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Is a singer a musician?

GUEST,Andiliqueur 15 Mar 18 - 05:46 AM
r.padgett 15 Mar 18 - 05:49 AM
GUEST,Sol 15 Mar 18 - 05:54 AM
GUEST,Sol 15 Mar 18 - 06:01 AM
G-Force 15 Mar 18 - 06:25 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Mar 18 - 06:29 AM
GUEST,Andiliqueur 15 Mar 18 - 06:39 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Mar 18 - 06:44 AM
GUEST,akenaton 15 Mar 18 - 06:48 AM
Andy7 15 Mar 18 - 06:55 AM
Stanron 15 Mar 18 - 07:08 AM
GUEST,Observer 15 Mar 18 - 08:00 AM
GUEST,Andiliqueur 15 Mar 18 - 08:29 AM
Will Fly 15 Mar 18 - 09:40 AM
Steve Shaw 15 Mar 18 - 09:45 AM
GUEST,Grishka 15 Mar 18 - 09:56 AM
leeneia 15 Mar 18 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,sciencegeek51 15 Mar 18 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,Ebor Fiddler 15 Mar 18 - 01:42 PM
G-Force 15 Mar 18 - 02:06 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Mar 18 - 02:27 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Mar 18 - 02:53 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Mar 18 - 02:34 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Mar 18 - 03:03 PM
Big Al Whittle 15 Mar 18 - 03:11 PM
Raedwulf 15 Mar 18 - 03:30 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Mar 18 - 03:48 PM
Raedwulf 15 Mar 18 - 04:04 PM
Andy7 15 Mar 18 - 04:47 PM
Big Al Whittle 15 Mar 18 - 05:15 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Mar 18 - 05:37 PM
Tattie Bogle 15 Mar 18 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 15 Mar 18 - 06:45 PM
Big Al Whittle 15 Mar 18 - 07:03 PM
Steve Shaw 15 Mar 18 - 07:31 PM
TheSnail 15 Mar 18 - 07:52 PM
Andy7 16 Mar 18 - 03:51 AM
Johnny J 16 Mar 18 - 03:51 AM
r.padgett 16 Mar 18 - 03:58 AM
GUEST 16 Mar 18 - 04:01 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Mar 18 - 04:27 AM
GUEST,Grishka 16 Mar 18 - 04:48 AM
GUEST,kenny 16 Mar 18 - 05:06 AM
The Sandman 16 Mar 18 - 05:17 AM
GUEST,Sol 16 Mar 18 - 06:28 AM
Andy7 16 Mar 18 - 07:25 AM
GUEST,Observer 16 Mar 18 - 07:27 AM
Tattie Bogle 16 Mar 18 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,kenny 16 Mar 18 - 07:55 AM
GUEST,Andiliqueur 16 Mar 18 - 08:15 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Mar 18 - 08:25 AM
Will Fly 16 Mar 18 - 09:03 AM
Mrrzy 16 Mar 18 - 09:18 AM
Raedwulf 16 Mar 18 - 10:45 AM
GUEST,Observer 16 Mar 18 - 11:08 AM
GUEST 16 Mar 18 - 11:53 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Mar 18 - 12:34 PM
GUEST,Rog 16 Mar 18 - 02:47 PM
Doug Chadwick 16 Mar 18 - 03:16 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Mar 18 - 04:19 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 16 Mar 18 - 05:35 PM
Jeri 16 Mar 18 - 05:45 PM
Raedwulf 16 Mar 18 - 06:15 PM
Big Al Whittle 16 Mar 18 - 07:19 PM
GUEST,Andiliqueur 16 Mar 18 - 11:51 PM
radriano 19 Mar 18 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,Morris-ey 19 Mar 18 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 19 Mar 18 - 01:38 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Mar 18 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,Observer 19 Mar 18 - 03:44 PM
Gibb Sahib 19 Mar 18 - 10:07 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 20 Mar 18 - 03:14 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Mar 18 - 05:45 AM
r.padgett 20 Mar 18 - 06:15 AM
Raedwulf 20 Mar 18 - 05:15 PM
Gibb Sahib 20 Mar 18 - 06:02 PM
r.padgett 21 Mar 18 - 04:04 AM
Iains 21 Mar 18 - 05:03 AM
Andy7 21 Mar 18 - 06:12 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Mar 18 - 07:32 AM
Raedwulf 21 Mar 18 - 09:04 AM
Andy7 21 Mar 18 - 09:22 AM
Raedwulf 21 Mar 18 - 03:19 PM
GUEST,Bignige 22 Mar 18 - 12:21 PM
GUEST,paperback 22 Mar 18 - 02:01 PM
r.padgett 23 Mar 18 - 03:32 AM
Raedwulf 26 Mar 18 - 05:46 PM
r.padgett 27 Mar 18 - 04:49 AM
Johnny J 27 Mar 18 - 05:34 AM
Raedwulf 27 Mar 18 - 05:57 AM
Johnny J 27 Mar 18 - 07:04 AM
GUEST 27 Mar 18 - 10:12 AM
r.padgett 27 Mar 18 - 11:32 AM
RTim 27 Mar 18 - 12:17 PM
RTim 27 Mar 18 - 12:25 PM
Raedwulf 27 Mar 18 - 12:34 PM
Doug Chadwick 27 Mar 18 - 03:37 PM
Gibb Sahib 27 Mar 18 - 08:25 PM
GUEST,Jim bainbridge 30 Mar 18 - 01:58 PM
The Sandman 02 Apr 18 - 05:23 PM
GUEST,Rossey 03 Apr 18 - 07:17 PM
r.padgett 04 Apr 18 - 02:39 AM
GUEST 04 Apr 18 - 05:08 PM
Raedwulf 04 Apr 18 - 06:20 PM
r.padgett 05 Apr 18 - 03:20 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Apr 18 - 03:49 AM
GUEST,Rossey 05 Apr 18 - 09:41 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Apr 18 - 11:13 AM
Steve Gardham 05 Apr 18 - 02:37 PM
Raedwulf 05 Apr 18 - 02:57 PM
Jim Carroll 05 Apr 18 - 03:12 PM
Raedwulf 05 Apr 18 - 03:50 PM
r.padgett 06 Apr 18 - 03:16 AM
Nigel Parsons 06 Apr 18 - 04:21 AM
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Subject: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Andiliqueur
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 05:46 AM

I am a singer with no musical training. I can sing in tune but play no instrument. Can I class myself as a 'musician'?


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: r.padgett
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 05:49 AM

Yes

a good idea to get an instrument though and work out the song tunes and usual keys you sing in (by ear)

Ray


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Sol
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 05:54 AM

According to the dictionary I've just read, a musician is "any person who plays a musical instrument". Is the human voice an instrument? That's really the question. I suppose you can't 'play' your voice so, from that perspective, the answer is no.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Sol
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 06:01 AM

From the definition I quoted above, it seems crazy a triangle player can be classed as a musician when an opera singer, or the like, can't.
Anybody who makes music is a musician however, I should point out that's personal definition definition.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: G-Force
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 06:25 AM

I have been singing all my life, mostly folk, and have worked really hard at it. I definitely consider my voice an instrument and look after it really carefully. Just think of the work that goes into producing a good performance. Obviously get the tune and the words right, but there's appropriate phrasing and articulation, which will be vary greatly for different types of song and timing is vital. You must watch the audience carefully to see how well you're doing, which may mean a swift change of presentation if you sense you're not connecting with them. Also, if you're being accompanied there's real teamwork and co-operation involved. All performers have to develop a rapport with their audience and that goes for singers as well as musicians. And lastly, who dared to compare my voice to a triangle!


