The Artist...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by gordonfurr1, Jul 19, 2015.

  1. gordonfurr1

    gordonfurr1 Forte User

    Aug 2, 2010
    North Carolina
    There is a place for artistic expression on the visual outside of artistic acoustic instruments on the inside...if you get my drift.

    Admittedly, there really are multiple camps in the trumpet world....two such:

    Creative artists making new aural palettes...things which never before existed...
    Hardworking bandsmen faithfully reproducing a score, a period, a mood.

    The former are artists in the creativity brought forth.
    The latter are artistic in the adherence to and interpretation of a score.

    That is a big difference, and some of that difference will manifest in other ways than the sound.
    The creative artists will tend to be more fluid in many aspects of their lives...more openly "divergent".
    These are the ones who would possibly embrace a varied visible variance, and revel in the difference it makes.

    The bandsmen are more rigid in their world...more adherent to a subscription. These are tools, tools with which to predictably and faithfully reproduce the earlier creative inspirations of others. Their goal is not to be divergent, but to be faithful...there is artistry in the depth of their faithfulness of execution.

    The former express through creation...
    The latter express through execution.

    Different neural networks employed.

    It's not the old idea of right-brain versus left brain as once thought...
    The different neural networks are woven throughout both hemispheres of the brain.

    When painting, I can tell when I "switch" from one neural network to the other...My state of being and realization obviously changes...the physical world melts away around me, and the object of my focus brightens, closens, shimmers, I see more clearly a magnified sense of depth of texture...surfaces vary in sheen, reflectivity....

    The creative state is a wonderful place...musically, visually, or however it is entered.
    Alice ran down the rabbit hole to get there.
    We can, too.

  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Joni Mitchell talked about this. She used her painting colors when playing and vice versa. She was talking about whole compositions. It does NOT have to be divergent.

    When we start talking about single voices, differentiation becomes difficult. I recently took a course in improvisation for the cornetto. It is no different than jazz impro. Granted, we have certain rules that are a bit different, but the basic transformation of melody over changes is VERY close. The baroque era was also the era of embellishment and from everything that I have researched, great liberties were possible.

    As instruments improved, the tone and palettes of colors changed. Larger ensembles required more structure. The valve for our trumpet/cornet opened yet further possibilities. Look at how much of the Arban book is based on embellishment. Look at the various moods created in the Carnival of Venice variations (OK, most players never get past the notes.....). Let's look at "Bruckner sound", Stravinsky sound, Strauss sound, Copeland sound, Mancini sound, Bernstein sound.

    I don't buy the dichotomy. The consummate trumpeter needs it all. We need the freedom of mood, the ability to flow with the message, technique that does not limit expression and the ability to speak multiple languages with our instruments. After the second world war, there was a bit of a split. Germany even had two types of music: U-Musik- Unterhaltungsmusik- this was everything not classical. The second type was E-Musik or Ernst-Musik- serious, or classical music. Although the classifications did not last long, it showed a problem with a certain generation of players willing to be put in a box.

    Check out Wynton Marsalis, Maurice André, Adam Rapa, Tony Kadlek, Lew Soloff, Uan Rasey, Harry James, Urban Agnas, William Dongois, Paul Plunkett, any of Ed Carrolls students and thousands of others. They all use everything always.

    In order to use what you have, you need time to develop techniques that allow access to the deepest feelings, color, mood. My trumpet students play a lot of easy tunes like from a hymnal. They learn Power and Glory, poor sinner, searching soul - everything from clouds to flame throwers. They learn color and attitude, structure and shape, geometry and metrum.

    We can and MUST holistically improve to play WITH the music or create art of any type. We need the same skills to produce and reproduce. To copy Rembrandt one needs to live the expression of the brush otherwise it is only similar. Attention to detail is not a no go for the creative artist,
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I dunno. Case in point, the trumpet chorale in Death and Transfiguration. Out of the midst of Strauss come three trumpets in good ol' Lutheran harmony. Mechanistic stuff, yet--and here it gets weird, it projects an "aura" of its own.

    Yeah, as a classical players we feel the need to execute what is written, but as a musicians, we can also feel the need to execute what the notes mean. That is where we really get to be creative!
  4. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    +1. This separation of creativity and teamwork comes from political dogma, not art.
  5. gordonfurr1

    gordonfurr1 Forte User

    Aug 2, 2010
    North Carolina
    The subject wasn't concerning teamwork, but the differences in source between "new creation" and "faithful reproduction"...and the different natural tendencies of those who generally produce one or the other.

    Here are two differing approaches to the same subject matter...the night sky.

    From the mind of the hopelessly effusive and impractical:

    From the mind of the pragmatically practical reproducer:

    The former cut off his own ear over a passion and died in tragedy.
    The latter constructed a fine telescope according to plan.

    To put it another way:

    Chet Baker

    And whoever this is....

    The dichotomy is between creator and reproducer. Different animals.
    I realize that there is gray area between the two...usually.
    Chet baker played for a while in a military band.
    But he was one really big round peg in a field full of little square pegs...and did not forever stay there.

