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from a paper by John Sloboda   You are logged in as Guest
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Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3527
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

from a paper by John Sloboda 

Some evidence against the "talent myth"


1. In several cultures studied by anthropologists, the great majority of people achieve levels of musical expertise which are far above the norms for our own society. This suggests that cultural, not biological, factors are limiting the spread of musical expertise in our own society.
2. Musical accomplishment does not always run in families. Where children from families with no musical background are given appropriate opportunities and encouragement they can achieve outstanding results.
3. The majority of top-ranking professional musicians were not child prodigies. In fact, studies reveal that very few able musicians showed any signs of special musical promise either in infancy, or even after they had been learning an instrument for some years.
4. There are no clear examples of outstanding achievement in musical performance or composition that were not preceded by many years of intense preparation and practice. In the case of child prodigies, it seems their level of early practice far exceeded that of the normal musician.
5. Many of the perceptual skills required to handle musical input are very widespread, develop spontaneously through the first ten years of life and do not seem to require formal musical instruction to develop. The skill of ‘perfect pitch’ has often been singled out as a special innate sign of ‘musical talent’. In fact, there is evidence that the skill can be learned by any determined person and is actually present in an unrefined form in as much as two-thirds of the general untrained population. Furthermore, only a minority of top-ranking musicians possess perfect pitch in its fully developed form, so it is a rather poor predictor of high achievement.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 22 2004 17:49:03
 
Ron.M

Posts: 7051
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Scotland

RE: from a paper by John Sloboda (in reply to Miguel de Maria

Yeah Mike,
That's leaning towards the view that I hold.
To me, music is "thought" led rather than "technique" led.
You can have all the technique in the world, but if you don't know "how" to play, then you're lost.
The greats that we hear, Paco, Tomatito, VA etc started the same way.
They heard the music and wanted to become part of it.
Became intrigued by the "sound" and the falsetas of their heros that they wanted to be able to do that above all else.
So they immersed themselves in Flamenco and after finding out "how" to play, started experimenting to make that picado a little bit faster or that alzapua a little more gritty or that chord a little more thoughtful.

I hardly ever watch television, but I've just finished watching the second episode of the seven Martin Scorsese films entitled "The Blues" and I'm amazed at the parallel with Flamenco.
This week's episode was directed by Mike Figgis, (the director of "Flamenco Women") and looked at the impact of blues on early British blues nuts such as Van Morrison, Peter Green, Alvin Lee, Stevie Winwood, Chris Farlowe, Georgie Fame, Mick Fleetwood, Tom Jones (yes!), with performace clips from John Mayall and the early Rolling Stones.
It was great to see those people talking relaxed and naturally without any makeup, lighting or hype just recalling their youth and the passion and energy they had in going down the all night clubs like the Flamingo and listening to visiting bluesmen like Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker etc.
Alvin Lee said "We just sat at their feet and learned our apprenticeship"
It's great to see how these guy's traded "licks" (falsetas) and knew when somebody had "the sound" and wanted to know how it was done.
Was amazed to see a "popular" music entertainer such as Lulu, without her usual stage makeup and charisma, give a stunning rendition of blues singing amongst fellow blues musicians, a side of her I've never seen, but just goes to show that the roots run deep in a lot of "popular" performers.
I was puzzled to see David Blunkett (British Home Secretary) appear so many times, during the film until I realized it was Eric Clapton. LOL!

cheers

Ron
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 22 2004 22:21:22
 
Escribano

Posts: 6305
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: from a paper by John Sloboda (in reply to Ron.M

quote:

I was puzzled to see David Blunkett (British Home Secretary) appear so many times, during the film until I realized it was Eric Clapton. LOL!


I shot the Home Secretary
but I didn't shoot his
Parlimentary Under-Secretary


Nahh, doesn't quite scan.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 23 2004 9:30:25
 
Jon Boyes

Posts: 1377
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
 

RE: from a paper by John Sloboda (in reply to Miguel de Maria

quote:

ORIGINAL: Miguel de Maria
Some evidence against the "talent myth"


..and just to balance things out, here's some evidence for it

Although I wouldn't use the term 'talent', this study suggested that pitch recognition - a vital component in musical ability - is indeed genetic.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1209186.stm

Of course, pitch recognition is just one apect of musical ability, but it underpins precisely what Ron is talking about: the ability the learn and absorb by ear.

I've always been struck by the fact that some people can work out/ reproduce melodies without to much trouble from the start, whereas some people who've been playing for years just cannot do this, and are wholly reliant on sheet music/tab if they want to play something.

Jon
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 23 2004 10:48:19
 
Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3527
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: from a paper by John Sloboda (in reply to Miguel de Maria

That's interesting, learning melodies has never been difficult for me, although in other areas, I have felt "short bus." But I had a friend who, although a more advanced guitarist than me, had a terrible, terrible time learning and remembering melodies.

