Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Links, and the Way Music Thinks

Internet ineptitude incidentally and reputedly requested responses in advisory assistance from fellows friendishly – or fiendishly – fluent in tinkering in things technological; thus thanks from the fellow of the incidentally Internetally inept.

(In other words, many thanks to Sean and Jing for their patience in helping me with this blog; with their help theirs and other friends’ blogs are now listed in the side bar. I prefer my previous saladic alliteration, but one must make do.)

It’s amazing how many young people are all geared up to place their music online. Composed by them, and played by them at home or in garages or small studios, and available for all to hear online. You can check out music links at the blogs of Long Stories Short, and that of our Mad Musicmaker.

The world of classical music has much to learn from that; ever focused on notes on a page. I was rather surprised to hear my improvisational pianist friend tell one of my classical friends in their first encounter that “Oh, you haven’t really played your own music yet”. Now most classical people would be offended at such a bold statement, but my classical friend just said, “Well, you know, I get what he means, and yes it’s true.” I was humbled by her honest humility, it being a sign of all great musicianship: acknowledging what you don’t know and knowing the learning process never ends. After all, Mozart did improvise all his cadenzas.

It comes down to a continuation of discussing original thought: seriously, let’s say you had a quartet who could be close to the technical mastery of the big names – say, the Alban Berg or Borodin quartets. If they also chose to copy all the interpretation, the styles, the ideas of the great ones, they’d still be successful. Not at the international level perhaps, but in say Southeast Asia, very rich indeed. Not an iota of original thought – no real musical contribution – and they’d still sell tickets. True, it takes that much just for the technique, but still, the point remains.

[Addendum, 11:50pm: I'm being a little harsh here. There's a lot of originality out there - my lament is that the technique sells more than the thought.]

It’s it snobs that end up in the musical gutter, and there are too many of them in my industry, and the temptation of joining the elite is there. It’s the cash, the suits, the bow-ties, the formal concerts, the free champagne and apple crumble (well, I might not give that one up, apple crumble is in so many ways a necessary evil), but beyond that the exclusivity of the game: classical music is still beyond the financial means of too many people. Those complaining of lowered grants to the arts and poor support from the public should think about that first.

Thankfully it isn’t all that way – with efforts of people like Nigel Kennedy, who literally walked and jammed from a classical stage to a gypsy one in an open-air music festival. My colleague’s late father, also a music teacher, gave away not only lessons, and strings and shoulder rests – but on one occasion a bicycle to a kid who needed it. And my own previous music teachers who on occasion gave away free lessons as signs of friendship.

To these should champagne glasses be raised. Hopefully with their example and the continual efforts of young people putting original thought online, we call all have apples – and jam at the same time.


Sean Ong said...

You are most welcome =)

wasting time
wasting time
wasting even more time
even more...
okay... wasted enough time =)
~sean ong

eg9 said...

thanks for the link. appreciated :)

LostSt said...

Thanks so much man, 2 promotions in a day, and in such a manner of exposure...

Music i believe is from the heart, whether you are already playing something that's composed by someone else, or your own material, it's the feeling and satisfaction that you get at the end of the day, and please don't let anyone else tell you otherwise


Anonymous said...

hooray to the teachers who not only taught music but also lessons in life itself~!! though my dear teacher might not be reading this, but she was and still is the best teacher I've ever known! :)