Musician or Player?

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
jazzkat
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Re: Musician or Player?

Post by jazzkat » Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:28 pm

I use the same distinction between Musician and guitar player quite frequently and I admit, I tend to use it in a derogatory way.
Shame on me! :oops:
In my mind a musician doesn't have to be the greatest technical performer but he must produce something of artistic value. Sometimes those kids whacking out loud chords do have some artistic value, even if it is only the Zeitgeist that gives it credence.
Equally those people all over youtube who can "shred" (I so hate that term :evil: ) say nothing to me other than "check me out I can play this scale really fast".
The problem is it's so subjective - what moves me, may be a complete snorefest to you and vice-versa.

When I was doing my degree some eminent University academic came in to give us a master class on the music of the Beatles (this was mid 80's) and even at the time I thought what a load of old tosh, it's just some old hippy academic trying to be cool (sorry Beatle fans :lol: ) and I think that in another 15 years time when most of the boomer generation are no longer with us, most people won't even know who they were. That was the zeitgeist giving those pop musicians musical credibility, in my opinion.

Anyway, I digress,
It's just words and trying to pin them down is impossible because words, like music, mean different things to different people. So many people think that because you own a musical instrument, you are a musician. I don't think that the people who knock out rock band tunes in the local pub are musicians in the sense that we understand the term but to the masses they are great musicians simply because they recognise the tunes they play.

Who is in the wrong? Is it us in Ivory towers? Is it the masses for not understanding? Do we just feel our egos smarting because we don't get the recognition we feel our craft deserves?
I know what I feel about it but it may be different to you.

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Musician or Player?

Post by rojarosguitar » Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:55 pm

I would put another light into the matter: In my perception, especially since the rise of media and pop culture, musician all to often means to be on stage and be seen as somebody who performs music. But to play music (which is maybe what you actually mean by musician) may be much more a matter of heart.
So to be a musician requires (especially in classical music) certain skills (often even tremendous skills, though in pop not necessarily), but doesn't guarantee anything I would listen to for a long time. Everybody who devotes his life to a certain skill can develop a high level of this skill.
Music played by people engaged through their heart may be not at the highest technical level, but in most casing interesting enough to listen to (for me).
Of course if both comes together that's the biggest luck for the world of music.
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

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ddray
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Re: Musician or Player?

Post by ddray » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:24 am

Wuuthrad wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:55 am
Also, more succinctly (hopefully) to the "point" of this "question."

Is a Musician a Player? Yes

Which begs more questions:

Is a player of an instrument a musician? Yes
...
Not necessarily. And in many ways it's relative. Paul McCartney can play several instruments and always had a knack for coming up with the catchiest of hooks. Leonard Bernstein *as far as I know* played one instrument. Which one is/was more of a *musician*? Bernstein knew where McCartney was coming from and did understand The Beatles' music...and Bernstein could craft some pretty infectious hooks himself. But McCartney probably could never ever explore the depth of music the way Bernstein could. So there are probably different gradations of "musician".

Rognvald
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Re: Musician or Player?

Post by Rognvald » Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:39 pm

"Music played by people engaged through their heart may be not at the highest technical level, but in most casing interesting enough to listen to (for me)." Rojarosguitar


Yes . . . and this is where it should start . . . why do so few people who play speak of the passion of music rather than which mountain they have climbed lately? When passion is missing . . . we only have notes. 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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rojarosguitar
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Re: Musician or Player?

Post by rojarosguitar » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:20 pm

:D
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

My Youtube Channel is: TheMusicalEvents

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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Musician or Player?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:22 pm

No one has yet presented this angle: to call Bernstein a mere musician would be an insult. The technicians in his orchestra are musicians. They show up, play the notes as he directs them. The solo musicians may rise to the level of virtuosos, But Bernstein, he’s the conductor. He happens to also be a pretty good musician. Yo yo Ma, not a musician.

So Rog, do you see in your hierarchy a place where some transcend the appellation of mere “musician.” It seems to me it depends on who is doing the naming. Directors derisively call the actors “the talent.” What standing do we have to cal or not call Sir Paul a musician, the talent, or the most successful popular music composer on the planet (with more than a little help from George Martin , a true musician)?
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
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Rognvald
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Re: Musician or Player?

Post by Rognvald » Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:39 pm

Rick Beauregard wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:22 pm
No one has yet presented this angle: to call Bernstein a mere musician would be an insult. The technicians in his orchestra are musicians. They show up, play the notes as he directs them. The solo musicians may rise to the level of virtuosos, But Bernstein, he’s the conductor. He happens to also be a pretty good musician. Yo yo Ma, not a musician.

