Identity Crisis (Full Version)

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wedge -> Identity Crisis (Jul. 12 2013 22:42:27)

Another rambling question from me: what happened? I started my pursuit with classical/baroque, then moved into "Segovia" Spanish, then to Argentina (Victor Villadangos, Maximo Pujol), then to Brazilian, and now WHAM - hooked on Flamenco. I guess it was inevitable because through all these music forms I was searching for/drawn to the phrygian feel, but none of the styles fulfilled that longing until Flamenco. The only thing that concerns me is the lack of emphasis on tone (as in a nice cedar), but the overall feel of Flamenco is amazing. Still a beginner, but I'm coming to the realization the tables are turning; I haven't touched my CG for months. Hoping for some Flamenco workshops in Michigan someday.

Miguel de Maria -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 12 2013 22:57:38)

My trajectory has been more the opposite of yours... Flamenco does have a strong and rather rigid tone ideal, but simply isn't pleasant to your average person.

Leñador -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 12 2013 23:06:26)

Flamenco has an ENORMOUS emphases on tone, at top levels I'd say just as much as classical, it's just that the tone were after is not the same tone Segovia was after, nor is it just one tone we're after, but a huge palette to compliment all the different feelings.

gerundino63 -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 13 2013 0:10:28)

There is a lot in difference in sounds in players and their guitar, and their "style"
In my oppinion there is a Huge difference between f.i. Paco de Lucia, Vicente Amigo,Paco Peña etc.

wedge -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 13 2013 2:31:13)

Thank you - this gives me some perspectives to ponder and learn from

Sr. Martins -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 13 2013 3:24:20)


Flamenco does have a strong and rather rigid tone ideal, but simply isn't pleasant to your average person.

I think there's a certain character to the tone that has more to do with the way of playing than the choice of guitar.

Even friends who play nylon guitar think that my guitar is broke because they were "raised" with the thought that a good nylon guitar has to have a deep full sound with sweet trebles... which is kind of the opposite of what I look for.

Miguel de Maria -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 13 2013 4:05:53)

At first it seems a strange phenomenon, but different genres have different sound ideals. I mean, heavy metal rhythm guitar is not a universally pleasing sound either. Nor is American country singing or throat singing or Chinese opera. Actually, the worst tone quality of any music I have seen was actually traditional Korean. That being said, flamenco cante is a pretty niche market, too. Putting on Camaron in a crowded dorm or something would be a good way to start a fight. An interesting experience was watching Golijov's opera (Ainadamar, I think?) which featured Adam del Monte playing alongside a classical guitarist, and a cantaor singing next to a bunch of classically trained singers.

I do think some players overdo it with the bright/bridge thing. I have yet to meet a non-flamenco player who like flamenco tone.

tele -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 13 2013 7:45:35)

What I like best is the richness of flamenco music, so that every style is almost like a separate genre of music. There is certainly much more to it than the stereotypical bulerias or verdiales feel, as we know. I also like the technique alot, I think its easily the most versatile and best sounding one

Ruphus -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 13 2013 16:01:00)

Your topic made me wonder how much individuals´ basic attitude might have to do with music perception.

Music like much of palos, blues, most of oriental music or above mentioned mongolian throat singing seem expressions of melancholy, mourning and sadness. Maybe one needs appreciation of the sad and dark in life for to feel the beauty of mellow music. - Or alternatively a traditional dictate of mourning like in Near East.

On the other side hearing some of the popular trend lately it seem as if the trash with music entertainment hasn´t really peaked yet. With consumers so blank that they won´t even realize how they are getting served rehashed structures and plagiats of yesterdays, past yesterdays and ever recycled structure and musical triviality.

Plagiats, often released by one-hit wonders who afterwards build their villa in Mallorca as VIPs, their primitive track commonly equipped with lyrics tailored to a sanguine demand that is developing ever more popular.

Anyway, in the grand sheme of it melancholic products like most flamenco palos seem appreciated by a consumer niche that allows either all facettes of life, or at least can accept the blues.

Melancholic music styles convey a complaining timbre. Something on principle disapproved in a blindly escaping sanguine zeitgeist roughly 140 years past Goethe´s counter chique of Werther.


wedge -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 13 2013 16:26:48)

I agree - each form of music has its interpretation of the joys and sorrows of life. I suppose one's frame of reference colors how those experience are interpreted.

