Gifted Musicians?

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Re: Gifted Musicians?

Postby MrAstro » Fri Nov 20, 2015 7:53 am

Would anyone call a classical concert pianist a gifted musician? I know a lot of people that would and I certainly would.

What does a classical concert pianist do? They look at a sheet of music with a transcription from a composer like Mozart or whoever and they play it note for note. They did not write the music - they may not have composed anything in their life. They may or may not bring the piece to life - therein lies the skill and musicianship.

So I like playing Chet numbers. I'm only really learning that style so I don't play that well necessarily. If I read a tab with a transcription of a number Chet wrote or arranged (Chet often arranged a tune another person wrote) does that mean I'm not a musician or worthy of some applause at a public performance?

The classical pianist would get applause - what is the difference? I would say there is no difference at all.

Think about the following terms. Performer, Composer, Arranger, transcriber. - they are all musicians. It's much the same in lots of professions eg. Tax Accountant, Financial Accountant, Management Accountant, Insolvency Accountant etc are all still Accountants - but they have specialised within their field. You can be a jack of all trades as well if you want but then you are a generalist and may or may not be as good as the specialist within his particular niche. That doesn't mean I think it's better to be a generalist or a specialist it just depends on your personal preference and interest.
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Re: Gifted Musicians?

Postby DagerRande » Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:07 am

Stan, I agree with you that the music should be “brought to life”. However, the same could be the case with tracing a picture. There are varying degrees of expertise in both cases.

My theory is that it's a case of conditioning. If one had been raised with public performances of picture tracing being common, then if a performance had been done well, it would merit applause.

On the other hand, without this “conditioning” it would be considered absurd, regardless of how well the picture had been traced and “brought to life”.

Yet, even a mediocre job of performing while reading music seems to bring applause.

I could extend this to ANY area of performance. There are all sorts of skills that could be exhibited publicly. Those that have had a history of public performance would garner applause as long as they don't “suck”. Other skills, that are not known to be performed, would be laughed at or considered absurd even if done extraordinarily well.
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Re: Gifted Musicians?

Postby Norm » Fri Nov 20, 2015 9:37 am

Musicians look at other musicians too deeply sometimes...

The audience, they're not professionals. They just love music. It isn't necessary to play over their heads to be admired.
__Les Paul


Same applies to tracing... the audience just want to be entertained

Critics criticize...
...that's how it looks to me...The opinion expressed above is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of this station. Your mileage may vary...

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Re: Gifted Musicians?

Postby DagerRande » Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:22 am

Norm, my problem is that the responses on this thread seem to be defending reading music, as if I were putting it down. I do see a difference between a classical pianist reading music and learning a piece (the good ones never read while they perform) and someone reading it WHILE they perform, which would be more analogous to tracing on stage.

The response I'd like to see is why a very skilled picture tracing performance wouldn't be respected and applauded? I don't think it would be taken very seriously.
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Re: Gifted Musicians?

Postby pattie surman » Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:07 am

Twice a week I play solo guitar in an upscale restaurant. A few weeks ago an elderly couple were celebrating their anniversary, they seemed to be very much in love.The man approached me and asked if I would play their song Ebb Tide.Not having played that song in thirty years, I never read when I play, I pulled out my fake book and because I studied for so many years I added a chord to every melody note. When they left , he thanked me and handed me a ten dollar bill. It made no difference to him that I read that song. It's the music that matters.I think it was Chet who once said "play the music not the notes". Stan.
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Re: Gifted Musicians?

Postby DagerRande » Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:36 pm

Stan, the fact that people don't care HOW a song is learned makes my point.

However, they DO care HOW a picture was "drawn"! Why?
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Re: Gifted Musicians?

