Can You Play a Simple Song?

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Rasputin
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by Rasputin » Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:55 pm

Dirck Nagy wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:45 pm
Rasputin wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:33 pm
...
if you had the technology to replicate a human being atom by atom it really would be a human being, even though man-made
...
This is not what a human being IS; this is only what one is MADE OF.

No - replication means reproducing the design and arrangement of the materials, not just the materials themselves.
Rasputin wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:33 pm
...
and it can't make any difference whether a machine is made of carbon or silicon.
...
Whaaaat....How do you figure that?!?

A system is the same system however implemented. As your first comment seems to acknowledge, it's what it does that counts, not what it's made of.
Rasputin wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:33 pm
...
Only that current machines do not experience emotion. Even so, we are just biological machines -
...
You are ignoring a pesky little detail called "consciousness".
No - that's precisely the difference I was drawing attention to. If you read the whole post, I don't think that could be much clearer.

Dirck Nagy
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by Dirck Nagy » Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:46 am

Rasputin wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:55 pm
Dirck Nagy wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:45 pm
Rasputin wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:33 pm
...
if you had the technology to replicate a human being atom by atom it really would be a human being, even though man-made
...
This is not what a human being IS; this is only what one is MADE OF.
No - replication means reproducing the design and arrangement of the materials, not just the materials themselves.

Sure.... and then your meticulously arranged group of atoms miraculously springs into life, right? I shouldn't chuckle, but i can't help it. Hubris, anyone?
2015 John H. Dick
1994 Larry Breslin ("Deerhead")
1952 Vincente Tatay

Rasputin
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by Rasputin » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:53 am

No miracles required Dirck, or self-delusion - that's the beauty of it. Each to his own though.

PeteJ
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by PeteJ » Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:58 pm

To me music simply is maths. It's all vibrations, man. If we study number theory we spend our lives playing around with the harmonic series. The study of music, maths and metaphysics overlaps in all sorts of interesting ways and they're often difficult to separate. Certainly a recording engineer needs some maths. For players we're not talking differential equations, more of a general sense of hierarchy, form, quantity, dynamic relationships etc. Even painters need the Golden Section.

The connections are fascinating. if we take all the prime numbers up to x and multiply them and then halve the result there will be two pairs of numbers (n,n+2) on either side of the mid-point that are not products of any prime up to x and that have a higher than usual probability of being twin primes. Why? Because this is how a guitar string vibrates.

As for humans being no more than atoms, let's wait until this idea has some support from science before going out on such a limb.

Rasputin
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by Rasputin » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:31 pm

PeteJ wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:58 pm
As for humans being no more than atoms, let's wait until this idea has some support from science before going out on such a limb.
I don't see how the claim is testable - it wil always be a matter of faith, I think, even if it's only faith in Occam's razor. Obviously from a perspective that takes truth seriously it can only be conventionally true. I thought that for you the consciousness was inseparable from the matter, which isn't my view but is not the one I was objecting to either.

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Larry McDonald
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by Larry McDonald » Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:13 pm

Hi,
Getting back to the original premise of the thread...although this is a fascinating read, even with the detours.

One of my observations of slow moving methods is that the student is encouraged to play a lot of tunes below Level 1, often superficially. Not only are the mechanics often suspect, but expectations regarding musicianship are often ignored. Noad particularly comes to mind, as does Shearer. At least Shearer has the excellent Part 3, but how many of us have read this?

After 42 years of full time teaching, -many decades at the University level, I have come to the conclusion that it is much better to memorize far fewer beginner pieces than currently considered by many to be "the good pedagogy of reading many". The material level is the same, but the student needs to perform these few pieces exceedingly well. This includes both the technical and musical perspectives. It is not unreasonable to expect students to attempt to play with good tone at these levels, either.

So, I partially blame the inherited pedagogy for most of the student academic-style of playing that I hear. We are far enough along that some of the younger instructors have been instructed in this "good pedagogy", too, and are passing it along to the next generation.

