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  1. #101

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    On the other hand, I don't like much Woody Allen, BUT he has one movie scene that captures the absurdity of the lay expert (and critic): He has some know-it-all in a movie line (queue) discoursing on Truffaut...who is standing in front of the know-it-all in line with a quizzical expression.
    I believe it was Marshall McLuhan in 'Annie Hall'


    Play it again, Sam... has even better scene about it




    I have no problem with art critics like John Ruskin or Kenneth Clark...

    You see for me point is that it is not abut criticism...

    It is about how people take art in their art... as a competetion, as sports, as fun, as life, as civil position, as business, as medicine, as narcotics, as service, as hard work, as the only true reality, as religion, as the way to immortality... many many options..

    And that's how it works... people get in the system where the Art is an object itself, they work with it as if it is selling or advertising furniture... I like good furniture but that's not it...

    But people may be in it quite comfortable... they get involved in arts as a kind of social occupation, you may be getting paid or not, you may have success or not.. it does not matter - if you tend to treat it as social position there will be a role which would allow you even to suffer quite comfortably if needed... you'll get a job. You'll be an expert, you'll be in trend. Or out of it... Whatever...
    It concerns not only critics, but also artists and art admirers...

    You can get a biography you know.. you cannot truel say... I want to be a critis, gifted critics just what they - they penetrate things... Ruskin did critics like arts.. he based the whole life philosophy on arts crticis, it was his life that he paid for it..


    I try to go to Venice every year, and sometimes I get there on Bienalle - occasionally... it's good possiblity to see palaces closed in usual time - they use them for exhibiations...
    That's where you can see it working right now...

    Vistors, criticas, artists - they all play their role... if they're not idiots then - well - they are good businessmen...

    They stay in the middle of the hall and I listen to them and I almost physically feel that they all are like in a shell - they cannot get out of it...
    Critics do not really make opinion, they just choose position and then invent arguments, visitors try to follow the trend and try to rely not on the first impression but on what is advised to be admired... artists in their play fantastic games...
    It's so convinient today to be an 'artists' - you take no artistic risks at all... you do not challenge anything in yourself...
    just play around some stupid social things from outside...

    But not all who critisize and not all the artists are such... not all the audience is like this too..

    I am not prejudiced against modern arts at all.. there are lots of things that I like in it.

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  3. #102

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    [QUOTE=Jonah;723837]I believe it was Marshall McLuhan in 'Annie Hall'

    Ha, Ha....you're probably right. Probably it was Truffaut's writings as critic/maven about Hitchcock which may be leading me to misremember, and making me think Allen was riffing on that. Never read Truffaut's criticism, but some of his films, e.g. The Green Room, were underwhelming.

  4. #103

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    Ha, Ha....you're probably right. Probably it was Truffaut's writings as critic/maven about Hitchcock which may be leading me to misremember, and making me think Allen was riffing on that. Never read Truffaut's criticism, but some of his films, e.g. The Green Room, were underwhelming.
    Bunuel in his autobiography (great reading by the way)... mentiones that Woody Allen invited him for this cameo part... but he had some things scheduled already, but even if he did not he would not have accepeted this offer. (a phrase quite in his style).

    Woody himself said that he wanted Ingmar Begman to participate which was obviously absolutely impossible...

  5. #104

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  6. #105

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    It's a tricky one. I do think it's ok to say like something, and not like something else so much. Pro musicians tend to be a bit cagey about expressing a negative opinion in public these days as it's a small world, and most musicians respect the work that's gone into someone's music even if the result isn't to their taste.

    Otoh there are musicians who are quite bitchy about other players in private. I used to be more of a bitch but I've chilled out.

    Miles (who could slag players off with the best of them, funnily enough) said: 'if you don't like something ignore it.' I think it's pretty good advice.

    It's an important part of being a musician to work out what you like.

    Critics don't concern me. Easy to say before I launch my album and solicit reviews though haha

  7. #106

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    That Yamashita dude ... WOW!!! burning and, unfortunately, unlistenable (I spak about the clip posted by Vintagelive), I really had to try hard not to switch it off. After first 15 seconds, it kinda started ressembling music, but in 15 sec you will adapt to the sound of pack of cats jumping over piano and find some music in it, just as in ticking clock, or water dripping from a broken tap.

    Re Stanly Jordan playing chords on guitar, while soloing on keyboard, IMO, it is far easier thing to do then play proper 2 hand piano, or make some solo guitar (chord melody) going on, not to mention his own 2 hand tapping thing. Doing what he did in that clip is likely a relaxation routine for him.

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  8. #107

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee
    Artists, professionals or just hobbiests, need to have well honed critical skills if they're going to be worth much. Self critical skills first and foremost. Not everyone's going to like everything. I personally like free jazz and am a big Cecil Taylor fan but I consider much of what I hear to be garbage even if it's being done by professionals with big careers playing expensive instruments. And I'm not really on board with Miles' 80s stuff or Coltrane's Love Supreme. But that's just me. It doesn't mean that overall I don't love their music. Visual artists who went through the 1970s NYC conceptual trenches (even as Buck Privates that got killed in action) were forced by both academia and the business to be uncompromisingly critical and imo today's jazz musician/student could take a lesson from this. Being an artist is on some level all about being critical. When a good musician/artist is listening to music, even their own while they're playing, they are making constant critical judgments. I've got a critic friend (an older dude who'd seen Coltrane and Monk among many) who like a lot of guys like that is not hugely into jazz guitar. We were listening once to some Kenny Burrell and he said "Yeah...good old reliable Kenny Burrell." Kind of a back handed compliment but I get his point. Joe Pass prompted him to say "Jeez...great player but let's make some coffee. I'm falling asleep." Ella Fitzgerald brought this comment. "She always sounds like she has no idea what the lyrics mean." Right, but she was about things beyond just "telling a story". Art Tatum? "I love him but a little too much ornamentation for my taste." he said. He felt that Coltrane's tone and soloing could be "hectoring". And my friend was not being mean spirited, he's just got very high standards and will be the first to laud and applaud the above artists. There's a famous scene in a sixties Dylan documentary where he basically "pushes Donovan's face in it". Donovan at that time was sort of a shameless Dylan clone complete with the corduroy hat and a song with the word "wind" in the title. But Donovan apparently learned from the experience, found his own voice and went on to make some great music. Music can be a lot like sports where the opposing team will heckle the batter with barbs like "Easy out. Easy out." Or those ridiculous scenes from British Parliament where the opposition gets derisive and aggressive. Herschel Evans used to tease Lester Young and say "Man, you've got an alto tone. You better start playing alto!" Some young cats in the band with Roy Eldridge were giving him a hard time about not being a great reader. He picked his horn up and held it saying "Look. I'm an artist. I express myself with this thing." If a musician can't take this kind of stuff they'll never make it as an Artist.

