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#1
Well...do you?

I for one think Coltrane and Herbie Hancock were equally as brilliant as Bach and Beethoven. Obviously, I still have a lot to learn about music and my opinion might change as I learn more, but with my current knowledge of music I am willing to make this assertion.


(Xiouxi and Tehrealcaptain, I imagine you guys will have much to say on this topic).
I couldn't think of a thing that I hope tomorrow brings
#2
i don't think so -- at least, not about bach. bach combined the genius of mathematics with the genius of music -- nobody i have ever heard of has ever done such a thing at such a superhuman level.

beethoven, maybe. but remember that classical musicians take the abilities of music to a higher level - they were expected to sight-read and have excellent ears (which is also expected from good jazz musicians, don't get me wrong). but classical musicians tended to take their training and knowledge to a higher level (generally; can't say that for all of them, of course). for that reason alone, i hold functional classical musicians in a slightly higher regard.

that said, you could learn just as much from bach and beethoven as you could from coltrane and hancock. they're both extremely involved, extremely complex genres.

before anyone flames me for stating my opinion (as though it were illegal), i thoroughly enjoy both genres.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
Last edited by AeolianWolf at Jul 27, 2011,
#3
Quote by AeolianWolf
but classical musicians tended to take their training and knowledge to a higher level (generally; can't say that for all of them, of couse. for that reason alone, i hold functional classical musicians in a slightly higher regard.



My ear training professor last semester was a classical piano teacher. Apparently, he had this student, a young girl, who was playing some pretty heavy stuff for a young player, Chopin and the like. One day, as a small improvising exercise, he had her improvise over a few chords; apparently, when asked to spell an A7 chord, she literally had to use the keyboard, and find each note of the chord painstakingly one at a time.

This is obviously a huge generalization, but I think that a lot of classical musicians can kind of get by without developing critical skills such as these.

That being said, jazz musicians can also get by without being truly great sightreaders, so I'm not disregarding the point you made.
I couldn't think of a thing that I hope tomorrow brings
#5
For me, both groups are at the peak of their game. The difference, I think, is that many more classical musicians are merely playing the works of these composers(I say merely but I know this is very demanding) whereas jazz musicians, in general, will be influenced by these great players and then go on to create their own sound. To me, that leaves a greater mark in music. However, this is assuming that only classical musicians listen to Bach which is of course not true. So, its a grey are where I would say its easiest to just group them all together as outrageous!
Andy
#6
My history of music professor told us a tale of two pianist (actually happened just terrible with names) a great jazz pianist and a great classical pianist. the classical pianist was a great admirer of the Jazz artist and painstakingly learned one of his pieces, invited him over for dinner, and played it for him. the jazz musician was very impressed. It was quite a difficult piece and it was performed with great virtuosity. "wow," the jazz player said, "wow that was great now why dont you try improvising the B section?" the Classical player was taken aback "Improvise? I dont understand...whats wrong with it? why should i improvise?" for the rest of the evening the Jazz player played themes and variations of the piece upside down, backwards, maybe even upside down and backwards.

long story short...they are two different genres so saying one is better than the other is a matter of pure speculation. however, i will say this beethoven scared the pants outta composers for nearly 100 years after his death. "where can we go from here?" theyd say. (or theyd right nine symphonies and die from the curse of the nine). but music continued on anyway..
#7
Quote by thegloaming
Well...do you?

I for one think Coltrane and Herbie Hancock were equally as brilliant as Bach and Beethoven. Obviously, I still have a lot to learn about music and my opinion might change as I learn more, but with my current knowledge of music I am willing to make this assertion.


(Xiouxi and Tehrealcaptain, I imagine you guys will have much to say on this topic).



I think it's foolish to think this way.

IMO you shouldn't worry about what's "better" or held in "higher regard". If you enjoy the music...... listen to it.......play it on your guitar.

deeming one genre to be better than another is for the elitists. Personally, I get alot more out of appreciation than I do judgement. Judgements makes you feel better about yourself (since YOUR the judge), but appreciation actually gives you something positive .... something you can use.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jul 26, 2011,
#8
I think jazz composers like duke and mingus would've been better for the sake of comparison. but frankly, they're two different styles of music completely with different skill sets required. any musician worth their salt in either field can play the other proficiently.

