What Are We Missing In America?

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
Rognvald
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What Are We Missing In America?

Post by Rognvald » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:34 pm

I am starting this conversation with the sole idea of fleshing out the differences between American and European/Latin American Classical musicians. This is NOT ABOUT POLITICS and I am hopeful that the respondents will honor this important request. But, there seems, to me, that the best musicians in the world are not emanating from the USA but rather from Europe, South America and perhaps, Asia-- irrespective of instrument. When speaking specifically about CG, none of my favorite artists are from the USA. My personal opinion and stereotype of American musicians is that they lack warmth, personality, and emotive expression that gives artistic conviction to their performances. They do, however, exhibit admirable technical ability but their emotive abilities seem, to me, practiced and unnatural. Is this a fault of American pedagogy? Are they great craftsmen but not Artists? In a grand sense, are US musicians of a lesser caliber than their overseas contemporaries and if not, why? (hopefully with a video example). My favorite shortlist of CG's is as follows. They represent my idea of what a musician should say in their music-- Eduardo Fernandez, Fabio Zanon, Yamandu Costa, Judicael Perroy, Ricardo Gallen, Per Olov Kindgren, Roland Dyens, Marcin Dylla, Pavel Steidl, The Assad Brothers, Edson Lopes, Andres Segovia, and Julian Bream. What do you think? Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

Wuuthrad
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Re: What Are We Missing In America?

Post by Wuuthrad » Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:00 am

Since the Americas have created most of the worlds most popular musical genres for the better part of a century, or more, if there's a problem with Classical musicians it may have to do with our educational system. And perhaps Classical music just isn't as popular in the USA as elsewhere.

However I'm only guessing, based on the premise of your question which I do not fully understand, because if one is going to generalize about a musician's capabilities based upon where they were born, that strikes me as more than a matter of opinion- it appears stereotypical and bigoted. But you do this in many topics you post- you create a narrative about bad musicians whom you like to complain about, without actually naming any, which is quite odd!

If you're going to ask these questions, perhaps you could answer how is this helpful and in the spirit of this forum?
And maybe you could listen to music and not worry so much about its country of origin and any presuppositions that may carry?

Music is after all the World's Language isnt it?
"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." -Jean Sibelius

Wuuthrad
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Re: What Are We Missing In America?

Post by Wuuthrad » Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:22 am

Rognvald wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:34 pm
I am starting this conversation with the sole idea of fleshing out the differences between American and European/Latin American Classical musicians. This is NOT ABOUT POLITICS and I am hopeful that the respondents will honor this important request. But, there seems, to me, that the best musicians in the world are not emanating from the USA but rather from Europe, South America and perhaps, Asia-- irrespective of instrument. When speaking specifically about CG, none of my favorite artists are from the USA. My personal opinion and stereotype of American musicians is that they lack warmth, personality, and emotive expression that gives artistic conviction to their performances. They do, however, exhibit admirable technical ability but their emotive abilities seem, to me, practiced and unnatural. Is this a fault of American pedagogy? Are they great craftsmen but not Artists? In a grand sense, are US musicians of a lesser caliber than their overseas contemporaries and if not, why? (hopefully with a video example). My favorite shortlist of CG's is as follows. They represent my idea of what a musician should say in their music-- Eduardo Fernandez, Fabio Zanon, Yamandu Costa, Judicael Perroy, Ricardo Gallen, Per Olov Kindgren, Roland Dyens, Marcin Dylla, Pavel Steidl, The Assad Brothers, Edson Lopes, Andres Segovia, and Julian Bream. What do you think? Playing again . . . Rognvald
Also, from what I've noticed, arrogance, and the superiority complex that often goes along with it, isn't limited to any specific genre of music or any particular nationality.

And this America vs the rest of the world attitude is, to be kind, tired and old fashioned- please give it a rest.
"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." -Jean Sibelius

Rognvald
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Re: What Are We Missing In America?