I am placing my reputation well outside of the safe-zone of academia with these statements, and it will probably cost me some marginalization, if not scholarly credibility. There are thinkers about guitar pedagogy, whom I admire, that will strongly disagree with my observations. But my experience is not the only evidence I have of this approach. I've been teaching this way for longer than 15 years now, and "if time will tell", then let me just say that I had a student win the Gold Medal for RCM's Level 4 last month (best student in the USA at that level.) This approach worked for her, anyway.

All the best,
-Lare
PS. I think Kent Murdick's suggestion of starting with a pick has great merit.
Dr. Lawrence A. McDonald, D.M.A., Art Kaplan Fellow
Author of The Conservatory Tutor for Guitar
2008 Michael Thames Cd/Br
Royal Conservatory Advanced Guitar Instructor
Royal Conservatory Advanced Theory Instructor

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:37 pm

Larry McDonald wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:13 pm
Hi,
Getting back to the original premise of the thread...although this is a fascinating read, even with the detours.

One of my observations of slow moving methods is that the student is encouraged to play a lot of tunes below Level 1, often superficially. Not only are the mechanics often suspect, but expectations regarding musicianship are often ignored. Noad particularly comes to mind, as does Shearer. At least Shearer has the excellent Part 3, but how many of us have read this?

After 42 years of full time teaching, -many decades at the University level, I have come to the conclusion that it is much better to memorize far fewer beginner pieces than currently considered by many to be "the good pedagogy of reading many". The material level is the same, but the student needs to perform these few pieces exceedingly well. This includes both the technical and musical perspectives. It is not unreasonable to expect students to attempt to play with good tone at these levels, either.

So, I partially blame the inherited pedagogy for most of the student academic-style of playing that I hear. We are far enough along that some of the younger instructors have been instructed in this "good pedagogy", too, and are passing it along to the next generation.

I am placing my reputation well outside of the safe-zone of academia with these statements, and it will probably cost me some marginalization, if not scholarly credibility. There are thinkers about guitar pedagogy, whom I admire, that will strongly disagree with my observations. But my experience is not the only evidence I have of this approach. I've been teaching this way for longer than 15 years now, and "if time will tell", then let me just say that I had a student win the Gold Medal for RCM's Level 4 last month (best student in the USA at that level.) This approach worked for her, anyway.

All the best,
-Lare
PS. I think Kent Murdick's suggestion of starting with a pick has great merit.
usually these tunes are absolutely meaningless... (from musical point of view)
recently I have seen how teacher with high, conservatory education, asked pupil to play just on open E string for several weeks (and nothing else) that type of exercise and something maybe more developed, but still very primitive, while technically maybe explainable, could lead pupil if not to disgust, but to become very bored for sure...
But more reading? More reading the better!
Guitarists usually notoriously bad score readers ... many things that score exist only for the trafaret to learn certain piece by heart...
But learning reading scores like reading books itself should be one of the main purpose of all study...
Only a few will become performers, virtuosos, but to be able to read a lot of literature and be touched and enjoy it is great!
I'd better speak by music...Please listen my guitar at Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, etc.

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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:26 am

Larry McDonald wrote:So, I partially blame the inherited pedagogy for most of the student academic-style of playing that I hear.
Larry McDonald wrote:I am placing my reputation well outside of the safe-zone of academia with these statements, and it will probably cost me some marginalization, if not scholarly credibility.
Well I, for one, concur Lare.

One should not either overlook the important psychological effects of consolidation, continued repetition (after "mastery") and performance of those "few beginner pieces". This is one important benefit of correctly following one of the several "Grade" systems with an astute and sensitive guide.

The "good pedagogy" leans heavily towards the mechanical (and I include approaches to sight reading here) to the extent that musicianship may easily become secondary. We can add to this the plain fact that many instrumental teachers are really nothing more than that - with little or no knowledge of educational theory, almost certainly without teacher training and, often, an incomplete musical education of their own.

