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Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
#927725 12/06/08 08:33 AM
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Recently Diane told us about the RCM's rejection of the music she presented for the festival. Meanwhile we also have the expression "art music" with a specific meaning of serious, well done, depth, not just utilitarion, vs. "social music" meaning not serious, quality less of an issue, possibly utilitarian (dance, background, worship). Perhaps "classical" vs. "non-classical" can be redefined because I suspect that either could be divided into "art" and "social". Does how it is play enter into it?

In any case, without understanding this type of music much, and thinking of what might by RCM mentality, I am looking at these two performances. The first is the one John presented yesterday:
Kittens - first version
The second is what I found afterward:
Kittens - Dick Hyman

Now, what I think I am hearing in the second version are things that I am learning in "classical" studies - phrasing, articulation, use of dynamics, contrast etc. This music seems "shaped" and it seems to reflect skill in execution as well as knowledge of what is being played. If I am right, I could see the RCM going for it if they can see it in that light.

What is the contrast between the first and second version that I seem to be half-hearing? Does this have any bearing on this discussion, I wonder?

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Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
#927726 12/06/08 08:40 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by keystring:
Are Bach chorals social music since they were written for worship and thus sort of utilitarian? I am serious in the question.
Nobody answered so I'll take a crack at this one.

Yes, they are. They are utilitarian pieces knocked out by the hundreds for a specific purpose.

Yet, they also seem to be musical. How he did that I dunno, guess genius makes its own path.

Even though they are social, in the modern context they are probably not accessible to the masses, so they get categorized as art music by some. I think when we move music into categories we risk value judgements and snobbishness. They were social music when they were contemporary, and they have survived to sink into an art music niche.

It's probably also useful to invoke the Sturgeon principle (90% of everything is cr@p). True of today's contemporary music, but also of Bach's day. It's just that the 10% tends to survive longer.


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Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
#927727 12/06/08 08:46 AM
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Diane, I'm still chewing over the same thing. I'm sort of thinking about the ultra-classical musician who may be the judge at the RCM, and how his ear has developed. And I have no clue what these teachers would and would not know.

I've been listening to Dick Hyman, and for the first few minutes, everything sounded like the same thing with a slightly different colour to it. I was missing something.

It happens that Hyman also gives lessons on blues, stride etc. and he presents them in a way that I was able to see the basic patterns, and variations of the same. I could see the "sense" behind this music so that I could stop listening with classical ears. (As far as one can catch anything in 10 minutes.)

I would think that anyone judging this music would need to understand its nature and what is important in it (criteria). Anyone teaching it would have to know how it's approached (would the 'classical way' work?) and if a strictly classical teacher doesn't approach music that way ever, would it be good or bad for it to become a mandatory part of the program? If optional, can a judge judge it properly?

I know nothing about this music, and my own knowledge is far from finished, so this is highly objective. I am an RCM student so this interests me.

Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
#927728 12/06/08 09:19 AM
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Keystring wrote:
Quote
Are Bach chorals social music since they were written for worship and thus sort of utilitarian?
and Tim opined that they were.

Actually, that's part of the great Bach debate. And his genius.

As I see it, he was hired to crank out formula music week after week, but was inspired (by God? as some would argue) to create art music which would still be usable in the church setting.

The St. Matthew Passion is undeniably art music. He knew it, and had to specifically work against his boss to get it staged.

Bach probably wasn't the first. Buxtehude and others were writing art music and using it in church. And for the most part, their patrons rather enjoyed the elevation it gave them.


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Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
#927729 12/06/08 09:40 AM
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Right, John. Just because someone gets paid to do something doesn't mean it wasn't inspired. Composers like Bach were able to get paid for something they enjoyed doing. They used whatever venue available to them to channel their creativity. There was a lot of other functional music written at that time, but it was not at such a high quality as Bach, Buxtehude, Vivaldi, Scarlatti, etc.

Also, the speed at which things are created doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't of high quality. Handel wrote the Messiah in a matter of two weeks, which is incredible. Schubert turned out over 600 art songs in his short lifetime.


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Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
#927730 12/06/08 09:52 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by keystring:
Recently Diane told us about the RCM's rejection of the music she presented for the festival.
In any case, without understanding this type of music much, and thinking of what might by RCM mentality, I am looking at these two performances. The first is the one John presented yesterday:
Kittens - first version
The second is what I found afterward:
Kittens - Dick Hyman
Kitten on the Keys by Zez Confrey! Great piece! I searched through the RCM Syllabus and it's not even a choice. You couldn't play it for an exam because it's not a piece the RCM thinks is worthy to be on their choice list! I would also love to see more music like Kitten on the Keys played at festivals.