Post by Rognvald » Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:15 am

"However I'm only guessing, based on the premise of your question which I do not fully understand, because if one is going to generalize about a musician's capabilities based upon where they were born, that strikes me as more than a matter of opinion- it appears stereotypical and bigoted. "
Wuuthrad


Hi, Wuuthrad,
Thanks for your honest opinion although I don't believe name-calling is an intellectual response but rather a failure to communicate effectively on a higher level. However, let's use your analogy. Let's say that I prefer tobacco grown in the Dominican Republic for my cigars rather than that from Nicaragua or that I prefer the smoothness of Columbian Coffee versus that grown in the Jamaica Highlands. Would you say that was stereotypical and bigoted or might that be a matter of taste? How would that be different from comparing American musicians with those from Europe and South America? Is it bigoted to assume there are cultural differences based on where people live that are similar to the differences in coffee grown in different soils and climates? Are we part of the natural world or are humans isolated and divorced from the principles of biology and environment? Is the generalized pedagogy of a country and its national character universal or does it vary from country to country? I'm asking a honest question in this discussion and I'm hoping there will be responses that are not based on politics or prejudice and that there will be those among us that can make a case for American CG's whom they believe fit the category of Artist. And, my reluctance to mention those I do not like as musicians is not timidity or a failure to take a stand but rather to avoid berating those musicians who love what they do and have made a career of performance but do not meet my standards of artistry. Playing again . . . Rognvald

P.S. You have already, in my opinion, attempted to turn this into a discussion of politics after a polite request on my part that this is not what this dialogue is about. I hope we can now change tracks and get back on course.
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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Amy Gaudia
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Re: What Are We Missing In America?

Post by Amy Gaudia » Thu Jul 25, 2019 4:50 am

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petermc61
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Re: What Are We Missing In America?

Post by petermc61 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:14 am

Wuuthrad wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:00 am
Since the Americas have created most of the worlds most popular musical genres for the better part of a century....

Also, from what I've noticed, arrogance, and the superiority complex that often goes along with it, isn't limited to any specific genre of music or any particular nationality.
I’ve placed these two posts together, just for the delicious irony.

Wuuthrad
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Re: What Are We Missing In America?

Post by Wuuthrad » Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:42 am

petermc61 wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:14 am
Wuuthrad wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:00 am
Since the Americas have created most of the worlds most popular musical genres for the better part of a century....

Also, from what I've noticed, arrogance, and the superiority complex that often goes along with it, isn't limited to any specific genre of music or any particular nationality.
I’ve placed these two posts together, just for the delicious irony.
Coincidence really, but it is true. Name a genre of popular music that isn't American in origin with as much global popularity as rock, rock n' roll, blues, jazz, soul, r&b, punk, electronic, techno, house, hip hop, bluegrass or folk? Maybe metal is British, but metal has its roots in rock and blues. And there are arrogant musicians in all genres- I am not one of them by any means! (Look to the OP for that example)

Perhaps this is why, if we were to assume the premise of this topic is true, and I don't believe it is, but for the sake of argument let's say 'Americans aren't as good as the rest of the world at Classical,' because maybe they are better at creating original music as opposed to re-creating someone else's music? After all most people do love a good song, and love to dance! So maybe the focus in America is on popular music more than music of Academia? But of course this is bollocks as there is great music from all over the world in whatever genre suits your fancy, and that's a wonderful thing!

Rognvald, are you seruously comparing human being's artistic achievements to an agricultural commodity? :shock:

Please give us examples of all these awful American classical musicians, who according to you can't even hold a candle to a good cup of coffee! :lol:

So here's the grade school explanation for you, since you seem unable or unwilling to handle intellectual argument and played the 'you called me names' card when this claim is not true at all. Stereotypical is defined as an over generalized belief about a particular category of people. Bigoted is defined as having or revealing an obstinate belief in the superiority of one's own opinions. Also if you were to call me ignorant, I would never take that personal, as there are many things I am ignorant of! (Especially in this regard- your false dichotomy between unnamed Americans and your favorite guitarists from other countries.)

