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Re: RTFM

Postby ef37a » Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:04 am

If I could mangle a metaphor and stretch a related analogy?
Sight reading and a knowledge of musical theory. There have of course been many fantastic musicians that could not read music but many would say the ability only enhances music skill and has no downside. (I know there are excellent musicians who need the dots and can't busk but that is not, I would aver CAUSED by learning notation?)

So, would a person come to a forum and ask about learning piano then shun all suggestion that they learn to read music along with the instrument practice? Maybe but I am thinking they would get very short shrift!

I did music at secondary school and can just about work out a tune from a line of notes (but time sigs bugger me if I don't actually know the piece) . When I was in a "group" as most of my generation was. Shads, Beatles I had the piano copies and the chord names and could "fill in" the rest on a bass (but not as well as Macca!)

Son reads very well, not to orchestral or top session standard but well. He also has a good grounding in theory. But I have seen the work he has put in over the years.

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Re: RTFM

Postby Arpangel » Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:27 am

ef37a wrote:If I could mangle a metaphor and stretch a related analogy?
Sight reading and a knowledge of musical theory. There have of course been many fantastic musicians that could not read music but many would say the ability only enhances music skill and has no downside. (I know there are excellent musicians who need the dots and can't busk but that is not, I would aver CAUSED by learning notation?)

So, would a person come to a forum and ask about learning piano then shun all suggestion that they learn to read music along with the instrument practice? Maybe but I am thinking they would get very short shrift!

I did music at secondary school and can just about work out a tune from a line of notes (but time sigs bugger me if I don't actually know the piece) . When I was in a "group" as most of my generation was. Shads, Beatles I had the piano copies and the chord names and could "fill in" the rest on a bass (but not as well as Macca!)

Son reads very well, not to orchestral or top session standard but well. He also has a good grounding in theory. But I have seen the work he has put in over the years.

Dave.

I think a knowledge of recording technology is a lot like a knowledge of music theory, having a lot of it can't do any harm. I always wish I had more music theory, I can't think that it could hinder my musical pursuits in any way whatsoever.
Jaco Pastorius said that he could tell immediately if someone was a top notch sight reader, if they said "well, I can read a melody....etc etc etc," he just used to walk away. You can either sight read or you cant. I can't.
I knew at a very early age that I didn't have the ability to follow a classical music career, I just wasn't focused enough, then I discovered electronics and it suited me better, my mind set. Electronics wasn't something I was doing because I wasn't good enough to become a professional pipe organist, if that was the case I would have given up music completely, simply because I couldn't live with that feeling.
My trouble is, and, maybe I'm getting to the heart of the main topic of this thread, some of us me included even though we've been involved in our fields for many years, only ever "learn what we need to know" to make "our music" and there are enormous gaps in my knowledges because of this, and maybe that's why some folks come across on the forum as being a a bit lacking in some respects, but it's only because of what I mentioned above.
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Re: RTFM

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:57 am

[Sweeping generalisation alert]

I think there are three kinds of musician :-

1, Classically trained (includes Brass Band musos). Can read fluently but can't busk for toffee/lost without dots.

2, Self taught (rock/folk etc). Couldn't read to save a life but can work stuff out by ear and busk almost anything with up to a maximum of 4 chords

3, Jazz musicians. Can read, busk, improvise, spout theory 'till the cows come home, have chops to die for and can make a decent fist of anything they are asked to play.

[/SGA]

Please note the poster's lingual/buccal interface.......
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Re: RTFM

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:09 am

This has been a really interesting debate, and it's fascinating to see all sides of the issue expressed so well.

I'm an engineer at heart... like my father before me (as the film says)... so that's the angle I approach these things from. But I've worked with hundreds of craft musicians and non-technical people over the years and thoroughly enjoyed those collaborations.

I don't take issue with people that want to just use something rather than understand it in depth. And my attitude is that I'm happy to help anyone with the technical matters provided they contribute at least some effort to grasp the core of what's involved technically -- so that they stand a reasonable chance of resolving future similar problems themselves, rather than asking for help again and again and again.

