The Lines are Blurring

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
Rognvald
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The Lines are Blurring

Post by Rognvald » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:17 pm

There are, undoubtedly, some very fine musicians among the members of our Forum. And, it is to those musicians that I primarily speak and share this idea since music is a very long journey in life and most musicians can trace their development technically and artistically through many successive stages. And, for those just beginning the journey or somewhere along the path, this idea can, perhaps, serve as a signpost to their development-- namely, that the lines between contemporary Classical Music and Jazz are blurring. We see musicians like Marcin Dylla, Fabio Zanon, Ricardo Gallen, Doug Niedt, Yamandu Costa, Leo Brouwer, Roland Dyens and, the ever-entertaining Ben Verdery that have, in my opinion, rethought the boundaries of what is Classical Music and are attempting to play "good' music where the lines are blurring. When we speak of Contemporary Classical Music other than improvisational aspects, how is it different from quality Jazz in its execution, interpretation, and musicianship? Many contemporary CG's are incorporating Jazz Classics into their programs and 21st Century Composers are writing good music without it requiring a label: Classical or Jazz. Are the lines blurring or are the lines as clean and well defined as ever? Playing again . . . Rognvald

P.S. All are welcome to comment. Thanks, 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

Dave Stott
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Re: The Lines are Blurring

Post by Dave Stott » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:46 pm

The times they are a changing.
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Tom Poore
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Re: The Lines are Blurring

Post by Tom Poore » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:04 am

In essence, there are two kinds of music: good and bad.

“Come Heavy Sleep” is a great song. So is “The Girl from Ipanema.” And “Old Man River.” And “Amazing Grace.” And “Good Vibrations.”

Genre is irrelevant to quality. If a particular piece is good, then it’s good. And vice versa.

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Christopher Langley
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Re: The Lines are Blurring

Post by Christopher Langley » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:26 am

Tom Poore wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:04 am
In essence, there are two kinds of music: good and bad.

Genre is irrelevant to quality. If a particular piece is good, then it’s good. And vice versa.

Yessss.

Quality is also up to taste.. which as well all know, differs.

If someone somewhere appreciates a particular song in a particular genre.. there are likely to be at least some good things about said song.. even if you fail to find such things and to resonate with them yourself. That's your fault. Not the song, the artist, or the genre.

Can't tell you how many times it has taken a while for me to truly understand and get into a new genre or artist. I'm really happy I keep an open mind when it comes to music. I'm bummed that other people can be so close-minded or listen to the same stuff day in and day out.

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David Gutowski
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Re: The Lines are Blurring

Post by David Gutowski » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:02 am

I've been reading a book by Walter A. Clark: Los Romeros (Music in American Life). It's a good book and is all about the Romeros (think Pepe) and the author states in the preface that interest in "Classical" music is declining. He doesn't say exactly why this is but one can assume fewer people are enjoying it...a lot like Opera, which is also declining in popularity. Maybe this is a main reason cg's are incorporating or mixing contemporary music with their repertoire: trying to keep or renew the classical guitar spirit and interest or make it more modern sounding or "blurring" the lines. Like the first responder stated, the times are changing and maybe we have to change with it.
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Wuuthrad
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Re: The Lines are Blurring

Post by Wuuthrad » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:14 am

People like to Dance to Music.

Classical Guitar music used to be Dance Music.

For some reason that changed. I have no idea why really, and would like to know!
"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." -Jean Sibelius

REHII
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Re: The Lines are Blurring

Post by REHII » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:59 am

I worked as a lighting tech for concerts for many years. I remember the first “rap” show that I worked in the 80’s. I think it was a group called NWA.
Many of my coworkers did not like the show. I had really tried to listen to what was played and sang.
What they were singing about was very contemporary and political.
Also the crowd was large and very vocal and active.
Many of my coworkers called it crap and said it would never last. Even though it was not to my taste I told them they should look at the crowd and listen to the words and that I thought this style of music was going to be very successful.
I will never forget the passion of the performance and the reaction of the crowd.
What is music and art is very much up to the listener and viewer.
I think that the “lines” that may exist in music and art are very tenuous at best.
I never did learn to really like the “rap” music but I applied for the next tour that was going out. I made a lot of money providing lighting for the music that my coworkers said would not last.

