• October 28, 2015 at 6:22 pm #25697
    D
    Keymaster

    I have always been a fan of the Stones primarily for the music, but I also find the historical impact fascinating.  Looking back at how the Stones, Beatles, etc impacted the culture at large was always a very interesting aspect of the band/music in general.  Here’s my question…  Do you believe your knowledge (extensive or limited) affects your appreciation of the music?

    Over the years I have found myself explaining the impact of various parts of songs…

    The Last Time = Brian Jones’ finest guitar work aside from Paint It Black.
    Street Fighting Man = how Keith achieved the tone.
    Jumping Jack Flash = Finally the archetype rocknroll standard sound was finally achieved in studio.  Drums are dead center, powerful guitars up front, kick/snare balanced, etc…
    Exile = Initially reviewed poorly by many, came to be recognized as the finest Stones album of all time.
    Emotional Rescue = Some Girls sessions part 2
    Start Me Up = Leftover track from Marconi sessions redone.

    The list goes on.  I feel like I could just point things out on a track-by-track basis and find something of merit.  To me these little details add up to create a richer experience.  Additionally the cultural impact and the evolution of the band come into play.  1969, the Stones figuring out their presence on a real stage with a proper PA system.  The system blowing fuses and going down etc..  1972, Jagger becomes far more aggressive and the band performs at what most consider a peak level.  Etc…

    Do you feel your knowledge of the band, their music, the eras, culture, etc. negatively or positively impact your feelings toward the music?

    October 28, 2015 at 7:30 pm #25703
    Naturalust
    Participant

    Pretty broad and deep  question there Drake. Hard to say what effect is has on my feelings for the music, because it’s hard to separate the knowledge out of the equation. I certainly know how I feel about the music now.. Did learning something about a song make me feel differently about it that before? Probably not that much, just know more about it.

    But yes of course it must have some  impact, both an improved understanding and appreciation in knowing how songs like Happy and Rocks Off came into existence and even a bit of negative feelings about knowing how songs like Moonlight Mile and Sway probably don’t give proper credit to Taylor. But on both sides of the equation I think my feelings about the music are generally minimally effected. You love it or you hate it or somewhere in between. All the rest is just embellishing the cerebral content which is trumped in spades by the emotional content derived from a simple listen.

    All the knowledge in the world isn’t going to make me like Dirty Work any better and even it I knew they sacrificed babies to get the take and mix they did with Let it Loose I’d still love it. But along those lines there is something haunting knowing Merry Clayton had a miscarriage after performing her studio take of Gimme Shelter and if anything it kind of adds to the haunting nature of the song.   😯

    This also might just be the most contradicting post I’m ever made, good one Drake.

     

    October 28, 2015 at 7:55 pm #25704
    sonomastone
    Participant

    It enriches the experience, without a doubt, as does musical knowledge.

    It blew my mind when I discovered how many Beatles songs were done in 1, 2, or 3 takes; how many were recorded “live” in the studio with minimal overdubs, etc. It made me respect them more, but it didn’t fundamentally change how I felt about the music.

    Similarly, learning enough about music to realize how special the chord introducing “Hard Days Night” was made me appreciate it more.

    Oh wait, this is supposed to be about the Stones…. I think the main thing about the Stones that enhances my appreciation is knowing that they popularized a lot of African American music that had gone under-appreciated. “Little Red Rooster” is way more special when you realize that the Stones were the ones bringing that entire form of music to much of America and the world. If they had been the 2nd or 3rd band to do this, I wouldn’t appreciate them as much.

     

    October 28, 2015 at 8:09 pm #25706
    Naturalust
    Participant

    As a musician I must point out there can be a negative effect of learning a piece of music note for note. Yes it may enhance your personal competence as a musician and even your appreciation of the artist and the music but there is definitely a sense of taking some of the magic of the music away which can never be returned. For instance, when I learned songs like Castles Made of Sand and finally figured out how Hendrix was doing it, it took a small piece of the magic away and there was an element of disappointment that it wasn’t so magical after all. There are still a few pieces of music I won’t touch because of this effect, I want them to retain all the wonder and awe they gave me from the first listen.   😎

    October 28, 2015 at 8:14 pm #25708
    D
    Keymaster

    As a musician I must point out there can be a negative effect of learning a piece of music note for note. Yes it may enhance your personal competence as a musician and even your appreciation of the artist and the music but there is definitely a sense of taking some of the magic of the music away which can never be returned. For instance, when I learned songs like Castles Made of Sand and finally figured out how Hendrix was doing it, it took a small piece of the magic away and there was an element of disappointment that it wasn’t so magical after all. There are still a few pieces of music I won’t touch because of this effect, I want them to retain all the wonder and awe they gave me from the first listen. 😎

    So this is why you haven’t tried to play Honky Tonk Women. Now we know.

