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  1. Wow. Op was right, reading comprehension really is a problem for you. I never defined it solely as technical competence. Never once. If you're going to try and counter my arguments at least get them right. If you want to be pedantic about overkill, be my guest. Pick another word that suits you that means "the dB level of Y is greater then the dB level of X; such that no human ear can perceive X." It still doesn't invalidate the argument. The facts are there whether you choose to believe them or not. The science is intertwined with this art whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. And, if you actually understood anything about the variety of processes through which composition happens, you would understand the meaning and ramifications of that union. But you don't, so you can't see it. And you hate that it doesn't jive with your little philosophy, so you refuse to acknowledge it. The fact is you are unable to provide a rebuttal backed by fact to the two points of evidence I provided. Factual proof that supports my argument. What supports yours? A few inaccurate guesses at how my profession works? Oh, wait. You chose to counter by nitpicking a word choice and you didn't follow it by addressing the point. Nice deflection attempt. Resorting to that tactic pretty much tells me all I need to know. If you're going to form an "academic" opinion about the details of my profession, you need to actually learn how those details operate first. Until you do that, you are guessing and assuming. Sorry if that upsets your little "I have all the answers" apple cart. I'd say deal, but I get the feeling you don't really know how.
  2. That's the original discussion topic in this thread - you can't objectively decide whether Martin is better than Jordan or vice versa,the same with Bach and Mozart. The whole "better" concept in this context is pretty useless IMHO. Right, PiotrekS. But the reasons for "something" being liked by people are different. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with whether or not that "something" is artistically solid. I really don't think the comparisons are very practical. What initially raised my hackles was the "everything is subjective" cry. Because, brutha, that it ain't. Edit: I can't lie. Your Egwene quip was really funny. I lolzed.
  3. Possibly objectively provable. Subjective. As for your defense of the OP, I suggest you review his posting history, including his posts in the threads that inspired this one, before determining who exactly is doing the "bashing" and which posters want "to open an intelligent discussion." Finally, if you review my posts, you will see that I mention the existence of certain objective measures, for example measures of sentence complexity and vocabulary. Using those measures, do you seriously suggest that Jordan would grade-out higher than Martin? Really? In any case, those measures most emphatically DO NOT add up to the measure of the overall artistic merit of a work of litertaure. They CANNOT do so, as the context you are so enamoured with includes the way in which a work is experienced BY THE READER. Anyway, Dickens wrote some God-awful sentences. What should we take from that? Possibly objectively provable? No, not possibly. Definitely. Here is your proof. If you assign a line to an instrument with the idea that it should be audible, and then you proceed to place it in a register of the instrument that has difficulty competing in volume, or possess a timbre sympathetic to another instrument (see the harmonic series again for the math and physics of it), or if you create a volume imbalance in the accompaniment (overkill, see the next point) it becomes very provable and objective. What you don't seem to understand is that this has meaning and a consequent impact on the value. If you don't believe me, go and score a melody for flute in it's first octave only. Assign the accompaniment to the brass at a forte dynamic and see what happens to your flute in the concert hall. Subjective on the next point? Care to back it up with something factual? You are incorrect and clearly out of your depth on comp/orch. Here is the proof. At a given decibel level the volume (the dynamic) of the accompaniment will overtake the volume of the instrument carrying the melodic line, rendering it inaudible - overkill. That is not opinion. It is FACT. Come on, it's grade-school science! This is bad orchestration - a flaw - because you are doing something that runs counter to your goal. And it's based on science as much as it is on artistic principles. Is it really that difficult to understand? Funny how I keep offering up facts I can prove and you keep offering up blanket statements - the very thing you maligned the OP for. In fairness to you, I only read the opening volley of posts. You stepped in right quick and, in my subjective opinion, not very positively. If it turned bad after that on his part then you have my apologies for not following the entire thing. For the record, I never suggested one author was better than the other. I actually stated that I don't believe comparisons between artists serve much purpose outside of teaching. I never suggested that all of the value of a work falls solely on it's technical execution. I said it's a big part. And if that part is done poorly enough it CAN impact the value, and there ARE methods for objectively determining if something is botched. Are they less effective or non-existent in literature? Maybe. I suggested earlier that somebody who teaches it weigh in because I really don't know. It's why I've refrained from commenting on it. I'm not a writer so I don't pretend I know how creative writing is taught. I could guess at the parameters (and probably well) but I don't have the expertise to back it up. Sort of like you commenting on the specifics of orchestration and composition, maybe? You also seem to think that I call this in black and white. Far from it. It's a spectrum. In most cases the occurrence of said flaw is clear cut. Where it becomes subjective is in assessing how much value a flaw is taking away from the work. There, at least, we do not disagree.
