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(OT) The Voice... shock #2921560 12/10/19 10:04 AM
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Jytte Offline OP
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I like to watch The Voice. I don't really follow along as far as who does what, but I like to listen to singing. At the moment they have Voice Senior on German TV, and I really like that one, because of all the 'oldies but goodies'.
I'm sure you're all familiar with the format. 4 coaches, who are usually, as far as I can tell, pop stars in their own right? I don't really know any of these people, because I don't actually listen to German pop, but slowly their faces become familiar in the Voice-setting.

So, this Sunday it was sing-offs for the seniors. A 68-year old 'housewife', singing in an amateur church choir for fun, had impressed me with a Händel hymn in the auditions, and Sunday she sang Ave Maria (Bach/Gounod), and it was lovely. Then came the shocker...
Sasha, her 'coach', says how impressed he was as she came to rehearsal and whipped out all these note sheets, and then he says "I've been a musician for over 20 years, and I can't read a single note"...

Whaaaat?

I looked him up, he's 47, singer, songwriter, plays guitar (and apparently very successful).
Songwriter? How do you write a song without knowing notes? How do you LEARN a song (you did not 'write') without knowing notes? How can you coach anyone?

Is this normal? I mean, I know you can probably learn the guitar, and certainly sing, without knowing, but how do you play in a band? How does anybody know when to do what? I guess I'm ignorant of these things, but this blew my mind!


[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
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Re: (OT) The Voice... shock [Re: Jytte] #2921562 12/10/19 10:16 AM
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Tyrone Slothrop Offline
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Originally Posted by Jytte
and then he says "I've been a musician for over 20 years, and I can't read a single note"...

Whaaaat?

I looked him up, he's 47, singer, songwriter, plays guitar (and apparently very successful).
Songwriter? How do you write a song without knowing notes? How do you LEARN a song (you did not 'write') without knowing notes? How can you coach anyone?

Is this normal? I mean, I know you can probably learn the guitar, and certainly sing, without knowing, but how do you play in a band? How does anybody know when to do what? I guess I'm ignorant of these things, but this blew my mind!

Not going to comment on if it is normal or not, but it certainly isn't uncommon.

I've mentioned that supposedly, piano composer George Winston doesn't read music and he has been a musician for 52 years! He has composed hundreds of pieces.



So it's definitely possible. And it's remarkable, given how easy it is to read music. I think it is harder to learn the Latin alphabet than it is to Western musical notation. (Imagine discovering that your favorite novelist is illiterate?) The difference is that your school teacher force-fed you your A-B-C's, but no one was forcing them (non-music readers) to learn musical notation and so they didn't.

(Of course it is possible George Winston does read music and is just cultivating a myth of not reading music because it helps support the artistic/musical persona he is trying to project.)


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: (OT) The Voice... shock [Re: Jytte] #2921563 12/10/19 10:18 AM
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bennevis Offline
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Many pop singers/songwriters can't read music, and they sing & play in a band. The most famous one I know of is Paul McCartney of The Beatles. They play by ear, others in the band pick it up by ear, and eventually turn the tune into a song.

I have a friend who has been playing piano as long as I have, but he is entirely self-taught and can't read music. Of course, he plays no classical, but he does make some decent money out of his music-making (playing at weddings, parties etc) with his own band, none of whom can read music either. He plays light jazz and pop.

In other words, if classical isn't your interest, you don't need to read music at all.



"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: (OT) The Voice... shock [Re: Jytte] #2921564 12/10/19 10:29 AM
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Music existed long before there was notation. We might all be better off if we closed the music book once in a while. I used to play banjo in an amateur bluegrass band - no music, just melodies, simple chord progressions, and a toolkit of bluesy "licks" to fill with.

Sam

Re: (OT) The Voice... shock [Re: Jytte] #2921567 12/10/19 10:45 AM
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Jytte Offline OP
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I see the playing by ear, but sharing music?
He has a facebook account, and was posting 'notes' for a song that fans apparently have been asking for

this

But that ain't notes, this is not 'a song', those are a bunch of chords. I could play those chords and still have no clue what the melody sounds like (in fact I don't). I'm sure you could play any number of melodies on top of those chords.


[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
Re: (OT) The Voice... shock [Re: Jytte] #2921569 12/10/19 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Jytte
I see the playing by ear, but sharing music?
He has a facebook account, and was posting 'notes' for a song that fans apparently have been asking for

this

But that ain't notes, this is not 'a song', those are a bunch of chords. I could play those chords and still have no clue what the melody sounds like (in fact I don't). I'm sure you could play any number of melodies on top of those chords.



That's right. You have to know the melody already to use that sheet for that particular song......otherwise you could make up your own..

They're akin to guitar chords (C#m7 etc written above the lyrics) that one finds in any songbook, the sort of stuff I'd use when singing with friends and accompanying on the guitar or piano.



"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: (OT) The Voice... shock [Re: Jytte] #2921574 12/10/19 10:58 AM
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Jytte Offline OP
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Hmm, I just assumed that if one was making a living making music, one would also have rudimentary at least knowledge of theory, including reading notes.


[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
Re: (OT) The Voice... shock [Re: Sam S] #2921576 12/10/19 11:00 AM
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Jytte Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Sam S
Music existed long before there was notation. We might all be better off if we closed the music book once in a while. I used to play banjo in an amateur bluegrass band - no music, just melodies, simple chord progressions, and a toolkit of bluesy "licks" to fill with.

Sam

I'd love to hear that, I like bluegrass.


