Fine arts/music

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Re: Fine arts/music

Post by grapesmoker »

Opera clearly is classical music. The only reason it's separated from the perspective of subcategories is because lots of people write opera questions from plot clues, which results in music yielding ground to literature, effectively.
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Re: Fine arts/music

Post by theMoMA »

Is that a serious argument? The distribution is constructed so that painting and classical music have a privileged 1/1 place. The rest of the arts, which are by no means reluctantly tacked on, have their own 1/1. These questions don't compete against each other at all. So...huh?
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Re: Fine arts/music

Post by Muriel Axon »

Sulawesi Myzomela wrote:I don't really like this line of reasoning, simply because I bet I can find seven-year-olds who know more about Beethoven's 5th than, say, "A Day in the Life." That doesn't mean that McCartney is all of the sudden as askable as Beethoven, but the difference is much more complex than "rock music is popular therefore it can't be art" or anything like that.
I wasn't saying that rock isn't complex or that it's not art because it's popular or anything like that. What I was saying is 1) rock is still one of our dominant musical forms today; people will get questions on a lot of rock and pop music just be being alive in America, which is not the case for classical music; and 2) it often takes more careful study to say anything intelligent about most classical music than it does to say anything intelligent about pop or rock music. You can debate how relevant these are to including a fine arts question on McCartney, but I think it makes sense in the context of what Mike was saying.

The argument about what is art is pointless in this context. Nobody is saying "anything artistic should be included in fine arts" because on the communal level at which quiz bowl's norms operate, "artistic" is an empty term. This is not a battleground for competing aesthetic philosophies, and we need somewhat firmer standards than just "hey, write questions on anything artistic."
Last edited by Muriel Axon on Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fine arts/music

Post by Stained Diviner »

Andrew, even so,
If you have a set number of fine arts intrusions, and you don't use them to write about jazz, sculpture, architecture, photography, film, and music theory, then there will be fewer questions on those topics, and there already are a small number of questions on those topics, so decreasing that number is bad.
It looks like the options are either displace fine arts to write a bad Paul McCartney question or displace trash to write a good Paul McCartney question. I suggest going with the win/win.

There also is the option of writing a good McCartney question and calling it fine arts even though it has pop culture in it, but the only thing that accomplishes is displacing fine arts. If you don't want to displace fine arts, then don't do that.
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Re: Fine arts/music

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

Leucippe and Clitophon wrote:Questions on painting and classical music are good. A portion of the distribution is set aside for them, which is good. Sometimes other things intrude on that part of the distribution out of necessity, because that's the only way to get some jazz, sculpture, architecture, photography, film, and music theory into quizbowl. (Opera could be labeled classical music if push came to shove, but depending on who you ask it may be seen as an intrusion on classical music.) Including a little bit of those minor arts topics is worth it, though there is a real downside in that there are fewer questions on painting and classical music, and questions on painting and classical music are good. The more intrusions you allow, the fewer questions you get on painting and classical music, so only allow the intrusions that you really believe deep in your heart are necessary to make quizbowl legitimate, because otherwise you are decreasing the number of questions on painting and classical music, which is bad.
While the general point of this post is a good one, this part isn't entirely correct: in many if not most good tournaments, fine arts as a whole is guaranteed 3/3 per round (1/1 painting, 1/1 music, 1/1 things that are not those things) so that entirely legitimate things like sculpture and opera and film and what have you can be asked about without resulting in fewer questions on painting and music.
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Re: Fine arts/music

Post by theMoMA »

Leucippe and Clitophon wrote:Andrew, even so,
If you have a set number of fine arts intrusions, and you don't use them to write about jazz, sculpture, architecture, photography, film, and music theory, then there will be fewer questions on those topics, and there already are a small number of questions on those topics, so decreasing that number is bad.
I'd like to see the fine arts distribution encompass the disciplines that constitute fine arts. If jazz weren't present in the fine arts distribution, and we added it in, it might displace a question on the other "other arts" topics. But this wouldn't be bad because jazz is art.