  4. Logain's Pet, PM me and I'll send you something. I don't maintain a site with my concert works. We'll have to agree to disagree on the remainder. I will say, though, all the people in the universe can believe a thing but that still does not make it true. If everyone believed 2+2=Pi would they all be correct? randsc, you are incorrect and I'll prove it. As I stated earlier, context is terribly important. My argument is that to accomplish a work at the highest possible level of execution requires both intangibles and technique. While technique is not the ONLY necessary element, it is still a very necessary element because it can dramatically affect everything else. And it is indeed possible to judge aspects of a work based on this. Here are two examples that you should be able to grasp. 1) You have just come up with a great melody. You've decided to create something out of it with the orchestra as your medium. During the orchestration phase you consistently assign instruments to carry the line outside of their useful registers, while providing accompaniment material that is overkill from a dynamic standpoint. As a result, the melodic line cannot be heard and your great thematic idea fails to fulfill its purpose. Result: Poorly written. Your goal was to make this great melodic line the central feature, but your INCORRECT orchestration caused the melody to be obscured. You have just done something very wrong...very ham-fisted. The principles of orchestration (which go hand-in-hand with composition) are as much science as they are art. Sum of 1/n, n=infinity and all that fun stuff? It applies here in a very real and concrete way. This isn't opinion - group or otherwise. It's physics and biology. You can buck convention but you can't buck physics and win. Physics will bitch-slap you into next week every time. 2) I ask you to write a hymn in 4-part harmony. You can choose any harmonic language you wish, but...and this is VERY important...you must adhere to the contrapuntal design and concept behind 4-part writing. In other words, I want four unique and musically independent voices that still work together as a whole. You come back to me with something in non-functional tonality and you manage to move each line independently for 97% of the piece. However, in random places, you have allowed parallelism to exist. Result: Poorly written. Your goal was to write independent voices working together as a whole. By allowing parallelism OUT OF CONTEXT (told you that was important) you have effectively removed the independence of one of the lines. Parallelism creates an effect that the human ear translates as a loss of independence - a group didn't decide this, nature did - and it's the reason that, IN THAT CONTEXT, it is poor writing. Do you need me to do the math for you, too, or are you calculus-capable up to infinite series? These examples are blatantly obvious truths and realities to anybody who knows this business in the least. Doing something that runs counter to your goal is an objective FAIL. Both are very clear errors that, if present in a work, are flaws that weaken it. As you can see, they are easily quantified by math, physics, biology, and logic. The composer ignores these things at his own peril. Think what you like, but flaws that have nothing to do with opinion (or group opinion) can and do exist. They can also have enormous impact on the whole of a piece to the point where they can drain it of any merit it may have had. And a piece CAN BE JUDGED, at least in part, by these things. So the OP, while perhaps expecting too much from the endeavor, was not deserving of the heat he was given. Especially when I can sit here and make potent, defensible arguments backed up by factual data and that parallel aspects of his. Facts that solidly refute some of your arguments. Note that I do NOT entirely disagree with you. You've made some very excellent, valid points. But, really, give the guy a break. He is at least partially correct and deserves credit, instead of your bashing, for wanting to open an intelligent discussion on a topic whose depth is often grossly underestimated.
