Musical Interpretation II: Moving from Human Juke-Box Machine to Doing a Dan Dare

Musical Interpretation II: Moving from Human Juke-Box Machine to Doing a Dan Dare « Marion Harrington's Clarinet World.

My friend Marion Harrington has published the second in a series of articles on the colossal subject of interpretation on her blog.

She offers clear and sensible advice to all musicians, and encourages fearlessness (with proper study) in tackling the daunting task of creating a personal style.

She also suggests that musicians need to lower their barriers to sharing "practice" recordings to enhance fresh thinking about our own ideas.

Along with mastering technical difficulties, it is vitally important at that you come to your own conclusions about mood, emotional content, dynamics, phrasing, articulation and tone early on.

...I’d like to see more open honest audio sharing – aside from the usual big label manufactured “perfect” album or track releases – between musicians, without the fear of unconstructive criticism. We all need regular feedback and evaluation to grow. Recordings – including practice sessions, “work in progress” and performances of whatever standard – inspire, motivate and challenge or validate our own ideas. A few musicians have been brave enough to “go public” but not enough, particularly the “names”. Why do you think the status quo is like this?

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5 comments for “Musical Interpretation II: Moving from Human Juke-Box Machine to Doing a Dan Dare

  1. April 18, 2010 at

    We really didn't have the recording gear when I was a kid, maybe that's why some of us have been afraid to share. My daughter recorded every voice lesson. I remember one day her teacher was so excited that she asked me to come in and hear the tape. My daughter had a breakthrough and her teacher wanted to share it with me. It was motivating for both my daughter and I. Do many private teachers incorporate recording into lessons to assist learning? I did keep a journal of what I learned during my college violin lessons and that has helped me out on many occasions.

    • April 18, 2010 at

      Very good points about the value, and recent technology advancements, of recording.

      I do not record my students lessons regularly. With advanced students I have asked to video a few to post as an example of my teaching. Perhaps I should invite every student to be recorded, partly to help me analyze my teaching, and to give them a record for feedback. Perhaps just a simple mp3 of the lesson, which I can email to them. Good idea!

  2. April 18, 2010 at

    The name Glenn Gould pops into my head. The ultimate perfectionist when it came to releasing recordings, he would splice together multiple takes in order to produce the 'ideal' recording – according to his own inner soundtrack of what he wanted. Of course, the finished products were (particularly his Back) rather good, but I have to wonder what some of those 'raw' recordings sounded like – the pure energy of the live recording.

    I just purchased a device that will allow me to record my guitar (electric) onto my computer. I'm hoping that I'll be brave enough to post some of my improvisations for others to listen to as these are often 'compositional' in the sense that I try to be as creative as I can be, using my classical skills (I studied classical guitar) in a quasi-jazz, classical fusion manner that is fairly original … I'm just not sure if it is something anyone will want to listen to.

    The idea of sharing 'works in progress' is something that some musicians may be reluctant to do, perhaps, because of the copyright issues and the fear of original materials ending up all over the Internet – these are difficult times in regards to intellectual rights and the Internet makes it very easy for an artist to have their rights violated.

    • April 18, 2010 at

      I doubt that sharing a sample practice recording, (for free, of course), labeled to that effect, would raise questions from a publisher.

      Good points about Gould. Live is always different than recording. Recordings tend to spoil listeners, who then look for technically perfect live performances, at the expense of taking the chances necessary to create a vivid and unique, fresh interpretation.

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