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#1168353 - 03/25/09 02:13 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: RobKeymar]
BJones Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1043
Loc: Queens, NY
Originally Posted By: RobKeymar
One essential tool in the improvisors bag of tricks is the ability to see as well as hear intervals. Some of us, unfortunately, can hear the golden thread but cannot find it anywhere on the instrument even if we can read and play pretty much anything written.


So true. Very few muicians have total communion with their instrument. More true of instruments like the piano, where a breath is not necessary to produce the note.

This is why I do not advocate the use ff transcriptions, text books, and other such "cookbooks" to augment study of improvisation before a student has demonstrated an appropriate level of communication with his instrument before moving on to other concepts.

One such exercise is geared toward having a student play simple improvised lines on basic tones (1-3-5-7) over an impromptu, simple chord progression, and sing (scat) every note played.
Then I'll have the student randomly choose a note or notes within his simple melodic improvisation that he still sings, yet instead of depressing the key(s), he just touches it while singing the tone(s).

This type of approach forces the mind of the pianist to direct the choices and hear everything played rathe than the fingers alone producing the sound and hearing it after put into production.
_________________________
Some recent improvisations:

Cool School Chopin:

http://www.mediafire.com/?d1yc1mmitew

Improvisations:

http://www.box.net/shared/bjv6yc34oo

http://www.box.net/shared/8lmc3hzikl


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Piano & Music Accessories
#1168673 - 03/25/09 03:12 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: BJones]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
Excellent

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#1168690 - 03/25/09 03:36 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: Jazz+]
Swingin' Barb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 889
Loc: North Carolina
Thank you BJones. I will be trying your exercise a bit each day. For those of us beginners who have not quite caught on to the jazzy articulation, could you recommend a rhythm pattern for this exercise? I do so want to sound jazzy as I play and scat sing the notes.

Thank you for your help.
_________________________
A Sudnow Method Fanatic
"Color tones, can't live without them"

To hear how I have progressed since 2006, check out: http://b.kane.home.mindspring.com

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#1168790 - 03/25/09 06:16 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: Swingin' Barb]
BJones Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1043
Loc: Queens, NY
Originally Posted By: Swingin' Barb
Thank you BJones. I will be trying your exercise a bit each day. For those of us beginners who have not quite caught on to the jazzy articulation, could you recommend a rhythm pattern for this exercise? I do so want to sound jazzy as I play and scat sing the notes.

Thank you for your help.


Don't be concerned with articualtion with this basic exercise. It should be done slowly and completely consiously. Metronome quarter = 60, 1 beat per second, and you should stick to large note values in the beginning. quarters, halves, dotted halves, wholes. At this note rate, there is no propulsion, the main element that makes it sound like "jazz". Also, a pianist can't slur and bend notes, or use vibrato, so at this slow speed, there's little you can do rhytmically to creat a jazz "spin".
It's not about that. It's about creating a flow, and learning to faithfully reproduce that flow from your mind to the keyboard via the "correctness" of your ear.
The silent piano notes are notes you still hear in your mind and sin. They're just not reproduced at the piano.
This exercie all but eliminates the fingers as being the main source of note production. An improvisor's enmy is to hear the notes after the fingers play them instead of simultaneously, when one is in total mind/body communication with the instrument and is playing in the moment, directing the flow as it happens instead of being positioned behind the flow.
_________________________
Some recent improvisations:

Cool School Chopin:

http://www.mediafire.com/?d1yc1mmitew

Improvisations:

http://www.box.net/shared/bjv6yc34oo

http://www.box.net/shared/8lmc3hzikl


Top
#1168811 - 03/25/09 07:19 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: BJones]
Swingin' Barb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 889
Loc: North Carolina
Beautiful explanation. Thank you, BJones.
_________________________
A Sudnow Method Fanatic
"Color tones, can't live without them"

To hear how I have progressed since 2006, check out: http://b.kane.home.mindspring.com

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#1175848 - 04/06/09 11:25 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: Swingin' Barb]
Surendipity Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 129
Bjones, thank you for the practice I'll use it too.

