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The Trombone ForumCreation and PerformanceMusical Miscellany(Moderators: JP, BGuttman) a discussion of music and the trombone
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D Gibson
« on: May 10, 2010, 11:46AM »

i have long thought that this place could better utilize its potential by talking more about the elements of music and how the trombone can function in a musical environment.  i don't have any grand agenda about topics that should be discussed, but only wish that more discussions on this forum pointed towards music as their end. 

i find that many, if not most, of the discussions center around physical issues.  sometimes that is a mouthpiece or slide lubricant or metal alloys.  sometimes we discuss our chops and ways to play higher or faster.  those discussions seem to have a long life.  i believe there is a thread about 1.5G pieces that has survived for months.  but, musical discussions don't seem to fare as well.  i'm not sure if it's because those that have strong musical opinions intimidate those who identify as novices or if it's due to the presence of too much venom when differences of opinion materialize.  i think we'd all benefit from more musical discussion.

in a practical sense, i believe that we should be more than trombonists.  we should primarily be musicians.  we should use the trombone as a tool to make music.  we all heard someone doing this when we were young and it caught our attention...it ignited a passion.  that passion has fueled our pursuits to this point.  and here we are in this virtual space discussing our passion, yet the intangible fuel for it often goes unmentioned. music.

here is a recent post that articulates my thoughts: http://tromboneforum.org/index.php/topic,51348.msg725268.html#msg725268

in my teaching, i have had much more success with my students when i put them in a musical environment and let them find problems to solve.  that may be playing duets or having a bone sectional.  when a technical impedance presents itself, it is a musical problem to solve.  the solution is necessary to remove the road block that is preventing us from making music.  our focus is on the musical statement...the meaning of the words and not only how well we pronounce them...not only our diction, but also sincere meaning.  when we approach technical exercises out of the context of music, they can become addictive ego games that are without the depth and purpose of music-making.  they can create the illusion of doing something short of actually doing what it is that we wish to do....make music. 

this topic is my attempt to spur more musical discussions.  should these kinds of discussion actually begin to occur, whether in this topic or another, i hope that forumites will be able to accept and respect alternative musical views whether or not they agree. 

it's so easy to be destructive.  it's so easy to be negative.  it's so easy to dismiss another's opinion without consideration of their perspective.  can we unite in our common passion?  it's addictive ego gratification to simply unite based upon our common enemies, whether music or people or ideas.  my goal is to understand more.  i don't think i'm alone.  that may be understanding how wayne shorter thinks of a major7(#5) chord or how brahms orchestrated or why jj speaks to one person while frank speaks to another or how to better use my airstream when playing a long phrase. 

we're such a niche.  here we have a hub to discuss our place on the musical landscape, yet we frequently define ourselves as individuals here based on how hip we think we are in comparison to others.  we could be helping one another better and more often.  i'm not completely cynical as i realize there are some very positive voices that contribute here.  often, it seems that the negative voices prevail and difficult/challenging discussions either become destructive or never get started. 

just my thoughts.  i use a trombone to make music.  i love my instrument, but it is simply a tool to communicate.  what am i trying to communicate?  what are we trying to communicate?  what are we trying to achieve in our relationship with our instrument and with music?  this forum is a tool, too.  how can we use it better?  our egos are tools, too?  how can we use them better? 

much of this has been said before by me and others, but it appears we could still do better.  i hope there are some other dreamers out there who will be able to point us in a positive direction.  i'm sure many of you have better ideas than me and would be better equipped to articulate your thoughts with the written word.  c'mon dreamers and reveal yourselves and your thoughts.  we can always use more positive energy and more disciplined communication. 

DG
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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2010, 07:48PM »

DG, you are more eloquent than I, but here are some nuts and bolts about what I feel the trombone does and where the trombone fits...

Alto trombone... doubles the alto voice in classic lit and imitates that sound in romantic lit

Small bore tenor...brash, still a female voice, but she smokes 3 packs a day...

Large bore tenor... male tenor voice, big, powerful, orchestral

Bass trombone...bass voice, bigger, more powerful...softer and subtler

Trombone can work well with any instruments, but guitar is a standout.

The trombone adds core, breadth, tonality, and edge.

The trombone can be a chameleon blending with anyone, but stands alone also.

The word that sums the character of trombone to me is "Noble".




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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2010, 11:47PM »


Thanks for bringing up this topic.  I don't really have anything to offer at this time but I do have a question.  This afternoon I was asked if I'd be interested in playing trombone in the Mozart Requiem.  I'm interested but I'm afraid I don't know the music at all and the piece is not in any of my excerpt books and, after googling, I couldn't find the three parts for trombone to see if I could play any of them.  I've heard that the trombone part is very difficult to play.  Can somebody explain to me why it's difficult?  If a lot of finesse is required I'll probably decline.  I'm still trying to get back into shape and very soft, subtle playing from me is not a real option.  (And, yes, I practice lip flexibility and soft long tones everyday.)  Any thoughts on this piece would be great appreciated.

Aloha,
Richard
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2010, 11:55PM »

Thanks for bringing up this topic.  I don't really have anything to offer at this time but I do have a question.  This afternoon I was asked if I'd be interested in playing trombone in the Mozart Requiem.  I'm interested but I'm afraid I don't know the music at all and the piece is not in any of my excerpt books and, after googling, I couldn't find the three parts for trombone to see if I could play any of them.  I've heard that the trombone part is very difficult to play.  Can somebody explain to me why it's difficult?  If a lot of finesse is required I'll probably decline.  I'm still trying to get back into shape and very soft, subtle playing from me is not a real option.  (And, yes, I practice lip flexibility and soft long tones everyday.)  Any thoughts on this piece would be great appreciated.

Aloha,
Richard

The difficulty of the Requiem depends largely on the edition. Some editions have you doubling the choral parts, and the long melisma can require some finesse to keep the appropriate timber and still play sotto voce. Nothing in the Requiem is incredibly difficult and, in my opinion, is one of the most rewarding and transcendental pieces of music you will ever have the opportunity to play. Give it a go!
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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2010, 12:13AM »

Richard, your question maybe belong to another tread. I admire that you have a sober view on your self and what you can do or not do.  Good! There are many people that don't have that skill. They don't have a clue and some are here in the forum. I admire that skill you have. Many should learn from you.

About Mozart I only know the Bass part. Alto on 1st(hard maybe) and 2nd have a solo/duet with the bass voice soloist. There are lot of notes in all parts. But I cant exactly explain so much about it. The problem is maybe to support/balance with the choir, orchestra and the 4 soloists.

Wait and see if some other who knows it well chime in or listen a recording.

Leif
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« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2010, 01:06AM »

go where the music tells you...

music is not a business, but to do it for a living you have to treat it as such... never ever confuse this with what the music is telling you.

the music tells me i don't know anything - but it also tells me that i'll never learn without shedding the fear to screw up. 

when i play/write music, there are two voices in my head.  one telling me how i think it should go and another telling me how i should play it.  it's hard knowing which to listen to.  i have issues with all aspects of my approach to music which need to be addressed - and the only way they'll be addressed is by putting myself in situations where i have a bit of apprehension. 

don't fear the music - it is as natural as breath and life.

for some it is breath and life. 

breathe and live.
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« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2010, 07:24AM »

...when a technical impedance presents itself, it is a musical problem to solve.  the solution is necessary to remove the road block that is preventing us from making music.  our focus is on the musical statement...the meaning of the words and not only how well we pronounce them...not only our diction, but also sincere meaning.  when we approach technical exercises out of the context of music, they can become addictive ego games that are without the depth and purpose of music-making.  they can create the illusion of doing something short of actually doing what it is that we wish to do....make music.
A ha! Exactlyexactlyexactly.  John Faieta turned me on to thinking this way in my practice sessions---to think of my technical exercises in context.  I have a nasty habit of stopping whenever I play anything wrong.  In doing this, I'd break up etudes so that everything was without context, let alone a musical shape.  When I put everything together, I would be happy with all the right notes and some very superficial dynamic effects.  Without musical intent, my mental singer turned on, I'm simply a robot.  A poorly engineered one, at that.  But when playing something with musical intent, even if I don't play all the right notes...  I don't know, the horn just seems to come to life.  No, I come to life.

Playing the trombone is such a difficult beast, it is tough to navigate that physical interface with the horn.  I feel as though people bring their frustrations to the forums: I can't do this, I can't do that, help!

Making music is not a frustrating pursuit, for me at least, until the technique gets in the way.  I have the music in my head, whereas I don't know everything about playing the trombone and getting it to do what I want physically.  Maybe that's why more technique, range, flexibility, speed, questions are asked...
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D Gibson
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2010, 11:03AM »

maybe a positive direction for discussion would to be to identify those musical problems and how we define them.  then solutions could be discussed in context.  that could be productive. 

the difficulty is in explaining the intangible.  but, i think of it like acting.  one actor may read their lines and inspire intense emotion, while another sounds like they're reading a sheet of paper.  how does one achieve sincerity? 

it's the details.  so, we realize that we have to taper a note while holding it to its full value and all sorts of technical issues appear.  at that point, we create 3 individual exercises to help us achieve balance so we can simply think about how we are to deliver our lines.  we're actors.
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« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2010, 11:51AM »

it's the details.  so, we realize that we have to taper a note while holding it to its full value and all sorts of technical issues appear.  at that point, we create 3 individual exercises to help us achieve balance so we can simply think about how we are to deliver our lines.  we're actors.
Again, exactlyexactlyexactly.

When very involved in the making of music--for instance, the tapering of a long note--I will lose the sound of the trombone.  I'll gradually begin to sound like a didgeridoo.

Balance.  I need to balance the technical necessities with the musical necessities, if that makes sense.  I need to do both simultaneously.

Any and all advice welcome.  :D
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« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2010, 04:46PM »

from a technical aspect, i always think of how i'd want to sound singing a particular exercise or piece.  i think of singers i like - Frank Sinatra or Luis Cordoba for instance.  it usually helps me anyway to have that sort of conception in my head - the body usually figures it out.

what kinds of mind/concept sort of things do you do?  I know this is going to eventually tread down that "inner game of _________" path - a path i like treading.  I think most problems are conceptual anyway.  Honesty - musical honesty anyway - tends to make one better, i think.
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« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2010, 05:08PM »

DG,

I understand completely about the trombonist versus musician thing.  However for most of us, the only way we can truly come close to expressing ourselves is through the instrument, and there lies the rub.  I recently took up classical guitar, an instrument that is polyphonic and by its nature, a solo instrument.  I am happy to have found another outlet.  It can be frustrating to express ones musical self by one instrument alone - for the most part!

George
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« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2010, 06:09PM »

In the end we make funny sounds with our lips and blow air down a metal pipe. I always say to my students 'blow in the small end and sound will come out the big end' that's all trombone is, making the sound that comes out the big end one that people, including yourself, want to hear is another thing entirely.
It is an odd thing, half the time we have to play for musicians who are looking at everything with a strong understanding of musical language and how things work, this is why I like playing things slightly outside of the musical norm, cage, stockhausen, xenakis for recitals and such to try and convey meaning in a language they don't grasp as well.
The other half of our audience have little to no knowledge of what we do, sure they may know how a trombone makes sound but really don't care, they are there to enjoy themselves, they are paying (hopefully) to be taken on a journey through sound, we have to make this sound into an emotional journey (whether we add a story to this or have absolute music is another debate entirelly) but in the end we have to take a language that half our audience don't understand  and make them leave with an image.
This is something in solo playing I always aim for but have only walked off stage maybe 3 or 4 times saying that I communicated exactly what I wanted to the audience though through personal experience they are going to take their own slant on this.
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D Gibson
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2010, 07:33AM »

DG,

I understand completely about the trombonist versus musician thing.  However for most of us, the only way we can truly come close to expressing ourselves is through the instrument, and there lies the rub.  I recently took up classical guitar, an instrument that is polyphonic and by its nature, a solo instrument.  I am happy to have found another outlet.  It can be frustrating to express ones musical self by one instrument alone - for the most part!

George

i understand that it can be difficult to remain committed to musical goals as a solitary performer.  but, it's a worthy endeavor to do so. 

music is communication, which implies that there is more than one person involved.  i think one of the reasons that there is such a healthy "rehearsal band" scene in nyc is the desire of musicians to communicate and be understood...in fact, isn't that a human desire?  although, it's much easier to judge our individual success by technical parameters while practicing, it's not impossible to maintain a focus on music.  i find this to be one of the inherent advantages of being a jazz musician.  improvisation is a natural part of the music.  what is improvisation other than spontaneous composition?  composing is a formal way to edit and organize one's thoughts for presentation to another.  so, practicing improvisation alone is an exercise in organizing my thoughts about a tune in the same way that i organize my thoughts about any topic.  i study the tune at the piano and understand the harmony.  then i try to find rivers of thought to connect chords, melodies and phrases...i try and see how many ways i can think about the tune/topic.  then, i begin to practice articulating those thoughts melodically...essentially the same thing as talking to myself in the mirror.  i am honing my communication skills....my music skills. 

if i have been successful at explaining my approach, perhaps someone else could describe their approach to remaining centered musically in the absence of audience and other musicians. 

also...to remain focused on music, it may be helpful to create an audience for one of your Bach cello suites or Rochut etudes.  that could be a family member, a friend, a neighbor or a pet.  communicate with someone who only hears music, instead of being distracted by their trombone-istic agenda. 

dg
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D Gibson
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2010, 07:46AM »

DG, you are more eloquent than I, but here are some nuts and bolts about what I feel the trombone does and where the trombone fits...

Alto trombone... doubles the alto voice in classic lit and imitates that sound in romantic lit

Small bore tenor...brash, still a female voice, but she smokes 3 packs a day...

Large bore tenor... male tenor voice, big, powerful, orchestral

Bass trombone...bass voice, bigger, more powerful...softer and subtler

Trombone can work well with any instruments, but guitar is a standout.

The trombone adds core, breadth, tonality, and edge.

The trombone can be a chameleon blending with anyone, but stands alone also.

