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The Role of Virtuosity in Progressive Music

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Printed Date: October 26 2014 at 01:18
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Topic: The Role of Virtuosity in Progressive Music
Posted By: RBlak054
Subject: The Role of Virtuosity in Progressive Music
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 12:38
When discussing or defining progressive music, one topic that seems to inevitably arise is virtuosity. Without a doubt music in progressive rock and many of its subgenres frequently demonstrates instrumental prowess and features what could arguably be considered some of the world's best musicians.

My questions to you, with this is mind, are:

How important do you consider technical skill to be for the quality of progressive music? As a listener, does technical skill have a noticeable impact on how much you enjoy a piece?

I apologize in advance if there's similar topic; the use of the search function and a brief scan of the forums yielded no relevant results (at least in the past few years).



Replies:
Posted By: Tapfret
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 12:48
Overall not essential, but it doesn't hurt. Certain genres, JRF and Tech/Extreme its kind of a given.


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Posted By: Viajero Astral
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 13:01
Indeed, not essential, some good prog musicians aren't very skillful players. What I thing is more important is musical knowledge. Most of them have some degrees or learn theory at some point of their careers, so theory (at least the basics of music composition) is more important than virtuosity for this kind of genre.


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Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 13:29
Virtuosity can be really sexy a lot of the time. Off the top of my head I really can't remember a single example where skill was successfully married with emotion. A good taste in tone, melody, and songwriting alone simply defeats the "importance" of virtuosity in music.

RBlak054, for how long have you enjoyed listening to music? I'm very surprised you asked this question.


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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: Sumdeus
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 14:55
virtuosity is not necessary for good music and neither is theory like someone else said above^. music is in your head and that's that . They can help make it easier for you to play what you hear in your head but at the end of the day you either got it or you don't. As well, they can also make it harder to play good music, with virtuosity leading to flashy self-indulgent playing and too much worry over theory can lead to very safe boring compositions that have nothing exciting going on.

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http://sumdeus.bandcamp.com/" rel="nofollow - Sumdeus - surreal space/psych/prog journeys
http://tathastu.bandcamp.com" rel="nofollow - Tathastu - funky/bluesy rockin' psych jams


Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 15:07
^ Ok, first of all, who is they? Second of all, (and this question must have been asked quite a number of times during the period of this forum's existence) what do you mean by good music? Only a part of my idea of good music is music that is presentable. Otherwise, as Brian (Slartibartfast) has pointed it out once in my "should the artist care" thread, you are just making the music for yourself ("musical masturbation"). Theory is a great tool for helping you in expressing yourself to a greater extent while keeping your material presentable.

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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: Stool Man
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 15:10
In many hugely successful and popular prog bands, there are musicians who are barely adequate players.
Virtuosity is for orchestras, in a nutshell.
 
 


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rotten hound of the burnie crew


Posted By: Sumdeus
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 15:15
'they" was referring to virtuosity and music theory. As for the second question, not sure what you're driving at. it would be impossible for me to fully explain what i consider 'good music' and i don't think it matters much in the context either way. As for musical masturbation, that is what I consider self-indulgent playing. I think it's silly to say that making music for yourself is musical masturbation because I think all music is ultimately made for the artist. when i make music i certainly make music that I want to hear that I don't hear anyone else making


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http://sumdeus.bandcamp.com/" rel="nofollow - Sumdeus - surreal space/psych/prog journeys
http://tathastu.bandcamp.com" rel="nofollow - Tathastu - funky/bluesy rockin' psych jams


Posted By: HolyMoly
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 15:20
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.

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It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle if it is lightly greased.
-Kehlog Albran


Posted By: Progosopher
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 16:03

I have always enjoyed virtuosity in the music I listen to.  There was a time many years ago when that was almost all I would consider, but now that I am more experienced and jaded (meaning older), I have many other considerations.  For Prog, I do think it is essential, but that does not mean an artist has to go full blast  on virtuosity all the time.  In fact, when that happens, I grow tired of it quickly - it is all virtuosity and little to no music.  For example, I greatly admire Yngwie Malmsteen's guitar playing but grow bored with his music very quickly.  When there is no artistry, no finesse, no soul, there is very little to enjoy.  At the same time, if virtuosity is never exhibited in an album, that too will cause me to lose interest.  In a nutshell, it has to be a juggling act between the elements of music - melody, arrangement, rhythm, and good playing.  HolyMoly makes a good point about creativity.  There must be inspiration beyond technical ability, but technical ability, when put in the proper place, allows inspiration to be expressed.



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The world of sound is certainly capable of infinite variety and, were our sense developed, of infinite extensions. -- George Santayana, "The Sense of Beauty"


Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 16:15
Originally posted by Sumdeus Sumdeus wrote:

'they" was referring to virtuosity and music theory. As for the second question, not sure what you're driving at. it would be impossible for me to fully explain what i consider 'good music' and i don't think it matters much in the context either way. As for musical masturbation, that is what I consider self-indulgent playing. I think it's silly to say that making music for yourself is musical masturbation because I think all music is ultimately made for the artist. When i make music i certainly make music that I want to hear that I don't hear anyone else making.
... ultimately made for the artist to enjoy? You think the Blieber enjoys what he makes? 

Well, if the artist is making it for himself and no one else (which is inherently what he wants to hear), then he is indulging himself, which is musical masturbation. If the artist is making it for himself and others (which is inherently what him AND others want to hear), then it's ultimately made for both sides.

But anyway, Back to topic


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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: Sumdeus
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 16:29
Beiber isn't music made by an artist, it's a product assembled in a factory... anyways yes let's get back to the topic because you are just nitpicking every little thing i say.

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http://sumdeus.bandcamp.com/" rel="nofollow - Sumdeus - surreal space/psych/prog journeys
http://tathastu.bandcamp.com" rel="nofollow - Tathastu - funky/bluesy rockin' psych jams


Posted By: Kati
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 17:25
Originally posted by RBlak054 RBlak054 wrote:

When discussing or defining progressive music, one topic that seems to inevitably arise is virtuosity. Without a doubt music in progressive rock and many of it's subgenres frequently demonstrates instrumental prowess and features what could arguably be considered some of the world's best musicians.

My questions to you, with this is mind, are:

How important do you consider technical skill to be for the quality of progressive music? As a listener, does technical skill have a noticeable impact on how much you enjoy a piece?

I apologize in advance if there's similar topic; the use of the search function and a brief scan of the forums yielded no relevant results (at least in the past few years).
 
Hi RBlak054 Smile
Overall I do believe that great technical skills certainly are necessary in prog moozik (being able to read music notes on the other-hand I don't think to be necessary, infact I can name a few great artists that cannot read music notes). This said,  I am not a fan of i.e. big riff guitar solos, I much rather prefer to listen to memorable licks and tunes. Many people like loud music, if it's loud to them it seems good but to me loud is not enough I get bored quickly especially if most tracks in one album sound the same. Also people seem to not bother with music quality, I can hear the difference (maybe because I like to listen via headphones) between 320k mp3 which is decent compared to less even so I still feel it's compressed compared to WAV files. All my cd's I covert the music onto my pc to WAV files instead of MP3.
Hug


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When playing strip poker, make sure you are wearing a lot of clothes! or google will ban you ;)


Posted By: Gerinski
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 17:37
It's not a must to show brilliance, but I expect anybody who aims at being a top figure in his field to be technically proficient at it, being it music or any other field.


Posted By: Kati
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 17:39
Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

It's not a must to show brilliance, but I expect anybody who aims at being a top figure in his field to be technically proficient at it, being it music or any other field.
 
ApproveClap Gerinski, ditto you said it most perfect! SmileHug


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When playing strip poker, make sure you are wearing a lot of clothes! or google will ban you ;)


Posted By: Ambient Hurricanes
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 18:29
Originally posted by HolyMoly HolyMoly wrote:

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.


I agree completely. 

