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molecular
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can a DJ be a musician? Of course...
      #332477 - 31/07/06 06:19 PM
Hi everyone,

I accidentally clicked on discussion about DJs in the recording technology group and got embroiled in defending the idea that anyone who makes a noise can be a musician, if they make that noise creatively. I thought the discussion probably belonged here, so a wee copy and paste, and here was my last post (played on a hubcap, not a trumpet...)



o.k.

I'm going to try and keep this succinct, and post this in the music theory forum aswell, as this was never a matter of recording technology...

1. being a musician is, simply, about what you are doing, not what you are doing it with.

If you want to make musical sounds and feel you can only make the ones you want with a hammer and an old car part, by blowing on a comb, or bending a saw then you are still a musician. Anyone who disagrees with this must now throw out their Tom Waits CDs, their Harrison Bertwhistle records, their John Cage minidiscs...

Let's not forget that hitting things that were lying around is where music came from anyway. It's not as if a caveman woke up one morning and randomly knocked out a viola from a passing tree. Respect your heritage!

Surely it follows straightforwardly from this that the following practises are 'musical' in the full sense of the word: Scratching (expressive, percussive, even melodic), Microsampling (using individual perc or band 'hits' and mapping them against a keyboard to be rearranged), the use of feild recordings, noises (a kind of musique concrete), and any use of a sample which does not rely entirely on the attractions of the original recording to serve its purpose.

This last one is more contentious, but I doubt there are many people on this forum who have never considered using a drum loop from a sample bank.

2. Being a musician is, simply, about creating something new in the world of sound for artistic purposes.

Some people may disagree with this, but in my view if you are turning out library music, or working solely with the intention of selling CDs, then you fall just as foul of Steve Hill's 'set of skills' argument than a DJ.

If a DJ feels that he has found a way to combine two records, or repeat one loop while messing around with other loops and scratches on top of that, that makes something new that is entertaining for its own reasons, then in that moment he has done something musical, and even if his creativity is as fleeting as a 12 bar crossover, it is still creativity, not purely skill.

3. Let me make my position clearer: I am not suggesting for a second that all DJs are musicians. Tony Blackburn is not a musician, nor, most of the time at least, is somebody like carl cox. Nor was my point that DJs can be musicians if they can also play a violin.

I just cannot see why anyone thinks you can take groups of people like 'DJs', 'arrangers', 'producers' and expect them to correlate directly to concepts like 'musicianship' 'skill', and 'creativity'. Not only is there a wealth of people out there who play musical instruments with no creativity or originality at all, but if you refuse to accept that any DJs can be musicians because the tool of their trade is not on your list of musical instruments, then you effectively restrict the term 'musician' to users of certain instruments, almost all of which did not exist 1000 years ago.

o.k. I didn't keep it succinct, but what the hell,

respect, dudes,

H.

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IvanSC



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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: molecular]
      #333715 - 03/08/06 07:54 AM
Aha! You thought noe of us hairy-arsed guitarists ever ventured in here!
Once again you like many others completely missed my point. This Harry geezer is/was implying that DJ`s effectively are going to REPLACE conventional musicians in the future. What he is overlooking is that DJ`s, even really really talented scratch DJ`s, cannot create an original sound which doesn`t rely on the existence of a recording of a musician who is actually playing something. Unless of course they record their own original source material, in which case they are playing an instrument. In which case they ARE musicians....

*sigh*

Actually, you made my point for me rather well. Why can`t DJ`s just be content to be labelled DJ`s?
Why this overwhelming need to be seen as musicians?
Mind you I can see a real need for some sort of sub-label so nobody suffers the ignominy of being included in a category with Tony Blackbunr.
Mind you, I wouldn`t mind his money.

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Skyline
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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: molecular]
      #333719 - 03/08/06 08:11 AM
Can a DJ be a musician?

Dictionary definitions of a musician is:
"1:Someone who plays a musical instrument (as a profession) 2: artist who composes or conducts music as a profession."

So, my answer would be, of course a DJ can be a musician. They just have to learn to play a musical instrument, or how to compose or conduct.

--------------------
When I'm sad I sing, and then the whole world is sad with me.
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Gethin Webster



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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: Skyline]
      #334058 - 03/08/06 05:40 PM
Quote Skyline:

Can a DJ be a musician?