The word that sums the character of trombone to me is "Noble".






i really like the idea of using personification.  it gives life to our idea of the instrument...it gives a voice, a persona to our instrument.  now, we can think of that voice like a character in a play.  in considering how to deliver a line, you must also consider how your character is interacting with the other characters.  we must see the big picture...the over-arching goal of a scene, or of the entire work. 

how does the composer view our character? 

interestingly, i have in my own practice been trying to approach playing more like talking through the horn.  sometimes, i actually put the horn up to my chops and talk through the horn.  then i follow-up by playing something that rhythmically mirrors what i have said while maintaining the same sense of balance and relaxation i had when simply talking....with no extra tension.  then, i try and apply that to music. 

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« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2010, 07:52AM »

We know that to play trombone successfully is a very challenging endeavor physically as well as musically.

There are so many things physically that one must master first on the trombone before one can then start exploring their musicality.

I started out on trombone in the 6th grade band, but also that same year, I took piano lessons. I later played the hammond b3 organ in rock bands after high school. On the b3 organ, all I had to do was master the correct fingerings of the different scales, and I could rip off 3 or 4 octave runs with no effort. I didn't have to think about how to create a musical 'tone', or play in tune. The b3 was such a magnificent instrument in it's day, with the leslie speakers, that it was easy to transcribe licks and runs from records, and sound like santanna all day long, with little or no effort, as compared to doing the same thing on a trombone.

I still can't rip off 4 octave runs because of the physical requirements that the trombone demands. Therefore, I find myself trying to build up my physical attributes on the trombone, knowing, that when I can put my face on the mouthpiece, and not worry about how to make the trombone sound the way I want it to, the music will already be there.


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« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2010, 08:47AM »

how does the composer view our character? 

interestingly, i have in my own practice been trying to approach playing more like talking through the horn.  sometimes, i actually put the horn up to my chops and talk through the horn.  then i follow-up by playing something that rhythmically mirrors what i have said while maintaining the same sense of balance and relaxation i had when simply talking....with no extra tension.  then, i try and apply that to music. 



Helen Merrill is THE sound to emulate on a small bore...Personification...  :D  I haven't found a personal hero on bass yet...I hear snippets of a powerful bass singer in many choir recordings...but being choirs the one guy nailing the bottom isn't identified.  I've tried listening to Operatic basses...too forced.

I was playing a renaissance piece awhile back and it had a line I couldn't get my head around.  The director said use syllables to make it like a spoken sentence.  I said which ones?   He said it really didn't matter, just think like spoken word...And it worked.  I talked to a friend who'd studied sackbut in Germany and he said that that was a common technique.  I've talked to lots of respected jazzers who say that you HAVE TO KNOW THE WORDS so play a song convincingly.  I thinks that's a way, but, just thinking conversationally, or telling a story does the same thing.

For so much of what we are asked to do, a  really doesn't have a melodic context.  Musical, yes.  I'd play that very differently in a big band compared to an orchestra...or a rock band.  But it's a hit one way or another.
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« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2010, 09:07AM »


I haven't found a personal hero on bass yet...I hear snippets of a powerful bass singer in many choir recordings...but being choirs the one guy nailing the bottom isn't identified.  I've tried listening to Operatic basses...too forced.


Richard Sterban.  That guy's amazing...and yes, he was the guy in the Oakridge Boys, and sang with Elvis.  He's quite amazing.
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« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2010, 09:12AM »

I was playing a renaissance piece awhile back and it had a line I couldn't get my head around.  The director said use syllables to make it like a spoken sentence.  I said which ones?   He said it really didn't matter, just think like spoken word...And it worked.  I talked to a friend who'd studied sackbut in Germany and he said that that was a common technique.  I've talked to lots of respected jazzers who say that you HAVE TO KNOW THE WORDS so play a song convincingly.  I thinks that's a way, but, just thinking conversationally, or telling a story does the same thing.
On Doug Yeo's website in the excerpts section, he writes the lyrics on the music and suggests that the player phrases with the German words: http://yeodoug.com/resources/handbook/image_files/text_files/creationexc.html

Yesterday, Gabe Langfur was telling me about his one lesson with JJ Johnson.  JJ said his ideal jazz solo was the first one on Kind of Blue (Miles Davis).  Why?  Because it never get too high, too fast, or too loud.  He said each phrase was a well simple, punctuated sentence.  "I went to the store."  Organized in paragraphs, telling a simple story.  "I bought (suchandsuch)."  I have to agree with JJ; it is a great, simple solo that is SO sophisticated in it's musicality.  Or maybe it isn't so sophisticated-it just speaks music very clearly.
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« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2010, 09:20AM »

On Doug Yeo's website in the excerpts section, he writes the lyrics on the music and suggests that the player phrases with the German words: http://yeodoug.com/resources/handbook/image_files/text_files/creationexc.html

Yesterday, Gabe Langfur was telling me about his one lesson with JJ Johnson.  JJ said his ideal jazz solo was the first one on Kind of Blue (Miles Davis).  Why?  Because it never get too high, too fast, or too loud.  He said each phrase was a well simple, punctuated sentence.  "I went to the store."  Organized in paragraphs, telling a simple story.  "I bought (suchandsuch)."  I have to agree with JJ; it is a great, simple solo that is SO sophisticated in it's musicality.  Or maybe it isn't so sophisticated-it just speaks music very clearly.

I think it's very sophisticated...and, in a word...elegant.
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« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2010, 09:21AM »

Richard Sterban.  That guy's amazing...and yes, he was the guy in the Oakridge Boys, and sang with Elvis.  He's quite amazing.

Also check out Tim Riley on YouTube.  Great, focused sound in the bass trombone register, and not forced at all, except maybe in his lowest notes (pedal Ab, G...around there Amazed). In fact, check out the sound of some of these gospel quartets (religious message aside). Kind of like a barbershop quartet, but usually with lower bass singing. Imagine a trombone quartet sounding like that...a small bore on the top voice, etc.
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« Reply #20 on: May 12, 2010, 09:30AM »

I think it's very sophisticated...and, in a word...elegant.
Definitely one of the most musical approaches to jazz improvisation I have ever heard.  Very accessible, for those of us who don't speak the language so well...  :/

Yes, very elegant.
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« Reply #21 on: May 12, 2010, 09:32AM »

Also check out Tim Riley on YouTube.  Great, focused sound in the bass trombone register, and not forced at all, except maybe in his lowest notes (pedal Ab, G...around there Amazed). In fact, check out the sound of some of these gospel quartets (religious message aside). Kind of like a barbershop quartet, but usually with lower bass singing. Imagine a trombone quartet sounding like that...a small bore on the top voice, etc.
Exactly.  It's a great sound.  And Richard Sterban does the Gospel thing, too. 
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D Gibson
« Reply #22 on: May 12, 2010, 10:38AM »

We know that to play trombone successfully is a very challenging endeavor physically as well as musically.

There are so many things physically that one must master first on the trombone before one can then start exploring their musicality.

I started out on trombone in the 6th grade band, but also that same year, I took piano lessons. I later played the hammond b3 organ in rock bands after high school. On the b3 organ, all I had to do was master the correct fingerings of the different scales, and I could rip off 3 or 4 octave runs with no effort. I didn't have to think about how to create a musical 'tone', or play in tune. The b3 was such a magnificent instrument in it's day, with the leslie speakers, that it was easy to transcribe licks and runs from records, and sound like santanna all day long, with little or no effort, as compared to doing the same thing on a trombone.

I still can't rip off 4 octave runs because of the physical requirements that the trombone demands. Therefore, I find myself trying to build up my physical attributes on the trombone, knowing, that when I can put my face on the mouthpiece, and not worry about how to make the trombone sound the way I want it to, the music will already be there.

one of the things i try to be aware of in performance is my own physical limit at any given time.  sometimes i can, by simply being aware, make a physical change that will extend that limit.  but, many times, that limit is fixed in that moment and i have to find a workaround solution.  that solution is intended to further the music. 

when we are in conversation, we may struggle to find the perfect word, or stutter and stammer...but as long as we are secure in the message we wish to communicate, then we can still be successful.  in fact, i have enjoyed being more particular about communicating my musical message.  the physical boundaries that the horn provides can be quite beneficial in helping me edit my message to its essence and thereby communicating more effectively. 

i love all of the thoughts about using vocalists as models.  we're all talking/singing through our horns, so it's natural to me.  unfortunately, i think there is a conceptual vacuum between playing a line on the horn and speaking a line with our voice.  many folks that i encounter have not considered the relationship between the two, but i love that everyone is discussing it here. 

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« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2010, 10:46AM »

What's funny (for me) is that I hate my voice and I have a hard time singing anything in a reasonable musical manner.  The trombone makes it easier for me to express those things than the voice ever could.  The (bass) trombone matches what's in my head...
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« Reply #24 on: May 12, 2010, 10:48AM »

i understand that it can be difficult to remain committed to musical goals as a solitary performer.  but, it's a worthy endeavor to do so. 

I agree completely. The journey is as much a part of the experience as the goal.
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« Reply #25 on: May 12, 2010, 01:27PM »

What's funny (for me) is that I hate my voice and I have a hard time singing anything in a reasonable musical manner.  The trombone makes it easier for me to express those things than the voice ever could.  The (bass) trombone matches what's in my head...
yes!

Whenever I sing a phrase (how I often decide upon my musical interpretation), I am rather disgusted by my own voice.  After practicing the singing up to a point where I no longer find my singing offensive, the phrase on the horn sings.

Strange though, because I always have the same mental singer in my head.  When playing before singing the phrase, when singing the phrase, and when playing it again- I have the same mental concept.  Something in practicing the singing till it sounds acceptable helps me link the inner singer with the bass trombonist.
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« Reply #26 on: May 12, 2010, 01:46PM »

Singing for me is insulting to crows...

I just hear it...just like sight singing.  When I hear it I can play it.  I've already heard it before I try and sing it, singing just depresses me...  So whatever the lick, I can think of it in swing, modern jazz, orchestral, 12 tone, broadway...same notes, huge affect on the music. 

I hear the singers sound...right now.  The sound I sing isn't that so why bother?  The sound I play...is closer.

One thing I amuse myself with is playing the Omnibook in different styles.  Take any Parker solo and slow it down, add pedantic accents, square the time...and it sounds like a 20th century orchestral composition.

I'm gonna swing the Bordogni' next...
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« Reply #27 on: May 12, 2010, 01:53PM »

I just hear it...just like sight singing.  When I hear it I can play it.  I've already heard it before I try and sing it, singing just depresses me...  So whatever the lick, I can think of it in swing, modern jazz, orchestral, 12 tone, broadway...same notes, huge affect on the music. 

I hear the singers sound...right now.  The sound I sing isn't that so why bother?  The sound I play...is closer.
Maybe practicing the singing is sort of like practicing on the horn for me?  I guess the more I practice, on the horn or off, the better I will be.  Approximation time: 90% of my practicing is on the trombone, 5% buzzing, 5% singing.  That singing, however offensive, is a useful tool for me to develop my musical playing.  To each his own.
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« Reply #28 on: May 12, 2010, 03:15PM »

I will post more here later because I like this tread. But the music/trombone question have many aspects. One is that music is difficult to discuss and instrument(technique is easy to put words on. Very short it all have and connection and balance. But I think all agree music is the final goal. Its just not so easy to talk about. And music can be so much from a mother singing a lullaby to a large symphony orchestra performing an opera that is 3 hours long. Both can be worth listening to.

Leif
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« Reply #29 on: May 12, 2010, 09:56PM »


Its just not so easy to talk about. And music can be so much from a mother singing a lullaby to a large symphony orchestra performing an opera that is 3 hours long. Both can be worth listening to.

Leif

Who could've said such a beautiful thing better?  You are absolutely right, Leif.  You just made my day.
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« Reply #30 on: May 13, 2010, 03:24AM »

I went to a very interesting talk today by Howard penny, an Australian cellist who teaches in salzburg. The topic was rhetoric in music and related the idea of speech and rhetoric, that is convincing an audience of something in music. One great idea is that he related every note to a syllable with groups of differnt syllables making words, words making sentences, paragraphs and so on with the idea of punctuation within this. He showed on the cello a variety of syllables related to diffent vocal sounds and articulation relating to them. Anyway in all, extremely interesting
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« Reply #31 on: May 13, 2010, 04:16AM »

I've always thought of trombone and music and the relationship between the two as having a fractal nature. Dig this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal

I try not to make a distinction between Randy the Musician, Randy the trombonist, and Randy the composer because they are all part of one conceptual stew 'n' brew that is Randy the Artist. Every slow lip slur, along with every note I write, every equipment choice I make, every design choice I make for my website, every networking interaction on the trombone forum, and everything else reflects my general aesthetic. 

In other words, when you zoom out of each piece of minutiae, ideally it would be consistent with the big, broad concepts (and the other way around). You can't know the whole without knowing each part, and you can't know each part without knowing the whole. Needless to say: it's a work in progress for me.

I feel like many of my trombone heroes, like Lawrence Brown, J.J., or Roswell Rudd (just to name three) had this going on.  Same with Duke Ellington, Morton Feldman, Samuel Beckett, Jean Luc Godard, Jackson Pollock (whose paintings were fractal in nature, I think...), and others.

Anyhoo, that's my two cents.  Time to hit the practice room!
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« Reply #32 on: May 13, 2010, 06:54AM »

I went to a very interesting talk today by Howard penny, an Australian cellist who teaches in salzburg. The topic was rhetoric in music and related the idea of speech and rhetoric, that is convincing an audience of something in music. One great idea is that he related every note to a syllable with groups of differnt syllables making words, words making sentences, paragraphs and so on with the idea of punctuation within this. He showed on the cello a variety of syllables related to diffent vocal sounds and articulation relating to them. Anyway in all, extremely interesting

exactly.  yes.
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« Reply #33 on: May 13, 2010, 07:00AM »

I've always thought of trombone and music and the relationship between the two as having a fractal nature. Dig this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal

I try not to make a distinction between Randy the Musician, Randy the trombonist, and Randy the composer because they are all part of one conceptual stew 'n' brew that is Randy the Artist. Every slow lip slur, along with every note I write, every equipment choice I make, every design choice I make for my website, every networking interaction on the trombone forum, and everything else reflects my general aesthetic. 