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 06:29 AM

It's always been my opinion that the human voice is the most accessible musical instrument, if used as such
Classical singing aside, listen to some of the most skilful examples of folk singing and you'll hear some of the most skilful extensions of the human voice as you will in any other musical form - Mongolian throat singing, Genoese Tralaleri, the complex percussive rhythms of the Lomax's Texas chain gangs - down to Elizabeth Cronin's beautiful use of implosives (notes sung on he intake of breath)... superb msuicianship
The finest examples of these are to be found on Bert Lloyd's 'Folk Song Virtuoso' - anybody who hasn't heard this but wishes to PM me
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Andiliqueur
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 06:39 AM

I should say that I have sung with my husband who plays guitar for many years and I do work hard at my performance. I am therefore an experienced folk singer but I have always assumed that he was the musician not me. I just wondered what other people's views were.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 06:44 AM

Agreed with most of your posting G, but some reservations about this:
"All performers have to develop a rapport with their audience and that goes for singers as well as musicians."
I believe that if a singer>musician has a rapport with their song or their piece of music, the listener will develop a rapport with you.
An old singer once told me "if you like your songs enough it's not difficult to get others to feel the same about them"
A win-win situation all round - you enjoy your singing as much as your listeners enjoy hearing you.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 06:48 AM

Most real traditional music is not performed by musicians, that is not to say that music as opposed to song is in any way inferior.

Perhaps becoming too common in traditional circles, but that is simply a matter of opinion.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Andy7
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 06:55 AM

From dictionary.com:

musician (noun)

1. a person who makes music a profession, especially as a performer of music.

2. any person, whether professional or not, skilled in music.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Stanron
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 07:08 AM

It all changes if it's used in conjunction with the word 'session'. A singer's session and a musician's session are quite different things. In a singer's session it's one at a time, you take your turn and then wait for every one else to have a go before you sing again, except for joining in on choruses of course.

A mixed session accommodates both singing and tunes.

In a musician, or 'tunes' session it's tunes only. Someone starts a set of tunes and if you know it you join in. If you know lots of tunes you can play all night. An occasional song in a tunes session is OK but too many attempts a singing can result in hostility. People go to tunes sessions to play tunes, not to listen to singers.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 08:00 AM

According to the Oxford Dictionary a musician is "A person who plays a musical instrument, especially as a profession, or is musically talented."

According to the same dictionary a singer is "A person who sings, especially professionally."

To answer the question posed in the OP

"I am a singer with no musical training. I can sing in tune but play no instrument. Can I class myself as a 'musician'?

I would say no you cannot classify yourself as a "musician", by your own admission you say that you have "no musical training". There are of course varying degrees and I would think requirements. Personally I do not think that anyone who cannot read music can truly call themselves a musician.

By your description you are a singer that can sing in tune and hold a tune which means that you have been born with a wonderful and natural gift. Count your blessings there are many "professional performers" who cannot sing to save themselves.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Andiliqueur
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 08:29 AM

Thanks Observer. I agree with you. I have a natural talent and I have been very glad of it and it has been a joy to me my whole life. Increasingly I'm beginning to wonder if singing 'out of tune' is the new singing 'in tune' as there seems to be a lot of it about and no one seems to challenge it but then perhaps that's a subject for another thread?


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 09:40 AM

"Personally I do not think that anyone who cannot read music can truly call themselves a musician."

Bit of a bugger for people like Django Reinhardt, eh?


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 09:45 AM

Ask a silly question... :-)


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 09:56 AM

As with all such words, usage varies. The most logical definition is: "someone who makes music as a habit". This includes composers, producers, amateurs, and of course "horrible musicians". To be called a musician is not a particular honour, and to call oneself thus is not a boast.

On the other hand, someone who is merely "musically talented" but never makes or made music will scarcely qualify – the Oxford Dictionary is wrong.

Neither will someone who sings in the bathroom without expecting anyone to hear it. And of course, there are fringes in the definition of "music".

Colloquially, the term is sometimes confused with "instrumentalists", not necessarily because vocal music is considered inferior. For example, sloppy journalists may write about "singers and musicians" at an opera house, presumably believing that the singers are more important than the instrumentalists.

Those who worry too much about words are often struck with an inferiority complex or other problems they do not dare to address properly.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: leeneia
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 01:04 PM

Yes. Now stop internetting and start singing. St. Patrick's Day is a few days away. How many good Irish songs do you have ready?


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,sciencegeek51
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 01:35 PM

I am a singer... I play instruments but not at a level that I consider worth doing in public

music is music whether created by vocal chords or instruments... so a musician is one who makes music regardless of how they do it... it's up to others if it's worth listening to... but in these days of labeling and pidgeonholing and filling in blanks on forms, we tend to restrict ourselves. in my opinion


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Ebor Fiddler
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 01:42 PM

I notice that nobody has mentioned drummers ...


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: G-Force
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 02:06 PM

It's possible to sing musically and it's possible to sing unmusically. So I guess a musical singer is a musician.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 02:27 PM

Okay so in some dictionaries a singer is a musician but in everyday language I would regard a musician as someone who plays a musical instrument and a singer as just that, a singer; so I would describe myself in this context as a singer/musician. If I wanted to use a single word I would use performer. If someone described themselves as a musician in everyday language I would expect them to pull out an instrument.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 02:53 PM

Try various definitions of music and I think they are fairly consistent
the Oxford English Reference Dictionary seems to b typical of the ones on our shelves where it gives the first definition as "The are of combining or instrumental sounds (or both) to produce, beauty of form, harmony and expression of emotion
The second - the sound produced
Three and four refer to compositions written and printed
The fifth - certain pleasant sounds, eg - birdsong or a stream
In Scotland, port-a-buel translates literally as "mouth music"
Wide enough to include the voice as a musical instrument as far as I'm concerned.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 02:34 PM

I don't think anyone has questioned the definition of 'music'.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 03:03 PM

THey haven't but if sounds produced by the voice falls within that definition, then by definition, the voice is a musical instrument - as guest Sol points out
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 03:11 PM

what's the advantage of being a musician rather than a singer?

i've played guitar since i was a kid, but i like to think of myself as a guitar player -rather than a musician.

i quite like musicians, but they're on a different planet from the rest of us. you don't get to be good by being normal.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Raedwulf
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 03:30 PM

I would say that that's the wrong question. Or, perhaps, a secondary question. The primary question, surely, is "WHAT is a musician?" The trite & obvious answer, obviously, is "Someone that makes music!" That it's trite & obvious doesn't mean it's wrong, though it might suggest that a more thorough & considered answer is a good idea...

But only if you know (which really means "If you have an idea what...") what a musician is can you then answer "Is an X a musician?" Is a drummer a musician? Is someone who programs a computer to play music a musician? Is a composer a musician? A composer may not be able to play a note, but they *create* music. I have often suggested that classical musicians are not musicians, they are technicians - they don't create, they interpret. Like actors. Yes, I am very well aware that that is far from entirely true, but for the sake of the point... They are highly skilled technicians. So is a stonemason or a woodcarver. They do what they are told to do. They play the notes, speak the words, make the design that they are GIVEN.

