Predjudice and tunnel vision in music

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
Nonailsjon
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Predjudice and tunnel vision in music

Post by Nonailsjon » Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:37 am

While looking through this and many other forums for guitar and other stringed instruments and wind instrumens I was struck by the fact that amongst great creativity and talent the one major similarity in all of them was a form of tunnel vision leading one to imagine that there is only one "proper" way to play a particular instrument.Often I find that the theories are mostly influenced by a dominant force in the shape of a particular personality whose views are inflicted on the community of players in the genre. In classical guitar it is Andre Segovia who was convinced that his method was the ONLY one.Supposedly based on Francesco Tarrega he advocated the use of nails as the only way to get a fine tone, and described people who used other methods such as flesh only as fools,eg Emilio Pujol,(who was a great player and far from a fool! He also ignored the fact that Tarrega gave up usuing nails.When meeting Django Rheinhardt at a Paris party where Django who was a genius played a improvised very technical piece . He asked Django for the music for somthing obviously a work of improvisation. Django said there was no sheet music. Segovia claimed afterwards he was NOT impressed also because Django used a plectrum.Recently I was lucky enough to find some correspondence between Fritz Buss a local world renowned teacher and professor of guitar at a local university, and Narciso Yepes the inventor of the modern 10 string guitar. Fritz became an advocate of ten string and , and taught many guitarists here the 10 string technique. However the blind prejudice encountered by Yepes and Fritz in the English Classical guitar scene of the 1960's was unbelievable! He wa shunned by many guitarists. Again Segovia said who needs 10 strings, I have enough trouble with six! people do wonderful creative things using their own specific methodology. Carlos Santana and John Maclughlan both use picks on nylon string to good effect.A 12-string guitar can play classical music as shown by Jason kessler, dan Grigor and many others, as previous to the 1800s the guitar ws tunes in courses with octave strings in the bass as in the modern 12 string, What do the menbres think?

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Evocacion
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Re: Predjudice and tunnel vision in music

Post by Evocacion » Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:01 am

Well, we are, after all, only human...
And if I've spent years learning to play a six-string guitar with my fingers and nails, then I will naturally not be very interested in changing either the number of strings or the method of plucking I have painstakingly learned.
The people you mention - Pujol, Rheinhardt, etc - produce beautiful music, and I enjoy listening to them. But that doesn't mean I want to start using a plectrum, or change to an instrument with more strings - like Segovia, I have enough trouble with six!

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tormodg
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Re: Predjudice and tunnel vision in music

Post by tormodg » Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:20 am

From your nickname I assume you play without nails. If that works for you, fine! I play with nails because it gives me great creative freedom and I find it much easier to play with nails than without.

By your logic, everyone who chooses to read books rather than listen to audio books suffer from tunnel vision since it's considered the "normal" way to consume books. I don't think it's fruitful to discuss things in that manner.
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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Predjudice and tunnel vision in music

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:49 am

Well, welcome to a normal human community. All such things share at least two characteristics; i. there is a strong tendency for most to follow the dominant tendency, ii. there is a strong tendency for some to feel compelled to reject that majority tendency.

Without necessarily actually agreeing with this point of view, I'd add that one thing people who have a minority opinion often seem to fail to admit to themselves, (except perhaps in the smallest quiet of the night); maybe everybody else is right?

With more nuance, I would explain the points you make by saying that it took massive self belief, enormous drive, terrific amounts of work, for Segovia to achieve what he did; the spin-off of that was his belief, projected onto and shared by many, that his was the only, or at least by far the best, way, to do things. He was close to super-human in what he did achieve, and asking that he also have a modern-world's understanding and acceptance of other musical styles and approaches, (Yepes, Barrios, Django, the Beatles, etc) is I would say both unfair and totally unrealistic.

This is coming from somebody who actively dislikes most of Segovia's recordings, because of his approach to timing.

