Join 3,372 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


JerryC
May 28, 2006 5:18 PM   Subscribe

A few years ago, this seemingly shy kid sat in his bedroom and recorded Pachelbel's Canon in D major. Recently, he recorded a different rendition. He's more confident and learning how to become a performer. Lest you think it's simply mimic, here's Beto (no offence dude...keep on practicing), a bit better by Indrek (notice no chords...is that Bill Gates?). Want a lesson? Here's one on a sweeping technique. JerryC's "official site" and "unofficial site". So who is JerryC? Someone to keep our eye on, eh?
posted by sluglicker (104 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
holy shit, this kid is spectacular! My God. Jaw dropping astonishing and fabulous to listen to!
posted by nickyskye at 5:32 PM on May 28, 2006


Damn. Great post.
posted by allen.spaulding at 5:53 PM on May 28, 2006


Sorry. The first link is NSFW (adverts). All others are fine.
posted by sluglicker at 5:55 PM on May 28, 2006


A shame Pachelbel's Canon is such a godawful tune.
posted by Orange Goblin at 5:57 PM on May 28, 2006


Wow. Great talent.
posted by ericb at 6:02 PM on May 28, 2006


Damn.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:04 PM on May 28, 2006


Does anyone have a direct link to the first video file? Firefox just crashes, and I have IE so locked down that it doesn't even try to play anything... just complains endlessly at me about how the website is trying to do things it's not allowed to do. :-)
posted by Malor at 6:05 PM on May 28, 2006


First file worked fine for me in Firefox 1.5, Malor.
posted by solid-one-love at 6:06 PM on May 28, 2006


Too many notes.
posted by doctor_negative at 6:11 PM on May 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


The second link works okay... holy shit, that kid is incredible.
posted by Malor at 6:13 PM on May 28, 2006


Metalfilter
posted by dhammond at 6:23 PM on May 28, 2006


This direct WMV link should do the trick:

Pachelbel's Canon in D major
posted by dhammond at 6:25 PM on May 28, 2006


He's good, but I think he's playing along to a backing guitar track.
posted by mrbill at 6:30 PM on May 28, 2006


Obviously, mrbill, but so what?
posted by danb at 6:36 PM on May 28, 2006


Which few did you have in mind?
posted by sluglicker at 6:43 PM on May 28, 2006


I hate gimmick wank guitar players. HAY LOOK GUYS, I CAN PLAY SCALES, REAL FUCKIN' FAST!

Good, now go learn how to write a song, and play in a way that doesn't sound like every other yngwie/satriani/vai jagoff in the world.
posted by stenseng at 6:47 PM on May 28, 2006


@stenseng
.
posted by sluglicker at 6:55 PM on May 28, 2006


Ahhh, THERE'S the hate!! Yummy, yummy hate.

FWIW, he sounds way more like John Petrucci then those guitarists you mentioned. Great technique, just give him a few years to find his own voice.

Also, %yourfavoriteguitarist sucks.
posted by LordSludge at 7:03 PM on May 28, 2006


Holy fuck, the section that begins at 2:15 in the google video link is awesome.
posted by Tlogmer at 7:11 PM on May 28, 2006


Great playing. Does anyone have a clue for me why there is a green walk signal in that first clip?
posted by tellurian at 7:31 PM on May 28, 2006


I think stenseng is jealous.
posted by Justinian at 7:36 PM on May 28, 2006


Nice arpeggio work. Beautiful fretwork in the segment that Tlogmer noted.

And I like Pachelbel's Canon. And Satriani. :)

/me cues up "Surfin' With the Alien"...
posted by darkstar at 7:43 PM on May 28, 2006


this is the backing track ... next to that link, is the tab, for all the "guitar wankers" who want to try it out

i didn't bother with the tab, but plugged my guitar in and improvised with it ... (truth is, i'm not fast enough to play some of those licks) ... but it isn't a harmonically complex piece and it's pretty easy to find good licks to improvise with

which kind of makes me wonder ... he's got great technical skills but he doesn't seem to improvise a lot ... and that's a drawback

he can play pachelbel ... but can he play the blues?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:10 PM on May 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


LordSludge, Wonderful John Petrucci link, thanks. :)

Always liked Jimi Hendrix' riffs too.
posted by nickyskye at 8:19 PM on May 28, 2006


Q. How many guitarists does it take to change a lightbulb?
A. 2 -- 1 to change the bulb and 1 to say "Yeah, I can do that but faster".
posted by John Shaft at 8:37 PM on May 28, 2006


Outstanding technical skill, truly impressive for the most part, though there were several outright mistakes/missed notes.

I knew a guy who was a seeming guitar wizard who could perform most guitar solos of the 80's and 90's with almost flawless precision, especially Eddie Van Halen's work. But, he could not keep up with me and a buddy in a standard 12 bar blues progression or even some country/western/rock standards. Saying he couldn't keep up is not exactly true. He was totally and completely lost.

Even though he could replicate the chord changes in Panama with perfect accuracy, he didn't actually have any idea what the actual chord progressions were.

I'm not saying or even implying that is the situation here, but people are able to replicate music without actually being musicians. If that makes any sense.

Consider someone who through rote memorization was taught to play "Chopsticks" or "Heart and Soul" on the piano but cannot even tell you which key is which note.

To me, this performer is like a painter who can paint an exquisitely wonderful, nearly perfect rendition of a bowl of fruit, but has no idea what else to paint except bowls of fruit.

I thought his playing was very much in the style of Steve Vai, especially the "over and under" swooping passages and the tendency to hit harmonics at the end of phrases, but I admit I am not particularly familiar with the "guitar gods" outside of some Vai and Satriani.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:38 PM on May 28, 2006


meh.
posted by chrissyboy at 8:49 PM on May 28, 2006


THIS is how it's done
posted by pyramid termite at 8:56 PM on May 28, 2006


The guy in the first link is not JerryC. According to the "unofficial site", that is a cover by a guy called "Funtwo".
posted by mcguirk at 8:58 PM on May 28, 2006


The kid is skilled, but the fact that it's Pachelbel's Canon makes it seem kinda Mannheim-Steamroller-ish to me, which most certainly does NOT ROCK.
posted by bbuda at 9:42 PM on May 28, 2006


The guy in the first link is not JerryC. According to the "unofficial site", that is a cover by a guy called "Funtwo".

Hmm, here's another one by Funtwo.
posted by bobo123 at 10:14 PM on May 28, 2006


P's Canon does rock... all you haters just don't know it. C'mon... Let it Be? Basketcase? Those and a million other songs based on that progression... It's the (now) standard D Aminor B C...
posted by Debaser626 at 10:14 PM on May 28, 2006


fret ho's.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 10:23 PM on May 28, 2006


Makes you wonder how Hendrix sounded to people that first week of live shows in London.

