One can distinguish a culturally valued aesthetic response to music's intrinsic syntax from a culturally devalued aesthetic response to music's more extrinsic meaning. Experts probably hold a highly syntactic aesthetic ideal. By some accounts, novice listeners hold a less syntactic, more romantic ideal. If so, two aesthetic styles would coexist in musical culture, with experts broadcasting their syntactic ideal to the culture and listeners echoing it in their ideas of musical greatness. However, novices would have a musical split personality—with romantic preference at odds with the expert ideal, but a syntactic ideal of greatness congruent with it. An analysis of American classical music culture of the 1940s (using preference, eminence, space allocation, and musical performance data on Western composers collected by Farnsworth, Hevner-Mueller, etc.) confirmed these predictions. The results indicate the importance of nonsyntactic responses to listeners and suggest further research on these aesthetic dimensions which the culture's syntactic focus has orphaned. Such research might illuminate another cultural phenomenon—the rejection of contemporary music by audiences.


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