Music Box or Musician?

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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IV Laws governing the quotation/citation of music


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Rognvald
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Music Box or Musician?

Post by Rognvald » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:15 am

My greatest criticism of many classically trained musicians is that in spite of untold hours/years devoted to learning technique, theory, and repertoire, a large percentage fail the most important role of a musician: the ability to communicate. Their playing is mechanical, cold and uninspired. And, one of the main reasons, I believe, is that they are never taught the importance of melody and how the melody is the voice to communicate the composer's message/idea similar to the way a poet or visual artist must communicate to their audience. And if we fail to communicate the melody, we have failed the composer and our audience to the greatest degree and become lost in a melange of unconnected sounds that we believe is music. Last night, we had a visit from one of my symphony friends who have played professionally for over 25 years and her greatest criticism of the new inductees into the orchestra is that although they have great reading and technical skills, they lack musicality. Is this a recent phenomenon or has it always been the case? Are we producing music boxes or musicians? Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

CactusWren
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Re: Music Box or Musician?

Post by CactusWren » Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:42 am

Modern classical guitarists seem to have the whole package and do not lack for musicality.

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Christopher Freitag
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Re: Music Box or Musician?

Post by Christopher Freitag » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:32 am

I'm reminded of an Oscar Wilde line from "The Importance of Being Earnest."

Algernon: I don't play accurately. Anyone can play accurately. But I play with wonderful expression.

To a large extent musicality is in the ear of the beholder, and an older generation has often claimed that a younger generation doesn't have it.
Chris Freitag
cjfguitar

2013 German Vasquez Rubio Concert Special "Bernardi"; German spruce/Brazilian rosewood
2014 Garrett (Gary) Lee spruce/cedar double top; Brazilian rosewood

Rognvald
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Re: Music Box or Musician?

Post by Rognvald » Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:31 pm

CactusWren wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:42 am
Modern classical guitarists seem to have the whole package and do not lack for musicality.
Hi, CW,
I think I have difficulty with your above statement since it implies there is a generic level of musicality that all CG's possess. This, in my opinion, cannot be possible as it would not be possible for all baseball players to hit 400 pct.(sorry for the sports analogy). So, since I will not criticize any players to anyone but the closest of friends, I will provide you an example of a player whose musicality far exceeds the majority of CG players I have heard. This is Villa Lobos "Mazurka Choro" played by Yamandu Costa(7 string guitar) and Guto Wirti(acoustic bass). A further search of his music is highly recommended. Playing again . . . Rognvald
https://youtu.be/HTzefQf9gOo
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

Guero
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Location: Baltic Sea, Germany

Re: Music Box or Musician?

Post by Guero » Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:32 pm

"Sentiment is my forte"

CactusWren
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Re: Music Box or Musician?

Post by CactusWren » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:38 pm

Rognvald wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:31 pm
CactusWren wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:42 am
Modern classical guitarists seem to have the whole package and do not lack for musicality.
Hi, CW,
I think I have difficulty with your above statement since it implies there is a generic level of musicality that all CG's possess. This, in my opinion, cannot be possible as it would not be possible for all baseball players to hit 400 pct.(sorry for the sports analogy). So, since I will not criticize any players to anyone but the closest of friends, I will provide you an example of a player whose musicality far exceeds the majority of CG players I have heard. This is Villa Lobos "Mazurka Choro" played by Yamandu Costa(7 string guitar) and Guto Wirti(acoustic bass). A further search of his music is highly recommended. Playing again . . . Rognvald
https://youtu.be/HTzefQf9gOo
That's one reading of my statement, but not what I meant. When the major performing guitarists were either sloppy and musical (Segovia and Bream) or competent and unmusical (JW), it made sense to be critical about the level of playing. Currently, there are boatloads of guys who have it all--flawless tech and good musicality. I don't think Costa is doing anything special there, personally. Keep in mind that someone holding down the low end really frees up the melody player, so it's not really a fair comparison.

Rognvald
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Re: Music Box or Musician?

