Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lessons From Nashville - Follow Up Part 1

I had some great comments from my last post and wanted to try and address them.

First off Carla said this:

"Skill has been displaced due to it not being necessary. What is necessary and most valuable today are ideas."

Is that what IS necessary and valuable, or what has been DEEMED as such? Is it referring to musicians or the behind-the-scenes aspects of music production?
This quote was from a "writers retreat" for musicians so that is the context for everything.

This was a quote from Reed Arvin. I'll try to do him some justice here but my words will not be near as eloquent. Reed received his Masters in piano performance so he knows what it is to spend countless hours practicing, perfecting his craft. Nothing can really replace a human playing a piece of music perfectly but the truth is that with technology where it is today the skilled player isn't nearly as necessary.

For instance, I record a piano part for a demo (I am not at all a piano player). It's sloppy, there are wrong notes, it's not quite in time and I wasn't able to play the little 16th note run I wanted to play. After playing it, I select all the notes and choose quantize from my menu in my software and the timing is all lined up. I can then go in and draw in all the notes I wanted to play and delete the ones I didn't! I had a great idea for a part but not the skill to play it. However, with the use of technology that skill is not needed. If I only had skill to play the part and no idea I would be nowhere. I think that is the gist of what he's getting at. Anyone with a Mac has Garageband and with that the ability to make some pretty decent sounding songs. The same is true for video. "Skill has been displaced, ideas are what's valuable."

Next comment, cousin Sue said this:
"Never hurry, never rest." I think I understand the point of what is trying to be said here, but I disagree with how it's stated. Yes we need to make the best use of our time and I agree that hurrying and rushing is bad as it tends to lead to carelessness and mistakes. However, I strongly disagree with the never rest part. I think the Bible clearly gives us a mandate to set time apart for resting. God did it, Jesus did it, we're told to too. Am I misinterpreting?
This was also a quote from Reed Arvin. I have to agree with you here Sue and I think Reed would as well although I can't speak for him. If we think about this statement in relation to the writing process it makes more sense. The idea here is if you always hurry you'll never rest and if you always rest you'll always need to hurry. So the way I look at this idea is that I need to stay consistent in my writing. Spend a little time every day on it. Sort of like training for a marathon. Just a few steps everyday and next thing you know you have a small library of music you can work from. That's my interpretation.

I'll respond to the other comments in my next post!



Carla 1/13/2009 8:16 PM  

Interesting. So going from your piano example, where does that put the skilled and creative pianist in relation to a creative composer/musician with basic piano ability? You can't edit live performance, after all.

glennlavender 1/16/2009 11:30 AM  

That much is true and was my question too. I think there is obviously still a place for the skilled performer, and there will always be but perhaps the emphasis isn't so much on the skilled performer any more?

About editing live performance - some vocalists do use a piece of software called "Auto Tune" when they perform live that keeps their pitch sounding good! It's already happening!

Kiwifruit 1/20/2009 4:30 PM  

Wow. Both on your last post and this one, Carla had read my mind and commented before I had a chance to!

Oh lovely. So pretty soon, we won't even know who is truly a good singer and who uses technology to sound good. That'll be frustrating.
What about musicians? Will they just be up there pretending to play, while the audience is hearing a recording?

That would mean that just anyone could be a 'good' band, no experience or skill needed.



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