"Over Musicality"

Edited: May 31, 2019, 8:47 AM · I've seen a video today that might be very relevant to the agressive debate we had here over the level of my playing (and i see that people still talk about it here in the discussions).

Most of the people here stated almost violently! That my playing was very bad and horribly not in tune and not professional,
That i barely know how to hold a violin,
even when i played in high speeds very advanced pieces as Paganini caprices.

And against it i said, and some people here agreed (and were attacked too) that i Don't understand what is so horrible and that it is not so bad and even good in parts - especially that I'm not playing professionaly yet (not practicing enough etc.)
And that you - in classical professional world acting as a dictators and depressing the players.

Also - I suggested in few posts about a new style "Classical-Pop" style that includes "Catchyness" with "High level of
Playing" and lower standards for professional

So here is the video that I've seen that is very relevant in my view and can explain what I'm talking about:
Here are the 2 versions by the same singers 23 years later of "A Whole new world" from the movie "Aladdin":

In the second version it is clear that these are already a professional singers that learned in a Musical Academy - it clearly sounds more "Musical" and "Professional" -

But what version is better?:
People here will say probably the second (which is amazing
But most of the average people will say the first one! Is great too and probably will prefer it - This is the famous version!.
Despite it is clearly less "Musical" and "Professional".

I personally feel that classical professionals "cut too much" and that People - the audience - feel it. Therefore i think Pop music is more popular despite it is less "Musical" or "Professional" in most cases.

Classical music isn't "just another style" - it is the style that considered to be the main professional style - "the Science of music", at least by governments - therefore if you castrate musicians like that it has huge impact.
Therefore it is very important discussion.

What people here think about these 2 versions in the video?

Replies (35)

Edited: May 31, 2019, 9:27 AM · David, in regard to this video , I agree with you! In the original version I find the voices more attuned to the spirit of the music, which is spoiled by the more "operatic" vibrato and sometimes "forced" tone in the later recording.
But the original is also highly professional..and in tune!

Regarding your previous threads, I'm afraid you managed to provoke such incredulity and exasperation as I have never seen before in many years on V.com.

Many of us here love music even more than we love ourselves!

Edited: May 31, 2019, 9:37 AM · @Adrian Heath

I'm saying that on intonation is the same thing - you (Classical Musicians) ask too much.
The big debate was if my intention is really so bad.

For example:
Many times I'm listening to videos on YouTube and then switch to my videos, and i feel it sounds cleaner! And easier to listen to. I'm serious. Even if there are some mistakes.

People here said that it is because classical musicians have better absolute hearing.
I'm saying that it might be this approach as to the "Musicality" - "Over Intonation".

May 31, 2019, 9:39 AM · I am once more incredulous and exasperated!

And sad.

Edited: May 31, 2019, 10:00 AM · Adrian Heath -
On violin there's no thing as perfect intonation - no one playes perfectly -
Therefore it is like Musicality - has some "Subjectivity".

I took very seriously your comments here and checked my intonation over and over and I'm practicing and the intonation gets better too - and I'm not saying that I'm playing perfect. but i don't agree that it is so bad. I think that it is even good sometimes.

But i feel that no matter how in tune i will play in how i hear it you will think it is bad intonation.

For example - Bach - you can't be wrong with bach because everything is built on chords - therefore if you seriously out of tune anyone can hear it. And still people here say it is very out of tune.

May 31, 2019, 10:11 AM · Let's remind everyone here how i pla:

This Bach's Gigue:
I practiced it a lot and i think it has very good intonation -
what do you think? Really so horrible?

Edited: May 31, 2019, 10:29 AM · "But i feel that no matter how in tune i will play in how i hear it you will think it is bad intonation."

That is just not true.

And as an experienced teacher I can well distinguish between intonation "accidents" and basic lack of preparation (e.g. from 4th position upwards, outside the "vocal" range.)

OK, I just watched your gigue. You have worked hard and well!
Like you, I have to pay special attention when the 3rd finger is away from the 2nd, even more when they are on different strings. I will spend more practice time on this finger than on the other three...
(But my hands are smaller, and I usually play viola..)

May 31, 2019, 10:17 AM · people's 'ears' get used to what they hear frequently...that's why it's important to learn how scales and pieces are supposed to sound early on, so you're brain doesn't get used to it's 'own' interpretation of what sounds good. Once that happens, it's very hard to train it to so-called standard scales and intervals. Something can sound very good to a player, but not so good to many others, or vice versa.

If you like your own interpretations, that's all you need to be happy! If you want others to like them, you have to play in a manner that pleases them and their sense of aesthetics. You can't argue somebody into liking something they don't like- it's not a logical thing, and telling people what to like only makes them more resistant. "Liking" somebody or something generally is a more emotional/feeling reaction.

