are gestures and facial expression essential in a performance?

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
Scot Tremblay
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Re: are gestures and facial expression essential in a performance?

Post by Scot Tremblay » Sun May 31, 2015 12:33 am

MarkInLA wrote:It's a moot point. Is the music good ? That's all we should be concerned with. It's the same as if you'd rather watch a female than a male or male than a female play CG. Sure Ana and a few other gals are great looking. But, if they played badly I'd never let their beauty lure me away from the bad music. Would you ? So it's the same thing. What they look like, and move like is their own business. That's the way they choose to emote, genuinely or superficially. This goes for the opposite as well. A player that makes near zero gestures doesn't make me think they are some how better or more in control because they look stern. It's not my business. My business is to be or not to be entertained by the work they'r playing.
....Now, were was that Salma Heyak video I was watching !!....
I think you're probably correct, Mark. I'm having trouble concentrating on the subject at hand now that you introduced Selma into the discussion... :flowers:

My main objection to gratuitous gestures and facial expressions is not so much how it looks to the audience. For myself, if I find something visually annoying, I have little shades that I like to call eyelids, which I can pull down and don't have to see what's going on. But taken from the players position, all those motions not directly related to sound production takes energy, which I think could be better used elsewhere, creates body tension in spots that have no need being tense, distracts the subconscious mind from the task at hand and as the jazz guitarist in my quote above hinted at, if you're concentrating on showing me how emotional you are about the music then you are neglecting the concentration needed for me to hear how emotional you are about the music.

In short, I think it is phoney and serves no useful purpose. I'm not suggesting that a performer needs to sit perfectly still like an emotionless stone pony, that's nearly as annoying. However, a genuine involuntary physical response to an emotional moment is perfectly acceptable but I've seen the piano player mentioned above sway, gyrate and conduct himself on one singe note...to quote that undeniable goddess of adolescent male heartbreak, Shania Twain..."That don't impress me much!"
Scot Tremblay Guitars

"One picture is worth a thousand words. So, for me, one good note put where it should be put, will say what it will take some people many notes to say. ~B.B. King, 1986

Scot Tremblay
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Re: are gestures and facial expression essential in a performance?

Post by Scot Tremblay » Sun May 31, 2015 12:57 am

markodarko wrote:
Scot Tremblay wrote:I don't find Marcin Dyllas hand motions all that off putting, pretentious perhaps.
I was being diplomatic. For a change. ;-)
It's not fair changing the rules mid game.... :?
markodarko wrote:Indeed.Do you think this is taught in some post-graduation finishing school for performers? John Williams must have missed that class. Luckily.
It think it is a natural progression from thought to action. Your mind thinks up something for your body to do, sends the message out and often the body or a single part gets ready to execute the action by getting into position or a facial expression or ?...I studied Martial arts for many years and "telegraphing" is something that these folks must work hard at eliminating if they are going to be successful at sparing. An experienced opponent will pick up your signals in an instant and let me tell you it doesn't take long to clue into why he is bopping you in the head before you even begin to swing.

I notice this advance warning, that something special is coming, with a lot of guitar players (classical musicians in general). It may be a quick breath, a hand movement, head nod, raised eyebrows, quick smile, upper body lunge...it's not so important if one is not watching the performer on stage (and how many of us don't do that???) but if you are carefully observing as well as listening...well, letting me know that you have a surprise coming is very nice of you in sparing but in my musical performances, I like to be surprised sometimes.

It was a performance point my teacher in University worked on with his students but I don't think teachers cover this aspect of performing anymore or maybe the students don't listen.
Last edited by Scot Tremblay on Sun May 31, 2015 1:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
Scot Tremblay Guitars

"One picture is worth a thousand words. So, for me, one good note put where it should be put, will say what it will take some people many notes to say. ~B.B. King, 1986

Scot Tremblay
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Re: are gestures and facial expression essential in a performance?

Post by Scot Tremblay » Sun May 31, 2015 1:00 am

Trying to edit...
Scot Tremblay Guitars

"One picture is worth a thousand words. So, for me, one good note put where it should be put, will say what it will take some people many notes to say. ~B.B. King, 1986

Whiteagle
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Re: are gestures and facial expression essential in a performance?

Post by Whiteagle » Sun May 31, 2015 12:47 pm

All faces express something so you cannot avoid making a choice as to what that is. I don't have a list of what I liked best but facial expressions that are grimacing and not relaxed can be off putting to me as an audience member. I usually don't judge the facial expressions of a player, I am interested in the music.

Will95
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Re: are gestures and facial expression essential in a performance?

Post by Will95 » Sun May 31, 2015 7:54 pm

I think there is a very fine line between genuine emotion & the use of facial expressions to assist the player in setting the mood and an excessive level of gesturing. Certainly, I could watch a player like Julian Bream all day, because his movements have feeling attached to them and reflect the music- but players that have a habit of staring towards the sky with a sort of dreamy smile across their face come across as a little concieted.

