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Is a musician always an artist?
Old 10th January 2017
  #121
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Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
lol.... varitone.... awesome!


Old 10th January 2017
  #122
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Originally Posted by joeq View Post
except that "notation" hardly tells the whole story. People could be using the same notes and be doing different things with them. No musical analysis can objectify the emotional content of a piece of music which will obviously vary from listener to listener - subjectively.
... And from performance to performance - subjectively. This is where performers of a piece of music, including (in some genres) the dramatically overpaid guy in front waving a white stick threateningly at the rest of the group, get to be artists, by applying their own unique individual emotional identity to the black marks on a printed piece of paper. Some, maybe even most, performances of a piece of music are forgettable, not because there were technical imperfections in the performance, distractions in the audience or mistakes made in the recording/mixing/mastering process, but simply because the performers were "instrumental technicians", not artists. They had no emotional investment in the performance, they just sang or played the indicated notes at the indicated volume in time with the bozo up front until it was over.

That, I think, is an important distinction between technical skill with voice or instrument and true artistic ability with same. I would say all musicians are artists because music requires art, on an individual level. The musician's artistic interpretation of a piece, even if that piece is not the musician's original work, and even if the expression is derived from the program notes or from another known performance, is still ultimately personal and time-dependent, and gives that performance a unique artistic quality that will, assuming it wasn't recorded, never be heard again.

Conversely, a person could theoretically be the most technically skilled instrumentalist in the world on their chosen instrument (or even more than one), and have perfect pitch to boot, and that person would at that point be no better than a computer playing the same instrument given a MIDI file digested from a scan of the sheet music. Without an internal artistic sense, a musician becomes a technician; someone very highly skilled at doing exactly what they're told (or what they know from prior instruction that they're supposed to do without having to be specifically told) in order to get the desired result. But such a person has to be told. They have to have the music in front of them (or committed to memory), and they follow it exactly. The resulting sound would only be music in the sense that someone else with an artistic bone in their body, be it the composer or the conductor, is injecting art into the performance by giving the player instruction on exactly what they want the performer to do with the instrument. Without such instruction, the player, just like a computer, would sit there and do nothing.

I would posit that there are few if any true "technicians" that totally lack a personal artistic sense; you don't get very far in music if you have no ability to artistically interpret the marks on the page, and have to be told exactly what to do musically with every note or passage on the page by your conductor/bandleader. Ain't nobody got time for that, even if you only have to be told once.

Now, there are certainly plenty of people in music who are very good at doing what they're told even if that goes against their internal artistic sense regarding the piece. That's different; if told to play it "their own way", they can and will, and it will have quantifiable differences of expression from any other player's interpretation. Much like a cartoonist drawing from a model for a comic book or animated film could put their own unique individual style on the character if allowed, but are told not to because someone else has determined the artistic style, and their job is to copy the style exactly even as the composition of each frame changes.

I'd posit that hiding your soul as a musician, or any artist, and reflecting someone else's convincingly, is actually much harder than following your own expressive instinct. But, for a human at least, it's virtually always arrived at after first mastering the art in your own way, because it's easier, and necessary, to develop the required skill to express your own internal artistic leanings, before gaining the additional skill to transcend them and convincingly mimic someone else. But, I posit that most humans would never reach the level of skill required to convincingly imitate another artist's style without having first developed their skill sufficiently to express their own style.

Long twisted musings over, we now return to your regularly scheduled argument.
Old 10th January 2017
  #123
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Originally Posted by Liko View Post
But, I posit that most humans would never reach the level of skill required to convincingly imitate another artist's style without having first developed their skill sufficiently to express their own style.
dude, you must have missed what I posted earlier on the thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
It reminds me of what the great Lennie Tristano said about Charlie Parker:"if Charlie Parker wanted to invoke plagiarism laws he could sue almost everybody who’s made a record in the last ten years.
I won't comment on the rest of your post, but as far as the what I quoted, you're categorically wrong. If anything, most musicians, or for that matter most people endeavoring in other disciplines, very few really find their own voice/style, instead relying on outright imitation or appropriation - because it's usually the safer, easier and less scrutinized route.

