Sunday, April 18, 2010

Discussing Music

I am amused by the conversation going on at other blogs with the Duck about music. The Duck has a disdain for Heavy Metal. I have been known to listen to AC DC while driving on the road.

One of the great pleasures I have at work is listening to Music while off calendar. I used to listen to
Pink Floyd but this became passe in my office. That group is listened to by a cross section of late 50's to early 20's. I played some Blondie, but she is very much beloved in NYC by a similar cross section. Oddly, my office is near the best music store in NYC. One of my best pleasures is picking up a compilation tape and hearing songs that were forgotten over the years.

Over the years I have started to like the Ventures. Most casual music lovers in the states know this group from the classic TV theme of Hawaii 5-0 and Walk Don't Run. They should have special appeal to our audience members whose first language is not English and are huge in Japan for that reason. They made wonderful instrumental versions of other groups classics notably Wipeout, Telstar and Apache.

It is a great pleasure to listen to forgotten music like the Bumble Boogie or Beatnik Fly on compilation records. Sometimes the whole album stinks like the Instrumental collection of the 70's. Other times I find I like one or two songs like Mr. Moto and the Lonenly Surfer. Almost all of these songs are on You Tube. I have yet to find a compilation album with the Raunchy Twist,
but it is probably out there.

I was pleasantly surprised at how the young Kids still like Alan Sherman. I am sure the Duck probably has RAT FINK somewhere as Commies venerate this term.

36 comments:

Ducky's here said...

Ah yes, AC/DC, the guitarist who knows three chords, dresses like a child molester and does a lousy imitation of Chuck Berry's duck walk.

I can understand why that kind of simplistic music and crappy showmanship appeals to Beamish but I had hoped you were a little more evolved.

beakerkin said...

In this day and age we have sadly learned child molesters dress in all types of clothing.

The Pagan Temple said...

AC/DC is not heavy metal.

Ducky's here said...

Yeah, and there are what, 50 sub-genres of metal. I don't think it has anything to do with the music, which is pretty.
Rather, it's some form of clan identification.

Z said...

THE VENTURES? :-)
hmmmm
I have to admit to loving hearing things like BUS STOP or I LOVE YOU MORE TODAY THAN YESTERDAY or anything by The Turtles!!...it IS fun to hear an old song we've forgotten....
but, the VENTURES!! Heh heH!!
Well, everybody to his own taste! Even I ask myself "What the heck do you LOVE abut a song like I LOVE YOU MORE TODAY THAN YESTERDAY as I'm remembering every word and moving to the happy beat!

beamish said...

I've never seen Angus Yound dressed like a Catholic priest.

beamish said...

Angus Young, rather.

The reason Ducky hates metal is because most of its performers have gone beyond their classical training to follow tabsheets at the direction of a man with a stick to composing and performing their own works.

Leftists like Ducky need to be spoon-fed direction from outsourced authoritarians. The thought of deviation from routine is heretical to the simple-minded.

Ducky's here said...

Yeah, that's right Beamish. They have so much training they can't do move beyond song form and a poor execution at that.

It's sad that you let that guitar noodling pass for improvisation. I saw Sonny Rollins at Symphony Hall last night and the guy can still put air in that horn. Long beautiful phrases but you prefer a short hook because you really can't handle an extended idea.

Also remember, you're the guy who thought a string quartet performed with a conductor. Pretty much enough to disqualify you right there.

Cheer up Beamish, thanks to the juggalos, you're not on the bottom rung of the ladder.

Always On Watch said...

The Ventures: "Hawaii Five-O"

Love it!

Brooke said...

Just an aside... ;)

Ducky's here said...

Well, they can't write as well as Blake and I suppose Beamish thinks they are his equal as water colorists.

Ducky's here said...

Blake or heavy metal?

I heard an Angel singing
When the day was springing,
"Mercy, Pity, Peace
Is the world's release."

Thus he sung all day
Over the new mown hay,
Till the sun went down
And haycocks looked brown.
I heard a Devil curse
Over the heath and the furze,
"Mercy could be no more,
If there was nobody poor,

And pity no more could be,
If all were as happy as we."
At his curse the sun went down,
And the heavens gave a frown.