I think I may even invent a peice and call it

The Buddha Blues.

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#1175893 - 04/07/09 01:39 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: Surendipity]
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/02
Posts: 1905
Loc: El Cajon, CA
For me, it's nearly impossible to play WITHOUT improvising on-the-fly.
_________________________
Associate Member - Piano Technicians Guild
1950 (#144211) Baldwin Hamilton
1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
You can right-click my avatar for an option to view a larger version.

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#1177482 - 04/09/09 05:40 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: Wilson Frazão]
Cudo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 130
Loc: Heidelberg, Germany
Here is another improvised Invention.

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#1179056 - 04/12/09 01:48 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: BJones]
Swingin' Barb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 889
Loc: North Carolina
Hi BJones,

I have been very much into your little exercise. At first, I was singing 1357 chord tones (but not in any order)within the left hand III VI II V I progression – just singing LaLa syllables. After that became too predictable (not a challenge), I opened my fakebook and picked a song. It was much more challenging using chord progressions from the standards in my fakebook.

Question: Is it time to add another note outside of the chord tones? I think the ninth might be a good one to add. What do you suggest?




Edited by Swingin' Barb (04/12/09 01:50 PM)
_________________________
A Sudnow Method Fanatic
"Color tones, can't live without them"

To hear how I have progressed since 2006, check out: http://b.kane.home.mindspring.com

Top
#1179957 - 04/14/09 01:53 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: Swingin' Barb]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
Yes, 9 is good. I like 3 5 7 9 which is like a "Bill Evans rootless" extension of any chord.

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#1180021 - 04/14/09 05:54 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: Jazz+]
Swingin' Barb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 889
Loc: North Carolina
Thank you, Jazz+. Much appreciated!
_________________________
A Sudnow Method Fanatic
"Color tones, can't live without them"

To hear how I have progressed since 2006, check out: http://b.kane.home.mindspring.com

Top
#1180033 - 04/14/09 06:44 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: Swingin' Barb]
BJones Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1043
Loc: Queens, NY
Originally Posted By: Swingin' Barb
Hi BJones,

I have been very much into your little exercise. At first, I was singing 1357 chord tones (but not in any order)within the left hand III VI II V I progression – just singing LaLa syllables. After that became too predictable (not a challenge), I opened my fakebook and picked a song. It was much more challenging using chord progressions from the standards in my fakebook.

Question: Is it time to add another note outside of the chord tones? I think the ninth might be a good one to add. What do you suggest?




Barb, that depends on what type of control you currently have with the 1357 tones at the tempo you're executing the exercise. Can you possibly record an example of your using those tones, upload it, and send me the file through the PM function?
The whole idea of starting simple is control. Creating a mind-ear-finger-sound link, in that order, at the microscopic level, and doing so while keeping total awareness of each note you put into play. Each note has a beginning and an end. Each leaves a trail. Each is a thread that's woven under total control and never by accident. Learning to play in this manner, your ear will never fail you, and you will never fail to be in control of your creative flow, and be able to join in at will, without any meandering at all.
This path leads to instant composition, the highest form of creative, cohesive improvisation.
_________________________
Some recent improvisations:

Cool School Chopin:

http://www.mediafire.com/?d1yc1mmitew

Improvisations:

http://www.box.net/shared/bjv6yc34oo

http://www.box.net/shared/8lmc3hzikl


Top
#1180068 - 04/14/09 08:34 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: BJones]
Swingin' Barb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 889
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: BJones
Can you possibly record an example of your using those tones, upload it, and send me the file through the PM function?


Done deal. Thanks. I'm glad you didn't ask me to post it for the world to hear. eek
_________________________
A Sudnow Method Fanatic
"Color tones, can't live without them"

To hear how I have progressed since 2006, check out: http://b.kane.home.mindspring.com

Top
#1181646 - 04/16/09 03:31 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: Swingin' Barb]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
I was watching a youtube video of an accomplished pianist giving a master class.. and I realized how much detail they spend on 'expressing' what's on the page. its very expressive but in a very different way than jazz. I guess its like the difference between reading a long thoughtful letter vs having a very spontaneous and thoughtful conversation with your friends late at night... they are both meaningful in a very different way.