But anyone who does the 'don't give me all that technical stuff, just tell me how to plug this together" thing only gets one shot at an answer. :tongue:

It's a bit like teaching someone to drive, I think. It's not necessary to understand the thermodynamics of a turbocharger, or the schematics of an ECU be able to drive a car well... But it does help enormously to use the thing well if there is at least some concept of what a gearbox is intended to do and the practical consequences of front- versus rear-wheel drive... etc.

I have two (grown up) daughters, neither of whom are technically minded, but I did explain to them just enough about gearing (in a practical way using their push bikes, actually) that they recognise and understand why and what to do when going up and down hills. Likewise controlling front and rear-wheel drive cars via a professional skid-handling course at Donnington (which I thoroughly recommend, BTW).

However, I do find it deeply upsetting that seemingly so many young people are (a) profoundly technically illiterate and (b) proud of their ignorance!

H
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Re: RTFM

Postby CS70 » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:14 am

Arpangel wrote:Framing what you need say properly is essential.

But again (and sorry to beat a dead horse) that is an engineering skill. And is far from commonplace!

Most "normal" people communication is very, very imprecise, and reaching an agreement is a process - starting with vague intentions and information and proceeding thru dialog. It's messy, slow and inefficient and takes way more time and effort than the minimum possible, but in the end the dinner is cooked and people manage to meet at a certain place and time, and babies are made and all that. :-)

That is the default of human communication and most people don't find it odd at all - they actually would find odd (if they'd think about it at all) that one should start a conversation or a question by specifying all the assumptions, context and objectives... "regular" people would be bored to death two minutes into the preamble.

Then there's mathematicians and, to a lesser degree, engineers - who make an art of communicating as clearly and efficiently as possible... that is what math is, a language to say things perfectly clearly but in the most compact way possible. It's hard tough and it takes a lot of practice both to write and read that way.

No wonder few engineers ever make it as politicians and businessmen. :D

Incidentally, I feel that part of the strange situation where the world is, is due exactly to that mismatch of communication - the people who know stuff, use a way of communication that is just not understandable by the many.. who can't care less of facts when these facts require a 10 minutes background just to get to the point. Then someone comes along and makes a 4 words slogan which starts with "Make" and ends with "again" and boom. But I digress. :D
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Re: RTFM

Postby ManFromGlass » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:39 am

and there is the greatest of gifts -

To be able to use the right 4 words for the lightbulb-comes-on moment
Or
To only need the right 5 tracks and the song is virtually written
Or
etc

Being a forearm on the keyboard and then spending hours removing the unnecessary notes kind of writer I am jealous of that gift

(But then there is jazz, as was pointed out!)
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Re: RTFM

Postby OneWorld » Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:55 am

Sam Spoons wrote:[Sweeping generalisation alert]

I think there are three kinds of musician :-

1, Classically trained (includes Brass Band musos). Can read fluently but can't busk for toffee/lost without dots.

2, Self taught (rock/folk etc). Couldn't read to save a life but can work stuff out by ear and busk almost anything with up to a maximum of 4 chords

3, Jazz musicians. Can read, busk, improvise, spout theory 'till the cows come home, have chops to die for and can make a decent fist of anything they are asked to play.

[/SGA]

Please note the poster's lingual/buccal interface.......

Spot on +1, back of the net. There seems to be this binary approach to reading v busking, as if one is mutually exclusive of the other. There are reader's that can busk and buskers than can read. I went to music college as a mature student but had busked my way through music since my teens but sort of got to the point where busking wasn't doing it for me any more. I went to college, learned all about harmony, all sorts of scales and yes had to read about the history of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart right up to Pierre Schaeffer - I used to hate history in general, I don't now.

I remember once a documentary where classical v hip-hop was the topic with Goldie the hip-hoppist and I think it was the St Martins in the Fields choir.

Goldie went through all the cliches f-this and f-that, that ain't effin music, "but my music is passion, from the streets, from the People, real music not that stuff from people in posh frocks and bow ties" (women and men of course) And to some extent Goldie was playing to the camera, bigging up his street cred.

