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#371717 - 12/30/06 01:27 AM Would you rather...
CherryCoke Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/11/02
Posts: 531
I'm on winter break from school and extremely bored. So here's a hypothetical "would you rather:"

Let's say you are a professional musician. Would you rather be a passable, decent-but-not-incredible pianist who is very professionally successful, well recognized and good source of income -OR- an extraordinaly gifted musician who is far lesser known, with only an adequate income?

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#371718 - 12/30/06 01:39 AM Re: Would you rather...
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21292
Loc: Oakland
"I've been rich, and I've been poor. Rich is better."

A quote attributed to quite a few people!
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Semipro Tech

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#371719 - 12/30/06 01:53 AM Re: Would you rather...
wolfindmist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 1478
Loc: In a state full of Volcanoes
Richer.
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I have my own weapon of mass destruction in the form of a "teenage" German Shepherd. Anything she spies and can get ahold of is fair game.

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#371720 - 12/30/06 02:55 AM Re: Would you rather...
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
Who needs more than an adequate income?! Gentlemen ! Jesus Christ! I would--of course--choose the second option.

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#371721 - 12/30/06 09:41 AM Re: Would you rather...
The Emperor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/06
Posts: 96
Loc: Lagos, Portugal
I'm both actually, rich and talented....errr not really :p

I would go for second option, adequate income is enough for me and talent is never enough.

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#371722 - 12/30/06 11:00 AM Re: Would you rather...
playliszt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/01/06
Posts: 449
Loc: Oh/Fla
I bet Mick Jagger would give a great answer.

Since its hypothetical, I would choose the second option and then choose to win the Lottery!

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#371723 - 12/30/06 11:48 AM Re: Would you rather...
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
my teacher is in the 2nd category, but wish he'd have a good source of income. who wouldn't anyway?

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#371724 - 12/30/06 12:00 PM Re: Would you rather...
Goldberg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/08/03
Posts: 1231
Loc: U.S.
I've said it to many people throughout my life. If I become a successful professional performer, I would be much happier succeeding within the 2nd scenario. I would rather that I play with artistic subtlety, nuance, and expression that is recognized by a small group of specialized connoisseurs, as opposed to by playing in a standard way that emphasizes large-scale, marketable "artistry" which is really just about the loud and fast playing that appeals to the relatively uneducated audience. I think each one is equally difficult as far as attaining success (in the first case, you would have to have a truly developed talent and a higher level of craft and expression than is common in most pianists; in the second case, you would have to have the luck and advertisement of a celebrity, complete with contacts and serendipity. Of course, in both situations you would have to have both things, but in each one there is one thing that weighs more heavily than the other, in my opinion). I also would be much happier succeeding as a true artist with a perfectly acceptable income (just enough to live and be comfortable), than as a public's pianist who dumbs himself down to cover a wide range of tastes at once.

And, winning the Lottery wouldn't hurt. Which reminds me, I need to check my Powerball ticket...

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#371725 - 12/30/06 12:15 PM Re: Would you rather...
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13763
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I think this is another one of those pointless questions. You're creating a dichotomy where none exists in reality.
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"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#371726 - 12/30/06 01:03 PM Re: Would you rather...
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230

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#371727 - 12/30/06 01:23 PM Re: Would you rather...
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8825
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Antonius Hamus:
Alicia Keys - Olli Mustonen
Hah! That was good (and very clever), Antonius!

If I don't always agree with Mustonen's interpretations, he certainly makes you hear the music from a fresh perspective. BTW, I have a good friend that lives in Finland (near Helsinki) and, alas, he heard Mustonen recently and described the experience as a definite "modified rapture".
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#371728 - 12/30/06 03:37 PM Re: Would you rather...
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
I would choose my path to affect the greatest number of people in the most positive way possible.

That being said, the question might as well be reworded: "Would you rather be a tree that falls 'fabulously' in the forest, or a tree that 'just falls' in a city park?"

I would also challenge anyone who choses the second option to explore the idea of being buried in an unmarked grave.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#371729 - 12/30/06 04:30 PM Re: Would you rather...
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
The second option - and as I intend to be cremated Derulux's question is moot. ;\)
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Slow down and do it right.

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#371730 - 12/30/06 05:39 PM Re: Would you rather...
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
Derulux may be confusing "lesser known" with unknown ... one passage from Hamlet also comes to mind, but not clearly enough to be quoted verbatim ... or quoted at all ... but you know the passage ... or you get back to college...

