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Author Topic: What will DVD and online instruction do to the Blues?  (Read 6049 times)

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Offline waxwing

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Re: What will DVD and online instruction do to the Blues?
« Reply #45 on: January 23, 2009, 10:01:13 AM »
Phil, I would say at Port Townsend there are about 20-30% harp and piano players to guitar players, and that is reflected in the faculty as well. I'm glad you agree with the thrust of my statement, tho', that because the largest percentage of country blues player/learners are guitarists the blues singers that are more popular amongst them will be solo guitar players. And it makes total sense to me that those players who had a rediscovery career (during the first wave of interest in playing this music among young whites) and were recorded cleanly, and filmed, would create more interest to those wanna-be guitar players than piano/combo singers, and even guitarists who did not survive. Those who were most personable to whites, and whose music was most accessible would naturally become most popular, especially when championed by the first major mass teaching pioneer.

Sure, as I said, there were some players still playing, but not enough to keep interest in the music from being esoteric by the '60s as both Mr. O'Muck and UB have qualified it, and I haven't seen you gainsaying their statements?

I guess I'm still confused, tho'. I thought Mr. O'Ms initial post was comparing the situation in the '60s, dropping needles on LPs and sitting at the feet of the surviving masters, with today, DVDs, internet, going to camps and sitting at the feet of those who once sat at the feet of the masters (every city has it's RGD cognoscenti), and far greater dispersal (even if it is still esoteric) of teaching materials.

Johnm took the conversation into a comparison of the popularity and assumed motivations of the original artists and those of modern wanna-bees. I wonder if your hypothesis holds true in other genre, Johnm? Are the most popular pre-war jazz artists also the most popular among jazz reissue CD purchasers? Do Bix and Charlie Christian have a lot of extra cachet because of their early deaths, or were they major sellers all along? Obviously they both worked in popular groups, but were people buying records to hear them or were they more "musician's musicians" in their day? I don't really know, but I can think of many ways in which modern market forces would change the popularity of various artists. And marketing decisions, by those selling the recordings, could have a great deal to do with it. As Mr. O'M pointed out, the great majority of consumers are happy to jump on any band wagon that marketing rolls out. And there's no reason to think that popularity in the '20s and '30s wasn't greatly influenced by marketing as well, so I don't particularly see that initial record sales should be a yardstick of artistic value to begin with, nor a predictor of what future audiences, with different tastes and sensibilities, and different marketing ploys, will buy.

But again, this seems to be off of what Mr. O'M originally queried. What differences do you see, Johnm (Being someone who was and is deeply involved in both scenes) between the '60s and now. I've heard DVR's story of the Washington Square devotee who woodshedded for months to finally play Frankie exactly like MJH's sped up original recording, and other apocryphal tales. It doesn't seem that the idea of copying is strictly 21st century. I still have that quote somewhere of Smokey Hogg's brother proudly stating that Smokey could play everything Pete Wheatstraw did, sounding exactly like him. And there are other recorded example of players aping others as well as they could, given the technological disadvantages. We can be a lot more anal about it today, if that's our bent, but I don't really see it as some new aberration. People have always copied. I think one of the major reasons early players were motivated to change things could have been the suggestion of the A & R guys, with their greed for copyright royalties. When people requested a song on the street they may have wanted to hear something that was as close to the original as possible, and our heroes were probably capable of giving it to them.

I think this is a much more complex issue than we usually acknowledge here, how the advent of recording itself, the knowledge that a performance can be replayed and judged, had a marked effect on the motivations of the players. And how market and marketing pressures influenced the motivation of the artists. Pre-recording it may have been advantageous for people to learn very similar arrangements of songs to facilitate playing together. Often I think we bring our modern, post-recording era sensibilities too much to bear on our assumptions of their motivations.

As a comic aside (imagine a row of rolling head smilies here): Two guys getting together to discuss repertoire before a dance:

"You play Big Road?"

"Oh yeah, I have a very interesting arrangement where I go to a VI-II-V-I instead of the V chord and I also added a measure here and there to give it a different feel. Sure, lets play that one!"

"Uh, no, I don't think so." (takes a couple hard pulls on the bottle)

All for now.
John C.

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Offline Johnm

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Re: What will DVD and online instruction do to the Blues?
« Reply #46 on: January 23, 2009, 01:55:20 PM »
Hi John C.,
I feel ill-equipped to continue in this thread, because I really have no idea what you are talking about.
All best,
Johnm   
« Last Edit: January 23, 2009, 01:58:20 PM by Johnm »

Offline Richard

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Re: What will DVD and online instruction do to the Blues?
« Reply #47 on: January 23, 2009, 02:48:28 PM »
Wax, I think you chose too unique a pair of musicians for the jazz comparison since Bix and Charlie Christian brought a whole new dynamic to the jazz world, each in their own way was pushing a new style, something musical that had not been heard before. Try thinking of Bix as the Rober Johnson of jazz (well something like that) he like Johnson died early and has aquired a certain amount of cache for it, OKeh he was wasn't stabbed, he died a (gay, as rumoured) alcoholic death but to some that touch of martyrdom might sell a record.