Dictionary definitions of a musician is:
"1:Someone who plays a musical instrument (as a profession) 2: artist who composes or conducts music as a profession."

So, my answer would be, of course a DJ can be a musician. They just have to learn to play a musical instrument, or how to compose or conduct.




Is a DJ not very similar to a conductor though? A conductor doesn't play the music him/herself, just provides instructions to the orchestra/band as to how to interpret the written notes as sounds, just as a DJ 'tells' the turntables how to reproduce grooves of the vinyl as sounds.

Also, if DJs arent musicians because they don't create sounds 'out of nowhere' as it were, does that mean that anyone who composes using sample banks etc are also not musicians?

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Rob C



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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: molecular]
      #334125 - 03/08/06 08:12 PM
Quote hectormolecular:

...if you refuse to accept that any DJs can be musicians because the tool of their trade is not on your list of musical instruments...




I have no problem calling a DJ a musician, but as I said before it doesn't mean much. The definition of musician is fairly undemanding and it doesn't mean a DJ is going to suddenly be like Mozart or something.

The DJs who make 'new' noises from records are effectively using a very primitive performance surface (one or two turntables and some outboard) on a very limited read-only sampler (their records). They can't change or pitch the sounds, or vary the dynamics, greatly. It's not built as an instrument and frankly it's not a great instrument is it?

Some people are going to come back with 'they can do this, they can do that' and I'm just going to say violin, guitar, piano, saxophone...

Yes, they can be called musicians... for conquering the most ludicrous interface on the most unrewarding instrument on Earth. And they can compose anything they can think of... as long as they have a combo of recordings that will do it.

Gimmee a log drum any day...

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__
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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: molecular]
      #334142 - 03/08/06 08:49 PM
Thinking about this - the thing that may seal this deal. DJs cant practise their craft without musicians having first practised theirs. A DJ cant just walk on a stage with their instrument and make music. Suppose they could rub their thumb on the needle if you want to be padantic. But then you have to say that a housewife is a musician because she puts the washing machine on, boils a whistling kettle and uses a steam iron at the same time... hey hang on, someones just rung my doorbell, lets get him in the band!


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molecular
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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: __]
      #334194 - 03/08/06 11:35 PM
o.k. I'm late getting back to this one - I never meant to have two of these buggers on the go!

Ivan - I'm not hiding from you! And NO, I didn't make your point for you.

I'm afraid I'm reffering you all back to the original thread of Ivan's wher I've just posted THIS:

Quote hectormolecular:

Quote Steve A:

Quote noiseconjecture:

What is the difference between me doing a set on solo piano and me doing a set on turntables or laptop?




The former does not inherently require the existence of a previous musical performanace created by someone else, whereas a turntable or laptop set would?




I think this question highlights exactly what I felt Steve Hill and IvanSC don't understand about the musicianship in turntablism.

both of them are perfectly happy with what DJs do, but think that they have no claim on the term musician because they misunderstand the extent to which what they do relies on the waveform imprinted on the record. Obviously if all your doing is playing records (recent David Mancuso style)then you are not a musician.

Some of the DJs I have seen on stage (DJ Vadim for example) spent a lot of time literally just locating one stable single-note section of, e.g. a classical record, and then used a scratching-like to action replay the waveform at different speeds (and hence pitches) to play basslines, which sounded brilliant, while somebody else either beatboxed (new thread!) or played loops on further decks. In this case, the music relied no more on the original recording than a piano performance does on the 'original waveforms' that each string makes when struck and sustained. I doubt we are going to hear any of the naysayers arguing that the only real musicians in a recital of the moonlight sonata were the craftsmen who made the piano, upon whom the pianist relies completely for his sound source.

Clearly somebody like DJ Vadim is doing more extreme things than the bulk of DJs, but therein lies a spectrum, which runs smoothly all the way from the likes of Vadim to the inevitable cataclysm of Tony Blackburn.

Perhaps we just need some new words here. If we are going to define DJ as 'somebody who uses turntables' then of course not all of them are musicians, but some of them sure as hell are, in a way that nobody can argue with.

Perhaps these people should be referred to only as 'turnablists'? I don't think so, I like the term DJ, and it gives to the art the weight of the heritage it grew from.

So let's go back to the start and say that playing records is no longer good enough to qualify as a DJ?

