... a MODERN violinist?

May 27, 2008 at 04:55 PM · I was first inspired to learn the violin by watching a string quartet playing with a Spanish rock Band named "Bacilios." Now, a few Suzuki books later, (4 to be exact), I find myself ... bored. I was first mesmerized how the violin sounded with a rock backing, amazed at its versatility. But can the violin really be that limited in style? Wait. No. Correction. Can violinist/teachers be that closed minded in music literature? Maybe its just that I'm young but I believe that there can be so much MORE! The violin is the musical instrument that most closely resembles the human voice... unfortunately there seems to be more opera singers in the violin than soul singers. Can someone bring the violin BACK?

Well i hope you enjoy this video of a pioneer violinist, Paul Dateh.

LATER!

Replies (100)

May 27, 2008 at 10:37 PM · Greetings,

sorry, but basically you haven@t got much undertanding of all the conepts you are throwing around and in the process you are beign relatibely insulting to people doing their own thing.

If yu are atracted to playing rock, pop soul, blues, jazz and what not on the violin hen do it. Fantastic. I am not goign to tell you its wrong or less musically significant than anything else. Indeed, poeple from the popular fileds often seem to rant at classical oriente dviolnists for disparaging what they do when my fairly wide experience has been they don@t.

On the other hand, if you want to call classical oriented violnist (loose terminology) narrow minded etc then kindly take a running jump. Speaking for myslef, I chose to do this. I choose to explore a fairly standard repertoire every day ind epth and work with my studnets on this. I choose to sit in an orchestra and enjoy over and over the delights of Beethoven , Mozart, Bach, Tchaikovsky and Mahler. Funny thing is they contian such a wealth of richness that there are often new and contreversial things to be found in unexpected places. I also choose to look out for and perform a great deal of modern music, but still within the realms of being a `classical@ violinist.

I am no more narrow minded than a racing driver, chef, vet or jazz violnist. I just do what I want to do. Thank you very much. Go eat some prunes.

May 27, 2008 at 11:24 PM · ...and I'm certain you wouldn't call a professional jazz violinist "narrow-minded" for not branching out into classical repertoire. This is all just another regurgitation of the myth that classical music is stodgy, stiff, powdered-wig music for the dead, dying and irrelevant. Pardon my Polish, but: bulls**t. Like Buri said, there are entire worlds to explore in the works of Brahms, whole galaxies in just one movement of Beethoven. When people can't (or, as is MUCH more common, *refuse to*) see that, I can only feel pity.

May 27, 2008 at 11:27 PM · I can't go as far as Buri said and call your argument insulting, but I will add that the classical repertoire spans over 400 years of musical genres. Many of us don't find it boring, but rather immense and vast and frankly there's not enough time in this lifetime to learn it all.

On the other hand, the violin is a versatile instrument used in every conceivable style and in every culture to some degree. I feel a special kinship to arabic music as it so closely relates to Greek folk music, but I adore Celtic, Balkan, fiddle, and folk rock as well. I can relate in the sense that I'm now feeling that I've limited myself and would like to explore these other styles of music and historical performance as well, but that's just me. It in no way lessens my deep love for Beethoven, Brahms, etc.

IMO Suzuki is boring, maybe that's why you're bored. But first you need to get good at maneuvering the instrument which a good classical teacher will help you do, and then off you go exploring the music you want to play.

May 28, 2008 at 12:17 AM · i`s just when people call me `narrow minded` I`m insulted. Probably because I`m narrow minded about being narrow...dang. Lost the thread again.

Cheers,

Buri

May 28, 2008 at 12:23 AM · Buri, no need to make excuses for feeling insulted when someone calls you "narrow-minded"!

Marina, I've recently become utterly addicted to Bulgarian folk music--I'm even contemplating teaching myself to play the gadulka in my spare time (whenever that is.) But like you say, it's not because I am bored with classical music or find it limiting!

May 28, 2008 at 01:21 AM · @ Carlos

"But can the violin really be that limited in style?"

To use your own rhetoric ... can it be that you are close minded about what kind of violin music is out there? Can it be that you believe the repertoire in those four suzuki books is already representative of what constitutes violin music? If so, look again, you have barely scratched the surface. There is much much more.

Maybe you are just too impatient and the repertoire that will rock your boat is still too advanced for your level to play, or maybe you have chosen a method/system for learning that doesn't match your preferences, you could probably find a teacher specifically teaching jazz or folk music or whatever it is that rocks your boat.

It is quite the contrary of what you suggest, the very fact that the violin is so versatile has resulted in it being used in so many different genres with such a vast and diverse repertoire that it is next to impossible if not impossible for anybody to learn all of it in a lifetime. You have to make choices. If you don't like the choices you've made, then change, there is no lack of choices with the violin.

May 28, 2008 at 02:51 AM · I've always loved "classical" music ever since I can remember, and (with some notable exceptions) almost every other kind of music has struck me as uninteresting and boring. And I do not consider myself some sort of elitist, because I don't "look down" on either all that music or the people who like it.

I just feel that all of the things that people seem to like about rock, jazz, pop, even folk music (like rhythm, melody, whatever), I find in so much abundance in so-called classical music, that anything else is just simply uninteresting by comparison.

I find most "classical" musicians much more open to other kinds of music much more than I am, and appreciate and understand all kinds of different music more than I do. So I think that classical musicians get a "bad rap" (pardon the pun) when it comes to being "closed minded."

On the other hand, I find that most people who don't like classical music are incredibly closed minded. They just pay no attention. Mention Bartok, and they wince. But the rhythmic beat and vitality and syncopation and raw sexual energy in the last movement of Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta rocks more than any popular music I've ever heard - anytime and anywhere (and, believe me, I've tried hard for decades to listen to the stuff).

Oh, well, as Bob Newhart once said: "I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'"

Don't sweat the small stuff.

:) Sandy

May 28, 2008 at 05:02 AM · Well let's be honest here... How many violin teachers are out there that don't teach anything BUT classical music?

I would call that close minded.

How about teaching classical TECHNIQUE, and modern STYLE.

btw i never meant to insult anyone...

but if the shoe fits... :)

plus i never meant to imply that there is anything worng with classical music. It is some of the most beautiful music around... But theres newer things now. If mozart were alive today, he wouldnt be writing the same kind of things he wrote back when he was alive. I imagine something with a drum loop and synths... You NEVER know! but did you guys like the video?

May 28, 2008 at 05:08 AM · "Classical technique and modern style"? How does that work? From what I know, the technique of playing (for example) jazz violin is rather different from classical violin.

May 28, 2008 at 05:07 AM · Greetings,

>Well let's be honest here... How many violin teachers are out there that don't teach anything BUT classical music?

And this eptimozes the stupidity in your idea. Classical musicians teahc what they do. Obviously you are soemone who isn`t able to recognize their own lack of thought.Is it worth trying to get itinto language simple enough that even you can understand. People do what they do. Not doing somehting else does not make them closed minded.

>I would call that close minded.

That`s becuase aside from not knowing what you are talking about you have no manners.

How about teaching classical TECHNIQUE, and modern STYLE.

No idea what you mean by modern style. Why don`t you read around onthis list a bit more and find out the way people talk and what they talk about. You will find perfect respect for all genres of playing (that`s a techncial term for people doing what they want to do- don`t suppose you raed Maura`s comments did you?). Don`t call people close minded till you`ve grown up a bit.

May 28, 2008 at 05:18 AM · If you'll allow me to try and interpret what Carlos is saying, I don't think he is saying by any means that classical music is boring or anything else of the sort. Correct me if I'm worng here, but I think he is saying that there is essentially one tone and style of playing that everybody has. That is clearly not to say that there are not an infinite number of shades of ways to play Brahms, but more that there are areas of violin playing which are unexplored. I believe he made the comparison to singing - there are many different fields of singing, from opera to beatboxing and a capella. I believe the author is expressing his concern at the lack of similar diversity in violin playing.

