Perfection or imperfection?

Steve30907

Active Member
I think if your out there killing it a pitchy vocal or a slight rushed tempo doesn't matter. To me that's better than a sanitized technically perfect vocal karaoke performance.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
So many elements contribute to the totality of music that summarizing them along strict lines is a challenge.
Exactly.

I like a song because it's a good song... not because it was played well. I appreciate the performance, production, etc. but I hear past those things.

So if a song appeals to me, it's because it was a well-written piece, period. There are some pretty rough (older) recordings and performances of songs that I just love. And there are recordings with amazing performances, that I find unlistenable. That is, I don't like the song no matter how well it's executed.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
There are other kinds of perfection besides technical. For example Zeppelin's "no quarter" performance on their 1973 live album. It's so perfect in the artistic sense, that had it not been recorded it would have been truly tragic.
 
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C.M. Jones

Diamond Member
There are other kinds of perfection besides technical. For example Zeppelin's "no quarter" performance on their 1973 live album. It's perfect in the artistic sense, that had it not been recorded it would have been truly tragic.
I'll always consider "No Quarter" to be Zeppelin's masterpiece. That comment might seem untenable, given how much great material they produced, but there's something about "No Quarter" that surpasses their other tracks to me. It transcends the boundaries of music in inarticulate ways.
 

GetAgrippa

Diamond Member
Ah yes-I think Led paints the picture-
Good time, Bad time. You know I've had my share.
That's what it takes to make a great song.
Nobody seems to care.
 

BobC

Member
Dino Danelli told me that The Rascal's first album is loaded with mistakes, but if the take felt good, producer Arif Mardin would use the imperfect take regardless. On "Mustang Sally," you can hear Felix Cavaliere accidentally touch the keyboard of his B-3 on a break and hit a little clam. The drum pattern Dino played on "Good Lovin'" wasn't as consistent as he usually played it, but that was the take that was released and it was a huge hit.

I just like music that feels good. It could be imperfect or very precise. It depends on the music itself, but being a big fan of 60's garage rock, I favor imperfect every time.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
I like the feel of bands of the late 60s and early 70s bands. Most were tight, but not technically perfect. Players focused more on energy, groove, sound and selling the song than perfection, although some had a reputation for being sticklers. Bandleaders with a strong vision will look for spotless playing, eg. Zappa, Metheny, Beefheart, Floyd, James Brown, Becker & Fagan, Fripp, the Shulman brothers, Jacko, and they say even Kanye is a demanding perfectionist.

It's awesome when super talented artists go for perfection, but when lesser musicians try, the music sounds less interesting and inspiring than if they went for a good vibe. But they will be more likely to get a contract, and there's the rub.
 
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lefty2

Platinum Member
As of late, I've developed a renewed interest in Black Sabbath's early work (for instance, the Paranoid album). The unadulterated, analog nature of it all really inspires me. It shapes an atmosphere infused with "imperfect" energy, a transmission of blood, bone, and muscle only humans can supply. And, man, Tony Iommi was one great guitarist. Bill Ward had some fabulous material to place in his proverbial pocket. What a lucky drummer.
I cut my drumming teeth on the paranoid album
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
I don't know if I like one better or not I just know I either like the song or I don't. I think most things like timing I don't pick up on when listening. 1 thing that I can think of is when the drummer is playing the bell of the cymbal and it's inconsistent. That kind of makes me feel better because some of my notes on the bell are louder or softer than others when I intend for them to all be the same volume.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
I can't improvise freshness, that special sound of first studio takes. It's imperfect but has character.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
It's awesome when super talented artists go for perfection, but when lesser musicians try, the music sounds less interesting and inspiring than if they went for a good vibe.
Sums up the attainable nicely for us mere mortals.

I'm not sure I've ever achieved perfection in anything, or would even know how to recognise it even if I did.

All hail the return of The artist previously known as Pollyanna! 🙌
 

River19

Senior Member
Imperfection. Music needs to breath, emotion, build up and explode with energy........that all kinda dies when you "put it on the grid".

James Brown tunes are all over the place when it comes to temp......you "put it on the grid" and some magic is lost.

Blues without being able to move, push and pull would be awful.

That being said, Steely Dan is a perfect example of how mathematical precision can still find a way to be awesome when you leverage the best players pushing for their best take......
 

beatdat

Senior Member
Both?

I love the difference Bill Ward and Andy Newmark, and everything in between.

But, I agree with those who say, it's the music that matters most...

...which is sometimes dictated by the context of the genre.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
I like the descriptive someone used earlier... "sterile". As long as it's not sterile, perfection is appreciated. But feeling is, as well...either is fine, as long as the music moves
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Platinum Member
human perfection is what I like...humans performing at the top of their ability level.

humans perfectly displaying the core feel of a stylistic musical display of artistry

this is punk perfection to me:

this is prog perfection to me:

this is excitement perfection:

this is writing and arranging perfection to me:
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
If I'm listening to electonic-type music, I enjoy the sequenced/snap-to-grid sound. If I'm listening to country, I prefer a solid foundation (bass and drums) with the vocals and other instruments swimming in and out of time. If I'm listening to rock-n-roll, I like both the perfect and imperfect. Some stuff sounds better "pro-tooled" and other songs would sound terrible if they were perfected in regards to timing and tuning.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Platinum Member
It is a big moving target for me. If I was into a band like dream theater, I expect a certain level of perfection. but at a punk show, eh…

yeah...for me, the style sort of defines the demand of perfection

but in the same way, half assing it, and then calling it "art" is unacceptable to me....imperfection due to laziness erodes the legitimacy of an activity to me
 

JimmyM

Gold Member
yeah...for me, the style sort of defines the demand of perfection

but in the same way, half assing it, and then calling it "art" is unacceptable to me....imperfection due to laziness erodes the legitimacy of an activity to me
That is a big for sure!
 

C.M. Jones

Diamond Member
I recently had the pleasure of hearing master cellist Yo-Yo Ma impart his thoughts on the pitfalls of perfection. He said that, at one point in his career, he had the audacity to believe that he should strive for perfect performances. Eventually, when he found himself in the midst of one that was as flawless as possible, he was bored beyond description. It was then that he made a drastic determination: He would devote himself to the mission of expression, not to the tedium of perfection. It changed him as a musician in that he was conveying a living gift -- the intangible truth and beauty of music -- to his listeners rather than attempting to function like a machine. I think we can all benefit from that message, not only in the way we drum but also in the way we interact.
 
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