What is Blackburn? A Disc Jerk?

or that glasgow favourite - a knob jockey?

I'm afraid he's a DJ too, but thankfully it's not my fault.

yours,

'Hector' (I also like it when someone puts my name in inverted commas (see above) - it means their thinking - 'Hector', if that IS your real name...




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molecular
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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: molecular]
      #334195 - 03/08/06 11:37 PM
apologies to Ivan for bringing up blackburn again.

perhaps we should rate musicianship according to the new "blackburn-vadim" index thus assign the man his rightful place in musical history...

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Hussein



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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: molecular]
      #334288 - 04/08/06 09:20 AM
Hi Hector

the question is a difficult one to answer. It is always common with new instruments and modes of expression that the general populace (both musical and general) will either say they love it or hate it or are ambivalent to it. These types of argument have raged for a long time. Witness each birth of a new instrument, a new style or a new way of playing and someone somewhere will have said it was rubbish or that it was the 'future'. This is common. Stop for a moment and think about how you feel when you look at a piece of art. How do you feel about Tracey Emins' Bed for example? Is it art or (f)art? Similar responses will be engendered by your question. I can't say that I have any answers to this question but here are a few observations.

Let's play some scenarios:
1. I do a fair number of sessions and let's say I work with a producer/songwriter who has good ideas and wants me to play on a track. I turn up and ask him what the chords are and he/she looks at me and scratches his head and leaves it to me to work out. The fact that I can work it out in a short time is because I've recognised the importance of having this skill as it makes my life easier and makes sessions more pleasurable and transparent.

2. Let's say I play with a Brazillian guitarist but neither of us speaks the others' language. We can still play together because we have common frameworks of reference, harmony, melody, rhythms, form etc. Two DJs playing together would also have common frames of reference as well. However, if I play with a violinist (insert instrument of choice) I still have similar frameworks as with the Brazillian guitarist. If I play with a DJ I have some common frameworks. But, let's say we're playing together and I start playing in Ab and the DJ starts to play in B. We stop, say that doesn't work let's try again. This time I change to accommodate and play in B. Adaptation is the key here. The problem is that, generally, this adaptation is a one way street. It will be a very rare experience to find a DJ with sensitivity to keys to be able to adapt to the current situation. The problem for the DJ is finding the right source material (as you've pointed out with your DJ Vadim example) to be able to bend it to the situation. But can this be done instantly?

3. For a bit of fun let's do the mum/granny/wife/girlfriend test. After a while of playing in the house the testee says 'can't you play something nice!'. They've grown tired of hearing your existential warblings, random twiddlings and being in the presence of one who is clearly on the cutting edge If I've a mind to it I can sit down, slow things down and play something that fits their criteria. In this situation Hector, what would a DJ do? Play a record?

I suppose I should also say that I have played with a few DJs in my time as well as many musicians from around the world and I've pretty much always had good experiences.
Good luck with your quest. FTW: my advice would be to give it time.

Regards
Hussein


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molecular
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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: Hussein]
      #334327 - 04/08/06 10:26 AM
all good points, hussein.

I don't think that what you can do with a turntable has yet reached anything like the possibilities that people have wrought from more conventional instruments over the years - it's a primitive way of doing things, and precisely because of this, people are constantly pushing things forward in this area with a sense of urgency and invention that I can't help feeling is lacking in the retro-driven world of guitar bands.

I like to think that Harry Webley's comment about 'musicians of the future' referred to this bright future of invention that electronic music in general presents us with, rather than trying to put the fear of god into those more conventional instrumentalists who seem to think that the rug is about to pulled from under their feet by some ungainly imposter.

As far as skills vs. creativity goes, I should make it clear that I am not a DJ, I am a songwriter, guitarist, and piano player. I have always felt that songwriting is a matter of having one or two good/lucky/weird ideas and then using skill and craft to warp them into something well structured, rather than just sitting down and being inspired. I have all the time in the world for people who want to make music which is purely 'inspriational' (like... freeform improv?), but not only does music made in this way represent a tiny fraction of what happens in the world, it is also very difficult for most ordinary people to relate to. That's the main reason such repetetive patterns occur in what 'the masses' listen to. Creating music that is both inventive and has the power to stir emotions in somebody who knows nothing about how music is made, is a skill, because your listeners' ears and brains obey a lot of rules and conform to a lot of ideas. While just playing a C chord over a descending bassline is not composing, because evryone's done it, a writer has to consider these things a tool in their box, so to speak, and should know when to use it and when not to.