    I know when I am in my "creative zone" by one of two ways...either I am surprised by a bit of spittle falling onto my paper that in my stupor, focus, intensity...I did not even realize was coming from the corner of my mouth...or I make a whole class of fine folks angry. Sometimes I do both.
  6. gordonfurr1

    gordonfurr1 Forte User

    Aug 2, 2010
    North Carolina
    "Attention to detail is not a no go for the creative artist"

    Nor is it necessarily a GO for a creative artist. Looseness...God I love looseness and transitory sense of moment and place in Impressionism. God I HATE the old Dutch Masters dry fastidiousness.
    There are artists..well, most artists, fall somewhere in between these two extremes, just as in musical arts most fall within the extremes. But, there ARE the extreme distillations to be observed.
  7. LaTrompeta

    LaTrompeta Forte User

    May 3, 2015
    Colorado Springs
    I don't know, I just like to play...
  8. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    And now you are trying to divorce art from craft. As primarily a craftsman with artistic pretensions, I'm aware of this critique. And I'm sure you won't mind if I tend to categorise this sort of affront in my own mind as the rationale of a wannabe artist who lacks the necessary craft ;-)

    The ancient Greeks were one of the most creative cultures we've ever had, I believe. And they didn't acknowledge this dichotomy - their word Techne encompassed both art and craft, which they seemed to regard as inseparable. At least that's how I prefer to view it.

    Okay, your proposition here seems to be that van Gogh is the artist because his work is more abstract more divorced from reality.

    Is it?

    How can you call the star chart a 'reproduction' of (part of) the cosmos? It's a bit on the small side for one thing. I'll leave aside questions of who or what actually crafted the universe, but copying it would truly be a feat to be proud of! If anything, I find the star chart far more abstract, far more reliant on symbology than the van Gogh. Indeed, I consider some star charts (not this one particulary) to be amongst some of mankinds finest artistic creations.



    We need to say something about artistic form. It's one crucial element that's missing here. Percy Scholes defines musical form as

    What little I've heard of Chet Baker has a strong formalism, and that is mainly a craft. Probably best to leave it at that.

    You are aware that van Gogh strongly criticised the impressionists for their (partial) abandonment of form? It's a bit of a cheap shot, I know but hard to resist.

    You HATE the Old Dutch Masters?

    That's a bit intense isn't it? Dick Cheney's still alive for heaven's sake. I was having a drink last week with a Dutch friend who happens to be called Vermeer. We got to discussing Dutch artists (as one does in such situations) and though he thinks he's unrelated to Johannes, perhaps I can close with this.

  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    This is an interesting topic, but it's one that I have some experience with, although it's not switching from music to non-music expression, such as painting.

    In my case it was when I took up playing drums. Initially my approach was to try to faithfully execute whatever songs we were covering. Playing for a church's contemporary worship team, the standard operating procedure for learning and playing music is that we were provided with recordings of the songs (guitar players were provided with chord sheets and basic roadmaps) and we were to learn them on our own.

    Coming from a classical trumpet background, or at least not a background of jazz improv, my approach was to try to learn these songs stroke for stroke - I was copying grooves, hits, fills - everything I could to play it just like the recording. This was very frustrating to me because it was so much to learn, and at the time, I was just developing my skills as a drummer, so trying to copy the work of someone who undoubtedly experienced, and was probably just grooving doing their own thing, was difficult.

    Eventually I got to a point where I realized that approach was not serving anyone, and then it was less about trying to copy stroke for stroke as it was about trying to find the right feel within the context of the song - it was mostly about learning the roadmap, and then just doing my own thing to play for the song.

    I find that while there is still structure in terms of the song roadmap, I have a lot of freedom that I've never had as a trumpet player. As a trumpet player I'm stuck to the written page. I have rudimentary skills improvising on trumpet, so I tend to shy away from it, but with drums, I've rarely used any kind of written notation, and even then, it's usually just a cheat-sheet for the basic roadmap.

    Once I transitioned to that approach to my drumming, it had a profound affect on my trumpet playing because I finally, in my mid to late 30s, started to develop my own sense of style and true musicianship within the context of what was being played. I attribute the cause of that shift to playing drums. It's not that I was bad before, but I was a bit of a mimic - always trying to sound like someone else rather than being comfortable with my own sound.

    Cool thread.
  10. Yamypappy

    Yamypappy New Friend

    Jul 3, 2015
    Raleigh, NC
    I have to agree here with Sethoflagos. Artistic expression advances along a continuum from apprentice craftsman to journeyman, to artistic craftsman. I practiced engineering for 30 years, and I can tell you that some engineers are more. They are artists in a medium that demands precision. I have Wynton Marsalis's recording of Hummel's concerto in Eb major, I have listened to Allison Balsom playing the same piece, and (I think) Marice Andre (can't find the recording). All three play the same notes masterfully, and each sounds different. All three represent great mastery of the art of the Trumpet, and yet each started where everyone else starts. Monet, who was an accomplished artist started out painting ceramics, and when he died, his arthritic hands could barely hold a brush, yet he produced some of his most expressive paintings with minimal strokes of the brush.


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