A choir member sent me this video:
He makes some interesting points and uses a lot more math than I’m comfortable with in my daily life, and of course it’s absurd to suggest that we can only hear twelve tones in an octave. Maybe he can only hear twelve tones in an octave…
Anyway, the bigger part of the answer that he missed is that there only needs to be about fifty years worth of music.
Yes, the only thing that matters, in terms of variety in music, is the experience of each individual. Nobody’s judging the meta-quality of music all over the world based on the amount of variety we have. Each of us has a limited time during which to engage with music. So, there is zero chance that any one of us in his or her lifetime will have enough time to listen to or read or perform any more than the barest sliver of all that’s out there.
It’s a bummer to think of all I’ll inevitably miss. But it’s also thrilling to know absolutely, definitely, for sure, that I’ll never stop discovering pieces I love!