39 years ago.
posted by dglynn at 10:31 PM on May 28, 2006


You've got to hear Rob Paravonian's or Peter Schikele's opinion on pachelbel

Paravonian quote from wikipedia:
"The cello part in Pachelbel's canon is the most boring part ever written. It's 8 quarter notes repeated... 54 times - I counted, because I had nothing else to do... [Paravonian's count is exaggerated] I hated this piece. The violins got lovely melodies. The second violins got lovely melodies. The violas got lovely melodies, which should never happen. The celloists, we got eight notes. And if you ever wonder why, I think I've figured it out. I think Pachelbel must have dated a celloist, and she dissed him really bad. And so he just gave the celloists the worst parts he could ever think of. And you know, I wouldn't be bitter about it, except the man is following me. He's been dead for like 300 years but he's popping up everywhere."
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:27 AM on May 29, 2006


aww, sorry to hear Pachelbel's Canon in D being dissed. I love that piece. It's corny, it's swoony. I don't know any other piece like it. The rest of Pachelbel I could leave but the Canon is likeable, to me anyway.

dglynn, Winter 1968 I was 13 and went to my first rock concert ever, at Hunter College here in NYC. It was Jimi Hendrix. The pschedelic Joshua Light Show was the backdrop. I had never heard ANYTHING like that. Most of the planet had never heard anything like that. It blew my mind and knocked my socks so off they have never been on again, lol. Sheer ENERGY, a wallop of lifeforce.

What was especially amazing were his riffs, an entire symphony of riffs. I remember his playing Hey Joe and I think I recall him playing All Along the Watchtower too, which was avant garde, doing a newly released Dylan song like that, with spectacular edge. He also played a great fav of mine by Electric Flag, Down on the Killin' Floor. Sweet.Three weeks later I saw my second concert ever, also at Hunter College. It was The Cream. whoa. :)
posted by nickyskye at 1:19 AM on May 29, 2006


Eh. Is it because he's playing along to a classical piece that people think he's doing something special? Every town big enough to have electricity has at least one of these guys. When he writes something as good as Pachelbel's Canon, let me know.
posted by pracowity at 2:18 AM on May 29, 2006


nickyskye:Live Hendrix and Cream within three weeks? In a college setting?

(Holds burning lighter over head)

I saw Hendrix in St. Louis in 1968. Everyone stood on the seats for the entire concert. I get mildly annoyed at people who look at 30+ year old film of him and don't see anything special, because they've seen wannabes doing Hendrix schitck forever.

The kid in the videos has great chops, but technique over emotional content never really did it for me. I would rather hear B.B or Carlos or Eric or Satch or Robbin play one note, the exact right note the exact right way, than hear somebody play a thousand notes really fast just because they can.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 6:14 AM on May 29, 2006


I bet the guys at Guitar Center roll their eyes at each other when Jerry C comes through the door.

"Ah shit, it's Mr. Pachelbel's Canon again..."
"What the-? This is the third time this week!"
posted by Ian A.T. at 6:31 AM on May 29, 2006


"Recently, he recorded a different rendition."

Recently? I think not. This clip has been going around for more than a year already. Now, JerryC plays guitar for quite a few stars in Taiwan and even has his own indie albums. :P

Thanks for sharing his music with more folks!
posted by slf at 6:33 AM on May 29, 2006


In the 90s spent hours and hours memorizing sweep-picked arpeggio patterns like those in the 'sweeping technique' video.

JerryC is certainly talented, but there are kids like him practicing in their bedrooms all over the country.

If you like this kind of stuff and want to hear it done as well as it ever was, do check out the band Cacophony, in particular their album Speed Metal Symphony.

The album pretty much just shows off the Bach-and-roll skills of Marty Friedman and Jason Becker as they trade off blistering guitar solos. Note that Jason Becker was only 17 when it was recorded.

Here's a video of Jason Becker playing Paganini's 5th Caprice (he was 17 when this was recorded) and here he is playing a solo, Serrana, with lots of fast sweep picking. Sadly, he now has Lou Gehrig's disease and cannot even walk or feed himself, let alone play guitar.
posted by driveler at 6:38 AM on May 29, 2006


P's Canon does rock... all you haters just don't know it. C'mon... Let it Be? Basketcase? Those and a million other songs based on that progression... It's the (now) standard D Aminor B C...

No, the sequence goes D A Bm F#m G D G A, or I V vi iii IV I IV V. Let It Be isn't the same progression at all. I don't remember Basket Case well enough off the top of my head.

Also, I don't see what fault one could find with this kid's playing. He even had nice tone and didn't use a ton of delay like lots of shred guys do. The majority of what he did wasn't even that showy. His sweeping technique seems pretty impeccable, though.

"Yeah, but can he play the blues? Can he write a song? Can he tapdance?" You're missing the point.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:40 AM on May 29, 2006


/I spent hours
posted by driveler at 6:40 AM on May 29, 2006


I'm with you Enron. Call me old fashioned, but I like to feel something when listening to/watching music performed. Admiring fast and accurate fingers really doesn't cut it.
posted by jack_mo at 7:09 AM on May 29, 2006


jack_mo, maybe some people feel something when they listen to this guy play Pachelbel's Canon? I mean, it's a pretty trite piece of music at this point, but the idea that technical = emotionless is silly. If you don't like Yngwie Malmsteen's or Joe Satriani's or Steve Vai's or whoever's music (and I'm not really a fan), then fine, you don't like their music. But there's no need to rationalize it with some kind of "Sure, they can play fast, but where's the emotion?" canard.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:30 AM on May 29, 2006


Debaser626: All Together Now would have been a much better example...

Also: this kid rocks. Good for him. Don't overanalyse it.
posted by blag at 7:34 AM on May 29, 2006


ludwig_van is right about the chords. I'm sure I've heard them ripped off, though. Blues Traveler's Hook comes to mind...maybe some Jack Johnson song?

Anyway, I enjoyed the videos. Thanks, sluglicker, and thanks to pyramid termite as well.
posted by danb at 7:40 AM on May 29, 2006


I'm Bill S. Preston, Esq. and this is (a dead ringer for) Ted Theodore Logan. Together we are...

Wyld Stallyns !!
posted by dogsbody at 7:44 AM on May 29, 2006


I'm sure I've heard them ripped off, though. Blues Traveler's Hook comes to mind...maybe some Jack Johnson song?

The wikipedia entry has a list that says: "The chord progression ("I V vi iii IV I IV V") of Pachelbel's canon has been incorporated into or otherwise influenced many pieces of contemporary music."

At least that language is pretty neutral, but I think a big portion of the inclusions are silly; it would not be difficult at all for someone to write a song that has the same chord sequence without having ever heard Pachelbel's Canon. Worse is the list of popular songs based on classical music, which outright states that Basket Case by Green Day is "based on" Pachelbel's Canon. Even if a song had the exact same chord progression, that wouldn't imply that it was "based on" the other piece of music, and now that I've looked it up, Basket Case doesn't even follow the progression exactly. In fact I remember removing that from the wiki article a long time ago, but now it's back.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:54 AM on May 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


I thought he sounded like Eric Johnson. No?
posted by The Bellman at 7:56 AM on May 29, 2006


A slightly different appraoch... (mp3)
posted by NortonDC at 8:00 AM on May 29, 2006


With handspeed like that he's going to be a monster at table football.
But this
posted by NinjaTadpole at 8:39 AM on May 29, 2006


But there's no need to rationalize it with some kind of "Sure, they can play fast, but where's the emotion?" canard.

canard? rationalize emotion? not to play your favorite musician sucks or be the hater, but for musicians, this is wanking. and yeah, i "don't like Yngwie Malmsteen's or Joe Satriani's or Steve Vai's or whoever's music" for that reason and emotion. it's boring. pick any backwater burg and there are fifty high school kids there who can do this and five hundred more who haven't practiced and slobber over the fifty like it's actually music. i'm sure it's a great confidence builder for the fifty. are they all "someone to watch?" it would be much easier to give jerryc the amount of credit he is due for practicing scales on a crappy guitar if more people didn't act like like it was a blank check. guitar god? no. kid making a cute vid in his bedroom. yes.

clue #1: wireless + line 6 = wanking.

clue #2: guitar store clinic = wanking.
posted by 3.2.3 at 8:59 AM on May 29, 2006


but for musicians, this is wanking.