So are they musicians, etc; artists? Is the man on the pneumatic drill a musician? Sounds like that have been incorporated into modern compositions. Is s/he a musician only if they drill to the composer's order? A musician if they are recorded without knowing?

The first question MUST be "What is a musician?"


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 03:48 PM

I prefer to think what Joe Bloggs in the street thinks. The technical stuff you're arguing about here is irrelevant to him. If you play an instrument to any level you're a musician. If you sing you're a singer.
Walk into any folk club in the land and ask anyone "How many musicians are there in here?" and see how many people include the unaccompanied singers.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Raedwulf
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 04:04 PM

And Joe Bloggs will give you at least 6 different answers if you ask 14 of him, so he's not exactly a useful oracle here, is he? ;-) JB is pretty much the same where art is concerned - "Ah doan't know mooch abaht art, but ah knows a gud pick-chewer when ah sees it!" And where art is concerned, I confess to being pretty much the same! But I wouldn't trust the opinion of the man in the street about anything. He is, on average (lowest common denominator & all that), usually a bloody idiot!

Why would you prefer to think what someone else thinks, whoever that is? I prefer to think what I think! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Andy7
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 04:47 PM

So, what does the suffix '-ician' signify?

Merriam Webster: "specialist; practicioner"

Yourdictionary: "a person engaged in, skilled in, or specializing in (a specified field)"

Other examples are magician (specialising in, or practising, magic), beautician (specialising in, or practising, beauty), mathemetician (specialising in, or practising, mathematics), etc., etc.

So, a musician is someone who specialises in, or practices, music. Not just instrument playing.

An instrument player should therefore be called an instrumentician.

... or maybe an instrumentalist!


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 05:15 PM

so in conclusion, if you want to call yourself a musician, and doing so gives you pleasure - do it!

life is short.

its not like you called yourself a brain surgeon, and you want to cut someones head open.

you mustn't do that. however being a musician is open to interpretation - and I've seen bloody good musicians die on their arse.
being skilfull doesn't ensure acceptance by an audience.

your vision of yourself as a musician is as good as anyone elses.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 05:37 PM

Raedwulf, dismiss the masses at your peril! David Cameron did and he lost his job immediately.

'Why would you prefer to think what someone else thinks?' because most of the people I communicate with are the people in the street, the Joe Bloggses, and when I have to communicate with anyone on a higher level I can adjust accordingly. However I've never been taken to task about calling singers singers or instrumentalists musicians until now and I have organised concerts and written about music for many years. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 06:15 PM

@Sol and Ebor: Triangles and drums: most of the orchestral percussionists I have met have done a long hard musical training (and probably happen to play a melody instrument as well, but have just just chosen to play percussion). Your triangle player will probably flit around a vast array of different percussion instruments in the course of an evening's concert. Occasionally, if they are really short they might draft in one of the 2nd violins to play a single (well-placed?) ting on a triangle!
As for singers: yes, the human voice is a fine instrument too. I can think of several singers I know who do not read music, yet are capable of producing fine harmony and polyphonic arrangements without ever being able to write it all down in standard notation. So, yes, singers, are musicians too in my book.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 06:45 PM

For amateurs it's a BS session. Go crazy on it.

But if a singer wants to turn pro they'll most likely have to join the same union as all the "real" musicians. Usually classed as "vocalist" in the islands and States nowadays.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 07:03 PM

you could join equity.

i was in there for a few years as were most of the midland folkies when Nottingham's Lenton Lane Studios were going - I used to see Jack Hudson, Mick Peat, Roy Harris etc doing extra work on Boon and Peak Practice.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 07:31 PM

But is a bodhran owner a musician?


I'll get me coat...


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Mar 18 - 07:52 PM

I've heard it said that anyone who plays an instrument, e.g a fiddle or a guitar or a flute, should call themselves an instrumentalist not a musician.

A friend of mine, a very good fiddler, says disdainfully "An instrumentalist plays an instrument, a musician plays music".

A couple of people have said on this thread that the voice is a musical instrument. Does that make a singer an instrumentalist?


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Andy7
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 03:51 AM

Yes, you could in theory call a singer an instrumentalist, there'd be nothing orthologically or semantically incorrect with that.

But we also have to accept common usage if we wish to make ourselves understood.

Another example ... a bus is powered by a motor. So if I caught the bus to Brighton, I could quite correctly say, "I motored down to the coast".

But if I did say that, you'd assume that I'd driven there in a car; not because my statement was factually incorrect, but because, in everyday speech, the verb 'to motor' has become synonymous with 'to drive a car'.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Johnny J
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 03:51 AM

Yes, I believe that the human voice is an instrument too. So, a singer can also be a musician.

However, to me, a musician is someone who is either qualified in music or trained to a certain standard... formally or self taught, it doesn't matter and, perhaps, performs for a living. Not necessarily all three and there are maybe other descriptors.

Personally, I can sing a few songs when it suits and get a tune out of a few instruments. Some better than others. I can also read music reasonably well although I'm slower with the bass lines.

Yet,I feel embarassed to call myself a musician and would rather describe myself as a player(of instuments)and would probably call myself a "singer of songs" rather than a musician if that was my main interest.

Others might think I'm being a bit hard on myself and others in a similar position but just because one can change tyres on a car, check the oil, and do other repairs it doesn't make him or her a mechanic. Nor does putting emulsion and/or paper on your walls make you a painter and decorator.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: r.padgett
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 03:58 AM

Is the voice an instrument?

Ray


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 04:01 AM

"But we also have to accept common usage if we wish to make ourselves understood. "

If we all did that Mudcat wouldn't exist.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 04:27 AM

"But we also have to accept common usage if we wish to make ourselves understood."
If we wish to understand the art we are all supposed to be involved in, we need to be able to sort out the wheat from the chaff.
We may need to accept the existence of common usage - that doesn't mean to say we have to agree with it
"Folk Music" is in enough trouble by too many people having done that - try asking "what is a folk song" on this forum, then run for cover!
"Is the voice an instrument?"
I believe it is an instrument for producing sound - if it is used to produce musical sounds, it becomes a musical instrument
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 04:48 AM

An instrument is by definition something outside the person using it. You can use your teeth for cutting or grinding, but that does not make them cutting or grinding instruments. Thus, the following are not instrumentalists: singers, whistlers, beatboxers, art-farters ..., whereas tap dancers are.

Arguably though, a singer using a microphone and amplifier can be called an instrumentalist, the instrument not being the voice. –

More importantly: a composer is definitely a musician.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 05:06 AM

Does it really matter ? At the end of the day, it's just labels. How about this as an excercise in logic ? Is a "song", "music" ? If yes, then it would logically follow that a singer is a musician.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to spend my time better by re-acquainting myself with the music of Liam O'Flynn [ RIP ]. Steve's suggestion on that thread of the "Planxty" retrospective CD/DVD set is spot on [ apologies for thread drift ].
Can't help but wonder if this real musician could read sheet music.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 05:17 AM

I believe it is an instrument for producing sound - if it is used to produce musical sounds, it becomes a musical instrument
Jim Carroll.
Iagree


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Sol
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 06:28 AM

Food for thought. When learning your first instrument, at what point do you become "a musician"?