As well as highlighting the possibility of being creative in music using any noise-maker you like, it is also important to point out that whoever thinks they are going to write a good song by being creative, but without using ANY LEARNT SKILL-SET AT ALL is fooling themselves.

Good music, like good architecture, art, cooking, and that other thing, is the result of somebody who has a good idea, and the skills to make it work.

As far as Emin's bed goes, the skills involved in making that work as art are mostly to do with manipulating perception of what an installation like that is and why she did it, stirring of controversy and things like that. In that sense it's a great idea which only becomes good art on account of some very skilled PR and self-legend-building on her part. And I'm sure she wouldn't disagree that having two japanese guys raid it for a pillow fight only improved her lot.

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IvanSC



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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: molecular]
      #334431 - 04/08/06 01:40 PM
Okay Hector - now we all appear to be on the same wavelength, and as usual the foolish habit of trying to apply semantics to music has tied us all up in the normal knots.

My only argument with the chap who wrote about DJ`s being the new musicians was his use of the word musician, whereas what is really needed is a different set of words for both what the not-Dj`s-but-something-more`s do AND for what the traditional Dj`s do. In my opinion neither function equates exactly to what musicians traditionally do, but at the same time there is obviously a LOT of difference between the Tony Blackburn/mobile guy prototype and a scratch DJ. What I find annoying about this whole situation is, as I have said on many previous occasions, that there is absolutely no need for the er um - shall we say truly skilled DJ`s? - either to distance themselves from their more humdrum colleagues OR to try and usurp a word already in use for another similar but clearly enough defined group of musically-oriented folks.

I am more and more coming round to the idea that the term Turntablist needs to become part of our vocabulary as a separate term that clearly identifies people who make music using records on turntables, as opposed to musical instruments. Now if Harry Wibley or whatever his name is were to claim that Turntablists were contributing more to current creativity than traditional musicians and as such could be perceived as the wave of the future for music, I might disagree with him as to their impact on music, but I could certainly NOT disagree with them being identified as a clearly separate group from either trad musicians OR DJ`s.

On the other hand the whole discussion is a bit of a waste of time, since there will always be those who stick on records and claim to be musicians and I will still get punters asking me to `put on XXXXYYY for the next record` when I am out playing live. A lot of kids nowadays have had so little exposure to honest-to-goodness real live music, they don`t even have the words in their vocabulary to deal with it any more. How sad is that?

At least we aren`t doing karaoke....

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digital19
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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: molecular]
      #334564 - 04/08/06 06:18 PM
I think in the future the line between DJ and producer will be blurred more and more.

There are always going to be DJs who just look cool and play records just like there will always be jukeboxes and boy bands.

As more of a songwriter/producer I love the DJ genre... You have much more time to make a musical statement than a conventional radio song format.


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IvanSC



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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: molecular]
      #334709 - 05/08/06 08:05 AM
digital - you may have hit the nail on the head here. Far more of a correlation between what producers traditionally do/did and DJ`s than musicians. I hope this discussion does carry on in the current reasonably polite manner as some thought provoking stuff is now starting to come out of both threads.

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thoushaltparty



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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: molecular]
      #335178 - 06/08/06 07:57 PM
the wheels of steel are musical instruments whenin the right hands and mixed properly no matter what the genre house, trance, breaks etc. the dj is composing even if he is remixing someone elses tune. of course a dj is a musician however where is the line drawn, is someone with a labtop and a mouse a dj is technology taking over, then again if you are composing music on the pc are you a musician, i tend to think no matter the medium if you are creating sound for an audience you are a musician.

Anyone who can give me any info on good study guides and books etcfor my future Sound Engineering and Design course please let me no, from the basics up.

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IvanSC



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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: thoushaltparty]
      #335284 - 07/08/06 08:02 AM
Quote thoushaltparty:

the wheels of steel are musical instruments whenin the right hands and mixed properly no matter what the genre house, trance, breaks etc. the dj is composing even if he is remixing someone elses tune. of course a dj is a musician however where is the line drawn, is someone with a labtop and a mouse a dj is technology taking over, then again if you are composing music on the pc are you a musician, i tend to think no matter the medium if you are creating sound for an audience you are a musician.





