Each to his iPod, or great music for all? at the 2007 Battle of Ideas conference hosted by the Institute of Ideas.There is no doubt that music is universal in the sense that it exists in every culture, and that everyone enjoys and responds to it in one form or another, but can any one piece or genre of music ever appeal to everyone? In modern Western society we can choose from countless genres drawn from all over the world. The Western classical canon no longer enjoys privileged status in the musical marketplace. From opera to garage, different genres of music are fiercely defended and identified with by some groups and yet hated by others. At the same time, though, few would argue that all types of music are equal, and most of us want other people to share the music we love.Is any particular form of music truly universal? Can aesthetic judgements escape cultural specificity, or rise above personal taste? Is a Chinese musician who plays Bach embracing something universal, or simply becoming Westernised? Are classical music buffs just another tribe? Or might other forms of music also stake a claim to being universal? And if there are no universals, how can we engage with new and unfamiliar music? - IoImoreless
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