  5. Yes, there IS objectivity. You are talking about aesthetics. I'm not. I talking about the two things that constitute a work: the idea and it's execution. But don't take my word for it. Go and read what Aaron Copland had to say about it. He is one of America's greatest composers and he wrote an entire book on the subject. I would have to type a novel to properly address all of the response. I'm not going to do that. What I will tell you is that if you believe there is not a direct link between somebody's technique and the ability to turn an artistic thought into a piece or art, then you are sadly mistaken. The two are very, very rarely able to be separated from one another. PiotrekS, I will specifically address your point because it requires a direct answer. Bear with me to the end. There is an "it" factor in composers. Some have really great ideas and no clue how to execute them (lack of technique). Some have technique out the rear end but have ideas that just aren't very exciting - Kael, this is what you were talking about. The latter is almost always a lost cause. The former composer can learn - through technique - to harness their ability and turn those ideas into something masterful. Without technique the chances of either one producing anything of high value are extraordinarily slim. It basically comes down to luck. For other arts I can't say, but given my knowledge of my craft, and about what other composers do and have done, there is no question BOTH elements are required if somebody is going to rise to the highest level of execution. And the point...in the above process there ARE OBJECTIVE, QUANTITATIVE THINGS INVOLVED THAT ALLOW FOR CRITIQUE AND CRITICISM. I'm only pointing this out because the OP was so maligned when he originally posted. Excessively so, in my opinion. Logain's Pet, the idea that something isn't a masterpiece unless people like it is a false statement. The statement is similar to another line of logic that is just as false: Artist X sold 50 million CDs, therefore they must be talented. It's just...false. So is the idea that what is good today is crap tomorrow. That's a rather narrow view tied, inexplicably, to the idea of style. Mahler's 5th Symphony would still be a masterpiece even if nobody ever heard it, and despite being rather old, it's value has not diminished one iota. I cannot answer your final question in a way that will satisfy you. I don't mean that in an elitist way. I just mean that for my answer to make any sense at all, it would require you to have theory knowledge. PiotrekS, to your first point. I personally don't believe that comparisons between two artists are particularly useful. They serve little purpose outside of teaching. What and why a person likes a thing is, without question, subjective. My point was more to rebuff the many that are screaming that there can be no objectivity, specifically, quantifiable objectivity, in a work of art. Well, in composition at least, that is pure bunk. To your second. Yes, all composers break the rules. It is generally encouraged - once you learn what you're doing! Maybe this will help Logain's Pet's question a little, too. As a composer it is IMPERATIVE that one understand what effect breaking those "rules" has. If one breaks rules just to break them the thing most likely to break apart is their career as a composer. If one breaks them to achieve something...well...that is what your teacher was talking about. And he was right. THAT is how music moves forward and evolves. But, and this is the BIG but, how does one know when to break them and when not to? Well, that requires a deep understanding of them. Sometimes it's fundamental and easy. Sometimes it's sophisticated and subtle. Nevertheless, if one doesn't know them, breaking them becomes an exercise in displaying one's incompetence to the world. And, right to the heart of my point, the understanding of the "rules" and what they do IS PART OF TECHNIQUE!
  6. I find it tremendously amusing that so many of you think that artistic works can only be judged subjectively. I'm a composer. Formally trained. I've been both writing and teaching how to write for quite some time. If you give me your newly inked piece to examine I can point out, with precise objectivity, flaws in any number of areas. And I mean things I can quantify. It's objectivity about your handling of technical aspects, and whether or not they function in the context you have created. That italicized bit is a tremendously important point. This is not objectivity about your core idea. That is relegated to subjectivity. BUT your technique is the shaping force for your ideas - for better or worse. As a result, these very objective things have a very direct bearing on whether you've created a meisterwerk, a turd, or something in between. Surely similar technical measures exist in literature? How else would creative writing be taught? Anybody here teach writing that can confirm or deny? The point here is that one who is intimate with the process can MOST DEFINITELY say, objectively, when something is weak and be correct about it. That doesn't mean it's bad to like it. You might like it for reasons other than artistic merit. I like plenty of "bad" music for a variety of reasons. However, that has absolutely no relation to whether or not something is well or poorly crafted. And that is something that can be deconstructed and examined subjectively, by objective measure, and in quantifiable terms.
  7. Is it just me or does Rothfuss resemble Zack Galifianakis? If he writes half as well as Zack is funny then the books would be a great read.