I think jazz players and classical players should be respected on equal ground in general. but to say someone, even if that someone is Coltrane, is neck and neck with Bach if even a little beyond me. Bach was a beast. so was Coltrane. the dude practiced compulsively. but Bach did faaar more for music than Coltrane did in an objective sense. Coltrane would've played ANYTHING Bach had written for him with artistic integrity and the necessary tone and intensity. and he wouldve done it effortlessly. likewise Bach could've
kept up with improvising (though probably with fewer alterations and extensions). even over Giant Steps.

and herbie? eh. I think that's flat out wrong but you have your opinions, I have mine.
#DTWD
#9
I dont really
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#11
Quote by thegloaming
My ear training professor last semester was a classical piano teacher. Apparently, he had this student, a young girl, who was playing some pretty heavy stuff for a young player, Chopin and the like. One day, as a small improvising exercise, he had her improvise over a few chords; apparently, when asked to spell an A7 chord, she literally had to use the keyboard, and find each note of the chord painstakingly one at a time.

This is obviously a huge generalization, but I think that a lot of classical musicians can kind of get by without developing critical skills such as these.

That being said, jazz musicians can also get by without being truly great sightreaders, so I'm not disregarding the point you made.



The best classical musicians, which you are talking about, would have no such problem. They are also usually monstrous improvisers and sometimes also composers - to take a hit at other people who mentioned faults there. Musical literalism where improvisation in classical is kept to a minimum is a fairly recent trend; one that I would love to see dissipate.

But yes, either way, what does it matter. If a piece is played for you and its great then its great on its own. I never really think about how it would stand up to other things especially across genres.
Last edited by Vlasco at Jul 26, 2011,
#12
i hold jazz musicians, as performers in much higher regard (most top classical performers would probably be able to play this--with a bit of practice, and do a very very solid job sightreading it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gy5HbiDTaKw i doubt they could both invent it--or something of similar levels of awesome--, and execute and interpret it at the same time though) as composers, id say i hold them in the same regard as to my views on the quality of their music, however 9.9/10ths of jazz harmony (actually harmony as we know it) was invented by classical composers, and then re-used and re-distributed by jazz players--so you couldn't say that any jazz player/composer is at the same level of harmonic innovation as any comperable classical composer.
all the best.
(insert self-aggrandizing quote here)
Last edited by tehREALcaptain at Jul 26, 2011,
#13
Quote by jrenkert
My history of music professor told us a tale of two pianist (actually happened just terrible with names) a great jazz pianist and a great classical pianist. the classical pianist was a great admirer of the Jazz artist and painstakingly learned one of his pieces, invited him over for dinner, and played it for him. the jazz musician was very impressed. It was quite a difficult piece and it was performed with great virtuosity. "wow," the jazz player said, "wow that was great now why dont you try improvising the B section?" the Classical player was taken aback "Improvise? I dont understand...whats wrong with it? why should i improvise?" for the rest of the evening the Jazz player played themes and variations of the piece upside down, backwards, maybe even upside down and backwards.

long story short...they are two different genres so saying one is better than the other is a matter of pure speculation. however, i will say this beethoven scared the pants outta composers for nearly 100 years after his death. "where can we go from here?" theyd say. (or theyd right nine symphonies and die from the curse of the nine). but music continued on anyway..

I love this. I don't know why, but I love it.

Brilliant, brilliant post.

Quote by thegloaming
My ear training professor last semester was a classical piano teacher. Apparently, he had this student, a young girl, who was playing some pretty heavy stuff for a young player, Chopin and the like. One day, as a small improvising exercise, he had her improvise over a few chords; apparently, when asked to spell an A7 chord, she literally had to use the keyboard, and find each note of the chord painstakingly one at a time.

This is obviously a huge generalization, but I think that a lot of classical musicians can kind of get by without developing critical skills such as these.

That being said, jazz musicians can also get by without being truly great sightreaders, so I'm not disregarding the point you made.



There's a big difference between a Classical performer and a Classical musician.
Last edited by DiminishedFifth at Jul 26, 2011,
#14
Quote by tehREALcaptain
i hold jazz musicians, as performers in much higher regard (most top classical performers would probably be able to play this--with a bit of practice, and do a very very solid job sightreading it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gy5HbiDTaKw i doubt they could both invent it--or something of similar levels of awesome--, and execute and interpret it at the same time though) as composers, id say i hold them in the same regard as to my views on the quality of their music, however 9.9/10ths of jazz harmony (actually harmony as we know it) was invented by classical composers, and then re-used and re-distributed by jazz players--so you couldn't say that any jazz player/composer is at the same level of harmonic innovation as any comperable classical composer.



