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The Role of Virtuosity in Progressive Music

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Kati View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Kati Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Role of Virtuosity in Progressive Music
    Posted: February 21 2013 at 20:39
Al DiMeola to me is certainly a virtouso, no one can play like him, he was voted the fastest guitarist in the world (this does not mean much to me but felt the need to mention to those who don't know him) but he didn't like to be classified as such. Al is a virtuouso and not commercial like Santana as he refused to conform to the pop culture, once your hear race with the devil on a spanish highway, you'll know what I mean and where I come from too Thumbs UpApprove the problem is what I mentioned above, he refuses to conform thus not known to the crossover fans Disapprove
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Post Options Post Options   Quote RBlak054 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2013 at 20:45
Originally posted by Kati

Al DiMeola to me is certainly a virtouso, no one can play like him, he was voted the fastest guitarist in the world (this does not mean much to me but felt the need to mention to those who don't know him) but he didn't like to be classified as such. Al is a virtuouso and not commercial like Santana as he refused to conform to the pop culture, once your hear race with the devil on a spanish highway, you'll know what I mean and where I come from too Thumbs UpApprove the problem is what I mentioned above, he refuses to conform thus not known to the crossover fans Disapprove


Glad to hear that you're an Al Di Meola fan! He has always been one of my favourite fusion players, and is a perfect example of a virtuoso who can play unbelievably fast and still keep things musical and interesting. The album Elegant Gypsy, in particular, really seems to capture his talent.
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Kati View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Kati Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2013 at 20:48
Listen to this, it's crazy fantastic and performed live too!!!! AL DIMEOLA !!!!!!!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Kati Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2013 at 20:50
Originally posted by RBlak054

Originally posted by Kati

Al DiMeola to me is certainly a virtouso, no one can play like him, he was voted the fastest guitarist in the world (this does not mean much to me but felt the need to mention to those who don't know him) but he didn't like to be classified as such. Al is a virtuouso and not commercial like Santana as he refused to conform to the pop culture, once your hear race with the devil on a spanish highway, you'll know what I mean and where I come from too Thumbs UpApprove the problem is what I mentioned above, he refuses to conform thus not known to the crossover fans Disapprove


Glad to hear that you're an Al Di Meola fan! He has always been one of my favourite fusion players, and is a perfect example of a virtuoso who can play unbelievably fast and still keep things musical and interesting. The album Elegant Gypsy, in particular, really seems to capture his talent.
Oh wow thank you, RBlak054, I am happy you enjoy Al too!!! Awesome!!! ClapHugagain, thank you Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Argonaught Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2013 at 20:59
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq

^ (Slartibartfast) has pointed it out once in my "should the artist care" thread, you are just making the music for yourself ("musical masturbation"). .

By the same token, listening to others playing music would be what, voyeurism? 

(never mind the likes of X Factor)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dayvenkirq Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2013 at 21:03
^ First of all, Second of all, I don't watch that show.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dayvenkirq Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2013 at 22:34
Originally posted by HolyMoly

Technical virtuosity is but a tool; the real fuel lies in the creativity.  A technically virtuous musician may have an advantage in the creative area, as he has more tools to use, and a wider knowledge of what tools there are; however, a technically virtuous musician may also have a disadvantage, if his training has narrowed his focus and made him an efficient machine rather than a creative craftsman.
Good point. 

Here's a cookie: give me an example of virtuosity as an extension of an artist.


Edited by Dayvenkirq - February 21 2013 at 22:37
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Ambient Hurricanes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2013 at 23:09
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq

Originally posted by HolyMoly

Technical virtuosity is but a tool; the real fuel lies in the creativity.  A technically virtuous musician may have an advantage in the creative area, as he has more tools to use, and a wider knowledge of what tools there are; however, a technically virtuous musician may also have a disadvantage, if his training has narrowed his focus and made him an efficient machine rather than a creative craftsman.
Good point. 

Here's a cookie: give me an example of virtuosity as an extension of an artist.


What do you mean by that exactly?
In blood, he's writing the lyrics of a brand new tune.
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Dayvenkirq View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dayvenkirq Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2013 at 23:18
^ What would an artist need virtuosity for?
"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Ambient Hurricanes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2013 at 23:24
^Have you ever written something you couldn't play?  I have.  Sometimes, the music I come up with in my head is incredibly virtuosic and completely beyond my ability.  If I want to be able to play the music I hear in my head, I need to strive toward virtuosity.

Fortunately for me, most of the really hard music I imagine is really awful LOL.  And as I've improved as a guitarist and a musician and made my technique better while simultaneously deemphasizing it, I'm generally able to play most of the stuff I write.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 21 2013 at 23:46
Virtuosity can give an artist a larger repertoire to work with.    Of course, the application of virtuosity is important but if there are some things you can't sing or play at all, that would limit the variety of music you can perform.   Let's consider the second half of Starless, the part where the band breaks into frenzy.   That is very important to the emotions of the track, it's not just technical masturbation but it would require very accomplished musicians to perform it.