  8. And live their whole lives in terror of informers and secret police, who can haul them away and torture them to death at any time, without explanation or recourse. Not to mention all the grovelling to their superiors they'd have to do on the way up. And risk of brutal punishment if they don't grovel enough. You also forget that in most of Randland commoners can rise very high too. Thom's family were peasants, we have seen chief advisers to the Borderland monarchs who were of common origin, we have heard of Andoran consorts ditto,Ituralde, etc. There were a multitude of Amyrlins with backgrounds of extreme poverty, etc. And what about Seanchan slavery? Not just of channelers, but general hereditary slavery, huh? Or doesn't it count if it isn't based on skin color? Yes, there are a few fortunate, privileged slaves like Selucia or Karede, who were selected for exclusive training and important duty, but what about the rest? And as we have also seen with Egeanin and Domon, the extremely rare manumitted slaves can never be social equals of freeborn Seanchan. I am all for bittersweet endings and true Breaking at the end of the 3rd Age, but I would hate it if unchanged, continent-spanning Seanchan Empire were the future of Randland. Their multi-generation extreme vindictiveness re: Aiel in the vision only underscores how unpleasant they are. Fortunately, I don't think that Aviendha's vision is a real or even likely future. For one thing, _all_ the main characters would have had to die within the 20 years post-TG for it to be possible. For another "remnant of remnant will he save" prophecy would have to be false. IMHO, it is more in the nature of a warning, constructed fro Avi's own knowledge, questions and fears. And that, Jeangray, was maybe the best post I have ever read! Amen and thank you for saving me the job of typing it up! @Diederichos: Yeah it's just a story but, after a fashion, it's also a work of art. Art should move you on some level. Many levels if it's good. It's perfectly reasonable to shed a tear if something moves you that way.
  9. Caemlyn itself isn't critical. Andor as a whole is critical as far as needing space to pass an army through. Even Morgase couldn't maintain the west from Caemlyn and she wasn't at war with anybody.
  10. I don't disagree with your claim that she has reasons. But wanting to do it and taking the risk are two different things. If her aim is to bring all of Randland to heel, the logical attack would be at Illian. Taking some of the nations to the utmost north and south of Randland, with the Mounts of Mist to protect her middle, would allow her a legit shot at collapsing the central nations. And I'm not saying she'll do that. There aren't enough books left! I think the most likely thing is we get another meeting with Light Rand and he cedes Illian to her - "The south and west..." Anyway, not Andor regardless of how much she might want to - because the cost of such a strategy, despite what you believe, would be extremely high. You're also taking Turen(sp?) at his word that there are that many troops. He was talking to Ituralde. Would it not occur to you to make that bluff to a general who is confounding you? Even if it was only a slim hope of getting him to give up? And I'll ask again, how many damane for that many gateways at once? Hm? You're also not considering (or are not aware of) the difference in difficulty of holding, then striking out from, a hill surrounded by the enemy versus a strategy of taking nations that would allow for (semi)encirclement of the Dragon's forces. So, I'll explain - only slightly less extensively this time - IF she attacks it will be to serve as a literary vehicle through which Rand "binds" her. And in that case, it WILL be a strategic blunder on par with Hitler's. It's not a good strategy, Terez. Not by the measure of anything done in war, which was something RJ was intimately familiar with. @Suttree. Yes strong but not strong enough to send anything more than what amounted to a large raiding force, though a rather nasty one. And I'm not saying you don't hit strong points. I'm saying you don't break your forces on THE strongest point.