Postby jdrpicker22 » Fri Nov 20, 2015 5:19 pm

Nobody has ever built a monument to a critic. Early on I learned a lot of Chet tunes through tablature. Now I can play those same songs note for note like Chet did, or I can improve them and play how I feel it, which is more enjoyable. I can kinda read music. At a rate of I bar per 5 min, but I don't because my ear had gotten stronger. My little sister can play piano by ear and sight read, I envy her because learning new songs is a breeze, I have to hear it a few times and work on the "right" way to play. In my show people like hear Chet songs the way Chet did them, because it reminds them of Chet and the "good ol' days" so I do some Chet tunes like he did them, but I also play my own stuff as well. I consider myself a fingerpicker, I want my overall musical ability to be at its top so I work on many styles and stuff, all to help become a better musician. Chet was the same way, he helped build fingerpicking into what it is today, but he could play anything. Recuerdos de la Alhambra to Mrs. Robinson. That's why we love Chet.
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Re: Gifted Musicians?

Postby Norm » Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:31 pm

DagerRande wrote:
The response I'd like to see is why a very skilled picture tracing performance wouldn't be respected and applauded? I don't think it would be taken very seriously.


The problem there is that I have never heard of an act based on tracing a picture. Free hand art, spray paint art, a pretty east european girl does amazing sand art on light table, I've even read about a guy who makes startlingly realistic replicas of american currency using a pen. There are even art forgers who can copy the Masters with chilling accuracy...

But I never heard of anyone trying to book themselves as a picture tracer. I think that's part of the problem with your original post. You propose something that is not likely to happen. And who knows... some of those guys who do large scale copies of famous artworks or persona on large canvasses or boards may have tracings the audience can't see but the artist can

And it did sound like you were knocking musicians who used written music onstage to some of us, obviously.
...that's how it looks to me...The opinion expressed above is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of this station. Your mileage may vary...

Audio samples: http://www.youtube.com/user/acountrygent/videos
That should do it.
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Re: Gifted Musicians?

Postby DagerRande » Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:36 pm

Norm, the picture tracing was only a hypothetical analogy. I KNOW that IF it were "performed" that it wouldn't gain the respect that reading music during a performance would and my basic question was why not? It seems like a difficult question to answer....lol. I've seen no evidence of even an attempt....only support for reading music.

I'm not one to stir up anything and this thread wouldn't be as long as it is if it weren't for me sincerely trying to get an answer!
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Re: Gifted Musicians?

Postby MrAstro » Sat Nov 21, 2015 2:32 am

DagerRande wrote:Norm, the picture tracing was only a hypothetical analogy. I KNOW that IF it were "performed" that it wouldn't gain the respect that reading music during a performance would and my basic question was why not? It seems like a difficult question to answer....lol. I've seen no evidence of even an attempt....only support for reading music.

I'm not one to stir up anything and this thread wouldn't be as long as it is if it weren't for me sincerely trying to get an answer!


I don't really have an answer.

At first I learnt Chet's stuff using tabs. I recently challenged myself since I was always an ear musician and taught myself Nashtown Ville using my ear - but it helped to use tabs to learn Chet's style and chord voicings on other pieces first - otherwise I doubt I could have done it.

When I learn from a tab I can't play the song in one take without completely memorising it because I can't flip the page. The memorisation of the entire piece note for note is the most challenging thing for me because I don't have the best short term memory. I eventually get there by memory but it takes a LOT of repetition to get through an entire Chet piece from beginning to end.

Having said that, philosophically why is it somehow worthy of more praise to be able to do a simple memory trick ie. learn all the notes by memory because that's all it is - a memory trick. If you can play it perfectly with the music in front of you then you have the technical skills and you can put 'feeling' into the piece or make it swing. You can do it by memory and essentially have the same performance it is just sans music...

So if the only difference is memory, is that such a big deal other than the fact that aesthetically it sort of interferes with a performance having a sheet of music in front of you? But isn't that is sort of a shallow reason for thinking it's not a worthy performance? [EDIT - and what do you think the musicians are doing in the pit of an orchestra - they are often sight reading...]

Actually music is a performing art - so that is probably the difference between doing a tracing and performing music. A lot of the art is simply in the performance - not taking away from people who write their own material as well but that is a separate skill. With a few exceptions graphic artists are not generally performers - they exhibit their work after it has been created.
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