I think the notion that virtuosity goes hand in hand with a lack of emotion stems from rock's obsession with speed and fury.   But, say, Hackett is also a virtuoso and he has a great tone and vibrato and plays with a lot of emotion.   In rock,virtuosity gets equated with a desire a show off, fueled further by the large stadium-gigs of ELP or Deep Purple but a comparison with jazz should demonstrate that that is a misunderstood and incomplete notion of virtuosity.   Was Paul Desmond not a master of his instrument and yet he played saxophone so beautifully.    What about Ella Fitzgerald, she was a lot more disciplined than the modern day pop 'divas' but, technically, she could run rings around them.  
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 22 2013 at 00:32
I can hardly believe the number of replies that suggest virtuosity is secondary.   You sure this is about prog rock and not roots rock?  Odd time sigs, polymeters, it takes skill to execute that stuff, especially live in concert.  Again, it's important to distinguish between the guitar God kind of show offs, which is just one extreme of it, and musicians who are just highly skilled and do their job well.   Anybody who's been in prog rock bands for several years and played highly technical stuff would be a master of his chosen instrument(s).   And other than Pink Floyd, who crossed over anyway, I don't know too many prog rock bands that aren't technical vis a vis plain vanilla rock.  Even JT is not straight up, hardly, and Matt Bellamy of Muse, for a contemporary example, is a keyboard wizard.

Edited by rogerthat - February 22 2013 at 00:39
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tapfret Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 22 2013 at 01:25
^You've been around since 2006. I'm sure you have seen this discussion repeatedly and it always contains a throng that marginalizes musicians talent for the sake of the listeners subjective "feeling".  Its absurd to declare that being able to play four bars of 64th triplets in the middle of 3 key changes precludes the player from emotion.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 22 2013 at 01:35
Originally posted by Tapfret

^You've been around since 2006. I'm sure you have seen this discussion repeatedly and it always contains a throng that marginalizes musicians talent for the sake of the listeners subjective "feeling".  Its absurd to declare that being able to play four bars of 64th triplets in the middle of 3 key changes precludes the player from emotion.



Exactly.   And you're right, I shouldn't be surprised at all.  Tongue
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dayvenkirq Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 22 2013 at 03:26
Originally posted by Tapfret

^You've been around since 2006. I'm sure you have seen this discussion repeatedly and it always contains a throng that marginalizes musicians talent for the sake of the listeners subjective "feeling".  Its absurd to declare that being able to play four bars of 64th triplets in the middle of 3 key changes precludes the player from emotion.
Absurd? How did that come about?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dayvenkirq Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 22 2013 at 03:28
Originally posted by Ambient Hurricanes

^Have you ever written something you couldn't play?  I have.  Sometimes, the music I come up with in my head is incredibly virtuosic and completely beyond my ability.  If I want to be able to play the music I hear in my head, I need to strive toward virtuosity.Fortunately for me, most of the really hard music I imagine is really awful LOL.  And as I've improved as a guitarist and a musician and made my technique better while simultaneously deemphasizing it, I'm generally able to play most of the stuff I write.
You need virtuosity to say something as an artist? Have you ever tried to deliver the same ideas and emotions through music in a simpler fashion?

Edited by Dayvenkirq - February 22 2013 at 03:33
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 22 2013 at 03:56
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq

Have you ever tried to deliver the same ideas and emotions through music in a simpler fashion?


Um, the moment you take simplicity to its logical conclusion is the moment it ceases to be prog.   A Bob Dylan-like unsyncopated 4/4 song of four minutes or so length without time sig or chord changes or extended sections might well be more elegant at times in terms of conveying the emotions, but it wouldn't be prog.   The things that make rock prog are all these technicalities, ultimately.  So it is pretty bizarre if that is deemed not essential to prog.   A listener may not be interested in the technical aspects but he would observe the difference subconsciously nevertheless and thus identifies it as prog or not-prog.    Krautrock is perhaps the only broad exception to this, and as Tapfret said earlier, it is hard to imagine extreme prog metal or jazz rock that does not demand virtuosic musicianship.  I'd add Zeuhl to that category. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dayvenkirq Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 22 2013 at 04:04
^ You miss my point. Remember VdGG's "House With No Door"? No need for virtuosity, but it's still prog. Does an artist need chopsmanship to resonate with the listener. Not really, but it can still be prog.

Edited by Dayvenkirq - February 22 2013 at 04:12
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 22 2013 at 04:21
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq

^ You miss my point. Remember VdGG's "House With No Door"? No need for virtuosity, but it's still prog. Does an artist need chopsmanship to resonate with the listener.


May I ask why are you so sure of that - that there is no need for virtuosity in that track?  What about the part from 4:30 onwards where Hammill's voice starts soaring, even hitting a full C5?  What is that if not chops?  It is very tough for a baritone to hit a C5 and Hammill has done that in a fair few songs.   His repertoire is not for everyone to render. 

Because House With No Door is a vocal oriented composition, the focus is on Hammill's abilities.  In Starless, it would have been that of the musicians.    But there are some ways of depicting emotions, especially the more violent ones, that may call on great technical skills.


Edited by rogerthat - February 22 2013 at 04:21
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dayvenkirq Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 22 2013 at 04:23
^ I was actually thinking instrumental prowess, but good point. I can't think of an example where the mastery of an instrument could help deliver emotionally.

Edited by Dayvenkirq - February 22 2013 at 04:26
"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock
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