One of the many ways I think the modern world is greatly preferable to the past (and thank goodness there are some!) is that while we may sometimes still have difficult arguments about things, there is actually room for pretty much everybody to be themselves, and that includes being able to offer a respectfully expressed opinion, hopefully when asked for.

In this way I would prefer to characterise the situation as "preference and dedication" rather than "prejudice and tunnel vision".
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georgemarousi
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Re: Predjudice and tunnel vision in music

Post by georgemarousi » Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:55 am

Hi Nonailsjon,

I think it's all a matter of where each tunnel, as you describe, can lead to :)

If someone is in a tunnel that reaches a shinny light ( great music ) , then that is a good one, he is in a very good way.
Well, no one forbids no other to discover other tunnels ( some better and some worse should exist for sure)

At the end, the result, is at most what matters, and that is what is heard/"judged" by the listeners :)
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Denian Arcoleo
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Re: Predjudice and tunnel vision in music

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:31 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:49 am

Without necessarily actually agreeing with this point of view, I'd add that one thing people who have a minority opinion often seem to fail to admit to themselves, (except perhaps in the smallest quiet of the night); maybe everybody else is right?
:lol:

Good point, well made. I speak as someone who has consistently throughout my entire life gone in the diametrically opposite direction to the majority around me.

ddray
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Re: Predjudice and tunnel vision in music

Post by ddray » Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:19 pm

Segovia claimed afterwards he was NOT impressed also because Django used a plectrum.
Of course I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Segovia. But I've heard similar from players with inch-long fingernails, which strikes me as kind of odd.
Last edited by ddray on Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Nonailsjon
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Re: Predjudice and tunnel vision in music

Post by Nonailsjon » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:14 pm

By way of explanation I have no problem with nail playing I just cannot do it because my nails split and do not grow well. I also cannot be bothered with the maintenance and inconsisitency. Its a greay method if it works for the player. Many subtke nuances are possible. I have found the same for me without nails as I experiment and my fingers adapt I get more volumrethan a lot of plares imagine and even Recuerdos de la alhambra is possible even though I have read often it is not possible! Because I play other instruments such as 12-string guitar, banjo .mandolin . balalaika, bouzouki,etc I use finger picks and plectra of various sort and as far as I am concerned they work to good effect especially in folk band situations where I have to move from one instrument to another. I am not ashamed of using such things much as a drummers drumsticks rather than bare hands. More effective for me!I just did not like Segovia's arrogant attitude and neither does John Williams, See his latest autobiography for reference refers.

ddray
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Re: Predjudice and tunnel vision in music

Post by ddray » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:23 pm

Nonailsjon wrote:
Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:14 pm
I just did not like Segovia's arrogant attitude and neither does John Williams, See his latest autobiography for reference refers.
Segovia was no perfect angel, but without Segovia there may not have been a John Williams.

SteveL123
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Re: Predjudice and tunnel vision in music

Post by SteveL123 » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:50 pm

I saw an interview of Segovia on youtube where he says something to the effect that Flamenco players just makes "loud noises". I got a chuckle out of that. If I come across it again I'll post a link.

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lucy
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Re: Predjudice and tunnel vision in music

Post by lucy » Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:03 pm

Denian Arcoleo wrote:
Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:31 pm
Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:49 am

Without necessarily actually agreeing with this point of view, I'd add that one thing people who have a minority opinion often seem to fail to admit to themselves, (except perhaps in the smallest quiet of the night); maybe everybody else is right?
:lol:

Good point, well made. I speak as someone who has consistently throughout my entire life gone in the diametrically opposite direction to the majority around me.
This goes for me, as well, in many areas.

I like to comfort myself with the knowledge that the history of the arts and science are littered with examples of innovators, who got ignored when they first presented their ideas to the world! :lol:

It's probably not necessary, but I'd like to give two examples:

Van Gogh got chucked out of art school, because he "failed" to draw the human form correctly.