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Andy7
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 07:25 AM

"Food for thought. When learning your first instrument, at what point do you become "a musician"?"

As my first instrument was the fiddle, it was a long time before anyone would have called me a musician!


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 07:27 AM

"Can't help but wonder if this real musician [Liam O'Flynn presumably] could read sheet music."

His father was a teacher and a fiddle player, his mother came from an extremely "musical" family and she played and taught piano. That background would explain his early introduction to, and interest in, music and as a piano teacher I would venture that at least his mother could read music and most likely, being of that era, his father could too. To date I have not yet encountered one single piano teacher that could not read music. I would be amazed that either parent would have ignored that part of young Liam's "musical" education.

Liked the introduction to the discussion of the word "instrumentalist", which would describe somebody who can play a musical instrument to the most proficient of degrees but who could not be described as a "musician".

Will Fly mentioned Django Rheinhardt earlier in the thread. Rheinhardt did not read music, yet he composed. To do so he required an assistant who notated what he played - without that assistant doing what he did, very little, or nothing, of his work would now remain and whatever did would only be lesser players pale variations of what Rheinhardt played.

If somebody can read music and play a musical instrument, if somebody can read music and sing, then either can be given the sheet music of a piece that they have never, ever seen or heard performed before and play, or sing, that piece exactly as the composer intended it to be heard. They have every right to call themselves musicians. On the other hand if you can only play, or sing, "by ear" you only have the ability to mimic what you have previously heard and irrespective of how good the "performance" there is no way on earth that you could describe yourself as a "musician".


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 07:28 AM

When you first played your party piece to yer grannie?


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 07:55 AM

The above is utter elitist pish. So what's the difference between "mimicing what you have previously heard" and "mimicing" what's written down on a piece of paper ?

"If somebody can read music and play a musical instrument, if somebody can read music and sing, then either can be given the sheet music of a piece that they have never, ever seen or heard performed before and play, or sing, that piece exactly as the composer intended it to be heard".
How can you possibly know that, especially in terms of traditional music ? You give a sight-reader a piece of paper and they will play what's on the piece of paper, which may or may not be by the composer. You seem to totally disregard the concept of individual interpretation.
Amazing to think that Irish traditional music was kept alive and is in the healthy state it is today largely thanks to people who weren't "musicians" because they couldn't, or chose not to learn their native music from a sheet of paper.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Andiliqueur
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 08:15 AM

I was going to agree with Observer's comments yet again but then kenny is right too. I may not play a musical instrument (as I love singing so much I didn't want to distract from this enjoyment and I suppose I am lazy) but my son is an excellent musician, being able to produce a tune from virtually any instrument that he comes across. However he is a classically trained violinist and it took many years to encourage him to play "fiddle' at which point he had to "forget the dots" and all his classical technique. He's done it and it's wonderful to listen to him just play by ear. It has been fascinating reading all your views. Like the definition of Folk Music "Is a singer a musician" is totally debatable!!


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 08:25 AM

"that piece exactly as the composer intended it to be heard"
If people were given music composed by Mozart in the form he listened to it, they would probably walk out in disgust
Interpretation has to be everything
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 09:03 AM

As far as Reinhardt is concerned, we have his recordings - regardless of what any "assistant" may or may not have done.

To say that playing by ear is just mimicking is debatable. I can sit at a session, hear a tune I've never played before and "get" it sufficiently to play along with it AND then add some harmony should I choose. That's not mimicking, it's remembering - which requires the ability to absorb a melody and then play it. Many players I know can do this - some, incidentally, can also read music, some can not. I myself can, but it doesn't stop my ear functioning!


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 09:18 AM

A voice is an instrument, so if you make music with it, you can certainly consider yourself a musician.
I sing, but am not a musician, as when I sing it is not necessarily musical...


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Raedwulf
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 10:45 AM

Steve - Heh! Thank you, sir. T'internet is a bugger sometimes, so pleased you saw the humorous undertone, rather than took umbrage at the read word. So many do... *sigh*

I'll maintain, though, my original point - What is a musician? Without an answer to that, the question in the thread title is meaningless. Skipping a long anything, if you think you're making music, you're a musician, to my mind. Whether you are a good musician or a bad musician is a secondary question & entirely beside the point.

If you're scraping at a fiddle because you've only just begun is beside the point.
If you're writing down the sounds you hear in your head, even though you're incapable of playing a note (if Stephen Hawking had written an opera...) is beside the point.
If you are one those perennial butts of musical jokes - a drummer, a bassist, a viola player - is beside the point.
If you are "only" a singer... it's beside the point.

I argue that if you are trying to create music, you are a musician. With encouragement & help, you can become a 'better' musician, whatever 'better' means. But if you are creating music & there are people who enjoy listening to you... You are a musician. And anyone who wants to tell you different is talking from their base not their apex!


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 11:08 AM

GUEST,kenny - look up the meaning of the word "mimic" [Mimic = Imitate (someone or their actions or words), especially in order to entertain or ridicule.]. I think that you will find that you can mimic something that you have seen or heard, it is impossible to mimic something or someone that you have never heard or seen. That being so the following is a bit selective isn't it?

"The above is utter elitist pish. So what's the difference between "mimicing what you have previously heard" and "mimicing" what's written down on a piece of paper ?"

Kenny you forgot the bit about "If somebody can read music and play a musical instrument, if somebody can read music and sing, then either can be given the sheet music of a piece that they have never, ever seen or heard performed before and play, or sing, that piece exactly as the composer intended it to be heard".

Kenny asks me how I can possibly know that? I know that for certain because that is why a system of notation for writing down music was invented and evolved - It was done so that a composers work could be faithfully performed without the musicians playing ever having heard it played before.

In terms of "traditional music"? Not the same thing at all especially when applied to song and the traditions of the minstrels and troubadours who did mimic and who did constantly change/amend their songs to suit the audience of the moment. Same to a much lesser degree was the tradition of the verbal transference of history in the form of song and story by "tradition bearers". Over the generations details imperceptively change - that does not happen with written and notated record.

From the following I take it GUEST,Kenny that you do not read music? That if put in front of you you could not follow the musical score of a piece of classical music:

"....give a sight-reader a piece of paper and they will play what's on the piece of paper, which may or may not be by the composer. You seem to totally disregard the concept of individual interpretation."

The music was notated solely because the composer wanted his music performed exactly as he wanted it to be played. As to the reference to Mozart ("If people were given music composed by Mozart in the form he listened to it, they would probably walk out in disgust") the main change has been in the instruments used to perform the work, that change means that Mozart's Horn Concertos are better played and easier to play today than they were in Mozart's day. If I were to pay good money to listen to any piece written by Mozart, I would be downright annoyed if those playing the piece went off piste and "did their own thing" with it.

"Amazing to think that Irish traditional music was kept alive and is in the healthy state it is today largely thanks to people who weren't "musicians" because they couldn't, or chose not to learn their native music from a sheet of paper." Not amazing at all Kenny, but I bet that at some point down through the ages somebody has taken the trouble to "collect" and notate those tunes long before the day of the tape recorder. But that means that the version "collected" was not the original version but the version current at the time it was notated or recorded. In Scotland in the late 1700s a chap called Robert Burns did exactly that and gained international immortality for his efforts, in the aftermath of the last Jacobite rebellion Burns was instrumental in saving and preserving the songs, tunes and culture of Scotland.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 11:53 AM

In your first paragraph, you state Django was a composer. But he could not read music. In your second paragraph, you say that if you can’t read, then all you can do is mimic what you’ve previously heard. Both of these things cannot simultaneously be true.

