Da Musically Inclined Bomb

DePauw University's First Year Seminar on Writing about Music

Monday, October 09, 2006

Someone in Brazil

visited our blog!

Cooley recital - values

I can't believe I forgot to do this! Please accept this, even though it's late... it completely slipped my mind!


Ever since the advent of recorded music, we have changed our expectations for live performance. In order to keep the attention of the audience, performance serves a clear purpose - it must offer some element that the recording cannot. In the case of vocal music especially, live performance is captivating in its visual aspect - we can see the expressions and thought processes of the performer, and thus better understand the composer's intent.

The best performers can communicate their message in any sung language. When the right expressions are used, language is a triviality - the performer will give us the visual cues to connect his or her emotions to the universal vernacular of the music.

Saturday night’s performance of Die Schöne Müllerin by Tom Cooley was an exemplary juxtaposition of excellent musical talent and clear performance. Even though the song cycle was sung in German, and there was no readily-offered translation, Tom Cooley was able to characterize the Miller – first delighted when finding his love, then angry as he loses her, and finally, sad and resigned to mourning. True, Professor Tonne’s performance of this same set helped, but even without it, Cooley’s expressive performance left no confusion.

That communication is what I value in live music. Music is worthless if it can’t express a palpable human emotion. The magic of live performance comes in the transition – when the performer’s expression is clear, and we as perceivers understand, a common human experience is shared. Truth is realized. This is the most important part of all live performance.

when music makes me loose control

Experiencing orchestra music live was usually just another way to open myself up to more music, and to observe musicians in action; but when the Minnesota Orchestra performed my favorite piece, Ravel’s "Daphnis et Chloe", I had a previous connection with the music. I had learned to play the piece, read about it and listened to recordings of it. From triangle ding to tuba rumble, I was familiar with it. When the woodwinds trickle in at the beginning I could watch the clarinets pick up where the flutes left off while I heard the same continuous sound. Experiencing Daphnis live was more of a trick for the ears. It had never occurred to me that violins made those chirping harmonics at the beginning. I was so accustomed to simply hearing those bird sounds, that seeing a violinist create them added a sense of wonder to what I was experiencing. Watching the bassists lean with anticipation over their instruments before the flute solo, I swear my heart almost began beating parallel to each of their plucks.
Before this concert I had a specific emotion in my mind each time I heard the piece. Experiencing the piece in person was like turning that emotion into incense and breathing it in, or creating a juicy piece of fruit and letting in run down my chin. If I were talented enough, I think I could even make a blanket out of it and cuddle to that specific emotion. I got slutty with Daphnis et Chloe that night sitting with hundreds of others in orchestra hall, and felt no shame. By the end I felt as though I were shaking, and all I could do was sit, eyes glazed over, in bliss. I did feel used, but didn't mind.
I want live music to make me lose control. If I feel as though the musical idea I have in my head has been lathered all over my body, the performance has been more than successful.

(Speaking of, Les Yeux Noirs definitely achieved that, and I was not even familiar with their music. LKJHSDLIFSD&**&IRYWEIUFYD*TUGHJ!!!!!!!! Les Yeux Noirs has turned me gypsy.)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

music value live me.

nothing compares to live performances. the unique feeling for both the performer and the audience. my favorite part of music is when i am performing. the intensity and 100% focus you have to give, just the energy flowing excites me. its really easy to tell when a performer is or is not "in" the music, and i really love going to shows when the artists are truly engaged in what they are playing. the "dialouge" between the audience and the artist are un-matched. as a performer, i value the audiences responce to piece, and as an audience member i value the artist's responce to the audience. pretty much, everything about a live performance, including the mess ups, is great, and no recording can capture that.

god, i feel like katz.


What do I value in music?