Escribano -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 13 2013 16:29:07)

I read an article recently that claimed that melancholic love songs cheer us up, as they reminds us that there is love.

Ruphus -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 13 2013 16:55:11)


ORIGINAL: Escribano

I read an article recently that claimed that melancholic love songs cheer us up, as they reminds us that there is love.

An interesting point of view! Never thought of it.
Will be thinking about it.


pink -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 13 2013 20:06:07)

Tone ....the quest for the holy fingers of the musical god.
Some people are just born with it....they got the magic touch. I have some friends who seep musicality and tone,its just in them . Hear them play and you feel the life in your soul becomes a concious or real part of who or what you are- permanently . You get that resonance going through every part of who you are at that moment. But its different for each one of us , a different note which spills a memory or moment ,often good but sometimes hard or painful but inside who each of us are as individuals and what makes us
A friend of mine is so musical ,everything he does, regardless of style or location, evokes emotion,Another guy has chorus built into his fingers...just awesome.
Is it a style, a resonance in the note a memory from the womb or past moment,the pitch of safety from your mothers voice which has been re-echoed through your being.... I really don't know.
Doesn't just come from the woods though that's for sure....those guys I mentioned earlier can make the biggest sack of ****e sound like an angel is calling you to the safety of a 'resting cloud' up high!
So many people want to sound like someone else which is fine but let's face it there is only one of each of us...we can't sound like whoever,only they can!!
**** I wish I had it ...that urrrrrghhhh. I might be worth listening to or even reading!!!
Best to all

Miguel de Maria -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 13 2013 20:38:22)

I used to be a giant blues fan--and the similarities with flamenco probably can't be overstated. Once I was listening to a blues recording--can't remember what--and my uncle said "back where I come from, they hang n_____'s for that!" It was just a bad joke, but it certainly reflected that the aesthetics and cultural aspects were getting in the way of the music's communicative power. For awhile, my favorite flamenco genre was fandangos natural.

About current pop (maybe pop of any time period), there's not much to say. It's a highly engineered form, more like a marketing campaign or a politician's public persona than a genuine folk music. It seems the bar for artistic skill or integrity gets lowered every half-decade.

Classical music, of course, suffers greatly from the current environment. It's a complex music and much of its appeal requires close attention and context (IMO). Probably most "music consumers", the vast majority, are completely uninterested in music without words, or even words in their native language. I had a lesson for classical guitar yesterday, and my teacher and I were laughing at the ridiculously small details to which we were attending. No (average) listener will care or notice, he mentioned. I know, I said, it's for us.

Sr. Martins -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 13 2013 23:29:51)


I do think some players overdo it with the bright/bridge thing. I have yet to meet a non-flamenco player who like flamenco tone.

...and thats why we're here! [:D]

FredGuitarraOle -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 14 2013 2:27:56)


I had a lesson for classical guitar yesterday, and my teacher and I were laughing at the ridiculously small details to which we were attending. No (average) listener will care or notice, he mentioned.

That is so true... What a coincidence, the other day I was with my teacher and we talked about that exact same thing. I even told him that I don't understand why the pros don't simplify some hardcore falsetas when playing live. Except for a few guitarists, nobody in the audience would notice.

Ruphus -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 14 2013 10:06:24)

Yesterday I was talking with my guitar student about limited hearing ability of ears that grew up with poor musical diet.
And we both agreed that a basically unmusical consumer level only perceives music as transporter for plain lyrics.

Seeing last posts it appears as if we were thinking of the same thing.


ORIGINAL: Miguel de Maria

It seems the bar for artistic skill or integrity gets lowered every half-decade.

That is definitly how it appears to me.
And as the bar goes lower and lower the less place there is for melancholic music. Just as there seems a fading of emotional skills in general.
The trend looks like kind of autism actually.

I´ve been thinkig about what Simon mentioned above.
Not only does it appear of sense, but might be another indicator for decline of cultural level.
A level where you could be needing reminder indeed from to time that there exists love.
Don´t you sometimes wonder what is happeneing with your own empathic skills in a more and more detached atmosphere?
- And somehow glad when you see yourself still associative? Almost like: "Phew! Still alive."

As you might know I am convinced not only of a severe quality decline in terms of culture, but of substantial effects on us as humans.
It appears unquestionable to me that culture to us is essential as the culture beings that we are, and that hence culture trends determine our humane quality.