Post by Rognvald » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:28 pm

CactusWren wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:38 pm
Rognvald wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:31 pm
CactusWren wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:42 am
Modern classical guitarists seem to have the whole package and do not lack for musicality.
Hi, CW,
I think I have difficulty with your above statement since it implies there is a generic level of musicality that all CG's possess. This, in my opinion, cannot be possible as it would not be possible for all baseball players to hit 400 pct.(sorry for the sports analogy). So, since I will not criticize any players to anyone but the closest of friends, I will provide you an example of a player whose musicality far exceeds the majority of CG players I have heard. This is Villa Lobos "Mazurka Choro" played by Yamandu Costa(7 string guitar) and Guto Wirti(acoustic bass). A further search of his music is highly recommended. Playing again . . . Rognvald
https://youtu.be/HTzefQf9gOo
That's one reading of my statement, but not what I meant. When the major performing guitarists were either sloppy and musical (Segovia and Bream) or competent and unmusical (JW), it made sense to be critical about the level of playing. Currently, there are boatloads of guys who have it all--flawless tech and good musicality. I don't think Costa is doing anything special there, personally. Keep in mind that someone holding down the low end really frees up the melody player, so it's not really a fair comparison.
Hi, CW,
Thanks for the reply. I would suggest you take a closer look at Costa. He is certainly one of the most exciting guitar players today. The Villa Lobos piece showed what someone can do with a simple, lyrical melody. The bassist is inconsequential in regards to Costa's performance and he certainly doesn't lack "chops" in the "low end". Here's something more to show you his powers. Playing again . . . Rognvald
https://youtu.be/0v7v3Nl-UIk Again, take some time and listen to his music. He is one of the great guitarists playing today.
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

Guero
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Location: Baltic Sea, Germany

Re: Music Box or Musician?

Post by Guero » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:16 am

Yeah, Yamandú Costa, I think he is great! Not "too classical"! Love his playing!

rafitas123
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Re: Music Box or Musician?

Post by rafitas123 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:21 pm

Yamandu is not classical at all hahah! He is much more into a jazz, latin and brazilian music!

Guero
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Re: Music Box or Musician?

Post by Guero » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:59 pm

Exactly! That`s (maybe) what makes the difference...
duck away

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Christopher Freitag
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Re: Music Box or Musician?

Post by Christopher Freitag » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:26 pm

Guero wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:32 pm
"Sentiment is my forte"
Good catch. The entire line is "As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte." A nice play on words, that.
Chris Freitag
cjfguitar

2013 German Vasquez Rubio Concert Special "Bernardi"; German spruce/Brazilian rosewood
2014 Garrett (Gary) Lee spruce/cedar double top; Brazilian rosewood

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Tom Poore
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Re: Music Box or Musician?

Post by Tom Poore » Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:31 am

To nudge this discussion in another direction, let’s consider the following.

Like Rognvald, I’m often unmoved by the playing I hear. And let’s assume both Rognvald and I are avid consumers of classical guitar music. We both attend concerts and buy recordings. So we both are exactly who aspiring players should try to reach.

But does the same playing reach us? The player Rognvald cited as an example of excellence leaves me cold.

That’s the dilemma of the young concert artist. It’s one thing to exhort young players to reach their audience—it’s quite another to know just how to do it. A player who moves one avid listener will bore another equally avid listener. So now what?

I don’t presume to have an answer. All I’m saying is that, in telling young artists to move us, we should know we’re asking them to hit an ill-defined and capricious target.

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
USA

kmurdick
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Re: Music Box or Musician?

Post by kmurdick » Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:02 pm

IMO, most professional guitar players don't do much with the music. The idea that every note has a purpose and must be considered seems foreign to classical guitarists. One only has to listen to concert pianists to know what I'm talking about.

Carey
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Re: Music Box or Musician?

Post by Carey » Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:47 pm

A place that CGists still often fall short, IMO, is rhythm. If the listener can't tell where the beat is, they can't relax and enjoy the music.
One of the things I like about Scott Tennant's playing is you always know where the beat is, even in the slowest movements.

Rognvald
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Re: Music Box or Musician?

Post by Rognvald » Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:37 pm

kmurdick wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:02 pm
IMO, most professional guitar players don't do much with the music. The idea that every note has a purpose and must be considered seems foreign to classical guitarists. One only has to listen to concert pianists to know what I'm talking about.

Very well said, K. I agree completely. And, classical guitarists could learn volumes from listening to Jazz, Bossa and Samba in regards to playing with interpretive nuances, attention to melody and its variations and general development of a piece including those magical moments when an instantaneous intuition enters a performance. Many CG's, in my opinion, have impressive technique but lack musicality. Listening to other musicians and styles is FUNDAMENTAL to developing your own style and unique sound. In regards to Yamandu Costa, he is an original . . . a born musician and has a technical and artistic command of the guitar and its possibilities that few guitarists will ever achieve. And to imply that a Jazzer like Wes Montgomery/Pat Martino or Latin performer like Costa do not have the same chops as a CG player is patently absurd. I came to CG over 25 years ago as a Jazz Sax/Flute player. So, I'm not speaking from a biased perspective but one which I believe is neutral since my primary focus has been CG since then. Finally, here's a good example of K's last statement about concert pianists. This is Freddy Kempf playing Beethoven's Sonata Pathetique Second Movement https://youtu.be/n2nG1bt7IBM Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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