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Old 11-18-2012, 06:18 AM   #21
Sleepy__Head
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A virtuoso is just someone who is highly skilled. So someone who can play fast, or someone who writes complex music, or someone who can improvise in many different styles, fit in with the band and still sound like themselves, or someone who demonstrates a high degree of musical skill in some other way. Music's a broad field of endeavour and you can demonstrate skill in any number of ways.

Personally I would say Branton Marsalis is a virtuoso, Liszt was a virtuoso, so was Bach, Glenn Gould, probably I could add another 50 names to the list ...
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:21 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by CryogenicHusk
I once read one of the more famous shredders (I THINK it was Vai, but I'd have to get back to you on that if I find it again) said something like virtuosi being defined by being able to play what they heard in their head effortlessly and at will, no accidents and on first try. This involves having significant knowledge of your instrument and of music in general.

By that definition, Clapton could possibly be considered a virtuoso. Maybe he can't play as fast as Michael Angelo Batio, but he's playing what comes from his heart/mind... what he hears in his head, what he means to play. One could argue the apparent disparity in "technique" (read highest tempo at which they can play) comes from stylistic differences.They're both playing what they hear in their head and want other people to hear.

+1 for first paragraph
I don't agree with the second one though. I think it's more related to a general standard than something as subjective as you made it out to be.

Last edited by Guitarra_acores : 11-18-2012 at 09:23 AM.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:39 AM   #23
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Some songs are called "virtuoso songs" and they are only about showing off your skills. They are usually pretty fast and sound harder than they really are.
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Old 11-18-2012, 03:09 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by MaggaraMarine
Some songs are called "virtuoso songs" and they are only about showing off your skills. They are usually pretty fast and sound harder than they really are.


paganini is the exception

those schlomo mintz recordings make my hands hurt when i listen and i don't even play violin
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Old 11-18-2012, 03:50 PM   #25
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:51 PM   #26
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Well check Satch Boogie on youtube, you'll get an idea of virtuous songs.

By definition well check Satriani, Vai, Petrucci, Timmons, Malmsteen, Becker, Gilbert, etc on wikipedia
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:11 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Guitarra_acores
+1 for first paragraph
I don't agree with the second one though. I think it's more related to a general standard than something as subjective as you made it out to be.


But who is setting the standard, then? Jimi Hendrix? Steve Vai? Michael Angelo Batio? This guy ? They're all better than almost everyone in their own particular way.

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Old 11-20-2012, 03:30 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by CryogenicHusk
But who is setting the standard, then? Jimi Hendrix? Steve Vai? Michael Angelo Batio? This guy ? They're all better than almost everyone in their own particular way.


I think answering that question isn't helpful. When I talk about "standard" I'm thinking of something abstract... it is somewhat subjective, but not as much as your 2nd paragraph sugested IMO.

If my only goal is to be able to play an open chord, and one day I can play it perfectly, I can't call myself a virtuoso even if technique isn't an obstacle to my creativity... there's a certain skill level expected to be achieved before calling someone that. The 3 you mentioned definitely deserve that title.
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:04 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Guitarra_acores
IThe 3 you mentioned definitely deserve that title.


I mentioned 4, so I'm guessing you're excluding Jimi?

It's ok that you disagree, but I am willing to bet there's things that you've never considered: the reason I said one could argue Clapton, Hendrix and Page could be considered virtuosi, is that they learned their trade from scratch. By the time those other 80s and later shredder guys were around, there was much more literature and knowledge on the subject of electric rock guitar than there was 20 years prior, so of course they had more time to dedicate to raw twiddly diddly finger skill, that you seem to be zooming in on the argument, than their predecessors who had to work stuff out on their own.

There was no tab online back then and hardly any songbooks, especially for their genre. They weren't classically trained (well at least Page and Hendrix, not sure about Clapton), and rock guitar teachers weren't that common, I'm willing to wager. It takes talent to work on those skills almost entirely on your own. Easy for you and I to take it granted cause we have the wealth of info on the internet... we have books, forums, online lessons, tab, audio manipulation programs to slow down song parts, etc, and I bet you've used at least some of these resources to aid you in your learning process.

On the other hand, maybe these 3 guys weren't as skilled in playing with their fingers what they heard in their head (a lot of people can play solos but relatively few are actually doing more than just playing over memorized patterns in the same key or taking their time figuring out something beforehand through trial and error and memorizing it then playing it, which can sound great, but doesn't equate in skill to hearing it first in your head and effortlessly playing it on the guitar without mistakes) and their solos were pretty accidental... I really don't know for sure. I mean they're definitely not just punk guitarists, but I am quite aware there's far better technical players.