Technique is the element of music that allows you to play the things you want to play the way you want to play them.  If a musician can play the things he wants to play the way he wants to play them, then his technique is completely sufficient for him.

Originally posted by Dayvenkirk Dayvenkirk wrote:

Well, if the artist is making it for himself and no one else (which is inherently what he wants to hear), then he is indulging himself, which is musical masturbation. If the artist is making it for himself and others (which is inherently what him AND others want to hear), then it's ultimately made for both sides.


You can make music for yourself but also desire to share it with others.  If you put your music out for the consumption of the public, then it's inherently not musical masturbation because other people can share in it.  It's also not true that an artist who makes music for others is making the music they want to hear.  It may be that he's making the music that they need to hear, or that he thinks they should want to hear.




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In blood, he's writing the lyrics of a brand new tune.


Posted By: Argonaught
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 18:49
Creativity vs. virtuosity : a great idea deserves a masterful execution, wouldn't you agree? 




Posted By: Ambient Hurricanes
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 19:10
Originally posted by Argonaught Argonaught wrote:

Creativity vs. virtuosity : a great idea deserves a masterful execution, wouldn't you agree? 




Yes, but if the great idea is easy to play, then you don't necessarily need virtuosity to make it sound great.  There's more to execution of an idea than virtuosity, too; you need emotion and feel, also.  You don't need to be a virtuoso to masterfully play a musical idea; you just need to be a virtuoso to masterfully play a very difficult musical idea.


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In blood, he's writing the lyrics of a brand new tune.


Posted By: RBlak054
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 20:18
Some interesting responses, guys! I seem to be of a similar mindset as the majority of you.

I've always seen a musician's skill with an instrument as a means of translating musical ideas into actual sound. For me, a musician's abilities need only be as good as to competently play the music they create; the quality of the composition and how it is performed is much more important than how technically challenging it is. I definitely don't see virtuosity as essential to good progressive rock as often what I enjoy the most is innately musical but not actually very difficult to perform.

Sure there have been moments - as I'm sure most of you have experienced - when a particularly flashy or challenging piece really impresses me, but I find this often lacks substance if it is not presented in a musical context. Overall I would say that virtuosity has the potential be great, but only if the performer has the musicality to back it up.

Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

RBlak054, for how long have you enjoyed listening to music? I'm very surprised you asked this question.


I've been listening to and playing progressive rock for probably about four years now!


Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 20:36
Originally posted by Sumdeus Sumdeus wrote:

Beiber isn't music made by an artist, it's a product assembled in a factory... anyways yes let's get back to the topic because you are just nitpicking every little thing i say.
But don't think that I do this for no reason.

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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: Kati
Date 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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When playing strip poker, make sure you are wearing a lot of clothes! or google will ban you ;)


Posted By: RBlak054
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 20:45
Originally posted by Kati Kati wrote:

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.


Posted By: Kati
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 20:48
Listen to this, it's crazy fantastic and performed live too!!!! AL DIMEOLA !!!!!!!


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When playing strip poker, make sure you are wearing a lot of clothes! or google will ban you ;)


Posted By: Kati
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 20:50
Originally posted by RBlak054 RBlak054 wrote:

Originally posted by Kati Kati wrote:

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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When playing strip poker, make sure you are wearing a lot of clothes! or google will ban you ;)


Posted By: Argonaught
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 20:59
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

^ (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)


Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 21:03
^ First of all, Second of all, I don't watch that show.

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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 22:34
Originally posted by HolyMoly HolyMoly wrote:

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.


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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: Ambient Hurricanes
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 23:09
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

Originally posted by HolyMoly HolyMoly wrote:

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?


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In blood, he's writing the lyrics of a brand new tune.


Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date Posted: February 21 2013 at 23:18
^ What would an artist need virtuosity for?

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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: Ambient Hurricanes
Date 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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In blood, he's writing the lyrics of a brand new tune.


Posted By: rogerthat
Date 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.  


Posted By: rogerthat
Date 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.


Posted By: Tapfret
Date 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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Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 01:35
Originally posted by Tapfret Tapfret wrote:

^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


Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 03:26
Originally posted by Tapfret Tapfret wrote:

^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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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 03:28
Originally posted by Ambient Hurricanes Ambient Hurricanes wrote:

^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?

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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 03:56
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

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. 


Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date 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.

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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 04:21
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

^ 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.


Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date 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.

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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: dtguitarfan
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 05:21
Virtuosity is a big part of the genre, to me - I crave technically interesting music.  I am always listening for poly-rythms and compound time, and listening for fancy riffs and such.

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Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 05:27
A good example of how prog rock can intentionally make things a bit more complicated is Yours Is No Disgrace.   Bruford plays a very busy pattern on the verse.  I like it, but an out and out rock drummer would have probably approached it differently, with fewer but heavier fills.    The complicated part of it is what gives prog rock its unique character, to some extent.   


Posted By: sleeper
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 06:39
It's not essential, but it's an extremely useful tool in making the music moor interesting and can usually enhance the emotional impact of a piece.

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Spending more than I should on Prog since 2005



Posted By: ExittheLemming
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 06:40
I guess that certain musical ideas or territory require a high level of technique to be able to be realized successfully but when you get right down to it: would you choose an eloquent and articulate Howe over a simple and sincere Verlaine if it was the latter that moved you?


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Posted By: twosteves
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 09:19
Virtuosity is important in the prog I enjoy the most and for me is the best prog---but of course, no matter how much technique you have, creativity and originality  is the key.


Posted By: Guldbamsen
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 09:26
Originally posted by ExittheLemming ExittheLemming wrote:

I guess that certain musical ideas or territory require a high level of technique to be able to be realized successfully but when you get right down to it: would you choose an eloquent and articulate Howe over a simple and sincere Verlaine if it was the latter that moved you?


Exactly.

On a different note: virtuosity can also be holding back or keeping things slow and ethereal. It doesn't necessarily mean complex imo.
Anyway everything has it's place. I would mind having hear a piano fugue in the midst of I Talk to the Wind or a jazz chase done during Cirrus Minor....


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“The Guide says there is an art to flying or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”

- Douglas Adams


Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 09:35
^ Thas my whole point: instrumental virtuosity can get in the way of resonance.

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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: Guldbamsen
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 09:49
Sorry manEmbarrassed
I just read through Iain's post and acted on it...
Didn't read the whole thread.


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“The Guide says there is an art to flying or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”

- Douglas Adams


Posted By: Gerinski
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 10:34
Virtuosity has only little to do with sheer speed or technical difficulty, that's the misunderstanding.
Technical proficiency is a requirement for true virtuosity, but talent, inspiration and being able to play with moving emotion are as much (if not more) a part of true virtuosity as being able to play fast is.


Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 10:38
Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

Virtuosity has only little to do with sheer speed or technical difficulty, that's the misunderstanding.
Technical proficiency is a requirement for true virtuosity, but talent, inspiration and being able to play with moving emotion are as much (if not more) a part of true virtuosity as being able to play fast is.


Indeed, sir, well said.   It's one thing to dream up ways to play beautifully and all that and quite another to execute it.   How do you establish the contrast of light and shade?   Through dynamism and that also requires skill.   I think there's a confusion here in this thread between what the listener expects to hear and what is necessary for the artist to execute his vision. 


Posted By: Ambient Hurricanes
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 11:57
Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

Virtuosity has only little to do with sheer speed or technical difficulty, that's the misunderstanding.
Technical proficiency is a requirement for true virtuosity, but talent, inspiration and being able to play with moving emotion are as much (if not more) a part of true virtuosity as being able to play fast is.


In that case, I would say that virtuosity is absolutely vital to progressive music.

I think there is a lot of misunderstanding going on here because we're all defining "virtuosity" differently, and I admit that I often use it in different ways; to mean either pure technical ability or the more holistic view you're talking about.

