What have we wrought?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by tpter1, Dec 8, 2006.

  1. Energy411

    Energy411 New Friend

    Nov 8, 2006
    If it's okay with everybody, and it may very well not be, I am going to take a slightly different spin with this. While it may sound silly, I think that this 'emphasis on technical proficiency over an emotionally moving performance' can be seen as a product of our society. I will be the first one to admit, I have not spent a significant amount of time submersing myself into other cultures, but I DO think that is an obstacle for me as a musician. The real problem, as I see it, is that this lack of culture/education (on studies other than moneymaking), is NOT really a problem or issue at all for most of the general (paying) public. I would guess that a very large percentage of our society doesn't give much consideration, in their daily lives, to too much of anything other than themselves, their paychecks and MAYBE their family. If you talk to most folks after a concert (and you should) you will no doubt hear someone say 'that was great, I heard the 2nd bassoon crack something, I was a bassoonist once, but then i decided I'd rather have a paycheck'. I think a lot of people can cope with their own life malaise by bashing others' cultural pursuits out of ignorance. (Please don't mis-understand me, I am not trying to judge, just making an observation that can be easily refuted, hopefully for the sake of progress.)

    Most people, when coming to a concert, are not looking to be educated, they're looking to be distracted and hey, that's great. Hopefully it is a fulfilling distraction. However, if your listening skills are to the point where what you usually hear is 'orchstra, with some mistakes mixed in in', That's a problem... Simple solution right? More people, need to know more about what they're listening to, and why they're listening to it. (more history on pieces, more narrative, more cultural knowledge etc...all certainly help aid the emotional experience, making a more fulfilled distraction) It is at this point that we tragically circle back to what I said about typcial daily lives, above.

    That said, I think that's why the truly musical performances (and I DO believe they still happen), uniquely capture people. They draw people in. Problem is, missed notes distract folks from their distraction (and that is TERRIBLY BAD in the eyes of the no longer distracted). Unfortunatly, I re-state, it appears that lot of people can cope with their own life malaise by bashing others' cultural pursuits out of ignorance. It is just like Manny stated awhile back, many know just enough to be dangerous. Talk about playing afraid!!...these are the people that, as a musician, provide you with your paycheck, so you've got to make them happy. I think this fear moves all the way down the line, Just like Bob (robertwhite) touched on a little bit ago. The conductor can't have anything out there that the musically semi-educated board isn't appreciative of, so the same attitude filters down to auditions.....do you want a dynamic player? or an accurate one? ideally..both...of course, if you had to trade one for the other? Well if i'm a principal horn player, or a conductor of an orchestra, I dont' want to look bad of Jhonny 2nd horn is out of tune and missing notes, I've got to eat too!!). It's a sad truth, but a truth nonetheless.

    For what it's worth, one thing I try to do to counter all this is take Manny's 'metronome approach' to just about everything. Fit as much (music) into the structure you're provided as possible.....Learn alot, play alot, have as much fun as possible, instill that love of music and expression into others and above all, don't miss.... jk

    I look forward to hearing some of your (hopefully non-violent) responses. :)

  2. rjzeller

    rjzeller Forte User

    Mar 7, 2005
    Rochester, MN
    I think Manny's was as close to the real issue in his first post as what can be found. To me, there is NOTHING more enjoyable than a live performance simply becuase it IS so real.

    Why, when you can purchase nearly ANYTHING that's ever been written, on a CD, DVD, or audio cassette (or mp3, wav, or whatever other form suits you), do people continue to go to live performances? I'll balk at spending $17.99 for a CD recording of many of my favorite artists or pieces, and yet will not think twice about spending twice that much (or more) for tickets to a live performance.

    I had to sit in with the loca college and sight-read an entire concert because they were desperately low on trumpets. Despite the small-junior college band and the plethora of musical options available to local fans this holiday season, that college sold out all four concerts to standing-room only. This year's civic band holiday concert sold over a thousand tickets to an auditorium of just under 1200 capacity.

    The MO Pops concerts this coming week with Doc are effectively sold out (dangit!).

    Take your pick of a number of live musical events -- they're sold out.

    The recordings are nice, but they're so sanitized that they loose something. I don't think that something has anything to do with the technical quality of the music or the musicians, but rather the mere presence of the music and musicians. Even the best sound systems today still do not come close to absolutely perfect reproduction of the original sound. There are subtleties that are lost completely and with that goes much of the emotional impact of the music.

    And occasionally you DO hear a blip or a mistake. And that's okay, becuase it adds to the realism, the humanity of the performance. Knowing the music is live, that a mistake might or could be made, doesn't detract from the performance, it enhances it.

    I don't believe that people of times past were any less focused on quality than are people of today. I've played with too many "old-timers" who were brilliant technically to be fool enough to assume that older musicians were less concerned with technical accuracy than players of today.

    I think, as Manny stated, that the dominance of recorded music today has shifted people's expectation up considerably regarding the technical quality of the performance. We simply expect that everything is flawless, though in reality that's rare.

    The impact of live music goes beyond the differences between the acoustic and sonic capabilities of a set of speakers and amplifiers. Recorded music, as to a degree, sterilized our perception of what music really is.

    The performers, I think, are just as emotional and colorful as ever. I could be wrong, but none of the pros I've met or read about are necessarily more technical than musical -- but they all seem to understand the importance of good technical skill.

    So after all that disconnected blabber, I guess I could just say that I think the recording of music has altered our PERCEPTION of today's performers; today's performers, however, have not grown any more technical or musical than those of past times.

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