Again; please, for the sake of your own argument- who are these awful Americans?

And you didn't say this is about cultural differences, you plainly stated that Americans arent as good as the rest of the world at classical music. That's not about culture, that's an assumption based on nationality, which is absolutely absurd! After all, America is comprised of many diverse and varied cultures, all worth celebrating and appreciating. But if you meant something else and wont give examples, it's not a valid argument.

So here are a few of my examples:

I am and will ever be grateful to my first teacher who I absolutely admired and who totally inspired me, and also to these other Totally Awesome American Artists:

Christopher Parkening, Andrew York, Dusan Bogdonavic, Gohar Vardanyan, Ana Vidovic, Mel Bay, Jason Vieaux, Eliot Fisk, Adam Holzman, Lily Afshar, and many other citizens of the USA who play Classical Guitar, as well as other people from all over the world! Special shout out to my childhood buddy Mischeaux who was actually quite a bit better then Django, but sadly his gift went unnoticed- he was really never in the right place at the right time...

But did you mean USA?

Because if wer'e to discuss America, certainly we should be talking about a lot more artists- from North, Central and South America!
"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." -Jean Sibelius

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petermc61
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Re: What Are We Missing In America?

Post by petermc61 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:49 am

It depends on whether the USA can claim rock and puck, for example, over the UK.

I am not an expert on all cultures or musical genres, but I do note that nothing you have suggested is relevant to the largest populations in the world (Asia). Maybe you don’t have much insight to the music in India, China et al (I certainly don’t) but your list looks suspiciously like one an American would put together....

Wuuthrad
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Re: What Are We Missing In America?

Post by Wuuthrad » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:29 am

petermc61 wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:49 am
It depends on whether the USA can claim rock and puck, for example, over the UK.

I am not an expert on all cultures or musical genres, but I do note that nothing you have suggested is relevant to the largest populations in the world (Asia). Maybe you don’t have much insight to the music in India, China et al (I certainly don’t) but your list looks suspiciously like one an American would put together....
Of course it is, and I make no claims to be an expert either, but I would say rock n roll- definitely American, rock and punk do share origins with UK, but thats a debate I don't really take part in anymore. I would obviously and without apology give the edge to the roots of it all in America. Blues/Bluegrass/Rock-n-Roll/Rock. And Punk was here as a reaction to Disco before the UK caught on.

Naturally, I was assuming that the reach of American popular music into Asia is moreso than vice versa. Not an entirely strong theory by my own admission, but one I'll stand behind based on my own touring experience, my fellow musicians who live in Asia, and personal friends from that part of the world. Popular music videos from that part of the world, and many others, do reveal much of the influence of electronica and hip-hop. it appears that people are taking musical forms and making them their own more so than ever before, partly because the Internet. There's even hip hop classical now and artists freestyle rapping to classical guitar, right here in America! You might be surprised to learn who the guitarist is!

Perhaps these ideas about national boundaries and culture and music are changing in ways that we cannot understand and we just have to experience them for what they are.

Whenever I feel bad about the state of music I realize I need to just get out more and listen more because it's always out there and there's always something new and something fresh being created in the moment. Be it live or online. Even in classical guitar, which for me anyway provides almost limitless opportunity for musical expression and personal artistic interpretation. In my opinion perhaps more so than other forms of music, which to me often appear formulaic.

That being said, I suppose no argument is really valid without some sort of statistical analysis- but how do we come up with that sort of thing without record sales anymore?

I certainly don't know much about the global popularity of Indian music but I do love classical Indian music, which is quite honestly one of my favorite forms of music, especially in regards,to improvisation, so much that Ive began to study it's theory, particularly in regards to classical guitar.

Do wish me luck it's a bit mind boggling!

So yes I'm American by birth, and even then I'll admit I'm missing some things, but hopefuly not too much! I also like to consider myself a responsible and respectful citizen of the world at the same time, and hopefully a respectable one at the same time.

