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How do you measure innovation?

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HackettFan View Drop Down
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    Posted: September 30 2017 at 15:31
What is innovation? And who cares about what you care about?

The word 'innovation' gets tossed around as if it's plainly evident in any given case for everyone to see. For some I suspect it just means wild and crazy. Or fresh. Just more subjective terms. As an amateur musician I see lots of unacknowledged innovation that floats under the radar. For instance, in Marillion's Forgotten Sons, Steve Rothery did a string bend a whole step upward, then hammered down with his right hand two frets up while the string was bent, and then lowered the bent string back down, dropping the pitch of the he note sounded with his right hand down a whole step. This is a variation on two handed tapping. Two handed tapping was well within the vocabulary of most guitarists of the time, but I never ran across anyone that had incorporated it with bends, rather than the standard hammer/pull hammer/pull. This was always quite exciting to me, and I incorporated it long ago in my playing. I suspect, however, that it would get no more than a shoulder shrug from any non-guitarist, but that's just the thing. How many even noticed it? We speak of innovation on the forum as if it is plain for all to see, but I think the eye of the beholder makes it very relative.

(BTW, I'm not a big Neo fan here, but the significance of using an example from a Neo band should not be lost on anyone)

For some innovation only happens when two disparate styles or genres are fused. That's what excites them, and if they don't see it, then it's stagnant...fine for them, but then the claim comes out that there is a lack of innovation, as if something's just been proven. The point of this thread is for people to come out and share with the rest what type(s) of innovation they are actually looking for. Some might be looking for innovations that break the rules of music theory, but this may be understandably meaningless to others who know or care little about music theory. Others may be into transcending genres. Others may be into new techniques. I'm often into new sounds, especially when they open the door to new methods of expression (e.g. E-bows, guitar synthesizers, the Moog guitar, novel effects devices, etc.). Others may be looking for unusual orchestration or unusual arrangements. Others may be interested in anything that just simply doesn't resemble anything else. How do you fit into any of this?





Edited by HackettFan - September 30 2017 at 16:27
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DDPascalDD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2017 at 17:00
Nice thread! I actually thought of that guitar technique by myself and never knew if it was used by anyone earlier. More back to the topic, I don't really care. But indeed things will be very different for guitarists. Just as I find a ROLI Seaboard quite an innovative instrument (and I'm very happy to own one!), but for non-keyboardists it will be just a cool little keyboard which works a little different.
Regarding what I'm looking for as far as innovation... I've found one artist who is quite big in modern jazz and he's actually innovating music in different smart ways, it's Jacob Collier. But you can only understand it after thorough listening and analysation. Introducing microtonal melodies in "normal" harmony, dividing beats in 3 ways, so not 7/8 for example but 7/8/3, experimentations with modes, chords, scales and ways to come up with them like negative harmony; well just a lot of things that are very interesting to learn about. It may not seem very groundbreaking, but I doubt that's really possible in post-modernism, the period where everything is possible... Because everything is already done in some way and you can only present it differently.

Would be very interested in other thoughts!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Manuel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2017 at 17:29
I find the word "Innovation" quite a relative term, since it's a subjective matter, not a define techniques/approach/tendency in the music world. To me, is not something that matters much. I like the music that I like for my own particular reasons, being personal taste or something else, but innovation is not certainly a must. Nice to have it, depending on what kind (compositional, technique, orchestral, etc), specially if it's well done, but not an essential component.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lewian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2017 at 17:47
Some person hears something for the first time, or just consciously for a first time, and it strikes this person as something new, worthwhile and interesting.
Actually it may not be really new. It can still be an innovation to somebody.
A new guitar playing technique or variation of a technique may be an innovation to a guitarist but may not be recognised and not strike the non-guitarist as anything remarkable let alone innovative.
There's no taking away from your examples, HackettFan, but they may be lost on those who don't look for this kind of thing. And that's fine, too.
Obviously what strikes somebody as innovative is subjective (and it's not the same subjectivity as taste), but it should also be clear that when discussing innovation or branding something as innovative in a review, say, a bit more knowledge and research should be in place where the idea really came from. It cannot always be done though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2017 at 23:46
Originally posted by Manuel Manuel wrote:

I find the word "Innovation" quite a relative term, since it's a subjective matter, not a define techniques/approach/tendency in the music world. To me, is not something that matters much. I like the music that I like for my own particular reasons, being personal taste or something else, but innovation is not certainly a must. Nice to have it, depending on what kind (compositional, technique, orchestral, etc), specially if it's well done, but not an essential component.
Right. So, you are saying that innovation is one thing, not everything. Pursuing a style we find appealing should not be grounds for shaming. In a sense, a Prog fan could be interested in innovation without spending lots of time dwelling on it. Just saying. Since albums don't normally self-declare that innovations are contained there within, style and genre and such can become heuristics - mental shortcuts - for where one can find more of whatever sort of avant-garde stuff they're looking for. When I think about it too, we are all not just Prog fans here, Prog Rock fans. The presence of innovativeness that is relevant here is still dependent on some sort of Rock styling being present. Opera-Countrty Music Fusion would be something to behold, but it would still belong in the General Music Discussions thread.

Originally posted by Lewian Lewian wrote:

Some person hears something for the first time, or just consciously for a first time, and it strikes this person as something new, worthwhile and interesting.
Actually it may not be really new. It can still be an innovation to somebody.

This is a great observation. If someone regards something as new and innovative, does the fact that someone on Planet X already did the same thing a several years back mean that the intended innovation should be no longer worthwhile and interesting?
Originally posted by Lewian Lewian wrote:

...but it should also be clear that when discussing innovation or branding something as innovative in a review, say, a bit more knowledge and research should be in place where the idea really came from. It cannot always be done though.
Indeed, historical fact checking is a thing of value in appropriate contexts, like a review.

Originally posted by DDPascalDD DDPascalDD wrote:

Regarding what I'm looking for as far as innovation... I've found one artist who is quite big in modern jazz and he's actually innovating music in different smart ways, it's Jacob Collier. But you can only understand it after thorough listening and analysation. Introducing microtonal melodies in "normal" harmony, dividing beats in 3 ways, so not 7/8 for example but 7/8/3, experimentations with modes, chords, scales and ways to come up with them like negative harmony; well just a lot of things that are very interesting to learn about. It may not seem very groundbreaking, but I doubt that's really possible in post-modernism, the period where everything is possible... Because everything is already done in some way and you can only present it differently.
Indeed, but presenting it differently can result in innovation. It seems to me like recognition of innovation is subject to different levels of reduction. There are fine grained innovations that pertain to specific details and require special knowledge and analysis, negative harmony and such. One can also zoom out and get a broader over-arching view of innovation as it pertains to a work as a whole, which does not require anything beyond a viewer's impression (i.e. whoa! there's something strange happening here).

(BTW, Negative harmony is really cool.)



Edited by HackettFan - September 30 2017 at 23:48
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2017 at 22:03
I think when people categorically declare one genre as innovative and one as not so innovative, they are referring purely to innovation in style.  As in when stylistic norms of how a genre can and cannot be presented get rigid, the music from that genre may become same-sounding.  'Micro' innovation in aspects of playing are unlikely to abate as long as there are new compositions in that genre because the very fact that the compositions of some musicians sound at least nominally different from those of bands preceding them suggests that something different is going on, even if what that is may not be obvious to listeners.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2017 at 23:17
Originally posted by HackettFan HackettFan wrote:


...
A. What is innovation? And who cares about what you care about?
...
B. For some innovation only happens when two disparate styles or genres are fused.
...
C. Some might be looking for innovations that break the rules of music theory, but this may be understandably meaningless to others who know or care little about music theory.
...
D. I'm often into new sounds, especially when they open the door to new methods of expression (e.g. E-bows, guitar synthesizers, the Moog guitar, novel effects devices, etc.).
...

A.
Innovation, for me, was listening to the early synthesizers "learn" to form new sounds, many of which were automatically associated with "space sounds", probably due to the time of the moon landing and a movie. However, there are NASA recordings of "space winds", and these are clearly something that is easily mistaken for a synthesizer sound and light swish.