So Goldie was knocking some grooves out, but "there was something missing, something didn't effin sit right" and the challenge to the choir was to add their take on things. The choir analysed the music - took them all of 5 minutes and pointed out where his music did not follow the rules of harmony, yes have clashes by all means, that's creativity. They tried to explain to Goldie what the issues were but Goldie having no musical knowledge at all just threw it back in their faces, but for the sake of continuity, the choir had a pop at adding their perspective. There were of course the tantrums from Goldie (again I think he was playing to the camera to some extent) but the final result - in his words 'Magic!!!!'

Again undermining the point that music is a truly universal language - it's like food, there's no right no wrong just nourishing and tasty that's all that matters.
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Re: RTFM

Postby OneWorld » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:07 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:This has been a really interesting debate, and it's fascinating to see all sides of the issue expressed so well.

I'm an engineer at heart... like my father before me (as the film says)... so that's the angle I approach these things from. But I've worked with hundreds of craft musicians and non-technical people over the years and thoroughly enjoyed those collaborations.

I don't take issue with people that want to just use something rather than understand it in depth. And my attitude is that I'm happy to help anyone with the technical matters provided they contribute at least some effort to grasp the core of what's involved technically -- so that they stand a reasonable chance of resolving future similar problems themselves, rather than asking for help again and again and again.

But anyone who does the 'don't give me all that technical stuff, just tell me how to plug this together" thing only gets one shot at an answer. :tongue:

It's a bit like teaching someone to drive, I think. It's not necessary to understand the thermodynamics of a turbocharger, or the schematics of an ECU be able to drive a car well... But it does help enormously to use the thing well if there is at least some concept of what a gearbox is intended to do and the practical consequences of front- versus rear-wheel drive... etc.

I have two (grown up) daughters, neither of whom are technically minded, but I did explain to them just enough about gearing (in a practical way using their push bikes, actually) that they recognise and understand why and what to do when going up and down hills. Likewise controlling front and rear-wheel drive cars via a professional skid-handling course at Donnington (which I thoroughly recommend, BTW).

However, I do find it deeply upsetting that seemingly so many young people are (a) profoundly technically illiterate and (b) proud of their ignorance!

H

Again some excellent observations, good points and well put, and yes the last point is so depressing. In my time I have travelled widely, I've done more flying hours than Douglas Bader, but our country is the only country that is proud of ignorance, knowledge is for wussy geeks - I just don't get it.
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Re: RTFM

Postby OneWorld » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:21 pm

CS70 wrote:
Arpangel wrote:Framing what you need say properly is essential.



No wonder few engineers ever make it as politicians and businessmen. :D


Politicians honed to perfection the circumstance where the politician will answer the same question with a 1000 different answers until they hit upon the words they know you want to hear. And as anyone knows, being able to talk is possibly the most lucrative of careers
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Re: RTFM

Postby CS70 » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:44 pm

OneWorld wrote:And as anyone knows, being able to talk is possibly the most lucrative of careers

Have had a couple girlfriends with whom that was a survival skill :D
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Re: RTFM

Postby Aural Reject » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:53 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:1, Classically trained (includes Brass Band musos). Can read fluently but can't busk for toffee/lost without dots.

Are you inside my head? :headbang: :bouncy:
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Re: RTFM

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:07 pm

OneWorld wrote:...but our country is the only country that is proud of ignorance, knowledge is for wussy geeks - I just don't get it.

That's even more depressing... I had assumed it was a global trend! :? :frown:

When I grew up in the 60s we had Lego and Meccano, and lots of electronics magazines, and DIY magazines, so everyone made things and understood the engineering involved at some level. We also had Concorde and Apollo and the Harrier jump-jet, and TV programmes like Tomorrow's World and Horizon and more -- so science and engineering were, if not mainstream, at least fairly high profile and a positive influence.

It seems to me that people generally don't do DIY any more: it's far easier and cheaper to discard broken things and buy new. And modern technology is so complicated and intricate that no one can mend it (beyond the board-swapping level). So no-one can make their own mobile phone, or TV set, or even service their own cars these days.