There are lots of people in various Roma or Sinti (broadly referred to as ‘gypsy’) families who play music to a very high level, who can improvise freely, who can compose, and who can certainly play in the style of Django, without being able to read a note. The music’s been handed down as part of their tradition.

To say that they are not ‘musicians’ because you have decided on your own private definition of ‘musician’ which includes being able to read standard notation, is quite an eccentric stance to take.

All cultures produced music way before they produced a system for writing it down. Even today, I don’t think Indian classical music, for instance, is written down – it’s mostly improvised. Is there really ‘no way on Earth’ that Ravi Shankar couldn’t be described as a musician? ‘

The idea that Django, Ravi Shankar, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Tommy Emmanuel etc, (not to mention all the blind non readers like Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Tcha Limberger etc) are not really musicians – quite aside from the legion of folk musicians that we’re all familiar with – does not work for me. It seems obvious to me that they are.

The musicians I like, I like because of their ability to play, not their ability to read. There are countless folk musicians who fit this bill. Reading may be a useful skill, but it’s certainly not necessary to be a reader to be a musician.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 12:34 PM

"musicians" because they couldn't, or chose not to learn their native music from a sheet of paper."
A bit of an oversimplification, I'm afraid
One of the greatest influences of Irish music in the 20th century was O'Neil's Collection - over 1000 annotated tunes
A story told to us by our late neighbour, piper, Tom McCarthy related how fiddle player Denis Murphy pestered veteran musician, Padraig O'Keefe for on of his tuns until finally, after payment of several pints, O'Keefe promised if he came to the bog where he was was cutting turf the following morning with his fiddle, he would be given the tune
Murphy duly turned up next day to find the old man working, cutting slabs of turf out of a high bank
O'Keefe threw down his slán and proceeded to write out the tune in the wet turf with his finger
When asked for a name he replied "The Bank of Turf"      
It's still played under that name
It really isn't as simple as musically literate or not
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Rog
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 02:47 PM

No try joinING a "session" and singing a song, you will be as welcome as a f in a space suit.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 03:16 PM

If somebody can read music and play a musical instrument, if somebody can read music and sing, then either can be given the sheet music of a piece that they have never, ever seen or heard performed before and play, or sing, that piece exactly as the composer intended it to be heard. They have every right to call themselves musicians.

By this definition, my computer is a musician.

Composers and songwriters may interpret their own works differently each time they perform them. Putting the dots down in a score shouldn't necessarily preserve tunes in aspic.

In ensemble playing, sticking to what is written is advisable although it wouldn't preclude some well constructed ad-lib harmonies. Solo performances allow greater interpretation and the score may be no more than a guide.

My brother-in-law can sit down at a piano and make a good attempt at a previously unseen piece. Take the music away, however, and he is lost even if is a well known tune. I, on the other hand, can work out a tune from the score but would have to learn it bit by bit. If it is a familiar tune I can usually busk it on a range of different instruments. I consider both of us to be musicians.

Picking up on the original question, if a singer can present a song as a performance or work together with other singers or instrumentalists, then he/she is a musician.

DC


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 04:19 PM

I sing and accompany myself on a musical instrument. Hey, I'm a musician musician! :-)

I'll get me coat.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 05:35 PM

Can somebody who strums three chords badly call themselves a musician?


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Jeri
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 05:45 PM

I don't understand the need for labels, other than just to communicate with people. Call yourself a musician if you do music. Call yourself a good musician if other people do. This argument is stupid, IMO.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Raedwulf
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 06:15 PM

Tunesmith - yes, see above. Jeri - I managed to not quite be that blunt for once, but agreed! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 07:19 PM

is an all day breakfast dinner?


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Andiliqueur
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 11:51 PM

Ok,ok we've exhausted the topic! I still found your comments interesting so thank you.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: radriano
Date: 19 Mar 18 - 11:47 AM

Yes! A singer is a musician. The voice has been called the most complex instrument.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 19 Mar 18 - 12:46 PM

Observer said:

"either can be given the sheet music of a piece that they have never, ever seen or heard performed before and play, or sing, that piece exactly as the composer intended it to be heard".

Kenny asks me how I can possibly know that? I know that for certain because that is why a system of notation for writing down music was invented and evolved - It was done so that a composers work could be faithfully performed without the musicians playing ever having heard it played before."

Perhaps then Observer might explain how, if notation was a way in which the composers music could be "faithfully performed", why (in classical music particularly) the same symphony, performed by the same orchestra under different conductors, might vary in duration by many minutes, why certain parts are emphasised more or less, why a conductor is required at all?


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 19 Mar 18 - 01:38 PM

" The human voice is the only instrument on the planet that pronounces words, so for God's sake, pronounce the words, and do not hide behind 'style', or your accompanying instrument(s)".....Giorgio Tozzi

Giorgio was a close friend of mine, when I lived in Malibu... We saw each other, with his wife Monty, every school day for about two years. He was also the vocal coach for Neil Diamond, Robert Plant, Barbra Streisand, and Frank Sinatra....among others, including Michael Llona, who vocals on This piece, 'My Lady' .........and this one, 'What Would You Do?'....Notice the similarity with all the aforementioned vocalists....you can hear EVERY word, sung.....He coached Robert Plant later in Plant's career, after Led Zeppelin.

Giorgio, also was a PhD. and professor at Julliard....

....Hope that answers your question!

GfS


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Mar 18 - 02:33 PM

i think it depends on whether you go for the baked beans, tomato or the extra egg option.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 19 Mar 18 - 03:44 PM

GUEST,Morris-ey asks the following:

"Perhaps then Observer might explain how, if notation was a way in which the composers music could be "faithfully performed", why (in classical music particularly) the same symphony, performed by the same orchestra under different conductors, might vary in duration by many minutes, why certain parts are emphasised more or less, why a conductor is required at all?"

GUEST,Morris-ey what you are talking about is performance. What I was talking about was playing the piece. Now here is what I actually said:

"either can be given the sheet music of a piece that they have never, ever seen or heard performed before and play, or sing, that piece exactly as the composer intended it to be heard".

Kenny asks me how I can possibly know that? I know that for certain because that is why a system of notation for writing down music was invented and evolved - It was done so that a composers work could be faithfully performed without the musicians playing ever having heard it played before."


The Conductor interprets and directs the performance of the entire orchestra ( so something like 70-odd "professional musicians") who may never have heard the piece played before - the Conductor's job is to get them all playing it under his direction. Some Conductors are better than others, each want to make their mark. Some succeed others do not. None of that detracts from the fact that the ability to read music allows somebody to play something that they have never heard before exactly as the composer intended it to be played.