    October 28, 2015 at 8:55 pm #25709
    Naturalust
    Participant

    As a musician I must point out there can be a negative effect of learning a piece of music note for note. Yes it may enhance your personal competence as a musician and even your appreciation of the artist and the music but there is definitely a sense of taking some of the magic of the music away which can never be returned. For instance, when I learned songs like Castles Made of Sand and finally figured out how Hendrix was doing it, it took a small piece of the magic away and there was an element of disappointment that it wasn’t so magical after all. There are still a few pieces of music I won’t touch because of this effect, I want them to retain all the wonder and awe they gave me from the first listen. 😎

    So this is why you haven’t tried to play Honky Tonk Women. Now we know.

    LOL That one was in a music book I had for years call “Great Songs of Sixties”, didn’t stand a chance, of course it had nothing about the Open G tuning or use of capos. There are plenty open G Stones  songs I play in standard tuning and probably even developed some special skills getting them to sound right!  The players these days with all the youtube instructional videos don’t know what they’re missing.  Ha!

    October 28, 2015 at 9:19 pm #25710
    Upgreydd
    Participant

    Its not as fun as when your first discovering the music, but what else are you gunna do? When you’re really interested in something its natural to want to learn all about it.

    October 28, 2015 at 10:16 pm #25712
    LongBeachArena72
    Participant

    I think it’s impossible for a knowledge of the artist and his life to not effect your appreciation of the artist’s work. Especially in pop music, where so much of your “brand” is about image, how rebellious you are, what drugs you take, how many times you get arrested, what starlets you date … it’s all part of what makes you who you are in the eyes of the audience.

    The Stones’ mythology is complex and multi-phased. Based on how early in their career you started following them, their image was almost as important as their music, at least initially. They were billed as the anti-Beatles, the Satanists, the decadent smack-laced tax-dodging jetsetters. They spooned it out to a (mostly cooperative) press and we ate it up. This is not to say that the music wasn’t magnificent; undeniably, it was. But I think they were from the very beginning designed to be a band whose extra-curricular image was critical to their success.

    October 29, 2015 at 2:11 am #25723
    Nikkei
    Participant

    Come to think of it, Dirty Work for example can indeed be viewed as an accomplishment versus music as such…

    October 29, 2015 at 6:29 pm #25778
    shesarainbow
    Participant

    As a musician I must point out there can be a negative effect of learning a piece of music note for note. Yes it may enhance your personal competence as a musician and even your appreciation of the artist and the music but there is definitely a sense of taking some of the magic of the music away which can never be returned. For instance, when I learned songs like Castles Made of Sand and finally figured out how Hendrix was doing it, it took a small piece of the magic away and there was an element of disappointment that it wasn’t so magical after all. There are still a few pieces of music I won’t touch because of this effect, I want them to retain all the wonder and awe they gave me from the first listen. 😎

    I see where you’re coming from and I’ve heard this point made before but I have to kindly disagree.  I grew up playing music, and because I was so passionate about playing, that is where the magic was.  Despite the fact that you can learn a piece “note by note”, there are certain characteristics of a song or a musician’s playing style that very few people, if any, will ever be able to replicate perfectly.  Not to mention that wanting to learn a song and finally being able to pick up whatever instrument you play and jam out to it – that is a really great feeling.  I don’t think the magic of wanting to learn music, or constantly improve your technique while playing your songs by your favorite artists can be tarnished by learning something note by note unless you let it.