Roger: I hear what you're saying, and I do agree that virtuosity (even if we're just talking technicality here) is very important to prog since it is, by it's own nature, a complex genre.  For some reason, I thought this was in General Music and replied accordingly Embarrassed.  I still think of technical ability as a tool and not an end in itself, like Steve said; I don't think it's somehow secondary to any other musical tools that a performer can use, nor do I think that technicality precludes emotion.


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In blood, he's writing the lyrics of a brand new tune.


Posted By: RBlak054
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 12:22
I definitely think that being technically skilled is necessary for a lot of great music (perhaps even the majority of progressive rock), but I also think that there is a ton of great progressive music that doesn't require that much technical skill. One of my favourite bands, for example, is Camel, and while a lot of their material can be challenging (instrumental runs, solos, time signatures) I would hardly say that it requires a virtuoso to play. Most intermediate guitarists - who are certainly not virtuosos - would likely be able to fluently play the majority of Camel's repertoire without too much trouble (although very few would be able to emulate the emotion of Andrew Latimer). The real beauty of Camel's music, and the music of many other bands, is in the composition and musicianship.

Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

Virtuosity has only little to do with sheer speed or technical difficulty, that's the misunderstanding.
Technical proficiency is a requirement for true virtuosity, but talent, inspiration and being able to play with moving emotion are as much (if not more) a part of true virtuosity as being able to play fast is.


I could be mistaken, but I was under the impression that virtuosity, by definition, refers predominately to the technical skill exhibited by a musician. If we're taking into account other elements, such as talent, inspiration, and emotion, as you suggest, I wholeheartedly agree that it is extremely important. But such a definition would then imply that virtuosity is extremely important in any genre, would it not?


Posted By: aldri7
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 12:23
One thing that in my mind could hurt your prog when it comes to virtuosity is if you specifically write tunes designed to showcase band members individual talents. I don't think that a song should be built around the idea that it must give your guitarist, etc some space to show off  ("The Underfall Yard" by Big Big Train suffers IMHO only when the guitar or keyboardist is soloing). I remember that Weather Report specifically frowned on this kind of thing, stating up front that their philosophy was to highlight group interaction rather than technical prowess. Wayne Shorter on sax always played sparse, understated solos. That was their approach. So virtuosity (technical prowess) is important for sure, but it should not get in the way of the message you are trying to convey to the audience. Sometimes that message calls for a certain approach to playing, one which discourages virtuosity. Mostly I'm thinking speed and dexterity here, while virtuosity is really more complex than that. So, but like all of the Weather Report musicians were very talented virtuosos who only toned town the speed and dexterity but otherwise showed great skill as instrumentalists. By contrast, one guy that sometimes would get hit with a negative label regarding his virtuosity was guitarist Al DiMeola. His tended to be based on speed only. Anyway, but great prog almost always  requires virtuosity on a level you can't find with typical bands, but by that I mean an understanding and appreciation of intricate motives, time signatures, harmonies, scales, emotional content etc. and an ability to play effortlessly through complex changes. And also, certain genres are really virtuosity dependent, like jazz fusion. Fusion AS A STYLE is almost totally dependent on virtuosity and it is one of the defining characteristics of the style. People listen to fusion to hear it. They are disappointed if they don't get it. Metal also usually seems to require great guitar soloing as though its fans expect it. But really, I do listen to fusion for the technical prowess of those playing it. Its not the only reason I listen to it, but its a big part.

On the other hand, other bands will often impress me the most when they take it slow and downplay the technical stuff. When they do that it shows me they are sophisticated (which is virtuosity in a more complex sense) enough in their approach to music to know when to tone it down. Because I also like drones and don't mind if you sit on one note for a long time if it suits the mood. Too much playing and complexity can be like too many cooks spoiling the meal. The true musician or virtuoso knows that silence is as important a part of music as sound. Just ask Wayne Shorter who really understood about silence in soloing.  If THATS virtuosity, all music requires it but especially prog since we are a more discerning bunch!  

I always loved the Mahavishnu Orchestra, but in concert, they had this reputation for being loud and out of control. Everyone would solo feverishly at the same time a lot.  They all had great chops. So maybe that is why Weather Report evolved the philosophy that they had - maybe it was their way of saying the other bands were letting virtuosity (dexterity in this case) rule the music. It should never rule the music and they were right. Maybe the word I'm looking for is "musicianship" as opposed to virtuosity, the latter of which implies more manual dexterity to me. Combine musicianship with virtuosity and you have the complete band. I can think of many instances where bands I liked in the past could have used a little more musicianship and a little less virtuosity. Some bands can be like an all-star basketball team - everyone is extremely talented as individuals, but the whole is not necessarily the sum of its parts.

aldri7




Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 13:14
Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

... but talent, inspiration and being able to play with moving emotion are as much (if not more) a part of true virtuosity as being able to play fast is.
Give me an example of that when it comes to instrumental virtuosity.
Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

I think there's a confusion here in this thread between what the listener expects to hear and what is necessary for the artist to execute his vision.
It may be so. As far as I can see, virtuosity is very important in entertainment, not in art. I presume a lot of responses here were founded on what is important to the listener (partly similar to what Rogerthat said), the entertainment or the art.

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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 13:29
Originally posted by Ambient Hurricanes Ambient Hurricanes wrote:

Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

Virtuosity has only little to do with sheer speed or technical difficulty, that's the misunderstanding.
Technical proficiency is a requirement for true virtuosity, but talent, inspiration and b<span style="line-height: 1.2;">eing able to play with moving emotion are as much (if not more) a part of true virtuosity as being able to play fast is.</span>
I think there is a lot of misunderstanding going on here because we're all defining "virtuosity" differently, and I admit that I often use it in different ways; to mean either pure technical ability or the more holistic view you're talking about.
Great Scot, this is heavy. There is not a universal definition for virtuosity?

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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: aldri7
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 13:47
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

... but talent, inspiration and being able to play with moving emotion are as much (if not more) a part of true virtuosity as being able to play fast is.
Give me an example of that when it comes to instrumental virtuosity.

I was getting hung up on the definition too..

I guess there is a need for a term to describe technical skill apart from other aspects of playing because a lot of times musicians will show great speed and dexterity (something that is easy to measure) but not great musicianship. You could call it 'technical skill" I guess, or chops, but a lot of people use the term virtuosity. But virtuosity to me not only implies a kind of athleticism but also a mastering of all aspects of playing which would include playing with sensitivity.  And in the definition of "virtuosity", the word "style" as well as dexterity, etc is used, something that would support a broader interpretation.

"Musicianship" on the other hand seems to emphasize "artistic sensibility" over technique, and so someone like Thelonius Monk would get a label like that one as he was not very proficient technically. Remember that many musicians, for various reasons, are not physically capable of showing a lot of technical virtuosity. They may have very small hands, or maybe they didn't take up the instrument until relatively late in life. Without a lot of technical skill, I don't think you could say that these guys play with great virtuosity, because that term REQUIRES technical skill as well as other attributes. And so the label musicianship gets used instead.

To me a true virtuoso also shows great musicianship. But "virtuosity" is too often used just to describe a playing style which emphasizes technique. Al Dimeola might be described by some as having great virtuosity but not great musicianship. Miles Davis, on the other hand, was in the opposite camp. His playing didn't show great virtuosity but it did show great musicianship. I would call Miles a true virtuoso though despite not being technically as proficient as some other trumpet players. But that is open for debate. Can Miles be a "true virtuoso" if his playing was not always technically as  proficient as some others? I think he was proficient enough. its all kind of relative....

aldri7










Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 14:11
^ What?! There is no universal definition of musicianship?! Aren't the simple definitions of these words in Merriam-Webster enough for us? (Note of exception: I looked up "musicianship" on m-w.com and got nothing ... other than the implicit hint of "being a musician".)

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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: Tapfret
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 15:25
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

Originally posted by Tapfret Tapfret wrote:

^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?