In other words, when you zoom out of each piece of minutiae, ideally it would be consistent with the big, broad concepts (and the other way around). You can't know the whole without knowing each part, and you can't know each part without knowing the whole. Needless to say: it's a work in progress for me.

I feel like many of my trombone heroes, like Lawrence Brown, J.J., or Roswell Rudd (just to name three) had this going on.  Same with Duke Ellington, Morton Feldman, Samuel Beckett, Jean Luc Godard, Jackson Pollock (whose paintings were fractal in nature, I think...), and others.

Anyhoo, that's my two cents.  Time to hit the practice room!

it's possible to become so closely entwined with the instrument that it IS your voice.  playing the instrument utilizes the same cognitive stream as singing. 

i agree with you about the parts functioning in a sense of universal balance.  it takes a long time and a lot of effort to achieve that balance.  in my own practice and performance, i have been most satisfied when i have searched for that balance.  i had it for the first set last night, but not for the second.  so, second set, i tried to find it again...but at least i knew what i was looking for.  it's daunting to search for something and not have a good idea of what it is.  it's the truth.  it's when our technical agendas no longer trump our musical agendas. 

dg

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« Reply #34 on: May 13, 2010, 08:43AM »


The word that sums the character of trombone to me is "Noble".


Noble, yes, agreed. Although Tommy & Spike may have a different perspective:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x24mz_tommy-pederson_life

I dig the whole spectrum. This instrument takes all comers, musically speaking, and says, "what else you got?"
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« Reply #35 on: May 13, 2010, 09:08AM »

One of my teachers many years ago said several things in this area, and the ideas have stayed with me ever since: 

  • Don't just play the trombone.  Lots of people can do that.  Play the sound of the instrument.
  • What is it about the sound of the instrument--whether it's the trombone, the marimba, the cello, whatever--that you like?  What attracts you to the sound of the trombone?  Figure it out and make it yours. 
  • Use your imagination to discover what the composer wanted when he wrote for the trombone.  What sound or feeling did the composer intend right now, right here, at this point in the music?  Listen, imagine, discover, and then be a musician, not just a trombone player. 
 

I find that when I'm thinking about the music or my place or part in the music, it is easier to play.  That is, my brain is mostly focused on being in the moment as a part of the music than I am about how I have to play the music.  I am more focused on the sound and message and less concerned about the technical aspects of playing.   
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« Reply #36 on: May 13, 2010, 02:18PM »

Speaking about words on music. Didn't Bernstein do that a lot in a special way? Like making pictures out of phrases and music?

Leif
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« Reply #37 on: May 13, 2010, 02:45PM »

I have always thought of music as pretty much everything that people are.  You can take the nuts and bolts of people talking, for example - words, facial expressions, spoken tone and emphasis, body language - out of all that, you have communication.  You have a picture of another human.  You aren't just understanding the words when you talk with someone, you are understanding the expressions...the experience.  The very human, who, if you both understand each other, you can then see in yourself.

I see music like that - there are a lot of elements that can be related to how we talk to someone and the feelings we get when we interact with another person.  All the "parts" of music - the pop of the snare, how the ride pattern swings, what sort of vibrato the flute player is using, the orchestration on the shout - add up to the summation of a person's experience of life.  And that's what I believe music is, an expression of life and human's experience being on this planet (you can call that God, if you want).  I feel that looking at person's face and listening to a piece of music provide the same haunting insight into our experience as a whole. But music is just one expression of this.  Art is all an expression.  Buildings and structures are this.  Graffiti is this, ****...even peeling paint off an apartment complex in a bad part of town is this.  Everywhere exudes human-ness.  Music is just one view of this, my chosen view. 


 
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« Reply #38 on: May 13, 2010, 05:18PM »

Music is something you can listen or perform.  In our case with a trombone. When listen that's a personal thing. Also so when performing but there are a problem with performing. First of all you have to know the language. If you don't there will be problem to speak. And there will be problem for the listener to understand. what you say. And for us the trombone/technique/equipment is the language. So to give a message on our trombone we have to learn this. The better we learn it the more easy we can express our self.

When it comes to music and what message we want to tell its very personal.  I give some example of what I mean. If you master the trombone very well you can play Carnival in Venedig. But some just give a technical lesson for us and play the notes very well without saying anything. Its like bla, bla, bla. Impressing but still bla bla bla.
Another one can also say something that moves us. Even with this circus music.  Its about mastering the language but also to say something that is interesting.

For most of us there is a balance of everything and most of us is still on the way to both learn the trombone and listen/give a message that have something that catch our attention.

Another aspect is there is different use of music. Believe it or not but there is music made to make cows produce more milk.  There is music in shopping centers to make us use more money.   There are really some clever people out there. And money is their goal.

Leif
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« Reply #39 on: May 13, 2010, 05:55PM »

I am jumping into this conversation a bit late... I like many others, probably, are quite in line with Mr. Gibson in our exhaustion with the physical aspect of this forum.  So I am excited that a more esoteric (perhaps) conversation is arising here.

The Trombone to music is the same as the Saxophone to music, or the voice, or violin for that matter. A device like a vocal box or wood block that allows a new sound. The greatest of all trombone players are musicians before instrumentalists, musicians who just so happened to play trombone, musicians who could have just as easily been a wind chime player or tablist, maybe a spoken word poet even. I always use Julian Priester as an example, since he has taught me so much. So many trombonists can play what he plays, but no one can. Why is that? We have a million people trying to play like Fontana and Watrous and failing because their technique will never be that amazing. Still no one can touch the simplicity and melodic nature of Julians playing, simply because no one is Julian,like no one can touch Miles even though half the world COULD play what he played, if they were him.

   As Trombonists we fall in to a dangerous cycle-- mostly being musical outcasts from every situation we are in, (except some non-western musics, YES, Puerto Ricans love us, Salsa mi Gente!) gives us very often a serious case of short-man syndrome. We feel it is necessary to prove that we too can be a show stopping, unbelievable solo performer. (Yes you too Mr. Lindbergh, If I wasn't a trombone player I probably wouldn't care.) This only exacerbates our cause. We are slower, more cumbersome and less cohesive in many usual musical settings and peoples constant disappointment when we try to "burn" our way through bebop, start an 2,3 trombone band, or trick people into thinking trombone choirs are interesting for non-trombonists only pushes us farther from the main stream. I think Josh Roseman fights this idea well, others too. Forget the desire to be in front of the sound and use other techniques to relate your music outwardly. The general public will be more receptive.

More will come,

Sorry these Ideas are not more cohesive, they are more like questions in the form of fact.

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« Reply #40 on: May 13, 2010, 06:03PM »

If one approaches the playing of a musical instrument...any musical instrument, including the voice...as a sort of meditational practice, then during the times that one successfully achieves this state all of the above questions become moot.

You jes' play.

Now of course, some people who are familiar w/my books or what I have written on the web over he last 8 years or so might well respond "Yeah. Right. 265 pages of incredibly detailed information on how to play the trombone. How to hold it; how to build an embouchure; how to move the slide, etc. Web posting after web posting about the importance of equipment and how to choose it. Arguments galore with various other posters. I got yer "meditation". Right here!!!"

This sort of response would stem from an incomplete understanding of the idea of "meditation". Meditation is not necessarily a passive, sitting-and-waiting act. There are meditations in movement and even meditations in combat. (Read "The Book of Five Rings" by Musashi Miyamoto for all that you might need to know about that idea.)

I speak a great deal about internalizing the reactive motions that are involved in playing a brass instrument through the application of good time. Time, understanding and practice. But...why do this? Why make this effort? In order to excel at playing a badly written, repetitive Broadway show or deal with one's own local community orchestra?

And the answer is...yes.

In an imperfect world one can achieve a sort of perfection at times. Near-perfection, anyway. It really makes little difference whether you are playing the greatest music ever performed with the greatest orchestra ever assembled, improvising at the highest level known to mankind, dealing with a sad, ragtag-sounding bunch of semi-amateurs or waiting on line at the Post Office while he surliest clerk ever invented by a benevolent universe ignores the long line of customers in favor of meticulously cleaning his nails.

It is all a chance to work on yourself. To in some way awaken.

As are:

1-Scales

2-Arpeggios

3-Long tones

4-Equipment searches

and the long and various list of the other minutiae that must be at least to some degree mastered in order to succeed in playing a trombone at least passably well.

For those of us who get there and manage to stay there for an appreciable length of time...by hook or by crook, villains, saints and everything else in between...the results are glorious music.

Diz, Bird, Pops, Getz, Duke, Jim Knepper...you name it. Same same in the orchestral world.

All were, whether they chose to speak in these terms or not, meditators. People who managed to get up above the instrument, up above the distractions and exigencies of day-to-day life, and flat-out play. Play with nothing interfering between them and the music. No mind, no body, no soul, no nuthin'.

I call this state "right note". I have been there myself on occasion and I recognize it when I hear it.

When I meet it, too.

Now...all of the words that various musicians tend to put on their music? Like J.J. talking about never getting too high, too fast, or too loud? That is J. J.'s essence. His balance, his spirit, found through years of musical meditation. As are Diz's flights of trumpetistic and harmonic virtuosity, Bird's astoundingly intricate inside lines, Getz's inability to play an awkward note, Pops playing like Gabriel incarnate, etc.

You cannot reach that state through inductive reasoning....J.J. says this or Casals/Heifetz/Coltrane say that. That is their essence, and it is the main reason why I mostly try to avoid "teaching" music. Give the student the tolls to learn ow to lay he horn physically and wish him well. Either he does it or he doesn't. However it happens...if indeed it does...it's not going to be "my" way unless he is my clone.

In closing, a story I just received this morning from the great bass trombonist Joe Randazzo, who gave up the instrument to become a high-level chef for a number of years and is now getting back into playing again.

A number of us used to trek out to Jimmy Knepper's house in Staten Island to play duets, trios, etc. with him. He rarely said much about how we played, instead choosing to once in a while mutter something like "Try that note in 4th" during a rest. Once in a while he'd get a little...exasperated...with some of us young'uns and actually try to tell us something directly, but "exasperated"for Jim looked a lot like "nearly comatose" for most other people. He just didn't act out much.

Anyway, he had suggested to Joe that he play a b in 5th at a certain point in one of the pieces that they were playing. Joe struggled with it for a while, and then during a break said to Jim that he just couldn't seem to get the right sound on that note no matter where he put the slide.

Jim's answer?

"You have to play it with the same spirit as your other Bbs."

Spirit.

Yup.

It worked, too.

Like dat.

Later...

S.
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« Reply #41 on: May 14, 2010, 03:46AM »

Sabutin, 'the spirit' is exactly it.

We all have the experiences where playing beautifully and spontaneously is so effortless we wonder why we don't play that way all the time. The next time we play we feel as though we're pushing a big rock uphill. The temptation for a young player (or even an old one) is to think, 'what was I playing when I sounded so great?' Never works.

The better question is, "How was I thinking/feeling/listening' when I played well?" That may sound wishy-washy, but it's a constant part of my performance technique--consciously getting into a musical space instead of repeating, technically, something I've done before. It's damned hard, but it beats over-thinking about notes. I'm a middling player, but the best advice I can give starting players is, don't think about what you played last time, think about how you felt last time.

There are a lot of ways to listen when you play, and that's another thing to control that keeps you from obsessing over note choices.

You listen to really great players and they seem like they have taken this to another level, with many different modalities and musical personalities they can go to, or like Miles, who seemed to effortlessly invent them on the spot, even though they all seemed to have the same center.

I like the posts that compare trombone playing to singing. When I listen to Dickie Wells or Vic Dickenson or Trummy Young, they have strong musical personalities in the way they phrase, just like Nat King Cole does. Lately I've been listening to Blossom Dearie and I hear a lot in her personality that transfers well to trombone--airy and buoyant, but still very focused and accurate.
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« Reply #42 on: May 14, 2010, 05:03AM »


Now...all of the words that various musicians tend to put on their music? Like J.J. talking about never getting too high, too fast, or too loud? That is J. J.'s essence. His balance, his spirit, found through years of musical meditation. As are Diz's flights of trumpetistic and harmonic virtuosity, Bird's astoundingly intricate inside lines, Getz's inability to play an awkward note, Pops plaiyng like Gabriel incarnate, etc.



And just how much of a part do you think the drugs and alcohol played in their meditation, balance and musical spirit?????
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« Reply #43 on: May 14, 2010, 08:19AM »

And just how much of a part do you think the drugs and alcohol played in their meditation, balance and musical spirit?????

Getting high is an uneducated attempt to reach a meditational state, Chris. When I say "uneducated" I mean it in the following sense.

Once an interviewer asked Mohandas Gandhi what he thought of Western Civilization.

His answer? "I think that it would be a very good idea."

Like dat.

Getting high...been there, baby, bet on it...actually works on a certain level to temporarily redistribute (and to some degree even supercharge) a human being's energies through certain centers. Different drugs (and different combinations of drugs as well) affect individuals in varying ways, but basically they all are energy redistributors. If one is not taught any path but the drug route to deal with this necessity as a musician...and by "necessity" I mean that playing on the level of say Charlie Parker is simply not a "natural" thing or it would be much more common...then this is the path that a passionately committed musician will take.

I do not despise or even presume to judge those great musicians who took this route. I admire them for their courage and their commitment to the music. They were not offered much in the way of any other route...I mean, hell Chris, being black in America well into the end of he 20th Century and even right through today means that you were not offered much of anything other than what you could learn on the street, and it was black musicians who set the tone and pace for the music that followed...and they did what worked. On a day-to day basis. They were not fools or weaklings...in fact, many of them were flat-out geniuses...they simply were not offered other horizons until it was too late for many of them.