So Rog, do you see in your hierarchy a place where some transcend the appellation of mere “musician.” It seems to me it depends on who is doing the naming. Directors derisively call the actors “the talent.” What standing do we have to cal or not call Sir Paul a musician, the talent, or the most successful popular music composer on the planet (with more than a little help from George Martin , a true musician)?

Great question, Rick and one which was the impetus of this discussion. In almost every arena of life, there is an ordering of abilities and skills which are accessible to some and not others. There are also qualifiers that Man uses to determine competency. For example, when we use the term "union carpenter" in the US, it means that a person has gone to trade school, served on the job as an apprentice and eventually after years of on the job experience has earned the title of "union carpenter." A person who hires this skilled person has a level of expectation regarding his skills and abilities. So, if Mrs. Jones needs a new door frame for her front door, she can expect the job to be done properly if she hires a union carpenter. That is not necessarily the case with Joe the Carpenter down the street. So, how does this translate to music? The term "musician" and "artist" are terms which are abused, in my opinion, daily. Similar to the carpenter, a musician has a skill set that is quantifiable. For example, in the past when I played tenor sax/flute and was called for a job, they knew that I could "sit in" and read the charts without undue rehearsing and perform to an acceptable level. However, there were many sax players who could play in a group but could not "sit in" because they didn't have the skill set I developed. Therefore, I called myself a "musician" while the other saxophonist was a "player." I was well-trained and competent. He was not. In regards to "Sir Paul," he is, in my opinion, a player. He was a street musician in a band that rose to popular acclaim during the Sixties that became one of the most successful garage bands in history. Their early music was based largely on I/IV/V progressions that any 60's aspiring guitarist could play in 30 days. Many were copies of American Blues standards that were the vogue at that time. Their music and lyrics are, in my opinion, highly successful and entertaining to a largely uneducated musical audience. It wasn't the Jazz or Classical music critics that spread their acclaim and fortune but screaming, pubescent girls who each, in their minds, had their floppy-haired, estrogen-induced favorite. And so the story goes . . . so, mass popularity has never been a standard for judging competence or worth . . . only popularity. Van Gogh died believing he was a failure as did Galileo, Poe, Kafka, and our old friend Johnny Bach. Musician or player? It's for you to decide. 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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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Musician or Player?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Thu Feb 21, 2019 4:08 pm

Well, that didn’t exactly address my point, but Paul, he can sit in at Bass and vocals in my band anytime.
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
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Rognvald
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Re: Musician or Player?

Post by Rognvald » Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:34 pm

Rick Beauregard wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 4:08 pm
Well, that didn’t exactly address my point, but Paul, he can sit in at Bass and vocals in my band anytime.

Hi, Rick,
I thought I did but the nature of your question was the reason I initially posed the question. Words have different meanings to different people. People throw terms around like "artist" or "musician" and have no baseline. To people in the Country Music industry, Dolly Parton is an "artist." Would she be considered an "artist" among Classical and Jazz musicians? If we use the term "artist" for Dolly Parton, what value does it have for Bernstein and Ma? What are the parameters of an artist? Are they the same parameters for a musician? Some musicians are artists; others not. These are questions, I believe, all people serious about Art need to ask and define for themselves. A musician is not a tape recorder, music box, or sound engineer. He/she is a human being that has chosen Art to communicate a message about themselves and the world around them. And, you can't do that sitting in your bedroom with a closed door. You need to communicate to others. Otherwise, Music is no different than doing a crossword puzzle, playing Scrabble or Golf. In regards to Sir Paul . . . excuse me I just got something caught in my throat . . . my intention is not to be mean-spirited but rather to make it very clear that I never liked the Beetles or any of their music. I suppose it is that I grew up in Chicago and my first Music influences were James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, Jr. Walker, Al Green, Rufus Reid and the wonderful sounds of R and B, Soul and Funk--music that didn't even remotely resemble the Beatles and their largely suburban fan base. Isn't it great that we all don't think alike? Thanks again for the great question and input! Playing again . . . Rognvald P.S. Here's a tasty piece by the Wicked Pickett with full horn section. Enjoy!

[mod edit: copyrighted music. Search youtube: Mustang Sally by Wilson Pickett]
"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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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Musician or Player?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:42 pm

My garage band did this version in 1966 with a slightly smaller horn section. I was a combination of Jimmie McGriff on the B3 and Wilson Pickett on vocals.
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Musician or Player?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:00 pm

I see your point. Language is crude. But who’s to say if that first aborigine who first pounded a stick on a hollow log wasn’t an artist or musician. His fans loved it and his students took the art to higher levels still.