I feel that live performances are better than any other way of listening to music. One experience sticks out in my mind more than almost any other in my life. A couple of years ago, I went to see A Perfect Circle at Louisville Gardens in (of course) Louisville, Kentucky. It was, for lack of a better word, amazing. It was SENSATIONAL, SPIRITUAL, AND SENSUAL. Even now when I listen to their CDs, I get that crazed butterfly-fluttery feeling in my stomach and goosebumps and my head floats to the clouds. I remember the way Maynard moved to his music. The way his back arched when he hit an intense note. I remember their beautiful violin player and how she got down on her knees and played her violin like it was her other half, how she bent back until her head touched the ground by her feet and still played beautifully. It was sexual, it was purely emotional. That concert was a natural high and I feel it every time I listen to them. So what do I value in live music? Let me just say this, before I saw that concert, I didn’t feel that way when I listened to them.

Live Performances

What I value most about live concerts is the connection one feels, in common with the performer, over the music. Last Thursday, I attended the Chamber Singers concert. Choir piece are not my favorite to learn, or to sit through, but I found this concert transfixing. The sound of the Chamber Singers captivated the audience and drew in our interests, even though we did not understand the words to the majority of the pieces. It was a collaboration of artists and an expression of feeling that everyone can relate to.
It does not matter what the genre of the music, because the same energy is put into any performance. It is the kind of thing that takes raw energy and talent, and a lot of confidence. Live performances are the only place were a group of people gather and simultaneously feel the same bursts of emotions. This is what makes live performances better than recordings. The listener feels isolated with a recording; a live performance is successful based on the audience present.
I feel that the most important aspect of live performances is the connection it gives to fans that cannot happen anywhere else. The best thing about music as a business is that one is successful based on the opinions of other people, and if music was not performed live, it would not be very easy to form that opinion.

Ah, the life of LIVE music

This past weekend I got the opportunity to go to the Lotus Fest. I was able to see the Irish trio in that church. It was alright. I like Irish singing, and that ws the good part of it. Then there was the violin player, which left a lot to be desired. I don't think a recording would have helped a lot prior to listening to them live. I went to Les Yeux Noirs shortly afterwards.
Les Yeux Noirs has to have been one of the best performances I've been to in my life next to Barrage. I've heard critiques from others saying it was too simpistic and just not that great. Perhaps it's just because I'm a string player and I can relate to them in a way that I found it to be vastly entertaining. There was this energy there that you just don't find in other performances. The crowd got into the music like a bear gets into a beehive. When the tempo doubled in certain songs, the crowd got even more into the music. There was a uniqueness to their playing style that I've only seen in such groups as Time for Three (I highly recommend everyone to go to www.timeforthree.com) or Barrage, which added to their value in me. However, not all the songs were fast, which made a nice contrast. There were, obviously, some slow songs that made you feel just a little bit closer to the group, and then the fast songs would start up again, making your adrenalin flow. By the end, they had a very wired-up and enthusiastic crowd (at least, the ones who, like me, found it to be spectacular), so I'm sure they felt as excited as most of the crowd did. After this concert, I ran to the cd tent and bought the two albums they had there. Nothing was left to be desired from their cd's.

So. What I value in music is the power to move you and make you say wow. It can be powerful or gentle, but it must make you say wow.

Valuing Live Music

Why do I love live concerts? Well, part of it is seeing the performers feel the music. You can see how the music makes them move and sway.
If the performer is playing violin or viola, I love to watch the bow arm, the left hand, and how the player holds the instrument. I am able to learn from how they play. I can incorperate the technique and style of the performer into my own playing.
I also feel more connected to the music when you see it live. You can feel the vibrations in your seat. Watch the faces of the performers. See the movements of the conductor. There is much more to music than just hearing. There are sights, feels, smells, tastes, and emotions. There are things that cannot be found in a recording.

what DO i value in music?