6strings

Re: are gestures and facial expression essential in a performance?

Post by 6strings » Mon Jun 01, 2015 5:42 am

I kind-a like watch Galina Vale. She is trying to make comedy out of it, but than usually after a while music takes over and she gets serious without realizing, and than again when she catches her up she starts drama-comedy grmasses again.

Malcolm
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Re: are gestures and facial expression essential in a performance?

Post by Malcolm » Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:15 am

Will95 wrote:I think there is a very fine line between genuine emotion & the use of facial expressions to assist the player in setting the mood and an excessive level of gesturing. Certainly, I could watch a player like Julian Bream all day, because his movements have feeling attached to them and reflect the music- but players that have a habit of staring towards the sky with a sort of dreamy smile across their face come across as a little concieted.
...or looking like they're constipated or having a heart attack. Apparently when the great comedian (and very fine pianist), Victor Borge, started his career he used to pull all sorts of faces without knowing he was doing it and then wondered why people were laughing. He eventually realised he had the ability to make people laugh and the rest is history.

Check YT for some of his clips, particularly the duet of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, and see if you can avoid ROFLMAO (as they say in the classics). As with all his sketches, it looks so spontaneous but must have taken considerable rehearsal.

Cheers,
Malcolm
When I was ten, I thought my parents knew everything. When I became twenty, I was convinced they knew nothing. Then, at thirty, I realized I was right when I was ten.

Mark Twain

artguy
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Re: are gestures and facial expression essential in a performance?

Post by artguy » Mon Jun 01, 2015 11:55 am

The visual aspect of some kinds of performance might be more than 50 % ?

chien buggle
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Re: are gestures and facial expression essential in a performance?

Post by chien buggle » Mon Jun 01, 2015 5:46 pm

theatricality (facial expressions, geustures ect) is very important in guitar competitions. Thomas Viloteau even says in his technique book that it is the most important element. From my own limited experience in competitions, I have seen very theatrical performers awarded higher scores than more musically and technically proficient players a few times. I think these things are most often a display of confidence and a way to show the general audience that you are connected to the music.

Its normally the better guitarists that do these things, because they are confident and want to show that.

Jeffrey Armbruster

Re: are gestures and facial expression essential in a performance?

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:57 pm

I recently watched a video of someone performing Capricio Arabe (sp.?). Great player. But I wanted to say, get a room. Do they charge double occupancy for you and your girlfriend, the guitar?

Scot Tremblay
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Re: are gestures and facial expression essential in a performance?

Post by Scot Tremblay » Tue Jun 02, 2015 1:47 am

If one wants to make gestures, gyrations and facial expressions as a part of their performance, do your thing. Rock, Country and pop musicians do it all the time. But let us at least be honest enough with ourselves and our audience to call it what it is, a visual element, perhaps an essential visual element, of the performance, not some existential connection with the universal oneness of the music.
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"One picture is worth a thousand words. So, for me, one good note put where it should be put, will say what it will take some people many notes to say. ~B.B. King, 1986

a human
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Re: are gestures and facial expression essential in a performance?

Post by a human » Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:20 am

If I find exaggerated gestures and expressions distracting, I close my eyes (in frustration). If the music and the playing cannot convey the composer's intent, no amount of "guitarist expression" will make up for it.

I really do not enjoy the theatrics and find they detract from a performance.
1965 Krempel Classical (660ish mm)
The rest come and go.

Matt Peters

Re: are gestures and facial expression essential in a performance?

Post by Matt Peters » Tue Jun 02, 2015 6:50 am

Hi guys,
I am new to the forum. I am a classical guitarist and teacher.
my 2 cents
Gestures and facial expressions should never replace or compromise your playing. I have always been of the opinion that "less is more" when it comes to these things. However, if you are playing well, and you add a bit of body language in, it can really complete the presentation. Especially in regards to less informed audiences. Don't forget the average concert goer may not always be hip to your ultra refined and subtle interpretation. They sometimes appreciate a "visual aid".

WilliamSchart
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Re: are gestures and facial expression essential in a performance?

Post by WilliamSchart » Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:52 pm

It's by and large a matter of degree. If a performer is deliberately throwing in facial expressions and gestures, it can get quite distracting, even in a rock/pop/country context, at least for me. On the other hand, if I go to SEE a concert I expect that there will be some visual element involved, otherwise why go instead of just listening to a recording?

Polifemo de Oro

Re: are gestures and facial expression essential in a performance?

Post by Polifemo de Oro » Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:53 pm

Segovia was a statue when he played. But, Bream used to screw his face up pretty good as I remember. I loved them both.

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