[lit-ideas] Why are the greatest composers all German?

  • From: Eric Yost <eyost1132@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 09 Jun 2006 13:22:21 -0400

At The Valve, Adam Roberts asks, "Why are the greatest composers all German?" He ponders an evolutionary explanation which has provoked many comments.


the various branches of art enjoy long periods of mediocre achievement, punctuated by blazing, tightly-defined (geographically and chronologically) ‘golden ages’, which then go on to dominate the canon or received climate of the art for many subsequent generations.

Why should this be? If artistic ability is distributed evenly amongst the population, as seems likely (so that, let us say, one in two hundred thousands humans has exceptional ability regardless of accident of place or time of birth), we would expect artistic achievement to be spread evenly, throughout time and throughout countries. But this is not what we find. Why not?

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