How to change global attitude in our Art? from copying as an ultimate purpose - to creation and self -expression?

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
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AndreiKrylov
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How to change global attitude in our Art? from copying as an ultimate purpose - to creation and self -expression?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:45 pm

I see fundamental problem in general approach to guitar activities and guitar education, as well as in other instruments education in field of Music.
Copying and repetition is certainly organic and important part of it, but should it be the main purpose of it...as it basically perceived now?
Myself I see ART of Music as more similar to Art of Painting rather than only to Art of performance.
Our world is changing fast and drastically, and because of technological revolution we have such possibilities of self-expression and creativity which never existed before! Yet classical guitar culture seems still mainly evolving around repetition, copying and performance of small, limited number of (nice) pieces...and not around Art where everybody expected to share their own music ideas, passions and thoughts...
So , how to change the whole global attitude in our Art? from copying as an ultimate purpose - to creation and self -expression?
Last edited by AndreiKrylov on Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: How to change global attitude in our Art! from copying as an ultimate purpose - to creation and self -expression?

Post by MessyTendon » Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:28 pm

Unfortunately here in the west, we make excuses for lack of art. That is to say, we don't have time to create things, we are too busy chasing the dream of wealth, or merely getting by with what we've got.

I think there might be an overeducated approach to classical guitar, or maybe an undereducated approach. The simple explanation is that humans by nature tend to copy each other more than be themselves.

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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: How to change global attitude in our Art! from copying as an ultimate purpose - to creation and self -expression?

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:36 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:Myself I see ART of Music as more similar to Art of Painting rather than only to Art of performance.
I think that many musicians feel the same as you Andrei - Björk Guðmundsdóttir said once that she felt that school was all about pushing other people's music into her rather than developing the means to allow her own creativity to flourish.

A friend of mine is an incredibly gifted painter and draftsman; he is the only properly ambidextrous artist I have ever come across - able to make portraits of two subjects simultaneously, one with each hand. He can also produce microscopically detailed copies of the old masters (Leonardo for instance) and earned his living through this fakery for many years, his creative work meanwhile going unregarded.

I hear lots of "classical" guitar music as very much like those copies of old masters, rarely listening to a CD more than once as they are so predictable - not just the repertoire but its manner of execution.

Perhaps the problem stems from recording itself? We can hear a work played the same way over and over again ad infinitum, until it is not a way but the way.

For this reason I encourage my students to (initially) approach new works with fresh ears i.e. never having listened to any other interpretation.

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Re: How to change global attitude in our Art! from copying as an ultimate purpose - to creation and self -expression?

Post by jpryan » Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:56 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:45 pm
Copying and repetition is certainly organic and important part of it, but should be the main purpose of it...as it basically perceived now.
Myself I see ART of Music as more similar to Art of Painting rather than only to Art of performance.
I've never thought about it before, but performing, developing technical mastery, and artistic expression are all distinct sources of satisfaction an individual may derive from playing an instrument (I'm sure there are other things, too, like social interaction, for example). Ranking their relative importance is an individual thing. It's possible that classical guitar, being largely a solo endeavor, may attract more people who seek satisfaction from the development of technical mastery to the exclusion of performance or artistic motivations. I think, Andrei, that you'll always find yourself in the minority (where all true artists reside). It's a losing cause, I think, to try and force the transformation of hobbyists into artists. I hope you can be satisfied in what motivates you, understanding that you will inspire some with your art, but won't make everyone into artists. That doesn't mean you shouldn't wish for it. :okok:
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Re: How to change global attitude in our Art! from copying as an ultimate purpose - to creation and self -expression?

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Fri Dec 22, 2017 7:18 pm

And there's another thing. Some of us express ourselves creatively in other mediums such as language or paint or what have you. This is true for me. I hope that I pour some of that creativity into my playing of established composers, who after all write far better music than I ever could. This is valid and soul satisfying for me. That's enough right now.
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Re: How to change global attitude in our Art! from copying as an ultimate purpose - to creation and self -expression?

Post by lagartija » Fri Dec 22, 2017 7:27 pm

Note: by the time I typed this up on my phone’s tiny keyboard and posted it, two others have posted similar thoughts! :roll: ;-)

Funny that you mention the old masters in painting, Mark. That was the thought that came into my mind as I read Andrei’s post...that education in the arts has long been based on a model of copying a master, both in music and the visual arts.