Because it is. It would be like me telling someone that you did not really "feel" like getting groceries during your last trip to the grocery because you drove really fast in a really nice car. You are making implications about the player/composer's motivations based on your own preconceived notion of what defines emotion. The emotion or feeling derived from music listening is 100% subjective and only the performer/writer knows what his/her motivations are. Lots of people got emotional about the movie Titanic. Not me. Should I suggest that the writer/director/production crew did not impart any emotion into their work because they used too much technique and skill in the production? It must be so, I didn't "feel" it.

No that would be BLOODY ABSURD!


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Posted By: Tapfret
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 15:31
Originally posted by aldri7 aldri7 wrote:

One thing that in my mind could hurt your prog when it comes to virtuosity is if you specifically write tunes designed to showcase band members individual talents. I don't think that a song should be built around the idea that it must give your guitarist, etc some space to show off  ("The Underfall Yard" by Big Big Train suffers IMHO only when the guitar or keyboardist is soloing). I remember that Weather Report specifically frowned on this kind of thing, stating up front that their philosophy was to highlight group interaction rather than technical prowess. Wayne Shorter on sax always played sparse, understated solos. That was their approach. So virtuosity (technical prowess) is important for sure, but it should not get in the way of the message you are trying to convey to the audience. Sometimes that message calls for a certain approach to playing, one which discourages virtuosity. Mostly I'm thinking speed and dexterity here, while virtuosity is really more complex than that. So, but like all of the Weather Report musicians were very talented virtuosos who only toned town the speed and dexterity but otherwise showed great skill as instrumentalists. By contrast, one guy that sometimes would get hit with a negative label regarding his virtuosity was guitarist Al DiMeola. His tended to be based on speed only. Anyway, but great prog almost always  requires virtuosity on a level you can't find with typical bands, but by that I mean an understanding and appreciation of intricate motives, time signatures, harmonies, scales, emotional content etc. and an ability to play effortlessly through complex changes. And also, certain genres are really virtuosity dependent, like jazz fusion. Fusion AS A STYLE is almost totally dependent on virtuosity and it is one of the defining characteristics of the style. People listen to fusion to hear it. They are disappointed if they don't get it. Metal also usually seems to require great guitar soloing as though its fans expect it. But really, I do listen to fusion for the technical prowess of those playing it. Its not the only reason I listen to it, but its a big part.

On the other hand, other bands will often impress me the most when they take it slow and downplay the technical stuff. When they do that it shows me they are sophisticated (which is virtuosity in a more complex sense) enough in their approach to music to know when to tone it down. Because I also like drones and don't mind if you sit on one note for a long time if it suits the mood. Too much playing and complexity can be like too many cooks spoiling the meal. The true musician or virtuoso knows that silence is as important a part of music as sound. Just ask Wayne Shorter who really understood about silence in soloing.  If THATS virtuosity, all music requires it but especially prog since we are a more discerning bunch!  

I always loved the Mahavishnu Orchestra, but in concert, they had this reputation for being loud and out of control. Everyone would solo feverishly at the same time a lot.  They all had great chops. So maybe that is why Weather Report evolved the philosophy that they had - maybe it was their way of saying the other bands were letting virtuosity (dexterity in this case) rule the music. It should never rule the music and they were right. Maybe the word I'm looking for is "musicianship" as opposed to virtuosity, the latter of which implies more manual dexterity to me. Combine musicianship with virtuosity and you have the complete band. I can think of many instances where bands I liked in the past could have used a little more musicianship and a little less virtuosity. Some bands can be like an all-star basketball team - everyone is extremely talented as individuals, but the whole is not necessarily the sum of its parts.

aldri7




I got sympathetic carpal tunnel reading that. I gather the central theme here is "contrast is essential to progressive music", which I am 100% on-board with.


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Posted By: Ambient Hurricanes
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 15:37


"A person who excels in musical technique or execution."

"A consummate master of musical technique and artistry"

"A person who has a masterly or dazzling skill or technique in any field of activity"


All of these can mean "virtuoso."  They're pretty vague and open to interpretation, yes.  




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In blood, he's writing the lyrics of a brand new tune.


Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 16:03
Originally posted by Tapfret Tapfret wrote:

Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

Originally posted by Tapfret Tapfret wrote:

^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?
Because it is. It would be like me telling someone that you did not really "feel" like getting groceries during your last trip to the grocery because you drove really fast in a really nice car.
I'm sorry, but this analogy doesn't make sense. You said: 

"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."

..., and I would say:

"No, it's not. The hypothetical musical idea you've described here sounds like too many notes, too much information to deliver a single emotion. Obviously, this goes beyond cars and groceries."
Originally posted by Tapfret Tapfret wrote:

You are making implications about the player/composer's motivations based on your own preconceived notion of what defines emotion. The emotion or feeling derived from music listening is 100% subjective and only the performer/writer knows what his/her motivations are. Lots of people got emotional about the movie Titanic. Not me. Should I suggest that the writer/director/production crew did not impart any emotion into their work because they used too much technique and skill in the production? It must be so, I didn't "feel" it. 

Now that would be BLOODY ABSURD!
This analogy doesn't work either. Now we are talking films. This isn't music. Technical proficiency to music-making is what to film-making?


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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: aldri7
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 16:18

Repetition deadens the emotions and that is why all art is so subjective. Technical proficiency in anything requires a lot of rote or repetitive learning, and so that is where the connection gets made between technical proficiency and emotionless playing.

Take a guy schooled on piano and give him a guitar. Let him fool around with it for a month or so, and then hook him up with some other musicians. BEcause he has perhaps really good ears, he will pick stuff out but not be able to play it very proficiently. HIs excitement though at the newness of what he is doing mixed with trial and error will probably result in some fresh sounds and really emotional playing. 

But every artist has the ability to make that distinction between repetitive, emotionless playing and playing with "feeling". Technical proficiency doesn't preclude you from being able to do the latter, you just sometimes have to work a bit harder and not let your fingers dictate to your brain and ears how to play.

aldri7










Posted By: Tapfret
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 16:22
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:



"No, it's not. The hypothetical musical idea you've described here sounds like too many notes, too much information to deliver a single emotion.


The key word is hypothetical. You are hypothesizing based on your own personal tastes. Nothing else. I don't know how many ways I can tell you that. Its subjective. Do you understand subjective? Regardless of what analogy I am using, the point is you can not make blanket statements about other people's, particularly artist's emotions based on what your feeling is. You are trying to objectify the subjective. Attempting to apply a tangibility to the intangible. What you feel is not what the composer feels. 


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Posted By: aldri7
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 16:26
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

 
"No, it's not. The hypothetical musical idea you've described here sounds like too many notes, too much information to deliver a single emotion. Obviously, this goes beyond cars and groceries.

can't say as I agree. I could probably get pretty excited about it emotionally in the right context. It wouldn't have to be delivered flawlessly either. Proficiency doesn't matter so much. But I don't agree that "too many notes" in music somehow renders it unable to produce a single emotion. It is not too much information as the brain is going to simplify it and extract its essence which is still tone, harmony etc within the broader context of the music. Certainly that can evoke emotion and not a lot of little, conflicting emotions either.  An insect beating its wings a hundred times a second still produces a single pure tone, not a thousand little notes, each for the brain to interpret and decipher. The result is one emotion (irritation, right?).....

aldri7




Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 16:30
Originally posted by aldri7 aldri7 wrote:

Repetition deadens the emotions and that is why all art is so subjective. Technical proficiency in anything requires a lot of rote or repetitive learning, and so that is where the connection gets made between technical proficiency and emotionless playing.
You think repetitive learning enforces emotionless playing, and that is why people conceive a link between technical proficiency and lack of emotion? From the performer's point of view ... maybe; from the listener's point of view ... I don't think so. I thought that all this time we discussed the listener's perception of emotion and virtuosity ... but maybe I was wrong all this time.
Originally posted by aldri7 aldri7 wrote:

Take a guy schooled on piano and give him a guitar. Let him fool around with it for a month or so, and then hook him up with some other musicians. Because he has perhaps really good ears, he will pick stuff out but not be able to play it very proficiently. HIs excitement though at the newness of what he is doing mixed with trial and error will probably result in some fresh sounds and really emotional playing.
That is very probable.
Originally posted by aldri7 aldri7 wrote:

Technical proficiency doesn't preclude you from being able to do the latter, you just sometimes have to work a bit harder and not let your fingers dictate to your brain and ears how to play.
I keep asking for an example of that, but no one has committed to this so far.
Originally posted by aldri7 aldri7 wrote:

... you just sometimes have to work a bit harder and not let your fingers dictate to your brain and ears how to play.
Now you've lost me there. How can fingers dictate?