I'm a guitar player, and I know what wanking is. The Canon in D wasn't a very interesting performance because it's a pretty boring piece of music, but the way the kid played it was really not very wanky at all.

and yeah, i "don't like Yngwie Malmsteen's or Joe Satriani's or Steve Vai's or whoever's music" for that reason and emotion. it's boring.

If it bores you, that's fine. That's a perfectly good reason not to like something. But people who say "I don't like it because it has no emotion!" are just trying to justify their tastes in a way that makes them look intelligent and discerning and presumptuously bashes the musician.

pick any backwater burg and there are fifty high school kids there who can do this and five hundred more who haven't practiced and slobber over the fifty like it's actually music.

Like what? Like the guy in the video? No, not really. You sound like you can't differentiate between one guy's faster-than-average playing and another's. Although, like I said, most of the video wasn't actually all that flashy, his sweep technique was certainly impressive. And there definitely aren't 50 high school kids in every backwater burg who can play like Malmsteen, Vai, et al.

Again, for clarification, I'm the singer-songwriter type, I gave up on trying to be a great technical guitarist a long time ago, I don't listen to (pop/rock) music for the technical ability of the players, and count no shredders among my favorite guitarists. But I'm still going to call BS on these sorts of ignorant comments.
posted by ludwig_van at 9:10 AM on May 29, 2006


Well said ludwig_van, thank you, I agree. I'd give my left one to be able to play like that.
posted by BillsR100 at 9:48 AM on May 29, 2006


When I watch this I can't help but imagine Pachelbel sitting next to me and I'm explaining to him what an electrified lute is. Then we take a helicopter ride.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:51 AM on May 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


guitar god? no. kid making a cute vid in his bedroom. yes.

exactamundo.
posted by chrissyboy at 10:26 AM on May 29, 2006


If it bores you, that's fine. That's a perfectly good reason not to like something. But people who say "I don't like it because it has no emotion!" are just trying to justify their tastes in a way that makes them look intelligent and discerning and presumptuously bashes the musician.

that doesn't even make any sense, even as you try to look intelligent and discerning and presumptuously acting as if to school me in perfectly good reasons not to like something. boring is a fine reason but lack of soul isn't? look, the reason it's boring is because it lacks soul. that's what makes jimi a guitar god and yngwie a pompous wanker, no matter how fast he can, like, sweep, dude. so if being boring is a fine reason, then you can pack up the intelligent and discerning basis along with it. boring is more of a sweeping generalization. the no soul gets right down to it.

No, not really. You sound like you can't differentiate between one guy's faster-than-average playing and another's.

oh yeah, really. i've seen better in the last backwater burg drive-in metal storage room facility used for practice rooms where my band practiced. i say there are fifty because that's about how many i've gotten to see in any one such place. in fact, the more backwater the burg, the more likely to hear and see this kind of rote wanking. it's like a wanking competition some sunday afternoons out at the cardinal storage on the old highway out of town.

not that the wankers didn't make fine drinking buddies.

But I'm still going to call BS on these sorts of ignorant comments.

knock yourself out trying.
posted by 3.2.3 at 11:39 AM on May 29, 2006


boring is more of a sweeping generalization. the no soul gets right down to it.

No, "soul" is vague and effectively meaningless. If a musician says that he feels something when he plays, and that helps him express himself, then that's great. But you can't tell if he means it or not.

I love BB King's music, but I don't know if he's sincere in what he's singing. He's pretty convincing, but so are movie actors. I'm not saying BB King doesn't really have the blues, I'm just saying that no one can actually tell. All they can hear are his voice and guitar, and they either like it or they don't.

It's bullshit for you to assert that there's no emotion in someone's music. How do you know that someone else doesn't have an emotional response to Steve Vai's music? How do you know that Steve Vai isn't really feeling when he plays? You don't. You just hear his playing and decide it doesn't appeal to you. It's stupid to try and portray your preference as some kind of objective statement on the lack of emotion in the music. Emotion isn't something quantifiable. It's not like "this music is too repetitive" or "the drumming is sloppy."

oh yeah, really. i've seen better in the last backwater burg drive-in metal storage room facility used for practice rooms where my band practiced.

What do you mean better? I've seen more impressive technique, if that's what you mean. Like I said, what he was doing wasn't all that flashy. But that doesn't mean he couldn't have played something flasher. But since we agree that impressive technique isn't everything, that's not really relevant. Although his sweeping was very good.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:02 PM on May 29, 2006


No, "soul" is vague and effectively meaningless.

It's bullshit for you to assert that there's no emotion in someone's music.

i can see now why we are failing to communicate.
posted by 3.2.3 at 12:08 PM on May 29, 2006


Why, because you're quoting me out of context and then failing to respond? If there's something in particular that you didn't understand, let me know.

Or do you think that "soul" in music is some kind of objectively quantifiable thing, the way a chord progression or a rhythm or a pitch is?
posted by ludwig_van at 12:12 PM on May 29, 2006


This guy is who everyone needs to be on the lookout for.
posted by jefbla at 12:41 PM on May 29, 2006


This conversation is painful to those of us who came of age in the 80's.

But for those of you still interested in having it, you need to talk more about Yngwie.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:02 PM on May 29, 2006


ludwig_van, *Thank you* for articulating what you have.

Enron Hubbard (yr name cracks me up and spooks me at the same time because I live behind one of 'those' headquarters in midtown Manhattan), the burning lighter thing was later than the 60's wasn't it? Don't know when that gesture came into style, I was in India being a Buddhist hippie then and missed Western culture '75 to '86 entirely. Honest, I'm curious, do you remember when that started?

Hunter College auditorium sat around 500 and was pretty straitlaced a venue for those two bombshell concerts. It was a funny contrast, the corduroy, leather patch on elbow jacket guys and the wilder hippie crowd in psychedelic paisley.

Jimmy was a child prodigy in many ways, as was Clapton as well I guess. Child prodigies come in all flavors and styles. Perhaps this funtwo kid is a child prodigy too? It's poignant to look at Hendrix' and Clapton's early videos. Jimi looks so vulnerable, unpretentious. Clapton looks anxious. And in this one a short time later he seems also more about technicality than musicianship.