You're arguing in a circle here: if you start with the ironclad assertion that something isn't art, then obviously putting it in the arts distribution is "bad." But fiat declarations have no value of demarcation, and that's the whole problem. The puzzle is how something like The Godfather is art while something like The White Album isn't. Or, to frame it in your terms, why is it "bad" that a tossup on McCartney that will undeniably draw from the players' pop culture knowledge could displace various other categories, but it's not "bad" that a tossup on The Godfather with similar elements of pop culture could do the same? (These examples might not be perfect, but just imagine a popular film and a popular musician with exactly the same artistic value; why should only the film be art?)

I have offered up the idea that, if a person or work (1) has artistic merit and (2) clues exist that can test that merit in a meaningful way, it can be in the arts distribution. This (at least to me) seems altogether more consistent and useful than saying "some popular forms of artistic expression are fine for the arts distribution but some are not."
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Re: Fine arts/music

Post by Stained Diviner »

Maybe I'm just simplistic, but my advice is to put The Godfather in Your Choice. Don't put it there because you have to. Put it there because you want to.
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Re: Fine arts/music

Post by grapesmoker »

I don't think that we'll ever come up with some kind of ironclad demarcation here, so I'd like to offer a contrary, more pragmatic take on this. For the record, if we're discussing art in the abstract, I'm an enthusiastic subscriber to Andrew's position. But we're not discussing art in the abstract, we're discussing art as it pertains to quizbowl. And the idea behind the arts distribution is to shine a light on a number of specific topics: painting, sculpture, classical music, opera, film, jazz. This is fiat at some level because we're never going to solve the art demarcation problem to anyone's satisfaction, so we have to pick what we want in. The issue with opening the arts distribution to questions on Paul McCartney is that you run the risk of allowing that to swamp the distribution. That is, if people know that they can write just tossups on McCartney for art and get away with it, they will likely do so. For this reason, I'm happy to exclude Sir Paul from the arts distribution, not because I have any strong opinions on his aesthetic merit, but because I think it's valuable to have a distribution focused on those things I outlined above. I wouldn't lose any sleep over an occasional art tossup on him, but I think if that occurs, it should be very much the exception rather than the rule. In other words, I would tell people, unless you know what you're doing, don't write art tossups on McCartney. If, as an editor, I got a really great one, sure, I would keep it. But I want to leave that discretion in the hands of people who know what they're doing, not open up the whole category.
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Re: Fine arts/music

Post by PeterB »

I think it's also important to consider this from the player's perspective, as in, who's going to get which toss-ups. I mainly sit around waiting for the classical music toss-ups and get relatively few of the others, and given that there's only one per packet (plus occasionally an opera one in the misc. fine arts) I'd be pretty pissed off if something like Paul McCartney, who isn't really going to be the focus of anybody's classical music studies, came up regularly. Okay, fine to throw in a curveball like that once or twice a tournament, but it's not really testing the knowledge you want to be testing, which is pretty much what quizbowl seems to be about. And it's not like lit, where there's 5 toss-ups in a packet, so one being a bit unusual isn't going to affect anyone's game too much. So yes, there are borderline cases where you could make an argument for introducing them, but it's much better to stick to the obvious ones when writing the classical music questions - there's so much that's so rarely asked about, and I'm sick of hearing about Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony, the canon's hardly been exhausted yet.
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Re: Fine arts/music

Post by Muriel Axon »