Mustonen's different all right ... his style is about as marked as Gould's was ... I often enjoy Mustonen's playing more than Gould's...

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#371731 - 12/30/06 05:58 PM Re: Would you rather...
Troy M. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/09/06
Posts: 59
Loc: Arizona
Me, I think i would choose the 2nd, i love aviation, and would love to a Pilot, plan to be right now. I still love the piano though!

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#371732 - 12/30/06 09:03 PM Re: Would you rather...
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21292
Loc: Oakland
I suspect that Van Cliburn would have performed more if he had not been from such a wealthy family.
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#371733 - 12/30/06 10:40 PM Re: Would you rather...
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
Derulux may be confusing "lesser known" with unknown ... one passage from Hamlet also comes to mind, but not clearly enough to be quoted verbatim ... or quoted at all ... but you know the passage ... or you get back to college...[/b]
Ah, Hamlet. Let's go earlier... a paraphrase of what Thetis said to Achilles:
 Quote:
But when your children are dead, and their children after them, your name will be forgotten...
The marking of a grave is one wrought from our own ego. It is a stone, a physical object, a marker that says, "I was here once." It is only human nature to be remembered.

Surely, with the first choice, you will be remembered long after your death. If you reach enough people, you may even become "immortal". But undoubtedly, with the second, you would fall into the category Thetis described for Achilles before he went to Troy. Those who would actively choose to NOT reach a greater number of people should very much be willing to be forgotten.

Most of us, when we truly reflect on the subject, will find that we are afraid of this--to be forgotten--because, in our minds, it implies that our life has meant nothing. ;\)
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#371734 - 12/31/06 12:22 AM Re: Would you rather...
Auntie Lynn Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 1105
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Well, money isn't everything but it's way ahead of whatever's in second place. As previously mentioned, there's a zillion piano players in this town better than me; however, the love and respect of your peers cannot be slid under the broiler and feed your family or buy you a trip to a world-class beach to retrench after a hard year's work...

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#371735 - 12/31/06 12:45 AM Re: Would you rather...
Horace Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 505
 Quote:
Originally posted by Derulux:

Most of us, when we truly reflect on the subject, will find that we are afraid of this--to be forgotten--because, in our minds, it implies that our life has meant nothing. ;\) [/b]
Maybe that's a good reason to do good deeds anonymously - train your psyche to appreciate the good for goodness' sake, and you'll have no worries about being remembered - you'll just assume the good you did will have ripples throughout time.

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#371736 - 12/31/06 05:00 AM Re: Would you rather...
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
 Quote:
Originally posted by Derulux:
Derulux may be confusing "lesser known" with unknown ... one passage from Hamlet also comes to mind, but not clearly enough to be quoted verbatim ... or quoted at all ... but you know the passage ... or you get back to college...[/b]
Ah, Hamlet. Let's go earlier... a paraphrase of what Thetis said to Achilles:
 Quote:
But when your children are dead, and their children after them, your name will be forgotten...
The marking of a grave is one wrought from our own ego. It is a stone, a physical object, a marker that says, "I was here once." It is only human nature to be remembered.

Surely, with the first choice, you will be remembered long after your death. If you reach enough people, you may even become "immortal". But undoubtedly, with the second, you would fall into the category Thetis described for Achilles before he went to Troy. Those who would actively choose to NOT reach a greater number of people should very much be willing to be forgotten.[/b]
Yet Beethoven wasn't willing to be forgotten, nor did he dumb down his music to reach a wider audience ... Reaching a wider audience wouldn't have helped him reach "immortality" ... it was the deeper effect of Beethoven's uncompromising music that did the trick ... along with the persistent support of the true connoisseurs of the 19th century ... Liszt, Wagner, and the other few ... there are always only a few ... as Schopenhauer noted in one of his essays that can be found in the collection "Art of Literature" ... Sometimes these few manage to 'immortalize' the supported artist by effecting that that artist becomes part of the curricula of most schools and colleges ... Sometimes they don't manage the feat ... the artist's work will live on with as much true vigour either way, if the always relatively small circle of shifting connoisseurs (shifting as they die and are replaced) manage to keep it available without the help of schools and masses in this mass-market democracy of a world (surprisingly often they do manage it ... I'm confident that Harry Potter--now read by everybody, not just kids--will have been forgotten for centuries, when R. A. Lafferty is still being read by those who appreciate the best in literature ... They wrote for different markets, Lafferty and that woman (who I suppose still writes): Lafferty wrote for the one that will last, and the one that will, by the way, outnumber the other market once, if our planet hasn't turned into Venus before the numbers have accumulated sufficiently--not that it would matter, just a by-the-way for those who care about numbers).

