THE GREATNESS OF THE GREATS. “A few years ago, when I was talking to a group of students, one of them asked why I teach the books I do, and I replied simply that they are among the greatest ever written. Later one of my colleagues told me she experienced the thrill one hears when a taboo is broken, because it has been orthodoxy among literature professors for some three decades that there is no such thing as ‘great literature.’ There are only things called great literature because hegemonic forces of oppression have mystified us into believing in objective greatness, whereas intrinsically Shakespeare is no different from a laundry list or any other document.”
I think this can also apply to great works of music. I have found most students believe that “good music” is simply a matter of taste and that there can be no such thing as artistic merit. I think the author’s viewpoint can also be applied to music history/appreciation courses as well.