I always thought that as a student of music it gave me the knowledge to appreciate music in all its forms, not to love it all, but to love that people loved it. How else can someone have well worn versions of Bach’s cello suites, Oscar Peterson, AND John Prine in the same playlist. I guess if I have a place I agree with you on, it’s in the genre of made for radio canned hit machine music cranked out by pop artists not for their musical sophistication or poetry but for bucks.

I was in a band because of the Beatles (who among us in the 65-70 age group wasn’t?). And we played a lot of three chord hits. Some of them Beatles songs, but with three-part harmony. On Some we went to their source: Wilson Picket, Sam Cooke,...But some of their hundreds of songs were different. My guitarist never played those chords. They were the songs my dad said sounded like “real music”. The ones his band played at weddings every weekend. And his listeners loved it.
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
1980 Dauphin D30
1962 Fender pre-CBS P-Bass
National Triolian Uke ca.1930
Almost as many fly rods as guitars
_/) _/)
_/)

Rognvald
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Re: Musician or Player?

Post by Rognvald » Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:17 pm

"I was in a band because of the Beatles (who among us in the 65-70 age group wasn’t?). And we played a lot of three chord hits." Rick


Rick, I hope you didn't forget the guy that started it all for white kids across the country . . . Elvis! The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Animals, of the British invasion came after him. I bought my first guitar at age 12 and was playing gigs at church dances in 6 months... a three-chord wonder. We did 2 sets for $25.00 per man and all but a few were I/IV/V progression. Elvis and the "Soul" Musicians were my inspiration with a heavy emphasis on the later. The Beatles were a dirty word in my circle and we didn't play any Beatles songs! Of course, I was not like the moppy-headed kids that followed the Beatles but what we call in Chicago a "greaser": slick hair heavy with pomade, black leather jacket, Italian knit sweaters and tight-fitting dress pants. Did I mention black pointed shoes with Cuban heels??? No Beatles for me then . . . or now. God . . . those were great days!! Playing again . . . more than 3 chords . . . 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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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Musician or Player?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:58 pm

I’m maybe a little younger Rog so Elvis was already not cool. My band mates all got Silvertone guitars and amps. They couldn’t play. I was the only one with any music training at all. While I was listening and playing the stuff in the band, I was also listening to Dave Brubeck, Jimmy McGriff and Oscar Peterson. Later bands like Blood Sweat &Tesrs and Chicago, blues bands like Paul Butterfield and Moby Grape then prog Rock, Yes fed my expanding music appetite. I loved Yes for their symphonoc like pieces only on FM and because of keyboardist Rock Wakeman. It was here I discovered the first classical/flamenco-like work of Steve Howe (mood for a day). Jeff Beck was my first guitar hero starting back with the Yardbirds. Their first US single (For Your Love) featured Jeff’s Boogie on the B side. Blew my mind! You can take Hendricks, Clapton and the rest. Beck is the most innovative of the bunch. His video album At Ronnie Scott’s is worth a listen.

Of course the foundation of all of this was my study on the piano, just 6 years starting at age 7. It started with classics. Full circle.
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
1980 Dauphin D30
1962 Fender pre-CBS P-Bass
National Triolian Uke ca.1930
Almost as many fly rods as guitars
_/) _/)
_/)

Rognvald
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Re: Musician or Player?

Post by Rognvald » Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:27 pm

"My band mates all got Silvertone guitars and amps." Rick B.



I hope, Rick, everyone will forgive us for this selfish nostalgia! I had a Silvertone amp and a Kay guitar with action so high Schwarzenegger couldn't play it. Great days! Playing again . . . without my triple pickup Kay guitar . . . Rognvald. P.S. I was definitely a "player" in those years!
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

AKim
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Re: Musician or Player?

Post by AKim » Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:43 pm

I’m getting a little dizzy trying to follow the whole discussion. My insight into it all? I was classically trained on violin. Scores, solos, theory, technical whatnot was all part of the culture. Made me a pretty good player. But my real understanding of music came when I ventured off the written page into other instruments and improvisation and internalized the real language of music, instead of just reading and performing it. I knew plenty of very talented classical players, but they could not easily play a melody by ear. Conversely, I know a lot of self-trained or informally trained players who cannot read standard notation at all, but they have a very intuitive and fluid mastery of their instruments. I try to take care about comments that would demean either group with a technicality. I reserve the title of musician for those who play with fluid competency and are driven to play, perform, and commit to excellence. And the title of player belongs to those who range from dabbling to being satisfied with playing “good enough” but never attain any real level of proficiency. That’s just my take on it. I’ve grown out of the idea that only those who have achieved some ridiculously high level of education can be called “musician”.

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