Opinions are like assholes - everyone has one.
Just some are more educated than others.
Since mine can (after years of practice) whistle Dixie, does that make it a musician too?
(but keep out of the way when it is clearing it`s throat before singing!)

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LawrenceH
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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: IvanSC]
      #335614 - 07/08/06 09:31 PM
If the fact that a turntablist uses a prerecorded sound means their status as musician is murky, then this would apply to anyone using sample-based synthesisers.
Similarly, using arpeggiators would blur the line.
Comparing a turntable to sax, violin etc is misleading. There are plently of thing you can do with turntables that aren't possible with these instruments - percussionists can't play beautiful melodies on their snare drums, but they are still musicians.
The fact that there is even a debate about this reminds me of the tales about people who said it wasn't jazz when it was played on electric instruments! I'm not a DJ by the way, but I have played with them in bands/jams, and it seemed to require broadly the same expertise as playing any other muscial instrument, including the same sense of musicality.


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thejazzassassin



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It's never that easy... new [Re: LawrenceH]
      #335868 - 08/08/06 12:40 PM
anyone using an arpeggiator in my eyes is using a musical shortcut. A concert pianist, for instance, would not use an arpeggiator to play freakish arpeggios, he'd learn it himself. There are no work-arounds on a Steinway grand, no loop buttons or somesuch. Samples are slightly different. if you gave me a few samples of a violin and then i played you a concerto, that would certainly be musical. However, creating samples is something that i would not deem 'musical' in the truest sense of the word.

In the end, some turntablists are most certainly musical - those who beatmatch harmonically, paying close attention to their records and how they match and interact with their other repetoire. Someone performing simple fades between two similar tunes i wouldn't neccessarily call a musician. To be a musician i would expect one to know about harmony, melody, the history of their instrument and perhaps some theory. For a DJ to truly be a musician, then they too would have to know about harmony, melody and so on. This is something of a generalisation, but there aren't many DJs that would know these specifically 'musical' things.

There are definite differences between turntablism and 'normal' dj-ing, musical and otherwise. Through no fault of its own, the natural limitations of a record player and the fact that you're using (mostly) other people's sounds and records mean that even the best turntablists, in my eyes, cannot be seen in the same musical light as the best instrumentalists and musicians.

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feline1
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Re: It's never that easy... new [Re: thejazzassassin]
      #336323 - 09/08/06 11:46 AM
Quote thejazzassassin:

A concert pianist, for instance, would not use an arpeggiator to play freakish arpeggios, he'd learn it himself. There are no work-arounds on a Steinway grand, no loop buttons or somesuch.




Yeah right - APART from the fact that it's an huge acousti-mechanical machine, filled with big bits of metal and wooden hammers and a resonating soundboard.
What, ultimately, is the difference? Pianists can't actually make the sounds of struck piano strings with their own bodies, they have to use an, erm, piano to do it for them.
Is this not a sellout? If it wasn't for piano-makers, they'd be stuck with their own vocal chords! etc etc

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thejazzassassin



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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: molecular]
      #336391 - 09/08/06 01:42 PM
It doesn't make a violinist more of a musician than a pianist does it - seeing as he is actually mechanically striking the string with a bow rather than employing a 'workaround'?

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feline1
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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: molecular]
      #336802 - 10/08/06 10:34 AM
face it - all these so-called "musicians" who have to resort to mechanical "instruments" are just frauds.

Where would violinists be if strings didn't exist to make their sounds for them, eh???

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thejazzassassin



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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: feline1]
      #336842 - 10/08/06 11:47 AM
you're right.

Especially singers - relying on their larynxes - just cheaters and scoundrels if you ask me...

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Mr Tom
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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: thejazzassassin]
      #336855 - 10/08/06 12:09 PM
The composers are the worst offenders though - where would they be without all those neurons and synapses to help imagine up the ideas?

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thejazzassassin



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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: molecular]
      #336864 - 10/08/06 12:31 PM
And pencils - i mean who do they think they are?

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molecular
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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: IvanSC]
      #337158 - 10/08/06 11:08 PM
Quote IvanSC:


Just some are more educated than others.





