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ZilchWoolham

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Everything posted by ZilchWoolham

  1. Right. Well, that's all good. But then you are in fact making it out by ear.
  2. Which of course doesn't really have much to do with reading music in particular, but in turn reminds me of an interview where Ritchie Blackmore recalled asking Ian Anderson about how he found his bearings around the rhythms of a particular song. "Oh, I just count to two." "But you can't count to two in 9/8!"
  3. And I agree with most of what you're saying here! It seems my early snark-laden reply might have been premature and I apologise for turning the thread a bit nastier in tone - no one needs that on Easter. But I would argue that the thing that sets jazz musicians apart from both classical and pop musicians is their affinity for improvisation. And I do think the guitar is an uncommonly complicated instrument to read for (the bass guitar, not so much). A piano is dead easy if you know your notation as there are zero ambiguities, it's strictly one-to-one in that you can only play one note in one place. Your classical string instruments are more ambiguous but more often than not if both you and the composer/arranger are familiar with the instrument you're probably playing it with the intended positions. Guitar parts typically use many more different positions. Consider an atypical chord played on a guitar using five strings, two of them open. Now consider that two of those notes might actually be the same, but one is played open and left to ring, while the other is fretted and simultaneously slid down to another note. An atypical example, maybe, and one that could be tricky to learn by ear (certainly if the part is not prominent in the mix), but I also think it would be quite difficult to translate properly to, and quickly grasp from, notation. I'm nitpicking of course, but what I mean is that classical notation is not a perfect system. If you can indulge my straying from the subject a bit I'd like to claim that no way of translating a sound to a piece of paper could be perfect or complete. I suppose technically you could write down a digital audio file in binary code, but you would need a lot of paper and a lot of ink!
  4. Never said you couldn't. Not at all what I did. The user I quoted implied that the only viable way for musicians to communicate is via sheet music. I don't agree. For a big band? Sure. A chamber ensemble? Sounds reasonable. A large orchestra? Of course (and adding a conductor). Now, I will admit that I don't know what sort of band the thread starter plays in. But I am fairly certain that most of the gigging bassists on BC are part of function or tribute bands. And to suggest that any and every pub band to ever crank out a set of golden oldies should have the same sort of discipline and adherence to sheet music as the examples mentioned above would be ridiculous, unrealistic, and yes, I do think it would smack of elitism. And of course, if we are dealing with popular music, you run in to the problem of actually finding the sheet music. And if it does exist, you can be certain (barring old standards, musical numbers and the like) it wasn't written down by the composer. This is very different from classical music where the notation should conceivably contain everything the composer intended for the performers to know. I don't think reading sheet music is elitist. If you can learn a piece quickly from (fairly reliable) notation that sounds like something you absolutely should be doing. I have no gripes with that at all.
  5. I would never suggest that a symphony orchestra sit down and separately learn a movement by ear. I was reacting to a tone of dismissiveness I perceived in your post (which there is a possibility I could have misread, of course), and taking a bog-standard function band as an example. I stand by my view that if your audience wants to down a pint while shouting along to The Chain or Mr Brightside (for whatever reason) you'll be better fit to serve them well if you know what the song sounds like when they hear it on the radio.
  6. With words, perhaps? Hardly seems an insurmountable problem to me. Even people who don't read sheet music tend to know what a chorus is. Your elitism is showing. But I suppose that's the point. If you're a cover band who trades in somewhat accurate renditions I think giving the record in question a few spins might serve you quite well. There's more to a song than note values and pitch. After all, if they had invented audio recording in the 17th century, we wouldn't have academics bludgeoning each other over just what an historically informed Bach performance actually means all these centuries later.
  7. Listen, I indulge in a fair bit of Yank mockery now and again when appropriate, but this just seems petty. What would nationality have to do with it?
  8. A lot of the replies here present a false dichotomy of all roots vs. fusion freak-out, but there are about a million different interesting things you could do in between those two extremes.
  9. I remember that I started putting this together during a GAS-intensive period... Not updated in a good while now, and I feel it might need a bit of a clean-up!
  10. A PJ and a Ric should absolutely cover most of it. It's worth noting that a lot of punk bassists used transistor amps: HH, Peavey or even Acoustic if they could afford it. I would think the M-Pulse is a fairly versatile thing, but maybe it just isn't nasty enough. Personally I would crank up the mid level controls and then sweep the bands until I find something that seems appropriate.