Now of course I have to wonder whether Carlos has been exposed to things like irish fiddling etc., but that's not my place to impose my suppositions.

edit: that's kind of funny that three people had a reaction at the same time..

May 28, 2008 at 05:33 AM · Whoa, whoa, whoa!

Quite a pickle we've got here.

Carlos' misunderstanding of "close minded" (sic) teachers aside, I think his line of thought begs an interesting question... Are there violin teachers out there who teach the instrument using non-traditional methods and approaches? Conversely, how can traditional pedagogy be adapted to suit contemporary audiences?

If I were a teenager just starting to learn the violin (FYI, I started at 6 and am now in my late twenties), I think it might have been easier for me to get a better feel of/for the instrument if my lessons had consisted of music that appealed to me --not necessarily pop songs, but contemporary music the underlying emotions of which I already had an affinity for in the context of my life at the time.

After all, playing is about getting in touch with the music itself: what is it trying to say? What feelings are involved here? Perhaps this would be more readily achieved by using songs that are already familiar to the student rather than using repertoire from a different time period and/or culture.

Having said that, I also understand where Buri is coming from. In the first place, there's a whole universe of emotions and technique to be learned from the old masters. Secondly, schools of violin pedagogy weren't built in a day; the repertoire used in each school has been carefully selected to impart specific skills in the order that students need to learn them.

So, does Carlos have a valid point or is he just impatient to get where he wants to be? I think it may be a bit of both.

Just my two cents.

May 28, 2008 at 05:51 AM · Hi,

I don't typically post comments to threads, but I do feel very strongly about this one. I also feel that many of you have brought up very valid points concerning "modern," "classical" and "[insert different genre]" styles of music.

My personal opinion is that "classical" training provides the best fundamental technique in a player, this having been the main method of choice for centuries. Having said this, current musical trends are in a constant flux and we need to be sensitive to and adapt to this flux as musicians if we want to stay current.

As a personal example, I am a classically trained professional violinist who also loves video games. I decided to take the theme of a particularly well-known Zelda game and write a classically-influenced interpretation for solo violin (http://www.youtube.com/BenChanViolin). By mixing these two genres that I myself prefer and feel strongly about, I was able to create a unique blend that you will probably not hear from any other violinist on the planet.

Really, my opinion is that it comes down to personal style and what you believe in. I believe in classical music as well as current cultural trends, so I mix the two based on what I'm feeling emotionally and produce something that has my unique brand. In this way, if people disagree with my style that's perfectly okay because it becomes a simple difference of opinion (kind of like what's happening throughout this thread). The important thing here is that I believe in it and that through my violin I am able to communicate this belief to the audience. Maybe some won't "feel" it, but at least I have stayed true to myself as a musician.

Thanks for reading my note, and I appreciate stimulating conversations about music like this one!

Ben Chan

May 28, 2008 at 05:46 AM · "How many violin teachers are out there that don't teach anything BUT classical music?"

What do you mean by classical music?

Do you mean European renaissance music, aka "classical music" due to the naming of the period as classical period in music history?

If so, then you are dead wrong, teachers don't limit themselves to this period.

Or do you mean early music plus baroque music plus renaissance music plus romantic music plus post-romantic music plus neo-classicist music plus atonal music plus serial music plus minimalist music plus plus plus all the way to modern contemporary "classical" music, all of which together is also often called "classical music"?

If so, then you are being silly because calling such a vast and diverse body of music "limited" is simply silly.

Even then, last time I checked, Suzuki books contained quite a few pieces which would not be included in any definition of classical music I could possibly think of.

If you want different study pieces than those which are in your Suzuki books, go to your local music store and browse the sheet music they have, there's tons of stuff, select something for your level which you fancy and ask your teacher to incorporate it. Problem solved.

May 28, 2008 at 06:17 AM · Thanx Charles! you get it! my intentions are good, i promise!

May 28, 2008 at 06:38 AM · btw charles i have been exposed to irish/celtic fiddling and i absolutely LOVE it! i actually made a hip hop beat that features (believe it or not) irish fiddling. I'm almost done with and i'd be happy to share with you if you'd like. The problem is theres no fiddle teachers in my area (that i know of) or jazz, soul, blues. etc. i only have my beloved paul dateh and miri ben ari videos on youtube! lol

Thanx for understanding me!

May 28, 2008 at 06:24 AM · hey Timothy James Dimacali, i think your points are valid. i appreciate them.

i REALLY liked this

"After all, playing is about getting in touch with the music itself: what is it trying to say? What feelings are involved here? Perhaps this would be more readily achieved by using songs that are already familiar to the student rather than using repertoire from a different time period and/or culture."

and i humbly understand when you said this:

Having said that, I also understand where Buri is coming from. In the first place, there's a whole universe of emotions and technique to be learned from the old masters. Secondly, schools of violin pedagogy weren't built in a day; the repertoire used in each school has been carefully selected to impart specific skills in the order that students need to learn them.

Thanx!

Wow, this is actually turning into a stimulating converation about MUSIC (not so fast, stephen ;-))

May 28, 2008 at 06:37 AM · Benjamin K,

I find the following snippet from your above post to be very interesting:

"If you want different study pieces than those which are in your Suzuki books, go to your local music store and browse the sheet music they have, there's tons of stuff, select something for your level which you fancy and ask your teacher to incorporate it."

That's great advice, and I think it would go a great way to helping more people appreciate and even actually go out of their way to learn the violin!

Of course, the teacher should be able to either arrange the piece to suit the student's level or at least let the student know what skills s/he needs to develop first before attempting the piece.

Ben Chan,

I love your post! By an amazing coincidence, I've been practicing the Overworld Theme from Super Mario Bros. a lot lately, haha

May 28, 2008 at 01:08 PM · Dear Carlos-you did manage to rattle the hive now didn´t you?

The pieces that are used to teach violin were written by violinists, Suzuki Method aside. A majority of major composers nowadays and in the last 50 years haven´t had a clue how to play the instrument, much less a clue how to write for it in a playable manner--some do, yes ---- but most don´t....or far less how to write good pedagogical tools.

The violin is steeped in 400+ years of tradition and evoloving musical style and does what it does astoundingly well-hence why the design hasn´t changed in ~300 years.

By Suzuki Book 4 you´ve played maybe 50 or 60 short pieces at most? These are not representative of any scale of the range of the repertoire-they are intended and in sequence to build technique and train your ear with very tuneful, memorable, and tame pieces. Why tame? Because folk songs tend to be that-and in being tame they are predictable and easy to memorize for the student-and don´t trick you out.

300 years ago-the violin was to society what the rock band is to society today. There were amateurs (in the old sense, not modern usage of the word), who enjoyed jamming with others in string-quartet or trio sonatas etc.

If you´re bored with what you´re playing listening to-go out and listen to others.

There are 600 OTHER Concerti by Antonio Vivaldi (alone) that are far more interesting than the 2 Vivaldi Concerti that are in the Suzuki Books.

I personally don´t care for the rock band thing--with a good enough sound system, and a team of sound technicians-like all bands now have, anyone can sound good regardless of skill or musicianship. If that is your cup of tea-fine, you can have your violin and I can have mine.

PS-I like being close-minded

PPS-I need some of those prunes Buri.

May 28, 2008 at 02:22 PM · Can someone bring the violin BACK?

Carlos, it hasn't been anywhere. You're only limited in how you play your violin by your experience and ability. Get out there and find what you like, learn it and play it.

May 28, 2008 at 02:49 PM · Such an interesting conversation. Time for me to add my two cents. As a bit of background, I'm a classically trained violinist, with an interest in jazz and irish fiddling, and love listening to ska music.

First of all, I need to take some issue with Charles' comment:

"there are many different fields of singing, from opera to beatboxing and a capella."