Down pour'd the heavy rain
Over the new reap'd grain ...
And Miseries' increase
Is Mercy, Pity, Peace.

Alligator said...

Beak, heavy metal? One word for you - RAMMSTEIN

Justin said...

The Ventures: "Pipe Line" and "Apache".

Dewayne Eddy "Rebel Rouser"

beakerkin said...

Justin

Duane Eddy made Because They are young which is one of my favorites.
I can not find Red River. It is not by the Fenders who did an excellent cover.

I like Miserlou by Dick and Dale.

beamish said...

String quartets don't perform their own compositions, and depite playing the same thing over and over each performance, still require tabsheets.

If you walked up to any of them and told them to play ANYTHING from memory they'd ask you "Who composed Memory?"

Ducky's here said...

Let's review to put the conversation in focus:

1. Beamish was euphoric because he discovered you could drive coast to coast and always be able to listen to metal (not true of a lot of other genres).

2. His exposure to classical is so limited that he though a string quartet required a conductor and he finds it curious that an 80 to 100 piece orchestra would require a conductor.

3. He thinks that a few bars of noodling on the guitar necessarily constitutes quality improvisation.

4. He thinks Beethoven is okay. On the other hand there are those that think the Beethoven string quartets are the finest achievements to date in music.

5. If you were to ask him to identify the simultaneous melodic lines in a piece by Schoenberg he's just give you a vacant look like any other low functional.

6. What he "likes" is sufficient critical endorsement and he has no interest in expanding that to more challenging work. He'll be at the 50 year Metallica reunion concert yelling "awesome" and flicking a lighter and then very ironically commenting about "trained seals".

Ducky's here said...

Now to the critical question. Why does it matter if a piece is being played from memory? Does that enhance the experience of the piece and does Beamish know any metal musicians who can play a half hour or 45 minute composition from memory.

In fact, the heavy metal song form is so basic there isn't much to "remember" and any competent musician can do it easily. Ignoring, of course, the fact that many of us have heard classical performers play without the score, case in point was Seymour Lipkin's performance last December of the Schubert sonatas.

So he constantly displays his ignorance. Tough to have a conversation.
Still, anyone who enjoys limited instrumentation, doggerel lyrics and repetitive improvisation with bad vocals will love metal. Enjoy whatever you will but don't be surprised, Beamish, when there are those who have a concern that the culture is being debased.

Try starting here, Beamish


It may help you understand that there's something at stake.

The Pagan Temple said...

I'm not a classical music hater, but lets be clear about something. Just because something is complicated doesn't make it superior to something that is more basic. It's just more complicated, period.

A good classical musician, with practice, should be able to play any piece of music from memory. By extension, any eighty to one hundred musicians, practicing separately, should be able to do the same thing individually, and once they practice together, they should be able to fairly easily play the piece from memory as a unit. It might well require a conductor at first, but they should be able to acclimate without one.

The main purpose of a conductor is the feeling that goes into the piece. He's like a director, letting the musicians know when is the exact time to play which section with a flourish or a crescendo, or when to tone it down a notch or two, then when to rev it up again, etc.

It's not so much about notes, its about how they're played and how they fit into the whole.

Remember, these people aren't all good buddies who pal around and party with each other. Most five to seven member rock bands, while they might not always be or stay close friends, do know each other well enough they are a more cohesive unit and thus can play more as one.

beamish said...

1. Beamish was euphoric because he discovered you could drive coast to coast and always be able to listen to metal (not true of a lot of other genres).

Actually this is incorrect. I was happy that in a nation overflowing with country music radio stations I was able to find radio stations that played old school punk and thrash metal, genres that aren't usually supported on the public airwaves.

There are no strictly metal radio stations, exept in perhaps large markets like LA or NYC.

Classical music stations and jazz music stations are nearly as omnipresent as country music stations.

2. His exposure to classical is so limited that he though a string quartet required a conductor and he finds it curious that an 80 to 100 piece orchestra would require a conductor.

Gonna plant your flag on your lack of reading comprehension skills here, Ducky?

I never said anything like this. I said string quartets lack originality, play other peoples compositions, and can't do it without reading along with tabsheets. Larger classical ensembles require the man with a stick conducting them.

