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Gavin Gorrick

Snobbery in classical music

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Watch these videos and tell me this drummer isn't musical:

I take lessons from this guy and he told me he thinks in melodies when he solos and tries to be more melodic then rythmic when he plays.

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Young men! :D This has been a most enjoious 2 pages of a thread! Well done to all of you! I honestly enjoyed it.

I'm honestly not being ironic, or sarcastic, or anything, I genuinly enjoyed it! Really!

I think that it is a matter of linguistic fallacies here. Spheremine can claim whatever he wants about music or non music, the rest of *ahem* us, think differently.

But in the end, I, personally, believe that music is not ALL about pitch. Either way, I do bypass pitch, sometimes, with clusters and stuff like that, so if I can call that music, I can certainly call music a hit in a snare drum... But it is... personal.

EDIT: WaxyD, excellent videos! :)

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Seems to me this whole argument is rather pointless. Spherenine isn't going to change his beliefs about percussion as a musical instrument, and I don't think anyone who disagrees with him will be persuaded by his arguments. I personally love percussion instruments and I think almost all pieces of music can benefit from it in some way. But my reasons for liking percussion instruments and why I think they are musical instruments are irrelevant.

The only thing I want to know is, Spherenine, I've listened to quite a few of your pieces and I noticed quite a few of them have percussion parts. If they are of no more musical value than a fart then why do you use percussion yet do not use the errm sound of farting in your music? This isn't an attack, I'm just curious as to your reasoning.

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I know...that's why it was a little speech (I even changed the font size to be little).

Yeah marimba, that's the metal one that you play with a rolled-up newspaper, right?

We're very clearly coming from different perspectives, and my definition of music does include anything and everything - it's the intent that's important (but that's irrelevant).

NOW...you said a foot tapping to Stravinsky is not a musical instrument. Do you feel that a foot can not be a musical instrument? I just want to clarify, and I'm confused about your stance here. You make the distinction between Pavarotti (musical) and Schuldiner (unmusical) based on your "respect for actual music". But someone who "define anything and everything as music" gets more respect from you? Are you one who defines music in this way? What is "actual music"? I just need some clarity on your position...

It seems that, in some aspects, our philosophies may not be so remote - but I can't really tell.

ANYWAY, I'll never begrudge anyone their own definition of music, and I'll always have mine. And trust me, I'm as far out as you can imagine - and your death metal is tame compared to some things I consider musical.

:whistling: The fat is in the fire...

Feet can be musical instruments, as can be anything. I do agree that intent plays a big part, as somebody tapping a paradiddle on the guitar is not using it for musical purposes, in my opinion. Similarly, water glasses used in a melodic fashion (

) are being used as a musical instrument. Tapping on the side of one at a wedding to get people's attention isn't using it for a musical purpose.

So yes, I do basically define music as pitches played in a melodic manner. Drums have pitches, but aren't really played melodically.

And about Schuldiner, my point is just that I can listen to music with non-musical aspects and that I don't limit my "lack of respect" or whatever to drums. I wasn't trying to engage anybody in an "I listen to things that are avant-garde" contest (not that that's what you were doing, per se).

And I do appreciate the comment on how you don't hold hard feelings simply due to a difference in opinion on a completely subjective matter. I as well harbor no disdain for you for having an opinion that you back up in a cogent and open-minded manner.

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Seems to me this whole argument is rather pointless. Spherenine isn't going to change his beliefs about percussion as a musical instrument, and I don't think anyone who disagrees with him will be persuaded by his arguments. I personally love percussion instruments and I think almost all pieces of music can benefit from it in some way. But my reasons for liking percussion instruments and why I think they are musical instruments are irrelevant.

The only thing I want to know is, Spherenine, I've listened to quite a few of your pieces and I noticed quite a few of them have percussion parts. If they are of no more musical value than a fart then why do you use percussion yet do not use the errm sound of farting in your music? This isn't an attack, I'm just curious as to your reasoning.

I hate that I have to make this distinction, but my declaring that I don't find drums to be instruments doesn't mean that I lack respect or admiration for drums or drummers. I don't think that chess is a sport (or instrument), but Garry Kasparov is certainly quite good at it. Capisce?