  9. #108

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan
    That Yamashita dude ... WOW!!! burning and, unfortunately, unlistenable (I spak about the clip posted by Vintagelive), I really had to try hard not to switch it off. After first 15 seconds, it kinda started ressembling music, but in 15 sec you will adapt to the sound of pack of cats jumping over piano and find some music in it, just as in ticking clock, or water dripping from a broken tap.

    Re Stanly Jordan playing chords on guitar, while soloing on keyboard, IMO, it is far easier thing to do then play proper 2 hand piano, or make some solo guitar (chord melody) going on, not to mention his own 2 hand tapping thing. Doing what he did in that clip is likely a relaxation routine for him.
    How about some Barrios?


    Yeah, the SJ playing guitar and piano is a "shtick" (gimmick). Still fun to watch.

  10. #109

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    zdub..
    "..Yeah, the SJ playing guitar and piano is a "shtick" (gimmick). Still fun to watch"

    one persons opinion of moonlight..

    Jordan is ALWAYS playing piano ..

  11. #110

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    It's a tricky one. I do think it's ok to say like something, and not like something else so much. Pro musicians tend to be a bit cagey about expressing a negative opinion in public these days as it's a small world, and most musicians respect the work that's gone into someone's music even if the result isn't to their taste.

    Otoh there are musicians who are quite bitchy about other players in private. I used to be more of a bitch but I've chilled out.

    Miles (who could slag players off with the best of them, funnily enough) said: 'if you don't like something ignore it.' I think it's pretty good advice.

    It's an important part of being a musician to work out what you like.

    Critics don't concern me. Easy to say before I launch my album and solicit reviews though haha
    My own approach to it is that I don't slag someone making a living playing music. I'm comfortable saying "I don't like" this or that artist, but if they're out there releasing albums and working the boards, they're doing something right.

    Of course I have my own tastes, but even when an artist's music (or art, or writing, etc) doesn't line up with my tastes, I do my level best to acknowledge what talent is involved, simply because art is so subjective. I spent six years managing a custom-framing shop, building frames for art, both original and reprint. One artist I got sick of framing was Diane Romanello, whose work I thought thoroughly pedestrian -- but she sold like hotcakes, so clearly she was touching people enough to drive the dollars. That isn't the metric for what I think of as art, but let's face it: we all have our own metric for what is and isn't art.

    No doubt many people think the music I write is junk, and no doubt others love it. I don't know that it's art myself. I only know that I've got to write it when it comes knocking.

  12. #111

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    Me and my friend Buzzy were discussing which instrument was more difficult to play at a high level, the harmonica, or the tuba. Buzzy knocked over the bong, so we never got to that higher level to find out.

  13. #112

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    My own approach to it is that I don't slag someone making a living playing music. I'm comfortable saying "I don't like" this or that artist, but if they're out there releasing albums and working the boards, they're doing something right.

    Of course I have my own tastes, but even when an artist's music (or art, or writing, etc) doesn't line up with my tastes, I do my level best to acknowledge what talent is involved, simply because art is so subjective. I spent six years managing a custom-framing shop, building frames for art, both original and reprint. One artist I got sick of framing was Diane Romanello, whose work I thought thoroughly pedestrian -- but she sold like hotcakes, so clearly she was touching people enough to drive the dollars. That isn't the metric for what I think of as art, but let's face it: we all have our own metric for what is and isn't art.

    No doubt many people think the music I write is junk, and no doubt others love it. I don't know that it's art myself. I only know that I've got to write it when it comes knocking.
    To be honest I don't believe in 'tastes'... what is taste? To me it's our preferences... but there's something beind it always... these 'tastes' are the product of our personalities... the way we express very complex personal view of the world, life...
    I mean we often refer to 'tastes differ' as to an explanation of differences - though it's not an explanation at all... it's just an affirmation that yes there are different personalities...
    But we say 'it's just a taste' and that's it. But it's not.

    It happens s - I think - because the taste can be excused by others... but if you say 'I find it deep profound meaning ful because ....' People immediately think that their own preferences are considered to be shallow, superficial and meaningless and instead of explaining their ow position they get insulted and begin to distruct yours.

    I suppose that deeply it is based on idea of objectiveness that is still so important in our culture... people often believe that the truth should be one and the same for all (independent on personal views) - but for me this is only conventional notions that we take for truth in this case.
    The truth may be universal... which is a big difference from 'one an the same for all'.
    May be... it's an open issue for me too... here I approach too a question too complex probably for this form of discussion.

    But this causes that people take things much more personal than it was intended...
    They already established and fixed their values... they live under this 'skies of ideas' (as philosopher said)... and then someone says that for him it looks not like a sky but a fixed ceiling and the sky is behind it... they feel hurt humiliated..
    whereas there's nothing humiliating if you really believe in what you're doing and thinking...

    for me it is obvious that any opinion is very personal so even if I critisize something it does not mean that I say: it should not exist, of you should not exist... I just try to show what goes wrong in it according to my system of values... and I do not do it every time but just when it touches the things that are values for me to.
    Even when I say: he does not understand what he plays... it does not mean he is a retarded idiot that should be exterminated. Obviously he has his own undertstanding of this thing, but usually it's taken exactly if it is a personal insult.

