Reply To: Embodiment and Flow

  • Samuel Ford

    March 13, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    “I have known a number of wonderful, classically-trained musicians who feel like this about music: for them the achievement has really been about left-hemisphere criteria such as precision, fluency, mastery- so, deviation from these aims is seen as risky or even dangerous. Indeed, it probably is all of these things where the expression is part of an orchestral presentation. But it is a feeling many of them find hard to shake when they play elsewhere.”

    Yes I agree, and for this reason many people who have had some classical training are hopeless at writing music and at improvisation (excluding the true masters and composers). They have often been trained just to complete what’s on a page, not necessarily to understand the patterns of music at an intuitive level. There are many people who can play a fugue, but how many can compose or improvise a fugue? That might seem like a big ask, but such skills were expected of working musicians in the baroque period when fugues were actually being written (this tradition is now slowly coming back with the re-discovery of ‘partimento’ teaching techniques).

    Great Jazz players such as Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, Thelonius Monk, Chick Corea, Bill Evans could sit at a piano and create new music in real-time, much more impressive in my opinion than being able to sight read somebody else’s work – the jazz pianist Erroll Garner (the fella in the video I posted in this thread) was once asked criticised because he couldn’t read sheet music, he simply responded “No-one comes to watch me read”.