I think his moustache makes him look like an eccentric copI get the bit about it being a tool ( Grea, the only time I use it is ocassionally in practice to work out oddly phrased fills - ), but the notion that 'if its quantized, its good' is debatable, I think.
I think the recording process has made it larger than life and it seems to have seeped into our musical consciousness as the God particle... or something..
Grea, so what do you think of his moustache?
Yep. For example, studies on physical attraction show a preference for symmetry and balance in facial characteristics. But I suspect a lot of this is culturally bound to particular historical and cultural contexts and I'm very interested in the ways the politics of these contexts shape our understandings of time and groove. I think your example of the ubiquity of click tracks in contemporary recording is spot on with this notion. Again, I understand the usefulness of this practice but it's not without its consequences (e.g., the impact on musical consciousness that you spoke of)...Jason, this is kind of your area and I'd love to hear more from you on this, but isnt there a fascination for symmetry and order amonsgst us humans?
Yes and I really dig how this agreement can be renegotiated by players who make themselves available to shaping a collective pulse in the midst of musical contexts (though I'm not so interested in "over-thinking" it, the way I am doing here ;-).Music is often based "on an agreed upon pulse". Using a metronome standardizes the agreement while limiting the possibilities.
Thanks for sharing--I can certainly plead "guilty" to having done this too. ;-(I was extremely guilty of doing this after years of working with a stated quarter note click until I hooked up with a master teacher/player who took the necessary time to help me unwind it all.
Didn't go the way my parents hoped either. Of course, the traditions they wanted to sustain were old and stale while the ones I value are hip and fresh. ;-)Seems to me that oldies (including me) are hoping that the tasty organic qualities of music they value continue to be appreciated by the next gen, but it doesn't seem to be going our way. It sure didn't go the way my parents hoped.
Best line from that page: “Similarly, musicians ought to distinguish between (1) the sort of timing that results from dull, slavish obedience to the ticking of a soulless machine, and (2) that noble swing”
Indeed – which is what my teacher emphasized.Best line from that page: “Similarly, musicians ought to distinguish between (1) the sort of timing that results from dull, slavish obedience to the ticking of a soulless machine, and (2) that noble swing”
Thanks for sharing--I can certainly plead "guilty" to having done this too. ;-(
If you don't mind, could you share some about how your teacher helped you "unwind" this? Thanks!
Swing in samba, like swing in jazz, happens within the beat-- it's not incompatible with metronome use. The quote isn't inaccurate, though-- the 16th notes he's talking about are of course within the beat.... this series of even, perfectly quantized, 16th notes, is no more evocative of samba, than a metronome would be. In fact, this representation neglects what makes up the samba essence in the first place — the swing!
—Understanding the Samba Groove by Pedro Batista
Yes, visual artists understand the difference, but that does not mean they don't use mechanical aids, because they certainly do. And yes, dull, slavish obedience = bad.The metronome has no real musical value. I repeat, the metronome has no value whatsoever as an aid to any action or performance that is musical in intention. [...] refer by analogy to the sister art of drawing. Graphic artists understand well enough the essential and generic difference that exists between mechanically-aided drawing on the one hand and freehand on the other. Similarly, musicians ought to distinguish between (1) the sort of timing that results from dull, slavish obedience to the ticking of a soulless machine, and (2) that noble swing and perfect control of pulsation which comes into our playing after years of practice in treating and training the sense of time as a free, creative human faculty.
—The Amateur String Quartet by James Brown III
Misuse of the metronome = bad.[...] using the metronome as a constant guide to ramp up the speed or to keep the rhythm. This is one of the worst abuses of the metronome. [...] If over used, it can lead to loss of your internal rhythm, loss of musicality, and bio-physical difficulties from over-exposure to rigid repetition
—Fundamentals of Piano Practice by Chuan C. Chang
Written for organists in 1909.A good performance is so full of these minute retardations and accelerations that hardly two measures will occupy exactly the same time. It is notorious that to play with the metronome is to play mechanically - the reason being, of course, that we are then playing by the measure, or rather by the beat, instead of by the phrase. A keen musical instinct revolts at playing even a single measure with the metronome: mathematical exactitude gives us a dead body in place of the living musical organism with its ebb and flow of rhythmical energy. It may therefore be suggested, in conclusion, that the use of the metronome, even to determine the average rate of speed, is dangerous.
—Daniel Gregory Mason
She continues:What is musical rhythm? Perhaps it is the difference between a performance that is stiff and metronomic in its strict adherence to the beat, and a performance that flows with elasticity and flexibility that emanates from the music itself. A rhythmically musical performance seems to take its cues from stylistic considerations, tempo, phrasing, and harmonic structure, as well as form. Sometimes we may not be exactly sure what makes a piece sound rhythmically musical, but we know it when we hear it.
It should not surprise us that some children do not know instinctively how to play musically. Many youngsters are surrounded by popular music that is rigid and inflexible in its rhythm, characterized by a relentless beat that is often synthesized or computerized. Even some CDs and MIDI disks especially designed for use with piano teaching materials can encourage students to be overly metronomic in their playing. In general, our students may not be familiar with the idea of subtle nuances of tempo, and may need help understanding this.