I'm all for technological progress, but when did we lose all interest in how things work?
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Re: RTFM

Postby ef37a » Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:20 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:[Sweeping generalisation alert]

I think there are three kinds of musician :-

1, Classically trained (includes Brass Band musos). Can read fluently but can't busk for toffee/lost without dots.

2, Self taught (rock/folk etc). Couldn't read to save a life but can work stuff out by ear and busk almost anything with up to a maximum of 4 chords

3, Jazz musicians. Can read, busk, improvise, spout theory 'till the cows come home, have chops to die for and can make a decent fist of anything they are asked to play.

[/SGA]

Please note the poster's lingual/buccal interface.......

I am rather proud to say my son fits quite well into the Jazz slot! A few years ago he was associated with a group of musicians in Paris and did the arrangements and parts for them. The "boss", a lady singer/songwriter roughed out the tunes but it was Steve that got them ready for performance. He told me she used to bother him because he would never write or rehearse his guitar solo (if there was one) "Don't worry" he would tell her "better fresh on the night". Seems he always nailed it.

My BIG question is...Why ain't we rich?!!

Dave.
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Re: RTFM

Postby OneWorld » Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:24 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
OneWorld wrote:...but our country is the only country that is proud of ignorance, knowledge is for wussy geeks - I just don't get it.

That's even more depressing... I had assumed it was a global trend! :? :frown:

When I grew up in the 60s we had Lego and Meccano, and lots of electronics magazines, and DIY magazines, so everyone made things and understood the engineering involved at some level. We also had Concorde and Apollo and the Harrier jump-jet, and TV programmes like Tomorrow's World and Horizon and more -- so science and engineering were, if not mainstream, at least fairly high profile and a positive influence.

It seems to me that people generally don't do DIY any more: it's far easier and cheaper to discard broken things and buy new. And modern technology is so complicated and intricate that no one can mend it (beyond the board-swapping level). So no-one can make their own mobile phone, or TV set, or even service their own cars these days.

I'm all for technological progress, but when did we lose all interest in how things work?

Lego and Meccano, now you're talking, warms the very cockles. Back in the day we seemed to have this obsessive compulsion to find out what made things work, and to make things ourselves, and women would make things too, they knitted and the men hammered and sawed and screwed things together.

A friend of mine has a craft shop and being elderly she is very resourceful, she comes from a generation where you had to make do and mend - she can weave, knit, make little wooden stools etched with a graphic of the customers choice, make doll's houses but says the younger end come into her shop and sadly are clueless, they can do none of these things. To their credit they man (well woman) the barricades protesting about climate change, the wastefulness of the consumer society yet can't even darn a sock lol And my elderly friend is not a prisoner of her generation, she keeps up with things, for example proudly showing off her new spanking new Galaxy phone last week.
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Re: RTFM

Postby OneWorld » Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:52 pm

ef37a wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:[Sweeping generalisation alert]

I think there are three kinds of musician :-

1, Classically trained (includes Brass Band musos). Can read fluently but can't busk for toffee/lost without dots.

2, Self taught (rock/folk etc). Couldn't read to save a life but can work stuff out by ear and busk almost anything with up to a maximum of 4 chords

3, Jazz musicians. Can read, busk, improvise, spout theory 'till the cows come home, have chops to die for and can make a decent fist of anything they are asked to play.

[/SGA]

Please note the poster's lingual/buccal interface.......

I am rather proud to say my son fits quite well into the Jazz slot! A few years ago he was associated with a group of musicians in Paris and did the arrangements and parts for them. The "boss", a lady singer/songwriter roughed out the tunes but it was Steve that got them ready for performance. He told me she used to bother him because he would never write or rehearse his guitar solo (if there was one) "Don't worry" he would tell her "better fresh on the night". Seems he always nailed it.

My BIG question is...Why ain't we rich?!!

Dave.

Why aren't you rich?

MIles Davis was once asked "How do you make a $million out of jazz?" and Miles replied "Easy - you start with $2million"
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