Gosh I really wish I started piano younger and was able to dedicated part of my life studying classical piano. With all the stuff I need to work on jazz and injury I really can't spend enough time on classical piano...

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#1181710 - 04/16/09 05:14 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: etcetra]
BJones Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1043
Loc: Queens, NY
Originally Posted By: etcetra
I was watching a youtube video of an accomplished pianist giving a master class.. and I realized how much detail they spend on 'expressing' what's on the page. its very expressive but in a very different way than jazz. I guess its like the difference between reading a long thoughtful letter vs having a very spontaneous and thoughtful conversation with your friends late at night... they are both meaningful in a very different way.

Gosh I really wish I started piano younger and was able to dedicated part of my life studying classical piano. With all the stuff I need to work on jazz and injury I really can't spend enough time on classical piano...


Me too. With the limited amount of time I have at the piano due to chronic tenosynovitis, much of the classical and 20th c. repertoire goes unplayed, although I can "play" them in my head whenever I want to. High visualization/auralization abilties keep me sane during the times when I can't play at all.


Edited by BJones (04/16/09 05:15 PM)
_________________________
Some recent improvisations:

Cool School Chopin:

http://www.mediafire.com/?d1yc1mmitew

Improvisations:

http://www.box.net/shared/bjv6yc34oo

http://www.box.net/shared/8lmc3hzikl


Top
#1203815 - 05/22/09 02:49 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: Jazz+]
David Ramezani Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 226
Loc: Sweden
> I don't think individual expression in classical playing is improvisation. And can someone link me to any improvisations by Horowitz, Rubinstein, Arrau, Gould, Richter, Michelangeli, etc?

Gould liked to improvise. The only thing I can find online is (you will need RealPlayer):

http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/028010/f3/nlc005663.ram

(starting at 23:50)

Horowitz (very short):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDP80dKecec&fmt=18

Here is an improvisation by an earlier "classical" artist:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRX_d1OAci4&fmt=18

And here are the earliest improvisations on record:

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=9F5AB9A14DB73AB5
_________________________
Best regards,

David Ramezani

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#1204052 - 05/22/09 01:58 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisation [Re: David Ramezani]
David Ramezani Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 226
Loc: Sweden
_________________________
Best regards,

David Ramezani

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#1204151 - 05/22/09 04:24 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: David Ramezani]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21285
Loc: Oakland
I think this is an improvisation by Saint-Saens. It is not published as a cadenza for Africa, and there is no place where it would fit naturally there. I think he took themes and improvised on them for the recording.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1206732 - 05/27/09 11:10 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: BDB]
David Ramezani Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 226
Loc: Sweden
Cum quiescunt, probant; cum patiuntur, decernunt; cum tacent, clamant.
_________________________
Best regards,

David Ramezani

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#1206740 - 05/27/09 11:27 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: David Ramezani]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
Thanks David, those are some fascinating improvisational clips by classical pianists.

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#1206783 - 05/27/09 12:32 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: Jazz+]
David Ramezani Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 226
Loc: Sweden
Yes, but I agree that most classical pianists should practice other aspects of pianism in order to become true artists. I remember a YouTube clip where Horowitz were improvising. Someone then asked him what he had just played and he answered that it was an improvisation and then added something like: - I am a real artist too, you know.

Amy Fay wrote about Liszt:
"He was rolling up the piano in arpeggios in a very grand manner indeed, when he struck a semi-tone short of the high note upon which he intended to end. I caught my breath and wondered whether he was going to leave us like that, in mid-air, as it were, and the harmony unresolved, or whether he would be reduced to the humiliation of correcting himself like ordinary mortals, and taking the right chord. A half smile came over his face, as much as to say - 'Don't fancy that this little thing disturbs me,' - and he instantly went meandering down the piano in harmony with the false note he had struck, and the rolled deliberately up in a second grand sweep, this time striking true. I never saw more delicious piece of cleverness. It was so quick-witted and so exactly characteristic of Liszt. Instead of giving you a chance to say, 'He has made a mistake,' he forced you to say, 'He has shown how to get out of a mistake."