    The same thing works vice versa... sometimes people critisize strongly things that are very deep profound and dear to me... well if there's a chance for conversation I can give it a try and show why it seems so deep and profound etc. But if not... what can I do? Only ask myself: why?

    Though the older I get the less I speak it out loud... that's true. I even noticed that I get to be afraid of sying anything at all - even the humblest things - people get so irritated immediately.

    You know... youtube here is kind of primitive mirror for this... there's nothing more disgusting to me than comments on youtube 'who are these 5 dumb idiots who made dislikes'... even when 'dislike' seems absurd for me too...
    people just did not like something, and someone finds it possible to insult them personally for this...

  14. #113

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    Quote Originally Posted by zdub
    How about some Barrios?


    Yeah, the SJ playing guitar and piano is a "shtick" (gimmick). Still fun to watch.
    This one by Yamashita is much more pleasant, but still makes me feel uncomfortable. Should I have any prior idea that he was into alternative approach, post modern, conceptual stuff, or something, I would like it much more. Since I see him as another classical stuff guy, I must admit I do not understand it, since I don't think it's possible for someone whith such a command over instrument not to be aware of the outcome. There must be some idea behind it that escapes me.

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  15. #114

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    How about some Barrios?
    We deffinitely speak from different prospectives...

    La Cathedral is very typical late romantic style piece... to me with a touch of stylistic imitation.

    Barrios here mixes romatic approach with early music ideas... 1) Preludio... playing preludio as the first part is baroque style, but the character or preludio here is much like romantic sigle pieces preludes (Chopenesque)
    2) Choral - mixies church style with typical sarabande movement (just making it in 2/2). Again it sounds much like romantic preludes (20th by Chopin fro example). In romatic period this kind of motivic structure was associated with funeral march. (as was Tombeau in French early music)
    3) Very romantic part... bright virtuoso style soloist piece. Kind of cadenza or finale in romantic style.

    the musical language is very clear and idiomatic in that sense...

    1st part he plays really as if it is some 'enigma' to him.. I don't know why...
    the texture is very typical - it is melody on top with arpeggiated chords with some hidden polyphic voicings.. the harmonic progression is very simple.. abd this is the firs thing to play there.
    But he breaks it all up... he plays these notes as if this is Phillip Glass...

    For me it's like looking at the painting of Titian and see only combination of coloured spots. Colours are important for Titian, but he is not Rothko...

    That exaclty fits my comparison when an actor reads Shakespear in teh language he does not understand... he tries to make some connection in it, to express it.. but for those who know the language - it sounds absurd...

    It's not about the mood or emotion... you can make it more ornamental, more transparent, more mystic... but some basic things should be there first...

    2nd part
    It is stylized chorale... I would say: 'this is the way romantic composers saw Bach'.

    Again he does some expressivenes, he controls the instrument but still he just plays the notes.

    Listen even the first phrase.
    I don't why he starts before the bar - it contradicts the further structure (all the motives on in this part - starts on strong beat) and it changes the chracter very much... this kind of music usually starts on 1st beat. (Compare with Beethovens Funeral march from the 3rd sympnone - where the theme has 'before the bar' structure.. If it is played it should not be played in a relaxed mazurka style phrasing, it is a mornful fanfare originally)
    And then on all the motives and phrasing, dynamics sound occasional...

    The first performance I came across was Ana Vodivic - not that it is something overwhelming - but she does show all the connections and phrasing very clearly..

    But best is Barrios himself - look how simple and clear it is.



    The 3rd part is extremely mechanical.
    Compare how much more flexible melodic lines are in Barrios' performance.

    I can go in more details with a score if you like it.
    Last edited by Jonah; 12-26-2016 at 05:34 AM.

  16. #115

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    I always found it amusing in the classical world whenever I hear the phrase,

    "that interpretation is WRONG"

    The funny part is I've only seen it said when someone is playing something the critic can't play... This isn't a knock against whoever posted above, for all I know you're a great classical player. Ive just seen that situation play out numerous times. I've had it happen to myself. Playing a Bach fugue, there was a spot toward the end where there is a long run which ultimately ends on the final chord. There is a certain irony when a "teacher" who likely couldn't even play the piece informs you how you "should play it". Especially considering I've studied FFFFFAAAAAAAARRRRRR more Bach than he ever had (on Guitar, Keyboard, and Organ).



    BTW, listening to those two performances, I would pick the Yamashita every time. There's no comparison. One you can hear the limitations of the instrument, for Yamashita, there are no limitations.

    Lastly, for those that could only make it one minute into the PIctures, you are truly missing some of the most beautiful moments to ever to take place in the history of guitar (keep in mind that starts at like minute 17 of that piece, the seconds leading up to that are some of the most insanely beautiful moments of music I've ever heard. The thing people don't get about Yamashita. Contrast. He is only able to achieve a pianissimo so quiet (that it's been said he never actually plays the quietest note, yet everyone in the room hears is), is because his fortissimo is so loud it's practically crushing the guitar. His warmest timbres only exist because they are such a contrast to his most piercing. Your highest highs can't exist without your lowest lows.
    Last edited by vintagelove; 12-26-2016 at 06:11 AM.

  17. #116

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    The funny part is I've only seen it said when someone is playing something the critic can't play... This isn't a knock against whoever posted above, for all I know you're a great classical player. Ive just seen that situation play out numerous times. I've had it happen to myself. Playing a Bach fugue, there was a spot toward the end where there is a long run which ultimately ends on the final chord. There is a certain irony when a "teacher" who likely couldn't even play the piece informs you how you "should play it". Especially considering I've studied FFFFFAAAAAAAARRRRRR more Bach than he ever had (on Guitar, Keyboard, and Organ).
    It does not matter at all.
    Of course a critic should have skills in the area he works, but it's not ncessary by far that he should do sopmething like someone or better or whatever... I never ask critics if they can do it just because I find it this question very childish.
    I can see quite many things in the areas I do not have skills as a professional... I do not think I should have skills to make moives to make judgement on movies. It is aesthetic area, final product of arts works not from technique side. It's not needed really to be able to do it, as it is much needed to be able to understand how it works being already done.
    In that sense there are amateurs and listners who understand music much better than professional players or critics, they just cannot express it in conventional terms.