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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 16:34
Originally posted by aldri7 aldri7 wrote:

Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

 "No, it's not. The hypothetical musical idea you've described here sounds like too many notes, too much information to deliver a single emotion. Obviously, this goes beyond cars and groceries.
can't say as I agree. I could probably get pretty excited about it emotionally in the right context. It wouldn't have to be delivered flawlessly either. Proficiency doesn't matter so much. But I don't agree that "too many notes" in music somehow renders it unable to produce a single emotion. It is not too much information as the brain is going to simplify it and extract its essence which is still tone, harmony etc within the broader context of the music. Certainly that can evoke emotion and not a lot of little, conflicting emotions either.  An insect beating its wings a hundred times a second still produces a single pure tone, not a thousand little notes, each for the brain to interpret and decipher. The result is one emotion (irritation, right?).....
Not everyone's brain works that way. Not everybody's brain can simplify ... 
Originally posted by Tapfret Tapfret wrote:

... four bars of 64th triplets in the middle of 3 key changes


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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 16:37
Originally posted by Tapfret Tapfret wrote:

Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

"No, it's not. The hypothetical musical idea you've described here sounds like too many notes, too much information to deliver a single emotion.
The key word is hypothetical. You are hypothesizing based on your own personal tastes. Nothing else. I don't know how many ways I can tell you that. Its subjective. Do you understand subjective? Regardless of what analogy I am using, the point is you can not make blanket statements about other people's, particularly artist's emotions based on what your feeling is. You are trying to objectify the subjective. Attempting to apply a tangibility to the intangible. What you feel is not what the composer feels.
... or maybe you are subjectifying the objective, as millions of other confused people (musicians or not, thinking of themselves as artistson this globe probably do. Guess we'll never know the truth of who is right here, eh? One may think he is coming up with something meaningful whilst just deceiving himself; I happened to be one of those people (sorry if you think I'm painting a really bleak picture for you). ... Which brings us to the use of the word "pretentious", and, of course, different people have different ideas of what this word means in the context of music criticism. The reason I brought up this word is because it means something very specific to me (that kept missing my head for so many months): saying some things you don't really mean as an artist. I used to experiment with my instruments and sound-processing software a lot, thinking I was actually making something, taking it all pretty seriously. Breaking news: 90% of it wound up as garbage (that just keeps storing the memory space of my laptop).

I guess what I'm hinting at is that I'm really focused on the idea that some people tend to confuse entertainment (technical proficiency) with art (emotion). I could be one of those people.


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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: aldri7
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 16:47
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

Originally posted by aldri7 aldri7 wrote:

Repetition deadens the emotions and that is why all art is so subjective. Technical proficiency in anything requires a lot of rote or repetitive learning, and so that is where the connection gets made between technical proficiency and emotionless playing.
You think repetitive learning enforces emotionless playing, and that is why people conceive a link between technical proficiency and lack of emotion? From the performer's point of view ... maybe; from the listener's point of view ... I don't think so. I thought that all this time we discussed the listener's perception of emotion and virtuosity ... but maybe I was wrong all this time.

Its easier to see it from the performers point of view, because there are only one set of ears to worry about. From the listeners point of view, reactions will vary enormously. Some may feel it, some may not. I didn't say that repetitive playing is  not going to connect with listeners because to the listener it may not seem repetitive at all. Its all based on your experience. 

I just said that some make the connection between technical proficiency and emotionless playing because of the role that repetition plays in becoming technically proficient. But repetitive learning doesn't "enforce emotionless playing", it just makes it statistically more likely, IMHO :) And again, to the listener, what is emotionless will vary from one person to the next. You may be bored playing that same tune or lick over and over again, but to fresh ears, it might be the greatest thing their ears ever heard. It might make them cry. Age can play a big role too. I don't respond as a listener emotionally to things I used to respond emotionally to years ago. There is no way that the performer can predict or control listeners prior "ear training" and so he/she just has to do the best that they can.

aldri7




Posted By: aldri7
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 16:58
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

Originally posted by aldri7 aldri7 wrote:

Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

 "No, it's not. The hypothetical musical idea you've described here sounds like too many notes, too much information to deliver a single emotion. Obviously, this goes beyond cars and groceries.
can't say as I agree. I could probably get pretty excited about it emotionally in the right context. It wouldn't have to be delivered flawlessly either. Proficiency doesn't matter so much. But I don't agree that "too many notes" in music somehow renders it unable to produce a single emotion. It is not too much information as the brain is going to simplify it and extract its essence which is still tone, harmony etc within the broader context of the music. Certainly that can evoke emotion and not a lot of little, conflicting emotions either.  An insect beating its wings a hundred times a second still produces a single pure tone, not a thousand little notes, each for the brain to interpret and decipher. The result is one emotion (irritation, right?).....
Not everyone's brain works that way. Not everybody's brain can simplify ...

some people may hear it as simply too many notes. Maybe you are like that. I can't say truth be told that what you perceive is not what you say it is. But the brain simplifies things just like when it watches a movie and all those still frames get mashed together to produce a moving image. You don't see each individual frame and so your brain doesn't construct emotional responses to each one individually. So I'm just saying that if you sit down and play 100 fast notes on the piano, how does that preclude it from evoking a single emotional response? Why suddenly does the high number of notes make the brain feel multiple emotions as though each note has a separate emotional receptor in the brain or something..

aldri7


Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 17:05
^ That's not what I was talking about - the quantity. OK, maybe I didn't phrase it right, though I didn't even imply that an author would use a multitude of notes to project a multitude of emotions. My point is: why use so many notes when you can use just a few to project that emotion? ... Because if the author does use a multitude of notes to project an emotion, I will (I seriously will) take it as a bit of entertainment, not as a bit of resonance. Feel the difference?
Originally posted by aldri7 aldri7 wrote:

Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

Originally posted by aldri7 aldri7 wrote:

Repetition deadens the emotions and that is why all art is so subjective. Technical proficiency in anything requires a lot of rote or repetitive learning, and so that is where the connection gets made between technical proficiency and emotionless playing.
You think repetitive learning enforces emotionless playing, and that is why people conceive a link between technical proficiency and lack of emotion? From the performer's point of view ... maybe; from the listener's point of view ... I don't think so. I thought that all this time we discussed the listener's perception of emotion and virtuosity ... but maybe I was wrong all this time.

Its easier to see it from the performers point of view, because there are only one set of ears to worry about. From the listeners point of view, reactions will vary enormously. Some may feel it, some may not. I didn't say that repetitive playing is  not going to connect with listeners because to the listener it may not seem repetitive at all. Its all based on your experience. 

I just said that some make the connection between technical proficiency and emotionless playing because of the role that repetition plays in becoming technically proficient. But repetitive learning doesn't "enforce emotionless playing", it just makes it statistically more likely, IMHO :) And again, to the listener, what is emotionless will vary from one person to the next. You may be bored playing that same tune or lick over and over again, but to fresh ears, it might be the greatest thing their ears ever heard. It might make them cry. Age can play a big role too. I don't respond as a listener emotionally to things I used to respond emotionally to years ago. There is no way that the performer can predict or control listeners prior "ear training" and so he/she just has to do the best that they can.

aldri7


I'm not quite sure how this conversation took a turn into something about repetition on a thread that is about virtuosity.

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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: Tapfret
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 17:32
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

  Not everyone's brain works that way.