PeterB wrote:I think it's also important to consider this from the player's perspective, as in, who's going to get which toss-ups. I mainly sit around waiting for the classical music toss-ups and get relatively few of the others, and given that there's only one per packet (plus occasionally an opera one in the misc. fine arts) I'd be pretty pissed off if something like Paul McCartney, who isn't really going to be the focus of anybody's classical music studies, came up regularly.
I don't want to get mired in this debate again, but I will note that very few people are arguing that McCartney should be included in the classical music distribution. Some people are saying it may sometimes be permissible to include him in the other fine arts distribution, under limited circumstances.
So yes, there are borderline cases where you could make an argument for introducing them, but it's much better to stick to the obvious ones when writing the classical music questions - there's so much that's so rarely asked about, and I'm sick of hearing about Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony, the canon's hardly been exhausted yet.
At regular difficulty (and below) tournaments, one would ideally want a large percentage of questions to be converted, so it is not always desirable to try to exhaust the canon. There probably are cases where perfectly accessible topics have not been used in classical music, and you can and should write questions on those topics.
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Re: Fine arts/music

Post by Kwang the Ninja »

The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man wrote:On that criterion, a question about Harry Potter that talks about its plot obviously would not be academic, while a question about Harry Potter that only contains references to Harry Potter scholarship obviously would be academic.
Yes, this in theory correct, just as in theory there is a "Real" out there that we can experience without language but I'm still forced by the way reality works to call grass "grass" and trees "them tall browny things". In the practice of actual quizbowl your "Harry Potter in academia" question is gonna turn out with six lines of references to papers written by sixth-rate adjuncts from schools no one's ever heard of* (aka, clues that frustrate everyone or invite frauding) and one line of early 2000's-era NAQT giveaway using cutesy/pop culture-y clues (which would make it at best mixed academic, not fine arts). The reality is that while Harry Potter/Beatles/Elvis/Who's the Boss criticism exists it is in the decided academic minority so we should no more write questions on those subjects than on Tayeb Salih or Stephen Hero or 11th century Byzantine politics or whatever the hell the scientific equivalent of those would be. Arguing otherwise is irresponsible and only results in quizbowl becoming more removed from actual study than it already is. Sorry if you study pop culture academically and this offends you but I read Ambiguous Adventure three times last semester and I'm still waiting to answer even a bonus part on it. If quizbowl got bogged down trying to represent everybody's pet subjects it would be, like, the least fun game ever.

*I guess you could use that Bloom essay but that'd be pretty dumb, seeing as how Bloom's whole point in that essay is that Harry Potter sucks compared to pretty much every work of literature ever
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Re: Fine arts/music

Post by Cheynem »

I love Tayeb Salih! Since I've actually read the guy in multiple courses, I was under the impression he was legitimately a big deal.
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Re: Fine arts/music

Post by The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man »

Firstly, I was only trying to make a theoretical point with the Harry Potter thing. I used that theoretical point to support the proposition that there would be nothing wrong with having a question on Playhouse 90 in the FA distribution of a hard tournament. Your gripe distorts my point entirely.

Secondly, there should be questions on Tayeb Salih in hard tournaments once in a while.
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Re: Fine arts/music

Post by Cheynem »

PLAYHOUSE 90! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
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Re: Fine arts/music

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas »

Kwang the Ninja wrote: The reality is that while Harry Potter/Beatles/Elvis/Who's the Boss criticism exists it is in the decided academic minority so we should no more write questions on those subjects than on Tayeb Salih or Stephen Hero or 11th century Byzantine politics or whatever the hell the scientific equivalent of those would be.
Who's the Boss scholars haven't really effectively answered "Who's the boss?" anyway.
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Re: Fine arts/music

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Yeah, since when was Tayeb Salih trash?
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Re: Fine arts/music

Post by Adventure Temple Trail »

The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man wrote:Secondly, there should be questions on Tayeb Salih in hard tournaments once in a while.
Regionals 11, Gaddis II, and Penn Bowl 09 don't cut it for you?
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Re: Fine arts/music

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

RyuAqua wrote:
The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man wrote:Secondly, there should be questions on Tayeb Salih in hard tournaments once in a while.
Regionals 11, Gaddis II, and Penn Bowl 09 don't cut it for you?
I think he's just affirming that there should, in fact, be questions on Tayeb Salih where appropriate.
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