What is Music?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Naomi McFadyen, Sep 17, 2004.

  1. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    Come on then... BIG debate time now...

    Reading various threads on concerts/contests... moving parts 'round the band... people being disapointed in CD recordings, which lead to maybe thinking they could do better... moving people round for one reason or another within the band..... n all that... I've found it unbelievable how some people treat these musical events, etc, differently....

    Surely whether doing a concert or contest, you should treat them in the same respect... Making Music... making a musical performance...
    Music is an Art! There's magic in composing it and playing it... not just blowing the blobs on the page...

    So, what in your opinion is Music?!
    How do you treat it?
    Do you, or would you, prioritise a concert over a contest (I'm talking musically here) or verse vica?!
    and if so, why so? Surely both are just as important?

    Why do some people think that the technical side is a separate matter to music(???)... technical, no matter how easy or hard a piece is, IS part of making music... as are dynamics... as is phrasing... as is the sound of the ensemble.... the style... and everything else to do with a piece, all those details the composer/arranger write and spend hours doing so, no matter how easy or hard is it... it's all music!

    Where's the communication between MD and players?
    What is an MD..... he or she is a MUSICAL DIRECTOR...... not just a stick wagger who pays no attention to detail... Everything you see on the page in band rehearsals is music...
    One of the hardest things to do in banding, or playing in whatever ensemble, is playing together as a team, right? I've seen X amount of bands who play as 30 individuals... don't you agree that's part of music making too?

    Now, without being rude to each other (no cat fights in here please.... :p :biggrin: ) I'd like you to put down your thoughts on this topic of what music is in banding (seeing as that's what most of us do and talk about on this Forum)... ellaborate as much as you can...
    This could be an interesting debate in reading how you treat music, whether it be as player, MD, composer, etc....

    I look forward to reading your replys and responses.... :lol:

  2. jpbray

    jpbray Member

    I will contribute something more phylosophical later (thats if I can spell it), but I think the threads on this forum definitely show the passion for what we do.
  3. Cantonian

    Cantonian Active Member

    Not only banding but generally.

    Music is something that gives me pleasure.

    Music is hearing my son/daughter play their first tune on the cornet/horn or piano. Wrong notes, split notes, dodgy intonation all equals proud Dad.

    An unknown piece of music accompanying an advert on TV. The simplicity of Einaudi playing piano on Classic FM.

    Our band on stage in front of a very famous band and some exceptional professional and amateur musicians giving our all in Laudate Dominum.

    Disappointed by the feeling that famous band did not want to be there, going through the motions in very well played, but forgettable pieces.

    Music is a lightening of spirits when I'm down.
    Music is my eleven year old daughter and her friends with a karaoke machine.

    Music is something that gives me pleasure.
  4. drummergurl

    drummergurl Active Member

    can i have that in version of up to 4 letters per word??? my mind is occupied, and cant do big words!
  5. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    I'll explain to you when I next talk you on MSN or see you Monday... :lol: :rolleyes: ;)
  6. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Just to let you know I'm thinking bout this. It is going to be a biggie:

    Starting from : Music is a pattern of rhythms and pitches...
  7. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    Similarly I'll be posting a biggy on here in time... just give me some time to iron out most of the ranting, and to try and make it as positive as possible!

    Anyone who wants the rant-filled version should buy me 2 pints with whiskey chasers...
  8. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Music is an art, a form of entertainment, even a form of escapism which can be enjoyed by those who participate in whatever form or by those simply listening and enjoying, all of which should be able to elicit all sorts of moods, images and healthy debate but not at the expense of the music/musicians itself.

    Certainly, if some recent posts (not necessarily threads) are to go by, brass banding is in grave danger of becoming a parody of itself. In some aspects, the love of music and aspects of performance seem almost lost amongst a deluge of competitiveness and almost robotic technical excellence, whereby humble amateurs are discarded and denied their enjoyment of musical participation simply in the pursuit of 'competitive success' and 'kudos'. Brass bands are a vital cog in the wheel of music performance and appreciation by audiences. It can reach out to Joe (and Josephine!) Public because it's performed by and large, by Joe (and Josephine!) Public. The gap between some of bandings participants and their audiences appear to be growing, however, due to the 'success' factor of certain bands that now even brings us a 'league table' of who's the 'best', simply based on subjective judgement of what is supposed to be a form of art, coupled with an overall lack of imagination and 'trotting out the old warhorses' mentality in concerts.