In older cultures that are involved in high level improvisation and have continued to function and evolve...like the Northern Indian traditions, for example...it is my guess that they passed through the drug route many centuries ago. They found...as we are finding several generations into our own young idiom...that it simply does not work on a long-term basis. It destroys almost all of the people who enter it by so stressing their physical systems that they literally break down. They either break down and die or break down and simply do not play as well as they had played when they first discovered the power within them through the use of drugs. For anyone of any intelligence whatsoever all it takes is a good, up-close-and-personal look at the nearly empty shells of any number of once great musicians to see the truth of this, but for most of the members of the first few pioneer generations by the time most of them realized this truth it was just too damned late for them to do much about it.

Thus, we see fewer and fewer heavy drug users in the last couple of generations of great players. Should this idiom continue to grow, eventually a meditational system will replace the ad hoc, learn-it-on-the-bandstand-and-at-the-bar system that is still to some degree at work in these idioms, and the heightened powers that are needed for really high-level plaiyng will be found in other ways.

Just exactly as is the case with the Yogic/Sufi-influenced "meditational" approaches that now pertain in Northern Indian styles.

Meanwhile...and this is the crux of my own resistance to much of he academic teaching that is now in place...we are teaching the music by trying to ignore that to which Jim Knepper referred as "the spirit" in his comment to Joe Randazzo, much as the culture itself is trying to ignore it in an attempt to become almost completely secular. Human beings are three-brained animals...mind, body and soul for want of better terms...and ignoring the science of the soul will produce as incomplete a being as will ignoring the development of mind and body.

So it goes, and we shall see just where it goes.

I was lucky. Dumb lucky. I ran into a couple of great teachers who hipped me to this and a whole lot more before I went totally off the rails. But "luck" is not enough in the development of either a great idiom or its necessary corollary, a great culture in which it can develop.

Like I said...we shall see. Soon enough. This incomplete culture...this lacking "Western Civilization" to which Gandhi referred...is under attack from other partially developed cultures at the moment. Partially developed in other ways. Perhaps a more complete system will develop out of this clash, or perhaps the whole house of cards will once again come tumbling down. It's happened before in the history of mankind. Often. Bet on that as well. We shall see soon enough.

Meanwhile...honor your ancestors.

Your musical ancestors in this case.

Honor them for their achievements; honor them for their efforts, and honor them for their mistakes as well. It is on their shoulders that we all stand in an ongoing evolutionary process. Learn from their mistakes, but don't blame them. We'll make our mistakes as well. That's a good third bet.

After all...they did keep trying.

To the death, many of them.

How much more can one ask?

Later...

S
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« Reply #44 on: May 14, 2010, 09:07AM »

Music is something you can listen or perform.  In our case with a trombone. When listen that's a personal thing. Also so when performing but there are a problem with performing. First of all you have to know the language. If you don't there will be problem to speak. And there will be problem for the listener to understand. what you say. And for us the trombone/technique/equipment is the language. So to give a message on our trombone we have to learn this. The better we learn it the more easy we can express our self.


leif, i agree with much of what you have said.  but, i have tried to stop thinking of technique as the language.  the language is what is written in the score.  those are the words.  in understanding those words and the conversations in the orchestration, a trombonist can make musical choices. 

i don't even believe that you have to be able to read a score to understand that language, but that you need only actively listen to music.  then in performance or listening, the technique becomes a means to an end...the music.

dg
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D Gibson
« Reply #45 on: May 14, 2010, 09:15AM »

If one approaches the playing of a musical instrument...any musical instrument, including the voice...as a sort of meditational practice, then during the times that one successfully achieves this state all of the above questions become moot.

You jes' play.

Now of course, some people who are familiar w/my books or what I have written on the web over he last 8 years or so might well respond "Yeah. Right. 265 pages of incredibly detailed information on how to play the trombone. How to hold it; how to build an embouchure; how to move the slide, etc. Web posting after web posting about the importance of equipment and how to choose it. Arguments galore with various other posters. I got yer "meditation". Right here!!!"

This sort of response would stem from an incomplete understanding of the idea of "meditiation". Meditation is not necessarily a passive, sitting-and-waiting act. There are meditations in movement and even meditations in combat. (Read "The Book of Five Rings" by Musashi Miyamoto for all that you might need to know about that idea.)

I speak a great deal about internalizing the reactive motions that are involved in playing a brass instrument through the application of good time. Time, understanding and practice. But...why do this? Why make this effort? In order to excel at playing a badly written, repetitive Broadway show or deal with one's own local community orchestra?

And the answer is...yes.

In an imperfect world one can achieve a sort of perfection at times. Near-perfection, anyway. It really makes little difference whether you are playing the greatest music ever performed with the greatest orchestra ever assembled, improvising at the highest level known to mankind, dealing with a sad, ragtag-sounding bunch of semi-amateurs or waiting on line at the Post Office while he surliest clerk ever invented by a benevolent universe ignores the long line of customers in favor of meticulously cleaning his nails.

It is all a chance to work on yourself. To in some way awaken.

As are:

1-Scales

2-Arpeggios

3-Long tones

4-Equipment searches

and the long and various list of the other minutiae that must be at least to some degree mastered in order to succeed in playing a trombone at least passably well.

For those of us who get there and manage to stay there for an appreciable length of time...by hook or by crook, villains, saints and everything else in between...the results are glorious music.

Diz, Bird, Pops, Getz, Duke, Jim Knepper...you name it. Same same in the orchestral world.

All were, whether they chose to speak in these terms or not, meditators. People who managed to get up above the instrument, up above the distractions and exigencies of day-to-day life, and flat-out play. Play with nothing interfering between them and the music. No mind, no body, no soul, no nuthin'.

I call this state "right note". I have been there myself on occasion and I recognize it when I hear it.

When I meet it, too.

Now...all of the words that various musicians tend to put on their music? Like J.J. talking about never getting too high, too fast, or too loud? That is J. J.'s essence. His balance, his spirit, found through years of musical meditation. As are Diz's flights of trumpetistic and harmonic virtuosity, Bird's astoundingly intricate inside lines, Getz's inability to play an awkward note, Pops plaiyng like Gabriel incarnate, etc.

You cannot reach that state through inductive reasoning....J.J. says this or Casals/Heifetz/Coltrane say that. That is their essence, and it is the main reason why I mostly try to avoid "teaching" music. Give the student the tolls to learn ow to lay he horn physically and wish him well. Either he does it or he doesn't. However it happens...if indeed it does...it's not going to be "my" way unless he is my clone.

In closing, a story I just received this morning from the great bass trombonist Joe Randazzo, who gave up the instrument to become a high-level chef for a number of years and is now getting back into playing again.

A number of us used to trek out to Jimmy Knepper's house in Staten Island to play duets, trios, etc. with him. He rarely said much about how we played, instead choosing to once in a while mutter something like "Try that note in 4th" during a rest. Once in a while he'd get a little...exasperated...with some of us young'uns and actually try to tell us something directly, but "exasperated"for Jim looked a lot like "nearly comatose" for most other people. He just didn't act out much.

Anyway, he had suggested to Joe that he play a b in 5th at a certain point in one of the pieces that they were playing. Joe struggled with it for a while, and then during a break said to Jim that he just couldn't seem to get the right sound on that note no matter where he put the slide.

Jim's answer?

"You have to play it with the same spirit as your other Bbs."

Spirit.

Yup.

It worked, too.

Like dat.

Later...

S.

indeed.  thanks, sam. 

regarding meditation....i think of being primarily aware of silence, whether that is an absence of sound or an absence of thought.  then, when sound and thought creep in, they really pop into my awareness.  but, they don't surprise me because i was on alert by listening to the silence.  it takes a lot of concentration. 

what you have described here has been a meandering pursuit of mine throughout the years...mostly because i didn't have a real sense of what it was or that it was even possible.  but, after tasting it a few times in the past couple of years, i aim for it.  sometimes i get it.  but, there is joy in knowing it's possible and i can get there again if i really focus my mental energy. 

yes yes yes.
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« Reply #46 on: May 14, 2010, 10:06AM »

leif, i agree with much of what you have said.  but, i have tried to stop thinking of technique as the language.  the language is what is written in the score.  those are the words.  in understanding those words and the conversations in the orchestration, a trombonist can make musical choices. 

i don't even believe that you have to be able to read a score to understand that language, but that you need only actively listen to music.  then in performance or listening, the technique becomes a means to an end...the music.

dg

I agree, when I did look at my post after I did not quite agree with my self. Look at me I cant many English words, but still I can say something(Hopefully) :) Look at a baby that only can two words. Some of them still say a lot. So that post was no good. I agree with you David.

Look at all trombonists in the hole world. Most of them have it as a hobby and they have fun. They have fun and just play. For a pro player I'm not sure what counts any longer and I see my self mostly as a teacher.  I just try to make my playing fun like I do with my children's. Still I try to make some music. That's all. Not on a high level but whats fun for me is to make some progress.

This discussion begin certainly to be interesting but some of the post are a bit complicated and long to understand for me and my English skills.   :/

I go and try to make some notes with sense out of my horn. If its a lucky day maybe it will. Who knows  :) :)



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D Gibson
« Reply #47 on: May 14, 2010, 12:19PM »

Look at a baby that only can two words. Some of them still say a lot.



i use this metaphor exactly with my students all the time.  they try to say something in a sophisticated way that is beyond their capability.  but, if they just try to say "something", then they'll find a way to do it. 

dg
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« Reply #48 on: May 14, 2010, 05:56PM »

i use this metaphor exactly with my students all the time.  they try to say something in a sophisticated way that is beyond their capability.  but, if they just try to say "something", then they'll find a way to do it. 

dg

or admitting your inability to say it in those words/ways and saying it in equally meaningful but alternative way. This was primarily how I feel about Miles, he couldn't--or chose not to speak like Dizzy, accepted it and found the same meaning in inventive ways.

Listening to things he said in writing and interview he he seems like a brash, self aware individual but listening to his music he seems humble.
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« Reply #49 on: May 14, 2010, 08:26PM »

I work with a couple guys a few years older than me who used heroin. Neither of them has used for many, many years. Both of them said, 'Yeah it helps, sort of'. Both of them wish they never did it. Both of them said what Sabutin said--that it's a shortcut to something you could do better without it.
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« Reply #50 on: May 16, 2010, 10:32PM »

the only dragon i want to be chasing is the one that hides in that "right note" state of mind...
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« Reply #51 on: May 16, 2010, 11:02PM »

the only dragon i want to be chasing is the one that hides in that "right note" state of mind...

Lot of ways to chase that sucker. Be careful.
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« Reply #52 on: May 17, 2010, 09:58AM »

independent of instrument changes, does anyone have anything to offer some of the younger folks here on the forum in regard to playing different styles/genres?  it seems that some are quick to say, "this horn is for jazz and this horn is for rock and this horn is for orchestra and this horn for reggae....", but we never delve into the conceptual changes necessary to sound authentic in the different genres. 

thinking of music as a language, each genre represents a different dialect.  diction and pronunciation change from style to style. 

thoughts? 
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« Reply #53 on: May 17, 2010, 10:54AM »

All that..

For the tenor guys the concept is kinda part of the horn and all the intellectual items you mentioned...

For bass trombonist, it's all in our head.  I mean you can have a light bell for popping or a tank for Bruckner, but with a little work you should be able to pop your tank and keep things together on the light horn.

When I think of Big band, I think of the trombone as an extension of the trumpets...bright, hard, forward.

When I think of rock bands, I think of Chicago/Dick Shearer...No prisoners!

When I think of orchestral, I think of the trombone as a bridge between the trumpets and the horns.  Fuller and more round, not heavy very often, not dark though.  The trumpet concept is different, so the way trombones blend is too.

Brass band/concert band...bigger brighter.

Chamber music...this gets interesting, because you have to be a chameleon...soloist, section, working with everyone...much more "music related" vs "job related".

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« Reply #54 on: May 17, 2010, 11:36AM »



Chamber music...this gets interesting, because you have to be a chameleon...soloist, section, working with everyone...much more "music related" vs "job related".



i tend to have to play this way more often than not.  one of my main gigs is a little big band.  3 saxes, 2 trpts and 1 bone.  when i write for the band, the bone is the glue to fill out the saxes as a 2nd tenor voice or fill out the trumpets as a 3rd trumpet.  that means i'm consistently adjusting my timbre to blend with whatever situation presents itself. 

dg
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« Reply #55 on: May 18, 2010, 11:14AM »

http://tromboneforum.org/index.php/topic,51543.msg726646.html#msg726646

is that what folks here are getting from this discussion?  if so, that's sad.

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« Reply #56 on: May 18, 2010, 11:58AM »

...I don't think this thread should get personal.  :/  We already acknowledged the need for the nuts and bolts, and understand that will continually be hashed out elsewhere on the forum.  This thread is on to something completely above each one of us, and shouldn't concern itself with anything other than the act of making music on the trombone.  How different people approach making music, mentally---no, spiritually.  IF music is a spiritual thing for the individual.  Which, let's be honest, it should be.  ...inmyhumbleopinion.

I play with a band I find hard to classify. We have a bass/rhythm guitar player, effect-heavy guitarist, keys/tenor sax/clarinet, trombone, and drums.   When asked what kind of band I play in, I will respond with these words, in no particular order: jam, electronic, dub, reggae, rock, funk.  When I was asked to play with them, I was a little overwhelmed.  I wasn't happy with where my playing was (not that I am now) and I had a hard time trying to find space in the music for a trombone.  After enough playing with the guys, I began forming sound concepts for each individual song.  On any given day, we'll play a laid back reggae song, followed by a fast electronic jam in 7, then a pseudo-middle eastern ballad, followed by an afrobeat tune.  One tone just won't cut it.

I play on a variety of horns with the group, though not as a musical choice.  It's purely situational: where I'm leaving from, where I'm going, etc.  From a 2B to a Shires bass, I have to make it work.  So in order to get some sort of consistency, I simply envision the sound I want.  My mind is filled with the sound I want to produce, the music I want to make, regardless of which horn made it to the gig.  and it works!  This was a huge breakthrough for me. So simple.

