User:JDWpianist

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JDWpianist, editor
UserCross.jpg This user is a Baptist.
MT-g+ This user is a music theory geek.
MH-g+ This user is a music history geek.
This user wrote his dissertation on Beethoven. You can ask him anything! Stieler Portrait Ludwig van Beethoven.jpg
This user plays Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier daily[1]. Johann Bach.jpg

That's Dr. JDWpianist to you!

Hello everyone! I'm a classical musician, teacher, and musicologist living in Vienna, Austria. I'm happy to be here, making contributions to topics in which I have a special interest:

  • Music (Composers, Piano, Orchestra, String Quartet, Opera, Choral Music, Music Theory, Music History, Orchestration, Musical Semiotics, Ethnomusicology, Hymnology, Jazz, Rock)
  • Austrian culture, history, and politics

If you have any suggestions or substantial issues with my edits, please drop me a line and I'd be happy to discuss them. And if I ever don't reply or edit for a few days, it means that I've stopped procrastinating.

The principles behind my writing and edits are simple: truth, clarity, verifiability, and reasonableness.

My unsolicited input on blocking policy

My Sandbox

Contents

Leo Treitler on certainty and truth

It is not at all necessarily the same to be certain of something as it is to regard something as being true. There are all sorts of things--matters of fact or feeling or action--about which we may be certain although they may not be judged either true or false. That is mainly because our judgements about them are contingent upon our experience and present circumstance, while true propositions are those that we expect to hold in all circumstances.

"The Power of Positivist Thinking" (1989)

Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, or The Magic Flute

Here's a fantastic Youtube clip of the "Three Boys" from Mozart's Magic Flute. In one of the great paeans to The Enlightenment, the three boys in this opera (technically a Singspiel) sing about a peaceful future free of superstition and ruled by reason. It's a shame that 200 years later, we're still not there yet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1km_1_SDVU

This clip is from a legendary 1983 performance by the Munich opera, with the incomparable Lucia Popp singing the role of Pamina.

Opening Text:
Bald prangt, den Morgen zu verkünden
Die Sonn' auf goldner Bahn.
Bald soll der Aberglaube schwinden,
Bald siegt der weise Mann.
O, holde Ruhe, steig hernieder,
Kehr in der Menschen Herzen wieder;
Dann ist die Erd' ein Himmelreich,
Und sterbliche sind Göttern gleich,
Und sterbliche sind Göttern gleich.

Soon, heralding the morning
The sun will shine forth on its golden path.
Soon superstition shall vanish,
Soon the wise man shall triumph.
O sweet repose, descend,
Return to the hearts of men;
Then Earth will be a realm of Heaven,
And mortals will be like Gods,
And mortals will be like Gods.

After this introduction, they encounter Pamina, who is on the verge of suicide. They reproach her for this unnatural and immoral act, and convince her to go with them to see her lover Tamino.

A Word to Students about Wikis

It is my sincere belief that students who follow the links on this website are already showing a great deal of curiosity. A wiki article can be a good place to satisfy one's desire to learn, but in this editor's opinion is even better as a jumping-off point for further learning.

The reason why an encyclopedia requires sources, and why wiki administrators ideally are very strict about requiring footnotes and extensive bibliographies, is not only to prove that the information is verifiable, but to give the reader a hint as to where more detailed information can be obtained. It is even more ideal if the sources point to books, where a subject can be learned about in depth.

It is both a blessing and a curse that the internet has allowed the curious such quick ways as wikis to read an overview of a given subject. Before these wikis became popular, one needed to go to a library, open an encyclopedia, and then follow the references to other books in the library. This method took much more time than doing an internet search, but the advantage was that the books mentioned in encyclopedia articles were often close at hand in the library, and once one had found a desired book in a particular section of the bookshelves, there were often several related books in the same area. Of course all of this would be too much for the student to take in in one day, but they would know where to look if further research was ever necessary.

Compare this with a wiki, where an article can typically be longer than one in a bound encyclopedia. It's possible to completely satisfy one's curiosity in around ten minutes. The problem is, it gives the illusion of completeness. One needn't go to find books on the subject, because the article seems to say it all at first glance, whereas the library method lets a student know that any subject has a great wealth of information written about it.

As an editor here at Conservapedia, I do my best within my area of expertise to give a reliable summary of the scholarship on a particular topic, a good entry point for a student who is curious to learn more. I must emphasize though, that all wikis are inadequate: they oversimplify, they contain bias, and there's a great possibility that they contain errors. This is why following the sources is always a good idea. A book on a subject, or a more specialized encyclopedia, will most likely be written by an expert, who has spent his or her life studying the topic they have written about. As with any human, the writer will also have biases, but a bias based on an in-depth knowledge of the subject is preferable to an ideological bias that imposes an oversimplified worldview on every subject they opine on.

An expert can tell you exactly where their knowledge begins and ends, but the ideologue will proclaim himself an expert on everything. The ideologue proves his simplified view of the world with circular logic, dismissing any evidence that does not fit his view as irrelevant. About this kind of person, Geoffery Chaucer had already understood and deflated their arrogance over 600 years ago. Out of the whole cast of Canterbury Tales, he perhaps reserves the most scorn for the character of the Monk, of whom he writes, "And I said his opinion was right; why should he study and lose his wits ever poring over a book in the cloister, or toil with his hands and labor as St. Augustine bids?" [2] In other words, the Monk did not need to read a book, because he was already correct in thought; he did not need to waste his time fulfilling the church's commandment to do good works and give to charity, because he was already correct in deed.

In summary, don't forget that the brick-and-mortar library is still the ideal place to learn, and that whatever can be found on the internet is still only a tiny fraction of what is out there. Let your curiosity be your guide, and most of all, do not put all of your trust in one website for information.

References

  1. That's not an exaggeration either!
  2. translation by Gerard NeCastro http://www.umm.maine.edu/faculty/necastro/chaucer/translation/ct/01gp.html
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