Most students will never reach a Grade 9 or a higher level. And in the mean time, they won't have learned improvisation, or lead sheet playing or learn to master other great rhythms that I think should be taught and learned, and to me that's a shame!

That's my point!


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Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
#927731 12/06/08 10:30 AM
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Music is a vehicle. It is a vehicle for self-expression, for creative needs, for telling stories, for creating social backgrounds, for advancing political/religious/philosophical view and even for propaganda.

There's a tendency to see complexity, structural sophistication, virtuosity and so on as the meaning itself of certain music. That's how many end up listening to more complex music and then snobbing everything which is simpler.

This would never happen if they realize that all these characteristics are circumstantial vehicles. A composer shouldn't wake up one morning with the desire to write "complex music". He wakes up with the desire to write music, complexity might at some point serve him and provide the expression vehicles he needs, or it might not.

Music which is not complex, structurally sosphisticated, perpetually evolving, technically stimulating is simply music which DOESN'T NEED to be so.

Classical ballet is not "technically harder" than modern dancing because it is "better" and wants to be "better". It is harder because it needs to employ moves that require harder coordination. Modern dancing doesn't need those moves. This doesn't make modern dancing any less communicative, artistic, interesting and worthy.

As musicians we find intellectual satisfication in overusing our mind when listening, analyzing the structure, the cadences, the chords functions.
But we can't really believe this is what music is all about for the rest of the world. As technicians we're interested in the inside structure of the vehicle, but we should acknowledge that the purpose of the vehicle and the use of the vehicle is another, and our is just an intellectual game.

I wonder whether a surgeon, when hugging his child, still thinks uniquely about his spine, his spleen, his upper arm to torso ratio, his ulna, his meneiscus or simply enjoy the physical sensation and the tenderness of the moment.

Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
#927732 12/06/08 11:28 AM
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Swiss-based Danny tends to ramble ... for once, I took the trouble to read all 302 words (17 sentences and 46 lines) ... but can’t make head or tail of the bold words in these quotes ...
and beg an explanation of their meaning.

1. Music is a vehicle for self-expression

2. Many end up listening to more complex music and then
snobbing everything which is simpler

3. This would never happen if they realize that all these
characteristics are circumstantial vehicles.

4. Music which is not complex, is simply music which
DOESN'T NEED to be so .

5. We find intellectual satisfaction in over-using our mind
when listening and analysing the structure

Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
#927733 12/06/08 11:30 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by keystring:
Recently Diane told us about the RCM's rejection of the music she presented for the festival. Meanwhile we also have the expression "art music" with a specific meaning of serious, well done, depth, not just utilitarion, vs. "social music" meaning not serious, quality less of an issue, possibly utilitarian (dance, background, worship). Perhaps "classical" vs. "non-classical" can be redefined because I suspect that either could be divided into "art" and "social". Does how it is play enter into it?

In any case, without understanding this type of music much, and thinking of what might by RCM mentality, I am looking at these two performances. The first is the one John presented yesterday:
Kittens - first version
The second is what I found afterward:
Kittens - Dick Hyman

Now, what I think I am hearing in the second version are things that I am learning in "classical" studies - phrasing, articulation, use of dynamics, contrast etc. This music seems "shaped" and it seems to reflect skill in execution as well as knowledge of what is being played. If I am right, I could see the RCM going for it if they can see it in that light.

What is the contrast between the first and second version that I seem to be half-hearing? Does this have any bearing on this discussion, I wonder?
Ah, ragtime. Really, I think the interesting distinction when it comes to this sort of music is not the distinction between the two version you cited (it's clear the first one is amateurishly played, and the second one is professional) - but rather, the distinction between these two:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcKHnb-K5fk&feature=related
(Dick Hyman)

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=WjXrl8vecLE&feature=related
(Frederick Hodges)

Now, both of these are professionals, and both are great pianists. Both performances have all the articulation, phrasing, technical agility, etc. that one might require. But they're not playing the same notes.

Now, I'm not sure what this means in terms of RCM evaluations; I just wanted to note that there is a further distinction there. I spend my musical life at this particular borderline between "classical' and 'jazz', and to me, the distinction appears to be that in 'classical' playing, you play what's on the page, and in 'jazz' playing, you can go beyond what's on the page and make stuff up.