This is true, but you seemed to imply that an opera teacher would be just as capable at teaching beatboxing as teaching opera. I fail to see that this would be the case, as the techniques are completely different.

As a teacher, I'm happy to introduce my students to jazz or irish fiddling. I know some sense of the style, and would be able to include some songs in their repertoire. However, I feel that my training has been based mainly in classical (eg. Western Music), and as such that is what I know best. No matter what I teach, I would have to include that in there. I could introduce irish or jazz... however I would be limited by my own knowledge, and could only take a student so far if they wished to travel down that path.

That being said, I didn't have any teacher teach me jazz violin. I had a bit of irish music in my lessons, but not much. A lot of what I have learnt I taught myself. I learnt style from listening and reading. However, I wouldn't have had the ability to put that into practice if I didn't have the grounding in classical first.

When I have the time, I would love to explore the hip hop style of playing such as Miri Ben Ari, I think that would be really interesting for me.

There are people out there who are knowledgeable in the areas that you are interested in. However, often they might be in a different part of the country, and you can't learn from them. That doesn't mean you should stop learning the violin. Keep going in the classical training because it will give you the technique and the skills that will allow you to teach yourself how to play in the styles that you want to play in from listening and reading about them.

For encouragement, I'd suggest looking up Apocolyptica. While they are a cello quartet, no violins involved, they are classically trained musicians who have used their knowledge about how to play their instrument and applied it to the music they love... which happens to be metal.

Also check out bowed radio at www.bowed.org - That's a fairly regular podcast (with all past episodes available for download) focussed entirely on modern string writing, from jazz to hip hop to modern classical to eastern, it'll give you some great ideas to the world of string playing that is actually out there.

May 28, 2008 at 03:11 PM · Mark Wood has built his career on playing 'rock' violin and has a line of sheet music out transcribing rock music to string ensembles like quartets. The music is fairly difficult....which may be why, at Suzuki 4 level, you aren't finding as much of what is popularly called 'alternative music' for you yet. Most of it is fairly difficult and depends on really solid technique. I have a string quartet and we play at a fairly advanced level (i.e. Dvorak American, etc.) and I shied away from some of his ensemble arrangments.

The same is infinetely true of jazz violin.... technique must be solid so that you are free to focus on the syncopation, altered chords, etc.

But, it is increasinly available. Go to a website of something like Shar music or JW Pepper and you can actually search 'alternate styles' or 'folk music'. More and more is available at a student level.

I went to the national ASTA convention last year, in 2007, and alternate music styles was the buzzword of the conference. Many seminars on it, etc.

May 28, 2008 at 03:41 PM · Marc,

This comment... wow.

"I personally don´t care for the rock band thing--with a good enough sound system, and a team of sound technicians-like all bands now have, anyone can sound good regardless of skill or musicianship. If that is your cup of tea-fine, you can have your violin and I can have mine."

It sounds like your implying musicians from other genres have less skill or musicianship than you. Well they don't. ANYONE can learn to read music. NOT anyone can improvise. ANYONE can play something that was written 300 years that they've others played 1000s of times. But the beatles wrote their OWN songs. So are they less skilled than you?

NO.

(they MIGHT have better taste, SOME would say.)

Now, like i said, I LOVE classical music and all its sub genres (Baroque, chamber, etc) but when you guys were my age(20), is that all you listened too? There are so many other types of music your violin's voice could grace, and as young music major, it frustrates me.

And I don't think i'm only one...

Alicia Keys, A jazz and R&B pianist sold 100s times more records than Vladimir Horowitz, one of the most DISTINGUISHED pianists of the 21st century.

food for thought.

:)

May 28, 2008 at 03:59 PM · Ben,

Thanx for the web site, i'll be sure to check them out. By the way, i love Apocolyptica, i like their version of Final Countdown.

I really like this:

"Keep going in the classical training because it will give you the technique and the skills that will allow you to teach yourself how to play in the styles that you want to play in from listening and reading about them."

i definitely believe that! Classical technique with modern style, indeed.

thanx for the encouragement. Me and the violin are in for the long run(i hope)!

:)

May 28, 2008 at 04:37 PM · Actually Carlos, I speak from experience-I´ve worked tech sound and deckhand many times--and I´m quite aware of how utterly dependent rock bands are nowadays on their sound crews and their electronic toys ;>)

May 28, 2008 at 04:44 PM · Oh, good grief. Britney Spears also sold more records than Vladmir Horowitz, and she has not one micro-percentage of the talent he had. Record sales mean absolutely nothing in terms of musical ability. In fact, given our society's taste for sexual/violent images together with modern technologies that obviate the need for true musical skill, it becomes much more likely that the best-selling records end up having *less* musical value than the lesser-selling ones.

And I would bet that even Paul McCartney would be only too happy to bow to the talents of Horowitz.

And finally, that clip that you have at the top of the thread has nothing---NOTHING---to do with traditional Irish music.

May 28, 2008 at 05:00 PM · No one said it had anything to do with irish music. Paul Dateh is a hip hop violinst

2nd. Alica Keys and Britney Spears are two completely differemt people. I was talking about alicia keys.

I dunno, maybe nowadays its style over substance. Music is to entertain, right? thats where its origins lie. So lets entertain. Some people like classical. More people like contem. styles. Its a shame the violin, as beautiful as it is doesnt take much part in it. Music is supposed to change with the times. Appreciate the past. Learn from the past. Respect the past. LIVE in the present.

May 28, 2008 at 04:55 PM · Carlos, you keep saying "modern style" as if only rock and pop music could be modern, as if "classical music" didn't have any modern styles. In fact contemporary "classical music" is more modern than is rock music, at the very least it is not any older than rock music.

Yes, there are composers who write string quartets (to pick just one example) in this day and age and they sound nothing like the "classical music" you know. I can tell because of the way you talk about classical music.

Check out these

http://www.tomassvoboda.com

http://pagesperso-orange.fr/nigel.keay (Nigel is a member here, BTW)

http://www.schirmer.com/default.aspx?tabId=2419&State_2872=1&LetterToBrowse_2872=A-Z

You may also want to check out works by Bartok, Shostakovich and Stravinsky. They were 20th century composers, thus not contemporary anymore but their music is very modern by any standard.

May 28, 2008 at 04:57 PM · Ben,

I actually have heard these types of music. I just had no idea they were classified under classical. I always thought they were considered "experimental" Thanx for educating me on that. Its definitely eye opening. :)

May 28, 2008 at 05:03 PM · "It sounds like your implying musicians from other genres have less skill or musicianship than you. Well they don't. ANYONE can learn to read music. NOT anyone can improvise. ANYONE can play something that was written 300 years that they've others played 1000s of times. But the beatles wrote their OWN songs. So are they less skilled than you?"

I can't decide whether I should laugh or respond. I'll go with the latter for the hell of it.

Most mainstream genres do, objectively, require less skill than classical. You can analyze and research this by studying all the nuances and complexities of performance and training for that instrument.

As for the Beatles example, are you comparing rock musicians and their musical compositions to the skill level of classical musicians and their compositions? If you actually think a few simple bars repeated over and over in 4/4 time for just a few instrument, as most Beatles songs do, can compete in skill with a Shostakovich symphony scored for over a hundred instruments, involving entire universes of emotional and intellectual depth and subtlety in just a single movement ... then I have but one question:

How close was your cradle to the wall?

May 28, 2008 at 05:04 PM · Classical music is a very fuzzy term. It was first used for European music of the period between roughly 1750 and 1830. But later, the neighbouring periods where also often meant when somebody said "classical", and whenever another period appeared which followed in the footsteps of the previously called classical music, then that was eventually also included in the term. We have another thread going right now, called "Rename" in which people discuss what's good or bad about the fuzziness of the term "classical music", this may be of interest to you.