I'm not convinced that the problem is either entirely new nor confined solely to guitar; just last night I had a conversation with a piano teacher (holding M.Mus.) who did not know what a natural minor scale is. This person has been teaching for decades. I find that remarkable in itself and the implications almost mind boggling.

PeteJ
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by PeteJ » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:04 pm

Rasputin wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:31 pm
PeteJ wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:58 pm
As for humans being no more than atoms, let's wait until this idea has some support from science before going out on such a limb.
I don't see how the claim is testable - it wil always be a matter of faith, I think, even if it's only faith in Occam's razor. Obviously from a perspective that takes truth seriously it can only be conventionally true. I thought that for you the consciousness was inseparable from the matter, which isn't my view but is not the one I was objecting to either.
This is a little back-to-front in my view. The idea that a human being is no more than the atoms in his body is a leap of faith and an untestable conjecture. Indeed, there is no evidence that those atoms are not creations of consciousness and Kant is not considered a fool for proposing this. The idea that consciousness is prior to atoms is theoretically testable, albeit not be sensory empiricism, and a great many people say is practically testable and that they have tested it. In addition, the former idea gives rise to may metaphysical problems while the latter idea solves them, which should surely make us think.

We can't sort this issue out here but we also cannot simply dismiss the entire phenomenon of mysticism and the endless testimony of its practitioners on the basis of guesswork. We would have to make a metaphysical argument against it and nobody has ever done this successfully. This world-view isn't called 'perennial' for nothing. There is no sign of any 'hard' problem in mysticism, which studies consciousness, yet it cripples 'scientific' consciousness studies.

In fact the weight of evidence is entirely on the side of the mystics but to see this we would have to dive into metaphysics and this might not be best place to go on a guitar forum. I just get a touch agitated when I see a highly controversial and untestable conjecture presented as a scientific theory.

If you're up for a longer discussion I could say more, (it's my area of study), but I wouldn't want it to become a niggly argument. We can agree to differ.

Apologies to the OP for wandering away. As you were.

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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by JohnB » Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:34 pm

Larry McDonald wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:13 pm
So, I partially blame the inherited pedagogy for most of the student academic-style of playing that I hear. We are far enough along that some of the younger instructors have been instructed in this "good pedagogy", too, and are passing it along to the next generation.
Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:26 am
The "good pedagogy" leans heavily towards the mechanical (and I include approaches to sight reading here) to the extent that musicianship may easily become secondary. We can add to this the plain fact that many instrumental teachers are really nothing more than that - with little or no knowledge of educational theory, almost certainly without teacher training and, often, an incomplete musical education of their own.
Yesterday, I was reminded of this thread when I picked up my old copy of Peter Nuttall's Berceuse (from his "Twelve Inventions for Solo Guitar"). Very simple, technically, but it is a really very beautiful little piece (ABA with gentle whistful "A" and a very lyrical "B") with bags of scope for nuance and musical expression.

Out of interest I looked at the YouTube performances of the piece and found none of them satisfactory. All bar one played the dots, full-stop. (The "one" was a mature guitarist who made music of the piece but took liberties.) Now I know that this doesn't really reflect on the arguments in this thread - what goes up on YouTube is often "variable" and the players might not have learnt the piece with a teacher - but it still saddened me and reminded me of the arguments here.
Hermanos Conde 1968, Stephen Frith 2007 "Guijoso"

Rasputin
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by Rasputin » Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:37 pm