Top piano players could read that fluently the first time through. Would they write that? Probably not, but that's just because they end up writing totally different things such as:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qv3oeGDSfQ

As for making stuff up on the spot:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYOiSUMDheg


It's just an entirely different kind of improv.
#15
Quote by Vlasco
Top piano players could read that fluently the first time through. Would they write that? Probably not, but that's just because they end up writing totally different things such as:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qv3oeGDSfQ

As for making stuff up on the spot:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYOiSUMDheg


It's just an entirely different kind of improv.

this is my kind of improv: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvUbrbFdJ8g
#16
I remember seeing a concert of Horrowitz in his own home, and he was playing something and the producer asked him "that's beatiful, what piece is that?" and he said "oh, it's just a little improvisation." The producer, surprised, asked "you improvise?" to which Horrowitz immediately replied "Of course! I'm still a musician!"

That being said, improvisation and non-improvisational performance are two entirely different worlds. To be a non-improvisational performer and be at the level required to do it professionally requires a depth of interpretation that is incredibly difficult to achieve. All performers are doing the same thing: they are adapting and creating onstage to convey something to the audience. An improvisation uses notes as means of variation and adaptation, whereas a non-improvisational performance uses dynamics, color, etc. as their primary materials for variation. Now, an improviser will use these too, but it is not as essential as it is for a non-improviser since they are creating a musical line that must be effective, whereas a non-improviser already has the notes of that line in front of them.

However both must use different means to accomplish the same thing: an effective performance. A bad improviser is boring as is a performer who does nothing but read the notes off the page. But a good improviser and a good interpreter are doing equally difficult things on stage, they just happen to be of a different nature.
#17
the question begs...will Tatum, Coltrane, Corea, Peterson etc be remembered, by their music in one hundred years plus from now...

giving..peterson is in the top degree of keyboard techinque..like his music not..could bach etc play at that level...perhaps..the classic guys had more "rules" to follow..in a manner of speaking...and they "composed" ... very different animal..their music can be played in many variations and tempos and interpertations..could the classic guys improvise over todays basic "standard" progressions...why not...if they were immersed in todays music culture they may rise to the top tier of players

remember this also...the sheer number of musicians in the classic days was pale in comparison to todays numbers of "very good" players...still pale to the number of top tier players..

ask this question in another hundred years...
Last edited by wolflen at Jul 27, 2011,
#18
I have never been too much into improvised music. I don't really see the point why you would have to make up music at the place. I respect classical composers in a very high regard but I also appreciate good jazz musicians a lot. It feels wrong to compare two genres, but I'm more into classical.
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#19
Quote by wolflen
the question begs...will Tatum, Coltrane, Corea, Peterson etc be remembered, by their music in one hundred years plus from now...

Well, I think Improvisation is more about in-the-moment musical performances rather then anything to be preserved. Bach was an improvisor, but his legacy in that vein remains (largely) only through documentation and sources describing what they saw. Certainly what we remember is bach's written music, but I certainly don't think Bach improvised in order to have something to be remembered by, that's what his composing was for.

I think Jazz musicians think similarly.
#20
I personally would say no. Bach/Beethoven were some of the greatest improvisers of their day... and a whole lot more besides. You want to talk improvisation? The story of Bach improvising a double fugue on a given theme is one of the most terrifying feats of musicianship I've ever heard.

That said - all musicians at that kind of level are beyond reproach - and is it really fair to compare the best musicians of the last 400 years with some of the best of the last 100?
#23
Eh, they can't really be compared with the same criteria.

Improvisation is a different kind of art from composition. Composition is more about having the ability to construct a profound architecture through careful and thorough planning, something that takes a great deal of far reaching mental aptitude. Improvisation is the opposite; it is about developing a rapidly responsive intuition that will work very well in the moment.

In my mind there is no one with more compositional mastery than Bach. Coltrane's compositions cannot even begin to compare on the level of detail and logic that Bach was able to develop. But Bach surely wouldn't have been able to improvise in the fluid fashion of Coltrane, even if he is known as a great improviser of his time.

