Andrew Pohlman wrote: ↑
Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:41 pm
Rasputin wrote: ↑
Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:01 pm
Adrian Allan wrote: ↑
Sun Nov 05, 2017 3:52 pm
... And all of this brings me back to what I love about the classical guitar - there is no chance of disguising anything - it's all about the player and his or her skill, no effects pedals, no concealing poor technique.
I couldn't agree less. The technique is just cogs and gears
in my view - what matters is the musical vision the player can convey, or in other words the way in which they express the music. I don't think it's far-fetched to draw a parallel between that and the way a person expresses ideas in writing. Both are matters of personal style which reflect the way something is organised in an individual's mind, and both are successful to the extent that they persuade us to organise it the same way in our own minds...
Expression depends upon a wide range of technical capability. To make this point with an extreme example, if all you know is a major scale, how can you adequately express you inner emotions in the music? You can't. A more realistic example is improvisaton. You must have the technical skill first, then you can unleash your brain and establish a musical conversation with all musicians in the improv ensemble. The same can be said of textbooks. If the author's writing skills or vocabulary are limited, then there will be limited expression of deeper ideas. This of course assumes the author is capable of thinking deeper thoughts !
You write as though disagreeing but seem to be saying essentially the same thing. My point was that technique is just a means to an end and not something to be valued in its own right - its value lies in what it enables us to do.
I would not file knowing a major scale - and certainly not improvisation - under technique. As far as I'm concerned these things belong to theory and musicianship. I wouldn't file vocabulary under technique either, but I think you have this analogy the wrong way round anyway. I'm not sure there is anything in written expression that really corresponds to technique in guitar -handwriting or typing would be nearest perhaps, but I don't think there's much of an analogy there. In spoken expression, diction or the ability to project the voice - or maybe, if we are talking about acting, the ability to put on different tones of voice or different accents - could be considered aspects of technique, but again the value of these is instrumental. They are worth nothing until someone does something interesting or funny or powerful with them.
Painting may be a better analogy for the technical side, I think. Vermeer may have been very skilful with the brush, but when we admire the Girl with the Pearl Earring it is not really the brushwork we are admiring, even if we think it is impressive. To focus on the brushwork would be to miss the point.
In each case it is what we do with the tools we have that counts, and this is not the same thing as our competence in using them.[/quote]
Jeffrey Armbruster wrote: ↑
Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:38 pm
Just to play devil's advocate: There's also the issue of people wanting complex topics explained in a few simple words. In the field of psychology, for example, there are various schools, each using a somewhat specialized vocabulary that has to be learned if a student wants to understand. This isn't willful obscurity on the part of the writers; it's just, the topic is complex and demands real thought to make headway.
An ex-girlfriend of mine was a lawyer and she said there had been some initiative to make the system more user-friendly by using more familiar words. Her view was that this was a bit of a trap because although the words might have sounded familiar, they actually had pretty technical meanings... which non-lawyers might not realise. Under the previous system, where the terminology was obviously legalistic, it was much easier to tell when you were getting out of your depth - so sometimes specialised terminology is a good thing.
Adrian Allan wrote: ↑
Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:48 pm
I'm not sure what the answer is, but perhaps some sort of training on the subject of style (without sacrificing content) as part of a doctorate qualification. I am reading article by one particular academic, and each one is turgid and unnecessarily circumspect and I have to re-read sentences to fully grasp their meaning. It seems that once you have got your academic doctorate, nobody ever challenges your writing style.
Who's going to give this training though? There is a lot of scope for disagreement about what is good style and what isn't - it may even be that somebody else would think the person you are talking about wrote very clearly and had a wonderful ability to see things from all angles.