Looper's Delight Archive Top (Search)
Date Index
Thread Index
Author Index
Looper's Delight Home
Mailing List Info

[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]

Re: I just can't stop writing today...

I respond to Warren Sirota:

>> > Why is it that in rock music, there's an acute shortage of "keyboard
>> > heroes", in the same sense that say, Jeff Beck is a guitar hero?
>> How
>> > many breathtaking solos can you recall that were generated by
>> something
>> > with a piano-keyboard interface?
>Well, gee, doesn't anyone here listen to jazz? Art Tatum? Bill Evans?
>Fats Waller? Keith Jarrett? Herbie Hancock? Oscar Peterson? There's
>plenty of breathtaking stuff there. This does beg the question of why
>there's such a paucity of great *rock* keyboard as compared to great
>jazz keyboard.

Yes, I was hoping someone would answer that question, but I didn't want 
to ask it.  Again, where are the keyboardists on this list?  

>Oh, maybe you mean, "why aren't there any great *synthesizer* solos?"
>That's easy. Synthesizers suck. (just kidding - they don't suck totally.
>but there are many, many ways in which they truly suck.)

Many, many, many.  And it's baffling--the idea is so great, but much as I 
love and use synths, any individual model of synth seems to fall short of 
analog instruments (I can hear the artillery fire already).  They don't 
hold their value, they don't hold people's interest.  Synths don't seem 
to produce a sound which is complex enough to be fascinating over the 
course of years.   

I have a sneaking suspicion that some of the problems stem from the trend 
of using synthesizers to remove the "difficult" parts of making music.  A 
keyboard synthesizer makes it very easy to play a note--just press down 
the key and hold it.  Anyone can do it.  
The same isn't true of a violin, trumpet or guitar (and with an electric 
guitar feeding a high-gain amp, there's not inconsiderable technique 
required to play a rest). I think one of the sad truths of life is that 
if it's easy, it's probably not worth much.

Likewise, a sequencer, while being a really great tool which I use all 
the time, also makes it very easy to generate a lot of tidy sonic 
information, in time and everything, without being able to play in real 
time.  While many people would like to believe that a Mozart dwells 
within each of us, and that it's only our clumsiness that prevents 
beautiful music from pouring out, I don't think that's the case.  

Just because someone can type, doesn't mean they can write well, and such 
is the case with music--the ability to sequence doesn't mean that you're 
producing good music.  However, for years now, keyboards and sequencing 
software have been sold, often using sales pitches along the lines of 
"beautiful sounds, right out of the box", and "write music you couldn't 
perform in real time".  It's been long enough now that a generation of 
"keyboard players" have come up who, uh, can't play very well.  You can 
have all sorts of fun by yourself with sequencers, but if you can't 
interact in real time with other musicians, or before an audience, you 
might want to seriously re-examine your position.