    October 29, 2015 at 6:39 pm #25782
    andrew t
    Participant

    As a musician I must point out there can be a negative effect of learning a piece of music note for note. Yes it may enhance your personal competence as a musician and even your appreciation of the artist and the music but there is definitely a sense of taking some of the magic of the music away which can never be returned. For instance, when I learned songs like Castles Made of Sand and finally figured out how Hendrix was doing it, it took a small piece of the magic away and there was an element of disappointment that it wasn’t so magical after all. There are still a few pieces of music I won’t touch because of this effect, I want them to retain all the wonder and awe they gave me from the first listen. 😎

    I see where you’re coming from and I’ve heard this point made before but I have to kindly disagree. I grew up playing music, and because I was so passionate about playing, that is where the magic was. Despite the fact that you can learn a piece “note by note”, there are certain characteristics of a song or a musician’s playing style that very few people, if any, will ever be able to replicate perfectly. Not to mention that wanting to learn a song and finally being able to pick up whatever instrument you play and jam out to it – that is a really great feeling. I don’t think the magic of wanting to learn music, or constantly improve your technique while playing your songs by your favorite artists can be tarnished by learning something note by note unless you let it.

    That’s the muso trap. It’s like the old joke…how many guitarists does it take to change a light bulb? Ten. One to do it, and nine to say “I could do that”.

    October 29, 2015 at 6:50 pm #25786
    shesarainbow
    Participant

    As a musician I must point out there can be a negative effect of learning a piece of music note for note. Yes it may enhance your personal competence as a musician and even your appreciation of the artist and the music but there is definitely a sense of taking some of the magic of the music away which can never be returned. For instance, when I learned songs like Castles Made of Sand and finally figured out how Hendrix was doing it, it took a small piece of the magic away and there was an element of disappointment that it wasn’t so magical after all. There are still a few pieces of music I won’t touch because of this effect, I want them to retain all the wonder and awe they gave me from the first listen. 😎

    I see where you’re coming from and I’ve heard this point made before but I have to kindly disagree. I grew up playing music, and because I was so passionate about playing, that is where the magic was. Despite the fact that you can learn a piece “note by note”, there are certain characteristics of a song or a musician’s playing style that very few people, if any, will ever be able to replicate perfectly. Not to mention that wanting to learn a song and finally being able to pick up whatever instrument you play and jam out to it – that is a really great feeling. I don’t think the magic of wanting to learn music, or constantly improve your technique while playing your songs by your favorite artists can be tarnished by learning something note by note unless you let it.

    That’s the muso trap. It’s like the old joke…how many guitarists does it take to change a light bulb? Ten. One to do it, and nine to say “I could do that”.

    Right, but for the people who purely enjoy playing or the people who devote their education to music, study music, and spend the majority of their time practicing or performing, there is a reason that they do it.  Same with rock musicians.  Clearly everyone has different goals and different musical ability.

    October 29, 2015 at 7:38 pm #25795
    andrew t
    Participant

    I agree. I think the “note for note” obsession can be a blind alley. I’m no player, but listening to music and reading about it for years and years has inevitably given me some musical knowledge, and I think that helps my appreciation.

    When I refer to the muso trap, I mean getting hung up on technicals and forgetting the emotional and entertaining aspects. And the alchemy that occurs with sympathetic musicians.

    October 29, 2015 at 7:48 pm #25797
    HearMeKnockin
    Participant

    I agree. I think the “note for note” obsession can be a blind alley. I’m no player, but listening to music and reading about it for years and years has inevitably given me some musical knowledge, and I think that helps my appreciation. When I refer to the muso trap, I mean getting hung up on technicals and forgetting the emotional and entertaining aspects. And the alchemy that occurs with sympathetic musicians.

    I know what you mean… I’ve been learning/playing guitar for a couple years now, and my teacher has told me that he can’t listen to a song without trying to figure it out, so he mostly listens to jazz. And he’s always trying to get me to play solos note-for-note… which I literally do not care about doing at all. I just wanna play over the chords, and maybe use the solo for a blueprint.

    I attribute this looseness to my Stones fandom…

    I boogied in the ballroom, I boogied in the dark.

