Sunday, 6 March 2011
A real treat from Joe Public this week entitled Canon Rock.
Pachabel's Canon, played by the Academy of Ancient Music, has been part of my own music collection for some years now. I did have an LP at one time but it vanished during a house move.
This arrangement, by South Korean Lim Jeong-hyun, is stunning. He is self-taught and has no wish to be a professional musician. The lad certainly deserves to be called talented.
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Me and me punk rock mate Tony came across Pachelbel's Canon in D Major somewhere between Chron Gen and Crass some thirty years ago and took an instant liking to it, seeking out many and varied vynil variations. I have this one in my Youtube favorites and I expect that he has too.
Banned, I don't have Youtube favorites. Suppose I must start because it would save me a great deal of searching.
Have you heard the Academy of Ancient Music's arrangement?
I love Pachelbel's Canon, and that treatment (I can't call it an arrangement) is an insult to the original. 5% talent and 95% electronics. Sorry, Rosie, it's awful.
The problem Richard is that you have no idea what instrument Pachelbel might have chosen were he writing in the present day. He might have been an Eric Clapton or a Britten.
You might prefer the original - indeed so mightI - but that doesn't make a new interpretation insulting to the original, just different.
If you think it ws 95% electronics I can only suggest you pick up a guitar and try it, not many people could play that.
It's not the choice of instrument, which is perfectly valid, it's the noisy and rather aggressive treatment of a piece which is essentially stately and plangent. As to the playing of it - I probably could play that, yes. If you strip away the backing material (rhythm instruments, bass lines, harmonic support to the melody, all of which come from the box behind him), then what is left is a few notes and partial chords played loudly, admittedly with some speed and verve, but with little musicianship. My fingers probably aren't fast enough these days, but I recognise every barre and finger shape, and none of them are much beyond the three-chord heavy metal stuff that every skoolboy kno. He's got a few good tricks, but they are tricks.
The Canon has been arranged for the solo guitar (i.e. one instrument without taped backing) and it needs skill, talent and years of practice to play. Try here. Not a pre-packaged sound effect in sight.
Sorry to come over like an old git.
Just to show that I am not prejudiced against the electric guitar: this.
You're not coming over as an old git Richard but someone who knows the guitar. I've never played one so I can't comment. What I did enjoy was that the lad took on a difficult piece of music and I also admired him because he's self taught.
Being self taught I should think he's an 'ear' player and that's admirable. As I was classically trained I still feel the need for music in front of me even though I seldom glance at it.
Thank you for the link. Yes, that's more my preference but we can't discourage the young for effort can we? Then we'd be two old gits.
SR "Have you heard the Academy of Ancient Music's arrangement?" No I have not and could not find it on Youtube or Google, got any links?
Richard, No I wasn't detecting any 'old gittishness', and for what it's worth I much prefer the acoustic style of your link!
It's more that I believe good music can transcend the arrangement and that people should be encouraged to explore, which he is, with some skill for a self-taught kid. It may or may not fit for purpose, but far from being 'insulting' it's necessary.
I suppose my attitude stems from the 60s when there were traditional folk clubs who allowed only unaccompanied singing because 'real' folk music used no instruments and anything else was sacrilege.
And I remember the outrage when Dylan picked up an electric guitar! "He's sold out to The Man, man." No, I don't go along with that. I think my attitude stems from a deep distrust of some aspects of technology. Take an ordinary photo and turn in into an Old Master by clicking 'Turn Into Old Master/Rembrandt/Late Period' in Photoshop (and yes, I am making that up, but you know what I mean). The guy in the clip has quick fingers and I don't object to him attacking Pachelbel (although I think that shredding is not the best way to bring out the piece's essential yearning melancholy). I just wouldn't want people to think that the sound he creates is based on skill or long hours of practice. It's a setting in the software, available to anyone for the price of a program. That massively overdriven sound belongs at distorted ear-splitting volumes in a large hall, not in a teenager's bedroom. It's inauthentic.
Guitars are great instruments for easy effects (tune the strings to an open chord and you can sound like an orchestra for very little effort) but to create proper music on one is harder (IMHO) than on a piano because there are only six strings to work with, and the notes fade so quickly.
I suppose I am thinking also of spelling and grammar checkers so we no longer need to learn the basic skills of writing, ABS on cars so we don't have to learn how to deal with a skid - examples are endless. We are allowing technology to deskill us. Hence my confession of old gittishness. I'm a dinosaur.
Banned, I can't find a free recording of it either. I've one on my iTunes. Is there any way I could copy it to you?
Now that is interesting to know it's not talent but software Richard. Paints a completely different picture now. Yet 3m people have viewed it I think. No wonder he doesn't want to be a professional musician - he'd be found out within hours.
Yes, I had a pal who was a great guitar player (well as good as any other schoolboy) and we used to practice in the music room. He was always envious about the cello holding a note while 'his' evaporated at speed.
In that case I'm a dinosaur too. Some things I'll never accept as an improvement on the original or method. One of these is the composition of music on a computer. Much of today's sound is electronic and although I see the sense in electrifying a fiddle or a guitar for amplification in a concert hall, I can't bear digitalised music production.
Rosie, I didn't say he was untalented. He's pretty good at the kind of thing he does (search Youtube for "shredding" to hear some examples that will make your ears bleed), and fair play to him for tackling something with a proper tune. But we live in a world where "Guitar Hero" games are considered proper music, and I ache for the days when musicians practiced for years to get the right tone or technique which today can be produced digitally at the press of a button.