    Not that any moan of mine will ever change anything..... ;-)
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2004
  9. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    Music is entertainment , something we all enjoy..for good or bad , warts and all....Not to be picked over by armchair critics..who just enjoy the floral dance and how it used to be in the 1940's
    Its something inovative that should always be evolving and changing.
  10. WhatSharp?

    WhatSharp? Active Member

    Music is food for the soul. Give it a rich a varied diet and never be afraid to try something new, you may like it or it may give you indigestion (or worse) but at the very least it should be tried once. Even a bit of junk food (in moderation) will keep it happy (don't overdo it though or it will become fat and lazy).

    Oh and never be afraid to send a meal back if it isn't quite cooked right ;) :-D
  11. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    Music, in it’s most basic form is a succession of notes played to create some sort of sound, but then again, we all knew that already! To be a bit more in depth about it, music is the expression of a thought, feeling or event in sound. The best music should leave the listener in no doubt as to what the composer was thinking about, or watching, or reading when they were writing it. It should either entertain the listener or give the correct mood for an occasion, without becoming the centre of the occasion itself.

    So far nothing ground breaking...

    So anyway, music in banding... As someone who hasn’t been in banding all that long, and hasn’t been in a traditional sort of band for more than a year, the way music works in brass bands still catches me out sometimes. Often getting every note right seems to be put above communicating the music to the listener. There seems to be lots of people with what I would think of as a crazy mind-set, that winning competitions is the ultimate aim of making music. In my mind, competitions have always been a side issue... something that comes up once in a while for us to show off how we have developed as players.

    The idea that players cannot improve themselves without the pressure of a contest to drive them on doesn’t quite sit well in my mind. Surely if you love music, then you will try to attain a standard which you feel is the best you can be. For me, just being able to play the beautiful solos and ensemble pieces that are out there makes me happy. I don’t think we need a panel to tell us what to play in order to challenge ourselves. In fact, I believe not having a choice about what you play has to be a bad thing.

    I had an interesting talk with a trumpet player a couple of weeks back about the difference between British music and Continental music. His opinion was that in Britain, music was more about being very precise and accurate about every little note, whereas on the continent, many players where less technically gifted, but the performances when they came together were so moving, and they brought out every emotion from the pieces. We both agreed that meeting somewhere in the middle would be best, but I feel that the brass band movement will find it difficult to move more toward the emotional side of playing while they are trying to satisfy a guy sat in a box.

    People often argue that without contests we wouldn’t have the great pieces we have today. In my opinion this is doing our great composers a disservice. I believe most composers write music for the love of doing it, and therefore, would still write beautiful, emotional, exciting, challenging music whether 12 bands were all going to play it in one day, or if only one band were going to play it, in concert, to an enthralled audience.

    Anyway, that’s the short version... set aside a weekend, and you can hear the whole rant-filled melodrama...
  12. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    I agee with the lynchmeister. But I am not from a traditional band background either. I love banding, mostly because of the great and varied music we get to play, no other large ensemble gets to play such wide-ranging styles of music on such a regular basis.

    I think some people do seem to get lost in one particular part of music making and place that above all others. Personally I prefer to listen to a performance that has a holistic approach where the emotional side of the music is put forward. Brass band music played with power and emotion is the most dramatic and captivating music I have ever heard.

    Contests are an interesting an somewhat unique part of banding, which marks it apart from a lot of other music playing - but, as has been discussed many times, there are disadvatanges as well as advantages. I think as a community we should remember that technical perfection alone does not make great music and contest will only benefit the brass banding community if they are judged on musicality not just technique.

    I think more effort should be made by the banding community as a whole to encourage 'reach out' style concerts (such as B&R's controversial Hudds concert) so that the top ensembles are recognised by the wider community of music peformers and appreciators. Most of the 'classical' musicians and concert-goers that have bad opinions of brass bands are often ignorant, having never listened to brass band music outside of Hetty Wainthrop and Brassed Off!