    October 30, 2015 at 9:34 am #25841
    Breath
    Participant

    As a musician I must point out there can be a negative effect of learning a piece of music note for note. Yes it may enhance your personal competence as a musician and even your appreciation of the artist and the music but there is definitely a sense of taking some of the magic of the music away which can never be returned. For instance, when I learned songs like Castles Made of Sand and finally figured out how Hendrix was doing it, it took a small piece of the magic away and there was an element of disappointment that it wasn’t so magical after all. There are still a few pieces of music I won’t touch because of this effect, I want them to retain all the wonder and awe they gave me from the first listen. 😎

    I see where you’re coming from and I’ve heard this point made before but I have to kindly disagree. I grew up playing music, and because I was so passionate about playing, that is where the magic was. Despite the fact that you can learn a piece “note by note”, there are certain characteristics of a song or a musician’s playing style that very few people, if any, will ever be able to replicate perfectly. Not to mention that wanting to learn a song and finally being able to pick up whatever instrument you play and jam out to it – that is a really great feeling. I don’t think the magic of wanting to learn music, or constantly improve your technique while playing your songs by your favorite artists can be tarnished by learning something note by note unless you let it.

    rockn’roll isn’t for the head, it’s for the body and soul. if your mind is at work, you’re missing the entire point.  shut of yer little pea brains folks and enjoy….

     

    Henceforth, I refuse to read anything more than a short paragraph when describing rocknroll….doxa: you’ve been warned.

     

    October 30, 2015 at 3:34 pm #25907
    Naturalust
    Participant

    Don’t get me wrong rainbow, I wasn’t saying learning a piece of music always destroys it’s magic, but that it is possible and I’ve experienced it, mostly on pieces I thought were truly out of this world, god given acts of pure genius to begin with and then…oh “that’s how he did it and what he was thinking” kind of thing.   Learning things note for note is obviously an important way to pick up techniques and phrasing that can’t necessarily be learned any other way, it’s invaluable and every guitarist has done it at some point. Actually performing them note for note can obviously be less that inspirational and  I, like many,  prefer to make it my own, using a sketch  of the original piece.

    I have actually got to the point that I can listen to a piece of guitar music and instantly visualize what the player is doing, what patterns he or she is using and where the notes live on the fretboard. There really is only a finite space of fretted notes and a pretty standard methodology and approach to playing by 95% of guitarists.  Of course when I hear something that I can’t visualize it interests me from that perspective alone, regardless of whether I like the music.

    But as others have implied here, technique and mastery of an instrument is a small part of actually creating truly compelling and emotional songs and often a relative novice is better at it than a master technician. That is certainly a trap many guitarist and musicians fall in to so easily thinking it has to be technically proficient to be great. One of the reasons many get interested in jazz and probably why Mick Taylor got so interested in “progressive” rock.  Developing your skills is one of the things that keep musicians interested in their craft, it’s a a natural thing to explore technique as far as it will take you.

    Finally, I know many guitarists who after they got as good as they imagined, like learning Little Wing or whatever, have put their guitars in the closet never to be played again! The element of wanting to learn more  certainly effects the continuation of the activity, probably as true for guitar playing as it is for many other things in life. It’s hard if not impossible to “shut off your little peas brains” is the point, and possibly why things like drugs have had such a good symbiosis with music. To use an analogy, after you develop an adult vocabulary, it’s pretty hard to go back to writing and talking like a child, but not entirely impossible as Breath has shown us. LOL

    October 30, 2015 at 5:29 pm #25927
    LongBeachArena72
    Participant

    At the risk of belaboring the obvious (and veering even further off-topic), I wonder how this issue of knowing how to play a piece so well that it takes some of the joy out of listening to it manifests itself in music with a score, e.g, classical music.

    As a listener, while I appreciate the underlying genius of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations,” I can also enjoy the infinite variations of technique, mood, emphasis, even tempi in the piece as played by Gould, Hewitt, Nikolayeva, Denk, or Schiff. I try not to compare them to each other; I try to listen to what they are doing in relation to what I’ve grown to understand as “the score.” If Gould takes a weird but wonderful tempo here or there, and I don’t hear that same anomaly in Nikolyaeva, I don’t fault Nikolayeva or enjoy her version less; she’s just taking a different approach to the score.

    Since pianists at this level make their bones by knowing not only the score but also having some unique approach to its interpretation, it seems to me that it might be less likely for them to get bored by something like the “Goldberg” score, than a rock guitarist might get burnt out on learning to mimic Hendrix on “Little Wing.” In one case, the musician is attempting to get at the “soul” of the score in question; in the other, the musician is attempting to duplicate a particular approach to a popular song. It would be as if Denk were trying to imitate Gould, rather than trying to plumb the depths of Bach. (This kind of imitation of a particular performance style does of course occur in classical music; I just don’t think it’s the preeminent concern of those musicians as they approach a score.)