It really doesn't make sense to compare jazz and classical artists on these terms. They hold very different goals and intentions, and their practices are very different. They're both masters at their respective arts, and that's really the dead end of how we can compare them.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#24
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Eh, they can't really be compared with the same criteria.

Improvisation is a different kind of art from composition. Composition is more about having the ability to construct a profound architecture through careful and thorough planning, something that takes a great deal of far reaching mental aptitude. Improvisation is the opposite; it is about developing a rapidly responsive intuition that will work very well in the moment.

In my mind there is no one with more compositional mastery than Bach. Coltrane's compositions cannot even begin to compare on the level of detail and logic that Bach was able to develop. But Bach surely wouldn't have been able to improvise in the fluid fashion of Coltrane, even if he is known as a great improviser of his time.

It really doesn't make sense to compare jazz and classical artists on these terms. They hold very different goals and intentions, and their practices are very different. They're both masters at their respective arts, and that's really the dead end of how we can compare them.


now THAT's a brilliant post.
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#25
Bach surely wouldn't have been able to improvise in the fluid fashion of Coltrane, even if he is known as a great improviser of his time.


That's an interesting logical leap there. Bach was known as an excellent improviser by his peers... but he was probably not as good as recent improvisers known as excellent by their peers. Hmmmmmmmm.

now THAT's a brilliant post.


Only if you overlook the standard of improvisation in the classical greats. Mozart, Bach, Chopin - all were famed for being able to improvise things on the level of complexity we would consider "composed".

Chopin would often just jam, come home and notate the best bits by memory.

Pretty much the same process the Hellborg Lane Sipe albums were done with.
#26
Quote by thegloaming
My ear training professor last semester was a classical piano teacher. Apparently, he had this student, a young girl, who was playing some pretty heavy stuff for a young player, Chopin and the like. One day, as a small improvising exercise, he had her improvise over a few chords; apparently, when asked to spell an A7 chord, she literally had to use the keyboard, and find each note of the chord painstakingly one at a time.

This is obviously a huge generalization, but I think that a lot of classical musicians can kind of get by without developing critical skills such as these.

That's because they are performers. In modern times, the schism between performing and composing has widened too much. These two disciplines, like many other things throughout history, have developed and become specialized so much to the point where it is difficult to maintain both at maximum capacity.

Jazz is unique in that it always require a literary understanding of the music even in the performance role. But this isn't true of classical music, which mindless readers can perform well. At the same time, the composition of jazz is not nearly as developed as classical music.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#27
Quote by Freepower
That's an interesting logical leap there. Bach was known as an excellent improviser by his peers... but he was probably not as good as recent improvisers known as excellent by their peers. Hmmmmmmmm.

Not on the same standards.

Yes, Bach was able to improvise fugues, which is an almost unrealistic feat, but stylistically I doubt that his improvisatory language is as fluid as Coltrane's. I think compared to Coltrane's standards, Bach's improvisations would sound a little too stiff to the modern listener. The kinds of linear color that people like Coltrane and Parker have developed is leaps and bounds beyond what Bach could have imagined.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#28
Sure, modern jazz saxophone has a tremendous variety of articulation and a great deal of history to draw on - but Bach was equally seen as harmonically advanced and his linear phrases reflected his advanced knowledge of harmony.

I'm not saying Bird and Trane weren't ahead of the curve - but they weren't 100, 200 years ahead of the curve like Bach was.
#29
Quote by Freepower
Sure, modern jazz saxophone has a tremendous variety of articulation and a great deal of history to draw on - but Bach was equally seen as harmonically advanced and his linear phrases reflected his advanced knowledge of harmony.

I'm not saying Bird and Trane weren't ahead of the curve - but they weren't 100, 200 years ahead of the curve like Bach was.

I understand that, but it's a pretty hazy conversion, again why it's futile to gauge jazz and classical musicians in the same contest. You could argue that jazz hasn't had the 1000 years head start of a distinct musical development that classical has which led to its increasingly complex philosophy and intentions.

Bach aside, classical musicians as a whole don't specialize in improvisation. Bach had the advantage of being from an era which was comparable to jazz, but classical music has since become overly dictated by the notation.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#30
^ sure, but I don't think improvisation as standard really stopped with Bach. Like I was saying, plenty of accounts of Beethoven, Paganini, Chopin and Mozart all just improvising as a standard form of performance.

