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A few unsolicited thoughts, possibly relevant, possibly not...

Musicality is not musicianship.

Musicality demands an intimacy with the tonal, the rhythmic, the expressive. It is devalued in favor of musicianship, which demands abstraction, execution, and precision.

Musicality is a journey - you do what you must. Musicianship is a discipline - you do what it demands.

A musical person becomes a part of the music. A musicianly person becomes a servant to it.

Certain people are naturally musical. Nobody is naturally musicianly.

Both take long hours, years, of study and dedication. The difference is that there is no credit or recognition for the study or acquisition of musicality. You can devote your entire life to pursuing it, possibly even with breathtaking results. But, objectively speaking, you will have learned nothing. Knowledge is not learning. Knowledge comes when you follow passions - learning comes when you follow instructions.

Here's the thing, though. You can fake musicianship. You can't fake musicality.

For that reason, people who are merely musicianly will always resent those who are merely musical, and even devalue them - sometimes without even knowing it.
 

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A few unsolicited thoughts, possibly relevant, possibly not...

EDIT

For that reason, people who are merely musicianly will always resent those who are merely musical, and even devalue them - sometimes without even knowing it.
A few unsolicited thoughts back at ya. This unschooled weekend warrior can actually follow and understand what you're getting at. I haven't read dots since I started playing regularly. There's no need to for what I do. Music has somehow become ingrained and most of the time I just have to listen to a line or two to a song and I can play along to it without sheets. I'm usually not going to play the melody verbatim on one listen, but that's what the singers are for. If there's to be an instrumental verse of playing the melody it doesn't take much time to work it out anymore. This works great for the rock/pop type stuff I'll regularly play. I admit I'd be lost with massive jazz changes or big band charts, but I have no desire at all to do that. Non-musicians seem to love my playing since it's, as you state, expressive and melodic with surprise blue notes thrown in. The few trained classical musicians I know want nothing to do with my playing as I'll rarely play a song the same way next time it's called. I think this is what you're saying.
 

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A few unsolicited thoughts, possibly relevant, possibly not...

Musicality is not musicianship.

Musicality demands an intimacy with the tonal, the rhythmic, the expressive. It is devalued in favor of musicianship, which demands abstraction, execution, and precision.

Musicality is a journey - you do what you must. Musicianship is a discipline - you do what it demands.

A musical person becomes a part of the music. A musicianly person becomes a servant to it.

Certain people are naturally musical. Nobody is naturally musicianly.

Both take long hours, years, of study and dedication. The difference is that there is no credit or recognition for the study or acquisition of musicality. You can devote your entire life to pursuing it, possibly even with breathtaking results. But, objectively speaking, you will have learned nothing. Knowledge is not learning. Knowledge comes when you follow passions - learning comes when you follow instructions.

Here's the thing, though. You can fake musicianship. You can't fake musicality.

For that reason, people who are merely musicianly will always resent those who are merely musical, and even devalue them - sometimes without even knowing it.
I love that.
 

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Musicality can't exist without musicianship. Musicianship is worthless without musicality.

The unique blend of the two musicians develop through the years makes their musical personalities.

You can fake musicianship. You can't fake musicality.
I think it's easier to fake musicality with musicianship than the opposite. At least it's easier to fool the untrained ear. I can think of a few "big names" on the jazz scene today who made their career on it.
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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This is a HUGE concept that I think goes beyond words we have available to us in the english language.

That being said .........

Musicianship can be described easier by stating a criteria that one must accomplish.

Musicality is the ability to invoke an emotional response through music.

I have met too many people who recognize musicality when they perform, yet don't have the ability to convey their own emotion past their own cranium. In their OWN mind, they believe that they are musical (because in their OWN mind - they are). The ability to look at their own playing from afar and determine if what they are doing is provoking an emotional response from others - is beyond their compression. These seem to be the people with huge egos that can never understand why they don't get as far in the musical world as "name brand" Musicians.

In the era of instant gratification we live in - we hear a Musical Musician - then we try to learn how to do what they do. Knowing How, and Being Able To - are 2 different things!!! We don't fully understand that when we get frustrated why we cant sound like Charlie Parker after only 10 years of playing the saxophone.

I like comparing music to a language. One can read a story from a book verbatim, with no inflection in their voice, and it can be considered correct by any measurable standard we have. If the same story was read again, using inflection and emotion, the listener would find themselves forgetting about trying to measure the correctness of the measurable standards and such, and actually get lost in the story it's self.

