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Philosophy question


analogman1

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Hello foax...

the "Professional Envy" thread propelled me back into the thought process of something I often struggle with..."VALIDITY" of art, or music in particular.

Example: A guy comes from a WEALTHY family...has no family to support or responsibilities other than "practicing". So he becomes a great player of Chopin....but can't groove on a simple 2-5-1 progression. It takes him hours and hours to learn something...but he has the TIME and resources to do it...but can't improvise.

How does his "art" compare to the person, like myself, who has a million things to do...support a family, work umpteen hours a day..and still find time to play, even in the wee hours of the nite? My "art", or discoveries, come in fleeting moments, and are usually very spontaneous.

Can the 2 types of artisits co-exist on this planet?

Or has the Analogman blown a fuse?? :)

Big T from NY

Tom

Nord Electro 5D, Modal Cobalt 8, Yamaha upright piano, numerous plug-ins...

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Sorry, I´d like to dismiss that reply...I thought I read something into your question that wasn´t there...I don´t understand the question anyway..is it about people who practice are cheating..? ..or people who play classical are not as good artists as people who improvise..? Or life in general just seems unfair..? Well, I´ll let you in on a secret: there is no such thing as fairness in life...
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IMO, there's room for both type of musicians- the studied type, as well as the spontaneous improvisational type.

 

While I have no data, I suspect the classical world is more populated by the first group, while the jazz and rock world has more of the second type. It's probably a matter of self-selection, of doing what you're good at.

 

I also feel that with time, and work, those in the first group can improve their improvisation...

Tom F.

"It is what it is."

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We need one kind of musician to create the music, the other kind to play it back. :D

 

The contrast is good, as a point of reference. Ideally a lot of musicians would fall somewhere in between, thus have the strengths of both ways.

"shit" happens. Success Takes Focus.
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I've discovered that many of the highly educated, wealthy musicians (who are sometimes called human sequencers) look down upon those of us who improvise, use chord sheets, and create unique and spontaneous music. Not all of them feel this way, but sadly, many. It's part of reality.
When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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Art isn't defined by who performed it. Its defined by who listened to it, and did it move them in any way? I feel it doesn't matter if the guy's single, rich, one-handed, college-trained, Lebanese, gay, old, young, etc; did his/her performance move his/her listeners? :cool:

My two scents worth...

 

EDIT: This is why I don't normally get too involved with the discussions along the lines of (a) well, they used Pro Tools, (b) is BT really a musician, © he hasn't paid his dues, etc. Its the effect on the listener that counts.

Botch

"Eccentric language often is symptomatic of peculiar thinking" - George Will

www.puddlestone.net

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Originally posted by analogman1:

Can the 2 types of artisits co-exist on this planet?

They can and they do.

 

Big T, Chopin had his moments. Someone that can perform Chopin's compositions is not only skilled; they also have a high degree of concentration and physical stamina. However, sequencers and sound editors have made perfect performance less important in the scheme of things. Anyone who owns a computer can turn a sloppy performances into something that's much closer to perfect. You can even compose and "perform" (a Midi performance that is) music you wouldn't actually be able to play if you had to.

 

I agree with the other poster's comment. Composers and performers have different challenges. Some performance majors will get advanced degrees in performance and never compose a piece of music in their lives. They will never know that satisfaction.

 

At any rate, the creative path you're on means more to you than the path someone else is on. And why second guess it? You probably don't have much choice in the matter anyway. ;)

 

I kind of like this Eric Johnson quote:

 

"...nothing is ever going to replace somebody's own inner enjoyment and love that they get back from their dedication and work in music. Sometimes, because the grass looks greener on the other side when we chase after mirages, we think maybe there would be something else. And then all of a sudden we realize we've got things turned inside out. You can always have faith in and lean on your talent. Let your spirit stay unbroken."

 

Eric Johnson (May 1986 Guitar Player interview)

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'Validity of art' comes when the check clears for a performance ... and not a minute sooner. :cool:

 

There are always folks born into wealthy families who seem to have things easier than the rest of us. So what? You play the cards you are dealt and don't waste time thinking about others who might have it easier.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Pipe organists are a good example of folks who can do both. Improv is a required part of the gig, at least at the top - but so is flawless performance of highly complex pieces.

 

J. S. Bach was a brilliant performer and improviser. But his genius as a composer wasn't really discovered until Mendelssohn came along 60+ years later and revived some of his works.

 

Creativity and precision are not mutually exclusive...

 

Daf

I played in an 8 piece horn band. We would often get bored. So...three words:

"Tower of Polka." - Calumet

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I think the person who said something to the effect "art is in the eye (ear) of the beholder" hit it on the head - if someone enjoys a compostition or performance then it has some artistic value.

 

I have worked with some formally trained people who played with great technique but who lacked soul. And people who could read like crazy, but could not vamp to save their soul. And self taught players who played with more passion than I can describe, but could barely tell a G from a C.

 

I respect them all in different ways and consider them all "valid artists"

 

On a personal level, I admire someone who overcomes hard times and adversity more than someone born with a silver spoon - but life ain't fair and I try not to begrudge people who were born into more affluence than I was.

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Art is anything called 'art' by its creator. After that point, the observer gets to judge for him/herself whether they like that art or not, and quibble about nonsensical reasons why. :D

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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Since when does wealth equate to someone who can read music but not improvise? I know lot of low to middle income people who fit this description?

 

Conversely, do only poor musicians know how to improvise? If I'm not mistaken, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, and Billy Joel have done a little improvisation here and there, and they're not hurtin' for money as far as I know.