    Another point I never compare personal expereiences degrees and all... I've studied this - he studied that, I do not care. Here's the piece or art in front of us, it contains all that is needed to be explained, it's all there, we put aside our degrees and recomendations - just take a score, sit together at the keyborad and explain each other our points (no need to be virtuoso player for that).

    This is not a knock against you too..

    BTW, listening to those two performances, I would pick the Yamashita every time.
    But why? My question is not provoking... I am really curious, I would really love to know someone's opinion on it in a bit more detail.
    If you do not want this is no problem for me too.. I do not take it as win/lose argument. It's a conversation.
    Last edited by Jonah; 12-26-2016 at 06:19 AM.

  18. #117

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee
    Artists, professionals or just hobbiests, need to have well honed critical skills if they're going to be worth much.
    Great post, but dense :-)

    Artists, professionals or just hobbiests, need to have well honed critical skills if they're going to be worth much. Self critical skills first and foremost. Not everyone's going to like everything. I personally like free jazz and am a big Cecil Taylor fan but I consider much of what I hear to be garbage even if it's being done by professionals with big careers playing expensive instruments. And I'm not really on board with Miles' 80s stuff or Coltrane's Love Supreme. But that's just me.

    It doesn't mean that overall I don't love their music. Visual artists who went through the 1970s NYC conceptual trenches (even as Buck Privates that got killed in action) were forced by both academia and the business to be uncompromisingly critical and imo today's jazz musician/student could take a lesson from this.

    Being an artist is on some level all about being critical. When a good musician/artist is listening to music, even their own while they're playing, they are making constant critical judgements. I've got a critic friend (an older dude who'd seen Coltrane and Monk among many) who like a lot of guys like that is not hugely into jazz guitar.

    We were listening once to some Kenny Burrell and he said "Yeah...good old reliable Kenny Burrell." Kind of a back handed compliment but I get his point. Joe Pass prompted him to say "Jeez...great player but let's make some coffee. I'm falling asleep." Ella Fitzgerald brought this comment. "She always sounds like she has no idea what the lyrics mean." Right, but she was about things beyond just "telling a story". Art Tatum? "I love him but a little too much ornamentation for my taste." he said. He felt that Coltrane's tone and soloing could be "hectoring". And my friend was not being mean spirited, he's just got very high standards and will be the first to laud and applaud the above artists.

    There's a famous scene in a sixties Dylan documentary where he basically "pushes Donovan's face in it". Donovan at that time was sort of a shameless Dylan clone complete with the corduroy hat and a song with the word "wind" in the title. But Donovan apparently learned from the experience, found his own voice and went on to make some great music.

    Music can be a lot like sports where the opposing team will heckle the batter with barbs like "Easy out. Easy out." Or those ridiculous scenes from British Parliament where the opposition gets derisive and aggressive.
    Herschel Evans used to tease Lester Young and say "Man, you've got an alto tone. You better start playing alto!" Some young cats in the band with Roy Eldridge were giving him a hard time about not being a great reader. He picked his horn up and held it saying "Look. I'm an artist. I express myself with this thing." If a musician can't take this kind of stuff they'll never make it as an Artist.
    Last edited by ragman1; 12-26-2016 at 08:05 AM.

  19. #118

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah

    But why? My question is not provoking... I am really curious, I would really love to know someone's opinion on it in a bit more detail.
    If you do not want this is no problem for me too.. I do not take it as win/lose argument. It's a conversation.

    The simplest explanation is because his music sounds closer to what the music sounds like in my head/heart. Also, as someone who has played "virtuosic level" pieces in different styles and on different instruments, it is fascinating to me that there seems to be NO END to his virtuosity. It is truly as if nothing is harder for him than a c major scale. It's most certainly true the limitations are that of the guitar, not him.

    As to why in a bit more detail, let's start with dynamics. Yamashita seems to overcome what is the greatest fault of the guitar. He possesses a full true pppp to F. Most guitarists (myself absolutely included) range from p to mf.

    Tone color, he invokes colors I've never heard before. Textures I've never heard. And that is before you even include REVOLUTIONARY techniques he uses to play things I'm not convinced a human can actually play. Things like simultaneous different tremelos with his index and pinky, while playing the bass with his thumb...

    Fire... some people have this inside them, others don't. For a simple explanation, there are some people who just "don't get" Yngwie (note I didn't say like). No amount of trying to convince them would help, they lack the fire inside them that players like yngwie, Yamashita, holdsworth, tap into. I'm convinced they lack the ability to respond to that particular emotional stimuli.... Back to Yamashita, his playing is unmatched in its ferocity. Regardless of what the technical demands are, he can imagine it into reality. If he wants to play it at 170 bpm, he does it. 200, sure. 250 no matter. The only limitation is his imagination.

    technique... he is unmatched

    musicality... he is incredibly creative. As to whether he follows the score "perfectly" I don't particularly care. First, I don't want to hear the same piece played the same way by every player in the world. Second, I think if those composers could have imagined someone actually possessing the technical ability he does, they would probably compose the piece differently.

    Instrument knowledge. His interpretive decision making demonstrates a complete understanding of his instruments design and ability.



    .......


    All that being said, I can understand why some people don't like to listen to him. But to that i offer this rebuttal.


    His is not a passive listen, it's a roller coaster ride.

  20. #119

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Great post, but dense :-)
    I was wondering about that. I suppose it helps. Thanks.

  21. #120

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    Having finally listened to Yamashita, yes, he has certainly defeated the guitar.

    I can't say I find his interpretation of the Barrios enormously compelling. Barrios himself for example is more expressive while making the odd mistake and fluff. I'd prefer that.