May 31, 2019, 10:35 AM · It's a shame the likes of Ms Hahn don't do discs of scales,
to fill our memories with rainbows of perfect, radiant tones!
May 31, 2019, 10:48 AM · @Adrian

Well, I have some good news for you, she made a recording of Beethoven Violin Concerto! All the scales you could want!

May 31, 2019, 11:07 AM · David,
Bach is very unforgiving on intonation. I listened to the Bach Double also on your channel I think there were enjoyable passages in that recording.

I'm working on the Allemande from Partita II currently and striving for that purity of intonation is essential, no one note deserves to be dismissed.

May 31, 2019, 11:07 AM · Oh geez, not again!!!

I would LOVE to have a recording of Hahn playing scales.

Edited: May 31, 2019, 12:10 PM · JI
It is great that you mentioned the Bach double concerto:
This is the known "Play with ray": A recording with orchestra and great violinist - Ray Chen who obviously plays in tune:

If my intontion was horrible it would have sound very bad, no? Especially that it is Bach - but it is pretty good in my view.

May 31, 2019, 12:26 PM · Why do you play with only the top 1/4 to 1/3 of your bow?
Edited: May 31, 2019, 12:38 PM · I have an Aunt who is a professional classical piano teacher with a degree.

And in her case I'm sure of course that she is for me in 100% and not mocking me or something,
And she tells me the same thing people here say - that i don't sound like a classical violinist but as a child/amateur.

But i obviously play at high level - at least the speeds and the level of the pieces, and my intonation i think is OK too - and we see it in the Double Concerto - because if it wasn't it would have sound horrible.

Therefore i think this is the "Over Musicality" difference in classical music as in the "Aladdin" versions above.

Edited: May 31, 2019, 12:40 PM · Andrew victor
It sounds softer in that part in my view and more fit to this piece.
May 31, 2019, 1:19 PM · David, good work, again!

How about taking this careful, patient practice as a basis for the very long mountain path, via many intermediate levels, to Paganini's Caprices, so as to play them at speed, but with the same quality?

Edited: May 31, 2019, 1:38 PM · Adrian Heath
I agree. The previous recordings were at lower level - I'm working more on every piece now.
And since I'm practicing it is getting better anyway.
I will record the Paganini carprices again soon and we'll be able to compare.
Edited: May 31, 2019, 5:33 PM · welcome back!
I prefer this version:
June 1, 2019, 12:13 AM · I listened to 30 seconds of that. Probably the best in-tune thing I've heard you play to date, so clearly more careful practice is paying off.

But you don't have the tone of a professional, and arguably not even the tone of a good amateur. That's at least in part because you're only using the top couple of inches of your bow, but you're not getting much resonance out of the violin at all. (It might also be because that violin is a VSO, but your right-hand technique is not helping.)

June 1, 2019, 12:51 AM · Lydia leong
I don't feel that I have a problem to play lower - it just feels more soft in that part in these pieces.
But i will check it with a piece:

I saw that everyone plays the fast "Presto" from Vivaldi's "Summer" in the lower part - so i will try it.

To play Long bows i can for sure:

June 1, 2019, 1:23 AM · There was no "debate" over your playing, we gave you our educated opinions based on observing thousands of players over the course of many years, and you refused to listen.

Having said that, I've just listened to the Bach video and it shows significant improvement.

June 1, 2019, 2:10 AM ·
June 1, 2019, 9:58 AM · Musicality vs technique is an old, false dichotomy. Plenty of "technicians" (i.e. anyone who plays well) are musical.

To advance in any endeavor in life, one must be aware of what could be made better, or else risk wasting time-or even doing worse, rather than improving.

"We classical musicians" have no false airs of superiority. Some of these musicians, at most, would be condescending. Many of us do believe in improving our technical tools, so we can better serve the art of music making.

You can always stop working in improving your playing, and/or also be happy with what you currently have if it best serves the music you wish to play. But if so, do not blame "classical musicians" for your more comfortable, different goals. It is not my fault that you may have some technical problems, even if you are completely happy with your playing level as it is now.

AFAIK, no need to rehash this issue, especially as I see no way minds will be changed in the matter, for better or worse.

June 1, 2019, 10:43 AM · "she tells me the same thing people here say - that i don't sound like a classical violinist but as a child/amateur"

"I agree. The previous recordings were at lower level - I'm working more on every piece now."

So there is hope!

Edited: June 1, 2019, 12:03 PM · @Adrian Heath
It is all about intonation, no?

Let's say i will play the Paganini caprices and other pieces with a good intonation, in the Bach's level or even a little bit better - will you agree this is "Professional"?
Let's say this Beethoven fragment that i recorded recently - is it professional in classical terms? Because I'm not sure i can play cleaner than this.