I absolutely agree it's apples and oranges we're comparing, but I thought a few things bore mentioning that might otherwise be glossed over. Mostly how ridiculously good a lot of classical musicians are - to be remembered from 200 years ago, you can't just put out an album with a few interesting chord progressions.
#31
Quote by Freepower
^ sure, but I don't think improvisation as standard really stopped with Bach. Like I was saying, plenty of accounts of Beethoven, Paganini, Chopin and Mozart all just improvising as a standard form of performance.
All of whom followed closely after Bach.

Paganin's compositions are extremely pedestrian and did nothing to progress the art. Chopin was only competent on the piano, and had no grasp of other essential expectations of the usual great composers such as writing for full orchestra or other instruments. So I would say composers like these, when considering all of their musicianship, aren't on the same level as Bach or Beethoven.

And take Wagner for example, a late romantic composer who dedicated all of his focus to the expansive compositions and production of his compositions. He has no notable instrumental skills.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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Last edited by Xiaoxi at Jul 27, 2011,
#32
The debate is just classical versus jazz musicians - those guys are all musicians, composers or not. I'm not talking about how forward thinking their composition was - just that they are incredible musicians.
#33
Quote by Freepower
The debate is just classical versus jazz musicians - those guys are all musicians, composers or not. I'm not talking about how forward thinking their composition was - just that they are incredible musicians.

Yea, I know. I'm just pointing out that starting in the 1800's the schism between the role of composition and performance has already started to become very notable. Also I rip on Paganini and Chopin whenever there's an opportunity.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#34
You shit. Those guys rock!

I think you've brought up an interesting idea there as well - that classical music has moved more and more towards the whole orchestra being an extension of a single vision, with all the planning and writing out that entails, jazz has moved more and more towards the freedom of the individual musicians to do as they please.

Look at early New Orleans jazz and the fairly proscribed roles and ranges of instruments, and compare it to... well... free jazz.
#35
Quote by Freepower
You shit. Those guys rock!
uuuggghhhh

I think you've brought up an interesting idea there as well - that classical music has moved more and more towards the whole orchestra being an extension of a single vision, with all the planning and writing out that entails
Well, classical music itself has had a lot of splits. There are significant portions of contemporary classical that are reactions against the overplanning of traditional practice. Aleatoric music and other avante garde classical are similar to free jazz.

Jazz has moved more and more towards the freedom of the individual musicians to do as they please.
I don't know if it's moved more, because mainstream jazz is still entrenched in the leadsheet practice, but the free improv moment exists. I predict that as time goes on, jazz composers will become more ambitious/controlling in their writing and move toward more need for notation.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#36
Quote by Xiaoxi
Not on the same standards.

Yes, Bach was able to improvise fugues, which is an almost unrealistic feat, but stylistically I doubt that his improvisatory language is as fluid as Coltrane's. I think compared to Coltrane's standards, Bach's improvisations would sound a little too stiff to the modern listener. The kinds of linear color that people like Coltrane and Parker have developed is leaps and bounds beyond what Bach could have imagined.



This sounds more like a stylistic thing to me rather than a lacking on Bach's part.
#37
This is kind of a side-note, but just as classical musicians can't be stereotyped as being unable to improvise, jazz musicians can't be stereotyped as being unable to compose and create clever, well thought out arrangements. I've heard Pat Metheny has written some incredibly lush sounding pieces arranged for full orchestra.

Also, the intro to this might lack the complexity of a Bach fugue, but clearly some work went into carefully planning and arranging it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wylsKmKdL3k
I couldn't think of a thing that I hope tomorrow brings
#38
In general, the great masters of classical can improvise better than the great masters of jazz can compose. This speaking from a strictly technical standpoint.
#39
Also, big band jazz is mostly composed and contains very little improvisation, and some of it is very intricate music with a lot of color.

Before anybody jumps on my case, I'm not saying Big Band music is on the same level of complexity as Ravel or Wagner. But jazz musicians do in fact play composed music...it isn't always just about rushing through the head to get your turn to solo.
I couldn't think of a thing that I hope tomorrow brings
#40
Don't get me wrong, there are many instances of both kinds of disciplines in both kinds of music. But the core of classical music is the composition, and the core of jazz is the improvisation. That is the fundamental thing to understand, and why to compete one against the other has no real critical value.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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