    But I get why people get a bit annoyed at the dichotomy of technique vs. musicality. It's a cliche, and also there are plenty of players that have both. Perhaps his aesthetic is different seeing as he comes from a different part of the world in a different era rather than anything to do with his technique.

  22. #121

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    Absolutely. You don't need to be a Michelin-starred chef to know whether what you're eating is crap or not :-)

  23. #122

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    he has certainly defeated the guitar.
    Hilarious!

    Happy Xmas, by the way. I forgot :-)

  24. #123

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    In general in response to the OP, I put it to you that maybe high level guitar and high level piano are equally hard it's just that what is 'high level' is different.

    Making the guitar to emulate the piano is something else. But from a point of view of making great music, it's not totally laughable to put Jim Hall up there with Bill Evans, is it?

  25. #124

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee
    I was wondering about that. I suppose it helps. Thanks.
    Well, it does a bit. You don't mind? When I saw the great block of text I didn't bother with it. Then I took the trouble to read it and realised how good it was.

  26. #125

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    In general in response to the OP, I put it to you that maybe high level guitar and high level piano are equally hard it's just that what is 'high level' is different.

    Making the guitar to emulate the piano is something else. But from a point of view of making great music, it's not totally laughable to put Jim Hall up there with Bill Evans, is it?
    Well, let's be honest, they're quite different instruments. One is plucking strings, which at high speed is not easy at all, and the other requires two hands and a brain that can handle four separate lines in two clefs, never mind the musical complexity.

    Anyway, I play guitar because I'm just a hippy. Really I ought to take up the violin and be serious

  27. #126

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Absolutely. You don't need to be a Michelin-starred chef to know whether what you're eating is crap or not :-)
    There is obviously a culture around food, though. Some people like all the fancy stuff. Others find the rules around having x wine with food y and so on very constraining.

    Many people simply won't eat certain dishes now matter how well executed they are.

    I daresay chefs, like musicians are up for trying anything, but I don't know many chefs so that might be rubbish haha....

    Also, sometimes you are in the mood for something fancy and sometimes you want a burger.

    Happy Christmas!

  28. #127

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    sometimes you are in the mood for something fancy and sometimes you want a burger.
    Yeah!

  29. #128
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    In general in response to the OP, I put it to you that maybe high level guitar and high level piano are equally hard it's just that what is 'high level' is different.

    Making the guitar to emulate the piano is something else. But from a point of view of making great music, it's not totally laughable to put Jim Hall up there with Bill Evans, is it?
    Yes, that's a good way to consider it all, I mean, it's like comparing the Olympic gold medalist in Cycling to the gold medalist in Sprinting. Obviously the cyclist has machinery to assist in being able to travel faster....

    But I'm also interested in the non mechanical differences. Let's say we believe Hal Galper when he says that the instrument is an illusion. If true musicianship exists in the imagination- the quality of what you hear and how you can express what you hear- then surely there is a way to quantify how developed the musical mind might be in different instrumentalists. Now, we train our musical mind with our instrument, so it can't be a total illusion. The piano creates superior musicians primarily because it is a superior "music teaching machine". Pianists I know are better at hearing, better at transcription, better at discerning rhythm, better at hearing bass lines, better at composition, even better at singing, or can improvise vocally better than other instrumentalists I know. Generally speaking, and based on my own limited observations, granted...

    But I have to ask myself why I think I'm noticing these differences. Is it because the piano is a better "teacher", or is it because better quality "potential musicians" are attracted to the piano in the first place, because they find other instruments too limiting?

  30. #129

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    The simplest explanation is because his music sounds closer to what the music sounds like in my head/heart. Also, as someone who has played "virtuosic level" pieces in different styles and on different instruments, it is fascinating to me that there seems to be NO END to his virtuosity. It is truly as if nothing is harder for him than a c major scale. It's most certainly true the limitations are that of the guitar, not him.

    As to why in a bit more detail, let's start with dynamics. Yamashita seems to overcome what is the greatest fault of the guitar. He possesses a full true pppp to F. Most guitarists (myself absolutely included) range from p to mf.

    Tone color, he invokes colors I've never heard before. Textures I've never heard. And that is before you even include REVOLUTIONARY techniques he uses to play things I'm not convinced a human can actually play. Things like simultaneous different tremelos with his index and pinky, while playing the bass with his thumb...

    Fire... some people have this inside them, others don't. For a simple explanation, there are some people who just "don't get" Yngwie (note I didn't say like). No amount of trying to convince them would help, they lack the fire inside them that players like yngwie, Yamashita, holdsworth, tap into. I'm convinced they lack the ability to respond to that particular emotional stimuli.... Back to Yamashita, his playing is unmatched in its ferocity. Regardless of what the technical demands are, he can imagine it into reality. If he wants to play it at 170 bpm, he does it. 200, sure. 250 no matter. The only limitation is his imagination.

    technique... he is unmatched

    musicality... he is incredibly creative. As to whether he follows the score "perfectly" I don't particularly care. First, I don't want to hear the same piece played the same way by every player in the world. Second, I think if those composers could have imagined someone actually possessing the technical ability he does, they would probably compose the piece differently.

    Instrument knowledge. His interpretive decision making demonstrates a complete understanding of his instruments design and ability.



    .......


    All that being said, I can understand why some people don't like to listen to him. But to that i offer this rebuttal.


    His is not a passive listen, it's a roller coaster ride.
    with all respect.. to me it's all too abstract from music.

    From your post I get the feeling that you appreciate

    - his fantastic control over instrument which I never denied... but control over the instrument is the means.

    - his creativity - which for me again is a bit abstract... there are very determined things in musical pieces that are easily described... I can't see creativity per se... without application to certain musical pieces.

    Actually as I said before to certain degree I can appreciate his Pictures from Exhibition... where probably his skills fall into the right path... this music is too abstract from any musical language (even Russian music)...
    Maybe he would have been good in Xenakis or something like that... something that uses absolutely different musical convention... if he had a chance.