Many young painters were told to go to a museum and paint one of the paintings by an old master. The idea is that by doing this, it forces you to observe acutely how the master managed to get the effect you see. In doing this, you explore different techniques and discover how to achieve such an effect. This is supposed to give you the skills to express exactly your own vision and communicate that to others. Having done this myself, I can say that by close observation, I did learn how a master controlled light and composition to give a particular effect. This did not at all prevent me from developing my own artistic voice and aesthetic.
In Music, I look at it the same way. If I study a piece of music, in the beginning I hear certain things . As I play it, I find there are things in it that I didn’t hear (when it was played by someone else)...perhaps because my ear is not yet developed well enough or I was not observant enough, or perhaps the performer’s interpretation did not emphasize it as something important. Nevertheless, by trying to copy a particular performance, I have developed a better understanding of what they were doing to get a particular effect or as I study the score, a better idea of how the composer created something that I found intriguing or compelling.
Copying is an educational tool. The difficulty is when in the process you step beyond observation and copying to express yourself.

Nearly all human endeavor has this difficulty. When I studied astrophysics, I learned to use the tools to solve problems. But as a student, they were problems that had already been solved, not problems with unknown answers. To be a master in the field (in theoretical astrophysics), you must be so skillful with those tools, that you can use them to solve problems where the answers are not yet known. I came to the realization that I would never become as masterful as needed and knew that I would never be a theorist. (So I built instrumentation instead.)
In music, I doubt I have enough time left in my life to learn the skills and tools of music well enough to compose anything other than relatively simple tunes, but that doesn’t stop me from hearing a piece that someone else composed and showing you what it means to me with my life’s experience. The skills it would take for me to express myself in musical terms with my own music just aren’t there...just as they aren’t in astrophysics. Is this a flaw in my education? I don’t think so. Some people have better fluency in some creative modes rather than others. In the visual arts, I can express myself fully because I have all the skills I need and the facility to learn any new ones I need to get just the effect I want. I am fluent in that creative mode. The fact that my education in visual arts may have started out as “copying a master” and academic study, did not in any way prevent me from getting to the point of expressing myself with my own artistic voice.
In astrophysics or in music, I don’t have enough mastery to fully express myself...not because of the training, but because of my own limitations.
In astrophysics, I was still able to make a significant contribution in spite of that lack of mastery. In music...who knows? I’ve only studied music for about ten years. Not very long! Still a student...copying the masters to understand how they did it.
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Re: How to change global attitude in our Art! from copying as an ultimate purpose - to creation and self -expression?

Post by ddray » Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:09 am

I hate to inject the usual seemingly sour note, but it's something I've been thinking about for a long time. I've been a student of music for quite a while, since my childhood. I didn't follow it as a career and didn't study it formally and rigorously at the university level, much to my regret really. But I do love music and love the works of the great masters. But is it possible that in terms of "serious" music, everything that can be said *has* been said already? Did Western classical music reach such a peak with Bach, Mozart and Beethoven that everything that followed was just playing variations on what has already been done? The same applies to all the arts. I sometimes get the feeling that the culture is "tired", a sense of creative wells running dry. Is originality even possible or desirable as a goal? Anyway I'll always take joy in re-creating and bringing to life in my own little sphere and my own poor way the works of the greats who've gone before. But if you create and you feel in yourself that what you've created is worthy, that's all that matters.

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Re: How to change global attitude in our Art! from copying as an ultimate purpose - to creation and self -expression?

Post by Rasputin » Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:20 am

jpryan wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:56 pm
AndreiKrylov wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:45 pm
Copying and repetition is certainly organic and important part of it, but should be the main purpose of it...as it basically perceived now.
Myself I see ART of Music as more similar to Art of Painting rather than only to Art of performance.
I've never thought about it before, but performing, developing technical mastery, and artistic expression are all distinct sources of satisfaction an individual may derive from playing an instrument... . Ranking their relative importance is an individual thing.
+1
It's possible that classical guitar, being largely a solo endeavor, may attract more people who seek satisfaction from the development of technical mastery to the exclusion of performance or artistic motivations.
Yes, but it's also possible that solo instruments attract people who want to have control over the artistic side, rather than having to compromise with other members of a group or be dictated to by a conductor.