I'm sure many of you have figured this out already.  I just figured it was relevant to contribute to this music-making discussion.  My ability to make music on the trombone skyrocketed when I started mentally concentrating on my sound.  I've been able to find that space in the eclectic jams, and fill it with the sound I want.

Apologies to all who sifted through this post for the semi-incoherent rambling and inconsistent grammar.  I'm no wordsmith.  Don't know
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D Gibson
« Reply #57 on: May 18, 2010, 12:18PM »

...I don't think this thread should get personal.  :/ 


i don't intend to get personal.  i'm just curious if that's how my words portray my intent.  perhaps, i need to be more careful in the articulation of my thoughts via the written word. 

i'm certainly disappointed...and that disappointment is in myself.  i have not succeeded in sharing my enthusiasm for music effectively, if the previously mentioned sentiment is widely shared. 

disappointed.

dg
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« Reply #58 on: May 18, 2010, 12:31PM »

As someone once said,"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture..."

And I think it was meant in jest.

Bobby Shew did a clinic at Cal Poly a few years ago.  One thing he talked about was the difference between serious and sincere.  He said many people take music seriously...to their detriment.  Serious has a negative connotation...while sincere is much more positive.

I played in a big band last night, last rehearsal of the year.  We sightread some charts, some good but very dated, some McConnell charts as a tribute to him, some...well, strange charts...Lots of humor was necessary, given the awful roadmaps, the smeared copy, Jensen page turns, just weird charts...maybe some gallows humor also, but it still made for an enjoyable evening.
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« Reply #59 on: May 18, 2010, 02:09PM »

on the subject of sounds/timbres for different types of music...

as a composer/arranger, i like to re-orchestrate larger pieces to work with small ensembles so if for instance i feel like being miles for a night, i can whip out springsville and my ship - and do those with a much smaller band than was intended - and do the re-orchestrations in such a way that they can be mixed and matched with unintended instruments.  in the practice room and on other people's gigs i work on the right "language" or "voice" i need for a specific gig - but on my own stuff or in more open settings i try to stick to my own brand of baby-talk.  i also encourage other musicians playing my music to shed any pre-conceived notions of what is appropriate and give me their personal idea of what sounds good.  feel free to edit parts as necessary (add/leave out/displace, etc...)  I do this because i still like the surprise i get from hearing a chart played for the first time - and shedding my ego and letting the guys do their thing was a way for me to experience that every time.  a lot of my scores turn into something completely different after a few performances.  i like that. 

i think one obstacle to finding one's voice is the thought "what would ____________ think about this..." - it can better us but it can lead us into making decisions that aren't our own decisions.  I think  a balance needs to be found.  We owe our spiritual pre-cursors the respect of listening, learning and studying their work, but we also owe it to them to contribute our own words and prayers to the book that is still being written - whether they would agree or not.

as important as it is in any music to learn the ways of the masters, it is just as important to forge your own way.  My path isn't the same as anyone's - hopefully all our paths will intersect at some point, but they can't be the same.
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« Reply #60 on: May 18, 2010, 02:11PM »

i have not succeeded in sharing my enthusiasm for music effectively, if the previously mentioned sentiment is widely shared.
On the contrary, I think you have shared your enthusiasm for music in a much more articulate manner than nearly anything else I've read on this forum regarding the music.  In addition, you have prompted many other well-thought posts on the subject, from a variety of users.  I think the thread should stay on that topic; no need for disappointment.  At the very least, I feel as though I've gained a deeper insight into music making on the trombone from this thread.  Can't say that about most things I've read here.

Off to play a gig with aforementioned electronic/dub/funk/reggae/jam band.  Time to put my money where my mind is...
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« Reply #61 on: May 18, 2010, 04:34PM »


i don't intend to get personal.  i'm just curious if that's how my words portray my intent.  perhaps, i need to be more careful in the articulation of my thoughts via the written word. 

i'm certainly disappointed...and that disappointment is in myself.  i have not succeeded in sharing my enthusiasm for music effectively, if the previously mentioned sentiment is widely shared. 

disappointed.

dg

To the contrary, I think people appreciated the need for this thread and understood your point in starting it. The post from the other thread was a lighthearted jape, IMHO.
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« Reply #62 on: May 18, 2010, 05:37PM »

I listen to a lot music from the past (jazz masters, and legit guys).

And I listen to a lot of music from the present (CD's, MP3's, YouTube).

And I listen to a lot of music from the future (live perf, educ. groups, etc.)

What I notice is that there is very few trombone oriented music (yeah, I know, some of you will come up with dozens, where are the hundreds? Thousands?)

But, back to topic. The incredible musicians alive are right here right now. Wycliffe Gordon, Alex Iles, Andy Martin, Mark Nightingale, and all the classical guys...

It is not about the trombone, it is about music made sometimes by trombonists.

It is nice that there are a lot of fine musicians playing the trombone.

It is wonderful that the quality of music is so high, regardless of the instrument.
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« Reply #63 on: May 18, 2010, 06:17PM »

One thing I've been thinking about is that the trombone does a lot of things very easily and beautifully that are very difficult on other instruments, and is challenged to do things that are easy on other instruments.

If you listen to old jazz, the trombone's role was 'sounding like a trombone'. The whole tailgate thing. A lot of tromboning today is 'trying to sound less like a trombone.' My old Leonard Feather book talks about how people first hearing JJ couldn't believe he wasn't playing some kind of valved instrument. I don't agree, but it expresses a certain attitude about the trombone--hey, the guy's so good, you can hardly tell it's a trombone!

The first time I heard Bill Watrous as a youngster, I practically died and fell in it--how's he doing that? At the same time, I was starting to appreciate guys like Glenn Ferris and Roswell Rudd and Bruce Fowler, who seemed willing to explore the inherent weirdness of the trombone. I'm not commenting on the chops of those guys, just pointing out that they weren't trying not to sound like trombone players.

I understand that this stuff has to be controlled--you don't want to listen to someone playing very conventional music with bad slide technique--but is there room in the world for new players who want to do something that is beautiful without being conventionally virtuosic? Is there an Ornette Coleman of the trombone out there?
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« Reply #64 on: May 19, 2010, 01:30AM »

To the contrary, I think people appreciated the need for this thread and understood your point in starting it. The post from the other thread was a lighthearted jape, IMHO.

Absolutely. This is an excellent topic leading to all sorts of interesting discussions which will undoubtedly continue for many weeks. Everyone recognises it as such and it was long overdue. However, I would be extremely sorry if we took ourselves so seriously that we couldn't accept a very, very gentle leg-pull from a well-respected and normally serious-minded fellow member....

I confess to being completely old-fashioned in my view of what the trombone should do. As has been said, it is great at doing certain things and has a unique mechanism to enable it to do so. In jazz, I see it as a counterpoint to the rest of the front line and think it should provide a lower melodic harmony. To push the limits is a natural human trait, but I believe that "high and fiddly", particularly in ensemble sections of jazz, should be left to the reeds and trumpets. Where is the contrast, the flavour, the variety, the interest, if we are all selfishly striving to push our instruments to their limits (or our own limits), in other words competing to do very similar things, rather than striving together to make good music?

I can name a UK band which is particularly bad for this. It calls itself an "all-star" band and comprises members who are all "ex" one famous band or another. In fact, it is merely a collection of seven musicians trying to score points off each other. I don't call that a band and it does NOT make for enjoyable listening.

I'm not saying one shouldn't push the limits of what is considered possible. Of course not! Even though I love early jazz, I don't want the genre to stagnate. And of course I want to see innovative talent and hear new voices! Such people take the music to a whole new level. I'm also not saying that such people cannot be supportive band members, and I know that having a "star" in the band can be inspiring for other band members and audiences alike. I just believe that making good music, together, should be a priority.
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« Reply #65 on: May 19, 2010, 10:12AM »

I'm not really complaining about one style or another. It just seems that jazz saxophonists 'dare to be ugly' a little more. I think it's a psychological thing--maybe it's so hard for trombonists to 'tame the beast' that people concentrate on that, or the fear that playing that's not conventional would be taken as unskilled.
The effect is that the range of sounds the trombone can make is somewhat lightly used.
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« Reply #66 on: May 19, 2010, 01:04PM »

Roswell Rudd.  Dares to be ugly, embraces his "slush pump".  In a different thread, someone linked this slideshow of him with commentary.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2007/11/21/travel/escapes/20071123_RUDD_FEATURE.html

I love how he plays different colors!  That opened up my mind.
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« Reply #67 on: May 19, 2010, 04:09PM »

Roswell! - there's a musician of the highest order.

There are so many Ornettes of the trombone world.  George Lewis, Roz, Wolter Wierbos, Ray Anderson, Gary Valente, many many more.  Oh the poor saxes, they have only one, we have so many!  The saxophone world has so much reified history to deal with, we have nothing but unexplored sonic territories.  Set sail for the sun!
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« Reply #68 on: May 19, 2010, 07:01PM »

I'm not saying there aren't any--I named Roswell and a couple of others. I'm just saying maybe we're intimidating ourselves into playing too damn pretty. The trombone should OWN the beautiful ugly. While the saxes are playing crazy stuff and scaring everyone, we're worrying that someone heard our slide move.
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« Reply #69 on: May 20, 2010, 09:41AM »

frank lacy.
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« Reply #70 on: May 20, 2010, 12:41PM »

A lot of the discussion on the forum has to do with conventional technique--developing slide and articulation technique that makes the trombone sound closer to the articulation of other instruments. Makes sense, because that's the application most of us are going to see.

Still, one of the reasons most players don't use quarter-tones is that they're too hard to play. They're a snap on trombone. How many guys use them? Trumpet and sax players sometimes use smooth glissandos to show off their technique--trombonists seem to avoid them because they're too easy.

So, here's my question:

Do the Monks and Ornettes of the world necessarily learn conventional technique first?
Is there room in the trombone world for someone who finds some new sounds from the horn without necessarily learning the traditional vocabulary and technique?
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« Reply #71 on: Jun 19, 2010, 07:09PM »

I  was  listen Elvis concert in Honolulu on youtube. There is two things that interest me about this concert. His musicality, and the great bass trombone playing in this concert.

When I listen the hole concert I understand why he was famous. His clothes, his behavior, his wild life(or maybe it was the news paper that make it wild)

Maybe it was,a big part of it  but with out his musicality and sound/voice he would not be anything.  I give a link to this concert.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTZi7VOCj78&feature=related


Many of us trombone players will laugh of Elvis especially when compare it yo high level jazz or classical performers.  But if you listen the hole concert its music made by one great musician who have a wide range of styles and do express music very easy.

If we cold express our trombone voice like his voice, his musicality, his love for music, we should be glad.

But most of us  will never do it. We use most of our time in how to chose a trombone. What trombone is proper to play in what setting and style.  Just think about it. We use a lot of time just to choose the right trombone, mouthpiece, gold or yellow brass, the story is endless. How to use the tongue, how to get the right sound, how to make the air moving. And while do this we forget the music. And time is going away. The strange thing is we keep on with this even if we don't have to. Even when we can play the trombone well.

We forget to use our time in whats fun and important.

I did use Elvis as an example but most singers would be a good example.  Just think to express your trombone that way. No trombone player can do it.  I did mention a mother singing a song for her child in another tread. Most of us cant  do that on our trombones.

I  know I often dismiss music, music styles, singers, performers, musicians.  I should never do. If I do I'm going into a small niche and life would be boring. Therefore I like Elvis.   


Cheers

Leif
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« Reply #72 on: Jun 19, 2010, 11:00PM »

I actually had a similar experience today, Leif.  An acquaintance of mine from high school is entering a "sing like John Mayer" contest in the San Francisco area, and he has been spamming everyone to vote for him online.  I checked out his profile on the site, not thinking it would be much...Boy was I wrong.

Sure, the progression wasn't that hip,

and him singing over just a drum, bass and guitar didn't provide the lushness of a big band or color of a good pianist's comping...

But his voice!!

Man!

He was able to own every word, every sound, every inflection; he made it all his own.  That to me is success right there, and it's all you need for good music.

There's an anecdote that has been going around (It may have originated from Dave Liebman, but please, PLEASE do not quote me on this because I could be wrong...) but it relates to Kenny G.  It goes something like...
"Kenny G has won.  He has his own sound, and has carved out a style his own."

Now....Do I agree with this?  No, not at all, I don't know if it's really true.  But it's something to consider, and it challenges us to give our attention to the the lamest, most commercialized, insulting stuff out there, something which I believe we must do if we're to remain honest musicians.
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« Reply #73 on: Jul 08, 2010, 07:32PM »

Today people try to make their own style, make something new, make some thats unique. Some try it desperate because they feel thats the clue. I think thats a good thing but it could also be break or stop. The reason is we try to think our way to make new things. Or we try to work out new things.  It could happen but I doubt it. The answear is in our own musical mind. It have to come a natural way. And its not enough, it have to reach  other people. It have to touch other people. One way or another. Sooner or later.  The message have to be read somewhere or sometime.  The point is to make a personal message you feel is "your" message and is "your" musical personality. My point is not force it. Work? yes, think? yes. But let the time and the child that play inside decide.

I believe thats the clue to almost everything inside music. No matter if we play as amateurs in a School Band, as pro players, as composers, or as a listener. The music already is inside ourself, we ust have to find it and enjoy it.   

Leif
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« Reply #74 on: Jul 08, 2010, 07:36PM »

And i think to add to that beautiful post, Lief, it helps to know the masters as well as you can - they had the same issue with the child inside trying to get out - and by hearing how they did it, maybe we get a little insight into how we can get the ghost out.

hope that makes sense...

And speaking of music, I've been teetering back and forth between Spanish Harlem Orch and Chris Potter Underground today.  Just too much good music out there.  If I can produce one small iota of what guys like this have put out, I'll die a happy man.
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« Reply #75 on: Jul 10, 2010, 11:31AM »

....... it helps to know the masters as well as you can - they had the same issue with the child inside trying to get out - and by hearing how they did it, maybe we get a little insight into how we can get the ghost out.

hope that makes sense...