3. He thinks that a few bars of noodling on the guitar necessarily constitutes quality improvisation.

No I think a guitarist that plays his own compositions is far more talented than a orchestra that can't ween itself off direction and can't between the lot of them come up with their own original music.

4. He thinks Beethoven is okay. On the other hand there are those that think the Beethoven string quartets are the finest achievements to date in music.

No doubt. Beethoven is very good.

But, Beethoven is a contributor to but a fraction of the totality of musical genres.

I don't compare media or genres, I compare artists.

Comapring metal musicians to classical musicians is unfair to the classical musicians, as they're readers rather than writers when it comes to music.

5. If you were to ask him to identify the simultaneous melodic lines in a piece by Schoenberg he's just give you a vacant look like any other low functional.

This from the guy who thought it funny to represent the rhythm guitar tabulature from the intro of a Metallica song as the whole song itself.

I've forgetten more about music than you'll ever know, Ducky. You really are a dullard.

6. What he "likes" is sufficient critical endorsement and he has no interest in expanding that to more challenging work. He'll be at the 50 year Metallica reunion concert yelling "awesome" and flicking a lighter and then very ironically commenting about "trained seals".

If Metallica is still around in 2033, sure. By then, they will have likely written more music than any of your classical trained seals have ever read.

Brooke said...

I find it hilarious that Ducky is the self-proclaimed musical art critic when he finds the "piss christ" a beautiful and "ethereal" work of art, and proclaimed it at my site a while back.

Remember that, Beamish? LOL!

beamish said...

Now to the critical question. Why does it matter if a piece is being played from memory? Does that enhance the experience of the piece and does Beamish know any metal musicians who can play a half hour or 45 minute composition from memory.

Why does it matter? The same reason Obama would be more impressive if he were actually smart enough to have written the imbecilic things he reads off of a teleprompter. If you ran onstage and swapped out a classical musician's tabulature with something else, they'd start playing that and be at a loss as to what happened. It would reveal them as the trained seals / hack musicians that they are, not having any connection to what they are soullessly cranking out from tabsheets.

In fact, the heavy metal song form is so basic there isn't much to "remember" and any competent musician can do it easily. Ignoring, of course, the fact that many of us have heard classical performers play without the score, case in point was Seymour Lipkin's performance last December of the Schubert sonatas.

For every Seymour Lipkin, you have thousands of classical musicians who'd fall flat without their cue card tabsheets and conductors.

So he constantly displays his ignorance. Tough to have a conversation.
Still, anyone who enjoys limited instrumentation, doggerel lyrics and repetitive improvisation with bad vocals will love metal. Enjoy whatever you will but don't be surprised, Beamish, when there are those who have a concern that the culture is being debased.


"Cultural debasement" comes from blowhards who demand music be performed as written and most importantly, written by someone centuries dead.

The Pagan Temple said...

For an example of an execrable piece of classical music, try wrapping your head around "Euryale", which sounds like a six year old kid randomly pounding keys on a piano. Yet, it is considered "art". To be fair, to play it in its entirety requires at least four hands, but I seriously doubt it would sound any better should such a qualified musician be found who could play it as written.

It takes a special kind of visionary to create a truly authentic piece of classical music. It is still being done, you just never hear it, or about it.

Rock music by its nature is relatively simple. That doesn't mean its inferior. The truest gauge of its worth is in how it moves or affects the listener.

Comparing rock music and classical music beyond that qualification-its effects on the listener-is like comparing diesel fuel to orange juice, which are both liquids with pretty much nothing else in common.

Brooke said...

Here's one for Ducky.

beamish said...

PT,

If you're talking about Nisus et Euryale, it's music written for two pianos, LOL.

beamish said...

BROOKE!

LOL!

beamish said...

More Ducky's speed...

Ducky's here said...

A good classical musician, with practice, should be able to play any piece of music from memory. By extension, any eighty to one hundred musicians, practicing separately, should be able to do the same thing individually, and once they practice together, they should be able to fairly easily play the piece from memory as a unit. It might well require a conductor at first, but they should be able to acclimate without one.

----------------------

Actually, that was tried in Russia and Eastern bloc nations during the Soviet era.
Check out DuĊĦan Makavejev's film "Man Is Not a Bird" for a humorous example. Fellini's "Orchestra Rehearsal" also details the pitfalls.

