on music under the heading “I HATE MUSIC” are indeed to be trusted.

    Claim D
    “At this point I have demonstrated the sheer ridiculousness of your blog”
    An ability to understand statements or follow logical premises has not been demonstrated.

    Claim E
    “(3) “All sad dull mathematicians like [Bach].” ‘Sad’ is an adjective describing a temporary frame of mind (a mood) and not a state of being. Therefore (3) is false.”
    The construction “all Xs that are A and B are also C” does not require that A and B are states of being to be valid. Stating B is not a state of being so it is false, it therefore also invalid reasoning.

    Beyond that, not only is a ‘sombre frame of mind’ not of necessity temporary, but ‘sad’ has a number of other meanings. The writer could have meant deplorable or pathetic. “The set of all mathematicians that are both pathetic and dull like Bach.” This seems like a clear statement of hypothesis. Find one pathetic dull mathematician that does not like Bach to disprove it.

    Claim F
    I’m not sure what “twiddly” means

    Claim G
    but I’m quite sure that it does not apply to Bach

    Claim F invalidates Claim G. One cannot both be unsure of the meaning of a word and sure that it does not apply in any given context.

    Claim H
    “Mathematics is the most pure field in all of thought (it is not, for example, polluted with empirical fact).”
    We wouldn’t want facts to get in the way of things.

    Claim J
    “Therefore (3) is both inapplicable to your own line of reasoning and it is false.”
    There appears to be no logical argument that leads up to this use of the word ‘therefore’. And in what line of reasoning would a false statement be applicable? This is redundancy. But it is predicated on the statement being false, when it has not yet been shown to be so.

    (the paragraph about claim 4 is conversation aimed at the original writer only and contains no logical argument. It is odd then that it ends with a statement of logical value.)

    Claim K
    “Q.E.D.”
    It is not at all clear what the commenter was setting out to prove, but the logical failures along the way have invalidated any argument multiple times.

    Claim L
    “After what I’ve just written, it speaks for itself.”
    It really doesn’t

  6. 6
    Ralf Schumacher on 31 Dec 2009 #

    Alan, you have not understood me correctly.

    Claim A
    “[Claim] (1) negates the following three claims beyond any shadow of a doubt. Without ever having shown any interest in music, how can you even claim to have heard the music of either of the above named composers…”

    This does not follow. There are many musical artists i have little interest in, but have heard and heard about through no fault of my own. Through awful muzak in shops, and awful logic-chopping bores at parties they were mistakenly invited to.

    Actually, it does follow very reliably. Hearing something “in a shop” does not qualify as “listening to it”. Not only is the customer in a shop generally not paying much attention to the music being churned out over the speaker system, but the customer is certainly not focusing on it, after all, the listener is not in the shop for the express purpose of hearing music being played there. And, of course, there are a number of very great distractions in a shop that would not permit full attention to be paid to the music. Having heard something in passing and unintentionally is completely different from listening to it in earnest. And I will parenthetically point out to you that neither Bach nor Beethoven is muzak. And they are VERY RARELY, IF EVER, played in shops.

    Claim B
    “[how can you even claim to …] let alone be unbiased in your opinions?”

    This is not claimed.

    Of course it is not claimed explicitly, this is my point. The poster passes off their opinions as “facts” claiming, for example, that Beethoven’s music is “bad”, without any rational basis whatsoever. If the poster had even once said “it’s only my opinion, but…” or “however, despite all of these diatribes, I acknowledge the fact I am completely unqualified to give my opinions (disguised as expressions of fact) on the above named composers,” then I would have felt no need to argue against them.

    Claim C
    “Either, at some point, you did not hate music, in which case your assertions are quite ridiculous and obviously contrived, or you have always hated music, in which case your opinions on music of any variety is not to be trusted!”
    It does not follow that the assertions above are ridiculous and contrived if the writer once liked music – please show your working. And if they are ‘obviously’ contrived, then there can be no alternative ‘or’. But if, as the unnecessary alternative ‘or’ demands, the writer has always hated music, then her opinions on music under the heading “I HATE MUSIC” are indeed to be trusted.