I am not convinced that copying and repetition are perceived as the main purpose of music / CG anyway. I certainly don't perceive them as such, and nobody so far on this thread has said that they do. I think the real distinction is between performers (and I mean to include those who play for themselves in that) and composers. Lagartija seems to see it that way as well, but I don't share the view - between the lines of her post as I read it - that performing is a paler version of composing which is better suited to those with less talent. As I see it they are just different talents. I think Andrei's original question hugely underrates the potential for self-expression that exists within the sphere of performance, as well as the legitimacy of performance in its own right (and by performance I mean delivering your own interpretation, not being a human jukebox).

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Re: How to change global attitude in our Art! from copying as an ultimate purpose - to creation and self -expression?

Post by Arash Ahmadi » Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:00 am

AndreiKrylov wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:45 pm
Yet classical guitar culture seems still mainly evolving around repetition, copying and performance of small, limited number of (nice) pieces...and not Art where everybody expected to share their own music ideas, passions and thoughts...
So , how to change the whole global attitude in our Art! from copying as an ultimate purpose - to creation and self -expression?
I think your question applies to composers more than performers. But at the same time, I don't see why we shouldn't hold on to the roots, for instance by playing Bach. There are people who believe that Bach compositions are just following some math formulas but even if it's true, there's feeling in them. Compare it with some "modern" composition... There are so many marvelous modern compositions out there but there is no lack of "modern compositions" that are just sound/noise pollution.

Previously, composers like Bach and Beethoven were inspired by nature. They had less worries than we do. World wars have made a huge change in the music world - Schoenberg, Shostakovich, etc. They were still dealing with same rules as previous composers (except the 12 tone concept) but started to break some and add some new rules. They could do it because they knew it. They had listened to and studied previous eras.

"Art where everybody expected to share their own music ideas, passions and thoughts". I think it is happening more or less. Now, everybody can upload their ideas, passion and thoughts on YT or similar streams. But not many of them could be considered art. Though, it would depend on how one defines art or artist. It has become much simpler now with the aid of new softwares, apps, etc. Even people with no musical background can make music now and express themselves. But as long as it does not have a message behind that music that we hear, it has no value. Take pop songs for instance, these days there are so many singers that come up with a hit, though they make millions of dollars with it, nobody remembers them or that song a month later when another new hit is in the market. It was not like this in the 90s...
To send light into the darkness of men's heart, such is the duty of the artist. (Robert Schumann)
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Re: How to change global attitude in our Art! from copying as an ultimate purpose - to creation and self -expression?

Post by PeteJ » Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:31 am

As for our culture being 'tired', as was suggested,it seems true. It may have a lot to do with the internet, which makes the whole of history contemporary and overwhelms us. Not dissimilar to the situation in orchestral music at the start of the 20th century. Or perhaps it's time for another Renaissance. As for artistry, it isn't given to many to be an artist as a composer or a player and this is why artists are admired. I'd agree as a general point that the repertoire could do with some new life but people will always go back to the classics. Also, there's always been a tension between craftsmanship and competence against innovation and artistic expression.

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Re: How to change global attitude in our Art! from copying as an ultimate purpose - to creation and self -expression?

Post by sxedio » Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:57 am

AndreiKrylov wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:45 pm
Our world is changing fast and drastically, and because of technological revolution we have such possibilities of self-expression and creativity which never existed before.! Yet classical guitar culture seems still mainly evolving around repetition, copying and performance of small, limited number of (nice) pieces...and not Art where everybody expected to share their own music ideas, passions and thoughts...
I think that's the key. If I want to compose I can with a bit of software have a realistically sounding symphony orchestra on my computer, or a futuristic synthesized array of sounds of my own devising. If I'm not willing to go that far and stick to the familiarity of the guitar but want to be more creative there are guitar synths, looping pedals and a variety of other guitar enhancement tools.You'll find that even in our earlier history the most creative guitar composers would want to escape the narrow palette of the guitar and write for greater forces, now the technology makes it much easier. So the people who stick to classical guitar are in a way the less ambitious, more conservative bunch. Our era is also one of high specialisation: Classical song is accompanied by piano, popular song is accompanied by steel string guitar, classical guitar has turned into a solo only instrument, improvisation in classical music has become a curiosity niche unlike jazz etc. This helps make the classical guitarists much more narrow minded than the 19th century counterpart who composed, performed, improvised preludes, did variations on popular themes and accompanied voice in a variety of high and low genres.
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Re: How to change global attitude in our Art! from copying as an ultimate purpose - to creation and self -expression?