    With the gradual dissolution of the old industrial ties that bands once had, young players now come from a variety of backgrounds and with different musical experiences. It is good to see that young players are playing in a wide variety of ensembles and this might lead to closer integration with in the musical community, given time and a forward-thinking community leadership.
  13. BoBo

    BoBo Member

    Music is so diverse, brass is just one genre of it and happens to be a very accessible one.

    I feel very privileged to be able to play to a reasonable standard, to play to that standard in a symphony orchestra is nigh on impossible in most parts of the UK, and not all of us qualify for boy or girl bands.

    As to what music is, it is a highly addictive and intoxicating (legal) drug.
  14. Humphrey

    Humphrey Member

    Music in banding is... an afterthought! Contests and music (or the idea of music) are mutually exclusive. If you don't believe me look on the Open results thread.
  15. MartinT

    MartinT Member

    I don't accept that contests and music are mutually exclusive... and nor does the musical world as a whole, witness Young Musician of the Year, for instance, and isn't there some well-known (even if not to me !) piano competition held annually? Brass band contests are chiefly remarkable, it seems to me, for the degree of competitiveness they involve.

    Music, I believe, can be different things to different people, or different things to the same person, even at the same time. One of those things is... well, "sport" is perhaps the nearest word. And I don't see that aspect of it as devaluing the music. The fact is that amateur players like us benefit from a motivation to "get it right"; and like it or not, performance of Western "art" music, or of music that aspires to that status, has a lot to do with getting the musical basics (notes, intonation, rhythm, ensemble, dynamics etc.) right. Poorly performed, a lot of it just doesn't work. That's not to say that there isn't an element that can never be read off the page, and which marks out the good musician from the merely competent performer... I'm sure we all know the thrill of listening to a really convincing performance.

    As a counter-example, folk music doesn't require the same precision. Oddly enough, there are such things as folk music competitions (I even won one, in my youth!), but the key to a successful performance is more in "atmosphere", I guess. Certainly tuning and intonation are by no means so important :) .
  16. Humphrey

    Humphrey Member

    I don't think the Young Musician of the Year or an International Piano Competition inspire quite the levels of vitriol we are accustomed to witnessing following a brass band competition. Look through some of the other threads and you will see music relegated to an afterthought (and not a very important one) and accusations of cheating or under-hand dealings. This "sport" is only coincidentally related to music. Technique is of course important as a means to an end but I object when the end is disregarded and villified as subjective nonsense. That we need contests in order to motivate ourselves probably says more about our movement than we care to reveal and outsiders hearing the reaction to a contest result might be forgiven for thinking we'd entirely lost the plot! :(
  17. Red Elvis

    Red Elvis Active Member

    Have gone straight to reply without reading other thoughts as want to give an off-the-cuff reply without being affected by the words of others .
    Music / Banding for me - rehearsing with my band on a monday night when only half of us turn up . Playing in my shoe box of a room in nurses home on my own along to a recording of whatever we are working on . Listening to the local SA band (in my case a very good one) playing a favourite hymn tune .Doing our thing with full band on concert / contest stage. Its all band / brass and I love it.
  18. MartinT

    MartinT Member

    I don't disagree that there are contests, and bands, which generate "vitriol"... I have to say that that is the nastier end of contest experience, and that there are many contests, and most bands in my experience, which don't. Our different views may have something to do with our individual experiences, and with the level we play at... I'm not sure who you play with, but it's an unfortunate fact that vitriol is more likely the higher up the ladder you go. I still don't accept that this invalidates the general concept, my experience of which is founded in 2nd/1st section banding and in running local contests in the South.

    Martin Taylor
    Eb Bass, Wantage
    Chairman, ODBBA
  19. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    Of course you're not including this years YMOTY, when the judges were accused of picking the female fiddle player because she was pretty.
  20. JF2

    JF2 New Member

    what is music ?

    Hi !

    Strange to read: but most seem to agree that music has to do something with notes, dots on lines, rhythms and patterns ...
    To me music is defined by my own attendance (please don't blame me for my horrible English) to the sounds that come to my ear.
    If I decide to hear the approaching subway as music - well, then it is !
    On the other hand: there are many possibilities of interpreting a score without any musical sense ( as most of us may already have experienced :rolleyes:)

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