Without technique as a foundation there really cannot be a decent artistic expression. I think technique matures with experience and a kid of 15 will play a lot differently than a young adult of 25 and then differently at 35, 45 etc.

Inversely, sometimes age may take away something artistically beautiful that was there in younger days. In one of Hendrix' last concerts before he died at 27, he seems slicker and more tired than his earlier work. Clapton, however, matured and then got slick late in the game.

Who knows what will happen to this kid funtwo or JimmyC? A lot depends on their character, their capacity to endure the envy they will be targeted by, how they handle their skill and how they mature as people. I wish them luck in their journey.
posted by nickyskye at 2:05 PM on May 29, 2006


But for those of you still interested in having it, you need to talk more about Yngwie.

Haha, man, he was way skinnier then. "You've unleashed the fucking fury!"
posted by ludwig_van at 2:12 PM on May 29, 2006


"Without technique as a foundation there really cannot be a decent artistic expression."

No, there can be decent artistic expression. Great artistic expression is still possible, but very unlikely.

3.2.3 and ludwig_van's argument is frustrating because—and I'm speaking as a musician and one-time music major here—in a way they're both right. I admit that I tend to see in my own musical growth a transition from seeing things ludwig_van's way to 3.2.3's way, even as I myself was aquiring more technical expertise. But this is all because music is a couple of distinct things that can co-exist in one person.

Music is both composition and playing. Composition is both technical and intuitive. And playing is both very interpretive/intuitive and technical. I don't really believe that a composer can do very well without the intutive part; he/she becomes, at best, a highly-educated hack. On the other hand, I think that a musician can go very far with little from the interpretive/intuitive side. One reason is obvious: if the composer us supplying that magical intuitive artistry, the performer has less of a burder to provide it.

And this is, I think, contrary to popular opinion, but I'll also agree with 3.2.3's point that technical ability is more common than musical intuition and creativity. It's why local "build the perfect band" contests don't interest me at all: they'll get the most technically flashy musicians who, together, are unlikely to do anything interesting at all.

But lest it sound like I'm really agreeing with 3.2.3's argument, I think it is wrong to dismiss technical mastery, even common technical mastery, as something not having a great deal of intrinsic worth. It does for the same reasons any other technical mastery is impressive and praiseworthy.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:30 PM on May 29, 2006


Werd, ludwig van.

I play the mandolin. Not great. Pretty sucky, actually, if we're gonna be honest. Sometimes it's all I can do to get the basic notes, much less have anything like technique. Some days, the technique is okay.

But I defy anyone looking on to say I don't play with soul or real emotion. Screw that. They don't know what's going on in my heart, why I play, who I am when I pick up that thing and, despite sucking at it so bad, play my best.

The guy in this video did a great job. Snobs need to step off.
posted by darkstar at 4:01 PM on May 29, 2006


Hi Ethereal Bligh, nice to see you on this thread. Didn't know you were a musician.

Ah, well I used a vague word like decent to leave plenty of room for interpretation, lol. One person's decent may be another's anathema. What comes to your mind with a musician or artist with little technical proficiency but decent artistic expression? Or great expression but little techpertise?

The proficiency part itself needs to have a foundation if the artist is to sustain their life being creative over a substantial span of time. Since we're talking about guitar riffs, Jaco Pastorius comes to mind with his sublime playing on Hejira and Coyote but his emotional roller-coaster taking him to an early death.

The word "art" comes from the Latin, meaning skill or craft and then evolved to mean adhering to the creative process. Artistic expression is an interesting union of proficiency in a skill and creative impulse, a dance of intuitive expression and ability.
posted by nickyskye at 4:31 PM on May 29, 2006


And this is, I think, contrary to popular opinion, but I'll also agree with 3.2.3's point that technical ability is more common than musical intuition and creativity.

I don't disagree with that. But like you said, that doesn't mean that technical mastery is something to be scoffed at. I study composition, and believe me I don't have much interest in shred guitar. I much prefer guys like David Gilmour, B.B. King, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. But that doesn't mean I don't recognize that Yngwie Malmsteen is an amazing guitar player. I think people tend to have this very narrow definition of what constitutes emotion or "soul" in music, and it's usually a simple reflection of a few superficial techniques (i.e. bending, vibrato, attack, certain types of phrasing, etc.) and think that they can dismiss music that doesn't fit the mold as "emotionless," which I find quite presumptuous. I don't listen to Malmsteen, but it's not because it's emotionless.
posted by ludwig_van at 4:49 PM on May 29, 2006


jack_mo, maybe some people feel something when they listen to this guy play Pachelbel's Canon?

I don't doubt it, and I would never presume to think any less of someone who likes that music. To reverse it, folk into JerryC probably wouldn't consider the bands/artists I listened to today to be music at all, let alone 'soulful', or whatever, and they're right, from their point of view.

For the record, today I listened to V/Vm, Goodiepal, Skam, Axolotl, Jessica Rylan, Gary Glitter, Paula Yates (!), Felix Kubin, Smoke, Super Cat, King Kong, Tanya Stephens, a Larry Levan remixes comp., most of the Grim Dubs series, and Prince. Without casting aspersions on anyone's taste, I still say that all of those bands/artists piss on JerryC, because from watching the videos and looking around his website, his emphasis is firmly on the technical prowess rather than the music (to vaguely follow what Ethereal Bligh says above).

It's like visual artists who expect you to drool over their work in a gallery when the entire point of their practice is in the process of making the work - I can appreciate that kind of practice, love it even, and often do, without being even vaguely interested in the work presented in the gallery...

Without technique as a foundation there really cannot be a decent artistic expression.

That is absolute claptrap. Whether you're talking about self-conscious 'non-musicians' releasing limited edition CD-Rs in hand-knitted sleeves or the kids at the special school I used to work at banging pots together, decent artistic expression is in no way reliant on technical skill.
posted by jack_mo at 5:17 PM on May 29, 2006


i hesitate to respond again, as i think some basic aesthetic fallacies are at work here, and i've never seen anyone release them willingly or painlessly. there's nothing to "let anybody know" and i'm not asking for an understanding, either.

it isn't about context, or technique, or some kind of objectively quantifiable thing.

the original contention was that finding no interest in metal arpeggio bombast because it lacked emotion was a "canard."

then there was the contention that "boring" was an ok reason to object, whereas emotion would not be, as we could not know what the musician was feeling, or what the musician makes others feel.

pardon me if that appears out of context for you. but that's exactly what i'm picking up.

so we are at least coming under pressure to the point where we are glimpsing that emotion is somehow important to our interest if we think it's important that the artist might be feeling it, or that some other people might feel it. and it has never been contended that technique could not be a component to convey emotion. it's kind of immaterial to the question, though. emotion can be conveyed with or without technique, and the reason people study technique is because they find it easier to find a grammar for conveying emotion when they have a technique.

i have two points. first one is raised by the contention that we cannot know the emotion of the artist, or the emotions he communicates to others. that point is, what is important to my interest is what the artist conveys to me. i think this is understood when it is contended, "If it bores you, that's fine." well, not exactly fine, but ok. i think there was a further contention that this must mean i cannot discern between one wank artist and another. so, maybe it's not so fine or ok if i'm bored? i must need some qualifications in order to be bored...

