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#2040288 - 02/27/13 04:39 PM Musicality? What is it? How to get it?
Sand Tiger Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1087
Loc: Southern California
On another thread the term musicality is cited.

From wiki:
Musicality is a noun that means sensitivity to, knowledge of, or talent for music. The word also refers to the quality or state of being musical (aka melodiousness.) A musical person has the ability to perceive differences in pitch, rhythm and harmonies. One usually differentiates between two types of musicality: To be able to perceive music (musical receptivity) and to be able to reproduce music as well as creating music (musical creativity).

Delving into the two types gives a beginner more to work on. The ability to perceive differences in pitch, rhythm and harmonies can be acquired and improved upon through training. Once a person has some perception, they can work on the other side.

The term musicality doesn't occur in The Musician's Way book. However, the book does suggest a significant slice of practice time for musicianship. Musicianship activities might include sight reading practice, listening to music, ear training, improvisation and composition, studying sheet music. A lot of those activities would seem to help. Mind you, that these are listed as separate activities from learning pieces, or polishing pieces, or working on technique.

With the wealth of experience on ABF, I'm sure others can share some of the ways they have improved their musicality, continue to work on it, or perhaps struggle with it.
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#2040410 - 02/27/13 09:47 PM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: Sand Tiger]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7099
Loc: So. California
Wow there are so many threads basically talking about similar things and I don't know why I ended up in all of them...LOL.

I suppose different genres put a different priority on the musicality aspect. Those that rely on the score can survive for awhile with just basic aspects of musicality.

But in Jazz, you can't even play it without it being developed so early on. Lots of jazz teachers start with ear training, relative pitch recognition, transcription. Obviously the genre is very ear based.

Even when we play jazz, we move to the level where we play what we hear. A very difficult thing to accomplish.

My point in the other thread though is that quick development (if that is desired) in playing an instrument requires a "Feedback response" mechanism. Something should tell you that you're doing something wrong so you can correct it quickly. Lacking musicality, we may not even recognize that we're reading the score with lots of accidentals correctly. But understanding a little music theory might help solve it.

Things like dynamics, touch, tone, etc. are even more specific and not pitch-related. If you don't know what it's supposed to sound like, how do you say to yourself, "Oh yeah, I need to lower the volume on the LH". Or "I need to play this more legato".

Without some basic understanding of musicality, one would practice a piece to supposed perfection and then years later realize that large globs of musical information has been set aside and it will take more years to relearn.

Now of course, most of us are not born with this "musicality" where we immediately know how things are supposed to sound. Most of us have to learn to recognize unevenness in fast lines for example.

But as I said in the other thread, I think the learning process is shorter if musicality is ahead of the playing skill level. And a signal of "being ahead" is the ability to recognize flaws in ones playing pretty quickly.

Fortunately, I can hear it in my playing and I get frustrated because I don't like what I hear. But that's actually a good sign IMO. This means I know what to work on in practice. Someone who thinks they're playing well is probably in trouble. He wouldn't need practice. Unless you're Horowitz or Keith Jarrett. The sign of a pro, I think is the recognition that there's more to be learned. Well even Horowitz/Jarrett would know that.

So in general, I think it's a good thing to be improving one's musicality outside of the practice room. It may mean constantly listening to music with a critical ear. Attending masterclasses. Learning music theory. I think all of this helps. One that we jazz players do is COPY. We actually try to emulate a phrase as played by a master including rhythm, pitch, accent, etc. We play with the record. Obviously a different approach is required for Classical players. But it's about developing the skill to recognize specifically why something is "better".

This translates into productive practice.
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#2040469 - 02/28/13 12:30 AM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: jazzwee]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
You acquire musicality through osmosis - or more specifically, learning to hear - and then shape it over time to fit your own personality and the relevant musical style(s).