    In traditional repertoire he sounds to me like he is lost and trying to invent something, to estimate some relations basing on very different parameters than this music has as basis.

    Probably it's because of the different culture as Christian said... I have heard many fantastic technicians from Far East who played Rkhmaninov or Bach... and almost always I had very strange alien feeling...

    You know it's like a guy who would come to traditional European house and would try to identify the purposes of the rooms and finally would decide that here you should cook in the bathroom and sleep in the kitchen...
    Maybe he will succeed and maybe it's creative even.. but it's not what the house-builder meant to be for sure.

  31. #130

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    sometimes you are in the mood for something fancy and sometimes you want a burger.
    Yeh... so you come to McDonalds and some creative @@@@ serves you an Entrecote bourdolaise

  32. #131

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    But I get why people get a bit annoyed at the dichotomy of technique vs. musicality. It's a cliche, and also there are plenty of players that have both.
    It comes actually from different side... techical issues are mostly discussed by those who protect these kind of players.

    I have pratly funn but for me mostly sad story... I like 40th Symphony played by Furtwangler (he has two records, I think this one is of war period, not sure).

    Whenever I put it one to someone everybody laughs and think that I put it to mock Furt because of the slurs violines make at the beginning...
    The same thing I had with Konstantin Lifschits playing Musical Offering... poeple think I put it on to laugh at his muddy 'pedal work'...
    I get so lost at these moments that I do not even to go on with explaining...

    So who speaks about technique...

  33. #132

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    We deffinitely speak from different prospectives...

    La Cathedral is very typical late romantic style piece... to me with a touch of stylistic imitation.

    (long post snipped)

    I can go in more details with a score if you like it.
    Thanks for your post. I always enjoy a careful analysis of a complex tune, regardless of my personal opinion of the performance.

    As for Ana Vidovic, I love her playing and I think most of us here would agree that she is quite pleasant to watch!

  34. #133

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah

    "Sounds to me like he's lost"

    "and almost always I had very strange alien feeling... "


    Like I said, no amount of explanation will help you "get it". I explained to you (granted in short) what I liked in general about his interpretations, and your response is to tell me what you think I like??? Perhaps what you value in music bores me to tears, and what I value, you consider "too much". That's fine, art is subjective.


    However,


    Comments like these conjure a vision of art critics standing in front of a Van Goah saying, "that's not how sunflowers are supposed to look"...


    History doesn't remember the critic, they remember the visionary.

  35. #134

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpalumpacus
    My own approach to it is that I don't slag someone making a living playing music. I'm comfortable saying "I don't like" this or that artist, but if they're out there releasing albums and working the boards, they're doing something right.

    Of course I have my own tastes, but even when an artist's music (or art, or writing, etc) doesn't line up with my tastes, I do my level best to acknowledge what talent is involved, simply because art so subjective. I spent six years managing a custom-framing shop, building frames for art, both original and reprint. One artist I got sick of framing was Diane Romanello, whose work I thought thoroughly pedestrian -- but she sold like hotcakes, so clearly she was touching people enough to drive the dollars. That isn't the metric for what I think of as art, but let's face it: we all have our own metric for what is and isn't art.

    No doubt many people think the music I write is junk, and no doubt others love it. I don't know that it's art myself. I only know that I've got to write it when it comes knocking.
    My motto is "don't argue with success". But if someone's jivin' I might, politely, tell them that to their face. And that goes both ways (I can take a punch) although I will defend myself if I feel they're wrong.Not long ago I had to take issue with a girlfriend that was ignorantly criticizing my playing. She was out doing some errands and I was at her house practicing. She came back and sat down and said "Will you do me a favor?" I smelt a rat and said "Well I don't know. It depends on what it is." She came back with "Will you please not play if you're not going to play in time." I tried to calmly explain that I was practicing and not performing and that while she was out I was working on some difficult new stuff that wasn't familiar to me so I was just experimenting with some fingerings and that sort of thing. She was (aggressively) not having it and told me how, being a dancer, timing was everything to her. I told her to go play in the freeway and called her a White Hillbilly Clog Dancer. It's a good idea to keep people like that away from the woodshed.

    But if an artist wants my time, attention and money they're going to have to pay for it by listening to my opinion. And conversely if someone's just hearing me through an open window quietly practicing, and they don't like it, they can keep their opinion to themselves.

    I looked at some images from the artist you mentioned. Kitsch is the word I'd use. Typical of the Glowing Cottages, Dogs Playing Poker and Cats Playing With a Ball of String school. Or if it's three dimensional, mass produced Capodimonte figurines advertised on TV. It's hard to compare that to the artist (who teaches at Yale) who's big time Manhattan exhibit consists of a pile of dirt with a sheet of plywood leaning against it. Oh well, what ever pulls your tractor.

    Several years ago there was a critical essay titled Taste is the Enemy. I haven't read it or been able to find it and don't really know what it's all about but I was intrigued by the title.

  36. #135

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    Yeh... so you come to McDonalds and some creative @@@@ serves you an Entrecote bourdolaise
    Yeah, I hate it when that happens.

    Ate quite a lot of McDonalds in Japan, and I love Japanese food... Just needed something familiar and simple (to my Western palette)

    BTW Japanese McDonalds I think is a cut above UK McDonalds (which doesn't even have the benefit of being fast.)

  37. #136

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Well, it does a bit. You don't mind? When I saw the great block of textp I didn't bother with it. Then I took the trouble to read it and realised how good it was.
    No I don't mind and always welcome constructive criticism. And this thread has turned into one on criticism.

    I'm somewhat of a newcomer to forums and online writing protocols but have of course noticed the tendency for people to space things in order to make them more readable. Part of me is resistant to this but I realize there is an intrinsic difference between reading something on a screen or on paper. Maybe this relates to this: I knew a guy in the 80s that published poetry and was a wordsmith in general. He said that he could always tell writing by someone who'd learned to write on a word processor.