Anyway, if you go to a larger record/CD shop which carries many different genres, you will typically find all this music in a section called "Classical" ;-)

May 28, 2008 at 05:08 PM · Actually Jake,

I know of some modern jazz pieces that'll have any musician (classical or not) sweating. How about modern gospel? or Blues with its complicated chord voicings and difficult scales.

You are right in the simplicity of some present day music, but not all.

May 28, 2008 at 05:09 PM · Benjamin,

I haven't seen the other thread yet. It sounds interesting. And probably less controversial than mine! lol.

I'll check it out.

May 28, 2008 at 05:07 PM · "maybe nowadays its style over substance"

Exactly. One of the primary differences between classical and popular music is classical is very much about substance over style, not the other way around. You never see a female violinist in a bikini walk on the stage at Carnegie Hall and gyrate a choreographed dance routine to a concerto. The music stands on its own.

Which is not to say that popular music has no value. You just have to look a lot harder sometimes to find it.

May 28, 2008 at 05:11 PM · And the title of that YouTube clip was "Celtic Blues"...and it has nothing to do with anything Celtic (a vague term anyway) or with blues. It's a form of jazz, or maybe jazz-inspired modern instrumental music.

Mix your styles without knowing the boundaries of each and you're going to get into trouble.

May 28, 2008 at 05:18 PM · well, it has celtic sounding scale, mixed in with blues and r&b chord structure. The latter is more apparent.

If i remember correctly though, Paul Dateh was inspired by a celtic piece when he wrote this. I'll have to double check.

But i hardly think that he's in trouble. That clip is a HIT on youtube.

May 28, 2008 at 05:21 PM · Not really, no, the other thread is just as controversial because there are some people who are comfortable with the fuzziness of the term and there are others who would prefer to have a better terminology.

What I personally like about modern rock and pop music is that the name of the style/genre usually gives you a clue to what kind of music you can expect to hear. With "classical music" this is next to impossible, you have to listen (or read the score) to get an idea about the style because the name doesn't suffice as the diversity is much greater than any of the popular genres put together, simply because it spans such a large period in history (depending on what you want to include 500 years or a little less).

Perhaps, you begin to understand why the way you approached your initial post was considered somewhat hostile here. There is much more to "classical music" than what meets the eye.

May 28, 2008 at 05:17 PM · I think I´ll just open up my deck chair right here and watch this one.

PS-I´ll subtract the prunes

PPS-Any odds before we start hearing chants of ¨My music is better than yours¨?

PPPS-Anyone got some popcorn, or a Deutchesbier?

May 28, 2008 at 05:19 PM · Celtic sounding scale? You mean it's modal? Which mode?

Listen, Carlos, I play Irish music, I've been listening to it for 25 years, and that clip doesn't sound one teeny tiny bit Irish/Scottish/Breton/Galician/Manx/Welsh/etc to me.

May 28, 2008 at 05:24 PM · the style of the music in the YouTube video is called improv as far as I can tell, nothing celtic about it though.

May 28, 2008 at 05:22 PM · Benjamin,

There definitely is more to classical music than what meets the eye. But i still believe the violin can do WONDERS for other styles of music.

May 28, 2008 at 05:25 PM · Its inspiration its rooted in celtic music.

May 28, 2008 at 05:30 PM · "But i still believe the violin can do WONDERS for other styles of music."

Carlos, that doesn't mean that classical musicians or teachers are closed minded though. Besides, sometimes you have to first learn one thing to go on to do another.

Consider this: A few years ago, the US Navy stopped teaching celestial navigation (the old way with pinpointing stars and so on) they now only teach how to use the GPS. Most other navies still teach celestial navigation even if they typically use GPS. Who do you think has got the better education and is better prepared should the GPS be unavailable?

May 28, 2008 at 05:28 PM · "Its inspiration its rooted in celtic music."

What the heck does that mean? Some guy who plays violin listens to an Irish tune and feels so inspired that he sits down and writes a jazz piece? And then the jazz piece is somehow "Celtic" because the guy likes Irish tunes? Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds?

May 28, 2008 at 05:33 PM · The way i see it is this. allow... a metaphor!

Chicken is great. Everyone loves chicken. there is much you can do with chicken. Fry it. Bake it. Grill. Shred it. Thousands upon thousands of recipes for chicken. A human being being could eat chicken all their life and not get bored with it because of the different ways to prepare the chicken.

my question is.

Where's the beef?

i hope that made you smile. :)

May 28, 2008 at 05:37 PM · bad analogies don't make anybody smile, not here anyway

May 28, 2008 at 05:37 PM · Shailee,

its not a jazz piece.its HipHop minus the drum loop. Learn your genres. And yes if you are hip hop musician you very well can be inspired by other styles of music and incorporate elements of that style into hip hop. There is group named black violin that does just that. Incorporate elements of classical music into hip hop. its called INSPIRATION. i wonder if you ever composed anything?

May 28, 2008 at 05:44 PM · "Learn your genres." ... says he who comes here with absolutely no clue about "classical music" accusing classical music to lack choice based on the tiny bit of stuff he's seen in four Suzuki books.

Wasn't there some saying ... somebody in a glass house shouldn't throw stones or something like that?

May 28, 2008 at 05:55 PM · Benjamin,

Suzuki is not the only exposure i've had to classical music. I am a classically trained pianist, and i've been playing piano 14 of my 20 years on Earth. so i definitely have had more classical exposure than you, an adult beginner(info from your profile). I have played some of the most difficult piano literature and have had many years in private piano instruction. But I have also expanded my horizons recently. i now play anything form chopin to usher. Dvorak to Tito Fuentes. Brahms to Ray Charles. I know my genres, thank you.

May 28, 2008 at 05:50 PM · Well I'm not an expert on hip hop so I won't say that it's not hip hop, but it sounds like jazz to me. I am fairly expert regarding Irish/Scottish music, however, and I do say that that piece has not one element of anything Irish/Scottish in it. Not the structure of it, the phrase shapes, the notes, nor the style in which it was played---it incorporates absolutely nothing from traditional Irish music. You said the scale was "Celtic" and I asked you the mode, and you ignored the question.

May 28, 2008 at 05:58 PM · Carlos, I'm afraid, but that makes your conduct only worse. After all, we didn't come to you to tell you what literature you should use. You came here to call us closed minded because the literature you chose doesn't satisfy you. If you know your way around, then you have even less reason to blame us for your own failure to find the literature you desire.

As for your making wild speculative assumptions about my exposure to music, what can I say, your age shows and you're wrong, too.

May 28, 2008 at 05:57 PM · jazz, huh? which jazz song/piece doest it sound like to you? Its played in simple Seventh chords and diminished chords, nowhere near the complexity of jazz. Enlighten me.

May 28, 2008 at 05:59 PM · Benjamin,

i do know my "way around." i have found SOME violin literature other than classical. unfortunately theres not that many. and thats a shame. thats all im trying to say. it sux that violin having such potential is so focused on one particular mega genre.

May 28, 2008 at 06:08 PM · Well, the music shop I go shopping has oodles of non-classical violin literature, perhaps not hiphop, but a large variety of folk/fiddle literature from a large number of different geographies from South America to Eastern Europe, also jazz and tango literature. If your local shop isn't as well sorted as the ones over here, I suggest you find it online and get your books by mailorder.

Then again, you seem to be purposefully ignoring the many hints you have been given here: You often have to learn one thing first before you can move on to another, that's not specific to violin playing but fairly common in any area of study.

May 28, 2008 at 06:19 PM · I'll admit that I think violin can work wonderfully in many genres other then classical music (I'm not too enthusiastic about violin being used for hip hop/R&B though :-\) but there ARE many rock bands that utilize violins, for example. Check out symphonic rock, or rock bands like Nightwish and Within Temptation, which use entire orchestras alongside drums and guitar.

Such stuff exists.