I believe that this kind of "cleverness" should be expected of artists. Furthermore, much artistry has disappeared when the interpretive freedom disappeared and the respect for the urtext appeared. Speaking on interpretation, Liszt sometimes referred to what he considered to be the "Pontius Pilate offence" in art. In other words, he rejected those musicians who ritually washed their hands of the works they played, who claimed it sufficient to let the notes "speak for themselves", and who sacrificed emotional involvement on the high altar of "objectivity". Music being an invitation to sympathy, there was nothing more deleterious to Liszt than the classical (today modernist) cult of anonymity. He often remarked that notation proved inadequate to the task of transcribing all the variegated shades of human emotion and poetry he demanded from music.

He once wrote:
"The virtuoso is not a mason, chiselling his stone conscientiously according to the sketches of the architect. He is not a passive tool for reproducing feelings and thoughts, without adding anything of his own. He is not a more or less experienced interpreter of works which leave him no scope for his own comments . . . For the virtuoso, musical works are in fact nothing but tragic and moving materializations of his emotions; he is called upon to make them speak, weep, sing and sigh, to recreate them in accordance whit his own consciousness. In this way he, like the composer, is a creator, for he must have within himself those passions that he wishes to bring so intensely to life . . ."

I believe I am quite off-topic now.

Just a last quote by Keith Jarrett (from the documentary):
"I learned to improvise by playing classical music."
_________________________
Best regards,

David Ramezani

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#1207175 - 05/27/09 11:34 PM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: David Ramezani]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
Thank you, David. That was excellent.

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#1207824 - 05/29/09 12:51 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: Jazz+]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
David I agree very much with what you are saying.. I was always puzzled by the fact that many jazz schools require classical lessons because it was "good for your chops".. why is the emphasis on chops, and not on the fact that it's good music? Most classical piano students rarely improvise, some people can't even begin to improvise, they just can't.

I don't think the problem is so much classical music itself, but how it's been taught in schools.. In some ways what they do have very little to do with music..Many people play competently even though they have little knowledge of what's going on harmonically and compositionally..its ironic that I probably know more about the piece as composition than most of my classical major friends at school.

I also notice that sometimes classical musicians can be quite intolerant of creativity and interpretation..I think Uri Caine's interpretation of Bach and Mahler is brilliant and fun.. it's also very clever. But a lot of classical 'purists' find what he does blasphemy.. It's almost as if they have this narrow standard in which they judge music by, which doesn't leave a lot of creative space for the artists.


I wonder how did things become like this? the composers we learn about composed improvised, how did that get lost in the 20th century?

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#1212054 - 06/05/09 03:00 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: etcetra]
David Ramezani Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 226
Loc: Sweden
I do not know why things became like this. In 1875, after the Royal Academy of music had opened in Budapest and Liszt had been appointed its first president, he was able to influence its curriculum. He insisted that all piano students study composition and that all composition students study the piano. He thought that the separation of performance from composition was detrimental to both, that Music was indivisable. Until his death, all his students at the Royal Academy had to graduate in improvisation.
_________________________
Best regards,

David Ramezani

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#1215691 - 06/11/09 10:09 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: David Ramezani]
Kennard19 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/11/09
Posts: 10
Hi, I'm new here and I agree with etcetra, honestly, I can't agree with you more:

The saddest thing is that academically speaking they're making a kind of "war" between two styles. The jazz piano seems to be the only door to improvisation available for classical players and the classical piano seems to be the only door to technical exercises available for jazz players.

Many often, classical players are pointed as just note repeaters by the jazz players, and there's something right with that: today jazz teaching is becoming more and more note repeating. It would be great if some wrong preconceptions were knocked down.
_________________________
Kennard McDonald

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#1216123 - 06/12/09 12:29 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: Kennard19]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
It's very difficult issue, I've read articles written by famous jazz musicians who are concerned that jazz is being taught like classical music.. with lots of method book and less emphasis on ears.. I think it's entirely possible to have improv on classical music, it's just matter of students transcribing and learning pieces by ear, sometime, if not all the time.... thats how jazz musicians learn to improvise

It always puzzles me to hear that students are discouraged to learn by ear, because they may not be accurate and may tamper wih the 'sanctity' of the text.. but when you hear stories about how mozart transcribed bach.. and etc.. it seems like learning by ear was not unusual back then. I wouldn't be too surprised if Chopin heard a new piece by Lizst and Chopin was able to play some of it by memory and vice versa... great musicians have great ears.