Quote
Are the most popular pre-war jazz artists also the most popular among jazz reissue CD purchasers? 
Yes, I think. Also remember that unlike the blues we love so much, that jazz has moved on so that points being raised here about to effectively recreating a note for note don't even enter into it as we just play the tune in our own personal way\style\period! That said there are obviously some set pieces, two examples which spring to mind are Oliver's cornet solo on Dippermouth and say the clarient solo on High Society.
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Rivers

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Re: What will DVD and online instruction do to the Blues?
« Reply #48 on: January 23, 2009, 05:43:42 PM »
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Where as country blues and fingerpickering players are still solo players by and large, you won't see 4-5 guitarists sitting around playing the same RGD or Big Bill tune at the same time.

What you do see is typically one person playing the tune and 4 others intently watching.

That is so true natterjack, and quite funny come to think of it. At Port Townsend, and other accumulations of good players, backing-up skills are very highly regarded since we all get to play together and make a good noise.

Offline Rivers

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Re: What will DVD and online instruction do to the Blues?
« Reply #49 on: January 23, 2009, 08:42:21 PM »
Quote

Finally, come on Rivers if I can do it (badly) then so can you - post a little song on the back porch for us :P


Well I might just do that. Working on it.

Offline arlotone

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Re: What will DVD and online instruction do to the Blues?
« Reply #50 on: January 25, 2009, 05:04:46 PM »
Maybe everything has been said here that needs to be said, but I'll try and add something:

I teach beginner guitar lessons, and most of my students think they're coming to me to learn songs. They might even judge their progress by the number of songs they've learned, or the degree to which their rendition of each song matches a recording. I always try to convince them that they're really coming in to learn skills, and that songs are just a means to that end. With adequate musical skills, they can learn any number of similar songs, change the arrangement, improvise, play in an ensemble, etc. It's the old "teach a man to fish" principle. I don't think there's anything wrong with choosing a favorite song and learning to play it exactly. But I find the creative and collaborative aspects of music to be more exciting, and I try to share that excitement with my students.

Going back to the original question, I would say that any teaching technology, whether it's a YouTube video, tablature, or a face-to-face lesson, could be approached either way. If the focus is on replication, that's fine, but less helpful to the ongoing development of the player or the genre. If the focus is on understanding what you're playing so you can use those skills to go further, I think that's better and I would call the teacher, book or video a success.

Offline Richard

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Re: What will DVD and online instruction do to the Blues?
« Reply #51 on: January 26, 2009, 02:30:29 AM »
Arlotone I think you have hit the nail on the head as far as I am concerned. I took the view that you can always learn a song by rote but to be able to solo(ish) or play rhythm off the cuff it's a much steeper learning curve... hence the reason why I know so few songs but I'm working on it!
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline blueshome

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Re: What will DVD and online instruction do to the Blues?
« Reply #52 on: January 26, 2009, 05:44:38 AM »
Nicely put Arlotone!

Offline Short Balding Guy

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Re: What will DVD and online instruction do to the Blues?
« Reply #53 on: February 02, 2009, 10:26:39 AM »
I teach beginner guitar lessons, and most of my students think they're coming to me to learn songs. They might even judge their progress by the number of songs they've learned, or the degree to which their rendition of each song matches a recording. I always try to convince them that they're really coming in to learn skills, and that songs are just a means to that end. With adequate musical skills, they can learn any number of similar songs, change the arrangement, improvise, play in an ensemble, etc. It's the old "teach a man to fish" principle. I don't think there's anything wrong with choosing a favorite song and learning to play it exactly. But I find the creative and collaborative aspects of music to be more exciting, and I try to share that excitement with my students.

Good day folks.  Newbie posting for the first time on the main forum.  I have long been reading the collective wisdom of the posters who frequent the forum.  I joined several weeks after purchasing my first gitar and sourcing acoustic blues on the internet.  Thanks folks for sharing and teaching me.

I really appreciate Arlotone's post as it rings true for my brief 6 years acoustic guitar experience. 

What..do to the blues?  Provides exposure to the music idiom to a generation of folks trained to filter this electronic medium.  My 14 year old nephew picked up a DVD lesson of BLJ from my music room started figuring out Rabbit's Foot Blues during the recent Holidays.  He shortly reached for the computer and sourced recordings (Youtube/BLJ recordings/similar).  Within a short period of time he could play a few measures and proceeded to show me how it could sound like a couple of other folks and then the sound he liked.  Amazing!  I thought the DVD was, like commercial on TV says, priceless.  I enjoy learning and often ask myself what would my nephew do, so that my built in filter, constructed over my nearly 50 years, does not hinder my potential influences and close paths. 

It provides a market to publish DVD's of other artists.  I do read, on this thread, that John Miller is preparing DVD lessons of other blues artists. DVD's and instruction on-line have made it possible for me to continue to explore the music. Our collective desire (speaking as $'s) speak so that the providers are sourcing "new" stuff.

Does it stifle creativity to be taught the music of those who have gone before us?  No - history provides a long tale of that.  Does the medium push us to a homogeneous track of artists to be influenced by?   No, rather it provides clarity to step into the unknown.

I am not sure that I have substantially added to this conversation, but I humbly submit my post.  I continue to be stimulated by forum members posts.  Best, Eric  -
« Last Edit: February 02, 2009, 10:28:41 AM by Short Balding Guy »
Eric-

Offline dj

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Re: What will DVD and online instruction do to the Blues?
« Reply #54 on: February 02, 2009, 11:12:32 AM »
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I am not sure that I have substantially added to this conversation, but I humbly submit my post.

It's added as much as any of the rest of us have.   :D  Thanks for posting, Eric.  And welcome to Weenie Campbell. 

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