May 28, 2008 at 09:58 PM · In response to Shostakovitch, Stravinsky, and Bartok you said:

"I actually have heard these types of music. I just had no idea they were classified under classical. I always thought they were considered "experimental""

"...its not a jazz piece.its HipHop minus the drum loop. Learn your genres. "

"I am a classically trained pianist, and i've been playing piano 14 of my 20 years on Earth. so i definitely have had more classical exposure than you, an adult beginner(info from your profile). I have played some of the most difficult piano literature and have had many years in private piano instruction. But I have also expanded my horizons recently. i now play anything form chopin to usher. Dvorak to Tito Fuentes. Brahms to Ray Charles. I know my genres, thank you." ----- someone of this incredible amount of expertise should know which genre Stravinsky falls into before telling people to learn their genres don't you think?

May 28, 2008 at 11:42 PM · marina,

I was refering to benjamins "modern" classical music websites:

http://www.tomassvoboda.com

http://pagesperso-orange.fr/nigel.keay (Nigel is a member here, BTW)

http://www.schirmer.com/default.aspx?tabId=2419&State_2872=1&LetterToBrowse_2872=A-Z

not stravinsky Bartok, & Shostakovich. read his entire comment, not just the last part.

just to clear that up. :)

May 28, 2008 at 11:29 PM · Gee, so much happening. This is going to be a long response to many things.

"It sounds like your implying musicians from other genres have less skill or musicianship than you. Well they don't. ANYONE can learn to read music. NOT anyone can improvise. ANYONE can play something that was written 300 years that they've others played 1000s of times. But the beatles wrote their OWN songs. So are they less skilled than you?

NO."

Actually... I think yes. Don't get me wrong, there are some fantastic contemporary musicians out there, and I'm sure that they have great talent, but a lot of their writing is formulaic, because that's what the music industry demands. Yes, the Beatles wrote great songs, but a lot of them just followed the same chord patterns. Yes, they were innovative, and they did change the way we thought about music, however as to whether they are more talented than Bach, Mozart or Beethoven, I'm not sure.

And also, you say that anyone can learn an instrument, but not anyone can improvise. Here you are wrong, because you're changing the fields. Yes, anyone can learn an instrument, but in a similar vein, anyone can learn to improvise. Just like learning to play an instrument, learning to improvise is something that takes thought and practice over time. Not everyone who tries it will make it fantastic the first time, but they can develop that skill over time, if they so desire. However, I believe that your technique should be at the basis of this to give you the freedom to play.

Speaking of technique, watching the video you provided, I can see that he's got good technique. Personally, I'd prefer him to use the lower half a bit more, but I like the sound that he was getting, so I'm not too fussed about it. Whatever works, so long as you get the sound.

As for what style it is, I can see both camps here. I can see that it's very jazzy - takes a riff, then there's some improvisation, and then comes back to the head. I can also see that the guitar playing is very much in the hip-hop style, however I'd be willing to say this is more jazz than hip hop (And once again, just like classical music, there are many different styles that fall under the broader heading of jazz). The swung quavers is what did it for me, I wouldn't expect to hear that as much in Hip Hop.

"I know of some modern jazz pieces that'll have any musician (classical or not) sweating"

There are some modern jazz pieces that are rather difficult to play. So what. There are some classical pieces that are darn near impossible to play. But I don't think that was what you meant. I think you were meaning that if you ask a classical violinist to play this jazz piece, they'll be sweating. Of course they will - they don't know the style. It would be like asking a jazz pianist to play a Bach Fugue. They might be able to play the notes, but would be lost on the style, because they don't know it.

"so i definitely have had more classical exposure than you"

Can we try and keep this on topic and away from personal slandering?

"Its played in simple Seventh chords and diminished chords" Why is this not jazz? Take Five, probably one of the most well known jazz pieces is made up solely of minor 7th chords. You don't get diminished chords in a 12 bar blues, but that's one of the most common jazz forms. I'm studying Jazz improvisation atm, and learning certain heads, and the chords they use aren't as complex as you'd like to believe.

And as I've said before, if something is out there that you want to do, but no-one teaches it, teach yourself. William Barton is a great Australian musician. He plays Dijeridu, and studied it at (iirc) the Sydney Music Conservatorium. He was the first Dijeridu player at the (or any other) conservatorium. How on earth could he have learnt anything seeing as there was no teacher at the conservatorium? He learnt the classical styles, and applied it to his own traditional playing. Now he's an international artist, performing the dijeridu in a "classical" style.

If something doesn't exist for your instrument, discover a way to apply it to your instrument. Don't come complaining to us that we don't teach something that we know nothing about.

May 29, 2008 at 12:03 AM · Just to clear something up. I'm not complaining. Just defending my point of view. :)

May 29, 2008 at 12:06 AM · ...yes, with indefensible generalizations, insults, and outright falsehoods. Take it from someone who's made a fool of herself in many a debate...your opinions are better defended by facts than by more opinions.

May 29, 2008 at 12:27 AM · Mara, have some popcorn. (<;

May 29, 2008 at 12:30 AM · Pass the Junior Mints! The big fight scene is coming! :)

May 29, 2008 at 12:45 AM · Speaking of GPS....I have recently finished a trip in the Gulf croc country, struggling for several days in the heat with a top of the line GPS. I didn't see Crocodile Dundee up there btw. I didn't take my violin as the trip was too rough. Maybe next time. And now back to the scheduled topic. Talk of GPS sometimes brings a rueful smile to my face....maybe learning how to teach and play hip hop/improv violin would be an easier life.

Mara, when can we break out the lightsabres?

May 29, 2008 at 01:10 AM · You bring the lightsabres, I'll bring the One Ring to Rule Them All.

May 29, 2008 at 01:41 AM · :-)

May 29, 2008 at 01:30 AM · wow...

1. Paul Dateh is a classically trained violinist, he studied violin classically for 14 years and even enrolled USC's Thornton School as a performance major before switching to jazz studies. I am pretty sure that Dateh would agree that his classical training prepared him for what he chose to do, giving him a strong base in the technique that is necessary for him to navigate the intstrument.

2. are the personal attacks necessary? just because someone refers to themselves as an adult beginner at the violin doesnt mean they haven't been exposed to classical lit.

3. there are loads of groups and individuals who are 'bringing the violin into the 21st century' carlos-you yourself have listed several as have others.

4. suzuki bk.4 is not a good representation of the capacities of the violin and at that level you are not necesarily prepared from a technical standpoint for the interesting challenges that playing different genres present to the intrument and player. that isnt to say that you cannot become prepared or that a certain style of playing csnnot be done on the violin.

5. classical violinists teach classical violin because that is what they are qualified to teach

6. if you want to learn more genres more power to you, but you might get further and more support if you didnt call classical musician and music narrow minded. :)

May 29, 2008 at 02:42 AM · Whoa!

When I left my computer yesterday, this thread stood at 18 posts... and it's ballooned to 65 now!

I think I'll take you guys up on those lawn chairs and popcorn. Have we reached the climax yet? :P

On a serious note, lest this turn into a flame war, I hope we can all take from this discussion what wisdom we can; separate the dross from the gold, as it were, and remember that words don't always convey what we want or hope them to.

Play on, I say, play on! :)

May 30, 2008 at 02:23 PM · Carlos, you got me somehow confused....

First you wrote this....

"But the beatles wrote their OWN songs. So are they less skilled than you? "

Then this

"Actually Jake,I know of some modern jazz pieces that'll have any musician (classical or not) sweating. How about modern gospel? or Blues with its complicated chord voicings and difficult scales."

But I guess Jake answer was regarding to YOUR STATEMENT about the Beatles, not about the 'some modern jazz pieces' (I'd like you to compare such pieces against Bach's chaconne, and tell us how do you see the complexity comparison, let's start with that solo, not pieces for a hundred of instruments..¿will you so it?) you wrote later, isn't it?