This! We have a cognitive complexity that prevents a conventionality to emotional response to anything. We all experience things differently. In a broader sense, and my psychology education is admittedly the most basic to accomplish my job functions, our emotional responses in any context can foster an endless "nature vs. nurture" discussion.

Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

Originally posted by Tapfret Tapfret wrote:

Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

"No, it's not. The hypothetical musical idea you've described here sounds like too many notes, too much information to deliver a single emotion.
The key word is hypothetical. You are hypothesizing based on your own personal tastes. Nothing else. I don't know how many ways I can tell you that. Its subjective. Do you understand subjective? Regardless of what analogy I am using, the point is you can not make blanket statements about other people's, particularly artist's emotions based on what your feeling is. You are trying to objectify the subjective. Attempting to apply a tangibility to the intangible. What you feel is not what the composer feels.

... or maybe you are subjectifying the objective, as millions of other confused people on this globe probably do, musicians or not. Guess we'll never know the truth who is right here, eh? One may think he is coming up with something meaningful whilst just deceiving himself (sorry if you think I'm painting a really bleak picture for you).


This is where our main cognitive dissonance is with this discussion: separating what is meaningful to the listener from what is meaningful to the composer/performer. Only he/she knows what that is and no amount of ridicule or attempts to enlighten relating our experience will change that. He might say "derp" later on, but that does not change his intent at the genesis of the concept. Does it matter that they are fooling themselves regarding its implicit meaning? This could be said of any music, complex or otherwise and relates more to originality versus derivation.

The only meaningful thing for the purposes of this discussion is what that idea means in our minds. We can see very clearly that what illicits emotional response to each of us has a very broad scope. Keep in mind that the majority of the Earth's population would find the entire PA library to be technical and emotionless.


Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

I guess what I'm hinting at is that I'm really focused on the idea that some people tend to confuse entertainment (technical proficiency) with art (emotion). I could be one of those people.


I had to think about this one for a minute. I am not convinced that the 2 are mutually exclusive, but I get what you are saying. Enjoyment is an emotion of entertainment. I know not of any empirical data on the subject, but I would be surprised if the majority of "entertainers" did not consider themselves artists.




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Posted By: Tapfret
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 17:36
Originally posted by aldri7 aldri7 wrote:

Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

Originally posted by aldri7 aldri7 wrote:

Repetition deadens the emotions and that is why all art is so subjective. Technical proficiency in anything requires a lot of rote or repetitive learning, and so that is where the connection gets made between technical proficiency and emotionless playing.
You think repetitive learning enforces emotionless playing, and that is why people conceive a link between technical proficiency and lack of emotion? From the performer's point of view ... maybe; from the listener's point of view ... I don't think so. I thought that all this time we discussed the listener's perception of emotion and virtuosity ... but maybe I was wrong all this time.

Its easier to see it from the performers point of view, because there are only one set of ears to worry about. From the listeners point of view, reactions will vary enormously. Some may feel it, some may not. I didn't say that repetitive playing is  not going to connect with listeners because to the listener it may not seem repetitive at all. Its all based on your experience. 

I just said that some make the connection between technical proficiency and emotionless playing because of the role that repetition plays in becoming technically proficient. But repetitive learning doesn't "enforce emotionless playing", it just makes it statistically more likely, IMHO :) And again, to the listener, what is emotionless will vary from one person to the next. You may be bored playing that same tune or lick over and over again, but to fresh ears, it might be the greatest thing their ears ever heard. It might make them cry. Age can play a big role too. I don't respond as a listener emotionally to things I used to respond emotionally to years ago. There is no way that the performer can predict or control listeners prior "ear training" and so he/she just has to do the best that they can.

aldri7




Well said. My ultimate injection to the conversation is that we can only validate our own emotions (sometimes) and not those of any other listener and certainly not the composer/performer.


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Posted By: aldri7
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 17:44
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

That's not what I was talking about - the quantity. OK, maybe I didn't phrase it right, though I didn't even imply that an author would use a multitude of notes to project a multitude of emotions. My point is: why use so many notes when you can use just a few to project that emotion? ... Because if the author does use a multitude of notes to project an emotion, I will (I seriously will) take it as a bit of entertainment, not as a bit of resonance. Feel the difference?

I'm not quite sure how this conversation took a turn into something about repetition on a thread that is about virtuosity.

Since I'm not as proficient as you in responding to quotes individually (darn computers...:))....I'll just give a blanket reply.

I guess your first reply is perplexing to me because I don't necessarily connect fast or multiple notes with entertainment vs real music. Pianos in particular do not lend themselves to playing single notes that sustain for over four bars! So you can't necessarily trim all those notes - you may have to play them over and over again or they will die out and you will just be left with silence (not resonance)

OK, I know you know that. :) Anyway, I think I understand the point you are trying to make, but if the bottom line is projecting an emotion and you feel that a single note will do so why use multiple notes. I say  - why NOT use multiple notes if in doing so you inject motion, excitement, rhythm, the urge to dance maybe. I don't know. I mean who can say what purpose a given piece of music has, what its role is. It is more than just about stripping it down to its barest essence though and only playing as many notes as you need to get the emotional message across. Do we have to pace ourselves for fear of wearing our fingers out? 

BUt yeah, we've drifted off topic. The topic was virtuosity and I guess, whether virtuosity if it comes in the form of lots of notes (too many maybe, you say) is a good thing. I myself said it wasn't necessarily a good thing, and that fewer notes (a la Weather Report and Wayne Shorter) is often advised. So I tend to agree with you in spirit a lot of times, just not in how you connect all of this with what seems like some sort of an litmus test that music must pass in order that it be considered emotionally valid and not "just" entertainment. In China, they had that one child only policy. Makes sense, but I wouldn't want to live in a society where it is required. :)  And I also like chilling out to pure resonance sometimes, but as a keyboardist I know you have to resort to repetition sometimes in order to keep the sound alive!

aldri7











Posted By: Tapfret
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 17:56
Originally posted by aldri7 aldri7 wrote:

And I also like chilling out to pure resonance sometimes...


Yeah, I tend to not listen to Spastic Ink while practicing Yoga.


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Posted By: aldri7
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 18:09
When it comes to prog though - and maybe this relates more to the argument about technical proficiency vs art (emotion). We (I do at any rate) tend to view prog rock as having a higher "artistic value" or merit than other genres of rock. And why is this? Is it because of the virtuosity factor? No, it shouldn't be. Virtuosity in prog (I'm talking playing, not composing) is IMHO not related to a prog song's artistic/emotional content. But I can see where others might see it differently and respond very emotionally to technical wizardry for its own sake regardless of anything else. Anyway, but I was always a Yes fan but not a Rick Wakeman fan because, even though I am a keyboardist, the former packed emotional content while the latter was more just about technical proficiency to me. And when thats the case, I often go outside of prog entirely to get my emotional "fix". And like I said before, i don't like the soloing in "The Underfall Yard" (Big Big Train) because the technical wizardly distracts from the emotional power of the song. It leaves me feeling cold and emotionless, and I wish I could fast forward past it every time i listen to it (actually, I can....mmmm....but I just don't like to have to do it...)

aldri7



Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 18:47
Originally posted by Tapfret Tapfret wrote:

Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

I guess what I'm hinting at is that I'm really focused on the idea that some people tend to confuse entertainment (technical proficiency) with art (emotion). I could be one of those people.
I had to think about this one for a minute. I am not convinced that the 2 are mutually exclusive, but I get what you are saying. Enjoyment is an emotion of entertainment. I know not of any empirical data on the subject, but I would be surprised if the majority of "entertainers" did not consider themselves artists.
I think it's this premise of mine that is the root of all "evil"/confusion/whatever in this discussion. You phrased your response in such a manner that it can be inferred that entertainment and art do not have different purposes. All these years I never thought about them the way you do. Of course, it can still be argued that it is not a universal truth.