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derulux:
Most of us, when we truly reflect on the subject, will find that we are afraid of this--to be forgotten--because, in our minds, it implies that our life has meant nothing. ;\) [/b]
Perhaps it would be of help for a person to reflect that were the memory of him to outlast his descendants, it wouldn't outlast humanity, which, in turn, has to go sooner or later, and it doesn't matter if it goes sooner, inasmuch as everything will then be as it was before there was life, anyway... Of course, it might be a good idea not to reflect much, and live instead... Dumbing down is not living, it's snivelling compromise, it's being a shell inhabited by ghosts...

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#371737 - 12/31/06 04:20 PM Re: Would you rather...
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
Sorry, but that was, largely, too convoluted to follow. I did manage to extract some of your ideas, but that one long run-on sentence really threw me.

I'm confident that Harry Potter--now read by everybody, not just kids--will have been forgotten for centuries, when R. A. Lafferty is still being read by those who appreciate the best in literature [/b]
But I did catch this... Harry Potter is an original landmark in literature. It won't be 'dying' anytime soon...and it currently holds every publishing record ever set except for one: total number of copies sold. That title still belongs to the Bible.

Whether author J.K. Rowling will continue to be a phenomenon after Harry Potter is up for debate, but Harry Potter itself will shortly be among the "classics", as soon as it is old enough to warrant such a title. (That is, as long as she doesn't screw up the last book... the jury is still out on that. ;\) )
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#371738 - 12/31/06 04:28 PM Re: Would you rather...
Gyvulys624 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 12
If i was good enough to be rich, i wouldn't need more talent.

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#371739 - 12/31/06 07:24 PM Re: Would you rather...
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
No problem... I'll make it easier to follow:

Beethoven, for example, wasn't willing to be forgotten, nor did he dumb down his music to reach a wider audience. Reaching a wider audience wouldn't have helped him reach "immortality", anyway: it was the deeper effect of Beethoven's uncompromising music that did the trick (along with the persistent support of the true connoisseurs of the 19th century).

Convoluted? It really contained only a couple of simple ideas.

The connoisseurs were Liszt, Wagner, and the other few (Mendelssohn pehraps). There are always only a few, or relatively few conoisseurs out there at one particular moment or age (maybe you're one, but you just need to get rid of your fear of elitism, and join the club). Anyway, sometimes these few conoisseurs manage to 'immortalize' the supported artist (Beethoven or whomever) by making them a part of the curricula of most schools and colleges (or making sure that others do it). Sometimes they *don't* manage the feat, but the artist's work will live on with as much true vigour *either way*, *if* the always relatively small circle of connoisseurs manages to keep the artist's work available (in-print, whatever) without the help of schools and masses in this market democracy of a world. Often they do manage it.

As for Harry's becoming a classic, we'll see, but I bet it won't... On the other hand, Raf's a classic already, in the small circles, and will be forever.

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#371740 - 12/31/06 07:35 PM Re: Would you rather...
ecm Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 1276
Loc: Republic of Macedonia
I don't care about income.
I care about what makes me feel good that I do. Music and piano is what makes me feel alive.
I will care about income when I have children in 15 years... \:D

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#371741 - 01/01/07 01:29 AM Re: Would you rather...
ryan.greene Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 159
Loc: Dayton, OH
I don't want to go on tour or anything because I want to be able to stay with my family and have a stress-free (relatively) life as an adult. It would be very rewarding, but also very stressful.

I am more aiming to become a very good pianist but at the same time a very good teacher. It would be rewarding and I could still perform on occasion. It would also be more stable, and probably bring in more money than me trying to make it "big time".
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#371742 - 01/01/07 04:33 AM Re: Would you rather...
Iain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/06
Posts: 545
Loc: London, UK
R.A. who-erty?

I am not sure what the criteria for a "classic" are, but I am fairly sure that it is just mostly chance that makes the difference. Several books that I am somewhat familiar with were ones that I read (more like HAD to read) at school, and that I would probably put down after a couple chapters at most now (pretty much anything by Dickens). Before people get on their high horse and dismiss me as uncouth, I'd like to get to the point which is: in the arts, quality can certainly not be determined simply by its popularity, nor can it be determined by its lack of popularity. If Harry Potter® is very popular right now, there is nothing inherent in that which points to obscurity later. Who knows who will write penetrating and insightful analyses of Hermione's character?

