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Spirit

Posted by bj on Tuesday, November 30, 2010

There's been a long running thread on the forum expousing that Tone, Timing, and Taste are the three things needed to make successful music. Boy does that statement sure miss the whole point.

What about SPIRIT???

If you aren't chanelling the Muse, ain't nobody gonna listen. It becomes evident very quickly who is digging deep and who isn't. The ones who, while playing, are looking around the room to see who is watching them are the ones who leave me cold, no matter how good their technique, and no matter how exquisite their playing. Why? There's something missing.

The ones who are looking off into space and seeing things no one else can see and pulling the music out of the air around them? They're the ones who can be playing at a somewhat mediocre level and STILL leave me breathless and spellbound. Why? As Jane would say, "Da Spirit is in Da House." What they're playing is coming straight from the soul. So it doesn't matter if the communication is in the equivalent of broken english with a less than perfect foreign accent and maybe less than perfect grammar, it's the message that matters.

Music has the power to be transformative. But not all music is, even if it's exhibiting perfect tone, timing and taste. And some music that is raunchy, rude and raucous has so much spirit that you can't help but be uplifted.

Case in point-- The Ether Frolic Mob's newest song, written by Jane Gilday. It's called Bar Bar. It's about getting drunk in the Bar. That one song is so filled with spirit you almost have to scrape people off the ceiling by the time everyone is hooting and hollering the last refrain, and the band does not have to encourage audience participation, it happens spontaneously.

I avoid certain squabbles on the forum, since there are certain people it doesn't pay to confront, but it's hard to keep quiet sometimes. Especially when such misguided statements are made as if they're truth and fact, when they're anything but. The same type of person will speak of the music "industry" and not see the irony and sheer wrongheadedness of that descriptor.

I hope y'all who read this and are starting out on this fiddle journey never lose sight of the reason we play. We play because we have to. We play because we give voice to those who don't have one on this plane of existence. We play because by doing so we transmit spirit, hope, joy and love. We are the messengers.

 



11 comments on “Spirit”

harwilli55 Says:
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @6:39:23 PM

:-D YAY BJ !!! Spirit.....that is what moves others...far more than virtuosity !!! I know why others like to have me play with them and it isn't because of my 3 T's of which I have none anyway....however, my joyous love of playing music transcends my shortcomings as a musician. Good on ya for speaking your mind....it needs to be said !!

cheekee Says:
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @9:13:38 PM

i love looking around the room. but not to see who's watching me. i don't think anyone is. i like to see what those better players are doing to sound so good....try to catch on to a few little fiddle secrets...or to make a connection with someone else around the circle by sharing some eye contact and a smile. i have such a good time there.

i do very much agree with you. in fact, i have told the teachers i've worked with that i'm not willing to play any classical music. why? well...as soon as i do, i know from experience that my head will go to that classical place and i will lose the lilt, the heart, the bounce, the ability to change things up as i want to hear it...etc. that's the way my brain works. when it comes to playing fiddle, i want only fiddle feeling in my head and heart and spirit. classical squareness will creep in and stay if i let it. but on the other hand, a fiddle tune played at breakneck speed without phrasing, inflection or voice (my word for spirit) is just noise to me. today, a fiddle-playing mom quoted her fiddle-playing son:

‎"I find that if you dont play with the emotion that is given to you and everything you are feeling, then there is no point in playing at all." ~Alex Lamoureux

i think that sums things up quite nicely.

Swing Says:
Wednesday, December 1, 2010 @9:34:56 AM

bj, I have a friend who I have described as 'not the best guitar player I know, and not the best fiddler I know, but he is the best musician I know' and when you sit and think about what music is, it can only be described as releasing of ones spirit and that is what makes tunes come alive...

Play Happy

bj Says:
Wednesday, December 1, 2010 @11:02:49 AM

Somehow it doesn't surprise me that this post resonates. Especially now, when we're all trying to bring the Spirit of Christmas alive while the media and retail sales establishments are trying to turn it into something it's not.

mudbug Says:
Wednesday, December 1, 2010 @11:21:13 AM

You tell 'em, Charlie Brown!

robinja Says:
Wednesday, December 1, 2010 @2:19:32 PM

Right there with you, BJ! Thanks for posting what I was thinking. I would rather play with (or listen to, for that matter) someone who is enthusiastic and plays from their heart (but maybe squeaks and squawks occasionally) than someone who plays with tone, timing, and taste and phones it in.

carlb Says:
Wednesday, December 1, 2010 @2:23:19 PM

Nice post; so true.

Ozarkian DL Says:
Friday, December 3, 2010 @1:51:16 PM

Magnificent, meaningful message, well delivered.

Humbled by this instrument Says:
Friday, December 3, 2010 @2:47:51 PM

Well delivered message, (or perhaps, yet I don't know if 'twas from down inside a well you delivered it), and meaningful and magnificent and Madagascarian, (though I've never been there). Moreover, if so much of ENJOYING music is communicating it with others, then spirit must come in to play, for what percentage of communication is non-verbal, non-tone time nor taste? Somepin like a huge percentage! So here's to spirit!

bj Says:
Friday, December 3, 2010 @2:54:26 PM

Um, Humbled? Have you been hitting the Spirits again?

Ozarkian DL Says:
Saturday, December 4, 2010 @2:30:22 AM

I lift my glass jar ( mason qt. size ) to ya Humble....NOW, if'n ya need moved by tha merry melodies of music.....git'cha sum moonshine. :-)

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