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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: Guldbamsen
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 19:20
Some of this is like astrophysics to me.
Maybe it's because I just ate a little cheese...

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“The Guide says there is an art to flying or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”

- Douglas Adams


Posted By: Dayvenkirq
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 19:21


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"People tell you life is short. ... No, it's not. Life is long. Especially if you make the wrong decisions." - Chris Rock


Posted By: Kati
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 19:31
Originally posted by Guldbamsen Guldbamsen wrote:

Some of this is like astrophysics to me.
Maybe it's because I just ate a little cheese...
 
Guldbamsen HugI will differ to disagree with you here, astrophysics is too predictable for virtuosity I would say retrograde compared to astrophysics.
Another Hug  


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When playing strip poker, make sure you are wearing a lot of clothes! or google will ban you ;)


Posted By: The Dark Elf
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 20:27
Getting back to wherever it was in the discussion that folks were actually commenting on the role of virtuosity in Progressive music, I think it is a necessity, an uncommon component that separates the genre from baser rock models. That is not to say there isn't virtuosity to be found in 12 bar blues, because I could rattle off many amazingly gifted blues musicians; however, the symphonic and jazz elements in prog require a more disciplined approach and a greater background in musical theory..

Aside from the usual rhetoric one hears, I sometimes think the punk backlash in the mid-70s was propagated by musicians who just couldn't excel in competition with Yes, Crimson, Tull, ELP, Genesis, etc. The whole "getting back to the roots of rock" with a bunch of snarling, 4-chord, safety-pinned cheeked street urchins, leaned heavily on bravado and definitely not on musical ability. Simplistic, I know, but musical virtuosity had actually achieved mainstream success by 1975, yet ever since the ability to really play an instrument has been peripheral to the Billboard Top 100. Prog rock is a niche now, as is jazz and symphony (musical forms which had their heyday in the mythical past).


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Please pay a visit to my blog... http://darkelffile.blogspot.com/" rel="nofollow - The Dark Elf File ...a slighty skewed journal of music reviews, literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.


Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 20:38
Originally posted by Ambient Hurricanes Ambient Hurricanes wrote:



"A person who excels in musical technique or execution."

"A consummate master of musical technique and artistry"

"A person who has a masterly or dazzling skill or technique in any field of activity"


All of these can mean "virtuoso."  They're pretty vague and open to interpretation, yes.  




Interesting that none of these definitions necessarily suggest a propensity to show off.  

Also, I forgot to address this the previous day:

Originally posted by Guldbamsen Guldbamsen wrote:

 I would mind having hear a piano fugue in the midst of I Talk to the Wind or a jazz chase done during Cirrus Minor....

I'd suggest that that is poor songwriting/composition rather than virtuosity that needs to be blamed for that.   The virtuosos in KC did not ruin I Talk to the Wind that way, after all.  Big smile

It's interesting that Howe is mentioned when the subject of virtuosity comes up.   Certainly he is a master of the acoustic but I find Fripp and Hackett steadier on electric, maybe Latimer as well.   Look at Hackett's leads in Dancing on the Moonlit Knight, that's faster than probably anything Howe ever played on electric and yet it never sounds jarring the way Howe's electric playing often does.   Makes me wonder again if we simply equate virtuosity with flashiness in rock.  



Posted By: Kati
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 21:05
Originally posted by The Dark Elf The Dark Elf wrote:

Getting back to wherever it was in the discussion that folks were actually commenting on the role of virtuosity in Progressive music, I think it is a necessity, an uncommon component that separates the genre from baser rock models. That is not to say there isn't virtuosity to be found in 12 bar blues, because I could rattle off many amazingly gifted blues musicians; however, the symphonic and jazz elements in prog require a more disciplined approach and a greater background in musical theory..

Aside from the usual rhetoric one hears, I sometimes think the punk backlash in the mid-70s was propagated by musicians who just couldn't excel in competition with Yes, Crimson, Tull, ELP, Genesis, etc. The whole "getting back to the roots of rock" with a bunch of snarling, 4-chord, safety-pinned cheeked street urchins, leaned heavily on bravado and definitely not on musical ability. Simplistic, I know, but musical virtuosity had actually achieved mainstream success by 1975, yet ever since the ability to really play an instrument has been peripheral to the Billboard Top 100. Prog rock is a niche now, as is jazz and symphony (musical forms which had their heyday in the mythical past).
 
I would not describe prog as a certain niche market, because it depends on various factors plus one knows it is bound not to make money, as it does not reached the mainstream public, yet in terms of prog band numbers recently there are many and great ones too!!! Smile Unfortunately they still need a day job even so this genre is finally growing plentiful Wink  


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When playing strip poker, make sure you are wearing a lot of clothes! or google will ban you ;)


Posted By: Gerinski
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 22:36
Originally posted by Dayvenkirq Dayvenkirq wrote:

Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

... but talent, inspiration and being able to play with moving emotion are as much (if not more) a part of true virtuosity as being able to play fast is.
Give me an example of that when it comes to instrumental virtuosity.
Phil Collins drumming (in his best period) could be one, he never focused much on speed and yet he played as a virtuoso in my book.
Dynamics control and expression are examples of musical techniques which are of course learnt by the musicians and mastered by hard practice, same as mastering speed, but few people think of them when using  the term 'virtuoso'.
The ability of knowing how to shift successfully between keys would be another technical quality which has nothing to do with speed (I do not mean 'shifting among different keyboards').

I'm not a musician myself but I would bet that out of all the stuff they teach in a conservatory, only little concerns learning to play fast.


Posted By: Ambient Hurricanes
Date Posted: February 22 2013 at 23:42
Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:



It's interesting that Howe is mentioned when the subject of virtuosity comes up.   Certainly he is a master of the acoustic but I find Fripp and Hackett steadier on electric, maybe Latimer as well.   Look at Hackett's leads in Dancing on the Moonlit Knight, that's faster than probably anything Howe ever played on electric and yet it never sounds jarring the way Howe's electric playing often does.   Makes me wonder again if we simply equate virtuosity with flashiness in rock.  



Howe's playing is pretty fast on Sound Chaser, Awaken, and Gates of Delirium.  Yes, he can be a little sloppier and more jarring than the others you mentioned, but I think that actually adds to his appeal.  He's not a perfect guitar player, but "virtuoso" doesn't mean perfect, and I personally think that guitar players who have very perceivable flaws in their playing are more appealing than those whose playing is more pristine (think Howe or Hackett in the early live performances versus, say, Petrucci).


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In blood, he's writing the lyrics of a brand new tune.


Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: February 23 2013 at 00:03
Originally posted by Ambient Hurricanes Ambient Hurricanes wrote:

Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:



It's interesting that Howe is mentioned when the subject of virtuosity comes up.   Certainly he is a master of the acoustic but I find Fripp and Hackett steadier on electric, maybe Latimer as well.   Look at Hackett's leads in Dancing on the Moonlit Knight, that's faster than probably anything Howe ever played on electric and yet it never sounds jarring the way Howe's electric playing often does.   Makes me wonder again if we simply equate virtuosity with flashiness in rock.  



Howe's playing is pretty fast on Sound Chaser, Awaken, and Gates of Delirium.  Yes, he can be a little sloppier and more jarring than the others you mentioned, but I think that actually adds to his appeal.  He's not a perfect guitar player, but "virtuoso" doesn't mean perfect, and I personally think that guitar players who have very perceivable flaws in their playing are more appealing than those whose playing is more pristine (think Howe or Hackett in the early live performances versus, say, Petrucci).

I don't disagree that a somewhat flawed kind of musicianship can also be virtuoso.  I was responding to Exithelemming's comment about Howe vis a vis a Verlaine.  It seems to me that Howe is taken as representative of virtuoso guitarwork in prog and that need not be the case.  How about Dave Bainbridge who has great technique and also plays very emotional solos.  And by the way, it is not as if Howe loves to be flashy all the time.  In what way is Turn of the Century much inferior to the great aching guitar solos of rock, like Comfortably Numb and all that?  