so i will explain further, as my second point, why it bores me. someone wondered if jerryc could play the blues. interesting question, as these sweep techniques often involve being able to rapidly swim through the memphis blues scale, pretty much the basis of all metal. if you are a musician who learns these techniques, one thing you will attempt to practice is the increasing more rapid and fluid rote recitation of these modes. even when we hear these faux metal "classical" demonstrations in major and minor scales (to create the association of respectibility or the image of the virtuoso, apparently), the rococo embellishments invariably revert to the fundamental blues arpeggios and their metal technique spawn (finger tapping, sweeping hammer-ons, "harmonic" fret buzzing from crappy metal guitars, gratuitous vibrato and bends, etc.).

at some point, persons practicing those techniques divide off into two camps: those who realize the sum total of combinations in the way these techniques can and have been recited have gotten STALE LONG AGO much quicker than with most other forms and there's really nothing more to say with them, and those who will never get over the awe they feel at being fluent in that very limited grammar. luckily, very few stay stuck in the latter camp (and those that do seem to display, if you need them, fairly identifiable *objective* markers like fetishes for wireless rigs, guitar store clinics, and making an ass of oneself on airplanes after one achieves some level of fame). but there are some who stay stuck there, obviously, or we'd have nothing to talk about here. it's not an objectively quantifiable point as every person on that path feels that split at a different point, or not at all. it's a useful exercise. it's something you want to go through, and then grow out of, and grow into something less worn out.

and no matter how much emotion the latter camp feels about their own excess, the will never be able to communicate it in an interesting way to anyone in the former camp. the thing about those emotions? it's not important that the artist feels them. the world is loaded with artists who feel their own work is inspired. it's not important that there's even *an* audience who feels something. the world is loaded with artists who make crap and have an audience. possibly because they are still stuck in their own struggle to say something interesting. what's important to me is that the artist makes *me* feel something besides here's somebody honing their chops who hasn't matured yet.

because yes, you should "presume" your audience is "intelligent and discerning." they might just be. and yes, it is "fine" if they find you boring when you don't communicate any substantial emotion to them, despite all your hard work and technique. and no, that's not a canard or snobbish. it's respect. for what we ourselves know.

when someone tells you they don't like it or they've heard more than enough of it, it's not a basis to call canard or hater or elitist. i didn't have an opinion to express about this jerryc one way or another until i heard this canard business. that, sir, is the "bullshit." i didn't have an opinion to express about the music, even though it was uninteresting wanking, because i grant token and unearned respect to a other's benign taste. there's way too much, hey, this isn't worthy of a fpp because i'm not interested in it or i don't find it funny, etc., going on with mefi. but when it becomes, hey if you *don't* find this interesting then there must be a bug up your ass, or your subjective reason (emotion in this case) for your disinterest is pronounced a canard or ironically mocked as not objective, that's a transgression of respect and should be answered *if you've got the time for that sort of wanking exercise*.

i'm still trying to rationalize with myself why i thought i did.

i wish i could find the thing i was reading earlier today about how there's no reason to expect all opinions or tastes to be equally valid, although most people when asked express that belief.
posted by 3.2.3 at 5:45 PM on May 29, 2006


jack_mo: To reverse it, folk into JerryC probably wouldn't consider the bands/artists I listened to today to be music at all, let alone 'soulful', or whatever

How do you know? Isn't that rather presumptuous?

decent artistic expression is in no way reliant on technical skill.

Well, it depends on how you're trying to express yourself. For some, a lack of technique can be very limiting.

3.2.3, I'm having a seriously hard time following a lot of what you're saying.

The point is that when you say you're bored by something, that's pretty clearly an expression of taste. You're saying that it doesn't move you. And that's not really arguable. Saying that something lacks emotion is different. You're asserting that the performer is missing something, and on what basis? What are the cues in the video that JerryC isn't feeling anything while he plays that piece of music? I don't see any, and to me that sort of comment comes across as a way of making an out of hand dismissal sound objective when it's really more a matter of taste.

interesting question, as these sweep techniques often involve being able to rapidly swim through the memphis blues scale, pretty much the basis of all metal.

This is where you really lose me. Memphis blues scale? Are you talking about the minor pentatonic? Pentatonic scales are mostly associated with rock and blues; metal tends to favor diatonic scales. I don't follow the blues< ->metal connection you're trying to make here.

if you are a musician who learns these techniques, one thing you will attempt to practice is the increasing more rapid and fluid rote recitation of these modes. even when we hear these faux metal "classical" demonstrations in major and minor scales (to create the association of respectibility or the image of the virtuoso, apparently), the rococo embellishments invariably revert to the fundamental blues arpeggios and their metal technique spawn (finger tapping, sweeping hammer-ons, "harmonic" fret buzzing from crappy metal guitars, gratuitous vibrato and bends, etc.).

And this paragraph is like word salad. Fundamental blues arpeggios and their metal technique spawn? Do you play guitar, or are you just throwing out all the terms you know?

at some point, persons practicing those techniques divide off into two camps: those who realize the sum total of combinations in the way these techniques can and have been recited have gotten STALE LONG AGO much quicker than with most other forms and there's really nothing more to say with them, and those who will never get over the awe they feel at being fluent in that very limited grammar.

What are you talking about here? Metal? Because the blues has a much more limited vocabulary than metal.

it's not important that there's even *an* audience who feels something. the world is loaded with artists who make crap and have an audience. possibly because they are still stuck in their own struggle to say something interesting. what's important to me is that the artist makes *me* feel something besides here's somebody honing their chops who hasn't matured yet.

I'm sorry; are you saying that what's important is not that a musician can make *any* audience feel something, but rather that they can make *you* feel something? Because that's what it looks like you're saying.

and yes, it is "fine" if they find you boring when you don't communicate any substantial emotion to them, despite all your hard work and technique.

Any substantial emotion? So how much emotion qualifies as substantial? And how do you measure it?

i didn't have an opinion to express about this jerryc one way or another until i heard this canard business. that,
sir, is the "bullshit."


It's not, and I stand by my statement completely.

but when it becomes, hey if you *don't* find this interesting then there must be a bug up your ass,


which is nothing like what I said...

or your subjective reason (emotion in this case) for your disinterest is pronounced a canard or ironically mocked as not objective,

but the problem is people passing it off like it's an objective statement. Like you being incredibly patronizing and continually referring to it as wanking. It's funny that you seem to think I'm some kind of lead guitar shredhead. That's not true at all.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:09 PM on May 29, 2006


That is absolute claptrap.

No, that is absolute hogwash. lol

"Countless schools have proposed their own ways to define quality, yet they all seem to agree in at least one point: once their aesthetic choices are accepted, the value of the work of art is determined by its capacity to transcend the limits of its chosen medium in order to strike some universal chord, by the rarity of the skill of the artist, or in its accurate reflection in what is termed the zeitgeist."
posted by nickyskye at 6:17 PM on May 29, 2006


There's tons of popular musicians in all genres who have almost no technical skills whatsoever and yet are able to produce what I think of as exceptionally good artistic work.

