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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bob Dylan; on judging and liking

As I said earlier, I love music but I am not a connoisseur in any way. Even of my favorite group, The Beatles, there are many songs I hardly know. The same counts for classical music - I love Beethoven symphonies but play me a random movement and I will probably not be able to tell you from which symphony it comes; and he only wrote nine, so basically that is not even 40 ditties to store in memory.  Fandom is for some reasons  not attractive to me. I am, maybe, a lazy listener.

That is the reason why I continuously make new discoveries by which many people are astonished -  not because of the discovery, but because of the fact that I only discover it just now, and not thirty years ago. So recently I started to listen to Bob Dylan. Of course I know many of his songs, often second-, third- or fourth-hand, because he wrote so many classics. But hearing them from the man himself now is my recent discovery. I find him a great singer, a great songwriter, and quite a good guitarist as well. But it is especially the singing I like. Seldom you hear someone sing with such confidence and dedication.

If I would be a reviewer it would be my task to find the right wordings to express the impression Dylan's singing makes on me; to try to express my taste in order to convince others to take over my judgment. To be precise: that could be one of two of my reviewer's tasks; to convey the reasons why I like this music. The other one would be to convey my judgments about the music. 'Liking' in terms of - probably - beauty (unless you think beauty is a judgment), 'judging' probably in terms of quality. Nice/not nice; and good/not so good.

In an earlier blog entry I stated that, whereas you can disscuss judging - good/not so good - endlessly (matters of taste which may be 'good' or 'bad'), discussing liking - nice/not nice - (matters of personal taste) makes little sense; and liking is therefore probably also something you cannot teach.

Nevertheless, nothing human is alien to me. So I said to one of my cherished bandmates that I listened to the "Essential Bob Dylan" (the sampler cd I bought) but before I could start stating how much I liked it, assuming - as it goes - that my bandmate would share my 'taste', he said: "The essential Dylan? That must have been incredibly short." I weakly attempted to say something about why I thought Dylan so good, but then realized the point was not so much talking about 'good', about judging, but about 'nice', about liking.

So I decided to shut up. There is nothing wrong with showing who you are by stating what you like. But there is no sense in trying to teach others to become you.

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