[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
Re: (OT) The Voice... shock [Re: Jytte] #2921578 12/10/19 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Jytte
Hmm, I just assumed that if one was making a living making music, one would also have rudimentary at least knowledge of theory, including reading notes.

Apparently not. See George Winston above.

George Winston does have people to transcribe his music into standard scores. But it's almost. a bit pointless, because as you can imagine, musicians that don't read (or write) music improvise... a lot! I've tried to map his transcribed scores to what he actually plays in a show and have just given up. It's useless.


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across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: (OT) The Voice... shock [Re: Jytte] #2921579 12/10/19 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Jytte
Hmm, I just assumed that if one was making a living making music, one would also have rudimentary at least knowledge of theory, including reading notes.

When Paul McC 'composed' his one and only attempt at a pseudo-classical piece, his "Liverpool Oratorio", he enlisted the help of Carl Davis (a movie composer who of course can read & write music) to fill in all the blanks for him.

He probably just sang and accompanied himself by playing the basic chords on the piano while Davis listened, then wrote the music down, arranged and orchestrated it into something coherent that singers and orchestra could use in a classical set-up.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: (OT) The Voice... shock [Re: Jytte] #2921582 12/10/19 11:21 AM
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Jytte Offline OP
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Interesting. Hard to understand, but interesting.


[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
Re: (OT) The Voice... shock [Re: Jytte] #2921599 12/10/19 12:41 PM
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Benny Anderson doesn’t read (write) music notation, but has written a lot of music. Quite a decent piano player too

Re: (OT) The Voice... shock [Re: Jytte] #2921604 12/10/19 01:05 PM
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Jytte Offline OP
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Benny Anderson? Really? When I think of all the wonderful music he's made (can't say 'written')... I guess Abba then all played/sang by ear?


[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
Re: (OT) The Voice... shock [Re: Jytte] #2921606 12/10/19 01:21 PM
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Not everyone can get by just on their looks alone. I need to learn to sight read. I have gotten the gist of 2-3 lines above and below (maybe a bit more), but even in those realms I still need to sometimes count by space/line.

All those people who say they cannot read music or never learned, probably CAN read music. They have just gotten so scared over the years that their fear has prohibited them from trying.

Re: (OT) The Voice... shock [Re: Jytte] #2921611 12/10/19 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Jytte
Benny Anderson? Really? When I think of all the wonderful music he's made (can't say 'written')... I guess Abba then all played/sang by ear?

He's brought out a hefty volume of 21 of his piano arrangements in this book:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Benny-Andersson-Piano/dp/1785588753

......prefaced "with special thanks to Göran Arnberg, who carefully transcribed the music for this book". There's of course a CD of him playing the music too (for those who can't learn music from the score smirk ) that you can buy.

I was given the volume a few months ago, and have played through all of the songs. The only music I recognized in it are the ones he composed for ABBA. As for his arrangements (I haven't heard his CD, so I don't know how faithful the transcribed scores are), IMO they range from ABRSM Grades 5 - 8 in difficulty.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: (OT) The Voice... shock [Re: Jytte] #2921612 12/10/19 01:37 PM
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A friend of mine studies with a classical guitarist who studied with Segovia. This student of Segovia has transcribed 56 pieces played by Segovia for which there was no music. He was picked for the job by Segovia’s widow. Suffice it to say that he can read music and has an amazing set of ears.

Last edited by LarryK; 12/10/19 01:40 PM.

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Re: (OT) The Voice... shock [Re: JazzyMac] #2921615 12/10/19 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by JazzyMac
All those people who say they cannot read music or never learned, probably CAN read music. They have just gotten so scared over the years that their fear has prohibited them from trying.

There is a post by a past PW member which I can't find now, but she describes how her husband has been a long time musician who doesn't read music, when she offered to teach her husband how to read music, he started to cry and said it was simply impossible for him. I imagine he is not unique in this respect.

But as I said, read and writing in English is about 100x harder than reading music. It's amazing in retrospect that anyone can read/write and the illiteracy rate isn't higher than it is. 🤔


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: (OT) The Voice... shock [Re: Jytte] #2921616 12/10/19 01:51 PM
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Billy Joel is yet another example of a very famous songwriter who says that he never learned to read music. He seems to have done alright for himself though...

Re: (OT) The Voice... shock [Re: Jytte] #2921626 12/10/19 02:48 PM
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I believe Michael Jackson didn't read music either.

Also Dolly Parton I thought also doesn't read music.


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
Re: (OT) The Voice... shock [Re: Jytte] #2921629 12/10/19 02:56 PM
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If you're incredibly gifted everything just comes easily and naturally I suppose. I'm sure he would know what to do with a lead sheet that shows lyrics and what chord to play on his guitar over the lyrics. laugh

https://globalnews.ca/news/4503916/paul-mccartney-cant-read-music/

Quote
Legendary musician Paul McCartney sat down with 60 Minutes correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi for an in-depth chat about his new album, Egypt Station, and he revealed something rather contradictory: he is unable to read or write music, and neither could any of his Beatles bandmates.


Despite his songwriting success, the 76-year-old admitted he was embarrassed about the fact that he doesn’t understand music theory.

“I don’t see music as dots on a page. It’s something in my head that goes on.”

Last edited by Chili_Time; 12/10/19 02:57 PM.

First Lesson Oct. 17, 2017. Currently in Faber Piano Adventures Book 3a. Yamaha P-115 for two years (great starter piano) and now a Kawai MP11SE. I play a little bass guitar too.
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