June 1, 2019, 12:07 PM · It's better, particularly in terms of intonation! As Lydia noted, your tone is fairly uneven - and also to be honest given the subject of the thread, I'm not hearing much musical interpretation, you're pretty much just playing the notes.

June 1, 2019, 12:55 PM · David, more good work! Even Paganini must be practiced in this manner, so that the fingers "drop" onto the notes, rather than grope or scramble for them. The fast runs must be prepared slowly as well: we can't fool the ears of an "ardent amateur" or music lover (let alone a professional), however fast we play!
June 1, 2019, 3:02 PM · A few things to consider:

1) most of the players who regularly post here would also sound out of tune and not great if they recorded themselves in the same conditions you do: with a cellphone, no post-effects added, and with a pretty crappy violin. Furthermore, none of them are actually going to post recordings to counter this, because in their hearts they know they wouldn't sound great either. In fact, very few people post videos of themselves here at all. Of course, there are professionals here who play very well and they would sound good. But most of the regular posters here are amateur musicians. Even many of the teachers would still be considered amateurs, myself included.

2) With all of that said, you set a certain "mood" here when you posted in a bragging way originally, saying it was the "Fastest" or whatever. Thus, everyone's view of you is now colored by your original actions. If you had started with a post saying "here is my attempt at playing Paganini really fast," you probably would have gotten similar criticisms, but a much nicer version of them. And people would have lowered their expectations. Most people hate when others brag, though, and they feel the need to break others down when they detect bragging. It is a part of many peoples' nature, especially here in the US and maybe in the UK. Maybe where you are, people aren't attacked for exaggerating or bragging.

3) Everyone here has a certain "standard" that our ears are used to. We generally listen to high-end professional soloists, so that is what you're being compared to, whether people realize it or not.

4) And once again, I think if you were to get a better violin, you would sound *SUBSTANTIALLY* better, even with all other factors being the same. It would also allow you to hear intonation problems more accurately, as the tonal qualities of crappy violins don't allow players to effectively gauge intonation. There's too much "noise" built into the sound, and the ear can't easily pick up on the fine nuances of intonation.

June 1, 2019, 3:29 PM · Can we please concentrate on this thread, rather than keep harking back to the old ones?
June 1, 2019, 5:23 PM · Erik Williams
1. The first pieces I recorded were on the phone. but the newer one are in the Zoom Q2 so it has some effect too I guess.

2.About the violin - i probably would have bought something better - but I don't know how better should it be and what can i do with better violin - because i don't know exactly what my level is and what can i do with that.

3.I wasn't bragging - this was objective fact - the pieces were in fastests speeds. At least that I've seen on youtube. And i played them fully.
It wasn't perfect in intonation i guess and maybe other aspects but it was full live recording.

Take for example "The bee" by Schubert - can you show me faster version on youtube?

June 1, 2019, 5:59 PM · here's isaac stern. Both videos are 1:06, but yours starts at 0:00 and ends at 1:05, while his starts at 0:01 and ends at 1:03
Edited: June 1, 2019, 6:16 PM · I honestly believe we are getting trolled *again*. If this is serious, then indeed "there's no hope."

I do not think the "bad" violin is the source of the biggest problems. The best violin in the world won't help the above. I do not mean to ridicule, and have no reason to.

Not sure whether the above is the fastest, but surely it's far from the "greatest". One should stop and ask: "what's the point?"

(For Mr. Krakovich's info: soloists often prefer to play "slower" in favor of clarity. It's not really "slow", just slower. I am 100% sure many people on this site could play the above at that speed, but they fail to see the point of such endeavor-ditto for people on youtube, etc.)

Edited: June 1, 2019, 6:14 PM · (Please delete this, my unintended double post. Thank you.)
Edited: June 1, 2019, 6:23 PM · Adalberto valle rivera

I never said it is "The greatest" or "The best", I said it was the fastest! And i mentioned "The fastest that I've seen".

And Irene chen is right - Isaac stern played it faster in 3 seconds.
So Issac stern took the leadership and is the fastest currently.
And definitely he plays it more in tune and "musical".

But! I have 1 advantage - I'm alive;;))) and that means that i can try to beat this, and probably now i will play it better.
Anyone wants to join the challenge?

June 1, 2019, 6:39 PM · It's a pointless challenge, though I suppose these sorts of one-upmanship games personally satisfy you.

To be honest, it's generally better to compete against oneself in the hopes of improving every day, than finding joy in besting others while forgoing one's needs to be better. To say I am the fastest (if not the best) is a futile exercise. A better question would be: how can I make the work more intelligible to my audience?

I mean no offense but it sounds as something you barely picked up and are faking notes to. That may be the case, even.

Best of luck. Keep working hard.

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