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Re: Creativity and Technique

On Mon, 20 Jan 1997, Ott, John wrote:

> I agree with most of your post Dave, However I don't think 
> technique is a trap within itself or a trade off from creativity. 
> I know what you mean by relying on stock licks or riffs being  a trap, 
>  but I believe to express yourself as a musician you need to practice
> technique 
> and develop skill.  Only when you have mastered your instrument can you
> play from 
> your inspiration.  It is  frustrating to have a musical
> idea and not have the technique to play it.  That's where
> I'm at with my looping (I've only had the jamdude for about
> a month now),  but I'm working on technique so I can reach
> that point.  Many music students give up before they develope the
> technique
> to play inspiring music because of said frustration and lack of patience
> or disipline. 
> (I got my brother's electric guitar that way)

Technique is only necessary to the point where you are capable of
expressing the idea in your head.  Moreover, and perhaps more
importantly, technique is no guarantee of expression.  And even more
importantly, technique is far broader than the ability to physically
control the instrument.  The intellectual and emotional processes to
tap new ideas to express are also technique.  

Look at Neil Young.  "Technically", he's not a very good guitarist.
But as someone once observed, you can't slip a piece of paper between
what he feels and what he plays.  His technique is sufficient for his
expression.  He's no master of his instrument, but he's a master of
the technique of channelling his emotions musically.  

> I think technique and creativity are not opposing forces
> but are complimentary.

I carefully chose the word "balance" for the relationship of technique
and expression.  Balance implies neither opposition nor compliment. 
Art comes from the balance between technique and expression.  Too much
technique shifts the art away from expression.  Insufficient technique
prevents the art from being realized.  

Perhaps even "balance" is a poor term.  Technique must be sufficient
for expression, but excessive technique is unnecessary.  And the
temptation to use excessive technique detracts us from expression.  


By "beauty," I mean that which seems complete.
Obversely, that the incomplete, or the mutilated, is the ugly. 
Venus De Milo.
To a child she is ugly.       /* dstagner@icarus.net */
   -Charles Fort