FWIW, you, as latinamerican, must be aware of reggaeton, most of it is crap labeled as music, isn't it?

then check this:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=wegA1OPLGuc

And tell me if it's simple music as the rest of Reggaeton...

However, AFAIK, these are real musicians (not some averages joes with no clue of what musi is, given a microfone, like happens a lot with rap or reggaeton 'artists'), with classical training...

The diference is that I don't think it's SOME songs that are utterly crap in Reggaeton, it's MOST of the songs, examples like Calle13 are the exception, not the norm.

And this happens in many genres, specially in the most popular music...again, it's not like just SOME cases wich are exceptions...

And I'm pretty sure that when you find great music of high complexity in genres where you wouldn't expect it, isn't it likely that the creators have classical training in their background?

PS: for being a little more specific, Classical Music would be the one that in other thread was also named "serious art music" or "western art music"...

May 30, 2008 at 03:21 PM · I'm going back to the basic first post to reply to kind of "reset" the field. "High strung" really describes a few of the responses in the thread. :)

"I was first inspired to learn the violin by watching a string quartet playing with a Spanish rock Band named "Bacilios." Now, a few Suzuki books later, (4 to be exact), I find myself ... bored."

Understandable. While there's a lot to be learned from this repertoire, it's certainly not for everyone, and after two Seitz concertos a third can really wear down the spirit to play. There are surely hundreds (if not thousands) of students who have probably dropped playing the violin at or around Book 4 because they were either intimidated, bored and intimidated—many students use the word “boring” for music they don’t understand and can’t yet comprehend (which, given your piano background surely doesn’t apply to you), or the repertoire simply didn’t fit them, at which point they should have searched out another teacher if the one they had couldn’t adjust.

“I was first mesmerized how the violin sounded with a rock backing, amazed at its versatility. But can the violin really be that limited in style?”

You said it yourself—amazed at the violin’s versatility, so obviously it’s not limited.

“Wait. No. Correction. Can violinist/teachers be that closed minded in music literature?”

They absolutely can be. Many teachers are firmly entrenched in one track of literature and sniff at the thought of other forms being able to reach similar ends—but that applies universally, not just to classical violin teachers.

“Maybe its just that I'm young but I believe that there can be so much MORE!”

I agree. It needs more people to help it stretch into the 21st century. There are universes to be found in Mahler and Brahms. We also need to have the new worlds to reach more of today’s listeners and learners. This includes contemporary classical. I wish we could have a discussion about 40 new albums that came out in 2008 so far that featured brand new compositions for string quartet or symphony.

“The violin is the musical instrument that most closely resembles the human voice... unfortunately there seems to be more opera singers in the violin than soul singers. Can someone bring the violin BACK?”

This was just a poor choice of words that got everyone riled up. You maybe should have said, “can someone bring the violin FORWARD”. The violin certainly hasn’t gone anywhere.

May 30, 2008 at 04:42 PM · Cool. I like it just where it is.

May 31, 2008 at 04:31 AM · i'm happy the mad mob is gone...

now we can discuss music...

Greg, i see now how the last statement should have been rephrased. i take back my last choice of words, and replace with yours, they're much better. Thanx alot. :)

May 31, 2008 at 05:27 AM · Carlos, be glad you weren't here a few years ago. The "mad mob" was in full force back then and MAN, do I miss those good old days....

May 31, 2008 at 05:48 AM · i guess the prunes do come in handy, eh? :)

May 31, 2008 at 06:23 AM · You don't know the half of it.

Debates are great, esp. heated ones... we've just got to remember not to let it get personal

June 3, 2008 at 09:03 PM · The way I see it, Suzuki offers technique build-up. The rest is up to you when you feel ready to venture off. Here is what you could venture to... jazz, chinese music, armenian, gypsy, romantic, baroque, contemporary, modern, experimental, rock, pop, hip-hop, country, blue-grass, etc.

What I find interesting is that I have yet to find a teacher teaching the six-string electric violin. So I do understand a bit of what you're trying to say.

Perhaps, what you're wondering is why don't some teachers start students off with simple pop/modern music? My personal opinion is that it's because the system isn't baroquen, so why fix it? *pun*

Learn the technique first. And because Suzuki has been used for a very long time (probably older than my mom and your mom combined) and has been affective in developing technique, that is what most teachers do. They want their students to develop the best way possible.

In terms of style, after a while, that is up to you. You'll start to see that there is much to discover, so in the meanwhile... I suggest sticking to what your teacher is having you do. If you're beyond Suzuki, great.

June 4, 2008 at 01:43 AM · I read about 2/3 of this thread....

Classical music is definitely at least as difficult to 'make one's own' as any other of the 'advanced' forms of music due to the problems encountered when trying to overcome problems with technique, style, and all the rest.

Making music 'one's own' and playing it expressively and convincingly is possibly the greatest challenge no matter the style and, in my opinion, is more important than whether the style is 'this' or 'that'.

The Beatles were a great band. I think George Harrison was perhaps the best musician/technician in the group. I love the Beatles, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Dead Kennedys, Mozart, Joe Venuti, Art Tatum, Neil Gow, and lots of musicians I don't even remember the names of...

My main playing style is classical (professional), but I've played in rock, jazz, folk styles as well.... some better than others!

June 4, 2008 at 02:41 AM · You are, in my opinion, spot on.. I'm an older fellow who has found himself to be a recording artist of popular songs. (91 of them are on itunes). You're right about the human voice thing. Violin is perfect. There are thousands of guitarists, pianists, saxophone players who play this music. Why not a violin? My only explanation is, it's harder to do than it looks..I enjoy playing the violin as Elvis might sing a melody. Or the BeeGees. Or Dean Martin. People dig it. I've sold over 150,000 albums. Keep up the good work.

June 4, 2008 at 04:40 PM · Thanx David. :)

June 5, 2008 at 06:21 AM · Each generation brings with it a desire to contribute and add to the wealth of tradition and history that has come before.

One can debate whether certain explorations, experiments, discoveries add or detract, are significant or not, but, by way of example, we can point to the realm of drama: Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, which, with its timeless theme of star-crossed lovers, was successfully recast with rival gangs in New York in Jerome Robbins', Leonard Bernstein's, and Stephen Sondheim's Broadway classic, West Side Story, and also adapted in the early 1900's by the composer Delius in his opera "A Village Romeo and Juliet" and made into a very evocative film by Peter Weigl.

In this case, different generations "brought forward" the story of the star crossed lovers. I think it benefits anyone interested in the story to know all three versions, and there are, of course, other versions of this justly famous and tragic tale.

I think, as a teacher, I may choose to teach what I'm familiar with, but nothing has to prevent me from making new discoveries and branching out from beyond my "comfort zone" especially if it helps a student get greater joy and satisfaction out of something he or she has initially become interested in as Carlos wrote about what attracted him to the violin to begin with.

My own experience has been that students tend to discover popular forms of music on their own and need little help finding out more about that from me, but, when a student asks to learn something outside the so-called "classical" repertoire, I try to oblige, and if it's something with which I feel I do not have the expertise, I try to point them in the right direction.

An interesting example, though, of adding to one's knowledge came up years ago when an Indian American violin student of mine wanted to learn to play a solo whose accompaniment had been arranged for orchestra by a local amateur composer. I was given a tape of the original solo Indian melody played on sitar which I then ended up transcribing for violin so that this student could then play the solo with his school orchestra. This was a most interesting and satisfying challenge because I expanded my horizons learning something about Indian violin and at the same time helped the student to connect with his heritage on an instrument for which he had previously only been learning Western European Art Music ("classical" music).

So Vivaldi from Suzuki Book IV may not be Carlos' "cup of tea" but I would not deny him the right to want to find out how to play and explore other genres of violin playing. I do agree that a solid technical foundation associated with Western classical violin traditions will only help and not hurt, and we see several prominent examples of that in the field of Jazz like Jean Luc Ponty and the Turtle Island String Quartet.