Innovation in this sense means creating new spheres and feelings, but there are areas of confusion for me. For example, I thought that Switch on Bach was crap, but I thought that Snowflakes are Dancing at the same time, was magnificent, and BOTH are very good interpretations of classical music, and innovative, but not original per se. Thus, my preferences tended to the more ethereal folks using synthesizers and creating sounds, and I enjoyed hearing its history going back 10 years before that in some movies (for example like "Forbidden Planet") and then even as far as Lectronic Sound, which is not something that most folks would enjoy listening to ... it's not a musical experience itself, as much as it is an attempt to learn an instrument and what it can do, when at the time, it was not exactly considered an "instrument".

B.
Mixing two styles is not innovative. It merely brings up the interpretations to the modern times. You might not see this in rock music as much, in the Western World, but if you listen to all the smaller countries that few people listen to, you can see the fusion of things, and as an example, in Spain in the late 1970's and early 1980's there were a lot of bands inspired by YES and SUPERTRAMP, and many of them also incorporated the Spanish Classical Guitar. It did not exactly make them "innovative", but it told you very quickly how well the old styles could work with rock music. Basically, you learn quickly how everything can mix ... regardless of how.

Likewise, not many folks have heard the mix of a guitarist with Gregorian Chants, and the album is not exactly one of everyone's favorites, since later some one picked up the choice of another band that sounded more commercial than the original mix, but in the original case, it was like a preacher screaming at his congregation, and it sounded right ... two very different styles, and for many years very harsh ... but excellent all the way, and in the other pieces also used in the album.

I'm not sure that "styles" has anything to do with it ... David B and Ryuichi S. got Oscars, and they reversed their roles ... David did the Eastern music, and Ryuichi did the Western music for the film ... and it still worked. As if it were a joke!

C.
In the 1970's during my college days, the music majors at UCSB, that were studying "composition", were all about hammering anything on the piano, and coming up with the weirdest mixes possible, as if Berg, Orff, Russell, and all those modernists that became famous in the 1960's were simply just hammering off-crazy combinations to give the classical history of "melody" a BIG and HEALTHY finger! There was little music there that I could discern, until such a time as I got off the "melody" kick in pop music, and history of music ... it's almost all a history of melody, or a theme, not anything else.

I did not find, a whole lot of "theory" of anything in that at all ... all I found were people that thought themselves musically instructed, and that they were given the "license" to do whatever they wanted, and it would be called music, but if you and I did it, it was not music ... it was poop on paper!

There is "no theory" ... since tomorrow it will be something else, and what is considered THEORY, is actually AFTER THE FACT defined and designed to explain the events of the piece of music, thus I consider the word itself a massive corruption of the reality in creativity ... because it's tendency is to prevent new ideas, in order to organize the old ideas. This is the role that the university/academic fields play in the history of music, where they have a massive tendency to disrespect anything new ... in favor of the old stuff. And plz ... stay away from the Shakespeare Departments ... it's even worse! (Specially in the 20th century history of interpretation! Richard III as a Nazi? Ohhh those professors are screaming worse than in PF's The Wall!)

D.
During my time, most new stuff has been defined by new instruments, and the synthesizer was originaly one of these, HOWEVER, that stopped being the case when the synthesizer became just a WORKSTATION, and stopped being about the creation of sounds that colored the landscape of the music. Nowadays, it's just a replacement for an orchestra (or its elements), and it's use is in most bands pathetic, and only used in pop/rock ideas ... like a quick theme to introduce a song, and that's the end of the synth ... that is horrible composition, and it will get you a D in college! And not a chance at Grad school!

When you heard Keith play, it was an interpretation, but also a new "instrument", when it kinda dried up after the 4th or 5th album. That harsh sound of the keyboards assaulting the listener, was like listening to many 20th century composers outright ... the incredible array of thunder and lightning and incredible waves at the beach ... in a sound that you could not exactly define, or experience as "strings", for example ... and to me, that is an "instrument", whereas later, it became just a string sound. Even Rick could be considered very original here, though I tend to think he is way too classical minded to be far better, but he was excellent in the early days, but later, I think that he simply became enamored with his ability, and not developed anything new ... it's not about his sound anymore now, but about his ... not very original ideas.