For example.. if you are playing Beethoven Sonatas.. how many students actually know which keys they are modulating to? how many people can hear it, and how many people can find their way back using their ears?? It seems like so much of classical music playing is detached from your ears.. you don't need to have the ears to play them as long as you have the facility too.. maybe its understandable because of the amount of work you put on facility and interpretation.. but it always puzzled me because that kind of learning in school just seemed unmusical in some ways.

that is not to say classical pianist doesn't have ears.. but their ears are tunes to other things.. like touch/timber on the instrument, the different sound they can make, how they bring out some notes and create dynmaics, but its completely different kind of ear than the one that hears Augmented 6th chord or modulation, or how a theme is developed.


Edited by etcetra (06/12/09 12:35 AM)

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#1216175 - 06/12/09 06:17 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: etcetra]
KlinkKlonk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/09
Posts: 355
I don't think classical players have time to learn improvisation. The repertoire is so vast and if you're going to establish yourself as an artist you have to be able to play different kind of music that spans 3 centuries. Liszt knew how to improvise,sure, but he also know how to play all the music composed by Liszt (obviously =D). After Liszt we have the piano music of Scriabin, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Prokofiev etc that you as a pianist have to master at least to some degree.
Maybe that's the same thing that's happening with Jazz, with all the method books that explains different styles and techniques. There's so much you can dwell on from Jelly Roll Morton to Brad Mehldau, and there's little chance to absorb and master it all. The method books offers simplification and you can at least get a survey of what the different styles are about.

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#1217108 - 06/14/09 03:32 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: KlinkKlonk]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
KlinkKlonk,

that may be true, but it does make you wonder when a lot of well established musicians are not happy about that kind of teaching method because that is just not how they learned music. I certainly wouldn't want future jazz musicians to be just re-creating the style of Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans..etc..

It is just too strange to think of students doing all the exercises/licks without really understanding them..a lot of times you can hear that in their playing, because they are playing the right thing but they just don't sound very musical.

I agree that classical musicians have a lot on their plate, but at the same time, i can't help but feel that they are missing out in some things..

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#1217555 - 06/15/09 10:58 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: etcetra]
Kennard19 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/11/09
Posts: 10
I agree with you etcetra, what I think is that all players should know and understand what they're doing and, most important, know why they are learning that particular thing.

The ear is one of the most important tools on learning, is a fundamental piece. How do you recognize what tune is the player doing? Yes, by ear. And the discouragement of the ear in the "modern teaching" is just silly, they're just making repeaters.

I don't know if the classical players know that they're missing something, they learned that there are two kinds of music: classical and bad. And it's time to change that and refund the music teaching, approach to the music in an universal way. grin


Edited by Kennard19 (06/15/09 10:59 AM)
_________________________
Kennard McDonald

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#1217568 - 06/15/09 11:20 AM Re: Keith Jarrett: classical musicians & improvisa [Re: Kennard19]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
"I don't know if the classical players know that they're missing something, they learned that there are two kinds of music: classical and bad. And it's time to change that and refund the music teaching, approach to the music in an universal way. grin"

I think that's an excellent point.. its like they get so focused on their standards of what good music is... jazz musicians can do that too sometimes.. when I was younger I did not appreciate latin jazz as much because I thought their lines and ideas are "not as hip"... but then I realized I was missing the point of that music all together.

I can't say for all classical composers, but I've read that a lot of them transcribed music quite regularly... I wonder how much of Bach Mozart and Beethoven learned by score and how much of it by ear.. i know they had great ears... it wasn't just talented, they've probably worked hard developing their ears too.

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