  38. #137

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee
    My motto is "don't argue with success". But if someone's jivin' I might, politely, tell them that to their face. And that goes both ways (I can take a punch) although I will defend myself if I feel they're wrong.Not long ago I had to take issue with a girlfriend that was ignorantly criticizing my playing. She was out doing some errands and I was at her house practicing. She came back and sat down and said "Will you do me a favor?" I smelt a rat and said "Well I don't know. It depends on what it is." She came back with "Will you please not play if you're not going to play in time." I tried to calmly explain that I was practicing and not performing and that while she was out I was working on some difficult new stuff that wasn't familiar to me so I was just experimenting with some fingerings and that sort of thing. She was (aggressively) not having it and told me how, being a dancer, timing was everything to her. I told her to go play in the freeway and called her a White Hillbilly Clog Dancer. It's a good idea to keep people like that away from the woodshed.

    But if an artist wants my time, attention and money they're going to have to pay for it by listening to my opinion. And conversely if someone's just hearing me through an open window quietly practicing, and they don't like it, they can keep their opinion to themselves.

    I looked at some images from the artist you mentioned. Kitsch is the word I'd use. Typical of the Glowing Cottages, Dogs Playing Poker and Cats Playing With a Ball of String school. Or if it's three dimensional, mass produced Capodimonte figurines advertised on TV. It's hard to compare that to the artist (who teaches at Yale) who's big time Manhattan exhibit consists of a pile of dirt with a sheet of plywood leaning against it. Oh well, what ever pulls your tractor.

    Several years ago there was a critical essay titled Taste is the Enemy. I haven't read it or been able to find it and don't really know what it's all about but I was intrigued by the title.
    I would love to read that essay.

    These are very complex issues.

    In a sense it is best if a working musician has no musical taste at all, because playing music is so different to listening to it. Most of the musicians tend to evaluate things on the basis of how well they are done, and go from there.

    I have become less opinionated over time (no really) but I would describe myself as massively more opinionated than most of my colleagues! Influenced by my dad - a lay listener with very strong tastes.

    For example, although I respect execution and sheer ability, it doesn't interest me that much. This might shape me as a player - I don't think I'm as neat and tidy as I probably should be. But on the other hand, IMO everything now is too neat and tidy by half.

    Gyorgy Ligeti said (I paraphrase no doubt) 'music shouldn't have it's tie all straight.'

    For example, I cannot be bothered with the Punch Brothers - who pretty much every musician I know seems to love - but they are all amazing and I have to respect that. My feeling is - OK, so you've covered Kid A by Radiohead on Bluegrass instrumentation. Highly impressive. Also, So f**king what?

    Until Chris Thile writes another tune as good as Rye Whisky (which is a decent song), I'm not terribly interested.

    BTW Jonah have you heard his Bach Mandolin record?
    Last edited by christianm77; 12-26-2016 at 11:03 AM.

  39. #138
    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    Yes, that's a good way to consider it all, I mean, it's like comparing the Olympic gold medalist in Cycling to the gold medalist in Sprinting. Obviously the cyclist has machinery to assist in being able to travel faster....

    But I'm also interested in the non mechanical differences. Let's say we believe Hal Galper when he says that the instrument is an illusion. If true musicianship exists in the imagination- the quality of what you hear and how you can express what you hear- then surely there is a way to quantify how developed the musical mind might be in different instrumentalists. Now, we train our musical mind with our instrument, so it can't be a total illusion. The piano creates superior musicians primarily because it is a superior "music teaching machine". Pianists I know are better at hearing, better at transcription, better at discerning rhythm, better at hearing bass lines, better at composition, even better at singing, or can improvise vocally better than other instrumentalists I know. Generally speaking, and based on my own limited observations, granted...

    But I have to ask myself why I think I'm noticing these differences. Is it because the piano is a better "teacher", or is it because better quality "potential musicians" are attracted to the piano in the first place, because they find other instruments too limiting?

    Hey, I stated this thread, and I think a lot of very interesting thoughts have been brought up, but no one has addressed the above, you all skipped over it. Jazz pianists may be better musicians than most other instrumentalists. Do you dare to disagree? Is being a better musician harder than not being a better musician?

  40. #139

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    Personally I like and welcome intelligent criticism. It's a question of 'only your best friend will tell you'. I've no interest at all in people who smile and say 'lovely' whatever you do. I've seen too much of it. It implies they don't actually give a damn about you or your music. Or, of course, they have absolutely no discrimination and don't know what they're talking about.

    I'd much rather someone expressed their honest opinion than blahed out some meaninglessly trite comment. Or said 'I don't really know, I'm not up in these things' and meant it honestly.

    There's a good bookshop near where I live. I've been noticing for some time now that they've been advertising their books by displaying their own or other authors' write-ups. Obviously they've got to sell books but every single notice says 'The best novel this year'. 'Superlative writing. 'This new author is headed for great things' etc etc, blah blah. It's obviously nonsense, designed solely to get people to buy books.

    It means the whole point and purpose of critique has become devalued. It means you can't trust a word they say because they only have their own commercial interests at heart - at the expense of the customer. With other more mundane commodities one might expect a bit of that but in the realm of artistry - writing, music, or whatever else - the Trade Descriptions Act doesn't seem to apply!

    As mostly experienced players here I think we can afford to be honest with each other if necessary. What do you say?

  41. #140

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    Is being a better musician harder than not being a better musician?
    Definitely, with or without the talent. It doesn't float from the sky, it implies a lot of study and hours of work. Also experience. You can't give a person experience.

    As I've got older I found I've become more and more simple, not more complex. These days I tend to put in just about all it takes to make it work. Keeps the brain nice and clear. But it's knowing what to put in and leave out. That's the rub.

    If you can stand it, there's an old story in a shipyard. They're trying to launch this huge ship and it just won't go. They've tried everything but no joy. Then someone says 'Let's get old Joe Smith from the village. He worked here for years and knows all the tricks'.

    So off they go to get Joe Smith. He arrives with a small hammer, gives it a tap and, bob's your uncle, off floats the ship. 'That'll be £100, please' he says.