I just think that despite not quite being considered virtuosi, they definitely exhibit talent and merit. But there's certainly room for opinion...

Last edited by CryogenicHusk : 11-20-2012 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:27 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by CryogenicHusk
I mentioned 4, so I'm guessing you're excluding Jimi?

It's ok that you disagree, but I am willing to bet there's things that you've never considered: the reason I said one could argue Clapton, Hendrix and Page could be considered virtuosi, is that they learned their trade from scratch. By the time those other 80s and later shredder guys were around, there was much more literature and knowledge on the subject of electric rock guitar than there was 20 years prior, so of course they had more time to dedicate to raw twiddly diddly finger skill, that you seem to be zooming in on the argument, than their predecessors who had to work stuff out on their own.

There was no tab online back then and hardly any songbooks, especially for their genre. They weren't classically trained (well at least Page and Hendrix, not sure about Clapton), and rock guitar teachers weren't that common, I'm willing to wager. It takes talent to work on those skills almost entirely on your own. Easy for you and I to take it granted cause we have the wealth of info on the internet... we have books, forums, online lessons, tab, audio manipulation programs to slow down song parts, etc, and I bet you've used at least some of these resources to aid you in your learning process.

On the other hand, maybe these 3 guys weren't as skilled in playing with their fingers what they heard in their head (a lot of people can play solos but relatively few are actually doing more than just playing over memorized patterns in the same key or taking their time figuring out something beforehand through trial and error and memorizing it then playing it, which can sound great, but doesn't equate in skill to hearing it first in your head and effortlessly playing it on the guitar without mistakes) and their solos were pretty accidental... I really don't know for sure. I mean they're definitely not just punk guitarists, but I am quite aware there's far better technical players.

I just think that despite not quite being considered virtuosi, they definitely exhibit talent and merit. But there's certainly room for opinion...


Let me just make it clear I don't care how fast someone plays at all, I think speed is a good weapon to have when used in a specific context (to convey energy, anger, etc) but it's extremely boring when used as a gimmick. If the guitar player has groove and a gift for melody and expression, I'm instantly hooked.

But I do relate virtuosity with technique. Page, Hendrix, Beck, etc... are no doubt amazing musicians, I'm just unsure if from a technical point of view they can be called virtuosi. I agree we have it easy these days, who knows how much better they could be with the information we have, but we can only judge facts, not suppositions.

At the end of the day it doesn't really matter if they can be called virtuosi or not, they are still amazing musicians and artists who I would rather listen to than some guy going up and down scales at 500bpm. I don't think they even care(d)

Last edited by Guitarra_acores : 11-20-2012 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:59 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Guitarra_acores
At the end of the day it doesn't really matter if they can be called virtuosi or not, they are still amazing musicians and artists who I would rather listen to than some guy going up and down scales at 500bpm. I don't think they even care(d)


Amen to that.
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:29 PM   #32
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I always took the term to mean someone who was not only technically skilled, but musically innovative. So for their time, Vai, Satriani, and Malmsteen were all virtuosos, but if some average joe shredder came along doing the exact same thing, I wouldn't as readily apply the status to him, since the style has been around for quite a while.
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:29 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by NathanielLost
I always took the term to mean someone who was not only technically skilled, but musically innovative. So for their time, Vai, Satriani, and Malmsteen were all virtuosos, but if some average joe shredder came along doing the exact same thing, I wouldn't as readily apply the status to him, since the style has been around for quite a while.


those 3 are all average joe shredders tho
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Old 11-21-2012, 05:18 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by NathanielLost
I always took the term to mean someone who was not only technically skilled, but musically innovative. So for their time, Vai, Satriani, and Malmsteen were all virtuosos, but if some average joe shredder came along doing the exact same thing, I wouldn't as readily apply the status to him, since the style has been around for quite a while.


I have always thought that anyone who has mastered the instrument is a virtuoso, whether or not they are musically innovative.
The way i see it, a student who graduates from a conservatory with a bachelors in music performance in instrument X, they would be a virtuoso of that instrument. Anyone who levels on par with them is also a virtuoso.
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Old 11-21-2012, 05:33 PM   #35
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To me man.. A virtuoso is someone who hits the right note, every time. Someone that has no problem conveying their music however they want. The music also goes beyond technically.. It doesn't mean shred the whole song you're a virtuoso.. It means make sense of that shredding.. A virtuoso is someone who can make you stop and listen with one note or give you an eargasm with some amazing upside down legato trick.

Man.. the more I think about it.. the more it sucks.. I don't like labels.
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