Originally Posted By: jazzwee
I think it's a good thing to be improving one's musicality outside of the practice room. It may mean constantly listening to music with a critical ear. Attending masterclasses. Learning music theory. I think all of this helps


I love this quote. This is what I believe pedagogue Heinrich Neuhaus means in his text when he says that one should already have a near-fully formed vision of what a piece will sound like under your fingers before you even first begin practicing (obviously there are some limits to this), because this then determines what and how you practice, ultimately becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I've come to learn that it's the ultimate goal in jazz (improvisation) to be able to instantly play and bring to life what you hear in your head (and boy does this seem impossible to a beginner [like myself]), but this really is of similar great importance in learning classical repertoire.

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#2040787 - 02/28/13 01:43 PM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: Sand Tiger]
chrisbell Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1370
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Musicality starts with listening, internalizing the sound and wanting (ney, needing to) to realize it.
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#2041391 - 03/01/13 02:42 PM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: Bobpickle]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3801
Loc: Northern England.
"I've come to learn that it's the ultimate goal in jazz (improvisation) to be able to instantly play and bring to life what you hear in your head"

I thought jazz was hitting wrong notes then following them with something that people then thought was prearranged . . . .heck, I`ve been labouring under a slight misapprehension . . . .!
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#2041403 - 03/01/13 02:52 PM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: peterws]
adak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 282
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: peterws
"I've come to learn that it's the ultimate goal in jazz (improvisation) to be able to instantly play and bring to life what you hear in your head"

I thought jazz was hitting wrong notes then following them with something that people then thought was prearranged . . . .heck, I`ve been labouring under a slight misapprehension . . . .!


Is this what classical pianists say about jazz?
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#2041473 - 03/01/13 04:25 PM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: Sand Tiger]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3604
>I'm sure others can share some of the ways they have improved their musicality, continue to work on it, or perhaps struggle with it.

As jazzwee says. Listening to others is also essential for classical players IMHO. Just playing the score just does not cut it, even in classical. Listening to other instruments, unusual music, etc.

Having a good teacher that can explain what you hear helps even more. Asking the teacher about interpretation to get him/her started also helps.
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#2041489 - 03/01/13 04:44 PM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: adak]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3801
Loc: Northern England.
"Is this what classical pianists say about jazz?"

Don`t think so. It`s what everybody says about me . . .
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#2041515 - 03/01/13 05:30 PM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: Sand Tiger]
adak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 282
Loc: Canada
I meant the second part of your post: "I thought jazz was hitting wrong notes then following them with something that people then thought was prearranged".
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#2041522 - 03/01/13 05:35 PM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: Sand Tiger]
wayne33yrs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/31/11
Posts: 1869
Loc: Sheffield UK
Have you tried exploring musicality with just a "single key" , as if there's nothing else, just that single key wink


Edited by wayne33yrs (03/01/13 05:41 PM)

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#2041523 - 03/01/13 05:36 PM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: Bobpickle]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Bobpickle
pedagogue Heinrich Neuhaus


Sorry for splitting hairs, but I don't believe that Neuhaus was a pedagogue. He was a teacher, a professor, but not a pedagogue, by my understanding.

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#2041550 - 03/01/13 06:30 PM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: landorrano]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: Bobpickle
pedagogue Heinrich Neuhaus


Sorry for splitting hairs, but I don't believe that Neuhaus was a pedagogue. He was a teacher, a professor, but not a pedagogue, by my understanding.


It's been my understanding that a pedagogue is simply another synonym for a teacher, but until looking it up, wasn't aware of the "pedantic" implication, if this is what you're referring to. I find this strange, lexically, when pedagogic and pedagogical have no such implications according to dictionary.com.

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#2041709 - 03/02/13 04:30 AM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: Bobpickle]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Bobpickle

It's been my understanding that a pedagogue is simply another synonym for a teacher


Good morning. Effectively, I had a look at the dictionary, pedagogue means a leader of boys, a teacher. But "usually" with a touch of contempt.