And returning to solely the aspect about perception of melancholic music you might consider that modern science is realising mourning as display of higher awareness in the animal world.
Hence, you might in return imagine what a culture indicates that broadly escapes melancholy and "negativity" as a whole.

I will go even further with my personal impression and claim that people who I see panicking from negativity / seeking distraction, usually will not face negative reality to start with.

It from there is not that common refugees would experience aching observations to seek relief from, but just further pampering fragile personality that is too week and self-centered to even try shouldering a world where it is sad and unbearable.


wedge -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 14 2013 13:43:48)

A few years ago one of my instructors told me this generation was the first he encountered where phrasing wasn't intuitive to the kids. In years past the pop music they listened to had some phrasing content, but he had to teach it from ground zero.

Miguel de Maria -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 14 2013 14:36:57)

Ruphus, I had a piano tech over here to work on our grand, and he told me the peak in piano sales was in the 1920s. "You know what happened then, right?" he said. "Radio." TV seems even more pernicious. What a big difference from playing salon music or favorite songs on the piano to turning the switch and passively consuming it. Or watching sitcoms with added laugh tracks instead of hanging out with other human beings.

You may be interested in Ivan Illich's thoughts on what he called "conviviality", and indeed, almost anything in modern society. He was a remarkable thinker!

Ruphus -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 14 2013 17:17:30)


Surveys of past decades revealed youth´s decrease with distinguisihing abilities, regarding colors, sounds and contexts indeed.

Hi Miguel,

Just the introduction to Illich´s work on that website you linked to, was enough for me to know that I agree with him.
Have been discussing didactics and mental dependency since a while, and there are popular voices pointing to such like the inventor of the electron microscope and his view on the situation at universities.

The economical system and its way of determining education commands the mental lack of independence and simultaneously the practical discrete vegetating ( or as I name it "autistic personality") that we are seeing ever further developing.

Capitalism needs specialist numbs and wholy dumbs, and that is the way how it rewards materially in the same time.

And yet, while we were talking the self-reward of pursuing an art like music making, I did not fully agree with the student yesterday who said something to the extend of: "How totally different is music making from mere listening to music".

I replied in the meaning of that passionately listening is a demanding and educating conduct too, and also contributing to the soul; albeit maybe a bit lesser so than making rich / versatile music yourself.
I suppose you would have said something similar.

Science now claims that passion with listening indicates musical gift too. Hence, if you have great love for listening to music you should likely be hosting talent for music making in the same time.
I can believe that.


Miguel de Maria -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 14 2013 17:56:17)

I think it's true that a passion for music is a gift and perhaps one of the most important components of musical skill. People who are are more sensitive and receptive to it will get more value out of perhaps all activities in its study (although perhaps they are hurt more by playing rote exercises that many of us can play without much damage). Emotion and interest are key components of memory. I feel that physical talent and reflexes are vastly overrated by the average person in what makes musical skill. Someone who is sensitive to music and pays attention to his own body and simple cause/effect on his instrument is going to be a good player.

To listen to a classical sonata is not an easy thing. To be sure, they are inherently pleasant, played with pure and balanced tones and flawless execution, but the information is coming so fast that you need to pay attention. If you aren't consciously aware of what is happening, if you don't recognize the theme in its various permutations, you may be missing something vital. If it strikes you as just a melody with "accompaniment" and you don't understand that you are listening to a fugue or four independent voices, then you're missing a lot. I can put on Beethoven in the background and always feel uplifted (alone amoung the composers, somehow he creeps in even through inattention to inspire me), but to listen intently to one of his works is much more challenging and requires energy and alertness.

Ruphus -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 14 2013 19:00:07)

When a little kid there was lots of Beethoven music in our house.
My father was a great fan of this composer and used to put on those shellacks on the turntable rather frequently.

I however have yet to educate myself on the range of this genre.
These days with the flac downloading options it should be great opportunity for selecting writers and performers for a collection.


gslavonic -> RE: Identity Crisis (Jul. 14 2013 20:38:49)

There is too much emphasis on technique and falsetas. We play for love and music. The only thing I care about when I listen to someone play is the heart and soul they put into it. I like it better when I hear someone play simple rather than a pained effort to sound like Tomatito or whoever. Be yourself! Love your art and express yourself and the hell with what people think.

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