Ivan, your opinions and your [ ****** ] are your own to do with as you please, but I wish you'd stop assuming that your opinion is more educated than someone else's just because they disagree with you. This is not a technical discussion of chord analysis, this is a thread about what it means to be a musician, and what it means to be musical. You don't need to be a concert pianist to know what you think about that.

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IvanSC



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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: molecular]
      #337419 - 11/08/06 01:38 PM
Quote hectormolecular:

Quote IvanSC:


Just some are more educated than others.





Ivan, your opinions and your [ ****** ] are your own to do with as you please, but I wish you'd stop assuming that your opinion is more educated than someone else's just because they disagree with you. This is not a technical discussion of chord analysis, this is a thread about what it means to be a musician, and what it means to be musical. You don't need to be a concert pianist to know what you think about that.




You need to understand what opinions are all about. As both you and I have correctly stated, everyone has one and we are all entitled to them. equally, I will always do the best I can to fight my corner, hopefully in a cogent, logical way. The problem we now have with Mr. Trumpet and his ilk is that they have stopped offering reasoned opinions or objectively criticizing those of others and dragged the whole thing down to moronic name-calling. Don`t follow them.

OOTP: Just to recap, this thread is supposed to be a commentary and member`s opinions on Harry Webley`s claim that DJ`s are the wave of the future as top muso`s.
Personally, I just wish we could have some more input from THE MAN HISSELF on here, where he can`t hide behind the paper format. More to the point, how come Paul or Ian or `whoever` published it in the first place? (grin)
And can i have a column next month or the month after to rebut it?
Oh - and how come we only have one cherry with all the pissed off people who have been posting to and reading this? Does that mean it has become the Thread We Love To Hate?

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IvanSC



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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course...But ya lose yer cherry.... new [Re: molecular]
      #337421 - 11/08/06 01:41 PM
I thought losing one`s cherry would be far more painful but we, as a thread, appear to have lost ours!

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digital19
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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: molecular]
      #337553 - 11/08/06 06:08 PM
I've met many a concert pianist and many a conservatory student who can play amazing arpeggios, but can't jam. They have no idea how to improvise over any key.

I would consider the guy with a sampler who knows how to groove for my band over the concert pianist for most gigs.


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Mr Tom
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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: digital19]
      #337650 - 11/08/06 11:23 PM
Quote digital19:

I've met many a concert pianist and many a conservatory student who can play amazing arpeggios, but can't jam. They have no idea how to improvise over any key.

I would consider the guy with a sampler who knows how to groove for my band over the concert pianist for most gigs.




That's a very good point; I've met many pianists who are much better qualified than myself on paper, but that's just the problem - they can't play without bits of paper! Whereas I can. It is surely more 'musical' to be able to sit down and just play - whatever you like - than only being able to play to instuctions on a piece of paper.

But that's straying a little from the point of this thread. A band who came to mind while reading these opinions was The Chemical Brothers. Now, I think they would be best described as DJs - they may well be able to play instuments, I don't really know - but for the most part, they don't seem to. If you see them live they just twiddle mixer knobs and hit sampler pads etc.

Yet, they do make music. It may well be made up from bits and bobs of other music - and indeed music they have had others record especially for them - but they don't play it. This, to me, seems analogous to Tray Emin's bed etc. in that she takes a collection of objects and arranges them to create something which previously did not exist and she calls it art, even though she didn't actually paint or draw anything. The Chemical Brothers take a collection of pieces of music/sounds from various sources and make it into a new piece of music - which didn't exist before, even though they didn't play or sing anything. But they have made a new piece of music: they are musicians.

Though as a classically trained pianist and guitarist it pains me to call such people musicians (and I sense a similar hesitation in other posts). I would rather see them labeled as second-generation musicians or something - but I guess that is still a musician (albeit a 2nd generation one!).

I suppose The Chemical Brothers (and I am only using them as an example) might be more appropriately labeled as producers. So, is a producer a musician? Which is pretty much the same as asking (as others already have) is a conductor a musician?

I don't know.

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Humf
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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: molecular]
      #337659 - 12/08/06 12:15 AM
The whole problem I read about in this thread is one of the human brain always trying to categorise everything in order to deal with it.

We all know what DJs do.

We all know what pianists do.

We all know what a conductor does.