I had the idea that the word pedagogue speaks of the art of teaching, that a pedagogue is someone who teaches or studies how to teach.

So my split hair has to go through a good split-ends shampooing!

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#2042168 - 03/03/13 05:36 AM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: Sand Tiger]
mabraman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/24/12
Posts: 326
Loc: Valencia, Spain
Pedagogy is the science of teaching, and it has no pedantic meaning, neither in USA nor in Peru. Strictly talking, a pedagogue should have a degree.
One example: my theory/reading teacher has a degree in Education, and her speciality was music pedagogy. This much sumes, perhaps, four or five years studing. Besides, she is a clarinetist (and also teaches to play it).
My piano teacher, on the other hand, has the highest piano degree (14 years career if done in a row, here) but she is not a pedagogue, and you can notice it from the first lesson. She can play but she can't teach.
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#2042173 - 03/03/13 05:48 AM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: mabraman]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: mabraman

One example: my theory/reading teacher


Solfège?

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#2042175 - 03/03/13 05:55 AM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: landorrano]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11804
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: landorrano

Good morning. Effectively, I had a look at the dictionary, pedagogue means a leader of boys, a teacher. But "usually" with a touch of contempt.

There is nothing contemptuous about pedagogue afaik, and definitely not about pedagogy. It is not enough to have mastered a subject. You also have to know how to transmit it to your students, so that they can be led to mastery as well.

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#2042233 - 03/03/13 08:58 AM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: keystring]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: keystring
afaik


Happy to help, Keystring! You know what they say, learn something new everyday!

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#2042337 - 03/03/13 01:16 PM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: Sand Tiger]
gooddog Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4819
Loc: Seattle area, WA
The best piece of advice I was ever given was to listen to opera, really listen. Pay attention to the phrasing, breathing, dynamics, pauses, rubato. Then imagine your piano music being sung by an opera singer.
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#2042343 - 03/03/13 01:26 PM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: landorrano]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11804
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: keystring
afaik


Happy to help, Keystring! You know what they say, learn something new everyday!

Ok, I'm confused. I thought I was doing the helping, so that you could beyond a dictionary meaning. This was a field of study for me, and my main professional work at one time.

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#2042344 - 03/03/13 01:27 PM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: gooddog]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11804
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: gooddog
The best piece of advice I was ever given was to listen to opera, really listen. Pay attention to the phrasing, breathing, dynamics, pauses, rubato. Then imagine your piano music being sung by an opera singer.
That seems like good advice. smile

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#2042355 - 03/03/13 01:59 PM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: Sand Tiger]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2107
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Three things to do:

Sing the notes: You can use La La La if you have to. Use different variations. Playing different notes in one hand...Sing part of the notes while playing the others. Sing the bass staff while playing the treble. Either way. Singing causes you to listen more closely to each and every note. You will gain a much closer attachment to the notes. You will also find that you have ignored notes in songs....just hit the right keys in the past.

Feel the notes inside your body. The vibrations. All of you.

Pay attention to the vibrations of the notes outside your body in the room.


It's supposed to be MUSIC!
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#2042367 - 03/03/13 02:19 PM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: rnaple]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: rmaple
Three things to do:


I like this post!

Especially this
Quote:
You will gain a much closer attachment to the notes.


and this
Quote:


It's supposed to be MUSIC!

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#2042843 - 03/04/13 01:04 PM Re: Musicality? What is it? How to get it? [Re: Sand Tiger]
Marco M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 453
Loc: Europe
I think Aaron Copeland in his book "What to listen for in Music" defined musicality in the introductory chapter to be the ability to catch a sequence of tones as a combined melody AND to remember it AND to be able to recognize it again, after hearing other melodies meanwhile. He here did not explain musicality in more detail, but claimed that you have no musicality if you are not able to succeed with this first step of musicality.
So, to answer the OPs question based on Copeland´s statement: learn to identify melodies and train to again regognize them even in a different context.

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