Posted By: The Mystical
Date Posted: February 23 2013 at 02:17
I believe virtuosity to come second to musical atmosphere. If music does not evoke an emotional response in me, I do not listen to it.

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I am currently digging:

Hawkwind, Rare Bird, Gong, Tangerine Dream, Khan, Iron Butterfly, and all things canterbury and hard-psych. I also love jazz!

Please drop me a message with album suggestions.


Posted By: NickHall
Date Posted: February 23 2013 at 02:35
it goes with the territory


Posted By: Argonaught
Date Posted: February 23 2013 at 05:32
And now, brethren (and occasional sisters), let us look at the PA's "Top Prog Albums" list. The vox populi at its finest, if you believe in such things.  CTTE continues to reign at the #1 position; is it just a coincidence that at that time the lineup of Yes had the highest per capita population of superlative virtuosi? I am thinking  primarily Bruford, Squire and Wakeman, but Anderson and Howe weren't clueless slouchers either.  

And if you scroll the list down a little, you will still see that most of the Top 20 albums are by the bands who relied heavily on the individual and collective virtuosity to express their complex ideas and emotions: KC, Genesis, Tull, Floyd, Mahavishnu Orchestra, the top Italian prog bands. 

I am trying to avoid mentioning VdGG here, because of the "fingernail on chalkboard effect" that Mr. Hammill seems to have on me, which is my own problem :) 

 




Posted By: Argonaught
Date Posted: February 23 2013 at 05:48
Originally posted by Kati Kati wrote:

 

I would not describe prog as a certain niche market,

I couldn't describe "prog" (the way the term is used by the "prog people") as anything other than a loose group of unrelated genres of non-pop music that aren't directly blues-based and couldn't be classified as jazz or classical music in the traditional sense. So, it's kind of a easier to define what "prog" is not than what it actually is. 


Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: February 23 2013 at 06:39
^^^  Maybe it's the effect of the punk phenomenon that The Dark Elf alluded to, that makes people a bit reluctant to acknowledge a positive impact of virtuosity.   Virtuosity need not always imply excess, it can frequently signify excellence.   I agree with you, many of the well loved prog albums have virtuosic musicians playing on them and yet it is deemed to be unimportant or even possibly undesirable. 

I should add here that we never had anything like punk in our country so virtuosity implies great Hindustani or Carnatic masters so regarding virtuosity in a negative light is pretty alien to my cultural baggage. 


Posted By: TODDLER
Date Posted: February 23 2013 at 07:37
Originally posted by RBlak054 RBlak054 wrote:

Originally posted by Kati Kati wrote:

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.
 
He is in no way the fastest guitarist in the world. Wherever this information was printed ...Guitar Player magazine or any other publication? They are not musicians but journalists and even if they were musicians who became journalists or judges on "American Idol" ..they are beyond questionable. Not that a guitarist playing at impeccable speed should logically give any journalist/music fan/record company a quest for comparison to others. Pat Metheny, George Benson, Pat Martino, John McLaughlin, can easily play at the speed of Al DiMeola. They don't choose to because they design their music differently. There are plenty of guitarists that hail from Mexico and Spain who could play just as fast or even faster ..but with their fingertips instead of a pick. Guitarists from the "Swing era played faster than the speed of light. ...so to speak...because seriously these votes are contrived and when they are not..they usually remain to be  totally wrong from every stand point of so called intellectual observation. Whether it's a musician whose getting paid to say something false so that the industry can wave Eric Clapton under everyone's nose or a so called judge who uses fancy college words ...yet when it comes down to music...they know nothing of it and are role playing a host position like a moron who wants money and has no other alternative but to be ignorant about the art in music.


Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: February 23 2013 at 07:45
^^^  Certainly, DeLucia had no problems playing at DiMeola's pace in the San Francisco concert.   As good as DiMeola is, he is not quite a monster (on electric) like Shawn Lane, imho.

On a similar note, some magazine once voted Geddy Lee the best keyboardist in prog, a result which would have probably embarrassed even him.  I mean, that's got to be a joke.


Posted By: TODDLER
Date Posted: February 23 2013 at 08:01
RBlak054 and Kati have every right to their opinion but on the other hand, Comparing DiMeola to Shane or if they...(who work for the publications industry) or whatever they do for a living...maybe they are a plumber or pick up trash for the city have no musicial knowledge to make such analogy. They are out of bounds and have no idea whatsoever what it would be like to devote their life to an instrument. They hear a fast note passage and feel overwhelmed. They come across having knowledge of technical playing and pointing out flaws, speed control...yet they lack the ability to conceive if one fast and long extensive passage of notes might be really easy to play or if another passage of speed demon playing notes could, would? be more complex than Al Dimeola because it's being played by a guitarist who chooses not to play fast that often. That's moronic. That is truly farce. That is sub-moronic. Who do these people think they are? They know nothing.


Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: February 23 2013 at 08:09
Hey, can't curb the enthusiasm of people.   For that matter, how many would know that U Shrinivas can match step with McLaughlin on mandolin?  I can attest to that, having watched both in concert.   He's a child prodigy, a celebrated genius here but doesn't have a high profile worldwide where India begins and ends with Ravi Shankar.    People are quick to have opinions about everything and perhaps a touch less eager to find out something new.  


Posted By: Argonaught
Date Posted: February 23 2013 at 08:12
I don't know if the max. playing speed per se is a good measure of virtuosity and/or comparison criteria. I can hit the "=" button on my calculator 12 times a second; shall I claim the next year Nobel Prize in maths?


Posted By: rogerthat
Date Posted: February 23 2013 at 08:16
Indeed it is not.   Might be easier to repeat a note very fast than to play chromatic notes very quickly.  Then play it over an odd time sig and it gets even harder.   


Posted By: tim brown
Date Posted: February 23 2013 at 08:44
My listening habits seem to go towards virtuosity in Prog.


Posted By: RBlak054
Date Posted: February 23 2013 at 09:14
Originally posted by TODDLER TODDLER wrote:

Originally posted by RBlak054 RBlak054 wrote:

Originally posted by Kati Kati wrote:

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.
 
He is in no way the fastest guitarist in the world. Wherever this information was printed ...Guitar Player magazine or any other publication? They are not musicians but journalists and even if they were musicians who became journalists or judges on "American Idol" ..they are beyond questionable. Not that a guitarist playing at impeccable speed should logically give any journalist/music fan/record company a quest for comparison to others. Pat Metheny, George Benson, Pat Martino, John McLaughlin, can easily play at the speed of Al DiMeola. They don't choose to because they design their music differently. There are plenty of guitarists that hail from Mexico and Spain who could play just as fast or even faster ..but with their fingertips instead of a pick. Guitarists from the "Swing era played faster than the speed of light. ...so to speak...because seriously these votes are contrived and when they are not..they usually remain to be  totally wrong from every stand point of so called intellectual observation. Whether it's a musician whose getting paid to say something false so that the industry can wave Eric Clapton under everyone's nose or a so called judge who uses fancy college words ...yet when it comes down to music...they know nothing of it and are role playing a host position like a moron who wants money and has no other alternative but to be ignorant about the art in music.


Kati was claiming that Al Di Meola was voted the fastest guitar player, so perhaps the attacks against music publications are not relevant here (although I too agree that their quality and "expertise" leaves more than a little to be desired).


Posted By: Gerinski
Date Posted: February 23 2013 at 09:20
I respect speed ability but it's so far off the purpose, I guess that Steve Hackett or even Steve Vai must laugh out loud at things like this






Posted By: TODDLER
Date Posted: February 23 2013 at 09:41
Originally posted by Argonaught Argonaught wrote:

I don't know if the max. playing speed per se is a good measure of virtuosity and/or comparison criteria. I can hit the "=" button on my calculator 12 times a second; shall I claim the next year Nobel Prize in maths?
 
LOLLOLLOL



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