I use drums in my music because it adds to the music, just as growling adds to death metal. A well-placed fart in a piece of music could certainly add to its appeal. Listen to the Mad Monster Mansion theme from Banjo Kazooie. There are tons of non-musical sounds in the background (hounds and frogs, mainly). I don't find a dog howling or a frog ribbiting to be musical, but they add to the music. Does that help?

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Watch these videos and tell me this drummer isn't musical:

I take lessons from this guy and he told me he thinks in melodies when he solos and tries to be more melodic then rythmic when he plays.

The drummer is talented, but not musical (perhaps he is when given an oboe, but not on the skins).

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The drummer is talented, but not musical...

...

I do basically define music as pitches played in a melodic manner. Drums have pitches, but aren't really played melodically.

So, you feel that pitch and melody are the defining factors of music? Without these is....not music?

:huh:

Not my bag, but whatever.

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Everyone is entitled to their opinion as to what is considered music. Unfortunately it's very much human nature for one to confuse (or actively misrepresent) opinion as fact (just ask any news pundit ;)).

If you don't consider something to be music, the simple solution is to not listen to it. Trying to change another's opinion is a futile exercise at best.

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Guest QcCowboy
The drummer is talented, but not musical (perhaps he is when given an oboe, but not on the skins).

So a suite for percussion ensemble with no pitched instruments is... not music?

Wow, I know a LOT of composers who are going to be really surprised when they find out that they haven't been composing music all this time.

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I play both drums and vibraphone and I'm sad to find out that I'm only a musician when I'm playing the vibraphone. I have actually found the two instruments to be very similar (not just because of the percussion aspect). As I become better at the vibraphone it translates to the drums and visa versa. Pitch is very important for the drum set. I tune my toms, snare and bass drum to specific pitches and use cymbals that resonate well with those drums. I even make sure my sticks are pitched correctly.

If the drummer I showcased earlier was given an oboe, he would be a 100x less musical then when he plays the drums. Just because it is a pitched instrument doesn't automatically make it musical and anyone who plays it a musician.

There is no instrument in this world that is musical by itself. Only when you put a talented and creative technician with that instrument does it become musical and the technician become a musician (this includes drum set, percussion or anything esle in a similar category).

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I'll post this again because I think it got buried in the melee....

A violin just sitting there is just a piece of wood.

A drum just sitting there is just a piece of wood.

A piece of wood just sitting there is just a piece of wood.

If you bow a violin to make a noise, you have a noisy piece of wood.

If you hit a drum to make a noise, you have a noisy drum.

If you hit a piece of wood, you have a noisy piece of wood.

If you bow a violin in such a way to establish patterns and consistency (Such as having a consistent timbre that produces consistent frequencies at regular time intervals) you are making music.

If you hit a drum in such a way so as to establish patterns and consistency (Such as having a consistent timbre that produces consistent frequencies at regular time intervals) you are making music.

If you hit a piece of wood in such a way so as to establish patterns and consistency (Such as having a consistent timbre that produces consistent frequencies at regular time intervals) you are making music.

Whether or not you're making good music is, as always, open for debate.

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Thank you, Tumababa, thank you so much. I wish the people at my school realised this, so I could actually find a positive thing to say about someone's playing.

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So a suite for percussion ensemble with no pitched instruments is... not music?

Wow, I know a LOT of composers who are going to be really surprised when they find out that they haven't been composing music all this time.

To them, it is music, which is what really matters. To me, it isn't, and it probably bores the crap out of me, so I don't listen to it. However, there are many people out there that do, so I'm sure that their feelings won't be hurt too bad. Tell them that I'm sorry that I don't enjoy every single thing they've ever done.

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I'll post this again because I think it got buried in the melee....

A violin just sitting there is just a piece of wood.

A drum just sitting there is just a piece of wood.

A piece of wood just sitting there is just a piece of wood.

If you bow a violin to make a noise, you have a noisy piece of wood.

If you hit a drum to make a noise, you have a noisy drum.

If you hit a piece of wood, you have a noisy piece of wood.

If you bow a violin in such a way to establish patterns and consistency (Such as having a consistent timbre that produces consistent frequencies at regular time intervals) you are making music.