Speaking of "a cup of tea", there is a short film with that title that I recommend to Carlos and everyone else. Who knew how tellingly such a ritual could be told on film and with Chopin's music in the background to add to the pleasure. There's a lesson in there somewhere about how to get along in life- and it is very different from the Korean tea ceremony I participated in, but no less compelling.

June 5, 2008 at 03:21 PM · Why are you studying Suzuki? Time spent complaining about and tearing down musical traditions that you don't understand is time wasted, and ultimately serves only to ossify the brain. Find a teacher who can help you. Not easy, but if you live in or near a large city, there's bound to be someone. Call some recording studios and ask about session violinists who play styles you're interested in, perhaps one of them gives lessons or knows someone who can help you.

Just listened to some Paul Dateh. The kid's good. After listening to two of his videos, it's obvious that he's studied many styles including Hungarian Gypsy and Jean-Luc Ponty. He's not playing some magical Modern Style that he learned in a book. He's spent his time seriously exploring other traditions and, along the way, spent years developing technique. As a result, he is now in the exalted position of creating his own style. Admirable. I study Bach cello suites on the viola, but will spend time listening to Paul's work because he has much to say that I admire.

June 5, 2008 at 08:11 PM · I like classical, but I also like some other styles as well. However, I'd like to point out that learning classical technique will stand you in good stead for any other branchings out you'd like to do! Even my young teenage fiddle friend has acknowledged that to bump up her level of playing, she should go back and get some classical violin lessons!

Maura: I love Bulgarian/Macedonian too! I particularly liked to dance this style in my youth. In my rather eclectic music collection, I've got a few Bulgarian pieces, and one rip-snorting Macedonian piece (to dance to, of course), which is the violin part for an arrangement by the now defunct Aman folk ensemble of Tetovsko Horo. The key signature is F#/D#, the time signature is 9/8 (rhythm is quick, quick, quick slow), and it blazes! You'll need another violin, an accordian, and a dombek. After a strong start, it goes into a neat violin solo which is alot of fun. I don't think this one would go very well on the gadulka, however. I also have rachenitzas, cetvornos, maybe even a kopanitza, etc. Good luck with the gadulka!

June 6, 2008 at 02:18 AM · thnx for the suggestions ronald and chris.

June 6, 2008 at 06:14 AM · There's some nice videos of Hilary Hahn playing crossover-esque music on youtube with Josh Ritter. Don't know if that's what you're looking for, but her (their) playing is quite nice (I despise Josh Ritter's voice). She does appear to be bored out of her mind...

PS hey, ricky

June 6, 2008 at 05:24 PM · Ronald,

I just noticed something about your response. You called classical music "western europoean art music." I know there was a whole 100 response thread about this and that may have been the solution you guys came up with but I REALLY don't like that name for classical music. It implies that only Classical music is an art form and that simply isnt true. And europe has produced way more than classical music. Some of the best rock music comes from europe. just wanted to point that out. Plus there are many american classical composers. I think you know that.

June 7, 2008 at 03:02 AM · "Ronald,

I just noticed something about your response. You called classical music "western europoean art music." I know there was a whole 100 response thread about this and that may have been the solution you guys came up with but I REALLY don't like that name for classical music. It implies that only Classical music is an art form and that simply isnt true."

No, it doesn't imply that. Art Music as compared with commercial music or Folk music. They are all art forms of music, however all are completely different.

"And europe has produced way more than classical music. Some of the best rock music comes from europe. just wanted to point that out."

Also not the point. Just because it uses the term "Western European Art Music" doesn't mean that there isn't other stuff that comes out of Western Europe. Think about if I was talking about Asian Rice. It doesn't mean that rice is the only food product grown in Asia, nor does it mean that it can't be grown elsewhere. It's just a way of describing it.

"Plus there are many american classical composers. I think you know that."

Yes there are, plus also Australian composers, South American composers, even asian composers. However, the reason we use Western European Art music is that it is where most of the rules of harmony that we follow (or disregard with a reason) came from that area. It wouldn't make sense to call it American Art Music when it came out of the Western European Tradition.

This isn't the place to get into discussion over what we call things, and I think it's very unlikely that we'll have a change in name anytime soon.

June 8, 2008 at 03:24 AM · I was just going by the term that has commonly been given to Classical music because of its origins in Western Music from Gregorian Chant onward. I'm not saying it is the only way to describe this music but this term covers for me the periods of music from Gregorian Chant, to Organum, to Medieval and Renaissance music, to Baroque, Classic, Romantic, Impressionistic and Post Romantic, Twentieth Century, Minimalism, etc. Because of the discoveries and emphasis on harmonic exploration and development these periods of music have something in common associated with a European tradition.

I do hope that this did not prevent you from considering the other things of which I wrote and I did not mean to use terms that would be misleading or confusing.

June 8, 2008 at 03:46 AM · Not at all ronald,

just didnt like western euro art music, lol

May 5, 2010 at 04:50 AM ·

 After reading this thread, I realized how many people jumped on on him for classifying a genre of music, Classical.

  Just because somebody isn't as well versed in a particular genre of music, or topic for that matter, doesn't mean it should be taken as offensive.  it was mentioned the classical listener gets an elitest stereotype, and this thread pretty much shows it and why.  Rather than educate or ask what he truley meant, he was ridiculed and made to look close minded because he classified a genre singularly (much like many people do for other genres).  There was no need to feel offended and spout off a bunch of knowledge, people got offended.  

  Although he was vague in his post, I don't think the lynching, no matter how maturely it was executed was quite necessary.  One could do quite the same to you if you said "Road cycling sucks"  Really?  So, can you tell me the differences between a trathalon bike and a road bike? 650c or 700c?  What about don't you like?  the climbs or leading?  I would bet nobody on this thread knows wtf I'm talking about.  And the same could be said for the starter of this topic on the subject of classical music.  Just like all classical isn't the same, neither is any other genre.  Don't get your panties in a wad because he didn't know the difference between bach and mozart, educate him.  Ask him more of what he meant  Isn't that what we're here for?  And the whole elitest attitude, well, there was a comment made "if the shoe fits...."it appeared as if many people on here have the same size feet for a second....

May 5, 2010 at 05:49 AM ·

 edit: post deleted...didn't realize the thread was a year old...you tricked me Nate.  One thing I just have to say though: "Classical" is not a genre.  It is a relatively short period in history.  Violin music as we know it is almost 500 years old and the issue I have with people like the original poster is that he's scoffing off all those generations of tradition as if it's one little genre like "trance" or "rap".  It's so much more than that, it's the big picture. 

May 5, 2010 at 07:39 AM ·

 Greetings,

nothing wrong with digging up truly old threads although I find the motivation just a little suspect.  Nate,  what leads me to suspect you have something of an axe to grind here is that you perhaps willfully,  perhaps not,  utterly misrepresent what was said and how people reacted to the comment.

As an objective fact, that can be verified by the simple act of reading with care,  anyone can find out for themselves that  the original poster was most definitely -not- jumped on for having differing views about the respective values of different genres.  What he was jumped on for was being disrespectful.  I don`t care one jot about your protestations old bean,  calling people `narrow minded `  in their chosen profession in the manner it was done was extremely rude. Yep,  the poster was essentially an arrogant little oik. Can`t get around that.   Aside from that,   the points he attempted to raise were dealt with in a broad minded and civilized way ,  much more politely than on other forums in other fields which do not take kindly to direct insults. That is not what we are on this forum for.

In choosing to allay yourself with this very childish post you essentially say you agree with being rude to people rather than opening an interesting line of discussion with a thought provoking but polite use of language.  Hopefully that will give you at least slight pause for thought and perhaps motivate you to reread this old thread with a little more care,   noting the actual points being raised and the sequencing of annoyed reaction to a very rude and ill mannered poster.