What someone values in music totally pertains to the individual. It's just like what people consider good and bad music. Everyone is attracted to different aspects of music. With that being said, I will try to explain what I value.
I love live performances; I try to go to as many as possible. There's something about the energy of the audience and actually being surrounded by the music that just amazes me. I went to the Lotus Festival-it was AWESOME. I saw Les Yeux Noir and although their performanced rocked, I couldn't help but wonder if I would feel the same way abot them if I'd heard their CD first. Yes the artists are talented, but so much of their playing came from the crowds' energy. I would not have gotten the same experience from a recording for sure.
Onto a different concert experience-the Chamber Singers. They were amazing. I love choral music and hearing the chords lock and fill the room. Hearing the different parts come together to create gorgeous harmonies is incredible. Okay now switch to a rock concert, one of my favorites. Seeing the artist overtaken with the music gets me into the music. Now if the band isn't good live, then that's a different situation. I really value an artist's ability to perform live. Yes they are some groups that aren't good live but I still enjoy their CDs, but I really prefer live to recorded.
Okay, so I guess I'm saying I realy value the live music experience. The life and intensity the performer brings, the feedback and energy of the audience. The way it makes me feel to be enveloped by harmonies. Even though I prefer live, I'll take the recordings to keep me going in between concerts.

My Values

When I started thinking about this post, I immediately began comparing all of the live concerts I have been to. I thought about which ones I liked and which ones I didn't, and then I asked myself something I hadn't really thought about. Why did I like some better than others?
I've been to a multitude of different kinds of concerts: St Louis Symphony, Backstreet Boys, Relient K's Panic with aK tour with MxPx, Rufio, Ok Go, and one other band whose name escapes me, Chapter 6, Keane, *NSYNC, too many oldies bands to name, and Transiberian Orchestra. While all of these groups have major differences, the ones I enjoyed have many things in common.
For instance, I really enjoyed *NSYNC, Keane, Transiberian Orchestra(ok I saw them three times), and Chapter 6(and I travelled five hours just to see them the second time) because they all seemed so into their music, and you could tell they were there because they wanted to be, not just to pay their mortgage. Now I'm sure that the rest of the groups wanted to be there too, but the four I mentioned really seemed to stick out in my mind.
The one concert I really could have lived without being at was the Panic with aK tour. It was really loud and I could not understand any of the bands' lyrics, which is probably the thing I value most. In order to really get into a band and get something out of their music, unless of course they don't sing, I have to be able to understand and enjoy the lyrics. So when I get into a small nightclub turned concert venue setting and cannot understand the lyrics of the music that is blowing my eardrums out, I'm probably not going to have a good time.
I'm sure that we all have very different values in our live music. In fact, I know that there are probably at least 3 people in our group that totally disagree with the whole idea of having to understand the lyrics. But we all stick to our values, and that is what's important.

Live music...

Live music can change your view of a band/person/whoever is playing/singing. I have more experience with hearing live rock concerts, so I will mainly focus on rock. Today, we are so used to hearing our favorite music recorded, and used to hearing it the same exact way over and over again, as many times as we want. It's always interesting to hear a band live for the first time after hearing them so much on cd. In my experience, for the most part, rock bands do a fairly decent job of sonding like their recordings, but their are always a few that sound better live, such as Emery and MuteMath, and definately a few that do not sound anything like their recordings, but not in a good way, such as Audio Adrenaline or Copeland. There are also the bands that don't even play the kind of music I like, but put on a great, energetic show, such as Showbread or Squad Five-O. I mentioned in an ealier blog about my brother and I having a discussion about what we value in music, and what we like to listen to. I said that as long as the band has a great recording out, I love to listen to that recording, no matter how crappy the musicians really are. I like to listen to the music that has been created because it makes me feel good, or puts me in the right mood. Of course, it's always a bummer when I see that band live and they really just suck. It is always good for a band to sound good live though, because they will get much more support, and if someone hears them for the first time at a live concert, they will not even consider ever listening to them. Like my brother, sometimes people will not listen to any music unless the musicians are really talented and sound as good, if not better, live as on the recording. As a musician, I do appreciate very talented musicians, and will listen to them even though I might not necessarily like their music. Live music can be a tricky thing sometimes, and with some bands, you have to wonder how the heck they ever made it with such a crappy live performance.