REHII
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Re: The Lines are Blurring

Post by REHII » Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:08 am

To continue I later got a job in my early 30’s as the stage manager for the local Sympohny in Memphis.
I had not been exposed to classical symphonic music much in my life as I was kinda a rocker.
I learned really quickly to appreciate the breadth and beauty of the symphony.
And a few of the musicians were kind enough to help me understand what the different types and styles they played were about.
I found that I really liked the power and beauty of the many different types of music they played. From Baroque to Pops.
Having seen hundreds of live concerts of all types in my career I learned there can be beauty in all music if you listen.
And that the “lines” are sometimes not there at all.

RobMacKillop
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Re: The Lines are Blurring

Post by RobMacKillop » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:22 am

I think the OP was really discussing the latest contemporary music styles in both jazz and classical, irrespective of audience numbers.

Classical composition has found a way to unite many of the developments of the 20th century - atonalism, serialism, minimalism, electronics etc, with developments in theatre music, rock and jazz - creating an attractive synthesis that can still challenge the ears and brain. It has moved a LONG way from what most people still regard as classical music.

And jazz has taken a similar journey. From Gershwin to Charlie Parker and Miles Davis (who both studied the avante-garde classical composers) to David Bowie's last album, made with a group of the finest avante-garde New York improvisers.

Go to an avante-garde classical concert in the UK (and I suspect elsewhere in Europe too) and you will find an audience mostly populated with people who would not be out of place at an avante-garde jazz concert. Indeed, they might be the same people.

Both styles do have similarities, and both have similarly-voiced detractors, complaining that there is no tune, or they can't dance to it.

Wuuthrad
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Re: The Lines are Blurring

Post by Wuuthrad » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:08 am

Was anyone dancing though?
"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." -Jean Sibelius

Rognvald
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Re: The Lines are Blurring

Post by Rognvald » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:16 pm

David Gutowski wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:02 am
I've been reading a book by Walter A. Clark: Los Romeros (Music in American Life). It's a good book and is all about the Romeros (think Pepe) and the author states in the preface that interest in "Classical" music is declining. He doesn't say exactly why this is but one can assume fewer people are enjoying it...a lot like Opera, which is also declining in popularity. Maybe this is a main reason cg's are incorporating or mixing contemporary music with their repertoire: trying to keep or renew the classical guitar spirit and interest or make it more modern sounding or "blurring" the lines. Like the first responder stated, the times are changing and maybe we have to change with it.

Yes, David,
I had an interesting experience the other day. I found an old "playbook" among my piles of sheet music from over 20 years ago when I first started playing classical gigs in restaurants and wine tastings/festivals. It was comprised of simple, melodic pieces that had one thing in common: they could be enjoyed on many different levels among many different people. One of them was Aguado's No. 1 in C. It is a simple, lyrical melody with an impression of human nostalgia of times past(my impression). When I played the piece, I played it much like a Jazz ballad with much liberty taken with the author's tempo and implicit time and I discovered, for me, what I believe Aguado really wanted to communicate to his listeners. If played in strict time, it is a charming piece but it loses its emotional, visceral appeal, however, when it is played with attention only to the natural flow of the music, it is a haunting little piece. Is this Classical Music? Is this Jazz without improvisation? So, I am rediscovering my lost Aguado and am incorporating this little gem in a succession of tone poems--some "Classical", some "Jazz" in my new program for the musically "unwashed" among the clanking of glasses, the insipid, lifeless conversations that characterize the hapless automatons in the crowd. 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

Lovemyguitar
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Re: The Lines are Blurring

Post by Lovemyguitar » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:11 pm

Wuuthrad wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:14 am
People like to Dance to Music.

Classical Guitar music used to be Dance Music.

For some reason that changed. I have no idea why really, and would like to know!
I have no interest whatsoever in dancing -- I prefer "listening" to music. As for your assertion that "classical guitar music used to be dance music" -- based on what, exactly? Some of it was meant for dancing (or at least, danceable), sure, but not all of it, and couldn't one say that about all "classical" music? Sor, for instance, wrote a tonne of "classical guitar music" that I wouldn't classify as "dance" music in the least.