This isn't a very fun debate for me because I strongly advocate both technical ability and a hard-to-quantify deep artistic expression and creativity. While I advocate that, I think that a comfortable union of extremely high levels of both is very rare. It's a hell of a lot easier, or if you prefer, more likely, to have great talent in one but not the other. Because that's the case, because the vast majority of art that I enjoy and respect is, I think, deficient to varying degrees if this is the standard...then greatness is not the standard against which I measure all art. Perfection shouldn't be the enemy yadda yadda. I believe that. And my classical, great books education hasn't changed that opinion (though it does turn some of my classmates into extreme snobs).

One reason I like Roger Ebert so much is that his aesthetics are very similar to mine. He can appreciate great art and purely fun popular art. He has standards, and eschews a completely relativistic aesthetic, but allows things some room to be themselves and judges them accordingly.

I don't want to mention specific popular musicians because that always ends up provoking "I hate your favorite band" responses (of which this thread is an example). But one indisposable criterion upon which I judge all art is authenticity and successful expression.

But note again my distinction between composition and performance and a piece of artwork as a whole. I believe that performance can get by without any authenticity, though I agree it will seem a little thin. But if the composition has great authenticity, then that will suffice. Especially in music school, I think, one meets a lot of technically proficient but not very compositionally intuitively gifted musicians. Composition intuition, which I think of as the deeper artistic intuition, matters in performace because performance is also interpretation. But, as I've said, performance is not essentially interpretation. (Although I'd say all great performance is.) In an ideal musical world, everyone would be very good at all things. In the real world, different people have different strengths.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:36 PM on May 29, 2006


Nicely said EB, I happen to agree with everything you stated.
posted by nickyskye at 7:53 PM on May 29, 2006


Lot of long posts here.

Are we sure this hasn't become a bluegrass conversation?

BTW, I brought up Jimi just because it surprised when I did the 39 years ago calculation, and I enjoyed the videos of the guitarists.

But then, I always liked Jimi and Pachebel, so my opinion should probably be filed under "known to be weird" anyway.

And that emotion part is weird too, cause I agree it is important, and yet Jimmy Page is a lizard, and doesn't even have the ability to have emotions, yet jams.

And Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top has a guitar that Jimi gave him when Jimi ran away from his record company and hid in Texas, and stayed at Gibbons' house for a few weeks before Gibbons' ever met the rest of his band.

Bet the people that hung out in Billy's local bar had a fun few weeks.

Aw, crap, another long post. Apparently the guitar makes people type. Who knew?
posted by dglynn at 9:48 PM on May 29, 2006


How do you know? Isn't that rather presumptuous?

Totally, should've said 'possibly'.

That is absolute claptrap.

No, that is absolute hogwash. lol


No, no, that is absolute poppycock!

I mean, look at outsider art (I don't like that term much, but you know what I mean). Or, to riff backwards on what ludwig_van says above - lack of technique can be very limiting, and out of those limits great art can come, and does. You only have to hear a group of free improvisers play to see this in action - if the group is mismatched in terms of technical skill, the results are often much more interesting than with a bunch of evenly matched virtuosos (I'm thinking of a trio I saw the weekend before last, featuring a virtuoso drummer, amazing bass player and a guitarist who, by the standards of JerryC, is no great shakes). Or look at the Scratch Orchestra, where a conscious decision was made to mix musicians with non-musicians, and musical notation was abandoned in favour of loose instructions, with fucking amazing results.

And, when I mentioned the special school I worked at above, I was thinking of a specific incident where a profoundly autistic kid with a passion for ordering objects commandeered a bunch of shakers and arranged them by pitch, shaking one after the other in sequence at an even tempo, which caused some kids to fall into step with him, while others didn't notice and carried on hooting on kazoos and whistles at random or banging things. Impossible to describe without sounding like a patronising git, but the results were good music, by any definition, with absolutely no musical skill on the part any of the participants (including me). Admittedly, it did get a bit dull after an hour, but I remember it clearly in that way one remembers a good gig. (Interestingly, none of these kids would respond to recorded music much, which was handy as I could at least listen to tunes while dealing with them flinging their poo around/wanking furiously/beating the shit out of me.)
posted by jack_mo at 3:23 AM on May 30, 2006


Er, not that I dislike amazingly skilled performers, you understand (I honestly can't go more than a couple of days without getting a fix of Prince, fretwanker extraordinaire).
posted by jack_mo at 3:28 AM on May 30, 2006


Are we sure this hasn't become a bluegrass conversation?

yup. same thing.

technical skills
technique

i'd like to say again, this isn't about technique. it's about rehashing very tired cliches. none of these metalists have anything to say other than lookit me yank my pud.

Do you play guitar, or are you just throwing out all the terms you know?

putz.

where is that greasemonkey script?
posted by 3.2.3 at 4:21 AM on May 30, 2006


The blues (any genre, really, but especially the blues) is just as full of rehashing tired cliches.

Poor showing, 3.2.3. Maybe next time you'll have better luck articulating yourself. Or maybe you'll killfile me and save me the time replying to you.
posted by ludwig_van at 4:27 AM on May 30, 2006


Although it's funny to be put into the position of defending metal, which I don't play, listen to, or enjoy. But music is music.
posted by ludwig_van at 4:32 AM on May 30, 2006


I've been trying to avoid commenting on this thread, but...

My personal theory is that the interesting stuff happens on the edge of people's technical ability, at about the point that they're going to fall to pieces, as it's in this area that the player most needs to pay attention, and it's the paying attention that makes the music interesting. So technically adept and inept players are capable of making exciting music, but the excitement isn't a function of technique.

Free improvisers that are listening are capable of making extraordinary music, as soon as they stop listening it falls back into mechanical riffing and becomes dull.

However most people hope to improve their technique so that they can play well away from the edges and be perceived as people who don't make mistakes.

The remarkable thing about Vai isn't so much the speed that he can play but the difficulty that he applies himself to - for example this - but when he plays he seems to be playing so far inside the limits of his technique that he doesn't approach the interesting area. I'd compare that with someone like Charlie Parker or John Coltrane, who extended the limits of their technique in order to continue hanging out there on the edge.

Early punk is exciting for the same reason - if you only have two chords and enthusiasm, you're pretty much at the limits of your technique from the moment you put on the guitar. The interesting stuff is now available but not inevitable - it still requires some kind of inspiration.

When I was younger I wanted to be one of those playing-incredibly-fast types, which I thought to be the ultimate in rock. My mind began to change when I saw a concert on TV by John McGlaughlin, Larry Coryell and Paco de Lucia. Technique-wise and speed-wise they pretty much wiped the floor with any rock guitarist I'd ever heard, with goofy grins, unfashionable clothes and acoustic guitars. Paco de Lucia was even sitting in a comfy armchair. That was 1982, but I think it still broadly applies post-shred. Jazz guitarists tend to have a technique that's not only focused but also broad - they can not only play quickly, but they can also play a lot of different things, although the expectations of that audience has as many or more limitations than the expectations of a rock audience.

(Or to go snarktastic for a moment: if you're impressed by this boy's technical ability, you should check out the second violinist of any reasonably competent orchestra - they'll blow you away.)