    Please read before replying in the future, I cannot believe I am being forced to illuminate my very clear original comment: I described the only two possible situations surrounding the original post, ONE of which was that the posters position is contrived, hyperbolic, a FACADE, the OTHER being that the poster has always hated music, in which case their opinion should not be regarded charitably, because it is FAITH BASED, OPINIONATED, and ILLOGICAL — because it does not derive from intellectual, that is a rational argument or series of arguments.

    Claim D
    “At this point I have demonstrated the sheer ridiculousness of your blog”
    An ability to understand statements or follow logical premises has not been demonstrated.

    Disproved. See above.

    Claim E
    “(3) “All sad dull mathematicians like [Bach].” ‘Sad’ is an adjective describing a temporary frame of mind (a mood) and not a state of being. Therefore (3) is false.”
    The construction “all Xs that are A and B are also C” does not require that A and B are states of being to be valid. Stating B is not a state of being so it is false, it therefore also invalid reasoning.

    Beyond that, not only is a ’sombre frame of mind’ not of necessity temporary, but ’sad’ has a number of other meanings. The writer could have meant deplorable or pathetic. “The set of all mathematicians that are both pathetic and dull like Bach.” This seems like a clear statement of hypothesis. Find one pathetic dull mathematician that does not like Bach to disprove it.

    You have once again missed the point. There were a dozen ways in which I could have refuted the OP’s ridiculous argument. This one was grammatical. The use of “sad” in this context is improper. And what bearing does mood have upon musical taste anyway?

    You said that “sad” can mean pathetic. This is intentionally confusing use of the word in a grammatical position that would suggest an alternative meaning. Furthermore, this is improper use of the word.

    I would very much like to find a pathetic dull mathematician who does not like Bach do disprove it, and in writing my original comment I considered using Dirac as such proof. However, I do not think that he is pathetic or dull, and, at the present moment, I cannot think of a single mathematician that would fit this description either. I also did not use this reasoning because I was unsure what the OP meant by the word “sad”, because of their senseless use of it.

    Claim F
    I’m not sure what “twiddly” means

    Claim G
    but I’m quite sure that it does not apply to Bach

    Claim F invalidates Claim G. One cannot both be unsure of the meaning of a word and sure that it does not apply in any given context.

    I used a very similar argument against the entire premise of this article, incidentally, and I do agree with your reasoning very much. However, this point was hardly central to my argument, and I will also point out to you that I was very careful not to claim that I was 100% certain that the word cannot apply to Bach, because I do not know what it means (hence the word “quite”). It was a statement of opinion intended to address the statement of opinion expressed in the original post. But, to be perfectly honest, it was not the intention of my post to establish Bach as non-twiddly. If it was, I imagine I would at least have to know what it meant.

    Claim H
    “Mathematics is the most pure field in all of thought (it is not, for example, polluted with empirical fact).”
    We wouldn’t want facts to get in the way of things.

    Ah, so you don’t know what “empirical” means, then. Let me be more clear. Empirical fact is fact that requires observation and experimentation and is ALWAYS provisional. “Pure” fact, which exists in mathematics and, as many would say, in music (particularly mathematical — contrapuntal — music), does not rely on any such guesswork or reliance upon temporary and uncertain “facts”. That is, they are ABSOLUTE.

    Claim J
    “Therefore (3) is both inapplicable to your own line of reasoning and it is false.”
    There appears to be no logical argument that leads up to this use of the word ‘therefore’. And in what line of reasoning would a false statement be applicable? This is redundancy. But it is predicated on the statement being false, when it has not yet been shown to be so.

    (the paragraph about claim 4 is conversation aimed at the original writer only and contains no logical argument. It is odd then that it ends with a statement of logical value.)

    The last sentence exists (humourously) in order to provide a “conclusion” for those, like you, that happen to be too foolish to draw their own. As is quite clear from what you’ve just written, you were unable to draw your own properly and so the conclusion I was forced to draw for you did not correspond with your own poor understanding of the concept. So, why did I draw that conclusion, then?