Today, I can not mention many "keyboard" players that are playing an "instrument", rather than augmenting a piece of music with parts that would (normally) be part of an orchestra.

========================

Very tough subject to discuss, and I'm not sure I am even as well educated musically to do this properly, but to me, this was about what I HEARD, and not about the so called "theory". For many others that know music, more intimately, I think their thoughts will be very different than mine.

Sadly, at that point, though, the appreciation for new things tends to die a slow tortuous death in my book, but when it comes to experimentation and use of those sounds, these are much more entertaining to listen to ... than many things.

Ex: Listening to Guru Guru's first two albums ... it's about the sounds and its extension, and in my book makes Eric sound bad! It's Hendrix and Barrett all mixed up in the wierdest dope possible. Most folks DON'T bother, and don't like it ... even for what it meant in the old days ... what do you think many guitar folks did at the old Fillmore? Oh, excuse me, they just showed off their godlike penis!

Ex: Keith's first 3 or 4 albums with ELP

Ex: AD2's use of improvisation in the first 4 albums and how it culminated in "Wolf City"

Ex: Faust, is the worst example of music in terms of its definition, but their experimentations and bends and shapes are totally far out and a lot of fun to listen to ... I would not exactly consider that "music", but it is a LOUD example of how a little fun can help define and create something new and different.

Ex: Early TD. When the synths could not be duplicated or controlled as much. All their bootlegs were vastly different, though some themes did show up. But it shows how to learn the use of a new instrument, specially on a stage ... as compared to a few other folks that did a total of 4 sounds out of the whole cabinet and stack of crap!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BaldJean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 02 2017 at 01:01
you don't measure innovation at all. the new is by definition the unmeasured


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RoeDent Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 02 2017 at 02:29
A lot of times when people use these varied superlatives, it simply boils down to "I like it".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guldbamsen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 02 2017 at 06:14
I use a special device. 

Innovation is a fickle thing and can relate to everything from techniques and genre-pairings to mere feel. 
It's probably better to ask properly educated musicians who've been introduced to experimental music's more colourful facets to get an educated answer on this...but even then the notion retains it's fickleness. Music is indeed in the ear of the beholder.

As for myself: I tend to ascribe innovation to music that sounds completely different to what I've heard before. Whether it's strange, harmonic, melodic, angular or just a fresh take on something done a million times before -it still needs that bit of je ne sais quoi to reach the echelons of innovation. 
Then again one man's innovation is another man's Genesis rip-off.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote progaardvark Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 02 2017 at 06:40
I prefer a broad definition of what innovation is. So this will include genre-bending, recording techniques, effects, playing techniques, lyric writing, singing techniques, technology, made-up languages, and so on.
 
 
As to actually measuring how innovative an artist is? That's not easy as very few artists openly document all the details of every recording they make. And I readily admit that my knowledge of recording, playing techniques, etc. only barely scratches the surface. And there are multiple ways of measuring this: from how many innovations they made to the impact the innovations have had on music.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lewian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 02 2017 at 11:07
I think "new and original" is not quite enough for being innovative; innovative also means "having an impact". This may mean that some other people use the innovative idea, or it may mean that something has a significant impact on the listener's feeling, thinking, mindset.
Quote If someone regards something as new and innovative, does the fact that someone on Planet X already did the same thing a several years back mean that the intended innovation should be no longer worthwhile and interesting?

I'd like to keep up acknowledgement of the general subjectivity of innovation, as well as of terms such as "worthwhile and interesting" (not quite the same as innovative). The answer to this question is to be decided by the listener in question.

It may also depend on the individual example. Let's say Band Y does something that strikes me as innovative and later I find out that Band X had done the same thing earlier. It may however be that had I listened to Band X first, it wouldn't have impressed me just because Band Y did in in a way that did it for me whereas Band X would've left me cold. The achievement of impact for me is then still with Band Y although I may acknowledge that Band X may have impacted Band Y. Or I may jump ship and say that now that I know of Band X, what Band Y did doesn't impress me much anymore and it's really Band X's innovation. Up to me!

Austrian writer Karl Kraus once wrote (in German): "It's not important who has an idea first, it's important who has it better."

The first may be the best or not.