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#371743 - 01/01/07 05:31 AM Re: Would you rather...
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
 Quote:
Originally posted by Iain:
R.A. who-erty?[/b]
That seems to me more like an example of bad rhetoric than an indication of actual interest, but I'll mention anyway that R. A. Lafferty* was an author whose very demanding stuff was being published, through good will and generous effort, in the 80s and early 90s by various small presses devoted solely or almost completely to publishing Lafferty: extremely few contemporary authors have been thus served or respected. The small presses were run by various professors, critics, authors...

*Lafferty is an Irish name, a fact which should help you remember the name.

At his website, author Terry Bisson writes of Lafferty that "[Lafferty] interested me in SF again, after I had outgrown my early love for Simak and Asimov and Heinlein. What a word slinger: what a richness of idea and image, in Irish-cadenced prose! Lafferty wrote the opposite of the post-Chekhovian modern short story. Show don’t tell? The pleasure is in the telling. Rhetoric, in the grand old manner, was at the center of his game. He could go from high-faluting to just plain faluting, and back again, all in a paragraph. Like Charles Mingus, another American original, Lafferty loved the sounds he made; never satisfied with mere profundity, he was pretty, too. He was our Mingus, I think, elevating us all. ... I believe his day is yet to come; that like Melville, Lafferty will be 'discovered,' and his Okla Hannali will take its rightful place as one of the three or four truly great 20th century American novels."

 Quote:
Originally posted by Iain:
I am not sure what the criteria for a "classic" are,[/b]
There are no criteria for inclusion in the canon, if that's what you were getting at. However, and as my Collins English Dictionary assures me, I was using the word quite conventionally when I used it to mean a work of lasting significance. A work of literature has lasting significance when it's different enough and good enough that it can't be replaced by the works of the next generations of writers. Lafferty's work won't be replaced, because writing stuff that could possibly replace his work would quite simply take much more skill and imagination than almost any writer has or will likely ever have.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Iain:
I'd like to get to the point which is: in the arts, quality can certainly not be determined simply by its popularity, nor can it be determined by its lack of popularity.[/b]
Did I say it could be?

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#371744 - 01/01/07 01:13 PM Re: Would you rather...
Iain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/06
Posts: 545
Loc: London, UK
Well yes I believe you did.

We as people have a tendency to back the underdog over what is prevalent; I'm not damning this, but we must be aware that we are actually doing it for emotional, transitory reasons, rather than analytical, intelligent ones. Therefore your statement that Harry Potter will not reach "classic" despite the fact that it already has suggests this tendency to me.

I'm certainly not going to turn this into an argument on the merits of Harry Potter (I don't even like it that much), but we can see this in our field as well, in the reactive authentic movement, and in the general dislike of pianists such as Horowitz and Volodos.

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#371745 - 01/01/07 03:33 PM Re: Would you rather...
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
Beethoven, for example, wasn't willing to be forgotten, nor did he dumb down his music to reach a wider audience.[/b]
This is why I was confused... that statement supports my argument. The rest, however, does not even address the topic. (Third-party intrusions do not affect a personal choice.) ;\)

R.A. who-erty?[/b]
He was a fairly obscure science fiction writer (if you can call his works science fiction...some can't) who ignored the traditional mode of telling a story, and through that, won some uniqueness. Still, he only had/has a small cult following, and will likely never break into the mainstream. (His death several years ago has also hindered his chances of writing a best-seller anytime soon.)

I am not sure what the criteria for a "classic" are[/b]
(unofficially)
#1: Popularity
#2: Popularity among "scholars"
#3: Time

quality can certainly not be determined simply by its popularity[/b]
Be careful... you're bordering on "personal taste" when you say "quality". ;\)

I'll mention anyway that R. A. Lafferty* was an author whose very demanding stuff was being published, through good will and generous effort, in the 80s and early 90s by various small presses devoted solely or almost completely to publishing Lafferty: extremely few contemporary authors have been thus served or respected. The small presses were run by various professors, critics, authors...[/b]
If we're talking about the same Lafferty, his first novel was published forty years ago. His first story, almost fifty.


I think I shall stop and let you two duke it out from here. ;\)
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#371746 - 01/01/07 03:38 PM Re: Would you rather...
LWpianistin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 500
Loc: VA/MD/England...long story...
I'd opt for the first one because that's what I will be - an adequate musician. If I would make lots of money, and be well-known...sure!
_________________________
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