PeteJ wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:04 pm
Rasputin wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:31 pm
PeteJ wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:58 pm
As for humans being no more than atoms, let's wait until this idea has some support from science before going out on such a limb.
I don't see how the claim is testable - it wil always be a matter of faith, I think, even if it's only faith in Occam's razor...
This is a little back-to-front in my view. The idea that a human being is no more than the atoms in his body is a leap of faith and an untestable conjecture.
We agree on that then (and surely it follows that there's no point waiting for empirical support).
Indeed, there is no evidence that those atoms are not creations of consciousness and Kant is not considered a fool for proposing this.
I am not sure it's logically possible to tell which way round it goes. Either way though, I would have thought that the consciousness is inseparable from the atoms.
The idea that consciousness is prior to atoms is theoretically testable, albeit not be sensory empiricism, and a great many people say is practically testable and that they have tested it.
The difference between us relates to the status of the truths we find by introspection. I think that they tell us what *we* are like, whereas (as I understand it) you think they tell us what *the universe* is like. Take the proposition that we are conscious beings, and that consciousness transcends the physical such that it can never be reduced to the workings of a machine, however complex. This certainly seems true to me intuitively - unquestionable, in fact - and it may be that the deeper you meditate on it, the more obvious its truth becomes. If introspection only tells us what we are like, though, this means no more than that we are beings with a deep-seated conviction that that is the nature of consciousness. Therefore, I am open to explanations that account for the fact that we cannot escape that impression while denying that that is the true nature of consciousness, whereas for you the introspection shows that it is the true nature of consciousness and this kind of argument cannot possibly qualify as an explanation but can only be sophistry.

Against that backdrop, the question is whether treating the results of introspection in one of those ways rather than the other involves a leap of faith. I can accept that in meditation it may seem clear beyond doubt that you have left the dualistic mind behind and (re-)joined an aboriginal consciousness - but this raises the same problem all over again, as all we can say for sure is that this is how it seems to us. Therefore, I think there is always going to be a leap of faith involved in deciding which type of explanation is more plausible.

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Larry McDonald
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by Larry McDonald » Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:56 pm

Well I, for one, concur Lare.

I'm not convinced that the problem is either entirely new nor confined solely to guitar; just last night I had a conversation with a piano teacher (holding M.Mus.) who did not know what a natural minor scale is. This person has been teaching for decades. I find that remarkable in itself and the implications almost mind boggling.
Thank you Mark, for the much appreciated support.

It's uncomfortable dropping ones pedagogical pants in a public post.
Regarding the piano professor who perhaps needs a primer...

"YIKES!".

-Alliterate Lare
Dr. Lawrence A. McDonald, D.M.A., Art Kaplan Fellow
Author of The Conservatory Tutor for Guitar
2008 Michael Thames Cd/Br
Royal Conservatory Advanced Guitar Instructor
Royal Conservatory Advanced Theory Instructor

PeteJ
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by PeteJ » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:48 am

JohnB wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:34 pm
Yesterday, I was reminded of this thread when I picked up my old copy of Peter Nuttall's Berceuse (from his "Twelve Inventions for Solo Guitar"). Very simple, technically, but it is a really very beautiful little piece (ABA with gentle whistful "A" and a very lyrical "B") with bags of scope for nuance and musical expression
Is that the piece in G that starts with the G9/Cmaj7th chords? I was thinking of this piece earlier. Grade 1 and perfectly listenable.

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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by PeteJ » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:11 pm

Rasputin - You make some good points. I'm assuming we're both interested and are not simply arguing. These topics sometimes get out of hand frighteningly fast.
Rasputin wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:37 pm
We agree on that then (and surely it follows that there's no point waiting for empirical support).
Yes. But a theory may be tested in other ways than by empiricism, (which relies on sensory data and is thus metaphysically not very useful). We can use direct knowledge (as when we feel pain), and logical analysis is enough to put paid to most theories.
I am not sure it's logically possible to tell which way round it goes.
In logic it is demonstrably possible to tell this, at least in principle, and it has been demonstrated, but there would be no way to demonstrate that one actually knows.
The difference between us relates to the status of the truths we find by introspection...
Spot on I'd say. As the Vietnam vets used to say, you had to have been there man. I can only point to the fact that it is only ever those who explore consciousness who claim to understand metaphysics, while those who hold your view always find it incomprehensible. This cannot be a coincidence.
Against that backdrop, the question is whether treating the results of introspection in one of those ways rather than the other involves a leap of faith.
I see this as a very reasonable view but one that reflects a misunderstanding. The problem is that no amount of discussion would be enough to convince you otherwise. Perhaps it is telling that the perennial philosophy is unfalsifiable in just the way it would be if it were true and that this would be impossible to explain if it is dependent on faith and not knowledge, and perhaps also it could be noted that for a global phenomenon it is an implausible coincidence that all skilled practitioners make exactly the same 'leap of faith' regardless of culture, language and age. Maybe also it is suggestive that this philosophy is perfectly consistent with modern physics but wildly out of line with the naively-real Newtonian universe.

