The Complicator Vol. 22 – What is "Better"?

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Hello again,

I just re-read all the responses to last week’s post. Incredible. It’s fascinating for me to see first-hand the variety of relationships that each of you has with music.

If there’s one thing that’s clear from your comments, it’s that there are many valid ways of hearing and listening. You’ve reminded me that we encounter music in inter-penetrating, overlapping, simultaneous, independent, and personal ways, and that these ways do not negate each other. Thank you!

But… by now you know me better than to think that I’d leave it at that, right??

People have posted a lot lately about what it is in us that influences our experience of music (i.e., our moods, past experiences, what we’re doing at the moment). Do you think it’s possible to talk about something that in the music and outside ourselves as well?

How can it be that some music is simply (and mysteriously) better than other music? How can it be that certain artists are frequently great over long periods of time? Mustn’t they somehow be superior, more rare, dare I say better?

How can that be? What is “better”?

It’s a slippery one so good luck my buddies! Please help me understand this.

best,
mz

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