In addition to this, some of us know how skilled some DJs are and likewise how incapable some conductors are.

What more needs to be said?

One size will never fit all. This world is blumin complicated, diverse and all the better for it!


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Ian Stewart



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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: ]
      #337722 - 12/08/06 08:50 AM
Quote Mr Tom:


Though as a classically trained pianist and guitarist it pains me to call such people musicians (and I sense a similar hesitation in other posts). I would rather see them labeled as second-generation musicians or something - but I guess that is still a musician (albeit a 2nd generation one!).






That is envy with a halo justified by an ersatz argument. Why anyone would consider a classical musician second rate and someone who "just do what I feel man, like you know, I kind of express myself, I sort of play how I feel" is beyond me. You previously reasoned arguments have now become senseless.
This always happens. Myself and others consider many Djs musicians and then someone like you comes along and says classical musicians are second generation, its all to do with how you feel and playing without music.
I can now see where Ivan C and Steve Hill are coming from. they have obviously met people like you before, fortunately I haven't.
So when I am given music to play and I play it I'm no where near as good as a Dj who puts on compilation Cds at weddings?
I have performed professionally on piano in MOR and jazz groups, on scratch turntable, written for classical ensembles, arranged jazz for chamber orchestras, had electronica used on films. Out of all these I'm only a real musician on scratch turntable? All the other things I'm not doing what I feel so hence second generation?

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Mr Tom
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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: Ian Stewart]
      #337763 - 12/08/06 11:40 AM
Hi noiseconjecture,

Quote:

Why anyone would consider a classical musician second rate and someone who "just do what I feel man, like you know, I kind of express myself, I sort of play how I feel" is beyond me.




That's not quite what I said. Surely a professional classical musician would just be able to sit down and play something as well as being able to read. I had in mind players at somewhat less than preofessional level who can play very nicely with the sheet music in front of them but they appear never to wonder what would happen if they didn't play that. It seems very sad sometimes to see somebody without the imagination to say "right, now what else can this instrument do?". It seems to expose a lack of understanding of how the music is put together - a problem a professional classical musician is unlikely to suffer from.

Quote:

Myself and others consider many Djs musicians and then someone like you comes along and says classical musicians are second generation, its all to do with how you feel and playing without music.





My original sentence may have been a little unclear. It was the DJs that I suggesting be called second generation musicians, not classical musicians. It was a term I dreamed up and was not inteded as derogatory and does not imply that they are second rate musicians. Second generation - as in they are making new music from bits of music which have already been made by somebody else, rather than starting with raw materials. I am not criticising that method.

Quote:

I can now see where Ivan C and Steve Hill are coming from. they have obviously met people like you before, fortunately I haven't.




I'm sorry you feel that way. But I can only assume you have mis-understood me somwhere; knowing what I intended to convey in writing that post, I don't see how it can have generated that level of hostility.

Quote:

So when I am given music to play and I play it I'm no where near as good as a Dj who puts on compilation Cds at weddings?





I'm not sure how you arrived at that impression from my post - but I will go back and re-read it in a minute, I would appreciate it if you re-read it in light of some of the points I have clarified.

Remember, I am the classically trained pianist and guitarist reffered to in the post. And I was defending the DJs right to call themselves musicians - the second generation idea was merely refering to the way they make music.

Thanks

Tom

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Ian Stewart



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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: molecular]
      #337789 - 12/08/06 12:18 PM
I will also reread you post and I am not hostile towards you at all. I have written articles for the Musicians' Union magazine saying that creative Djs are musicians. Your idea of second generation musicians is wrong to my way of thinking as playing classical music is difficult and musical. Recently, as I mentioned elsewhere, I had a work for classical saxophone and scratch Dj performed in a recital and in the programme notes I explicitly stated that a scratch Dj is a musician. No way though can I suggest the girl who played saxophone was a second generation musician. She played it so well and was so in tune with the Dj that my friend who attended the rehearsal thought I had only writen the rhythm track and that both saxophonist and Dj were improvising. Is that not the mark of an exceptional classical musician when the performance is so spontaneous that it sounds like improvisation?
Categorising musicians is useful in some respects so I'm not against it. Its the suggestion that not being able to improvise somehow makes you less of a musician. I really am not sure about you concepts as I compose classical music that I can't play. It is played by classical musicians who can't improvise along with Djs who can't read. As I said before, its all music - I have no desire to say that I am better than both the Dj and classical musician as I can both read and improvise.
If I have misunderstood your arguments than unfortuanately I think a lot of other people will aswell.