But you're right, nobody can demonstrate that they know something and it is only by testing the water can we be sure of the temperature.

In a forlorn effort to connect this to the OP I'll say that for me metaphysics seems to suffer from the issue discussed here, where the essential simplicity of a piece (or a theory) leads many clever players to ignore it.

Rognvald
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by Rognvald » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:38 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:14 pm
Smudger5150 wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:49 am
kmurdick wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:27 pm
I quit playing guitar thirty years ago when I started teaching mathematics. When I turned 60, I took up the saxophone and now play sax in small bars and restaurants. I also busk downtown which keeps me in pocket money. So I've gone full circle with music. BTW, Whole Foods stores have a small bar/restaurant that hire musicians. I play at Whole Foods one or twice a month. It's a good place to break into playing out.
Another thread drift...kind of interesting that you started teaching mathematics. Andrew York is/was into some heavy cryptology mathematics I believe. And I was a joint honours in maths and computer science for my degree. Just wondered if guitar attracts people who like that kind of area....
I've heard people say aspects of music and maths are not dissimilar.

And yes, your Mel Bay books look worth a look. Well the comping for fingerstyle one in particular.
Interesting... why music supposed to be connected in us with mathematics? I am absolutely indifferent to mathematics... even probably more than that - I dislike it.. I never ever been interested in it...
and all my life I worked as a guitarist... Guitar attracted me because... probably because I was exposed to it from my birth and even before that, probably because my ancestors played it and or were in Arts as artists, painters etc.
From the moment I played it first time, when I was around 3 years old I felt in love with it .. and just played all my life.
Maths? Computer Science? NO NO NO !!!! to the degree that I would be very unhappy if life will force me to do it...
And when I play or create music I calculate nothing... No math at all ... I just play, express myself, having fun, satisfaction, it is all.

Hi, Andrei,
I have to be careful with my comments since I want to be informative rather than didactic. My experiences in life are very similar to yours but I believe there are many ways to make a good soup. In life, there are Left and Right brained individuals and this determines from a biological perspective how we think and act in life as well as how we approach the Arts: Music, Writing and Visual Art. Written Music, as we see it on the page, is similar to an algebraic/geometric problem. It needs to be decoded to unlock the answer/Music. However, the performance of Music, for me, is the antithesis of a math problem in that a good performance requires much more than a cold reading but rather the total sum of a performer's life experiences, both musically and experientially, to produce a good performance. We see it quite clearly in some performers who, perhaps, a case could be made for Left and Right-brained performers: John William: right-brained; Ricardo Gallen: left-brained I believe are fair examples. I would also go out on a limb to generalize and say that musicians from Latin America(Spain/South America/Mexico/Central America) and many Eastern European musicians play with a more left-brained approach than Central and Northern European players who, in my opinion, are more right-brained. Of course, with all things in life, there are exceptions and we are not talking about exceptions but rather generalities. The bottom line, however, is always the performance and the best way to determine how you play is to play a simple song where the musicians interpretation cannot be clouded with frenetic flourishes and rapid-fire tempo but rather must be expressed in a simple line that truly tests the essence of each note and the breath of life given to each melodic line. 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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