The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #99782   Message #1993456
Posted By: GUEST,Mikefule
11-Mar-07 - 12:37 PM
Thread Name: virtuosity and traditional music
Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
The original question seems to be based on a classic "false dichotomy". There is no reason why someone cannot be a technical virtuoso and convey feeling at the same time. It is not either/or; it can be and.

The problem with virtuosi (?) is that they very often display their technical proficiency to the detriment of the music. When this happens, they have missed the point completely. At the other end of the spectrum, a lousy singer with a poor voice can sing with intensity and feeling and hold his audience spellbound - for all the right reasons.

Virtuosity is not just about speed, or the ability to play complex decorations and improvised counter melodies. It is also about producing the right tone, keeping the rhythm going, choosing the right speed, putting dynamics (loud/soft, fast/slow) in, and all that.

I was recently lent an album by Martin Hayes. Sometimes he keeps it simple and plays it slowly, and it's beautiful. Sometimes he plays it fast with some clever bowed rhythms and it's great. I recently bought an album, "An English Fiddler" by Dave swarbrick, and, to my mind, he was just showing how clever he is. Martin Hayes showed virtuosity and musicality; Dave Swarbrick (on this album) showed virtuosity at the expense of musicality.