(Or to go snarktastic and insulting: Kenny G can play not only fast but with a consistent tone. Maybe one day this boy can aspire to the level of Kenny G.)
posted by Grangousier at 4:51 AM on May 30, 2006


Grangousier, you're right. I never said that JerryC was doing anything remarkable or original, just that his playing was nice (although his tone sounded just fine to me, for all I could tell from the youtube clip).

I just think the common knee-jerk reactions like "there's no emotion, so it sucks" which gets used to dismiss anyone who plays more than X number of notes in a second is obnoxious.
posted by ludwig_van at 5:01 AM on May 30, 2006


And also, since you mention violinists, one doesn't tend to hear those sorts of "wanking" and "emotionless" dismissals of classical musicians who work to hone their chops; so it's clearly just a bias against a certain type of music and a particular stereotype that people feel comfortable with bashing.
posted by ludwig_van at 5:09 AM on May 30, 2006


My personal theory is that the interesting stuff happens on the edge of people's technical ability, at about the point that they're going to fall to pieces, as it's in this area that the player most needs to pay attention, and it's the paying attention that makes the music interesting. So technically adept and inept players are capable of making exciting music, but the excitement isn't a function of technique.

Amen to that.

one doesn't tend to hear those sorts of "wanking" and "emotionless" dismissals of classical musicians who work to hone their chops; so it's clearly just a bias against a certain type of music and a particular stereotype that people feel comfortable with bashing.

I think you're on to something there, ludwig_van.
posted by jack_mo at 5:28 AM on May 30, 2006


Guys... you know the only way to solve this?

A shred-off.
posted by blag at 6:03 AM on May 30, 2006


Somebody call Ralph Macchio.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:14 AM on May 30, 2006


As a musician, I chalk up the dismissal of technical music to the listener not being a musician, and hence not "getting it". I'll take my Dream Theater, Planet X, Flecktones, etc., but I don't expect any of my non-musician friends to enjoy it or understand it -- kinda hard to dance to 7/8 rhythm...

Conversely, I can't stand to listen to blues for more than 10 minutes. I mean, how many times can you play the SAME DAMN SONG?? The only emotions the blues evokes within me are boredom and agitation. I can't even eat at Sticky Fingers anymore.
posted by LordSludge at 6:22 AM on May 30, 2006


the burning lighter thing ... do you remember when that started? Nope, but those two concerts you saw deserved such a salute.

Inversely, sometimes age may take away something artistically beautiful that was there in younger days. Clapton may have matured, but live Cream improv is still my favorite era of his career. There was a fire there that never came back.

I went back and listened to JerryC again and paid more attention to the non-arpeggio sections. My opinion of his playing has gone up quite a bit. This is a "set piece" which is always played exactly the same, and the focus is on execution. (I've got several of those tunes myself. I once made my bandmates learn the William Tell Overture.) Even though the notes are always the same, there is still emotion to be injected into those notes and JerryC does this quite well. There's nothing wrong with great technique... as long as it serves the music, rather than the player's ego.

On the other hand, I found an example of gratuitous fretwankery for those into that sort of thing. I learned several bits from this guy, but I wouldn't want to listen to him for very long.

My interest lies in improvisation, more in the vein of Petrucci, Eric Johnson (impeccable!), and Robben Ford. If you think the blues has had all the gold mined from it, list to Robben. But that's my focus.

Somebody asked Eric Johnson which guitar was his favorite and he said ""I have several Strats and some Gibsons. I like them all. They're all just different." That's how I am about different styles of music. Some people you just naturally resonate with... others you have to re-tune slightly.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 7:25 AM on May 30, 2006


Canard
posted by Enron Hubbard at 7:36 AM on May 30, 2006


A shred-off.

Tee hee. I don't play any instruments with more than one string, so I might be at a disadvantage ;-)

I don't expect any of my non-musician friends to enjoy it or understand it -- kinda hard to dance to 7/8 rhythm...

Are you seriously saying that people who don't play an instrument can't understand and enjoy complex music? Christ.
posted by jack_mo at 7:56 AM on May 30, 2006


Ooh, 7/8. That's intense.

Snark aside, it is complex (not simple or compound). But it's the most common complex time signature there is. I'd bet that most casual music listeners could identify 7/8 time and dance to it.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:06 AM on May 30, 2006


Heh, you want to see wanky (but impressive) check this out (warning: rm file). It's Rusty Cooley playing a 7-string. But he's demonstrating an exercise, not playing a piece of music, so it's a different context. But the man can pick. The thing is, when you're that good, you can play whatever you want. Fast, slow, and everywhere in between. That's why it's nice to have the chops.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:33 AM on May 30, 2006


Also, that was taken from chopsfromhell.com. They have a bunch of free lessons on the site with tabs and videos.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:36 AM on May 30, 2006


@Grangousier

Agree 100%. Great analysis/comments. My personal fav is David Gilmore, not the most technically adroit player in the world. But if I could sell my soul to the devil (I asked and he said "not interested") in exchange for the ability to play like anyone, it would be Gilmore. Still, there was something about this kid that I thought was somewhere in between and worthy of recognition.
posted by sluglicker at 12:10 PM on May 30, 2006


Thanks to mcguirk for pointing out that the kid in the first link is funtwo, not jerryc. funtwo inspired this post and my apologies to you, IMHO the best of the lot (brought tears to my eyes...seriously).
posted by sluglicker at 2:04 PM on May 30, 2006


EB: Ooh, 7/8. That's intense.
... I'd bet that most casual music listeners could identify 7/8 time and dance to it.


Nah, it's a pretty low bar, to be sure, which is my point. Actually, I'm wrong. Most could dance to it -- they'd just dance quarterbeats to it and match up every other measure, unaware that a quarter had dropped.

But, no, the casual listener prolly doesn't even know what a "time signature" is. No way in hell can most casual listeners identify 7/8 -- major vs. minor, maybe. Throw in some other polyrythyms, a bunch of notes, and it's just overload -- "wankery", I think previous posters called it. Whatever... that's what hip-hop and country music are for (oh snap!), and you'll note they have HUGE markets.

j_mo: Are you seriously saying that people who don't play an instrument can't understand and enjoy complex music? Christ.

Never said they "can't", but not only do I "not expect them to", I expect them not to. Once in a while, I'm pleasantly surprised. But I do think technical music (DT, Tool, etc.) is gaining momentum in the mainstream. I guess that's good...
posted by LordSludge at 3:56 PM on May 30, 2006


Ummmm...

He's a small adult man isn't he? Not a kid?

Them asians is so cute. They's like little dolls....
posted by humboldt32 at 4:09 PM on May 30, 2006


jack_mo, You have my sincere respect for working with autists. You sound like a compassionate human being too.

It's an interesting philosophical question. If you perceived the kids' sound-making as art, does that make it art? I don't know.

Without technique as a foundation there really cannot be a decent artistic expression.

No, no, that is absolute poppycock!

Balderdash! *grin*

I qualified my statement by saying "artistic". I think an artist, somebody who consciously works on creating art, needs some technical ability as a foundation. That's obviously not the whole point of art. 'Mere' skill is craft, not that skill is mere either.

ludwig_van, the Rusty Cooley clip was sublime. So fluid. One can hear his art even though it's an exercise.