To quote an old hip hop adage:

"It's not where you're from it's where you're at"

Im happy to be at this place, on this forum, occasionally debating, discovering and learning about our shared love of classical guitar and many different forms of music for that matter.
"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." -Jean Sibelius

Wuuthrad
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Re: What Are We Missing In America?

Post by Wuuthrad » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:37 am

So my first video example is copyrighted, so please feel free to search You Tube:

Dusan Bogdanovic - No Feathers on This Frog
"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." -Jean Sibelius

Wuuthrad
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Re: What Are We Missing In America?

Post by Wuuthrad » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:56 am

More America!!! lol (should i start the USA chant?) :lol:

Who can forget this guy:

"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." -Jean Sibelius

Wuuthrad
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Re: What Are We Missing In America?

Post by Wuuthrad » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:58 am

"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." -Jean Sibelius

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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: What Are We Missing In America?

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:06 am

Wuuthrad wrote:... also to these other Totally Awesome American Artists:
It's interesting Wuuthrad, that almost 40% of the artists in your list are not really American in one sense:

Dušan Bogdanović - Serbia
Ana Vidović - Croatia
Gohar Vardanyan - Armenia
Lily Afshar - Iran

Whilst they may hold such status politically and reside in the USA today, surely the spirit particular to each of their artistic souls is firmly rooted in formative experiences in their native states? That's not to say that they may not have soaked up a bit of North American culture too of course.

It reminds me of English football where a team from a particular town or city simply buys talent from all over the world and then claims that this somehow makes Manchester (for example) "great". I have never been to a "soccer" match by the way - no interest whatsoever in that sort of thing so I may be a bit off with regard to Manchester.

I disagree with the premise by the way - I enjoy lots of great art from the US ... including Bill Kanengiser.

As to Rognvald's question - just as artists articulate musical ideas in their own language so too do audiences listen from the comfort of their own received vernacular. For the latter such a position may be more or less solidly entrenched (perhaps even despite strong efforts on their part) - one man's cold and clinical is another's intellectually refined and/or subtly understated.

I suspect that the question reveals more about the poster's own sensibilities than any inherent truth relative to American art.
petermc61 wrote:It depends on whether the USA can claim rock and puck, for example, over the UK.
I always understood punk to have originated in New York. No?

British punk bands (barring early Sex Pistols) always seemed somewhat theatrical to me - lots of affectation but little truth. Wuuthrad - your particular use of the word b*llocks surely warrants at least honorary English citizenship which I hereby bestow.

PeteJ
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Re: What Are We Missing In America?

Post by PeteJ » Thu Jul 25, 2019 10:33 am

Wuuthrad wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:22 am
And this America vs the rest of the world attitude is, to be kind, tired and old fashioned- please give it a rest.
It would help if America gave it a rest.

Dofpic
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Re: What Are We Missing In America?

Post by Dofpic » Thu Jul 25, 2019 2:14 pm

I think the original question is worth discussing. A lot has to do with history and roots. There was no Bach Mozart Beethoven Brahms in America in the 1600,1700 or 1800's. So classical music is so much more part of the culture in Europe Russia etc than here in the US. That is the primary reason that classical musicians are better trained and much more part of their culture than the US. In the classical guitar world the same is especially true amongst todays young guitarist. The young guitarist at the junior and high school level in the US is inferior to europe russia or china. Plus a lot of those countries now subsidize or promote classical much more than it is in the US.That is a fact. It is one of the reasons I am sponsoring a classical guitar competition for high school kids for US kids only in an effort to stimulate the art form more here as it is not promoted that much here.

www.guitarsint.com/stroud_competition

The good news I guess for the US classical guitar scene is that many artists once they establish themselves come here because of more opportunities in the long run, or they might live in Europe but have more robust concert festival tours in the US during the summers. Just speculation on my part but I have been told by at least 3 world class guitarist that their summer tours or festivals here are much more numerous here than elsewhere. Again I do not have hard facts to back that up though.
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