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Author Topic: Virtuosos Need Not Apply  (Read 1312 times)

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Chris

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Virtuosos Need Not Apply
« on: December 19, 2007, 06:40:22 PM »


This is the best online (i.e. non-published) essay I've ever read about the Beatles' music. The term "virtuoso" is widely misused -- it merely means "someone who can play anything" -- and I've always been a strong proponent of creativity over technical dexterity. As Zappa put it, "Expressing part of your personality through music is much more appealing to me than clouds of educated gnat-notes."

This essay by Ian Hammond hits all the good points:

http://www.geocities.com/~hammodotcom/beathoven/virtuoso.htm

I wish I'd written it. :) Excellent choices of words.
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fendertele

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Re: Virtuosos Need Not Apply
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2007, 09:23:01 PM »

well watching/hearing hendrix play yuo know the man felt every note he played and it was a pure emotion.

he wasnt technically the best player ever but theres a reason he still comes number one in every poll because of the points you made
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Chris

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Re: Virtuosos Need Not Apply
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2007, 10:11:49 PM »

Hell, yeah. Jimi's one of the most expressive players in history. (Mitch Mitchell too, for that matter.)
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alexis

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Re: Virtuosos Need Not Apply
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2007, 10:20:51 PM »

Quote from: 911
This is the best online (i.e. non-published) essay I've ever read about the Beatles' music. The term "virtuoso" is widely misused -- it merely means "someone who can play anything" -- and I've always been a strong proponent of creativity over technical dexterity. As Zappa put it, "Expressing part of your personality through music is much more appealing to me than clouds of educated gnat-notes."

This essay by Ian Hammond hits all the good points:

http://www.geocities.com/~hammodotcom/beathoven/virtuoso.htm

I wish I'd written it. :) Excellent choices of words.



THank you for posting this Chris, it is awesome!
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Alexis

Chris

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Re: Virtuosos Need Not Apply
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2007, 11:27:12 PM »


No sweat. It certainly beats Ian MacDonald's rubbish!
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alexis

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Re: Virtuosos Need Not Apply
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2007, 11:36:59 PM »

Hey Chris, I'd seen your sig before about your book, but didn't think about it much till you posted this Beatle writeup (good marketing job, dude!). Awes

I went to Amazon, and read some reviews, awesome reviews! I get the impression of a Hunter Thompson kind of thing, like Fear and Loathing. Is that how you'd describe it?
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I love them all!

Alexis

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Re: Virtuosos Need Not Apply
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2007, 04:46:42 PM »

I was thinking about this guy's essay, and I do have a minor quibble with what he wrote.

Seems he wanted to give the impression that prior to compression for bass and drums, Paul and Ringo weren't all that key to the band's sound.

From what I've read though, and from what I can hear by straining my ears on the early records, those two were the nucleus of the band even in the early days, especially on stage. The bass and kick were locked and prominent. Just because we can't hear it well on the early recordings doesn't mean it wasn't there.

Having said all that, I think it's a great discussion of what makes a great band. Virtuosos aren't needed ... just people who can play TOGETHER to sound like one instrument (called "a band").

Just my two cents ...
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Alexis

Kevin

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Re: Virtuosos Need Not Apply
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2007, 05:05:56 PM »

Some things irked me. It reads more like a gushing fan tribute than a sober objective analysis.
" one of the really big attributes of a Beatle was the ability to collaborate in a single unified goal" That doesn't sound like The Beatles I know. Individuals thriving under intense competion would seem more to the point.
" the ease with which ideas are discarded and how quickly the band moves on, as a whole, to a new approach." 100 takes of not Guilty?
The comparison with Lennon/Clapton is lame. The musical styles were different, and I would dispute Lennon's guitar work was more memorable ( as opposed to a great songwriter coming up with great hooks). Would Blind Faith/Cream want to write/play songs like I Feel Fine. What about Layla, I Feel Free, Witches Brew etc.
It strikes me as being all very wordy and clever  for words and cleverness  sake. And it's a non-arguement. Who disagrees that ideas are less worthy than technical dexterity?
And a little dexterity wouldn't have hurt George's work too much.
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Chris

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Re: Virtuosos Need Not Apply
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2007, 07:08:02 PM »

I don't think it's meant so much as an argument (or defense) as a mere overview of the reason the Beatles' records are great in spite of the fact that they were never considered mind-blowingly good musicians. But -- excellent points, as always, brethren. (And sisteren.)

Thanks, Alexis! I've never read Thompson's stuff (I'm pretty anti-drug), but I think my material's probably intended to be more humorous and bizarre than his. Think of....hell, I don't know; Douglas Adams, Woody Allen, Terry Pratchett and George Carlin all watching Fear & Loathing and then saying, "Let's write a book of short stories, but make John Lennon apply some wordplay here and there." If you're interested at all, I can just send you the book's .PDF file. I'm not concerned about sales; the thing just wants to be read and laughed at. :)
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