    As Elijah Wald—and many others—have pointed out, since the demise of sheet music in the early part of the 20th century, pop music has been about a particular performance, e.g, “Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones, rather than an examination of “Satisfaction” as a pop song that might be sung/performed by any number of artists. Once you focus your attention exclusively on one performance of a particular piece of music, it seems to me that the tendency to obsess over the technical details of that performance in your own playing is much harder to avoid.

    October 30, 2015 at 7:18 pm #25944
    Naturalust
    Participant

    That’s pretty deep LBA72, after reading it twice I’m still not sure I completely understand what you are saying. Perhaps that musicians who play from sheet music are already committed at some level to the examination of the piece and have somehow learned to better accept what is involved in uniquely (or exactly)performing, interpreting and understanding a score written so explicitly by others?  Perhaps are even more aware than pop musicians playing by ear of the variations of performance that can come from different people interpreting the score and adding subtle (and not so subtle) aspects to the performance to make it different?

    As you so eloquently point out, there certainly are lots of tangible factors to playing an instrument (and a piece of music) that are not entirely well represented by a score.  To get specific and add to your list,  on  stringed instruments there are many places to play the same exact note but on different strings which produce a slightly different sound and other factors like vibrato and attack can vary greatly from one player to the next. Many ways to play different (or even the same) inversions of a chord in different positions which all come out sounding a bit different. To say nothing of the great and important aspects of a piece that are determined by guitar and amp selection, tone and effects, etc. That sort of thing is less prevalent in classical where the instruments are acoustic and more closely related in sound no matter the brand

    Ok after the third read I think I understand what you are saying! A couple more points then…even musicians playing from a score are apt to have heard other performances so this might influence their way of performing the piece just as much as someone who has learned a performance  by ear. I know lots of excellent classically trained musicians who are absolutely mortified at the thought of improvisation, ear players generally don’t have this trait and might even be able to use some improv in their interpretation that takes it above the level of the subtle variations created by people playing from a score. I tend to think that playing from sheet music could actually get in the way of a true inspirational interpretation of a piece, just another thinking step in the process of getting the notes in the air. I imagine even players who have memorized a piece from a score still tend to have aspects of the score crossing their mind as they play. Players who are able to get in a zone, mind free, just channeling the music for lack of a better description seems the most magical to me. Of course ear players also have less tangible “score” in their minds consisting of shapes patterns chords and sequences of them that allows them to remember what to play. But I find when I start a piece, I am often completely unconscious of what comes next and that once you get started the sequence of of the piece just automatically follows. Perhaps a form of muscle memory but in any case it seems like the extra step of reading is eliminated. I’m sure classical musicians who have memorized a piece probably experience this too. Such an interesting question!

    I guess I should somewhat sheepishly point out that I am very poor at reading music, I can do it (slowly) but it is a completely different experience for me than playing by ear. It takes away a level of fun and spontaneity, especially when playing with a band where playing by ear seems to allow you to much more closely, listen to the other musicians and react instantly to the communication that is happening. I do read charts which are simplified score basically and by their nature allow more personal interpretation of a tune. I think of session guys like Tommy Tesesco or Jim Kelter who when told “Ok that was great but lets do one more take just in case” usually play something totally different the second time through. They are completely aware that both takes are probably fine, they are giving more to the session this way and the engineer can sot out the best parts as he sees fit later. LOL

    Anyway it’s such a thought provoking question I’m afraid I have rambled a bit long, perhaps the true answer to your question can only come from a listener who can totally separate the sound of the performance to what went into it’s creation. Cheers Mike.

     

    October 30, 2015 at 7:30 pm #25945
    Breath
    Participant

    I’m afraid I have rambled a bit long,

    a bit?  war and peace was a bit….

    October 30, 2015 at 8:25 pm #25953
    Naturalust
    Participant

    I’m afraid I have rambled a bit long,

    a bit? war and peace was a bit….

    Lol. Totally shocked you managed to get so far as to quote that part. I expected you’d be out by the middle of the first paragraph. Yes probably the longest post I’ve done on EOMS. But it wasn’t like LBA72 was asking a yes or no question.   😛  It’s obviously a fascinating subject for me. But here is the management summary for you Breath:

    No, classical and ear players are both probably capable of reduced (or increased) joy resulting from learning a piece of music.

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