  11. No way. The strategy (if you can call it that) of throwing your attack against the strongest point is sheer idiocy by any standard unless you have 1) absolutely no other choice, or 2) you feel comfortable throwing away the lives of your troops, or 3) are using it as a feint. Familiar with the invasion of Normandy? We had no choice and paid a huge price. Alexander specifically NOT trying to take Persia by sea? Why do you think we dropped atomic bombs on Japan instead of invading? I can go on...and on...and on. The Aes Sedai, to Tuon, are animals. To her they were likely not viewed as the strongest point. More likely it was something along the lines of a den of wild dogs needing leashed. Also, there are really no nations close enough to be a quick backup for Tar Valon to call on. A raid just like they attempted made sense. An attack at Andor doesn't make a lick of sense whatsoever. The Seanchan might outnumber them by 2:1, maybe even 3:1. But no general with half a brain is going to leave everything else undefended to make the assault. With as much land as they hold, that would reduce available Seanchan troop levels enough to make it a very bad idea. In addition, if you look at the map, the Seanchan would be carving out a territory that is surrounded on all sides. Unless you think they'll attempt to take the whole of Andor all at once? Tar Valon and the Borderlanders to the north, the other nations to the south, the rest of Andor to the west, Cairhien to the east. Whatever they take they wouldn't be able to hold for very long. So, you hit Andor, have no supply chain behind you for support, lose half your troops to gain a victory, only to lose what you've taken a short time later. Meanwhile, the Dragon is Traveling troops into the cities you left abandoned. All that in order to gain your victory? Not likely. RJ was a soldier. He knows this stuff. Attacking Andor is basically asking to get your ass handed to you. IF we see an Seanchan attack on Andor it will be precisely for the reason somebody else mentioned - to have Rand beat The Nine Moons down enough to bind her as the prophesy says. Still, even that would be an incredible waste of words when so much else needs to be told. And, if RJ made the Seanchan out to be this badass military force I find it extremely difficult to believe he would have them make this huge of a strategic blunder. (Yeah, yeah, Hitler did, but Hitler had more than a few screws loose.) And I'll add this in case anybody starts squawking about Traveling. Let's say they do make the attack and use 500K troops to "ensure" victory. How long would it take to move that many troops through gateways? How many damane would it take to make enough gateways to do it quickly enough to avoid being slaughtered? I doubt there are enough with enough strength. Where do you stage all these troops without anybody noticing? Maybe you could use damane for gateways to resupply. But again, you're talking about huge numbers of people that require tremendous amounts of supplies in order to mount a sustained defense of Caemlyn which would be bound to happen. And now you have an arc that's dragging out chapter after chapter with and one book left to finish the saga. Again, not likely.
  12. Bait I assume you mean to attract Mat? Had she not given Thom the letter before her departure, nobody would have any idea she's alive - including Mat. The Finns shouldn't have a reason to think Mo would be bait for anybody. Aside from the fact that they can see the future? Or at least, the Aelfinn can. The savor, of course. It may just have to do with him being ta'veren - that might be something like a delicacy in 'Finnland, though it seems they have trouble handling more than one at a time - but it might also be that Mat has something in particular that they want. In any case, they don't get visitors very often, and they obviously thrive on them. Right, the Aelfinn. But not Eelfinn (as far as has been shown or even alluded to). The Eelfinn seem the other side of the same coin to me - dealing more with the past (via memories). To your second point - the savor - I can see that one. I was thinking more about the issues you mentioned with two at a time. One at a time, though, you may be right. With any luck we'll have an answer soon!!!
  13. Bait I assume you mean to attract Mat? Had she not given Thom the letter before her departure, nobody would have any idea she's alive - including Mat. The Finns shouldn't have a reason to think Mo would be bait for anybody. But let's assume they manage to put together dynamic puzzle pieces that are existing in another dimension; why try and bring Mat back to Finnland? To what end? Seems far fetched to me. But you usually have something interesting to point out, so I'm all ears.
  14. 1. The scene in tDR when Perrin walks in on Moiraine and realizes (after 2.5 books) that she's a hottie. 2. When Birgitte is forced from Tel'aran'rhiod in tFoH - not the scene with Moghedian, the one after it. The aftermath. Very moving to me in all aspects. Maybe that qualifies as a common one? It seems like the chapter before it might get more attention. Great thread!
  15. Its because Fain is unique to this turning. So therefore, the result can be different because of that unique variable. And doesn't one of the Forsaken mention that this is going to be the last Last Battle. I REALLY wish I could remember where I saw that. Yeah, I know there is counter evidence and I know it was being spoken by a Forsaken. However, the Forsaken have been shown to be correct in what they believe is true when general Randland consensus on a subject is inaccurate. Just sayin' it's a possibility. One I would personally welcome. If this turning had more or less the same outcome as every other turning, what would be the point of writing the story in the first place? The same old ending would be pedestrian at best. Plus the repeated references to this being just another turning are almost screaming "red herring" IMHO. Maybe I'm wrong but I sure hope not. Guess I'll find out in March of 2012.
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