Enron Hubbard, that gratuitous fretwankery -great term- was awful, lol. Loved Eric Johnson, am going to get his Alien Love Child. Superb, thanks so much for the link! Really wanted some fresh and good blues. Wasn't so fond of Robben Ford's voice, his playing was silk.

For anyone who might be interested in riffs from other countries...In classical Indian music there is a lot of riffing on stringed instruments, particularly the sarod. An example of this is #6.
posted by nickyskye at 6:41 PM on May 30, 2006


It's an interesting philosophical question. If you perceived the kids' sound-making as art, does that make it art? I don't know.

Me neither. I'm inclined to say that, yes those kids were making art, and that my perception of it as such plays a large part in that (in a sort of reverse-Duchampian sense of the viewer, not just the artist, having the 'right' to point at anything and call it art). I also think one or two of the higher-functioning kids were aware that this was a different type of activity to other kinds of play, and that they were engaged in making something they themselves perceived as beautiful and useless, if you know what I mean.

Thorny question, though - the bower birds of New Guinea are the usual example here: they make splendidly intricate constructions that, as far as naturalists can tell, serve a function beyond mating rituals, etc., with different birds having different 'taste' in bower arrangements, and different styles - birds possibly making art for art's sake, in other words. I've always wanted to mount a show of bower bird art under a group pseudonym (flock pseudonym?!) to see how gallery-goers would respond while thinking a person was behind the sculptural arrangements.

jack_mo, You have my sincere respect for working with autists. You sound like a compassionate human being too.

Heh, dunno about that - there is much evidence right here on MetaFilter to the contrary! I volunteered at the school for a few years, putting in more time than was required and continuing after I could've given up, but the reason I started was involuntary: at my school, the choice for Thursday afternoons was between community work or the horrors of the Combined Cadet Force (dressing up as a soldier and shooting at stuff.) Still, it's something I'd like to do again, and would definitely recommend to anyone (though maybe with less insanely violent kids - I still have scars from the little darlings, ten years later!).
posted by jack_mo at 4:11 AM on May 31, 2006


"in a sort of reverse-Duchampian sense of the viewer, not just the artist, having the 'right' to point at anything and call it art"

That was the dadaists' point, sort of. It's not reverse Duchampian, it's the main idea, in a manner of speaking. At the very least, to point at something random and declare it "art" was intended to subvert the very idea of art. It was ironic. The anti-intentionalism you describe is close kin to that because the dadaist irony subverts intentionalism. On the other hand, an earnest subjectivist anti-intentionalism seems to me to be a view that just doesn't "get" dadaism. So maybe it's hostile to this view, as well. That works for me.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:16 AM on May 31, 2006


It's not reverse Duchampian

Hmmn, it sort of is: I'm not sure Duchamp was so keen to dissolve the distinction between artist and viewer, though I suppose that's inevitable if you dissolve the distinction between art and not-art (not that he was).

So maybe it's hostile to this view, as well.

I'd say so. *brain leaks slowly out of ear*
posted by jack_mo at 6:50 AM on May 31, 2006


I do think dadaism was deeply ironic and in being so, and being so essentially, it was anti-art. That's just my take. I'm always forgetting which dadaist founder it was—I don't think it was Duchamp, but perhaps it was—who eventually gave up and became a carpenter. I've always thought that was the greatest expression of dadaism. (Not being a carpenter, but giving up.)

But I am no art expert by any stretch of the imagination. But I still have opinions, naturally. :)
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:57 AM on May 31, 2006


jack_mo and Ethereal Bligh, Drat, had to work this afternoon. That happens sometimes. Couldn't reply earlier. Two of my fav MeFites in one thread in a discussion and I have to work. Oh well.

Now it's the middle of the night and I'm probably talking into a vaccum. Nevermind. After reading your posts I thought about what you said all afternoon and I feel like writing my thoughts anyway. :)

Interesting to go from funtwo's riffing to talking about perception.

I'm inclined to say that, yes those kids were making art, and that my perception of it as such plays a large part in that (in a sort of reverse-Duchampian sense of the viewer, not just the artist, having the 'right' to point at anything and call it art).


Language is shared. A word has a definition/s, which give it a shared meaning. That is, I think, called conventional reality, that which is agreed to be shared by a group of people. Defining art is a huge subject and it seems the nature of perception, as well as the nature of enjoyment make defining art something that will inevitably be slippery, not within rigid bounds.

I still stand by my thinking of art being a dance between skill and creative expression.

As I walked home at sunset the light hit the skyscrapers, creating wonderful geometric patterns on the windows. I experienced that as art. But was it art or was my experience artistic?

The windows had no intention of creating art because they are not conscious, obviously. So the art I experienced was not intentionally created by the windows. Another person could have squinted at the reflected light and just seen a need for sunglasses. It was also not 'created' so much as it happened.

No intention of creating art. Maybe without that there is no art? I think my perception was creative but I also didn't create art. My experience wasn't shared with anyone. I think my perception was a non-materialistic enjoyment. Non-utilitarian pleasure may arise out of experiencing consciously created art or on the fly.

Maybe a couple of the autistic kids were conscious of their creativity and that would have been an attempt at creating art.

birds possibly making art for art's sake

I read recently that birds sing more beautifully than they have to. I think the creative urge is primordial in all living creatures as part of the hard-wiring to survive. Reality is inconsistent and to survive means to have to adapt to the unpredictable. Unpredictability seems to trigger intelligence when it comes to making solutions and maybe some of that mind-force is left over for making non-utilitarian beauty? Maybe non-utilitarian beauty feeds into survival as well? Maybe enjoyment of beauty is part of the force, the will to live?

there is much evidence right here on MetaFilter to the contrary

No, I disagree. You seem ethical and decent to me.

example: Still, it's something I'd like to do again, and would definitely recommend to anyone (though maybe with less insanely violent kids - I still have scars from the little darlings, ten years later!).

See?

Autists are stuck in their reality and don't know the hurt they inflict on others. Glad you survived more or less intact.


That was the dadaists' point, sort of. It's not reverse Duchampian, it's the main idea, in a manner of speaking. At the very least, to point at something random and declare it "art" was intended to subvert the very idea of art. It was ironic.

I think the dadaists wanted to make art less about technical riffs and more about creative expression; less fuddy duddy academic finesse and more about opening up the senses to wonder, amusement, hilarity, enjoyment of the absurdity of life.

The anti-intentionalism you describe is close kin to that because the dadaist irony subverts intentionalism.

Nicely said.

On the other hand, an earnest subjectivist anti-intentionalism seems to me to be a view that just doesn't "get" dadaism. So maybe it's hostile to this view, as well.

Yes, I think you're right.

I think dadaists are playful nihilists, mischievous absurdists with a taste for surprises and contrasts.


*brain leaks slowly out of ear*


Know the feeling ;-)
posted by nickyskye at 7:52 PM on May 31, 2006


« Older "CarLoft works like this: you drive the car into a...  |  What happens when you build yo... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments