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Folk Genius?

Tunesmith 24 Jun 12 - 10:06 AM
Steve Gardham 24 Jun 12 - 10:13 AM
pdq 24 Jun 12 - 10:34 AM
GUEST,DTM 24 Jun 12 - 10:35 AM
GUEST,999 24 Jun 12 - 10:48 AM
Richard Bridge 24 Jun 12 - 02:11 PM
Bugsy 24 Jun 12 - 08:21 PM
Phil Cooper 24 Jun 12 - 10:16 PM
scouse 25 Jun 12 - 03:23 AM
Musket 25 Jun 12 - 09:55 AM
theleveller 25 Jun 12 - 10:26 AM
GUEST,999 25 Jun 12 - 10:31 AM
Paul Davenport 25 Jun 12 - 12:06 PM
Musket 27 Jun 12 - 04:07 AM
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Subject: Folk Genius?
From: Tunesmith
Date: 24 Jun 12 - 10:06 AM

There are a number of stories of famous classical musicians ( Mozart and Liszt, for two) who could hear a piece of classical piano music just once and then faithfully reproduce it.
Now this sort of talent seems - to me - unreal.
For example, I would find it hard to believe that anyone could hear Davy Graham's Angie just once - then to hold it in their mind - and be able to reproduce the whole thing some time later.


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Subject: RE: Folk Genius?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Jun 12 - 10:13 AM

Chris Sherburn comes close, and I'm sure I read Turlough O'Carolan could do this. I can of course do this, but only when I'm well 'Mozart'.


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Subject: RE: Folk Genius?
From: pdq
Date: 24 Jun 12 - 10:34 AM

Banjo player Tony Trischka is supposed to be able to play a piece of music from start to finish after hearing it once.

Then, just to show off, he plays it backwards.

He has a PhD in art, not music.


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Subject: RE: Folk Genius?
From: GUEST,DTM
Date: 24 Jun 12 - 10:35 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6HCXx8U6Ko
Check this out - mind blowing.


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Subject: RE: Folk Genius?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 24 Jun 12 - 10:48 AM

"Folk Genius?"

Eidetic memory may be more like it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Genius?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Jun 12 - 02:11 PM

Long before I was born my two great-aunts Maude and Grace had (I was told) similar abilities. The whole family would club together for them to go to the music hall and when they returned they would reproduce the whole show - Maude on the piano and both singing - Grace was the wordsmith.


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Subject: RE: Folk Genius?
From: Bugsy
Date: 24 Jun 12 - 08:21 PM

I think it was Mozart's creativity rather than his ability to recall a play a piece note perfect that made him a genius.

Cheers

Bugsy


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Subject: RE: Folk Genius?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 24 Jun 12 - 10:16 PM

The closest person I've met to a folk genius, and not for the perfect recall as described above, was Ken Brown. He has the theory and improvisational skills to play along and know what he's doing. When he produced a couple of our recordings, he could tell you that measure 23 needed to sound better, and that we should go back and do it again. I've seen a lot of poseurs act like they knew what was happening, but not seen a lot of follow through. I've heard more than one person complain that their "artistic vision" was being compromised. I never really saw any real artisitic vision, just a lot of talk.


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Subject: RE: Folk Genius?
From: scouse
Date: 25 Jun 12 - 03:23 AM

I watched my friend Mike Ryan who came from Edenderry in Ireland sit in a session one night watching this other fiddler play a tune, which I later learned that Mick had never heard. It was as if he was writing the tune down in his head, then, after a minute or two Mick picked his fiddle up and joined in note for note perfect. I don't know how these guys do it but they do... Strange thing is these sort of people seem to have the ability to retain the tune and play it again and again at a later date.. The mind boggles.

As Aye,

Phil.


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Subject: RE: Folk Genius?
From: Musket
Date: 25 Jun 12 - 09:55 AM

Many of the stories are of course apocryphal.

It is interesting to see the comparison between many classical pieces and, as the example was given, Davy Graham's Angie. That is a free form piece of music and the man himself altered it slightly over time, with no editing of any sheet music already published. In my collection, I have the man himself, Paul Simon, Bert Jansch and Ralph McTell knocking it out, and they all do it differently to each other, and I may add differently (and better!) than I do when feeling brave.

Classical music can be and is interpreted, (Kennedy's fairly recent interpretation of Vivaldi's Four Seasons is a good example) but in general, most classical pieces are study pieces and fairly rigid, so remembering for recall would be, like in all music, recollection of the cadences and melody lines, neither of which give accurate rendition in total.

Some people do it better than others, and some music lends itself to easy recall better than others. But the jigs, reels etc predominant in folk are far easier than free form music found in classical and jazz.

Well, my ruddy view anyway.


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Subject: RE: Folk Genius?
From: theleveller
Date: 25 Jun 12 - 10:26 AM

I have the opposite - but equally amazing ability. Having heard a song many times I can completely forget it when it comes to performing it.


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Subject: RE: Folk Genius?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 25 Jun 12 - 10:31 AM

As do I, leveller. Especially things I've written myself. I have a simple song I wrote a few years back--stock: two stanzas, break two stanzas. It is recorded and I worked on it lots in the production process and every time I want to perform it I have to ask if anyone remembers the first line. You have my sympathies.


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Subject: RE: Folk Genius?
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 25 Jun 12 - 12:06 PM

Musket writes; 'most classical pieces are study pieces and fairly rigid'
Don't you believe it! Some time ago, as a teacher of Dance (GCE & A Level) I decided to produce and choreograph a performance of Stravinsky's 'Rite of Spring'. I listened to several recordings which, like Musket would assert, sounded pretty much the same. So I chose the one I liked best, Seiji Ozawa conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra. I lived with this piece for nearly a year and learned to count its complex layered rhythms. So far so good but then…someone told me there was a recording of Stravinsky himself conducting. So got that one…it sounded totally different and his tempo was beyond my ability to count. I thought, 'No wonder it went down like a lead balloon on its first performance!' But…I was then pointed at another recording of the Boston Symphony Orchestra but with their deputy conductor. Again, the piece was unrecognisable yet the orchestra was the same. I believe these recordings are still available so you can check them out. In comparison, the aforementioned versions of 'Angie' are nearly identical! (Conductors are worth the money they're paid on this basis alone!)


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Subject: RE: Folk Genius?
From: Musket
Date: 27 Jun 12 - 04:07 AM

Ah, that's because the Boston were missing their Lord and Master Benjamin Zander.....


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