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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000004.txt from 1995/01

From: "Dan Leeson: LEESON@-----.EDU>
Subj: On the matter of taste
Date: Mon, 2 Jan 1995 05:47:53 -0500

Elaine Thompson posted an interesting note in which she expressed
a personal preference for Schifrin as opposed to Stolzman. It was
a strong view, but there is nothing wrong with that. I mention
that it was strong only to note the fact, not to find fault with
the strength of Elaine's opinion.

I think that she realized that her views on this matter could
well be responded to with a "That is the most ridiculous ...."
flame and so she wisely said that "All flames will be cheerfully

First, this is not a flame. Second, it is not even an argument.
Third, it is not a disagreement with her view (though I happen
to hold a different one, and what that is is of not consequence
to this posting). Instead is a brief message on the subject of
taste, or personal preference; i.e., the voicing of opinion.

I often notice that postings of opinions on this listing are
accompanied by preparations for self-defense and I can't figure
out why people are so ashamed (too strong a word, but I can't find
another at the moment - it's early) of holding an opinion.

Mistating a fact is another thing entirely. For that, one is
lucky to survive this listing. If, for example, it is suggested
that the Mozart concerto was conceived of for tenor sax originally,
death will come flying across the airwaves. (We had one of those
a couple of months back when someone suggested that the Mozart
concerto was offered to be originally for viola. No joke!). But
anyone who would argue with someone simply because they prefer
one player over another is equivalent to arguing about whether or
not it is decent human behavior to enjoy asparagus.

Elaine, the only time you will get real trouble expressing an
opinion on this listing is should you express it as if it were
a fact. ("There can be no doubt that the Weber concerti are,
absolutely and without question, the finest examples of the
clarinet repertoire, and anyone who does not agree with this
statement is an ignorant pedant!" Oh boy, will that get one
into trouble.) One could explore further with you your statements
as to how you reached the opinion you offered, for I found them
very unclear. But the bottom line is that you don't need anyone's
permission to hold any opinion you want to hold. When people poke
at you for having a particular opinion, should you be unable to
defend that opinion with some good reasoning, you will lose
credibility, to be sure.

Now there is a purpose to all of this oozing of olive oil on my
part. Personally, I like opinion very much, even those that
conflict with mine and I think there to be a great deal more
room on this list for a greater volume of opinions than we get.

Instead, what we seem to be getting over the past month or so,
are constant repetitions of boring, boring, boring, re-requests
for "What is the best kind of reed?" or "Which clarinet barrel
should I buy that will make me sound like Frank Cohen?" or
a lot of other technical stuff that, personally, causes me to
fall asleep when I read them.

It is not that such items are unimportant, but rather that this
should not be the sole purpose of this listing, and, furthermore,
some of them have been discussed 10 times over the past two
years. Newcomers to the list should spend a week going over
past listings to see what it is we have talked about before
bringing up the same old subject again and again. A lot of
really good players on this list who have something substantive
to say in a variety of disciplines for which they hold the
status of experts, are speaking to us less and less because the
topics are repeating themselves. If I want to repeat myself,
I'll work on the Kroepsch studies.

I can think of at least 6 people from whom we have had no
substantive posting for several months. This listing is like
a marriage. We have to keep asking ourselves if we are getting
boring to our partners? Some of the recipients of this list must
feel that way because they are no longer responding.

I am looking forward to a lot more opinions like Elaines and a lot
less constant repetition about which reed to buy.

That is just my opinion folks. Flames will be cheerfully ignored.

Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California

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