    'A hundred pounds!' they cry, 'for one tap with a hammer?'

    'Sure' says Joe. '£1 for hitting it and £99 for knowing where to hit it'.


    My dad told me that, years ago :-)
    Last edited by ragman1; 12-26-2016 at 11:56 AM.

  42. #141
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Definitely, with or without the talent. It doesn't float from the sky, it implies a lot of study and hard work. Also experience. You can't give a person experience.
    Then will you agree that Jazz pianists are better musicians than Jazz guitarists?

  43. #142

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazznylon
    Here is the video of him playing:



    What I love most about his playing is not his unparalled technique or musicality but rather, his energy. I haven't seen or heard a classical guitarist display such strong passion or energy in their playing or at least comparatively speaking.. Incredible I say!
    I don't know much about classical guitar so won't criticize this guys playing on a technical or even a musical level but from a performance standpoint those right hand flourishes at the beginning of the piece ain't gettin' it in 2016. Maybe back in the day when people were wearing powdered wigs, but not now. Maybe in some parts of the world they still do wear powdered wigs but this cowboy ain't buyin' it. IM(somewhat arrogant)O he's milking it.

    Somebody thinks this is the world's greatest guitarist. And judging from the Harvard audience's reaction plenty are in agreement. Again, I'm not an expert on this type of music but it doesn't seem that great to me. A guy played this for me and was all impressed then I played him some Paco de Lucia and he capitulated and said "Yeah yeah ok I get it".

    Sometimes the emperor is just buck ass naked.



  44. #143

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    have you heard his Bach Mandolin record?
    I have. Just before Xmas, as it happens.


  45. #144

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    Quote Originally Posted by vintagelove
    Like I said, no amount of explanation will help you "get it". I explained to you (granted in short) what I liked in general about his interpretations, and your response is to tell me what you think I like??? Perhaps what you value in music bores me to tears, and what I value, you consider "too much". That's fine, art is subjective.


    However,


    Comments like these conjure a vision of art critics standing in front of a Van Goah saying, "that's not how sunflowers are supposed to look"...


    History doesn't remember the critic, they remember the visionary.
    History does remember good visionary critics like Walter Benjamin, Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg and many others. But you're going to have to do some work and look for them. And no worthy critic is going to stand in front of a Van Gogh and say "that's not how sunflowers are supposed to look". That's rookie stuff. Jasper Johns, who could be critical of critics, said that "90 some percent of all people can't go beyond subject matter". In music it might be said that "90% of all listeners can't go beyond melody."

  46. #145

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    Then will you agree that Jazz pianists are better musicians than Jazz guitarists?
    Depends what you mean by better. Relatively, not necessarily. They're different instruments requiring different skills. A brilliant jazz guitarist may be 'better' than a not-so-brilliant jazz pianist.

  47. #146

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee

    Somebody thinks this is the world's greatest guitarist.


    No, they don't, you twit. It's a joke. Did you watch it?

  48. #147

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    Then will you agree that Jazz pianists are better musicians than Jazz guitarists?
    What, in the sense that guitarists can't sight read, play in time or transcribe as well? Well you know that's just so REDUCTIONIST, man.. ;-)

    Pianists are sometimes a bit lacking in the 'acknowledging there are other musicians in the group some of whom might have an idea about harmony' because their instruments are so complete on their own. But experienced ensemble players aren't like this, it's usually guys who play on their own a lot.

    I can't go back all over all your post, so I just wanted to say, guitar is a bit of a culture on its own, and that much of this culture may not have much to do with music. I feel a lot of discussions on this forum are coming from this place, especially those to with technique, scales and so on. I'm not saying those things aren’t important, but more that they are often discussed from a sort of guitar mind set.

    Pianists tend to be more... music oriented. Classical training I think is really good for this.

    For me, I remember when Barney Kessel said 'be a musician, not a guitarist.' For me being a musician involves a bit of piano playing, like you say it is a great teaching machine for music even if one's actual chops aren't up to performing. You don't have to be Franz Liszt to get into a bit of keyboard harmony, and it teaches all sorts of things.

    Another thing is that pianists tend to start super early compared to guitar players.
    Last edited by christianm77; 03-12-2018 at 07:42 PM.

  49. #148

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    [...] Even when I say: he does not understand what he plays... it does not mean he is a retarded idiot that should be exterminated. Obviously he has his own undertstanding of this thing, but usually it's taken exactly if it is a personal insult.[...]
    Sure, too many people get offended if you don't share their tastes. But I've never spent too much time worrying about their opinions, especially -- because that sort of sensitivity seems rooted, to me, in insecurity -- it's as if they need you to like their favorites for their own validation ("I must have good taste, all my friends like what I do").

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    Though the older I get the less I speak it out loud... that's true. I even noticed that I get to be afraid of sying anything at all - even the humblest things - people get so irritated immediately.
    It's not out of fear that I don't get loud with my critique. I've never tiptoed around people's feelings too much, and I don't think I'll be starting any time soon. I withhold my criticisms of a working musician because they're doing something I've never managed to do -- support themselves with just their talent -- and I respect that (even if it's Madonna or Will.I.Am). The other thing is that I try to withhold my own judgement until that time when I feel like I have a better grasp on someone's artistry.

  50. #149

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    No, they don't, you twit. It's a joke. Did you watch it?
    I know, I thought it was joke myself at first. But when I heard the audience's fatuous reaction at some parts I thought differently. And two different people on separate occasions played it for me who were impressed with it and thought it was serious. Anyway thanks for the Twit Alert. I hope you're right. Maybe it's just a Harvard thing. An academic I know was dissing Harvard as being light weight. Could have fooled me.

    I'm so jaded that I'll believe a lot of crazy stuff. I posted a video of Eric Clapton trying to play jazz. I thought it was genuine until another forum member straightened me out and said that it wasn't.
    Last edited by mrcee; 12-26-2016 at 12:29 PM.

  51. #150

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    Blimey, that Yama guy's like fifteen rounds with Mike Tyson!

    takes an asprin