A reviewer or music theoretician may want to have objective notions of "innovation" and "value". I think that there is value in knowledge, research, and well argued thought, so I'm keen on striving to be objective by for example tracking down ideas and elaborating how and why exactly an idea makes an impact. However, ultimately I don't think objectivity will (or should) ever be achieved.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 03 2017 at 15:48
Originally posted by BaldJean BaldJean wrote:

you don't measure innovation at all. the new is by definition the unmeasured
Uh oh, spoiler alert. Read this post last.

Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

I think when people categorically declare one genre as innovative and one as not so innovative, they are referring purely to innovation in style. As in when stylistic norms of how a genre can and cannot be presented get rigid, the music from that genre may become same-sounding. 'Micro' innovation in aspects of playing are unlikely to abate as long as there are new compositions in that genre because the very fact that the compositions of some musicians sound at least nominally different from those of bands preceding them suggests that something different is going on, even if what that is may not be obvious to listeners.
I think this is true, but do innovations on a micro level then lose the value of their coin?

Originally posted by moshkito moshkito wrote:

Mixing two styles is not innovative. It merely brings up the interpretations to the modern times. You might not see this in rock music as much, in the Western World, but if you listen to all the smaller countries that few people listen to, you can see the fusion of things, and as an example, in Spain in the late 1970's and early 1980's there were a lot of bands inspired by YES and SUPERTRAMP, and many of them also incorporated the Spanish Classical Guitar. It did not exactly make them "innovative", but it told you very quickly how well the old styles could work with rock music. Basically, you learn quickly how everything can mix ... regardless of how.
This is interesting. What did it tell Spanish Classical Guitar? Perhaps nothing? I had been thinking about how some fusion movements are not equally accepted by both parent styles. In Prog, the incorporation of Classical and Jazz has been an accepted innovation. I don't think it's true in the reverse. And one style may indeed gain more than the other. What does Jazz benefit from Jazz-Rock Fusion beyond more exuberant drumming and amplified guitar (Miles' formula)? Well, maybe that is pretty major for someone zooming out to a broad view of innovation, but, zooming in on a micro level of innovation, there is very little musically that Rock brought to the table, as far as I know (...or anyone correct me if I'm wrong).

Originally posted by moshkito moshkito wrote:

During my time, most new stuff has been defined by new instruments, and the synthesizer was originaly one of these, HOWEVER, that stopped being the case when the synthesizer became just a WORKSTATION, and stopped being about the creation of sounds that colored the landscape of the music. Nowadays, it's just a replacement for an orchestra (or its elements), and it's use is in most bands pathetic, and only used in pop/rock ideas ... like a quick theme to introduce a song, and that's the end of the synth ... that is horrible composition, and it will get you a D in college! And not a chance at Grad school!
I'm with you on this one. Synthesizers really excited me too back when you were assured that musicians were programming their own patches (or plugging in their own patch cables). Then they started coming with factory presets and patches were prefab, no longer part of an artist's creation.

Originally posted by progaardvark progaardvark wrote:

As to actually measuring how innovative an artist is? That's not easy as very few artists openly document all the details of every recording they make. And I readily admit that my knowledge of recording, playing techniques, etc. only barely scratches the surface. And there are multiple ways of measuring this: from how many innovations they made to the impact the innovations have had on music.
Two very interesting things. I agree I always find out a lot of interesting things whenever I see or hear an interview or behind the scenes look, and that often affects how I regard it afterward. It makes me wonder about what I don't know about the process of creation - process of innovation - in other cases. On the second part, I'm not sure how much I'm on board (I've only said that I'm not sure). Is the impact of an innovation relevant to the degree of innovativeness of a given work? Hmm...Lewian's answer:

Originally posted by Lewian Lewian wrote:

I think "new and original" is not quite enough for being innovative; innovative also means "having an impact". This may mean that some other people use the innovative idea, or it may mean that something has a significant impact on the listener's feeling, thinking, mindset.
Hmm...I can see some of the justification, but there are a lot of reasons something may fail to have an impact, and I still lean toward the idea of innovation as a point of comparison with what came before, not after. Nevertheless, this idea is speaking toward the value of an innovation.