 

This whole thread seems to have some sort of class discrimination undercurrent that distracts from the main focus. Yes, we all have different amounts of free time. We also have different amounts of raw talent. One player may take two years to learn a piece that another can play after one listen. Life isn't fair.

 

We all have a set of resources, and these resources have an impact on our eventual level of success and proficiency. But there are other factors. Efficiency is important. We all know someone who has created a lot of great music, art, whatever with limited gear and/or limited skills. They made the best of what they had while others may have squandered a lot of time and money.

 

Other salient resources include passion, creativity, dedication, and the ability to network effectively. If you have lots of time and financial resources, but you lack vision or passion or discipline, you're not going to get very far. But if you have these essential ingredients, then you don't need to have ten hours a day to practice. You'll make good things happen regardless.

 

Here are two thoughts to consider. In an upcoming Denzel Washington movie, DW's character says, "There's no such thing as tough. You're either trained or untrained. Which one are you?"

 

Are you trained or untrained? How can you better prepare yourself? How can you gain the skills that you need to get the best out of your own set of gifts and resources?

 

Second thought - I have a beautiful book of photographs by a prominant Australian photographer named Ken Duncan. At the end of the book, Ken talks about his equipment and techniques, and he offers this bit of advice for aspiring photographers who want to develop their skills: "Stop talking and start taking."

 

I believe very stongly that it's not the amount of time or money or gear that we have that makes the difference. It's not even our level of God given talent. It's our daily and weekly decisions to sit down and write or play or record or whatever it takes to arrive at our goals. If you're sitting on the couch watching American Idol, how is that helping you move closer to achieving your OWN dreams?

 

To paraphrase Mr. Duncan, stop planning and start playing. You will enjoy great success if you'll commit yourself to take consistent, effective action, week in and week out.

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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I think I get where your going with this, Big T, although the "wealth" piece does confuse the issue a bit.

 

I played in a band with a guitarist who loved to learn everything note for note. Everything! Including his solos. And it had to be just like the record. He was really good at this, and playing in a garage, or recording in his home studio, he could sound unbelievably good.

 

But live? Oh, god. He couldn't groove to save his soul. And if anyone in the band made a mistake, or he made one, it took him four freakin' bars to recover from it. Absolutely drove me NUTS, and I'm really glad not to be playing with the guy any more. :(:eek:

 

The sad part was, he probably put more time rehearsing alone into the tunes than the rest of the band combined.

 

--Dave

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

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let's face it: aristocracy always has a head start and leg up on the recongition and cultivation of talent. But history and genetics have shown again and again that talent itself doesn't discriminate.

 

Plenty of rich boys and girls play a mean jazz, BTW. It's been at least 50 or 60 years now that jazz has been recongized as America's chief contribution to "serious music," and not just a celebration of the carnality of "negroes" (which charge has since been levelled at rhythm and blues, then rock and roul, then funk, then disco, then Hip Hop, then...?)

Check out the Sweet Clementines CD at bandcamp
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True story:

 

Vladimir Horowitz once transcribed one of Oscar Peterson's pieces. When told of this, Oscar said: "He may know what I play, but he doesn't know WHY I play it."

 

;):D

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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Originally posted by mate_stubb:

True story:

 

Vladimir Horowitz once transcribed one of Oscar Peterson's pieces. When told of this, Oscar said: "He may know what I play, but he doesn't know WHY I play it."

 

;):D

I wonder- Horowitz was an exceptional case, for sure- but it's true classical players rarely have much grasp of theory- Horowitz wouldn't know WHY Stravinsky or Bach wrote what they did either, in a technical sense. But there are other reasons WHY!

A WOP BOP A LU BOP, A LOP BAM BOOM!

 

"There is nothing I regret so much as my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?" -Henry David Thoreau

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Originally posted by Ted Nightshade:

Originally posted by mate_stubb:

True story:

 

Vladimir Horowitz once transcribed one of Oscar Peterson's pieces. When told of this, Oscar said: "He may know what I play, but he doesn't know WHY I play it."

 

;):D

I wonder- Horowitz was an exceptional case, for sure- but it's true classical players rarely have much grasp of theory- Horowitz wouldn't know WHY Stravinsky or Bach wrote what they did either, in a technical sense. But there are other reasons WHY!
Ted, the few first class classical pianists I know have a very good grasp of theory.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Originally posted by analogman1:

Example: A guy comes from a WEALTHY family...has no family to support or responsibilities other than "practicing". So he becomes a great player of Chopin....but can't groove on a simple 2-5-1 progression. It takes him hours and hours to learn something...but he has the TIME and resources to do it...but can't improvise.

How does his "art" compare to the person, like myself, who has a million things to do...support a family, work umpteen hours a day..and still find time to play, even in the wee hours of the nite? My "art", or discoveries, come in fleeting moments, and are usually very spontaneous.

Can the 2 types of artisits co-exist on this planet?

Or has the Analogman blown a fuse?? :)

Big T from NY

Analogman - I can understand your bitterness for not having enough time for music, but this vision of the (music) world has no roots in reality. Not all 'schooled', or even classical, musicians came from wealthy families. There are not two types of artists, one well-educated and rich, and the 'regular' guy, which is more 'spontaneous'. I know I struggled to became a good musician, without having a wealthy family behind me. I also accepted to be in one of the most insecure professions in the world, simply because I loved music so much that I couldn't think of doing anything else. To this day, I am rather broke, even though I have had better moments moneywise.

 

About classical musicians not being able to improvise, that depends mostly on how music education is set, and it has nothing to do with wealth.

Sure, I know a few musicians who came from rich families, and they have had a golden carpet all along their way. It would have been the same in any other field. What could I do? Just go ahead and make music. It's a matter of choices.

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