Incidentally, the quick fade of the note on the classical guitar led to the development of a technique called the tremolo, where the fingers play the same note rapidly. It's fearsomely difficult (I have never mastered it), but done well it is magical. There is a masterclass in the tremolo here.
One of my desert island pieces, and also one of Tony Blair's, but you can't have everything.
"Much of today's sound is electronic and although ...I can't bear digitalised music production."
I agree entirely with that SR. Real music doesn't have a rigid timing structure. Even 'rock' music. Oddly I have just bought a compilation of Steleye Span albums and those with Martin Carthy and John Kirkpatrick are excellent examples, as is much original blues.
Steeleye Span - now you're talking.
There are lots of similar clips of that piece on YouTube and other sites. As to the rights and wrongs it obviously comes down to individual taste. I found Richards clip rather tedious, but that's just me. I wonder what he thinks of the group "Sky" who had some success in the 80's. Five talented musicians who played rock versions of classics. I saw them live, and have one of their albums (the round plastic variety!) Try "Tocatta" and see what you think:
The subject clip of this thread also reminded me of something else from the 80's - the film "Electric Dreams" which was one of Virginia Madsen's first roles. It featured a similar rework of a classical track, only between her character and a computer called "Edgar".
You found the John Williams tedious, and that is your prerogative, of course. I happen to love it, but that's because we are all different, thank God. But there is no question but that he got to be able to play like that through years of hard practice, not because a box of electronics was doing 95% of the work.
With Sky, I am ambivalent. I know they are all very talented (pity we only heard a couple of bars of Williams amid the din), but the overall effect is, for me, unsubtle and unsatisfying. I have one of their albums but I am afraid I never play it. But that's just me - I don't deny that they are very talented guys, with years of hard work and discipline behind them to get where they were for that recording.
But that has shifted the argument slightly. My point in linking to the John Williams piece was to show an example of real musicianship to compare with a kid who has some expensive kit and a few tricks up his sleeve. That's all.
I feel bad now. I've been dissing the kid and his music to try to make a point about about authenticity and discipline, whereas in real life I would be encouraging him for all I was worth. I've said enough.
Now Woodsy, I admit I'm going to have to google Steleye Span. That dates me I suppose.
Dave if it's ok with you I'll add your choice to the list of Reader's Choices. The reason for the post is to discuss our tastes - and affiliations. :)
Richard, please don't think you've said enough but it is difficult for those who have no experience of an instrument of any kind to appreciate the amount of work which any form of mastery incurs.
Thank you for your contribution. You've taught me a great deal about guitar playing.
You can't deny the young lad has showmanship though can you? That's what many extraordinary musicians lack. Our music academies don't seem able to address this yet either which is very disappointing.
Finest folk-rock ever: All Around My Hat.
Rosie, I feel I have been mean about the young chap. He's playing an instrument, not wasting his time on a street corner, and what he does, he does well. If I have reservations, I should keep them to myself. I hope he goes on to great things. He's the future and I am the past, after all.
And any guitar is better than no guitar.
Here's a slight diversion - the piano instead of guitar. A young lady called Diane Birch. The sound on this clip is awful, but she isn't being helped by any digital tricks, just her and the instrument. I think she's gorgeous, so I'm biased, but how many of the so called "performers" from today's charts could do this?
A bit about her:
And Rosie please go ahead with whatever you want to do with my links.
That I like.
You shouldn't keep your reservations to yourself Richard. If you had I for one wouldn't have learned so much about the guitar.
But yes, any guitar is better than none.
Dave thank you. I'll see if I can download a daily motion video. I like it.
If you have problems I can either upload it to EyeTube, or reduce the video quality and hopefully make it small enough to email it to you.
Another lovely young lady with a piano:
Or Guitar & Saxophone:
I think this is better than their studio version.
And no digital trickery back in 1976:
Dave that would be great. I'll let you know when I attempt to download it later if you don't mind. Must get some shopping done first.
MDave, thanks for those links. That girl with the saxophone is incredible, and I can't think why I haven't heard of her before. Stunning playing. Candy Dulfer, one to watch, in more ways than one.
One last clip before Rosie throws me off her blog! If this guy doesn't get you tapping along then you must be dead!
I would love to see him perform with Jools Holland and Dr John...
I wouldn't kick you out the door MW, you know that. Your links are in line for Saturday's readers choice. There's a queue so I may double up some choices if more than one has been chosen by someone.
Thanks so much for your contributions. Much appreciated.
Well, I certainly enjoyed that! Puts me in mind of a young guy by the name of Dave Edmunds when he was with Love Scupture.
If you want to hear quick guitar done well then in my view you go a long way to beat Ten Years After. As regards shredding - not a fan. I particularly dislike Slash although people reckon he's good, I reckon I'm better and that's saying something!
I used to play electric, but now have an Admira Christina - wide neck, nylon strings, cutaway body and a Fishman Pro. I also have a Strat, but prefer the accoustic. I reckn it sounds better, especially on blues stuff which I do a lot of.
Also highly rate Steeleye's 'Hat' as you know, Rosie.
Anyway, this guy certainly proves you can do very passable stuff on a cheap Korean guitar ;-)
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