If you hit a drum in such a way so as to establish patterns and consistency (Such as having a consistent timbre that produces consistent frequencies at regular time intervals) you are making music.

If you hit a piece of wood in such a way so as to establish patterns and consistency (Such as having a consistent timbre that produces consistent frequencies at regular time intervals) you are making music.

Whether or not you're making good music is, as always, open for debate.

So what's the difference between a violin and a piece of wood? I find this post insulting to violinists.

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Guest QcCowboy
To them, it is music, which is what really matters. To me, it isn't, and it probably bores the crap out of me, so I don't listen to it. However, there are many people out there that do, so I'm sure that their feelings won't be hurt too bad. Tell them that I'm sorry that I don't enjoy every single thing they've ever done.

You see, the problem here is that there's a problem in communication.

If what you mean to express is that YOU yourself do not enjoy the sound of unpitched percussion, then that really should be how you express it.

On the other hand, saying that a percussionist is not "musical" is a completely different issue, and one that does not express some personal preference or taste, but one that requires SOME form of objective justification.

When you stop to "compare" a percussionist and an oboist and infer that one is musical while the other is not, you set yourself up for SOME form of attack and criticism of your ability to make musical judgements.

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You see, the problem here is that there's a problem in communication.

If what you mean to express is that YOU yourself do not enjoy the sound of unpitched percussion, then that really should be how you express it.

On the other hand, saying that a percussionist is not "musical" is a completely different issue, and one that does not express some personal preference or taste, but one that requires SOME form of objective justification.

When you stop to "compare" a percussionist and an oboist and infer that one is musical while the other is not, you set yourself up for SOME form of attack and criticism of your ability to make musical judgements.

I would think that you of all people wouldn't make the concept of music an "I'm right and you're wrong" issue.

I try to make it as clear as possible that I'm not saying that something being "musical" means that it's good, expressive, and requires talent and that something that I don't consider to be music is bad, pointless, and able to be done by anybody--that's just something that has been tacked onto my argument by its readers.

"If what you mean to express is that YOU yourself do not enjoy the sound of unpitched percussion, then that really should be how you express it."

I enjoy steak, but steak is not music. I don't enjoy most of Bach's works, but it is music.

I just use the word "music" to categorize a specific group of creations and make the argument that if drums are an instrument, so are farts. The only argument of the latter point so far has been that drums are cooler than farts or something like that, and this entire thread seems to be the "attack Brad because I refuse to actually look into his posts" hour.

So if I write a fantasia for six human asses (all equipped with excessive amounts of flatulence), is it music? I bring up these points to encourage open-minded self-exploration, not for people who think they're open-minded to regurgitate the definition of music with no real evidence of thought.

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Well, after reading about five pages of this thread, I think I finally understand what you're trying to say, Spherenine. In all fairness, you aren't always good at explaining your statements and your tone can come off as hostile and condescending which may cause people to come back and attack you. But I think it's also their fault for jumping to conclusions and not simply asking you to clarify yourself in the first place. I still don't agree with your stance on percussion as a musical instrument but I at least understand what you're trying to say now and I respect it. I think it'd be best if we just agreed to disagree and I think that that is what everyone in this thread should do about this whole percussion issue.

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I just use the word "music" to categorize a specific group of creations and make the argument that if drums are an instrument, so are farts. The only argument of the latter point so far has been that drums are cooler than farts or something like that, and this entire thread seems to be the "attack Brad because I refuse to actually look into his posts" hour.

So if I write a fantasia for six human asses (all equipped with excessive amounts of flatulence), is it music? I bring up these points to encourage open-minded self-exploration, not for people who think they're open-minded to regurgitate the definition of music with no real evidence of thought.

You see, the problem is you are applying terminology that is ALMOST universal, but applying it to your own conception and definition. There's no inate problem there, except you seem to take exception to the fact that others are not understanding your limited definition.

I'm certainly not making an "I'm right and you're wrong" statement, at least, no more than you are.

What I HAVE stated, however, is that you can have a personal vision of something, and that THAT should be couched in as subjective a terminology as possible if you do not want others to read your comments as some sort of blanket judgement or attempt at stating objective fact.