At ragtime festivals, this distinction comes through very clearly, because some of the pianists come from classical backgrounds and some come from jazz backgrounds - and the classically-trained pianists play exactly what's on the page, while the jazz-trained pianists improvise. Here are two examples of a "classical" and a "jazzy" approach to the same tune:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=UNhzq5VGKCg
(Maple Leaf Rag, as played by a top-notch classical pianist and accompanied by an orchestra)

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=RISjp-d38-0
(Maple Leaf Rag, as a piano duet by two top-notch jazz pianists)

I don't think that one is necessarily "better" or "worse" than the other - both are fun.

LM

Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
#927734 12/06/08 12:54 PM
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Originally posted by Morodiene:
Schubert turned out over 600 art songs in his short lifetime.
I'm not sure something as an "art song" (opposing a "just song" exists.
Schubert wrote songs meant to be popular and to be heard and performed daily. If they were more musically sophisticated, it is because that was the popular language of those times. If they were meant to be played on a piano it is because it was the popular music conveyer of those times. But there's no difference between MTV pop songs and lieders. I'm not saying this to belittle Schubert music but to reedem pop songs and to point out how weak is the difference between pop and classical, mostly chronological rather than artistical.

Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
#927735 12/06/08 01:07 PM
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My guesses:
Quote

1. Music is a vehicle for self-expression
We use music for expressing ourselves. (I would say that this is at least one reason for playing music, surely for composing it.)
Quote

2. Many end up listening to more complex music and then
snobbing everything which is simpler
snobbing=turning up our noses. It was clear to me. smile
Quote

3. This would never happen if they realize that all these
characteristics are circumstantial vehicles.
pertinent but not essential, incidental
Quote

4. Music which is not complex, is simply music which
DOESN'T NEED to be so .
It is what it is. smile
Quote

5. We find intellectual satisfaction in over-using our mind
when listening and analysing the structure
Describing what happens when people over-analyze instead of just enjoying things. smile

Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
#927736 12/06/08 01:36 PM
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Originally posted by Danny Niklas:
But there's no difference between MTV pop songs and lieders.
The difference would not be Lieder vs. pop songs but IF pop songs have a standard notated version that is expected be followed. smile

Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
#927737 12/06/08 02:34 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Gary D.:
Quote
Originally posted by Danny Niklas:
But there's no difference between MTV pop songs and lieders.
The difference would not be Lieder vs. pop songs but IF pop songs have a standard notated version that is expected be followed. smile
What about Baroque music? Typically, the continuo was not notated, and the players were expected to improvise - kinda like pop or jazz players. I played the harpsichord in a Baroque period-instrument ensemble once, and my music certainly wasn't notated - I only had the bare skeleton of a melodic line and some chord symbols. Just because there is a "standard notated version" now, and everyone plays it exactly the same, does not mean that this is what the composer intended at the time the music was written.

Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
#927738 12/06/08 03:33 PM
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Larissa, thank you for the selections you posted. What I don't know could fill an ocean. How many lifetimes would we need to absorb it all? wink

Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
#927739 12/06/08 06:56 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by keystring:
Larissa, thank you for the selections you posted. What I don't know could fill an ocean. How many lifetimes would we need to absorb it all? wink
Glad you enjoyed them! And isn't it wonderful that music is so vast and so diverse that there's always something new to learn?

Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
#927740 12/06/08 09:31 PM
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Originally posted by Larisa:
Quote
Originally posted by keystring:
[b] Larissa, thank you for the selections you posted. What I don't know could fill an ocean. How many lifetimes would we need to absorb it all? wink
Glad you enjoyed them! And isn't it wonderful that music is so vast and so diverse that there's always something new to learn? [/b]
I agree, thank you for expanding my vision. I'm been watching Dick Hyman on you tube all day, fascinating styles I knew nothing about.

Watching him play Kitten on the Keys or Fingerbreaker = wow.

It almost made me ask a question I've been careful to avoid for years. That is the perennial, as an adult beginner how good can I get? I ignored it, because I didn't care. I have zero desire to play Rach or Chopin. I have a great desire to play music at a difficulty level that is realistic (though beyond me now).