Yes, it make sense to me anyway. I would say exactly, Exzaclee .   Good!

There are so much demands everywhere, play like that, play like this, or play this way not this way.....to much serious thoughts. Well, its needed sometimes, of course.  But we forget to bring the child out. Try things for fun, see what happens, dear to play wrong, explore things, listen around and get some ideas. All just for fun. Not to get better, not to make things perfect like all want. Just to "play" and explore whats inside our self.  Can be fun sometimes. 

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« Reply #76 on: Jul 12, 2010, 07:53PM »

children have not yet learned to fear what others think.  we should try and remain child-like in that way, for sure.
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« Reply #77 on: Jan 23, 2011, 10:42PM »

i feel like reviving this thread, i got a lot out of it.  I was listening to "A Little Somethin'" (David Gibson) earlier.  If anyone here hasn't yet picked up this album, they should.
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« Reply #78 on: Jan 23, 2011, 11:10PM »

In that same vein, I just got my copy of the American Rath Pack - if anyone here doesn't have it, check it out - a must for every trombonist.

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« Reply #79 on: Jan 25, 2011, 12:35PM »

In that same vein, I just got my copy of the American Rath Pack - if anyone here doesn't have it, check it out - a must for every trombonist.



nick,

the goal of the project was MUSIC on the TROMBONE.  i hope it comes off as such. 

dg
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« Reply #80 on: Feb 01, 2011, 01:44AM »

Just finished really listening to the whole thing through.  It did come off as music, not just great trombone playing.  A great record. 
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« Reply #81 on: Feb 01, 2011, 10:52AM »

GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE(r)

I've thought all this time that the Cobbler was titled the Gobbler - it's got that down home thanksgiving dinner kind of feel.  I guess it's about shoe makers and all this time i've had visions of family gatherings and cranberry sauce.

It's my morning ear-worm. 
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« Reply #82 on: Feb 01, 2011, 01:44PM »

Nope...it's a delicious dessert with fruit filling.
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« Reply #83 on: Feb 01, 2011, 02:33PM »

Kind of like the tune... i guess i was close with my first impression?

bwah behp!  (bohp buhn) Behp! (bohp buhn...) behbadobahdudehp!

you must get as excited as i do about well prepared desserts
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« Reply #84 on: Feb 01, 2011, 04:41PM »

Kind of like the tune... i guess i was close with my first impression?

bwah behp!  (bohp buhn) Behp! (bohp buhn...) behbadobahdudehp!

you must get as excited as i do about well prepared desserts

there's a story that goes with it.  can't tell it here.  you dig?
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« Reply #85 on: Feb 01, 2011, 06:04PM »

dig... i'll call you about it sometime if you don't mind
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« Reply #86 on: Feb 01, 2011, 06:33PM »

indeed.
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« Reply #87 on: May 19, 2011, 04:15PM »

Oohh its a long time since somebody post here. I have one more post that maybe fit inside this topic. I don't know. But maybe it fit here so I don't have to start a new tread. Its my usual Norwegian/English so you are warned.

I have listen a lot to the high end players. Both tenor and bass players. Trying to figure out both what they do and not do. When listen close, the things they not do is interesting. Compared to me, they do less work and still it sounds like they get much more music out. I figure out they have one thing in common. Less is more. They do what they need to do with more finesse. So the result seem to be more. And they don't force anything to much. I believe this is because of a great technique and also an intelligent way to make music out of the instruments weak and good sides. If you see what I mean.

Its not fair if I compare to me, because my technical skills are not at the level where you can do anything you like. I don't think these good players have so much more musical feel inside than me. OK maybe a bit. But I think a lot of people have that, also listeners and none musician. But what I think is these "good" players use their musical skills more intelligent to make that music we love. Its a blend where they know what the instrument can do, where they know their own strong and weak sides, where they put inside their feelings and musicality, but always in a intelligent way. Then I have to explain intelligent way. They balance all their skills, musically and technicality, with their knowledge of the instruments character it self, into a musical output that is "good" for all to listen. Puuhh sorry that long sentence. But there is some of the "mysteries" about how to make music? Or? I don't believe these people go around and think about it so much. Its a "sum" of many years work, experience and musicality that make it I believe.

Well, I just had to put some words on it to try understand a little. Understand what I need to work on.  Please share your thoughts? (Hope its possible to understand my writing?)

Leif
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« Reply #88 on: May 19, 2011, 06:44PM »

There's a Terence Blanchard record I'm currently listening to called Romantic Defiance - I'm also watching the NBA Western Conference Finals Game 2, but listening intently. On the record is a tenor player that I wasn't able to guess after some though.

For those of you who have the record, you know that the person playing tenor is not a tenor player familiarly - he is an alto player, by the name of Kenny Garrett.

It's hard for me to stop listening to him on tenor. Clearly Kenny Garrett is one of the baddest alto players today, but on tenor there's something that lessens the bite to his sound on alto because it is placed into a lower register. It's still soulful, it's just more mellow. His ability to bend certain pitches, combined with the way he articulates certain notes, leads his solo on Premise to be driving as all hell, but still contained.

What I notice the most about Kenny Garrett on tenor, however, is that it does not sound like someone else because he is on another instrument. It sounds like Kenny Garrett, playing a tenor saxophone. I feel the same way about Jackie McLean on tenor, or Bird on tenor, or Sonny Stitt on baritone, or John Coltrane on alto. With very few exceptions (and this is just my opinion), the instrument is simply an extension of the musical ideas and sound concept contained in one's mind. There are two things that separate a novice musician from a master musician in my opinion, and indeed these are not simple things. The first is experience. Even if you figure out what sound you are going for on any given night on any given tune or piece, you won't be able to truly piece it together without having ever played it for people. The second is a clarified concept of what you want to sound like. How clarified? The more clarified your concept, the more you will sound like it, and the better it will sound. What do I mean by clarified? Compare where you are to the level of the players you are currently trying to reach. The more you realize that comparison both mentally and in terms of realization in the real world, the farther you will progress towards that level.

If you decide to apply your concept to your horn once your concept is as together as you can make it at any given time, with experience, not only will that concept come to fruition (practice, life stuff, gigging, etc.), but your concept will broaden to include things in your playing you haven't thought of, thus changing your concept in some way and allowing for new possibilities and a higher quality. The next step is to reimagine one's concept again, and to go through the cycle indefinitely. The goal is not to get to a point where that concept does not ever change, but to get to the next time where you feel your concept is together, only to have it torn down by new information. I feel this applies to life as a whole.

The trombone is described as an instrument that may be less inviting towards the full ability for one to execute every musical thought going on in said musician's head. When I hear Kenny Garrett on tenor, though, I know that Kenny Garrett on tenor is just Kenny Garrett on alto, on tenor. Kenny Garrett is Kenny Garrett, and on any instrument he will always be Kenny Garrett. Steve Davis on trombone does indeed sound like Steve Davis on piano, or Steve Davis on bass, or Steve Davis on drums. The way he sees the whole instrument like a palette, no matter what it is, is the way he thinks. Trust me: I study with Steve Davis.

I saw the post about how one person feels about the alto trombone, the tenor trombone, and other instruments. My thoughts are that the instrument will function as a reflection of the person inside. The instrument will not play relaxed until the person is relaxed. The instrument will not play in tune until the person can hear themselves sing that note that they are trying to play in tune. You will not write your name cleanly until you know how to write your name cleanly and what that feels and looks like. You may know what it looks like, but you may not know how to write it out, or what the form should be. 75% of the form and 50% of the look may translate to 62.5% of the cleanly written name. If you're going for 100%, you need to average 100% and 100%. If you want a beautiful sound, mature ideas and a lot of language, you have to know what that sounds like, perfectly, and how to execute that on the horn. I'm still figuring it out, which is why you've never seen me at a New York jazz club. I know what I have to do, but I haven't done. More will be revealed to me, at which time I will BEGIN to realize what my concept should next allow to join it as a segment.

As a jazz musician I can look at two completely different trombonists, like Wycliffe Gordon and Steve Davis. They were raised in two entirely different environments, think in two entirely different ways and play more unlike each other than any other two trombonists I can think of. They are both extremely bad at what they do. The trombone is such a unique instrument that it deserves to be played in a plethora of different ways. Each player will play it differently. The whole concept I want to portray onto hear is that each instrument can play any way. Any instrument, I feel, can play any role in any ensemble. There are too many ensembles in the world of African-American classical music that put themselves into a hip box, but a box nonetheless. One can come up with an ensemble that has no historical precedent, that sets its own example and has its own hit records. John Coltrane created something different out of everything else that had ever been done. He borrowed from Eastern meditational concepts and he borrowed from Stravinsky and Slonimsky. All different types of trombonists are doing it. It's no secret. It's a matter of opening your mind to everything that will influence the gravity of one note.

And if one note is all it takes to display the influence of an entire human being, imagine what is possible with music, and with the trombone.
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« Reply #89 on: May 19, 2011, 08:59PM »

i got that album when it came out, spent a few days with it on repeat - didn't leave the house.  i still get chills when "morning after celebration" comes on... great album.

a lot of great voices on that disc.
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« Reply #90 on: Jul 03, 2011, 10:36AM »

Giving this topic a bump since my mind has been cookin' a bit, of late.

I recently listened to an interview with author David Brooks about his new novel, The Social Animal. This one is on my personal reading list and I sent it to my dad for Father's Day.  In the interview, Brooks explains that he wrote the book as a fictional representation of many of the behavioral studies he's read over the past few years.

One of the points he made was related to patents. An analysis of patents and the previous patents upon which they were based revealed that the new and old patent holders lived and worked in close geographic proximity to one another. In many cases, the new and previous patent holders knew one another. Why is this important?  They SHARED their knowledge and experience with one another and a better understanding was built from doing so. They BRAINSTORMED and created a new way of thinking that incorporated different approaches.

I bring this up because I see THIS PLACE as a way to get closer and get to know one another in spite of our geographic separation. It's an imperfect solution, as Brooks also sites evidence that face-to-face communication is still a necessary and superior form of communicating, but we can benefit greatly from this place if we use it with wisdom, discipline, restraint and respect.

Contrary to the idealism of a group discussion or brainstorm, I frequently observe lectures and debate from fixed positions wherein arguments are created by resistance rather than understanding.

I'd like to challenge all reading here to SHARE their knowledge rather than wielding it as a weapon against those with whom you disagree.

More brainstorms and fewer lectures could benefit us all, IMHO. We play music because we enjoy it....or at least we did when we started. We come to this place because we enjoy discussing music and the trombone. Everyone should be able to leave this place feeling like they enjoyed their experience. This challenge might also entail that you enjoy your time here without minimizing another's enjoyment.  I believe the music we make will benefit and we will benefit.

DG
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« Reply #91 on: Jul 03, 2011, 10:51AM »

One thing about the patents.

Many times a patent will be taken out on a product that already exists in order to do two things:

1.  Make it better.
2.  Extend the patent coverage since the thing requires the new innovation.

Naturally, the people doing the development all know each other.  They probably all worked on the development even though only one of them may be actually listed.

I think a healthy discourse among us is useful for all.  We all need to learn to listen to each other and listen to each other to learn.

If you want an example of the opposite, look at some of the discussions in Purely Politics, which consist of two sides talking past each other.  Totally not productive.
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« Reply #92 on: Dec 08, 2011, 01:46PM »

Giving this topic a bump since my mind has been cookin' a bit, of late.

I recently listened to an interview with author David Brooks about his new novel, The Social Animal. This one is on my personal reading list and I sent it to my dad for Father's Day.  In the interview, Brooks explains that he wrote the book as a fictional representation of many of the behavioral studies he's read over the past few years.

One of the points he made was related to patents. An analysis of patents and the previous patents upon which they were based revealed that the new and old patent holders lived and worked in close geographic proximity to one another. In many cases, the new and previous patent holders knew one another. Why is this important?  They SHARED their knowledge and experience with one another and a better understanding was built from doing so. They BRAINSTORMED and created a new way of thinking that incorporated different approaches.

I bring this up because I see THIS PLACE as a way to get closer and get to know one another in spite of our geographic separation. It's an imperfect solution, as Brooks also sites evidence that face-to-face communication is still a necessary and superior form of communicating, but we can benefit greatly from this place if we use it with wisdom, discipline, restraint and respect.

Contrary to the idealism of a group discussion or brainstorm, I frequently observe lectures and debate from fixed positions wherein arguments are created by resistance rather than understanding.

I'd like to challenge all reading here to SHARE their knowledge rather than wielding it as a weapon against those with whom you disagree.

More brainstorms and fewer lectures could benefit us all, IMHO. We play music because we enjoy it....or at least we did when we started. We come to this place because we enjoy discussing music and the trombone. Everyone should be able to leave this place feeling like they enjoyed their experience. This challenge might also entail that you enjoy your time here without minimizing another's enjoyment.  I believe the music we make will benefit and we will benefit.

DG

David, I like you! This as balsam to my bleeding soul. I'm going to try to eventually read through this whole thread, but I'm having trouble keeping up with mine.
Thank you so much for starting it.

A fellow Rath man
Bruce
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« Reply #93 on: Dec 08, 2011, 03:03PM »

A lot of the discussion on the forum has to do with conventional technique--developing slide and articulation technique that makes the trombone sound closer to the articulation of other instruments. Makes sense, because that's the application most of us are going to see.

Still, one of the reasons most players don't use quarter-tones is that they're too hard to play. They're a snap on trombone. How many guys use them? Trumpet and sax players sometimes use smooth glissandos to show off their technique--trombonists seem to avoid them because they're too easy.

So, here's my question:

Do the Monks and Ornettes of the world necessarily learn conventional technique first?
Is there room in the trombone world for someone who finds some new sounds from the horn without necessarily learning the traditional vocabulary and technique?