Originally posted by Lewian Lewian wrote:

It may also depend on the individual example. Let's say Band Y does something that strikes me as innovative and later I find out that Band X had done the same thing earlier. It may however be that had I listened to Band X first, it wouldn't have impressed me just because Band Y did in in a way that did it for me whereas Band X would've left me cold. The achievement of impact for me is then still with Band Y although I may acknowledge that Band X may have impacted Band Y. Or I may jump ship and say that now that I know of Band X, what Band Y did doesn't impress me much anymore and it's really Band X's innovation. Up to me!
This is definitely a subjective view of innovation, and the same sort of thing that I've experienced, and part of what motivated me to open this thread.

Originally posted by Lewian Lewian wrote:

Austrian writer Karl Kraus once wrote (in German): "It's not important who has an idea first, it's important who has it better."
Then, the irony of acknowledging a prior thinker is not lost on me.




Edited by HackettFan - October 03 2017 at 15:52
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 03 2017 at 18:46
Originally posted by HackettFan HackettFan wrote:

 I think this is true, but do innovations on a micro level then lose the value of their coin?


Hard to tell.  Depends on the context.  For a guitarist, a micro innovation in guitar playing in an album may be very important but others may not attach the same importance to it.  Even stylistic changes are contextual.  As rock has grown older, every new stylistic change is arguably harder to attain because a lot of ground has been covered.

Edited by rogerthat - October 03 2017 at 18:46
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote mlkpad14 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 03 2017 at 20:14
I don't have much to actually contribute to this thread, but this contains some very interesting material. I really enjoyed reading through it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote progaardvark Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 04 2017 at 07:12
Originally posted by Lewian Lewian wrote:


It may also depend on the individual example. Let's say Band Y does something that strikes me as innovative and later I find out that Band X had done the same thing earlier. It may however be that had I listened to Band X first, it wouldn't have impressed me just because Band Y did in in a way that did it for me whereas Band X would've left me cold. The achievement of impact for me is then still with Band Y although I may acknowledge that Band X may have impacted Band Y. Or I may jump ship and say that now that I know of Band X, what Band Y did doesn't impress me much anymore and it's really Band X's innovation. Up to me!

Austrian writer Karl Kraus once wrote (in German): "It's not important who has an idea first, it's important who has it better."

The first may be the best or not.
 
I can agree with this.
 
A variation on this: Another possibility is that of an innovation developed independently by two or more artists at the same time, or an artist developing an innovation without prior knowledge that it had been done before. Sometimes it's the one that gets the innovation out into the open first, rather than the one that actually does it first. Obscurity of the artist can be a disadvantage.
 
I can't actually think of a real life example in music, but the invention of the telephone comes to mind.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 04 2017 at 17:42
Originally posted by progaardvark progaardvark wrote:

Originally posted by Lewian Lewian wrote:


It may also depend on the individual example. Let's say Band Y does something that strikes me as innovative and later I find out that Band X had done the same thing earlier. It may however be that had I listened to Band X first, it wouldn't have impressed me just because Band Y did in in a way that did it for me whereas Band X would've left me cold. The achievement of impact for me is then still with Band Y although I may acknowledge that Band X may have impacted Band Y. Or I may jump ship and say that now that I know of Band X, what Band Y did doesn't impress me much anymore and it's really Band X's innovation. Up to me!

Austrian writer Karl Kraus once wrote (in German): "It's not important who has an idea first, it's important who has it better."

The first may be the best or not.

 
I can agree with this.
 
A variation on this: Another possibility is that of an innovation developed independently by two or more artists at the same time, or an artist developing an innovation without prior knowledge that it had been done before. Sometimes it's the one that gets the innovation out into the open first, rather than the one that actually does it first. Obscurity of the artist can be a disadvantage.
 