As for the OP -- I think there have probably always been those who "blur" the lines, cross them, make new ones, etc, and those who like to stick within the lines, and often both. I don't think this blurring of lines is a new phenomenon by any means. Many of the great classical composers of the past incorporated "popular/folk" tunes and styles into their "classical" pieces, although when we hear them now, we may be unaware of those connections/blurred lines.

Personally, I very much like more-or-less strictly classical music, it is what I listen to most often, but I also like some of that which blurs and blends genres (and I like some music in other genres altogether). As others have said, "good" music is good music, and it is nice to have choices and to hear good creative expressions of musical sound, genre-blurring or otherwise. (I couldn't care less what is popular or what others like -- I make my own choices, and I am glad to have them.)

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Re: The Lines are Blurring

Post by MessyTendon » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:01 pm

Classical guitar is a farce at best. It was not a classical instrument but became a modern instrument. So of course the lines are blurred in a very good way. People appreciate Bach despite it sounding horrible on guitar :) The gold standard of competition winners seems to be Bach...Bach...Bach...

Then you have some composers who are classically trained guitarists whatever that means...because it's debatable. The context of classical music is just a bunch of semantics. At the end of the day people probably wouldn't give a damn about Bach if it weren't for arrogant showman/women bashing the notes on a guitar. It sounds cool, its difficult to do and most people don't care what is classical or what is modern.

So I think it's fair to say modern guitarists are taking inspirational notes from classical composers and going into different genres...and in each of these complex compositions is a little bit of Bach or some other great.

If we want to see the lines blurred even further I think it's time classical guitarist start using amplification more...building a sweeter sounding amplifier for nylon guitar would make more sense than building a paper thin topped guitar that flatulently honks. It's time to go electric. Pairing a soft underpowered guitar in an orchestral setting is just contrived and dumb...

Bob Dylan rocked the folk fest with a big amp and guitar...let's blurr the lines and put these stupid double top honkers out to pasture. If we want louder more powerful guitars in the classical world, let's seriously think about a contemporary electro acoustic deviation for sufficiently honky double tops and lattice puke boxes.

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Re: The Lines are Blurring

Post by Wuuthrad » Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:15 am

Lovemyguitar wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:11 pm
As for your assertion that "classical guitar music used to be dance music" -- based on what, exactly?
I agree with much of the rest of what you wrote, so I'll try and respond to this question.

Courtly or Country dances, informal or formal, are a huge part of Classical Guitar repertoire going back to the Renaissance.

Specific to that period, the Almain, Pavane, Canario and Branle come to mind off the top of my head.

Selections from the Baroque period that come to mind include the Bouree, Pasacalle, Chaconne, Minuet and Gigue.

In both these periods, and the ones that followed, there are many more dances written for and transcribed to the guitar, and in fact many books are composed almost entirely of dances!

I was hoping that someone who knew the dances might chime in, but it would appear for some reason that those of us who play them quite often have lost them?

You could if you chose to do so, follow a historical line all the way to Modern compositions to find Dance as a continual and often named influence on Classical Guitar music.

Additionally I've often wondered why, as a genre, we've lost the Rythm and often players copy tempo so much.

Take for example adagio: the range is about 40 BPM! And the allegro about 50 BPM! Yet you rarely hear allegro tempi played with any variations outside of 5 maybe 10 BPM. People seem stuck really, copying others.

Perhaps Classical Guitar has lost the Beat?

Finally, when I play Sor's guitar music, albeit numbered and not named, I interpret much of it quite rhythmically and danceably. I have done Music and Movement sessions with Body Workers, and performed with Dancers and Performance Artists and it works well! Not limiting the repertoire to Sor exclusively in those situations, but also mixing from different periods and genres and bringing improvisation in as well.
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rojarosguitar
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Re: The Lines are Blurring

Post by rojarosguitar » Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:49 am

Weren't the lines drawn rather by social and economical stratifications than by the nature of music itself? By issues of belonging to this or that class, for artists to belong to this or that club or elite?
I don't see any inherent difference between this or that kind of music apart from it's either catching my attention or not - and that has a lot to do with cultural conditioning I (and everybody for that matter) have been subjected to...
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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