To GUEST,Andiliqueur, I agree with your posts, and thanks for the thread. I trust that you will continue to enjoy your singing and I am sure your audience will too.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 19 Mar 18 - 10:07 PM

I study this these sorts of questions in my work as an ethnomusicologist, particularly in the context of Punjabi culture. Speaking generally and customarily, in that cultural context you need (non-vocal) "melody"instruments to have "music." Therefore, singing without instruments is not music (it's singing). And drumming without melodic instruments is drumming. One who sings is not a musicians, s/he is a singer, and one who drums is a drummer, though often called a musician if part of a performance of "music." "Music" does not have a prestigious ring to it, so, contrary to some of the statements above, it is not to rob a skilled singer from some sort of prestige by not calling her/him a musician. Indeed, singers (non-musicians) escape the low status ascribed to musicians, who are by definition "professionals." Before jumping to say that the Punjabi way of thinking is backwards or strange, think of the way a sex worker is a "professional." One would think that she/he is good at sex and should get more respect for being a sex-technician, but that tends not to be the case in Western societies. So, in traditional Punjabi society, one sings or plays certain types of percussion without being labeled musician, and musicians are understood to be the best at what they do yet ascribed a low social status for doing it. One avoids playing instruments as this is what musicians -- people of low status -- do. This is not to say that in India/Pakistan it is impossible to play an instrument as an amateur, but rather that when one does one either does so under the penalty of a certain social judgement or (more frequently) those who do so are individuals whose social privileges allow them to, in a way, transcend the traditional values and exchange them for Western values or live oblivious to social norms... or else to engage another framework of understanding. One of these other frameworks is religion, in which the usual "rules" don't apply to someone if their act is one of religious devotion. As I would explain it, the person playing a musical instrument in the act of / for the purpose of religious devotion is not "creating music" but rather engaging in a devotion and so neither do they receive the stigma of playing music nor the title of musician. A more modern, Western framework is that of art -- where similarly the objective of making "art," especially in an abstract sense and for no monetary compensation, in effect purifies the act of playing music. This person could be called a musician, I think, but is more preferably called an artist.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 20 Mar 18 - 03:14 AM

Quite a long dissertation on contrived ridiculousness....people who make music, are musicians, using an instrument or their voice....and BTW, in NO WAY does that also make them an 'artist'.....that would depend on if their music was 'art'.
Art for therapy my be great therapy, but might not be great art....think about it.

GfS


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Mar 18 - 05:45 AM

A personal note
Ewan MacColl ran a weekly singers workshop for those who wished to improve their singing for nearly ten year - he didn't 'teach', but set up a situation where a singer sang in front of the group, their singing was discussed analytically in 'strengths/weaknesses' terms and the listeners would throw in suggestions as to how the singing could be improved - a couple of the suggestions were then chosen and worked on for around an hour
MacColl acted as chairman, but in preparation, he had devised basic voice and relaxation exercises to assist he singers in "exploring" their own voice in order to learn to control and extend it.
The argument was that the human voice was yur own personal musical instrument and in order to make a good job of a song you learned how to use it as you would a fiddle or a violin
THe work fell into two parts - technical voice work and song analysis in order to make the songs your own
For the first, MacColl had drawn on Laben's theory of movement and efforts, which he had been adapted for his Theatre Workshop days in order to teach actors to learn to move on stage
For the second part, he drew on Stanislavski's 'application of the idea of "If" and "emotion memory"
It all may sound complicated and 'high falutin' but it was remarkably easily understandable and incredibly effective - and very quick and easy to apply once you grasped the basics - it still works for my singing (especially for adding new songs or refreshing old ones for my repertoire) after nearly half-a-century
A group like MacColl's can work with as few as three or four people and cn be a one-off or a regular event
Beats being "taught" by singing from a handed-out song-sheet any day
"but might not be great art"
All art lied in the eye or ear of the beholder
Traditional singing can be as high or even higher than the best of classical singing - go listen to Bert Lloyd's ' Folk Music Virtuoso' for proof of this
I've yet to hear a classical singer break their voice into two parts as could the Mongolian 'Throat Singers' or a classical choir produce a sound as magic as the Genoese longshoremen's Tralalere groups
Traditional ballad singing and composition - the high-watermark of our singing traditions are examples of high art in both composition and performance and they require as much thought and attention as any Verdi opera
THey are "the art of the people" - something to be proud of
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: r.padgett
Date: 20 Mar 18 - 06:15 AM

A singer must have a basic tune to sing to surely ~ the words are sung to music, that is a tune ~ this I understand as far as folk is concerned (the tune) in traditional unaccompanied terms will and does change with each performance (that is where sung unaccompanied!)

The singer is making music every time he/she sings ~ the tune is basic ~ yes add an instrument and the tune as a vehicle will certainly be more uniform but will still differ even only to a small degree ~ am instrument is not needed to make music!

The voice is an instrument conveying both tune and words or mouth sounds together!

Ray

So a singer is a musician!! sheesh


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Raedwulf
Date: 20 Mar 18 - 05:15 PM

Gibb - Thank you, it's an interesting point of view. I'm not sure you'll get much agreement round here, but I enjoyed reading it. For my own part, I can wholly understand the "low status" of musicians - I'm a (somewhat lapsed) medieval re-enactor. Whilst musicians were a very desirable part of the world, the vast majority were also, most definitely, low status. I'm rather more perplexed by the notion that someone who sings is a singer, someone who plays the drums is a drummer, but someone that play the sitar is not a sitarist (or whatever), but simply a musician!

To me, they're all creating, or perhaps I should say "making", music. They may not be creating something original, but they're all musicians to me.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 20 Mar 18 - 06:02 PM

Raedwulf--

I'm not seeking agreement. It's not my opinion; I am conveying how a certain people or culture conceptualize their world.

The mistake, in my opinion, would be to fail to acknowledge that with the culturally constructed concept of "music" (as opposed to the universal or scientific object, sound) one will find variation in these ideas about who is a "musician." In some cases, the concept of musician may not exist at all. And it would be a mistake to treat this as merely a pedant issue since, as I have demonstrated by example, a society's view of individuals in relation to "music" affects a host of other issues of value, status, and meaning.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: r.padgett
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 04:04 AM

Quality of singer ~ folk/bathroom to opera ~ Quality of musicianship ~ guitar/mouth organ ~ concert pianist

Ray


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Iains
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 05:03 AM

But is a bodhran owner a musician?

But, but, but it can be tuneable!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dny2iaosTpE


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Andy7
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 06:12 AM

There's been a lot of discussion on here about who is, or is not, a musician; but in fact, a musician is not even a musician!

Here’s my proof.

Let us take an accomplished singer, A, who can play no musical instrument other than her voice.

By any reasonable definition, the human voice is a musical instrument. And a musician is someone who plays a musical instrument.

Therefore, A = musician.

Now let us take an accomplished harp player, B.

Is B also a musician? Yes, from the definition of ‘musician’.

And is B an instrumentalist? Yes again, as the word signifies playing an ‘external’ musical instrument.

Therefore, B = instrumentalist = musician.

But is A an instrumentalist? No; as already stated, being an instrumentalist signifies playing an external musical instrument, such as the harp; and A can play no instrument other than her voice.

Therefore, A = non-instrumentalist.

But instrumentalist = musician, therefore non-instrumentalist = non-musician.

A = musician, but also, A = non-instrumentalist = non-musician.

Therefore, musician = non-musician.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 07:32 AM

"being an instrumentalist signifies playing an external musical instrument,"
No dictionary definition excludes the voice as a musical instrument, therefore anybody who has one is one!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Raedwulf
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 09:04 AM

Nice try, Andy, but logic failure. :p A musician isn't a number, so can't be reduced to an equation. A musician is a label i.e. a class or set item. Not an equation, but a Venn diagram (for which there is actually notation; but it's notation not an equation).

