The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #99782   Message #1994090
Posted By: Marje
12-Mar-07 - 06:08 AM
Thread Name: virtuosity and traditional music
Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
Tunesmith writes:
"When posters say the that virtuosos have got their priorities wrong, I think they mean that they've got the posters priorities wrong!"

I said something to that effect, but I was only referring to certain "virtuosos" who put technical proficeincy before other values that are generally considered to be more important in traditional music. They are, of course, my priorities, but I also believe they are widely shared in the world of folk and traditional music. These include things like the importance of the words or story of a song; the importance of the melody; the need to engage with your listeners and/or other players; the ability to get inside a song and sing it as if every word and every note really matters. I'm sure others could add to that list. For instance, Lisa (above)mentions "taste, restraint in ornamentation, and letting the tune and words come forward".

A true virtuoso will understand and value these aspects; the ones I have a problem with are those who don't, and who don't think they need to. The same would apply if a folk singer were to sing the Hallelujah Chorus in the style of a shanty, adding shouts or "Hup!" at intervals, or a traditional flute player joined an orchestra and insisted on putting traditional slides and slurs into a classical piece. Just because you can do something a bit clever, it doesn't mean that it's a good idea to demonstrate it at every opportunity - the context matters too.