    (3) is false because it uses improper grammar resulting in a statement that applies to no actual reality. (3) is not applicable to the assertion made by the OP that Bach’s music “lacks quality” because claims made against his music in (3) do not in fact prove this. In fact, it is much more likely that they prove the alternative — that Bach’s music is of very high quality. However, because OP’s statements are irrational, it in fact proves neither.

    Claim K
    “Q.E.D.”
    It is not at all clear what the commenter was setting out to prove, but the logical failures along the way have invalidated any argument multiple times.

    I’ll try to make it a bit more clear: Q.E.D. means Quod Erat Demonstrandum, which means: “Which was to be demonstrated”. At that point both (3) and (4) had been disproven, therefore PROVING that (2) is also false, something that also could have been proven by means of (1), although less definitively: because the accuracy of (2), as I mentioned before, can be claimed IF AND ONLY IF (3) and (4) are proven to be true. Q.E.D.

    Claim L
    “After what I’ve just written, it speaks for itself.”
    It really doesn’t

    It does, for those with enough insight to listen.

    Please do not reply, or else I fear I will be tempted to respond, and I very much do not want to speak about this anymore, with somebody who is so very clearly wrong.

  7. 7
    Alan on 31 Dec 2009 #

    The flight from logical argument here is obviously driven by the shaky understanding of fundamental ideas and meanings and an inability to either read their own words or express themselves clearly.

    “To follow reliably” has a very specific meaning that does not at all match the requirements of the situation here. But the writer does not explain the reliable connection in his original assertion, instead going on to explain the obvious difference between hearing and listening, even though he used the phrase ‘heard the music’ originally, so disproving his own assertion of reliability in the original formulation.

    However if we now look at a new assertion substituting ‘listening’, it still does not follow. Leave alone ‘reliably’. That the writer still can’t see the possibility of being not interested in x and still being actively exposed to examples of x shows a failure of imagination and a rigid adherence to his own belief as somehow logically reliable when it is clearly not in fact.

    And of course the original writer can indeed be said to have some ‘interest in music’ as she appears to have written about it extensively – albeit negatively. This could be construed as interest unless you have a very restricted understanding of words.

    “Of course it is not claimed explicitly, this is my point.”
    The language used in the writers first comment is unclear. While “how can you even claim to X, let alone be Y? ” can clearly be read as asking if the original writer claimed to be Y, the author of those words says he is explicitly not saying so. This is part of a larger pattern of mis-statement and logical failure.

    “If the poster had even once said … then I would have felt no need to argue against them.”
    This requirement for extra conditional clauses in the original short article found on the internet seems flatly unreasonable.

    “Please read before replying in the future”
    The same request should be applied reflexively to the writer of the comment.

    “I cannot believe I am being forced to illuminate my very clear original comment”
    Again a failure of imagination combined with a statement of clarity on a demonstrably fuzzy and muddled source.

    “I described the only two possible situations”
    More failure of the imagination.

    “their opinion should not be regarded charitably, because it is FAITH BASED, OPINIONATED, …”
    Here the writer decries opinion for being opinionated. He ignores the original suggestion that such an article under the heading ‘I Hate Music’ is indeed trustworthy, and now switches his demands to one of charity. Again I think many would allow this under the definition, however the writer has shown a curious inability to understand wider meanings of words used, for example:

    ‘The use of “sad” in this context is improper… Furthermore, this is improper use of the word’
    These are both groundless assertions, not even opinions, just a failure to understand the use of words. Perhaps of the repeated word ‘improper’ which would fit with his other errors.

    “I cannot think of a single mathematician that would fit this description either”
    Here the author is conceding two things. That he personally cannot think of a case A, but also that the original statement (All A are B) is trivially true. It will be no surprise that the writer cannot conceive of case A as he has demonstrable problems conceiving many possibilities.

    “Ah, so you don’t know what “empirical” means.”
    Here the writer, again, jumps to a false conclusion perhaps distracted by the polluting presence of words observed on a (virtual) page.

    “Let me be more clear”

    sorry, can’t keep this up. my son has woken up now and I have to do stuff

  8. 8
    Isabella on 5 May 2012 #

    that was an insult and you DO NOT know the difference between BACH and BEETHOVEN

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