Musician & non-musician are sets that do not overlap.

Singer is a set within musician, as is instrumentalist.

Singer & instrumentalist may or may not overlap, but both must lie (through their back teeth, if you've met some of the ones I have; they're as bad as fishermen!) wholly within musician.

Therefore, regardless of bathroom or opera house, they can never overlap non-musician.

So there! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Andy7
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 09:22 AM

Thanks for the corrections, Raedwulf; lucky I didn't publish that paper! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Raedwulf
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 03:19 PM

*big grin* ;-)


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Bignige
Date: 22 Mar 18 - 12:21 PM

So can someone who only plays an instrument call himself a singer?


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 22 Mar 18 - 02:01 PM

Political correctness run amok

Don't Broadway musicals consist of singing?


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: r.padgett
Date: 23 Mar 18 - 03:32 AM

Question was "is a singer a musician?" yes yes yes

An instrumentalist is ~~~~~

Singers sing and are musicians as they accompany themselves by singing their one accompaniment [the tune]

Ray


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Raedwulf
Date: 26 Mar 18 - 05:46 PM

Bignige - if you're taking my Venn thing at face value (and why not? I think it is actually more or less the right way of analysing it), then no. Singer is a set / label; singer is another set / label. They are distinct, different items. It's possible to like both apples & oranges, and both are fruit, but an apple is not an orange.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: r.padgett
Date: 27 Mar 18 - 04:49 AM

Apples can exist without oranges ~ Songs sung cannot exist without music (they be come poems) tunes are used to create music and words sung are the song

Ray


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Johnny J
Date: 27 Mar 18 - 05:34 AM

How does this apply to Rap artists? Not that I think there's much in the way of music there.....

Although there may be some "music" as backing, the lyrics themselves usually don't have a melody.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Raedwulf
Date: 27 Mar 18 - 05:57 AM

I'm not sure that that has any relevance to my last comment, Ray, and in any case, I'd have to disagree. You can sing a song on a single note & it is still a song. Moreover, your "tune" disqualifies drummers, who don't play a tune, as musicians. Music requires rhythm as well, or it becomes a morass of noise. A poem, spoken properly, has rhythm, and therefore has musicality. Is it music? I don't know where I'd draw the line. Shakespeare, on the page, is verse and, again, spoken properly has rhythm & musicality, but I know I wouldn't call that music; it remains a play, a performance.

I do recall visiting a storytelling / music festival at St Donats some years back, somewhere around 2000 (erk!). There was an epic poet from a Central Asian former Soviet republic. He, apparently, could perform for hours from memory. He spoke no English, but chanted (i.e. sung on one note) whatever fragment from his people's epics he had chosen. I didn't understand a word, but it was interesting to watch & listen to as a performance. I've performed the same way myself. I've also seen both Stomp, and the Kodo drummers from Japan - no tunes involved, but the Kodo drummers certainly are musicians, so surely Stomp are not merely "performance artists"?

My OED defines music as "The art or science of combining vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion." The inclusion of harmony seems odd, possibly outdated to me - a lot of modern music is deliberately decidedly unharmonious! Moreover, the definition apparently disqualifies singers and soloists on many instruments - you have to have two notes for harmony to come into play! And again this would appear to exclude drummers as musicians. I can't tell you precisely where I think something starts being music, all I can say is I can't accept a definition that excludes drummers!


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Johnny J
Date: 27 Mar 18 - 07:04 AM

Years ago, the accepted consensus seemed to be that a piece of music needed to have melody, rhythm, and harmony....all three.

Of course, this would exclude unaccompanied singers, solo melody players and so on. Therefore, this definition doesn't sit easy with me. Of course, many songs and tunes have their own inherent rhythm which can also be accentuated by individual singers and players.

So, while the melody is the most mportant thing for me, songs or instrumental pieces which are entirely rhythmic could arguably also be described as musical. Therefore, I was probably being a bit harsh re "rap" albeit it's not something that's too my taste. However, I still think of it as a form of poetry which may or may not be performed to a musical backing.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Mar 18 - 10:12 AM

On the subject of unaccompanied singers, I haven't heard any that sing without "melody and rhythm" - As for harmony loads of groups of unaccompanied singers are famous for their harmonies. Then of course no-one can truly call themselves a "singer" if they have to have accompaniment to sing.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: r.padgett
Date: 27 Mar 18 - 11:32 AM

The melody and rhythm is the tune ~ one note alone can be the music

which needs to be voiced by one word (alone) if need be ~ the question

does not say anything about instrumental accompaniment ~ a singer is a

musician ~ simply by singing words and a tune ~ where does harmony come

into it? Difficult to harmonise with oneself

Ray


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: RTim
Date: 27 Mar 18 - 12:17 PM

You can sing and harmonize with yourself...as in Tuvan Throat Singing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qx8hrhBZJ98

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: RTim
Date: 27 Mar 18 - 12:25 PM

Or - many ways....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORSniDUdUFM

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Raedwulf
Date: 27 Mar 18 - 12:34 PM

A singer is certainly a musician, Ray. I think we all mostly agreed on that a while ago. And the OED's claim for 'harmony' do make things awkward, dunnit?! ;-)

The grey areas where spoken word or rhythm shades into music... I've no idea, mate. As Johnny wisely says (sort of), "It may not be to my tastes, but if you think you're a musician... You probably are!" ;-)


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 27 Mar 18 - 03:37 PM

Definitions of music exist which might exclude singers, solo instrumentalists or percussionists, etc. They fall down because there is no inherent exclusiveness in the art form, but rather an inability of the English language to express the whole by its constituent parts. Just because an aspect is left out doesn't mean that it isn't valid for inclusion.

DC


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 27 Mar 18 - 08:25 PM

"Definitions of music exist which might exclude singers, solo instrumentalists or percussionists, etc."

Yup, lots of them. Which adhere in vast and populous regions of the world. You might even have someone who lives next door who follows such a definition. And it's equally valid as distinguishing between singing and speaking... though both acts involve the use of voice to make sound that varies in pitch, timbre, and rhythm. Yet somehow one's vocal sounds magically become singing, and this "singing" becomes "music."

It seems to me more understandable (albeit no more "correct") that someone would distinguish between vocal expression in sound and an instrumental expression in sound, and to place the latter in a separate category ("music").


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Jim bainbridge
Date: 30 Mar 18 - 01:58 PM

I once picked up a Dutch hitch hiker in West Cork & after a short conversation she told me she was a musician
Next weekend, I encountered her at a local 'trad' session, where she played a very unrhythmic bodhran .
Now I sing and accompany myself- do I qualify as a musician even if my instrument is the melodeon?


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Apr 18 - 05:23 PM

i met that woman i had to tell her to desist from murdering a dead goat 100 where is leadfingers?