Simplicity, I'm all for it. Especially early folk music. Simple and it hits much harder than metal.
Of course I welcome your comments on painters like Mondrian or Kelly and we'll see how far your concept of simplicity takes you. Remember, the lower the complexity, the higher the abstraction when evaluating the work. Studying the minimalists may give you a better understanding of why rock doesn't achieve these goals.

Of course there are classical pieces that are junk. Just as there is junk metal. The point of this discussion has been Beamish's belief that Metal is the apex and is necessary and sufficient, something only an ass would believe.

The gauge is how it moves the listener? NO, wrong. People like Beamish are like high school girls who are so emotionally challenged and dead that they resort to cutting just to get some stimulus that let's them know they're alive. That's why Beamish likes the repetitious pounding of Metal and volume. He can remind himself he's conscious without thinking.
Now pagan we'll take some more of your simplistic Libertarian aphorisms but do try to think them through a bit.

The Pagan Temple said...

Ducky-

Like I said, the purpose of a conductor is to direct the proper enunciation of the music, the crescendos, the allegros, etc., etc. If there is nothing worthwhile in the piece being performed, its a useless exercise, wouldn't you agree? Music speaks to you on an inner level. Feeling is everything. It's just a matter of who's listening. That's why some people will be moved to tears by some pieces, or can feel the inherent humor intended in others. If you don't feel anything, what are you even there for?

There is a reason some classical music pieces have lasted through the ages and are still being played today. It is not merely because they are technically good, it is because they have an ageless appeal, and that appeal is to a great extent on an emotional or maybe even spiritual level.

That's also why people still enjoy Hey Jude today but for the most part consider Don't Bother Me to be filler.

Yes, Beatlemania was silly, and so are some of the fan expressions of loyalty to metal and rap. But people used to carry on the same way over Lizst. Did that mean his music was juvenile, or inferior?

beamish said...

The point of this discussion has been Beamish's belief that Metal is the apex and is necessary and sufficient, something only an ass would believe.

All I can say to this is Ducky's typically leftist lack of reading comprehension skills may be due to hallucination, because this is nothing like what I believe at all.

I don't believe metal is the "apex." I don't believe music has an apex, nor a genre greater than another.

If you the essense of abstraction is captured in 2 dimensional visual art, you're never going to stop reading about the game and get in it.

The Pagan Temple said...

Beamish-

Euryale was based on the story of one of the Gorgon sisters (the one who roamed the earth screaming) and was composed by a Greek avant garde composer. Sure, it can be played by two pianos, in fact that's the only way it could be played in its entirety as composed. But that's missing the point. It is intended to be approached by a pianist in the same way Perseus approached Medusa-indirectly, the pianist using his instincts, for lack of a better word, to approach the "monster" as best he possibly can. That's the way I've heard it explained anyway.

The nature of the piece practically guarantees no two pianists would ever play it exactly the same, because each one would adapt differently, leaving something different out in order to play the piece to its conclusion at the proper tempo.

Of course, they could slow down the tempo and play it in its entirety. I think the best way would be to simply have the piece transposed to violin and played that way.

But judging from what I've heard it would still be crap. To be fair, I've never listened to more than a couple of minutes of it. It's just too shitty and nothing that starts out that bad as a general rule is going to get much better as it progresses.

Ducky's here said...

Yes Pagan, art can get down to a basic human truth.

In music it can be the Anthology of American Folk Music, the sheer joy of Sonny Rollins on St. Thomas, the Beethoven quartet in B flat ... but I have to say I have never heard much of anything enduring from a metal band. It seems to me to be music to remind you your still conscious, hardly worth much time.

beamish said...

I think the opening bars of Sepultura's "Dead Embryonic Cells" lets you know you're about to get your teeth kicked in by some bad ass rock and roll.

Ducky's here said...

Exactly Beamish, you are so anesthetized that you need a huge dose just to become conscious.

Not much of an endorsement.

Brooke said...

Beamish:

What's a record? ;)

beamish said...

Brooke,

A record is a vinyl disk, engraved with grooves that vibrate a needle to produce a playback recording of often superior quality to a "digital remastering" of the same recording.