So I dunno about the stuff you posted. His block chord stylings look doable to me with a little work, okay a lot of work. But Kitten or Fingerbreaker looks easily on a par with the most difficult concerto works - am I wrong?


gotta go practice
Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
#927741 12/06/08 10:53 PM
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I don't think they're quite as hard as that. I think you should try them and find out. smile

Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
#927742 12/07/08 12:44 AM
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Thanks Gary D for attempting to explain what the blazes the Swiss-based chappie is on about ... but, if you are correct in your explanation, then Danny is an loose cannon who is merely flying a verbose kite to stay in the Forum chat.

Staying with your interpretation

1. How can any Charlie suggest that music is a vehicle for self-expression ... when the composer is locked into the torturous game of combining
note patterns into an agreeable whole ... while for most of us, there is never a thought of self-expression when tackling a Beethoven Sonata ...
we’re totally engrossed in trying to be true to the score.

2. What preposterous nonsense to suggest that we listen to complex music to "snob" simpler music .

3. Swopping "pertinent" for "circumstantial" ... what gobbledegook to say that " all these circumstances are pertinent vehicles!"

4. Now for a ripe platitude ... to say that non-complex music is what it is because it "doesn’t need to be so" ... as lame as your reading .

5. In "over-using" our minds we bump into a real Lulu ... try to imagine anyone listening to music (analysing the structure) having a melt-down
over a Chopin Nocturne .

The chappie is clearly un-versed in the English tongue ... not unusual in Switzerland with their close bond to French, German and Italian.

Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
#927743 12/07/08 03:32 AM
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For a retired architect, and perhaps a sarcasm major with anger management issues and a flair for racism, you certainly are a self-proclaimed expert on music :rolleyes:

In my opinion BTB, your command of the English language puts it to shame, if your present and post history is anything to go on. You are nasty at the best of times. Sorry, but it needs to be said, in my opinion.

Had a read of the thread...some interesting points. smile

Re: How can I help my students when they don't practice???
#927744 12/07/08 04:25 AM
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Originally posted by btb:
Thanks Gary D for attempting to explain what the blazes the Swiss-based chappie is on about ... but, if you are correct in your explanation, then Danny is an loose cannon who is merely flying a verbose kite to stay in the Forum chat.

Staying with your interpretation

1. How can any Charlie suggest that music is a vehicle for self-expression ... when the composer is locked into the torturous game of combining
note patterns into an agreeable whole ... while for most of us, there is never a thought of self-expression when tackling a Beethoven Sonata ...
we’re totally engrossed in trying to be true to the score.


When you perform you express yourself.
If you're so busy with the details of the performance to the point of being unable to express anything else than technical flawness, then you should find a better way to learn your pieces, so at least most of the technical nuances are subconscious. Music is both self-expression for the composer but also for the listener who chooses music he/she can relate to. When the composer strikes a chord in the listener it's because their "experiences" (told in music) match, the listener recognizes bits of him/herself in that kind of musical expressivity. Finally music is self-expression for the performer too. Except when in need to perform music he/she doesn't care for (for work) when a performer can choose, he/she will necessarily chooses pieces which have an affinity with a common way to feel.

Quote
2. What preposterous nonsense to suggest that we listen to complex music to "snob" simpler music.


It's not what I said, and you know it well.
I listen to complex music and don't snob simpler music. I said that several listeners do though, because they fail to see those characteristics of music are means to an end and not the conscious purpose of music itself.

Quote
3. Swopping "pertinent" for "circumstantial" ... what gobbledegook to say that " all these circumstances are pertinent vehicles!"


Circumstantial, related to a specific circumstace, changing according to the circumstance, based on the contingences of the moment.

Quote
4. Now for a ripe platitude ... to say that non-complex music is what it is because it "doesn’t need to be so" ... as lame as your reading.


Then it's a platitude that needed to be told.
Many (expecially on accademies) are still infected with the 20th century virus and still believe that music which is not complex is music which is not able to be complex. Complexity is seen as a necessary purpose of serious music rather than a consequence of what we need to employ in writing our music.

Quote
The chappie is clearly un-versed in the English tongue ... not unusual in Switzerland with their close bond to French, German and Italian.
Some of us prefer to learn the basic syntax and correct sentence construction rather than lot of meaningless and anachronistic terms. You sound sophisticated but can't communicate, my english is flawed but everyone understand me. Now that you've memorized the whole dictionary, finally find a school in Pretoria and learn how to express your ideas properly, without distracting pompous mannerism and pseudo intellectualism.

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