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 Forum index » Reviews, Editorials and Commentary » Commentary and Editorials
What is a musician?
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Ponk



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

You are talking about what you think is good music or good art. I think that bad art is art too. Maybe this thread should be "What kind of a musician I can personally appreciate?" rather than "What is a musician?".
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gsga



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Oskar wrote:
Seriously though, those artists from the NYC scene, or the London scene for that matter, DID acquire a great level of skill, although highly unconventional by established, academic standards. Bands like the Talking Heads, Richard Hell and The Voidoids, The Sex Pistols and the Clash were accomplished players. Granted, they brought a visceral quality to the table that had been sadly lacking in many practitioners as the 70s wore on, but they could PLAY, and they REHEARSED, and they put some EFFORT into what they were doing.

Really what I'm saying is you don't have to be a schooled musician to play music. You don't have to go to art school to be an accomplished artist. But for me regarding my art and music, I agree with Paul. Learn the foundation, then chip away at it. That's how I approach it. But that doesn't mean that someone that just picks up a paintbrush and starts doing non-representational art without understanding figure drawing and basic composition, can't make beautiful and valid art... and declare themselves and artist.

And not to split hairs (regarding your ref), but the Pistols and the Clash are WORLDS apart in the realm of skill, application, and musicianship.

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egw



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I don't accept the notion that only people who have "paid their dues" are considered to make music. The joys of creativity and self expression should be encouraged in everyone.
If you look at the origins of music, it was not a craft or a product to be sold, but a shared community experience. The loss of this is what bothers me the most about the commercialization of music.
I have no objection to people refining their craft, working hard and producing awesome music. Skill and hard work can be admired and rewarded without excluding others who may have less time or talent, but a sincere desire to express themselves and share the experience.
Everyone has something unique to say, and whether it is "good" or "bad" is a purely subjective personal evaluation.
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mosc
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

In the 20th century, there were many people who pioneered revolutionary thinking about music. Shoenburg and his crew were against tertian harmonay and scales and started 12 tone or serial music. I've moved against single keys and rhythms and championed poly tonal and poly rhythic music. Cage was against emotion in music and developed the concept of chance music.

Phil Harmonic disliked the concept of talent itself. This was very revolutionary, but many people resonated with it. When society recognizes talent, it is essentially a discriminator. This tyranical attitude is often started in early education. Teachers identify children that talented; everyone else is not talented. Talented children are the ones who can mimic other talented children.

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Oskar



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

gsga wrote:
And not to split hairs (regarding your ref), but the Pistols and the Clash are WORLDS apart in the realm of skill, application, and musicianship.


Question

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Oskar



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
. When society recognizes talent, it is essentially a discriminator. This tyranical attitude is often started in early education. Teachers identify children that talented; everyone else is not talented. Talented children are the ones who can mimic other talented children.


As a teacher myself, I feel affronted by such a blanket statement.
Shocked
Be that as it may, I believe that a talented kid is a talented kid is a talented kid. The talent can be all kinds of stuff - the ability to mimic teachers' mannerisms, a pure singing voice, the ability to take constructive criticism, an original turn of phrase, knowing how to defuse a "situation" and so on and so forth. Oh, and the ability/willingness to work hard at something.

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Oskar



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I don't know, maybe I should just apologise and then and burn my guitars. Sad
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redskull



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'll go unique, here in my Texas basement (not really in one but still)...

What a musician is NOT:

defined by "talent"
a wise hermit on mount yoda
god
mystical uberperson

What a musician IS:

anyone who makes a tune, be means of humming slapping your boob on a tree to the beat of "Purple Haze", or gargling water while you play a guitar. If you make a sweeping melody or experiment with the mathematical possibilities of "mary had a little lamb" to solve the meaning of life, you are making music.

Qualit of music is an entirely divergent topic of discussion. Music is sound produced by nature, people, and things people build. Therefore, it could be said from a literalist point of view that EVERYTHING is a musician Laughing
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mosc
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, I just brough up Phil Harmonic becuase his was an interesting and unusual perspective, not because I espouse it myself.

I once did a late night radio program on KPFA in Berkeley. One time I had Phil Harmonic on the show because he was moving back to New York - I forget the details. Most guests came with prerecorded tapes to play on the air and to talk about. When on the air I asked Phil if he had brought any pieces to play on the program, he started rambling on about how pieces fit into the talent oriented establishment of the product/consummer culture. How the concept of talent was tyranical. Since I brought up the subject, I felt a bit uncomfortable for being identified as being a lackie for corporate capitalism. I started regretting I had invited him to be on the show in the frist place and started planning how to get him off the air and return to the more mundane world of playing music.