 

May 5, 2010 at 11:13 AM ·

I noticed that my website was mentioned in reference to my string quartet in the middle of this thread. That certainly doesn't happen every day, so was very nice to see that. Haven't seen Benjamin K around here for a while.... Anyway, while there's still space on this thread I just wanted to point out that that address is completely obsolete now, back then I had just started the site being as economical as possible, but now have a proper domain name: www.nigelkeay.com (just in case anyone goes to look at it). Have just made a new recording of that String Quartet, too.

May 5, 2010 at 10:27 PM ·

 Buri (Stephen Bravati), I do not allay myself with his post, nor do I agree with much he has said.  Maybe I'm reading his posts in the wrong tone/context, but the statement he made:

"Can violinist/teachers be that closed minded in music literature?"

 

Sounded to be rhetorical.  Many people took it as direct insults to them personally, when it wasn't directed at anybody.  It was a rhetorical question, if not just an opinion.  As the joker said, "why so serious?"

 

So he says he's bored after a couple suzuki books.  Who isn't? Learning that stuff sucks, but it's a proven fact, suzuki books + good teacher = STRONG fundamental base and a better player.  And as pointed out, maybe he hasn't gotten to the level yet to where he is able to play the other genres that he wants to play.  I know I want to play other genres improvising, but I'm "stuck playing suzuki vol. 1", but I know I must crawl before I learn to walk, let alone run.  And down the line, my playing will be that much better, and likely, in a faster manner with far less, if any bad habits.  Seems like the OP lost this somewhere along the line.

 

Classical music is infact a genre.  Much like hip-hop encompasses many things.  It's probably the broadest term you can use for either, but you get the picture.  It may very well be a matter of symantics, but the general population knows what you're referring to if you say "classical music" or "hip-hop". Regardless of how wrong it may actually be to the devout listener (much like anything to a devout follower/participant in an activity), society has labeled it as such.  And it's widely accepted as a "genre".  Go into a Music store, or just google "classical music", and you'll find that's how stores label that kind of music.  I hate having to look for DJ Shadow in Rap/HipHop, but that's how he's labeled.  To me, he has hardly anything to do with hip-hop, and I hate the fact that people lump Rap and Hip-Hop together, but I realize it's symantics and for ease of categorization.  Nothing else.

  He kept repeating "Classical technique and modern style".  I don't think anybody really got at what he was trying to say.  Paul Dateh is the example, or any other heavily classically trained violinist who branches into other genres and styles.  Not like the youtube jobbers who know how to play violin, and just play stuff.  I think he was trying to say the really strong fundamentally trained violinists who branched away from the orchestra and sheet music to play "modern" music.

Either way, it just seemed as if he was a little uninformed and left doing what any person, especially a younger person without life experiences behind them, uninformed would do....defend themselves when 30 people are commenting back.  I realize Violinists are VERY traditional in most senses, and very uninviting to new things (planetary pegs for example???).  And if you're uninviting to things, regardless of how insignificant it is, you cannot say you are 100% open minded.  You are close minded, albeit very fractionally small, just don't take it as an insult when it's the truth.

  As he stated, he's young, so it's quite possible the point he was trying to convey wasn't given in quite the best fashion.  And as we know, younger people tend to say stupid things.  Why not just write it off as such?   Rather than taking things he says as insults, educate and correct him, and reconfirm what point it is YOU think he's trying to get across, rather than just typing the first thing that pops into your head.  If he's directly offensive, you can either A. insult back, or B. do what you do in real life, ignore him.  Not in any of his posts did I see a direct insult to anybody.  Most everything he made that riled people up ended with a "?" making it rhetorical or a questioning statement.  And like said, if the shoe fits.....only you know it fits, if you personally try it on.  Keyword, personal.  Don't take things so heavily!

 

Wow...that was long.  /rant

lol.

May 5, 2010 at 10:28 PM ·

 And to note, none of that is necessarily directed at anybody unless explicitly stated, rather, it's in a very general context.

May 6, 2010 at 05:33 AM ·

I liked what Zach De Pue had to say about this type of thing: basically, get your classical foundation so that you can play anything.

It's not only a matter of technique; it also is a matter of harmonic awareness. I once witnessed a rock 'n' roller, singing his own tunes, and I realized that I was actually just very bored. And I like rock just fine! As soon as I realized I was bored, I asked myself, why? It had a good rhythm, the guy was playing with energy, not bad lyrics, what was it? He hadn't changed the chord, like, forever. He was jammin' his heart out, over one chord, and he was completely unaware of this.

That said, there is great music out there of all genres. Also, rotten music of all genres, including classical.

I'd say when it comes to playing the violin, though, it's worth it to get your literacy in classical music, the genre that goes the farthest on the violin, and to pay attention to your teacher. Sure, explore other areas along the way, but find a teacher that allows you to grow your technique while exploring at an appropriate level.

I've had students that wanted to skip straight to the "good stuff," and play rock tunes. It helps to have a basic foundation in how to play the instrument first. What a pathetic thing it is, to see someone with no rhythmic proficiency, poor skill, bad intonation, no vibrato, etc., muddle through a rock song melody that is beyond the very basic skill level they've achieved. The skill building and technique goes way, way beyond Suzuki Book 4.

I think it was Dottie who said there's already a lot out there to help beginners explore, so look into it. Also maybe look into Mark O'Connor's new method, which is to be a progression. Ben Chan has all kinds of awesome stuff on his Youtube channel, too.

May 6, 2010 at 05:34 AM ·

I would just like to say...that after reading a lot of this thread, on an instinctual level, I think I've missed a lot by never exploring the diversity and wonders of classical music. I may have to wait until I'm too old to play to do that, as I seem to have all I can cope with just wading thru 12 bar blues. I just know that there has got to be a lot of mind blowing music out there, even from 3 or 4 hundred years ago.

May 6, 2010 at 05:49 AM ·

Dave, you send me your 12-bar blues, I'll send you 12 bars of Bach. Just tell me if I'm sending sheet music or a recording for ear-learning. Maybe we should have a big exchange where we all pal up with someone who plays a completely different genre of music, and learn something new!

May 6, 2010 at 09:13 PM ·

That would be cool!

May 6, 2010 at 09:45 PM ·

The Violin....... I have been learning that at it's humble beginning it was the instrument of scoundrels, scalawags, rouges, wenches, and all other persons of the vulgar (common) types.  Still it remains quite the instrument of upstart... so it seems.

A round of ALE for everyone! I'm buying!!!! where's that fiddler, play something modern... with classical technique!

May 7, 2010 at 12:55 PM ·

Hello Laurie

You would have to send me a recording as sheet music would just look like a whole bunch of dots on and in between lines to me. But I've got a little digital recorder that can slow a recording down up to 50%. I would most likely have to use the full 50% to learn anything by Bach by ear. As for sending you some 12 bar blues, perhaps if I could figure out how to record myself and download it and send it....but if you knew my computer skills...that might take a while. Would it be ok to use my wah wah pedal though! I just luv my wah wah!

Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner with a reply. It ws a combination of being tied up with buying a new fiddle (as per my latest blog - shameless plug) and just plain avoiding it because I didn't know what to say.

But I think Royce has very eloquently (almost) had the last word. How does that work anyway, 100 posts and then it automatically goes to archive? In which case, by my calculations, there should be one left...

May 7, 2010 at 02:34 PM ·

Back in the 80's many friends of mine in shcool began to turn towards classical music due to guitarist Randy Rhodes and Yngwie Malstien. Heavy Metal with classical flare, and chord structures.  I know Rachel Barton Pine does with her heavy metal group of friends.

Music, like all other entities that fruit need roots in order to thrive! A salute to the past as we grow towards the future and a Brave New World with music at and in its' heart!

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