But I am sorry if through misunderstanding you arguments I came over as hostile, it was certainly not what I intended.

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Mr Tom
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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: Ian Stewart]
      #337802 - 12/08/06 12:38 PM
Quote:

No way though can I suggest the girl who played saxophone was a second generation musician.




And in the sense that I was using the term she would not be.

It was simply a proposed way of illustrating how a DJ (and only a DJ - forget other musicians for the moment) may be viewed as a musician. It was not meant to be a terribly profound statement. I sensed that some people had a problem with DJs being musicians because DJs use other people's material as a starting point, rather than a musical instrument (in the traditional sense).

Quote:

But I am sorry if through misunderstanding you arguments I came over as hostile, it was certainly not what I intended.




I think it might have been the bit about being glad you'd never met me!

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Ian Stewart



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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: ]
      #337818 - 12/08/06 01:18 PM
Quote Mr Tom:



Quote:

But I am sorry if through misunderstanding you arguments I came over as hostile, it was certainly not what I intended.




I think it might have been the bit about being glad you'd never met me!




Oops sorry, what I meant was I had never met anyone with your views, but as said above I did misunderstand them but I don't think you expressed yourself accurately. We're all guilty of this though.

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Mr Tom
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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: Ian Stewart]
      #337898 - 12/08/06 05:53 PM
Quote:

Oops sorry, what I meant was I had never met anyone with your views, but as said above I did misunderstand them but I don't think you expressed yourself accurately. We're all guilty of this though.




Yeah, we all just type away and it sounds fine in our head as we write it, but somebody else will read it completely differently. On the screen a mere passing comment carries as much weight as a statement intended to have great impact.

Aah well, no harm done. So you agree with me that all DJs are morons - yeah?

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Ian Stewart



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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: molecular]
      #337924 - 12/08/06 07:02 PM
Can anyone explain why male Djs are really ugly whereas female Djs are stunning?

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molecular
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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: Ian Stewart]
      #338655 - 14/08/06 05:11 PM
Quote noiseconjecture:

Can anyone explain why male Djs are really ugly whereas female Djs are stunning?




That'll be because women aren't real musicians.

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Polyglot
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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: molecular]
      #349408 - 05/09/06 03:35 PM
I'm a musician who became a DJ because I noticed how they get paid the same as a whole band, and have an easy job. Obviously, the putting on records sort of DJing isn't exactly musicianship, but I've started to get interested by the possibilities of integrating some live playing into a DJ set, using stripped down versions of my own recordings, or else tracks with a lot of space in.

If I do get it together to put on such a performance, then I guess you can say I'm being a musician as long as I'm playing an instrument: if I had a light on my head that came on when I was a musician, it would be switching off again while I put a new track on, switching on while I played some pads, off while I let the beat develop, on when I picked up my bass and so on. But to someone watching the performance, I'll just be getting up and doing my thing.

The issue here is not around the definition(s) of musician, as far as I can see: as it stands 'musician' is a fairly useful categorisation of human activity in certain contexts, and in others it doesn't tell you anything very interesting. The trouble is, that people will take it as a valuation, rather than a categorisation, and that's daft to my mind.

I know musicians and DJs, and I would make positive value judgements about some of them, not about others. I certainly know enough musicians to know that some of them are totally devoid of creativity or redeeming personal features. That's the same for any profession: plumbers for instance. Some plumbers are creative problem solvers with a real talent for their work and the capacity to deliver what their listener (sorry, customer) requires. A musician is just someone, like a plumber, with a particular expertise, that can be put to a variety of uses.

I think the question we should be asking, the real crux of the matter, is this: are DJs greengrocers?

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audioartist



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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: molecular]
      #351575 - 10/09/06 01:20 AM
i dont know about anyone else, but i do like to see a bit of bananna on the decks


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IvanSC



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Re: can a DJ be a musician? Of course... new [Re: audioartist]
      #351603 - 10/09/06 08:24 AM
Quote audioartist:

i dont know about anyone else, but i do like to see a bit of bananna on the decks




Too much cough medecine in yer cocoa again? (grin)

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