  11. A lot of Ian Anderson corkers I could mention, few of them from actual live albums. Here's one: "The next piece is a vegetarian song. It contains deep, significant, meaningful comments about ecology and the environment... It's really f**king boring."
  12. There's a Stranglers 12" B-side called "An Evening with Hugh Cornwell" which is just 18 minutes of Hugh insulting the audience.
  13. One particular favourite of mine is how Roland Kirk changed his name from Ronald Kirk because of a dream. A simple procedure, just swap two letters. Blues singer and harp player John Lee Curtis Williamson took on the stage name Sonny Boy Williamson, and several years later another blues singer and harp player, Aleck Miller, took the same name to capitalise on the fame of the first Sonny Boy Williamson! In fact, Sonny Boy Williamson II is slightly older than Sonny Boy Williamson I.
  14. If I'm playing for 8000 people I think I should be having fun! A couple of Acoustic 360/361 rigs would sort that out quite nicely.
  15. Listened to this just the other day and I can admit I did not spot it! Just as you mentioned, it wouldn't be hard to argue it's supposed to be that way. That era of the Stranglers has some bizarre arrangements. Baroque Bordello off The Raven has Hugh in a different time signature to the rest of the band. They were really playing at the limits of their abilities on those two albums, maybe sometimes a bit ahead of them, so to speak.
  16. This Was isn't a stinker, but I think most people who aren't Mick Abrahams or John Peel would agree that Stand Up is the first proper Jethro Tull album.
  17. I am stunned. That "Leaves of Tears" purple monstrosity has got to be the most tasteless design I've ever seen on an official Fender-branded guitar. It looks like a Warmoth bitsa assembled for an AOR band in 2005. Apparently good judgement is an entirely optional quality for a master builder!
  18. It does sound very, very strange. That sound wave would be over a mile long. Is there even any sense in calling that a note?
  19. The Caribbean steel drum is an altogether older and distinct instrument, but all these other flying saucer shaped things are clones of a relatively modern instrument called the Hang. I see some pop up in various for sale groups on Facebook, classifieds pages etc. from time to time, and they're all indeed very expensive and seem to be sold and bought exclusively by New Age people.
  20. Oh no, that's not what I meant. Objective criticism is impossible. What I mean is they should engage with the material in good faith, as honestly as possible, and try to offer actual insight or analysis, instead of focusing all their energy on witticisms, gonzo ego stroking, or as is the case with the aforementioned Christgau, the preparation of word salads. And people like Lester Bangs really, literally did write about themselves. I read an interview by him (not with him) that he would periodically break up to insert vignettes recounting his shagging a prostitute in some South East Asian country. What the f*´k?
  21. To write about music, rather than themselves.
  22. This reads like it came right out of my own mind, only I had the unfortunate experience of discovering Robert Christgau quite a few years ago. And indeed, he was a big shot. I believe he, along with a few other select individuals, is to blame for the sorry state of popular music criticism today. The whole idea of pop criticism was fairly new back when he got his break, so there is no denying he helped shape the entire genre. Any critic attacking your favourite bands is bound to be annoying, but Christgau's positive reviews are as horrid as his negative ones. They just don't mean anything. It's just not parsable text. I will say, as musically ignorant and fashion-oriented as pop and rock criticism still is today, it was far worse in the 70's. Interviews as well as reviews were openly antagonistic and so harsh on their subjects you'd think they were writing not about musicians, but about corrupt politicians, or pet stranglers, or worse. Obviously, actual musical knowledge was never considered a requirement for writing about music. I'm an avid reader of Sight & Sound, and sometimes I think of just how different things would be if music journos were expected to be half as knowledgeable and passionate about their chosen subject as your typical film critic is about cinema. Of course there are exceptions, but the standard is ludicrously low. And a large part of the reason for that being the case is because the people who read Christgau, Lester Bangs, Julie Burchill etc. kept that dreadful tradition alive in their own writing.
  23. Of course, having an inferior but more outrageous bass player suited McClaren just fine. One can wonder though, if, with Matlock remaining, they could have evolved out of that first phase like several of their contemporaries instead of imploding.
  24. Probably Real World by Buzzcocks. But there were a lot of half-learned songs in those days.
  25. Yes, I think Kermode is very much a stand-up guy (in both ways, it seems) and quite the active skiffler.
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