There are more Kenny G's in the world than Charles Gayle's, because frankly, generally, it's a feckless world out there...
Old 10th January 2017
  #124
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Originally Posted by Liko View Post
I must have, but you obviously missed my emphasis on "convincingly" (masked by GS's quotation style) to describe "mimic". I'm referring to a level of skill that would require you to be at least as good as Charlie Parker (one of the best to ever sit on the throne), in order to pull off what Charlie Parker was able to do, as cleanly as he did it, so you have a hope of being mistaken for him on a cover of one of his performances. None of the guys Lennie Tristano was referring to would have been mistaken for Charlie behind the shells.
People ripped off Bird note for note, and actually Parker himself was very frustrated and publicly bemoaned this fact.

He was also despondent over the inordinate number of people who got hooked on heroin solely because of him, many believing in order to play/sound like Bird you had to live like Bird.

I don't see where the 'convincing' part has anything to do with I stated - when it's clear the influence and imitation is real and palpable, which ultimately is a deterrent to one finding one's own voice or style...
Old 10th January 2017
  #125
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Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
dude, you must have missed what I posted earlier on the thread
I must have, but you obviously missed my emphasis on "convincingly" (masked by GS's quotation style) to describe "mimic". I'm referring to a level of skill that would require you to be at least as good as Charlie Parker (one of the best to ever sit on the throne), in order to pull off what Charlie Parker was able to do, as cleanly as he did it, so you have a hope of being mistaken for him on a cover of one of his performances. None of the guys Lennie Tristano was referring to would have been mistaken for Charlie behind the shells.

Yet, as I said elsewhere in my post, even if a performance is derivative, there will be a uniqueness to it, lent by the personal skill and artistic leaning of the performer, that will give it a unique artistic quality.

Quote:
I won't comment on the rest of your post, but as far as the what I quoted, you're categorically wrong. If anything, most musicians, or for that matter most people endeavoring in other disciplines, very few really find their own voice/style, instead relying on outright imitation or appropriation - because it's usually the safer, easier and less scrutinized route.

There are more Kenny G's in the world than Charles Gayle's, because frankly, generally, it's a feckless world out there...
What most people do is layer another artist's style over the top of their own, like a security blanket, or camouflage, and hope that it's mistaken for talent. That's not what I was referring to in the slightest.

However, as I was saying, there's art even in that. I think that you're confusing "adoption" of a style of music, such as being a country singer, or a shredder guitarist, with "imitation" or "appropriation". Someone who's adopted country-western as a singing style could cover Hank Williams (Jr or Sr) or Blake Shelton or Dolly Parton or Carrie Underwood, depending on their voice quality (by that I mean range/color, not necessarily how "good" they sound). An imitator can do nothing else but. A lot of YouTube cover artists cannot progress beyond covers, because they don't have the creativity or skill to compose their own original songs. A few can.

That's one thing I don't like about singing contests on TV, like Idol and The Voice; the contestants spend the entire contest proving they can sing other people's songs, then they get the contract and their own "original" material flops, because the contest has gone to fairly great lengths to find the best cover artist. Very few winners have gone on to build on the fame they got during the show, and there are quite a few runners-up (and a couple not-even-finalists) who totally blew away the winner of the season in the real world of the music industry.

Even then, those contestants are encouraged to "make it their own", with the help of the producers behind the scenes. There's improvisation, there's re-arrangement. In short, there's art. How much of it is the singers' own creativity and how much is the producers' is a question we can ask of just about any piece of music that has ever been mass distributed. YouTube cover artists do much the same almost by necessity, because they don't have the resources to do it the same way as on the album, and at least in their cases we can be somewhat sure there isn't a big-name producer behind the camera/board (though Ariana Grande is as well known online for her YouTube covers as her originals).

So, when did it become "not art" to perform a work someone else had already written and sung? You show me that day on the calendar, and I'll show you the day the music really died. It very likely was not February 3, 1959. Probably more like 1559, the day a choir other than the Capella Sistina first performed a work by Palestrina. The history of music is defined by repeat performances. Music survived until the invention of the audio recorder by being played and played again, by as many groups as the music could be distributed to. That didn't stop being the best way to perpetuate a song just because a single performance can now be recorded for posterity and replayed billions of times.

Music is art. Performing music is an art. Playing music, not necessarily. The art is in the performance of the music, not in the mechanical skill of playing the instrument. That's as true for a DJ as for Django Reinhardt.
Old 10th January 2017
  #126
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Originally Posted by Liko View Post
Music is art. Performing music is an art. Playing music, not necessarily. The art is in the performance of the music, not in the mechanical skill of playing the instrument. That's as true for a DJ as for Django Reinhardt.
I saw this Anthony Bourdain episode, where there was this old Chinese dude, who got up everyday and went to a very small apartment in some non-descript building, where all he did was make noodles, where he sat on a very long bamboo pole, going up and down, up and down, kneading the dough to perfection.

I thought, man this dude is an artist, a master...so calm, so precise, so into it effortlessly, and ultimately creating what I imagine to be the most delicious noodles one could hope for.

Now, lots of people make noodles, but not everyone is an artist at doing so.

No one should dispute music is an art form, but as pertaining to the OP, not everyone doing it can be considered an artist.

Art can be found in technique as well - like the wonderment of Glenn Gould's posture and the mechanics and the independence of his fingers - it's totally unique, and is part and parcel with what comes out of him.

As Jaco said, the magic is in his hands...
Old 10th January 2017
  #127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liko View Post
...An imitator can do nothing else but. A lot of YouTube cover artists cannot progress beyond covers, because they don't have the creativity or skill to compose their own original songs. A few can.
I went to high school with a guy who was infatuated with Jimmy Page. He never outgrew this phase, and spent literally decades learning to play like Page, which he could do quite well up to the day that he was killed in an auto accident. I felt he'd missed the prime opportunity to become an artist long ago, however.

It is my opinion that fledgling artists pass through a crucial period of turning literal influences into creative influences, and furthermore I think that creativity is the embryo of art, whereas mimicry is only a poor reflection of art.


Quote:
That's one thing I don't like about singing contests on TV, like Idol and The Voice; the contestants spend the entire contest proving they can sing other people's songs, then they get the contract and their own "original" material flops, because the contest has gone to fairly great lengths to find the best cover artist. Very few winners have gone on to build on the fame they got during the show, and there are quite a few runners-up (and a couple not-even-finalists) who totally blew away the winner of the season in the real world of the music industry.
Precisely.

Quote:
Even then, those contestants are encouraged to "make it their own"..
Which, by definition, is impossible.


Quote:
The history of music is defined by repeat performances. Music survived until the invention of the audio recorder by being played and played again.
When asked by a member of her audience to play a particular tune, Joni Mitchell said, "I've played that. Nobody ever asked Vincent to paint another Starry Night." Likewise, music survived decades by way of the grand staff and notation without a note having ever been played.

Using this as a yardstick, one might argue that art begins at conception and ends at completion.
Old 10th January 2017
  #128
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Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
dude, you need to get past the mainstream.

There's a whole other artistic world out there...
I've always been a pop music *****.
The farthest I ever got outside the
mainstream is Wall of Voodoo.
Old 10th January 2017
  #129
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
As a number of people have said in a number of ways, all of which you have decided not to address, the word "objective" has a meaning. A meaning that (like the word 'thrive') you seem to be unaware of.



So again, which musicians are over 6 feet tall is an objective fact. It is something we all can agree upon. Someone who does not agree can be proven wrong - not by a "bah, you are wrong" but by a tape measure.

For height we have feet. For weight we have pounds. What is the objective unit of measurement that 'newness' is defined by? How about "filipees"? What is the cutoff point for newness (in filipees) for a musician to be considered truly bringing something new? 6.8 filipees? 10.0 filipees?

Which musicians are "truly original" is, and will always be, a matter of personal opinion.

You have ALREADY in this thread 'excused' this or that band from admittedly having an "influence" by saying that they still "brought something new" or "made it their own" yadda yadda. How precise! How objective!

Another person might not excuse that same band's "influence" and call it a "rehash". Because that's their opinion of this subjective quality you call "newness"

In my opinion, someone deliberately going out of their way to just be weird, or reaching into the cultural dumpster and deliberately mashing a few things together for the sole reason that no one else has thought of "that one" yet, is not particularly 'creative' or 'artistic'. It could be a completely rote act.

I had a bad feeling from the beginning that this thread would devolve into the same crap that usually infects attempts to define "art". People trying desperately to convince everyone else that their subjective opinions carry extra 'merit' because they have some (bulls#!t) underlying "objective" quality!
can you please tell me what is studied in history of art?

It's just not artists biographies, it studies the progression of X art form, it studies when, why and how an artform changed, who was a leader and who was a follower. If that's not objective, what are they studying? Even in piano classes which is what i studied, we had to study who came up with "that sound" or that style of composition and all the musicians who went on to just reproduce it. it's something you can study, it's objective. Is it prone to ignorance? can anyone say Coldplay are original? they can, but somwhere along that argument, someone will be able to show them "hey but look how this song sounds exactly just like a Radiohead song"
Old 10th January 2017
  #130
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Originally Posted by sfilipee View Post
can you please tell me what is studied in history of art?

It's just not artists biographies, it studies the progression of X art form, it studies when, why and how an artform changed, who was a leader and who was a follower. If that's not objective, what are they studying? Even in piano classes which is what i studied, we had to study who came up with "that sound" or that style of composition and all the musicians who went on to just reproduce it. it's something you can study, it's objective. Is it prone to ignorance? can anyone say Coldplay are original? they can, but somwhere along that argument, someone will be able to show them "hey but look how this song sounds exactly just like a Radiohead song"
What is largely studied in the history of art is the opinions and professional judgements of the professors who teach the history of art. Specifically, their opinions and judgements based upon their interpretation of such historical evidence as may exist (which is rarely as much as everyone might like) and their experience of studying art.

Of course, some judgements are well supported by evidence. For example, everyone might agree that artist Y followed and was influenced by artist X because it is known from documentary evidence that Y was apprenticed to X and spent many years working in X's studio and being taught by X. Similarly, everyone might agree that artist A cannot have been influenced by artist B because B wasn't even born until A had died (or was no longer working). Or that a particular art movement G followed on from some other art movement F since there are examples of particular artists from one movement who went on to be pivotal in the development of the next one later in their career.

However, aside from simple factual links such as this, all the rest is based on whatever happens to be the current accepted story as far as the art history establishment is concerned. Even then, there can (and will) still be disagreements between different professors and different schools as to who was influenced by whom and how much. Once you're in that territory (and a lot of art history lies there) you're once again far from objectivity and just caught up in the personal value judgements of the experts and professors involved. Even where there may be widespread agreement about some things, that still doesn't make any of it objective in the real sense. It's still just a widely accepted opinion - the current "standard model" of art history if you will.

And none of that has any bearing on whether someone would be called an "artist" or not. Regardless of documented influences, schools, art history and individual artistic development, there will be plenty of second-rate copyists or workmanlike unoriginal painters who would still be called "artists" by half the art establishment, while the other half refuses to do so.

So there you go. You're very welcome to call someone an artist (or not) based on whatever criteria you want to choose. Just don't expect the world to adopt the same criteria or think the same thing when it comes to something so vague, ill-defined and subjective as art.
Old 10th January 2017
  #131
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@johnny nowhere it is wise to note that the idea of repeat performances conditions fans to lock an artist into a box e.g. think of when fans penalize artists in any genre for stepping outside their musical comfort zone(s).
Old 10th January 2017
  #132
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Is a musician always an artist?

this guy had a go at answering some of the questions on the subject.
Oh and it is the 10th of January.

Old 10th January 2017
  #133
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfilipee View Post
can anyone say Coldplay are original? they can, but somwhere along that argument, someone will be able to show them "hey but look how this song sounds exactly just like a Radiohead song"
Side question, never paid too much attention to either band....

but I thought Coldplay ripped off Joe Satriani and Cat Stevens. And didn't Radiohead rip off The Beatles and The Hollies?

What songs, or what is it, that makes Coldplay just a copy of Radiohead? Coldplay always does just what they do? And what is it that Radiohead did that's "new"?
Old 11th January 2017
  #134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfilipee View Post
can you please tell me what is studied in history of art?
I refer you to this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by adrianww View Post
What is largely studied in the history of art is the opinions and professional judgements of the professors who teach the history of art. .


Can sfilipee show us even one subject studied in the history of art that all art historians agree upon?

They all agree that after Dec 23, 1888, Vincent Van Gogh had only one ear. There's an objective fact!

But about the art itself? Of course not, because it's all opinion in the end. Oh, sorry, it's expert opinion. Like 'musical analysis', 'art history' is another soft science pretending to be hard. You can establish the most comprehensive database of 'facts' about an artist or about the art, but there will always be a person interpreting that database.

He can use statistics gleaned from that database to justify his opinions, but another 'expert' could comb through those same statistics and justify an opposing opinion. Even if this only happened once, it would invalidate the entire idea of 'objectivity'... but actually this happens all the time. People shoving their personal opinions down everyone else's throat no doubt, because they are "experts" who are "objective" using a "science" to study the subject.

Frankly, I have no more reason to listen to authorities' pronouncements on these subjects than I need to listen to random-strangers-on-the-internet's pronouncements. My own opinions are good enough for such unimportant debates. Art historians do not all agree, and in fact generate thousands of words a year writing scholarly papers for the specific purpose of disagreeing with the other guy's "take" on the subject.

'Artistry' and 'newness' are subjective qualities in and of themselves. I asked for the objective units in which one would measure 'newness' and have gotten no reply. If you want to blast your opinions out there, go ahead, that's your right. But please do not try and tell us your opinions are based on 'objective' criteria. That's a pathetic attempt to place your opinions above the opinions of others, and some of us won't stand for it.
Old 11th January 2017
  #135
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
I refer you to this:





Can sfilipee show us even one subject studied in the history of art that all art historians agree upon?

They all agree that after Dec 23, 1888, Vincent Van Gogh had only one ear. There's an objective fact!

But about the art itself? Of course not, because it's all opinion in the end. Oh, sorry, it's expert opinion. Like 'musical analysis', 'art history' is another soft science pretending to be hard. You can establish the most comprehensive database of 'facts' about an artist or about the art, but there will always be a person interpreting that database.

He can use statistics gleaned from that database to justify his opinions, but another 'expert' could comb through those same statistics and justify an opposing opinion. Even if this only happened once, it would invalidate the entire idea of 'objectivity'... but actually this happens all the time. People shoving their personal opinions down everyone else's throat no doubt, because they are "experts" who are "objective" using a "science" to study the subject.

Frankly, I have no more reason to listen to authorities' pronouncements on these subjects than I need to listen to random-strangers-on-the-internet's pronouncements. My own opinions are good enough for such unimportant debates. Art historians do not all agree, and in fact generate thousands of words a year writing scholarly papers for the specific purpose of disagreeing with the other guy's "take" on the subject.

'Artistry' and 'newness' are subjective qualities in and of themselves. I asked for the objective units in which one would measure 'newness' and have gotten no reply. If you want to blast your opinions out there, go ahead, that's your right. But please do not try and tell us your opinions are based on 'objective' criteria. That's a pathetic attempt to place your opinions above the opinions of others, and some of us won't stand for it.
There's more than a little irony in the above.

PS: I don't think consensus is a requirement for objectivity. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty much certain that a lack of consensus doesn't automatically negate objectivity.
Old 11th January 2017
  #136
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Even though it's all subjective, things do get written in stone to a degree, and people do get reputations and credit, entirely deserved or not (like Picasso ).

For whatever reasons, Kenny G and Coldplay and many others get reputations as being unoriginal or uncool or however one can describe it, while others get reputations as being groundbreaking geniuses.

And I do think these sorts of reputations make a difference. Generally, it does seem that certain sorts of artists that get this sort of credit have similar characteristics.
Old 11th January 2017
  #137
To a degree -- but the favorites of the past are not necessarily those of the future. Neglected geniuses (I'll leave that hot-button term undefined) are discovered and develop an appreciation in later cultural milieu while once wildly popular favorites become snarky footnotes in the history books of the future. But that changes, too, going forward, if more slowly and with fainter, narrower influence. Culture evolves, the 'avant-garde' classics favored by one generation of backwards glancing music lovers are the stuffy kitsch of the next.
Old 11th January 2017
  #138
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Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
To a degree -- but the favorites of the past are not necessarily those of the future. Neglected geniuses (I'll leave that hot-button term undefined) are discovered and develop an appreciation in later cultural milieu while once wildly popular favorites become snarky footnotes in the history books of the future. But that changes, too, going forward, if more slowly and with fainter, narrower influence. Culture evolves, the 'avant-garde' classics favored by one generation of backwards glancing music lovers are the stuffy kitsch of the next.
I suppose. Examples?
Old 11th January 2017
  #139
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
And didn't Radiohead rip off The Beatles and The Hollies?
To me "The Police" certainly took over where "The Hollies" left off.
Old 11th January 2017
  #140
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
There's more than a little irony in the above.

PS: I don't think consensus is a requirement for objectivity. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty much certain that a lack of consensus doesn't automatically negate objectivity.
True, but the necessary lack of any agreed system of measurement or quantification probably does. It's not like some experiment where there may be slightly different interpretations of an agreed set of results - it's a situation where there are no agreed sets of results and it's pretty much interpretation and judgement all the way down.

It's a long stretch to claim that there is any objective basis at all for things like that.
Old 11th January 2017
  #141
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adrianww View Post
True, but the necessary lack of any agreed system of measurement or quantification probably does. It's not like some experiment where there may be slightly different interpretations of an agreed set of results - it's a situation where there are no agreed sets of results and it's pretty much interpretation and judgement all the way down.

It's a long stretch to claim that there is any objective basis at all for things like that.
You misunderstand the argument. The argument isn't that there is an agreed upon standard for evaluating whether or not something is new, the argument is that regardless of whatever parameter we choose - as long as it's measurable - we can see if its value is new or not.

So, for example, we can look at a piece of jazz right now and analyze the basic chord structure of the tune. I don't have to agree with how you notate that chord structure, in the sense that I would notate it differently. I might even argue that there are other ways of interpreting the chords. But as long as your system of chord notation is internally consistent I can most certainly use it to see if whatever chord structure you just analyzed has been done before. If it has, then we have shown that it isn't new.

So from the standpoint of not having a biased researcher that's what I mean by "objective", as opposed to "it's all opinion", which in this case it isn't.

Like I said, if I play "Coltrane Changes" you can use contemporary jazz notation and analysis and write down what I played. You can then look at older music an analyze it using the same system, and come to the conclusion that those changes weren't new at all. You could probably also use classical notation and again come to the very same conclusion, even if your notation is different. See what I mean?

So really the only questions here are how many parameters do we want to use to evaluate a piece of music, are there limits to how many we can use, and are there limits to what we can measure?... All within reason.

And so I'm back to what I was also saying, which was that if a player today sounded "exactly" like Coltrane - played the same songs, same keys, same solos, same tempo, same articulation, same type of instrument setup, same lineup etc - and tried to say that it was all new, then really what we're discussing if that would be somehow true is the smallest of details. And once we're on that level everything is new, because by definition it is (because of entropy basically). But then we've also pretty much reduced the discussion to meaninglessness. Not because it's inherently meaningless, but because that view is. For in real life nobody would accept that this player was doing something new, at least nobody with a knowledge of musical history and decent skills.

In the context of the original post I think it's pretty clear what the OP is talking about. I actually don't agree that novelty is a requirement for artistery, but I understand what he's saying. And I think many accomplished musicians can identify easily when something isn't new but plagiarized or 'copied'. Again though, the notion that even the smallest difference = new is really nitpicking for absolutely no good reason considering this context.
Old 11th January 2017
  #142
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What's new? How many people have heard it and gave their opinion on it?
I want to be recognized as an artist. As a genius. I always thought I was
an artist, I always attempted to be a genius. Only in recent years I am
starting to actually think I am, because of the softwares that give me
total creative capability to execute my self-labelled genius,
so that I can execute it and hear it for myself.
But who's going to decide? Certainly not me.
This is new. It's only two minutes. No one listens to much on forums
where everyone is creating. I posted on rough demos, one guy listened.
I can't complain, because I don't listen to posted songs much either.
Is this exceptionally original or not? Really, above all, that's what
I strive for. Original. And it's not even some conscious thing, it's
simply my art, my work. Not cause I think it will sell because
it's new. Because I want to create new, because I have
literally thousands of influences from the world of music
in my lifetime, and before my lifetime. And they've all been
input, and what comes out comes out. The most trite thing
at the bottom of my reject pile I still feel is original.
Not original because I created it, but because it's different.
It's the combination of everything that ever went in,
which is a unique combination of the vast amount of
things I liked over decades. What goes in is not even
close to what comes out. I compose sometimes what
sounds to me like pretty complex jazz and classical.
I have hardly ever listened to anything in either
of those genres. I have however listened to the
Aerosmith Rocks album countless times.

https://soundcloud.com/the-army-we-have/midnight
Old 11th January 2017
  #143
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
You misunderstand the argument. The argument isn't that there is an agreed upon standard for evaluating whether or not something is new, the argument is that regardless of whatever parameter we choose - as long as it's measurable - we can see if its value is new or not.

So, for example, we can look at a piece of jazz right now and analyze the basic chord structure of the tune. I don't have to agree with how you notate that chord structure, in the sense that I would notate it differently. I might even argue that there are other ways of interpreting the chords. But as long as your system of chord notation is internally consistent I can most certainly use it to see if whatever chord structure you just analyzed has been done before. If it has, then we have shown that it isn't new.

So from the standpoint of not having a biased researcher that's what I mean by "objective", as opposed to "it's all opinion", which in this case it isn't.

Like I said, if I play "Coltrane Changes" you can use contemporary jazz notation and analysis and write down what I played. You can then look at older music an analyze it using the same system, and come to the conclusion that those changes weren't new at all. You could probably also use classical notation and again come to the very same conclusion, even if your notation is different. See what I mean?

So really the only questions here are how many parameters do we want to use to evaluate a piece of music, are there limits to how many we can use, and are there limits to what we can measure?... All within reason.

And so I'm back to what I was also saying, which was that if a player today sounded "exactly" like Coltrane - played the same songs, same keys, same solos, same tempo, same articulation, same type of instrument setup, same lineup etc - and tried to say that it was all new, then really what we're discussing if that would be somehow true is the smallest of details. And once we're on that level everything is new, because by definition it is (because of entropy basically). But then we've also pretty much reduced the discussion to meaninglessness. Not because it's inherently meaningless, but because that view is. For in real life nobody would accept that this player was doing something new, at least nobody with a knowledge of musical history and decent skills.

In the context of the original post I think it's pretty clear what the OP is talking about. I actually don't agree that novelty is a requirement for artistery, but I understand what he's saying. And I think many accomplished musicians can identify easily when something isn't new but plagiarized or 'copied'. Again though, the notion that even the smallest difference = new is really nitpicking for absolutely no good reason considering this context.
Pertaining to the OP's notion of new - by objective measures they're very few and far in between, but can be distinguished by various criteria. (although there will be different opinions on that matter, as there'd be for anything)

Coltrane changes, if viewed in context of Western harmony is not new per se, I mean you see major third modulations in Beethoven's Waldstein sonata, profusely in Liszt and Wagner, all over the place in the Russians, especially Borodin, etc...but in relation to jazz, totally new, unheard of, and revolutionary.

There are specific antecedents, like a snippet in the beginning of Slonimsky's Thesaurus of Scales Melodic patterns, where there is practically a note for note section identical to the second half of GS. Also, among tens of thousands of popular songs that of that period, handfuls, like the bridge in Have You Met Ms Jones, Baubles Bangles and Beads, some others - mind you among literally tens of thousands of Tin Pan Alley and other popular tunes, only a handful have similar harmonic progressions.

What made Trane's exploration unique, was his systematic approach to brute force inject his methodology over a wide range of material, ie Countdown, Satellite, 26-2, Fifth House, Night has a Thousand Eyes, Body and Soul, But Not for Me, etc...a very individual and unique musical statement that nobody in jazz up to that point did. The most relevant 20th century equivalent might be to Olivier Messiaen, where one created a personal harmonic language.

There are new things, but objectively among the whole pie, it's mere infinitesimal crumbs that really constitute what can truly be considered 'new'.
Old 11th January 2017
  #144
Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
I suppose. Examples?
Off the top of my head, Johann Strauss comes to mind. I suppose it could be argued that he was more a popular composer -- but his compositions were and still continue to be played at 'classical' concerts, though his work is these days probably more often relegated to classics-light sort of affairs, summer concerts in the park, that sort of thing. Still, I've seen more than my preferred share of the Waltz King performed by serious orchestras in serious venues.

Now, I'm a fan of the music but, aside from reading the little bios in concert programs, I've never been one to pore over the bios of arguably great composers or detailed musicological histories. My approach to orchestral music has generally been that of someone who was interested in the music, not the men (and occasional women -- tough world to break into for a woman, rather sadly).

But I was able to find this handy (and handily pre-researched) article (link below) on some once-wasses and also-rans of symphonic/'classical' music, thumbnailing now relatively obscure composers as such as Daniel Steibelt, Friedrich Wilhelm Kalkbrenner, Sigismund Thalberg, G.L.P. Spontini.

There's also a passage on the struggles of Wagner to get a hearing for his music despite the concerted efforts of one then-powerful rival and 'musical enemy' who is now largely forgotten. Some kind of lesson there, seems like.

Forgotten Rivals of Great Composers - Music Of Yesterday
Old 11th January 2017
  #145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhamilton View Post
I suppose. Examples?
Conlon Nancarrow.

To a lesser degree Little Jimmy Scott and Alberta Hunter (in that they had notoriety early on, fell into obscurity, and had celebrated revivals....I suppose Eubie Blake falls into that category as well)

...but, the greatest example would be JS Bach.
Old 11th January 2017
  #146
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
Conlon Nancarrow.

To a lesser degree Little Jimmy Scott and Alberta Hunter (in that they had notoriety early on, fell into obscurity, and had celebrated revivals....I suppose Eubie Blake falls into that category as well)

...but, the greatest example would be JS Bach.
Thanks for working the 'comeback' angle.

I might be inclined to suggest that Nancarrow is maybe more one of those 'undiscovered geniuses' we all secretly want to prove to be. I'd only heard the name until I ran into some of his music back in the 80s when I was first getting involved as a musician with synthesizers and became fascinated by his use of the player piano to perform his dense and intense compositions.
Old 11th January 2017
  #147
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It doesn't matter what you are doing, lets not confuse avant garde with art, it is the interpretation and intent that matter in art.

This is why a picture of turd can be art.

If you have have a feeling or intent while performing anything and are trying to convey it via whatever medium you are creating art; if you succeed in conveying that emotion or idea in whatever medium or media you have chosen... that is successful art. The rest is just noise, texture, surface and color......


Art is not uncommon, successful art is rarer still, transcendental and paradigm changing revelatory art and masterpieces are rarer yet.

We abuse language, or not we per say but every sensationalist shlep writer who hasn't an editor to smack him down when he/she uses terms like, masterpiece, of the century, best or an Era, best ever, etc..... 4 year old book report writers have affected our literary world and to a certain extent most of broadcast media, that however doesn't change what art is.

An attempt at expressing something and esoterically communicating that sometimes conveys an idea or a feeling or an idea just as well or better than just stating it.
Old 11th January 2017
  #148
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RRCHON View Post
It doesn't matter what you are doing, lets not confuse avant garde with art, it is the interpretation and intent that matter in art.

This is why a picture of turd can be art.

If you have have a feeling or intent while performing anything and are trying to convey it via whatever medium you are creating art; if you succeed in conveying that emotion or idea in whatever medium or media you have chosen... that is successful art. The rest is just noise, texture, surface and color......


Art is not uncommon, successful art is rarer still, transcendental and paradigm changing revelatory art and masterpieces are rarer yet
How about just leaving it in the judgement of the beholder...you're imposing your subjective criteria, and palpable disgust of what you deem as avant garde.

What's one's perception of masterpiece maybe another's turd, and visa versa...
Old 11th January 2017
  #149
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Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
How about just leaving it in the judgement of the beholder...you're imposing your subjective criteria, and palpable disgust of what you deem as avant garde.

What's one's perception of masterpiece maybe another's turd, and visa versa...
Not really I am actually a huge fan of avant garde art, even in the extreme.

As you are saying, I don't judge the work... if one intends to make art, then for me I see it as art. The word 'turd' was not meant to be derogatory, only descriptive.

As far what is a masterpiece or not.... real masterpieces are judged by history not by contemporary reviewers and that is where we disconnect I suppose.
Old 11th January 2017
  #150
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RRCHON View Post
Not really I am actually a huge fan of avant garde art, even in the extreme.

As you are saying, I don't judge the work... if one intends to make art, then for me I see it as art. The word 'turd' was not meant to be derogatory, only descriptive.

As far what is a masterpiece or not.... real masterpieces are judged by history not by contemporary reviewers and that is where we disconnect I suppose.
My apologies if I mischaracterized, sincerely sorry...

I dunno - what may widely be deemed masterpieces, myriad factors go into it. Personally, maybe it's because of overexposure and whatnot, I cannot listen to,nor watch - it turns into something too prosaic, mainstream and overtly pedestaled, if there is such a word. (Of course not all things considered masterpieces, but a good lot of them, I'd rather check out maybe things done by the same artists but maybe perhaps more obscure - I find it much more interesting)
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