But Jon, that article is far from conclusive or even convincing. As one demur-er stated, there was no data on whether either of the twins had any musical background. Although this is somewhat ethereal, musical background can be anything from singing to the belly, to Mozart (or Muddy waters) in the crib, to listening to nursery rhymes and lullabies. I believe these all to be important, which is why my son/daughter will be listening to equal parts Mozart and Paco in the crib. I hope you are taking advantage of this knowledge, Jon!

Time and time again, a musical "phenomenon" who just "picks things up" has been shown to have a hidden musical past. To me, the evidence tilts strongly away from genetic inheritanace and strongly toward experiential factors. And of course when things are not proved it is always better to believe that which can help you achieve your goals!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 23 2004 15:36:14
 
Kate

Posts: 1827
Joined: Jul. 8 2003
From: Living in Granada, Andalucía

RE: from a paper by John Sloboda (in reply to Ron.M

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ron.M
I've just finished watching the second episode of the seven Martin Scorsese films entitled "The Blues" and I'm amazed at the parallel with Flamenco.
This week's episode was directed by Mike Figgis, (the director of "Flamenco Women") and looked at the impact of blues on early British blues nuts such as Van Morrison, Peter Green, Alvin Lee, Stevie Winwood, Chris Farlowe, Georgie Fame, Mick Fleetwood, Tom Jones (yes!), with performace clips from John Mayall and the early Rolling Stones.
It was great to see those people talking relaxed and naturally without any makeup, lighting or hype just recalling their youth and the passion and energy they had in going down the all night clubs like the Flamingo and listening to visiting bluesmen like Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker etc.
Alvin Lee said "We just sat at their feet and learned our apprenticeship"
cheers

Ron


Hey Ron,

I dont suppose you videoed this programme. Would love to see it. Harold spent most of his 'perhaps not so' misspent youth hanging out with Alvin Lee and built his very first studio for him and recorded most of these Brit blues men.

There is a definite paralell with flamenco and the blues, though I guess that it is easier to pick up the blues than flamenco. Funnily enough Alvin now lives on the costa here in Spain.

Kate

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 23 2004 16:50:44
 
Ron.M

Posts: 7051
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Scotland

RE: from a paper by John Sloboda (in reply to Kate

Hi Kate,
Sure, I'll make a copy and send it to you if you can email me your address.
This is the second film in a series of seven and it's broadcast on Thurday nights at 9.00pm on BBC4, which I think may be on satellite so you should be able to get it in Spain.

cheers

Ron
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 23 2004 17:15:14
 
Kate

Posts: 1827
Joined: Jul. 8 2003
From: Living in Granada, Andalucía

RE: from a paper by John Sloboda (in reply to Ron.M

Thank you Ron, that would be great. Can you send me a private email as I dont have your email address. I'm at kate@andalamusica.com

Unfortunately we dont have satellite here, just a cable serice which shows BBC Prime, ie gardening shows, changing rooms, antiques, Dad's Army, and every now and then Later with Jools Holland and Top of the Tops.

kate

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Emilio Maya Temple
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000CA6OBC
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 24 2004 12:38:26
 
Billyboy

 

Posts: 389
Joined: Aug. 18 2003
 

RE: from a paper by John Sloboda (in reply to Kate

All the great guitarist I admire, have a very acute sense of melodic form, people like Steve Hackett (Genesis), Riqueni, Micheal Schenker UFO, I'm not too sure whether this ability can be learnt or not, as far as I know Hackett never had any formal music education, yet his Solo Nylon guitar albums show an inate musical compostional ability, which is frightning, but maybe it is just inspiration fuelled.
dave
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 24 2004 15:57:18
 
Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3527
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: from a paper by John Sloboda (in reply to Miguel de Maria

Billyboy, what I'm saying is that these "innate" skills don't seem so innate when you look at these people's backgrounds. You don't have to have a degree in composition to have an ear for melody. You don't know how much music these guys listened to as babies, kids, teens, or young adults. If someone spends a year tinkering with the melody to a simple song and does this for a few years, you listen to his album and start talking about how he is a natural musician. When I was a teenager I was a geek and read about 3-4 books a week. By the time I was half-way through high-school, you can bet I did really well in English and aced all the standardized tests. Talent? Or just because I've read millions of words more than the average guy?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 24 2004 16:40:17
 
Billyboy

 

Posts: 389
Joined: Aug. 18 2003
 

RE: from a paper by John Sloboda (in reply to Miguel de Maria

I agree Miguel, I haven't a clue whether it be nature or nurture, Mozart could memorise a whole symphony when he was 8 or something, but I know a lot of people who were brought up in musical families, even went to study music at college, but unless they have dots on paper in front of them they are lost, there is a difference between listening to lots of music, and , intuitively understanding how the music was assembled or created, that I feel maybe cannot be learnt.
Dave
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 24 2004 21:03:31
 
Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3527
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: from a paper by John Sloboda (in reply to Miguel de Maria

well, I sure hope it can be learnt, otherwise my album is going to suck!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 24 2004 21:34:43
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