I can't actually think of a real life example in music, but the invention of the telephone comes to mind.
I think one example would be two handed tapping. Steve Hackett invented it (mindful that there were variations on it that he did not, but I consider those variations simply different). For a long time, especially in the 80s, Eddie Van Halen got credit for it. It was always a prime example of the short shrift that Prog always got in the press. I recall one angry letter to the editor in a Guitar Player magazine in the 80s objecting to an assertion from someone that anyone doing two handed tapping was copying Eddie Van Halen. Nevertheless, it seems to be likely true that the technique was made popular by Eddie Van Halen. I don't see how that makes his contribution to that technique more innovative than Hackett's (more influential, yes). The acknowledgement of credit for it has now moved to Hackett. Will that make what Hackett did more innovative now or in the future than it was before? It just seems too post hoc to me, and here's maybe where the subjectivity of innovation that I've so far been leaning toward seems like a problem. The technique has been so tainted by how ubiquitous it is. Nearly every teen who walks into a guitar store knows how to do it. It does viscerally feel like even Hackett is being derivative when actually he's only copying himself, and I often have to clue people in about that when watching Hackett on video with friends.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lewian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 05 2017 at 08:46
Although I don't disagree with you, I wonder how big a problem this actually is. I mean, Hackett's life is probably good enough materially, and I'm very happy that he still plays some wonderful guitar and even produces some new music. Ultimately, how important is it that he did it first? Good for him and for those in the know to know it, but ultimately we can move on and just listen to the music that we like, old and new, Hackett moves on and does what he loves to do now, and we all enjoy it regardless of where innovation X "really" came from and whether due credit was duly paid.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 05 2017 at 09:56
Originally posted by HackettFan HackettFan wrote:


...
This is interesting. What did it tell Spanish Classical Guitar? Perhaps nothing? I had been thinking about how some fusion movements are not equally accepted by both parent styles. In Prog, the incorporation of Classical and Jazz has been an accepted innovation. I don't think it's true in the reverse. And one style may indeed gain more than the other. What does Jazz benefit from Jazz-Rock Fusion beyond more exuberant drumming and amplified guitar (Miles' formula)? Well, maybe that is pretty major for someone zooming out to a broad view of innovation, but, zooming in on a micro level of innovation, there is very little musically that Rock brought to the table, as far as I know (...or anyone correct me if I'm wrong).
...

It doesn't.

But it tells you that TODAY, folks used a lot of electric equipment, and that what used to be a "classic spanish guitar" style of playing, was now being used within a rock context. This is very common. The folk scene in Great Brittain, in the late 60's and 70's went electric in a big way, and by the time you hear Steeleye Span do feedback and Fairport Convention create jams off the traditionals, you know right away that they also did that in the old days, without the aid of electricity.

Music is simply a continuation of various feelings and tomorrow it will be something else, but the music, and its feeling, really remains the same.

We have to be careful with this moment, and discussion, otherwise, WCarlos and Tomita don't fit, and they merely brought the old music to new ears and instruments.

It's innovation in the sense that it is being done by new instruments or in a completely different way, but not innovative at all, since it is the same piece of music, and THUS ... just another interpretation of the music. Thus, Tomita or WCarlos would be the same piece, simply conducted by a different person. It could be considered "innovative" as was the case with Stokowski (mixing instruments and orchestra positioning for different effects), but in general, it should fall into a different take on the same thing. Lenny's versions would be different. Leinsdorf's versions different. Ozawa's versions different, and such. Innovation in this area, is hard to determine, and is basically an exploration of the listener's ears.

Now, when you consider the very early use of the experimental synthesizer in the movies in the 1950's, that could be considered innovative, but then, if you were living in 1910, the movies were also innovative and insane.

The real issue is that defining this without a historical perspective, breaks it down to personal tastes and knowledge of the history of the arts. Yes, Picasso and Dali could be considered very innovative, but that does not take into consideration what brought on the whole thing ... Picasso as a young man looking out the windows in Madrid seeing harsh violence and pieces of human meat on the streets (Guernica), or Dali as a young man, realizing that the ideas that we have were all melting and disappearing into oblivion ... by sheer weirdness and mindlessness. And later the film maker Bunuel, spent 40 years more doing the same thing!

I am not sure that something is "innovative" simply because you and I have not heard it before ... and that is the major issue I have with this thread. Too much of it is based on very little, and only 20 or 30 years of music, when ALL OF THE ARTS, are the greatest example of what could be considered innovation or not.


Edited by moshkito - October 05 2017 at 09:58
... none of the hits, none of the time ... now you know what the inner art is all about!
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