Post by bear » Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:15 pm

I have a vision of some of the machines (robotic arms) in an automobile factory. They perform the same precise movements over and over without alteration and with the exact timing.
I don't play like that and because I don't, I don't consider myself to be a "good" classical musician, but I have a lot of fun. I play "O Solo Mio" and bend notes. I saw Pavarotti in a 3 Tenors concert and he played with this one note, dragging it out, modulating it and definitely not a reflection of the author.
I try to do that with my guitar.
I don't thing creativity is dead, but it may be on life support. As far as everything being "said and done"...the first time I heard that was right after we discovered fire, then Jose' came up with that round wheelly thing.
I enjoy listening to music the way it was originally written. I also enjoy some variations.
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Re: How to change global attitude in our Art! from copying as an ultimate purpose - to creation and self -expression?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:31 pm

Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:36 pm
AndreiKrylov wrote:Myself I see ART of Music as more similar to Art of Painting rather than only to Art of performance.
I think that many musicians feel the same as you Andrei - Björk Guðmundsdóttir said once that she felt that school was all about pushing other people's music into her rather than developing the means to allow her own creativity to flourish.

A friend of mine is an incredibly gifted painter and draftsman; he is the only properly ambidextrous artist I have ever come across - able to make portraits of two subjects simultaneously, one with each hand. He can also produce microscopically detailed copies of the old masters (Leonardo for instance) and earned his living through this fakery for many years, his creative work meanwhile going unregarded.

I hear lots of "classical" guitar music as very much like those copies of old masters, rarely listening to a CD more than once as they are so predictable - not just the repertoire but its manner of execution.

Perhaps the problem stems from recording itself? We can hear a work played the same way over and over again ad infinitum, until it is not a way but the way.

For this reason I encourage my students to (initially) approach new works with fresh ears i.e. never having listened to any other interpretation.
Thanks for your comment, Mark!
Yes that is one of the possibilities which we could make in process of education, to provoke and to promote more self-expression to make pupils not to fear to speak in their own music "voices" - "to (initially) approach new works with fresh ears i.e. never having listened to any other interpretation."
I'd better speak by music...Please listen my guitar at Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, etc.

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Re: How to change global attitude in our Art! from copying as an ultimate purpose - to creation and self -expression?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:39 pm

MessyTendon wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:28 pm
Unfortunately here in the west, we make excuses for lack of art. That is to say, we don't have time to create things, we are too busy chasing the dream of wealth, or merely getting by with what we've got.

I think there might be an overeducated approach to classical guitar, or maybe an undereducated approach. The simple explanation is that humans by nature tend to copy each other more than be themselves.
Yes people are different (sure everybody want to live well and be successful and recognized and respected by others) and that is other point which should be reflected in our music education approach:
it should reflect differences and individualizes of the people!
Certainly there are some evident and global parts of education that applicable to almost everyone, but there are also areas which could be made very individually according to personal differences in people who learn something...and certainly creativity in the process should be a paramount thing, not something on the backstage which sacrificed in purpose to be "like everybody else" in the Music sense...
I'd better speak by music...Please listen my guitar at Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, etc.

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Re: How to change global attitude in our Art! from copying as an ultimate purpose - to creation and self -expression?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:43 pm

jpryan wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:56 pm
AndreiKrylov wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:45 pm
Copying and repetition is certainly organic and important part of it, but should be the main purpose of it...as it basically perceived now.
Myself I see ART of Music as more similar to Art of Painting rather than only to Art of performance.
I've never thought about it before, but performing, developing technical mastery, and artistic expression are all distinct sources of satisfaction an individual may derive from playing an instrument (I'm sure there are other things, too, like social interaction, for example). Ranking their relative importance is an individual thing. It's possible that classical guitar, being largely a solo endeavor, may attract more people who seek satisfaction from the development of technical mastery to the exclusion of performance or artistic motivations. I think, Andrei, that you'll always find yourself in the minority (where all true artists reside). It's a losing cause, I think, to try and force the transformation of hobbyists into artists. I hope you can be satisfied in what motivates you, understanding that you will inspire some with your art, but won't make everyone into artists. That doesn't mean you shouldn't wish for it. :okok:
Yes you absolutely right! - about minority, but it is still considerable minority which could grow if it will get more help in the process of education rather when it's creativity and individuality will be suppressed because of necessity of uniformity and habit of mostly teaching to follow and to copy as it is dominates in general as a method now...
I'd better speak by music...Please listen my guitar at Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, etc.

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