Gregor Mendel discovered genetics and initially got completely ignored by the scientific community.

Trouble is, along with these great innovators, there also are the crackpots - but society seems to be unable to tell them apart, until after the passage of time.
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”. Theodore Roosevelt

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: Predjudice and tunnel vision in music

Post by AndreiKrylov » Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:30 pm

Segovia made mistakes? - sure... everybody made mistakes in this or that :)
Majority will follow the same path as shown by "Great leader" in all kind of ways of life including guitar activities? - sure it was always like that and it will be like that.. we are just humans...
But, personally, learning a lot from all great guitarists, teachers and composers of the past, I never wanted to copy anybody! My main desire was always to be just myself and to follow my own path, with the great help of teachers from the past and present who gracefully shared all their technical and artistic ideas and achievements.
So anybody could listen my music on WWW and could like or dislike it,
but in the ways how I do it I do not follow anyone.
I play standing, not sitting.
I play 7 or 8 string guitar.
I play almost with no nails.
I am using all kind of techniques borrowed from different styles and different instruments.
I asked luthiers to build different original instruments to do different sound experiments and to get into different sound worlds and sound experiences.
For recording I believe (while technical stuff and devices etc. are very important) the most, critically important part is inspiration!!! Therefore studio work there one could have perfect audio environment and perfect sound engineers and producers without inspiration could produce not so great results...
I believe that most interesting and most important part of music life of modern musician is not endless repetition of pieces which everybody knows, but making of his own, original music which could express his own inner feelings and passions and nowadays one could complete his work himself as good as it was never possible before, because it is possible for anybody now to have a new great tools for audio work, and to be as free in mind as never before having at the same time opportunity to learn and get information as easy as never before in human history.

But absolute majority (and here too) will simply reject all this .
and will continue to repeat and copy as it always was and will be.

So what? - Everybody make choices. I made mine. :)
I should add here that I wrote all of this just to say that there are people and certainly in this field, who are not follow standard paths.
Last edited by AndreiKrylov on Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I'd better speak by music...Please listen my guitar on most popular music streaming services on WWW. Thanks!

malc laney
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Re: Predjudice and tunnel vision in music

Post by malc laney » Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:11 pm

Picasso

ddray
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Re: Predjudice and tunnel vision in music

Post by ddray » Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:09 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:
Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:30 pm

But absolute majority (and here too) will simply reject all this .
and will continue to repeat and copy as it always was and will be.

So what? - Everybody make choices. I made mine. :)
I'm pretty new to the guitar and the guitar world, but the sort of tunnel vision I notice among guitarists (taking this forum as being typical, although I'm not sure if it is) consists of getting hung up on the sorts of things that you don't see among pianists for example (which is my frame of reference). Things like, what luthier made that? Rosewood or mahogany, spruce or cedar? What strings do you use? Oh no, not D'Addarios!!! Are my nails long enough? Am I using the proper file? An elevated fretboard is a must...how high should the footstool be? Should I hold my foot this way or that way? Should I wear leather pants so the guitar doesn't slip? and on and on. When things like that accumulate, the larger musical picture can be obscured.

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Predjudice and tunnel vision in music

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:17 pm

ddray wrote:
Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:09 pm
I'm pretty new to the guitar and the guitar world, but the sort of tunnel vision I notice among guitarists (taking this forum as being typical, although I'm not sure if it is) consists of getting hung up on the sorts of things that you don't see among pianists for example (which is my frame of reference). Things like, what luthier made that? Rosewood or mahogany, spruce or cedar? What strings do you use? Oh no, not D'Addarios!!! Are my nails long enough?....
You are quite possibly right, though in our defence we have quite a lot more variables in terms of gadgets and aspects to choose. For a pianist its more like, Steinway or what? - unless like some you get into details to do with regulating the hammers or whatever it is.
Organists are another bunch - get them talking about pipes and bellows and you're well away!
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)

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