I've been asking my self these questions for years now. Mainly because I stopped playing jazz when I went to college. A trombone player who I respected told me I had to decide, either classical or jazz, you can't do both. I chose classical and quit jazz, a decision I now bitterly regret.

I do now play jazz now again, although seldomly, but I'll be the first to admit that I not a great improviser, I do it but I don't really feel I'm on top of the chords, so I play instinctively. Some would call it faking and it probably is but sometimes it works, not always. I have the technique and chops to play pretty much anything I want to but I'm lacking that traditional vocabulary and technique and I don't really have the time to learn it all and make up for all those missing years. So I ask myself exactly these questions, can I make up for a lack of traditional knowledge with my technique and/or creativeness? Or should I just leave it.

Oh, and by the way, I love quarter tones, and sixth tones, and eighth tones and....

Bruce
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« Reply #94 on: Dec 08, 2011, 04:09PM »

A lot of the discussion on the forum has to do with conventional technique--developing slide and articulation technique that makes the trombone sound closer to the articulation of other instruments. Makes sense, because that's the application most of us are going to see.

Still, one of the reasons most players don't use quarter-tones is that they're too hard to play. They're a snap on trombone. How many guys use them? Trumpet and sax players sometimes use smooth glissandos to show off their technique--trombonists seem to avoid them because they're too easy.

---snip---

"Quarter tones," eh?

Now...if you are measuring in an academic sense, they are hard to play. In fact, only machines (and occasionally people who want to play like machines, I suppose) can actually play them accurately.

But as blue notes? As bends and idiomatic content the world over? As they appear in the untempered harmonic series? They are as common as an A 440. Quarter tones, eighth tones, even some semi-mythical note like a 264th tone? No matter. Sinatra sang them; Pops played and sang them and every musician with any blues roots who doesn't play a fixed pitch instrument has used them since childhood sing-alongs. Ditto most good Western European-style non-academic soloists and singers and ditto twice the players of almost every other non-Western musical idiom. You know...people who pl;ay for people? People who play for their supper instead of writing grants? Hell, when Thelonious Monk couldn't play them on piano, he played the notes on both sides of them simultaneously. Loudly and relatively undisguised by other, more neutral notes. It worked, too.

And here we are, back to the academic/non-academic argument that I have been trying to make on this site and elsewhere for years. In academe, the "scholars" dissect music just like biologists dissect animals. But neither of those groups can actually put an animal to life. They can only examine what is no longer alive. They can create theoretical simulacrums; they can do robots; but they can't put a swinging life form on the planet anew. The Schrödinger's Cat principle in real life. In order to examine something you first have to stop it from happening. Once you do that you can no longer observe it in flux.

Forget about "quarter tones!!!" Just play what you really hear inside of a naturally occurring idiom and you'll be playing them without thought.

Just music.

Like it's s'pose to be.

Bet on it.

Later...

S.
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« Reply #95 on: Dec 08, 2011, 04:21PM »

....I have the technique and chops to play pretty much anything I want to but I'm lacking that traditional vocabulary and technique and I don't really have the time to learn it all and make up for all those missing years. So I ask myself exactly these questions, can I make up for a lack of traditional knowledge with my technique and/or creativeness? Or should I just leave it.

Oh, and by the way, I love quarter tones, and sixth tones, and eighth tones and....

Bruce

words are strung together to convey thoughts.  you have a small vocabulary?  it just means you'll have to be VERY particular about choosing your words.  it's the THOUGHT that counts. 

my students frequently get caught up in imitating vocabulary that they don't even understand because they pursue the appearance of eloquence.  but, there is rarely a thought that unifies the words.  therefore, it always comes off as gibberish. i think of it as being similar to all of the misspelled facebook status updates...or posts on this forum.  the details are missing...mostly the detail of meaning to the words. 

but, i always encourage my students to use the vocabulary they HAVE and use it to communicate a THOUGHT.  even a 2 year-old can say, "I love you."  not too many words, but a BIG idea. 

no need to "learn it all"....know what you want to say and find the words to say it.  everyone doesn't have to love it, but it may just enrich your life in unexpected ways. 

good luck.

DG
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« Reply #96 on: Dec 08, 2011, 07:21PM »

More on so-called "quarter tones":

You want to witness a truly masterful use of idiomatic quarter tones and other non-tempered notes?

Tune into the "A Skaggs Family Christmas" show. It's available on RFDTV and probably elsewhere on cable as well. Yeah. I know. Don't turn your nose up at this suggestion if you are in any way curious about what I have been saying. Ricky Skaggs and the people with whom he has surrounded himself for several decades are so deep into the bluegrass/country tradition that their sheer musicality is awe inspiring. Especially Ricky Skaggs, who could no more sing a bad or awkward note than could Sinatra in his prime, Ray Charles or Jessye Norman.

"Corny?"

Only if you are deaf to the eternal progression of the overtone series.

"New music?"

Every time they lay hands on it.

Bet on it.

Wake the frack up.

It's everywhere...except where many of you are searching.

S.
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« Reply #97 on: Dec 08, 2011, 11:00PM »

I go back to this often:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtgUbJN8oPE

Lester Young's solo, he's the second tenor player to play for those who don't know. 

What beautiful, intricate, perfect, heartfelt, and masterful music! What deep understanding he has, what sensitivity! Lester Young's use of the notes to say exactly, exactly what he needs to say is it, in my opinion.  Dave touched on the point about his students knowing vocabulary but not knowing its meaning...This! The opposite.  He is playing only a few notes, takes only a chorus, but if I could ever, ever even have just a shred of that beauty and understanding in my playing I die fulfilled. 

Not to mention everyone else's playing. 

(Just a side note.)
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« Reply #98 on: Dec 08, 2011, 11:17PM »

@Sabutin:

Ricky Scaggs is amazing. I was flipping through channels years ago and stumbled across his band playing. I was familiar with his name but in my mind lumped him together with other radio country acts, which I generally don't listen to. His band made my jaw drop. Every time you thought you heard the best country solo in history, the next guy would play something better.
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« Reply #99 on: Dec 08, 2011, 11:27PM »

"Quarter tones," eh?

Now...if you are measuring in an academic sense, they are hard to play. In fact, only machines (and occasionally people who want to play like machines, I suppose) can actually play them accurately.

This reminds me of a joke. A couple of fly fishermen walk down a little draw into a creek bed and surprise a grizzly sow with cubs. When the bear spots them one of the guys starts peeling off his rubber boots.

The other guy says, "You can't outrun that bear, even in your sneakers."

He answers, "I don't have to outrun the bear. I have to outrun you."

You're obviously a great musician with a great ear for pitch. Granted, you couldn't probably play quarter tones with the same subtlety and refinement with which you approach normal chromaticism (because chromaticism is more ingrained). But if it sounds good to you, it's probably going to sound good to your audience.

In other words, you don't have to outrun the bear, only the listeners.

I wasn't thinking of quarter tones as adjustments to notes. I was thinking about playing licks that incorporate quarter tones (you could call it the 'double chromatic scale') like Don Ellis used to do on trumpet. Where the quarter tones are discrete notes, maybe passing notes between half-steps, rather than expressive versions of scale tones.
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« Reply #100 on: Dec 09, 2011, 06:08AM »

words are strung together to convey thoughts.  you have a small vocabulary?  it just means you'll have to be VERY particular about choosing your words.  it's the THOUGHT that counts. 

my students frequently get caught up in imitating vocabulary that they don't even understand because they pursue the appearance of eloquence.  but, there is rarely a thought that unifies the words.  therefore, it always comes off as gibberish. i think of it as being similar to all of the misspelled facebook status updates...or posts on this forum.  the details are missing...mostly the detail of meaning to the words. 

but, i always encourage my students to use the vocabulary they HAVE and use it to communicate a THOUGHT.  even a 2 year-old can say, "I love you."  not too many words, but a BIG idea. 

no need to "learn it all"....know what you want to say and find the words to say it.  everyone doesn't have to love it, but it may just enrich your life in unexpected ways. 

good luck.

DG

Thanks for your kind words, something rare in this forum. I'm starting to get sick of the whole mess here, where egos are more important than the music.

And you are right, the best solos I've done have been simple. When I try and show everything I can do I usually fail.

Bruce
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« Reply #101 on: Dec 09, 2011, 06:36AM »

You write:

I'm starting to get sick of the whole mess here, where egos are more important than the music.

Bruce

"...egos are more important than the music."

Strangely enough, that is precisely how I feel about what I have seen and experienced in the academic/New Music scene in general.

Hmmmm....

S.
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« Reply #102 on: Dec 09, 2011, 07:05AM »

words are strung together to convey thoughts.  you have a small vocabulary?  it just means you'll have to be VERY particular about choosing your words.  it's the THOUGHT that counts. 

my students frequently get caught up in imitating vocabulary that they don't even understand because they pursue the appearance of eloquence.  but, there is rarely a thought that unifies the words.  therefore, it always comes off as gibberish. i think of it as being similar to all of the misspelled facebook status updates...or posts on this forum.  the details are missing...mostly the detail of meaning to the words. 

but, i always encourage my students to use the vocabulary they HAVE and use it to communicate a THOUGHT.  even a 2 year-old can say, "I love you."  not too many words, but a BIG idea. 

Dave, that's a wonderful analogy.  Absent a written passage for improvisation, expression of thoughts through vocabulary (notes and phrases) becomes the thing.  I am reminded of listening to an orchestral excerpts CD by David McGill of the Chicago orchestra.  In the introduction he states that notes are the letters and words, but reminds the musician to play a musical passage as a complete thought rather than a string of notes.   Something akin to seeing the forest instead of the trees.

It's always good to have someone like you remind us.
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« Reply #103 on: Dec 09, 2011, 02:25PM »

You write:

"...egos are more important than the music."

Strangely enough, that is precisely how I feel about what I have seen and experienced in the academic/New Music scene in general.

Hmmmm....

S.

I'm sorry you have experienced this, Sam. I never have.
Maybe that's what I like so much about my new music colleagues, they are totally committed to doing their best with no ego conflicts. This is not the case in the orchestras I have played in.

Bruce
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« Reply #104 on: Dec 09, 2011, 03:19PM »

"Quarter tones," eh?

Now...if you are measuring in an academic sense, they are hard to play. In fact, only machines (and occasionally people who want to play like machines, I suppose) can actually play them accurately.

But as blue notes? As bends and idiomatic content the world over? As they appear in the untempered harmonic series? They are as common as an A 440. Quarter tones, eighth tones, even some semi-mythical note like a 264th tone? No matter. Sinatra sang them; Pops played and sang them and every musician with any blues roots who doesn't play a fixed pitch instrument has used them since childhood sing-alongs. Ditto most good Western European-style non-academic soloists and singers and ditto twice the players of almost every other non-Western musical idiom. You know...people who pl;ay for people? People who play for their supper instead of writing grants? Hell, when Thelonious Monk couldn't play them on piano, he played the notes on both sides of them simultaneously. Loudly and relatively undisguised by other, more neutral notes. It worked, too.

And here we are, back to the academic/non-academic argument that I have been trying to make on this site and elsewhere for years. In academe, the "scholars" dissect music just like biologists dissect animals. But neither of those groups can actually put an animal to life. They can only examine what is no longer alive. They can create theoretical simulacrums; they can do robots; but they can't put a swinging life form on the planet anew. The Schrödinger's Cat principle in real life. In order to examine something you first have to stop it from happening. Once you do that you can no longer observe it in flux.

Forget about "quarter tones!!!" Just play what you really hear inside of a naturally occurring idiom and you'll be playing them without thought.

Just music.

Like it's s'pose to be.

Bet on it.

Later...

S.


Sam, you really seem to have an axe to grind about the academic new music situation in the states. It must be really bad!
Of course there is bullcrap everywhere but, in general I can't say this about my experiences here in Europe.

It seems like every time I say something, you say the opposite, but we are really saying the same thing. I agree with you wholeheartedly, the music comes first.

Quarter tones can be pretty cool, though. There was a composer in Italy in the 50s and 60s called Giacinto Scelsi, who was pretty much doing his own thing, uninfluenced by the rest of the music world. He wrote some really beautiful music including an unaccompanied trombone piece called "tre pezzi" and a piece for brass, sax and percussion called "i presagi".
He uses quarter tones in his melodies and the effect is utterly beautiful.

I know that quarter tones are supposed to by 50 cents above or below, that's the academic way, but for me they have a certain color. I know they are right when they have that color. I personally think color could be used much more in music, instead of trying to play every thing the same. One homogenous sound, one brick after another. That was big in America when I left. It's a good exercise maybe, but it has little to do with music.

I think we have a lot more in common than you think. Our tastes are different, but there is nothing wrong with that.
Your analogies of Joyce and Faulkner were brilliant. Why are people so accepting of modernism in art and literature but not music? I really want to understand why so many people (colleagues even) hate the music that I love.

What would Miles, Monk and Mingus be doing of they were living today? We don't know, but one thing is for sure, It wouldn't be what they were doing 50 years ago.

Bruce




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« Reply #105 on: Dec 09, 2011, 04:58PM »

I'm sorry you have experienced this, Sam. I never have.
Maybe that's what I like so much about my new music colleagues, they are totally committed to doing their best with no ego conflicts. This is not the case in the orchestras I have played in.

Bruce

I'm not all that knocked out by the mainstream orchestral scene, either. I fact, I see little difference in terms of attitude. It's just a financial difference. By and large the successful orchestral musicians are simply better hustlers.

So it goes.

S.
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« Reply #106 on: Dec 09, 2011, 05:30PM »

Sam, you really seem to have an axe to grind about the academic new music situation in the states. It must be really bad!
Of course there is bullcrap everywhere but, in general I can't say this about my experiences here in Europe.

My ears tell me otherwise.

Quote
---snip---

Your analogies of Joyce and Faulkner were brilliant. Why are people so accepting of modernism in art and literature but not music? I really want to understand why so many people (colleagues even) hate the music that I love.

Why?