Then, for some reason, I opened up the phones for callins. What followed was amazing. Some guy called up who said he was in the process of committing suicide and he'd turned on my show for background music. (That made me feel kinda bad for some reason). When he heard Phil talking he realized there were other people who felt the same way about the world. Phil talked to him for about 45 minutes and the guy said he found new meaning in life and wasn't going to kill himself. We had another 4 hours of great talk with Phil and some very spaced out listeners, even for Berkeley.

I learned I needed to try to give more respect to people who seem flakey and off the deep end. There are times we ignore wisdom because we are locked up in our own perceptual patterns.

So the next time you hear music by someone who has no education, talent, or skill - listen very carefully because there may be something very valuable in there.

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elektro80
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Howard! This is a wonderful story! I will buy your book!
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jksuperstar



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Back to a topic touched on earlier, "what is a musician = what is an artist"--I was reading "The Picture of Dorian Grey" by Oscar Wilde, and the Preface to it is probably one of the most succinct and straight I've ever come across. In it's single page, I think the author makes clear many of the arguements in this post.

Please read it here: http://www.dagonbytes.com/thelibrary/dorgray/preface.htm

My favorites:
Code:
It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.

We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.

All art is quite useless.
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redskull



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

"Phonecalls In the KEY of Purpose"

edited by "Still A. Live" Very Happy
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gsga



Joined: Jul 22, 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Oskar wrote:
gsga wrote:
And not to split hairs (regarding your ref), but the Pistols and the Clash are WORLDS apart in the realm of skill, application, and musicianship.


Question

Meaning: the Pistols readily admit that they couldn't play, had no desire to practice, Lydon hated their sound, and that Malcom invented THEM, etc. So lumping them in with the Clash who were maligned by the gutter punks for being too polished, too melodic, too talented... They indeed were excellent players.

It just seemed to go against your point.

Now, get the gasoline and matches away from your guitars. Shocked

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paul e.



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

just a small point... jones and cook of the sex pistols are/were excellent, very accomplished musicians..

but i know what you mean by lydon's 'anti-music' approach

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gsga



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

paul wrote:
lydon's 'anti-music' approach

LOL. This thread has been hijacked by the Sex Pistols. Yeah, Lydon exemplifies that in his early PiL days and then procedes to kill that sound and vision by 1984-85. 'Commercial Zone' is incredible. All else after is embarrasing.

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arcticbeard



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

music is art - there need not be rules or you can limit yourself by applying rules. It can be whatever u want - end of story.
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arcticbeard



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

by the way a musician is someone who creates music
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The Dan



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2004 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

A musician is someone dedicated to make music..(if someone draws a house on a piece of paper..is he an architect?)
Most people call everyone that joins several harmonic sounds combining them on a melody and rythm, a musician. I believe music is an elevated form of art that can go higher than painting, writing or any other art because it is an universal language that roams the line between time and space (nothing can break time and space because it wouldnt be part of this world)



..but then again, its only a guys opinion...like everyone elses.

..

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paul e.



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2004 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The Dan wrote:
A musician is someone dedicated to make music.



a good point, i would say

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zynthetix



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2004 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The Dan wrote:
A musician is someone dedicated to make music.


Yes, this is a good point. If someone is just drumming on a table with their fingers absent mindedly, does this make them a musician? Does that answer change if they suddenly practice that methodically?
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play



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

zynthetix wrote:
The Dan wrote:
A musician is someone dedicated to make music.


Yes, this is a good point. If someone is just drumming on a table with their fingers absent mindedly, does this make them a musician? Does that answer change if they suddenly practice that methodically?


I'd say that person is not a musician but that doesn't mean the table drumming isn't music.

Hmm, if they practice table drumming methodically...I dunno, but I'd like to meet that person.
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jksuperstar



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Genesis 002:019 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.



Also, ever notice there's no word for musician in the "language" of music?
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play



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

is that a koan?
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Oskar



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

play wrote:
zynthetix wrote:
The Dan wrote:
A musician is someone dedicated to make music.


Yes, this is a good point. If someone is just drumming on a table with their fingers absent mindedly, does this make them a musician? Does that answer change if they suddenly practice that methodically?


I'd say that person is not a musician but that doesn't mean the table drumming isn't music.

Hmm, if they practice table drumming methodically...I dunno, but I'd like to meet that person.


I'm here if you can afford the air fare. Cool

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zynthetix



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

jksuperstar wrote:
Also, ever notice there's no word for musician in the "language" of music?

What about "composer" or "performer"? And I'm not trying to ask a stupid question, but whats the "language" of music? (the music/sound itself?)
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