What is Art?

Is there are difference between “entertainment” and “art"? Are the two experiences different? Separating the two is problematic as it is foolish to think that Art is not entertaining, but that doesn’t mean that there are not two different types of experiences. The problem is with using the term "entertainment" to describe the non-artistic experience. I prefer to use the term craft in describing that which is not Art. Does Art exhibit craft? Yes, of course it does. What I am speaking of is the balance of art and craft and defining that which has a high percentage of art, as Art (uppercase) and that which contains a low percentage of art is Craft. But more importantly is the recognition that these two types of expression are not static in time. The difference between Craft and Art rests with what is challenging to the observer versus what is merely beautiful. So, for example, a work by Mozart may have been Art in the beginning but over time it has become Craft. If it sounds perfect, it has become Craft. Under this definition the difference between a pop song and something by a “classical” composer is the time in which it takes to move from being art to being craft. A pop song might be art for a few days or decades before it becomes craft whereas a string quartet by Beethoven may take a century or more. If a piece of music allows a listener to simply sit back and enjoy it, it falls in the craft category. If it can elicit active listening (listening in which one can still be surprised by the directions it takes or puzzled by those directions) it is art. Michelangelo sculptures may still produce awe in the viewer but that does not make them art. They may have been art at one time, but if they no longer challenge, but instead reaffirm ones ideas of beauty they have become Craft.

Film music can be very well written, so exhibits great craft, but is non-intrusive enough not to interfere with the film, thus not really falling under the category of Art. No value judgment is meant by these two terms. While my goal as a composer is to write Art Music, it does not mean I think that Art Music is somehow more valid than Craft; it just means that when I go to a concert I am bored with Craft and stimulated by Art, thus I would rather compose that which I would most like to hear. Others prefer to experience bliss. Only Craft can do that for them because bliss will only come by an art form that reaffirms rather than by one that challenges.