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RE: developing musicians and a musical culture


Right or wrong, to quote John Scofield, "if you only know bar cords, you
will only play in bars!"

How can you break the rules if you don't know them? I've seen many
players come and go. Almost always, the people that have done their
homework, spent countless hours polishing their craft are the artists
that have some brilliant careers. You might break thru not knowing much,
but almost always that type will fall into obscurity as time passes.

Hmm, you said ' scales and chords can only get you so
far, as well as can stifle musical creativity.  '

Chords are built from steps in a scale. If you don't know any scales,
what are you able to do? What can you create? Do you have any idea how
limited your musical vocabulary would be? Chords are colors. Different
scales played over chords also color the 'mood' of the composition.

Example:        Imagine I put a white canvas in front of you. You have
no experience with paints, brushes, pallet knives, etc. Then to top it
all off, you get only white paint. 

I disagree with you. I still believe fundamentals are very important. If
you learn to use a certain type of brush stroke, you know what to expect
from that. After, YOU GET TO DECIDE, consciously or unconsciously if you
will use that while you paint. The technique is available to you. If you
never learn it, you can't use it.

I think it was Miles that said 'There are no wrong notes, just better

Will Brake
Soul Fruit Electronics

-----Original Message-----
From: Nick Shortway [mailto:DrGonzo@psu.edu] 
Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 2:22 PM
To: Loopers-Delight@loopers-delight.com
Subject: Re: developing musicians and a musical culture

> Anyway, there is no substitute for the fundamentals. If you don't have
> grasp of your scales and chords, you won't be able to move your
> to the proper place. There is certainly a philosophy to teaching, and
> good teachers are able to keep a student interested. The student must
> also be committed, as it is a partnership. Wax on, wax off, works, but
> here in America, the teacher must explain why.

I really think you're wrong here...scales and chords can only get you so
far, as well as can stifle musical creativity.  I have played guitar for
9-10 years, and I know a few basic scales and just chorforms that i've
either picked up or made up, but I do not at all think that I would be
better off creatively if I knew more.  The most creative guitarists are
ones who bend and even break traditional music theory.  Some of them
the theory and some of them don't even know which "rules" they are
IMHO, we are totally limited by twelve-tone equal temperament.  There's
reason to stick to eleven octave divisions except for the fact that that
been the norm for the past few hundreds of years.  Ever hear someone
integrating microtonality into western music?  It's amazing, and mostly
reliant on people who do not wish to grasp those scales and chords.
is no "proper place" where someone should move their fingers to.  I
that putting more creativity into the music, and playing what *you*
sounds right is a total substitute for the "fundamentals".  I forget
which jazz musician said it, I think it might have been Coltrane, "There
no wrong notes".