I DO however, take exception to your stating that I am making this an "I am right and you are wrong" issue.

The only thing I have stated is that you should be clear about things that are reflections of your personal feelings about something.

To equate percussion and human flatulance is not the best way to go about this. It has one of two effects:

1. it will demean percussionists and the contribution they have made, and continue to make, to musical culture as a whole

or

2. it will demean the value of any future statements you yourself might make, regardless of their validity.

I think you might be reading more into my comments than is really there. I take no personal affront at your comments regarding percussionists. I can't say that I am a rabid percussion fan. However, I don't share your vision of percussionists's place in the musical world. I happen to find the sound of various percussion instruments VERY musical. Which, of course, is my opinion.

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Well, after reading about five pages of this thread, I think I finally understand what you're trying to say, Spherenine. In all fairness, you aren't always good at explaining your statements and your tone can come off as hostile and condescending which may cause people to come back and attack you. But I think it's also their fault for jumping to conclusions and not simply asking you to clarify yourself in the first place. I still don't agree with your stance on percussion as a musical instrument but I at least understand what you're trying to say now and I respect it. I think it'd be best if we just agreed to disagree and I think that that is what everyone in this thread should do about this whole percussion issue.

This is all that I'm asking people to do. Thank you.

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You see, the problem is you are applying terminology that is ALMOST universal, but applying it to your own conception and definition. There's no inate problem there, except you seem to take exception to the fact that others are not understanding your limited definition.

I'm certainly not making an "I'm right and you're wrong" statement, at least, no more than you are.

What I HAVE stated, however, is that you can have a personal vision of something, and that THAT should be couched in as subjective a terminology as possible if you do not want others to read your comments as some sort of blanket judgement or attempt at stating objective fact.

I DO however, take exception to your stating that I am making this an "I am right and you are wrong" issue.

The only thing I have stated is that you should be clear about things that are reflections of your personal feelings about something.

To equate percussion and human flatulance is not the best way to go about this. It has one of two effects:

1. it will demean percussionists and the contribution they have made, and continue to make, to musical culture as a whole

or

2. it will demean the value of any future statements you yourself might make, regardless of their validity.

I think you might be reading more into my comments than is really there. I take no personal affront at your comments regarding percussionists. I can't say that I am a rabid percussion fan. However, I don't share your vision of percussionists's place in the musical world. I happen to find the sound of various percussion instruments VERY musical. Which, of course, is my opinion.

Music isn't a universal term, at least in the way that I'm reading that sentence (which could very well be wrong). I can find you a plethora of people that don't consider 4'33" music, just adding to my point that the definition of music is subjective.

If others read my argument and think that I'm saying that it's written as if objective, they must have be set on doing so, as I explicitly state that I find the definition of music to be subjective on several occasions. There's no excuse for attacking me for making an argument that certain people could (incorrectly) take in an insulting way just because they want to.

I compare drums to farting because I like farting. I like the way it sounds, and I like the way it smells. It is also a more extreme example than tapping a pencil on a table, so it would require a more broad statement.

So once again, is the donkey a musical instrument?

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So once again, is the donkey a musical instrument?

I think if you can control your flatulence and fart in time (and maybe in key), then why can't it be a musical instrument? The voice isn't a musical instrument until you can sing on pitch and on time. I believe the donkey can be similar in that regard (however, I would much rather listen to a great vocalist then an donkey virtuoso).

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In all truth Sphere, a drum has a pitch, same as a piano or violin. It's just either so low or so high that our ears only pick it up as noise

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In all truth Sphere, a drum has a pitch, same as a piano or violin. It's just either so low or so high that our ears only pick it up as noise

Drum corps tune their marching drums according to pictch. An F is commonly used in snares, tenors are done in intervals of thirds I believe, and basses is something else, quite interesting.

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So what's the difference between a violin and a piece of wood? I find this post insulting to violinists.

Well you probably wouldn't play Bach on a piece of wood.

But I suppose you play some parts of Xenakkis's Psapha with that piece of wood.

Likewise, you probably wouldn't play Psapha on a violin.

Do you perhaps see how percussionists (Or myself, a former percussionist) could be insulted by what you've said previously about them?

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