Well...number one, they are not "so accepting of modernism in art and literature but not music." Not in any popular, paying sense. And number two, the path breaking so-called linguistic modernists like Joyce, Faulkner and Burroughs took recognizable syntax and pumped it up and/or sideways a notch or two. So did the equally so-called "modern" painters. For example, Picasso's portraits are still people and his still lifes are still objects. He just presented another view. Most of the "New Music" that I hear? I don't care if it's electronic, acoustic or any combination of the two, it no longer relates to the basic musical grammar to which walking-around people...you know, "civilians?"...carry with them from the cradle and perhaps even earlier. Meanwhile the real modernists...and I include such disparate composers as Duke Ellington, Chico O'Farrill, Igor Stravinsky (in his prjme) and Bela Bartok...went back to the basics and then (Just as did Joyce, for example) re-ordered them into something both new and somehow comminicative to audiences.

A magic act.

A miracle of creativity.

Quote
What would Miles, Monk and Mingus be doing of they were living today? We don't know, but one thing is for sure, It wouldn't be what they were doing 50 years ago.

Bruce

Well actually...they'd probably be working as shoe salesmen and wondering why Jazz At Lincoln Center wasn't paying any attention to their music.

The whole system has gone rotten, brucolli. Those of us who insist on working outside of that system do so at great risk to our own survival. So that goes as well. Eventually things will get better. (Or of course...they won't, at which point this culture is headed for the dust heaps of history.) Until then we tread through our own Dark Ages, doing the Celtic monk preservation thing with what we know of the past and watching the (usually) empty "modernist" thing relegate itself to the sparsely populated ivory towers of academia and grant-supported, non-people music. 


Lee Konitz once suggested to me that he had figured out a way to make money from "free jazz."

Quote
Just give free entrance to concerts but charge people to leave. We'd make a fortune!!!

Yup.

Later...

AG
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« Reply #107 on: Dec 09, 2011, 06:50PM »

Why are people so accepting of modernism in art and literature but not music? I really want to understand why so

I know what you mean. Even so, people are much more accepting of abstraction in music than in visual arts. It's a strange thing. I think the minute you call something 'art' it just pisses a whole lot of people off and makes them suspicious.
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« Reply #108 on: Dec 09, 2011, 07:36PM »

What are the masterpieces of the last 100 years? Let's for the sake of argument, assign Rite of Spring, written from 1910 to 1913, to the previous century.
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« Reply #109 on: Dec 09, 2011, 07:56PM »

What are the masterpieces of the last 100 years? Let's for the sake of argument, assign Rite of Spring, written from 1910 to 1913, to the previous century.
Wow that is a loaded question... man that is one that will be hard to figure out. I think people STILL haven't agreed on the masterpieces of last century.
Too many to list the pieces but here are some composers that I believe had masterpieces:
Satie, Shostakovitch, Prokofiev, Berg (Wozzeck and Violin Concerto are particularly well accepted), Schoenberg (Gurrelieder at the least), Poulenc, Glass, Adams, Reich, Strauss, Bartok, Sibelius, Ives, Britten, Elgar, Vaughn Williams, Gershwin, and Hindemith. Each of those composers have at least one piece that I think is a masterpiece. And those are just the so called "serious" composers.
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« Reply #110 on: Dec 10, 2011, 06:01AM »

Seems like the "new music" slipped over here. It's like a fight scene in an old western where two guys are playing cards and one accuses the other of cheating, then throws a punch and they keep punching and shoving until they spill out into the street, then into the barber shop while someone's getting a shave, then they fly through the window into a big horse trough, then...

Everyone isn't going to love us and agree with us, no matter how much we try to convince them. If we do a good job explaining our perspective, some will understand us, some won't be able to understand us, and some will choose not to understand us. We have to deal with that.

I love musical dissonance. I don't feel the same way about personal dissonance, which is something I observe or encounter on TTF way more than I would prefer. Personal dissonance isn't just some naturally occurring obstacle...it's manufactured and fueled and sustained. It's not FUN to me.

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« Reply #111 on: Dec 10, 2011, 08:32AM »

In the Nitzan Haroz thread, there is a reference to a contemporary composer named John Mackey. On Mr Mackey's website, he has a blog that makes for amusing reading. The site as a whole is particularly interesting if viewed from the perspective of how one composer of contemporary music makes his living. For example, you can download the solo part to his trombone concerto. It makes some sense to have as many trombone players brushing up the part as possible. If it's any good someone will program it and then it will be useful if there's a player around who is familiar with the part.

There's probably a development system out there similar to football. You start with some talented kids fresh out of high school, train them for 4 years. The best ones go on to grad school and start getting their works performed, first at a college level , then up the professional ranks. The best get tenured positions at prestigious colleges, an occasional AIR at a top-flight orch. and a recording or two by an established label. It's probably obscured by all the pop culture noise out there (Justin Bieber! The Kardashians!) and even in circles that ought to know better, by the  bickering over the musical events of a century ago.
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« Reply #112 on: Dec 10, 2011, 09:50AM »


---quote---

I love musical dissonance. I don't feel the same way about personal dissonance, which is something I observe or encounter on TTF way more than I would prefer. Personal dissonance isn't just some naturally occurring obstacle...it's manufactured and fueled and sustained. It's not FUN to me.


Personal dissonance.

Musical dissonance.

You can't have one without the other.

Music reflects human experience and human experience reflects the way that the universe works.

Without dissonance, no consonance. No neutrality, either.

Neutrality...the state of almost all of the universe in relation to any infinitesimal part of it, whether that part is itself involved in a state of neutrality, consonance or dissonance. I see a current state of dissonance in the culture regarding the music(s) to which it pays most attention and I also see a larger, more serious state of dissonance in it regarding more practical matters such as life and death, war and peace, criminality and good behaviour in a societal sense, etc. The ancient Greeks...and many other cultures...believed that the type of music to which one listened had serious effects on the state of mind of its listeners. Read below for a little regarding this idea. (By the way, the modal names that are used? Beware...they are not necessarily the same scales that we associate with those names.)

Quote
In the Republic, Plato uses the term [mode] inclusively to encompass a particular type of scale, range and register, characteristic rhythmic pattern, textual subject, etc. (Mathiesen 2001a, 6(iii)(e)). He held that playing music in a particular harmonia would incline one towards specific behaviors associated with it, and suggested that soldiers should listen to music in Dorian or Phrygian harmoniai to help make them stronger, but avoid music in Lydian, Mixolydian or Ionian harmoniai, for fear of being softened. Plato believed that a change in the musical modes of the state would cause a wide-scale social revolution (Plato, Rep. III.10-III.12 = 398C-403C)

The philosophical writings of Plato and Aristotle (c. 350 BC) include sections that describe the effect of different harmoniai on mood and character formation. For example, Aristotle in the Politics (viii:1340a:40–1340b:5):

But melodies themselves do contain imitations of character. This is perfectly clear, for the harmoniai have quite distinct natures from one another, so that those who hear them are differently affected and do not respond in the same way to each. To some, such as the one called Mixolydian, they respond with more grief and anxiety, to others, such as the relaxed harmoniai, with more mellowness of mind, and to one another with a special degree of moderation and firmness, Dorian being apparently the only one of the harmoniai to have this effect, while Phrygian creates ecstatic excitement. These points have been well expressed by those who have thought deeply about this kind of education; for they cull the evidence for what they say from the facts themselves. (Barker 1984–89, 1:175–76)

Here is the interesting part of this idea. "Plato uses the term inclusively to encompass a particular type of scale, range and register, characteristic rhythmic pattern, textual subject, etc. " So it wasn't about the "scale", it was about the music. All of it.

Back to dissonance. "Dissonance" can be defined in many ways. Harmonic dissonance, rhythmic dissonance, cultural dissonance, personal dissonance, societal dissonance...da woiks. I see a serious "dissonance" occurring in the culture due to technologically-induced mechanicality...the tendency of human beings  to act in an ever-increasingly mechanical manner in imitation of the machines that now largely rule and order their lives. Clomp clomp clomp clomp clomp clomp clomp, you can see it everywhere. People crossing streets with their brain in their iPhone, oblivious to the personal danger in which they are placing themselves. Ditto texting while driving. And that's only the little stuff. People swallowing whole whatever the technologically-dominated media feed them in terms of information, culture and pretty much everything else. People trying to multitask when in reality they barely have enough useful memory to be able to do even one thing at a time with any real precision or power.

And further back, to our own place in the universe as musicians. Even further back...musicians who play this primitive blowstick that we call a trombone. But it is precisely the simplicity of that instrument that makes it a very valuable tool in the fight against the ongoing mechanistic takeover of the music world.

Now Barry Goldwater...a failed presidential candidate in 1964 United States...essentially blew his whole campaign with one phrase. Here it is:

Quote
...extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

Out of the context of that place and time this phrase is not particularly offensive, right? I mean if someone tried to capture and enslave you, "extreme" measures to defend yourself would be given pretty much of a blanket pass, right?

Well, I will paraphrase here.

Dissonance in the pursuit of consonance is no crime.

Not musical dissonance, for sure. That's what the tritone does in dominant->tonic harmonic music. It drives and pursues things to their consonant end.

Ditto interpersonal dissonance that is used in the pursuit of consonance.

I rest my case.

Gotta go get consonant with two different horns.

Later...

S.
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« Reply #113 on: Dec 10, 2011, 10:24AM »

Ellrond- What do you think of the Mackey concerto?
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« Reply #114 on: Dec 15, 2011, 04:05PM »

Personal dissonance.

Musical dissonance.

You can't have one without the other.

Music reflects human experience and human experience reflects the way that the universe works.

Without dissonance, no consonance. No neutrality, either.

Neutrality...the state of almost all of the universe in relation to any infinitesimal part of it, whether that part is itself involved in a state of neutrality, consonance or dissonance. I see a current state of dissonance in the culture regarding the music(s) to which it pays most attention and I also see a larger, more serious state of dissonance in it regarding more practical matters such as life and death, war and peace, criminality and good behaviour in a societal sense, etc. The ancient Greeks...and many other cultures...believed that the type of music to which one listened had serious effects on the state of mind of its listeners. Read below for a little regarding this idea. (By the way, the modal names that are used? Beware...they are not necessarily the same scales that we associate with those names.)

Here is the interesting part of this idea. "Plato uses the term inclusively to encompass a particular type of scale, range and register, characteristic rhythmic pattern, textual subject, etc. " So it wasn't about the "scale", it was about the music. All of it.

Back to dissonance. "Dissonance" can be defined in many ways. Harmonic dissonance, rhythmic dissonance, cultural dissonance, personal dissonance, societal dissonance...da woiks. I see a serious "dissonance" occurring in the culture due to technologically-induced mechanicality...the tendency of human beings  to act in an ever-increasingly mechanical manner in imitation of the machines that now largely rule and order their lives. Clomp clomp clomp clomp clomp clomp clomp, you can see it everywhere. People crossing streets with their brain in their iPhone, oblivious to the personal danger in which they are placing themselves. Ditto texting while driving. And that's only the little stuff. People swallowing whole whatever the technologically-dominated media feed them in terms of information, culture and pretty much everything else. People trying to multitask when in reality they barely have enough useful memory to be able to do even one thing at a time with any real precision or power.

And further back, to our own place in the universe as musicians. Even further back...musicians who play this primitive blowstick that we call a trombone. But it is precisely the simplicity of that instrument that makes it a very valuable tool in the fight against the ongoing mechanistic takeover of the music world.

Now Barry Goldwater...a failed presidential candidate in 1964 United States...essentially blew his whole campaign with one phrase. Here it is:

Out of the context of that place and time this phrase is not particularly offensive, right? I mean if someone tried to capture and enslave you, "extreme" measures to defend yourself would be given pretty much of a blanket pass, right?

Well, I will paraphrase here.

Dissonance in the pursuit of consonance is no crime.

Not musical dissonance, for sure. That's what the tritone does in dominant->tonic harmonic music. It drives and pursues things to their consonant end.

Ditto interpersonal dissonance that is used in the pursuit of consonance.

I rest my case.

Gotta go get consonant with two different horns.

Later...

S.

This post did learn me some Sam. If I understand it the right way ...with my english and "my head" its never certain I do understand anything at all.  In music the dissonance always give the exciting feel, its like a thriller movie, in the end the solution come. And the boring things start again. Its as simple as an C-F6-G7-C chord progress. You could see it like this. The C chord is safe and life is OK but boring. The F chord suddenly is there and we feel something is new and we have a feel that now something more will happen soon. The "6" make us a little unsure what will happen. Then it suddenly is there, the G7. It makes us very restless, the dissonance is there and we hope all will go well. But all of us that like some excitement really enjoy this moment. We can not be sure all is going well. Some of us want to stay there long time. It make us feel alive. Like a thriller movie can do. OK most of us like a happy ending, and harmony/peace in the end. The C is back again. Some say thanks God. It feels safe again. What a disappointment it would be if there was an Am? Then we have to start over again? Or if it was a C9? Like a nightmare? Horror movie? Or a "E" chord? A science fiction movie? Well, that dissonance is making us feel alive, it makes colour. Also in real life its good. "but" We are entertainers. I just hope we see the difference in "real life/ movie, entertainment" ? A real war is no constructive in any life. Think about all the wars out there. Never any good. Different colour is very constructive. Let them out. (I bet no one understand anything in this post... ;  Maybe its like a French movie about love, can you imagine anything that boring? Hope my wife dont see this... :D :/ :/ :/ )

Leif
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Bass Trombone - Conn, Holton
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« Reply #115 on: Dec 29, 2011, 10:02AM »


"Dissonance in the pursuit of consonance is no crime."

I like that.

...I don't really have anything to contribute; just thank you Sam for that post. though if the US did go after the Soviet Union, I might not be here right now.
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« Reply #116 on: Nov 12, 2015, 02:23AM »

The old pastor of my churh often says ゙NOT homogeneous unit, BUT heterogeneous unity゙.

hurry
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hurry kurihara
Jazz trombonist,
bass trombone Moka Community Orchestra,
bass trombone Ensemble 'F' in Tokyo
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