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Rossey
Date: 03 Apr 18 - 07:17 PM

At the end of the day. a musician plays an external object which has been converted or facilitated to make sounds. Musicians may also sing. Singers who only use their voice, only play a metaphorical internal instrument. My father was a singer, he sure as hell wasn't a musician. My brother is a musician who also sings. But anybody who performs music could join the Musician's Union.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: r.padgett
Date: 04 Apr 18 - 02:39 AM

NO your father was a singer, he sang a tune however good or bad and also sang a set of words
The voice is a musical instrument ~ singers are musicians

Ray


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Apr 18 - 05:08 PM

Mmm. Ray this is more philosophical. The voice is not an instrument. By definition an instrument is an external object altered or utilised to play sounds. A voice is just internal, natural and only metaphorically an instrument. Ok you sing and perform music... but it is not learning a skill to play an external note producing object.. but anyway, everybody is right and wrong. depending on the angle you come at! Some singers are trained or train themselves to use their metaphorical vocal instrument. I would call this one debatable (but no winner either side!) A good pub argument, that might end up in someone banging their head off the table in frustration, or possibly banging someone else's head off the table!


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Raedwulf
Date: 04 Apr 18 - 06:20 PM

Rossey - No, the voice is not an instrument, but your claim that a musician must play an instrument is not supported by e.g. the OED! See my response to Ray, 05:57AM, 27/3. Also, a less serious response to Andy7 at 09:04 21/3.


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: r.padgett
Date: 05 Apr 18 - 03:20 AM

My view is that the voice was in fact the first and original musical instrument that god gave us and probably all music was devised with the voice in mind! and used as a bench mark for scales and keys etc

Ray


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Apr 18 - 03:49 AM

The term 'vocal music' says it all for me
It's a long tome since I read Bruno Netl's 'Primitive Music' and John Blacking's 'How Musical is Man' which were both influential in persuading me that the voice was man's first musical instrument - time I read them again, I think
'Click music' and mimicking animals for food gathering (like imitating bees for honey-gathering) - are very early examples of the voice being used as a musical instrument
More recently, the voice being used to produce music for dancing when there are no musical instruments available, or in Scotland for retaining the subtleties of tunes.
The voice is basically a tool used to communicate ideas - once you use it for something else it becomes what it is used for
This is basically a philosophical point, same as - if you are caught in flood and turn a table upside down to escape, does it become a boat?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: GUEST,Rossey
Date: 05 Apr 18 - 09:41 AM

I can see your point Jim 'diddling' or 'mouth music' is using the voice as a substitute musical instrument. But as you say it turns to the philosophical and semantics and subsets when you have an ordinary singer. As far as I'm concerned my late father was a singer not a musician, and he used musicians to back him up. As a whole band they were musicians. But within the subset my old man was a singer, not himself a musician    Whereas my brother who was originally my father's backing musician and harmoniser -is a musician who now sings to his own backing! This one just goes round! Everybody is right though! My head hurts!


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Apr 18 - 11:13 AM

"My head hurts!"
Mine too - but that's more about the Bourbon I consumed last night
THis isn't really important, but what is important is that, if you want to be in any way a proficient singer you need to treat your voice as a musical instrument and master it in the same way
MacColl always made a bign thing of this when he worked with other singers; he evolved a series of exercises to keep the voice in good shape - still works for me nearly fifty years later
Below are excepts fom a long series of interviews we did with him in the early 1980s
Jim Caaarroll

Recording 4.
“Now you might say that working and training to develop your voice to sing Nine Maidens A-milking Did Go or Lord Randall is calculated to destroy your original joy in singing, at least that’s the argument that’s put to me from time to time, or has been put to me from time to time by singers who should know better.
The better you can do a thing the more you enjoy it. Anybody who’s ever tried to sing and got up in front of an audience and made a bloody mess of it knows that you’re not enjoying it when you’re making a balls of it, but you are enjoying it when it’s working, when all the things you want to happen are happening. And that can happen without training, sure it can, but it’s hit or miss. If you’re training it can happen more, that’s the difference. It can’t happen every time, not with anybody, although your training can stand you in good stead, it’s something to fall back on, a technique, you know. It’s something that will at least make sure that you’re not absolutely diabolical         
The objective, really for the singer is to create a situation where when he starts to sing he’s no longer worried about technique; he’s done all that, and he can give the whole of his or her attention to the song itself, she can give her or he can give his whole attention to the sheer act of enjoying the song”.
(Interview tape 3).

This is what he said in response to the often repeated claims that traditional singers did not concern themselves with technique but produced their songs “naturally” without thought or preparation; in other words unconsciously.

“I believe that this notion really begins in the Romantic Movement. It begins with that notion of the rude, unlettered hind with a heart of gold and all the rest of it. Basically, today, I see it as a very reactionary and very bourgeois point of view. I think it stems from a belief that the working class are incapable of doing anything which demands a high level of expertise and a high level of skill, particularly in the creative field.
How is it possible then, that this body of music that we call folk song and folk music, traditional song, traditional music, whatever you like to call it, how is it possible that this, which has been made by labourers, seamen and all the rest of it, should have, should demand this level of expertise, should demand this high level of craftsmanship on the part of its performers. “No”, they say, “the songs are simple”, and all the rest of it. And that is nonsense; that is utter nonsense.
To some extent it’s the same idea that the nineteenth century English folk song collectors had about the music itself; they talked about it being simple, “the simple music of unlettered people”. But unlettered there is used as a pejorative term, as though the ability to read and write is all important. The implication being that if you can read and write, then you are going to be a better singer than if you can’t read or write, and we know that’s nonsense.
It’s this snob thing and it’s the snob thing which makes them say “you don’t need to work at it; you don’t need a high level of craftsmanship to perform this.
The best of folk music in the world, wherever it comes from, whether it’s a Joe Heaney or whether it’s that young man singing those Azerbaijani songs, is full of the most extraordinary expertise, full of the most extraordinary physical ideas, vocal ideas I mean, I mean physical in the vocal sense”.
(Interview, tape three).


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Apr 18 - 02:37 PM

In the 70s I booked that Fred Jordan for a festival concert. I billed him as a brilliant musician. The place was packed but they all asked for their money back at the end. Mind you, he did spend half an hour tuning his vocal cords.

I'll get me coat!


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Raedwulf
Date: 05 Apr 18 - 02:57 PM

The term 'vocal music' says it all for me

Indeed, Jim. You might have included 'instrumental music' in the statement mind. ;-) Different sorts of music with very different & definite defining characteristics (one might talk about 'classical', 'folk', 'heavy metal', etc...). But all music, when all is said & done. If it ain't to your taste, hard luck; enjoy the fact that someone else enjoys it... And run away from it as fast as possible! ;-)

P.S. Bourbon? When there's good Irish whiskey to be had?! I may never forgive you... :p


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Apr 18 - 03:12 PM

"I may never forgive you.."
A Lidl lapse Raedwulf
Can't afford Middleton and have to be in the mood for Jameson - I'm not keen on the rest
I'm a Scotch malt man Laphroig at heart, but Highland Park will do
Cheers
Jim


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Raedwulf
Date: 05 Apr 18 - 03:50 PM

:D You're forgiven. Auchentoshan insists... ;-)


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: r.padgett
Date: 06 Apr 18 - 03:16 AM

WEll your fault for mis describing him thus Steve Gardham ~ as you know there are (nowadays) many different audiences and a sophisticated awkward bunch they are too!!

Ray


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Subject: RE: Is a singer a musician?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 06 Apr 18 - 04:21 AM

From: Johnny J
Date: 27 Mar 18 - 05:34 AM

How does this apply to Rap artists? Not that I think there's much in the way of music there.....


That one's easy.
There's:
A-Singers
B-Instrumentalists
C-Rap

(The final hyphen may not have been necessary)


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