I use to tell my HS Kids, why do you think this guy wrote this piece of music? Was it just to make YOUR life difficult? They didn't just one day start writing notes to make a song - then play them to see if they sounded good. They "made music" then used a piece of paper to record what they did in a way for others to do.

Musicians can use Musicianship to decipher Musicality. If it stops at using Musicianship to play the notes on the page - it gets stale in a hurry.

There is no way to accurately teach musicality across the board.

The good teachers can show you all the tools (aka MUSICIANSHIP) and HOPE and GUIDE one into becoming MUSICAL.

Then there are the ones who are naturally or genetically predisposed and somehow just develop a sense of Musicality through exposure and life experiences. Those are the ones the scholars seem to wrinkle their noses at because they can do something they spent lots of money and time TRYING to do.

Nice thread Paul!!

Charlie
 

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A few unsolicited thoughts, possibly relevant, possibly not...

Musicality is not musicianship.

Musicality demands an intimacy with the tonal, the rhythmic, the expressive. It is devalued in favor of musicianship, which demands abstraction, execution, and precision.
This is something that is so much in the ear of the behearer that I get a wee bit queasy at this kind of thread, wondering who gets to measure the "musicality" vs. "musicianship" of somebody -- sort of like when I read around here that this or that player doesn't have any "soul."

Here's the thing, though. You can fake musicianship. You can't fake musicality.

For that reason, people who are merely musicianly will always resent those who are merely musical, and even devalue them - sometimes without even knowing it.
If anything, I feel like I've more commonly heard the reverse: this or that cat just has a bunch of chops, but ain't really "musical." Generally, not being musical in this context means "too technically showy" or "too abstract" or in some other way "not to my taste." It's a common and, to my mind, cheap way to try to find some sort of "quasi-objective" justification for the very subjective matter of taste.

I hear words along these lines tossed at any number of younger modern players, but I've got to note that plenty of folks were calling Bird and Trane unmusical when they first appeared on the scene...
 

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For me, this may be the most important statement about music creation I have read. Brilliantly articulated paulwl. Bravo. And thank you.

A few unsolicited thoughts, possibly relevant, possibly not...

Musicality is not musicianship.

Musicality demands an intimacy with the tonal, the rhythmic, the expressive. It is devalued in favor of musicianship, which demands abstraction, execution, and precision.

Musicality is a journey - you do what you must. Musicianship is a discipline - you do what it demands.

A musical person becomes a part of the music. A musicianly person becomes a servant to it.

Certain people are naturally musical. Nobody is naturally musicianly.

Both take long hours, years, of study and dedication. The difference is that there is no credit or recognition for the study or acquisition of musicality. You can devote your entire life to pursuing it, possibly even with breathtaking results. But, objectively speaking, you will have learned nothing. Knowledge is not learning. Knowledge comes when you follow passions - learning comes when you follow instructions.

Here's the thing, though. You can fake musicianship. You can't fake musicality.

For that reason, people who are merely musicianly will always resent those who are merely musical, and even devalue them - sometimes without even knowing it.
 

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I recently met a 13 year old fiddle player who is not only adept at playing, but is able to convey very mature emotion in his playing. I love listening to his C.D. because he conveys emotion so well, even at his young age. A piano player once told me there are Musicians, and there are Artists. The Artist goes beyond just the mechanical, and can create beautiful expressive music that touches people's souls.
 

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Musicianship is learning to play well enough to do it public without hurting yourself. You won't make mechanical mistakes.

Musicality carries musicianship, (the rote learning, the study of music) to its natural conclusion. It frees up the musician's tools to express him or herself, within the context of the music, including all the dynamics, so that what's being played really is music.

Harv
 

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Anyone of average intelligence and dexterity can be taught to be a technician. This is mostly what it taught in music schools, because it is the only thing that can be taught.

It takes something special, inborn(?), called talent to be a musician. Talent cannot be taught, although one with talent can be helped to develop his/her talent.

Music without talent equates to what I call empty notes. Any technician can play empty notes.

The person who is technically adept AND musically talented will make the best music.

Insights and incites by Notes ♫
 

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I think Oscar Wilde said it best through his character Algernon in 'The Importance of Being Earnest'.

'I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately , but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for life.'
 

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I understand the points that are being made, but I think there's a problem with semantics here as well. My definition of musicianship includes both technical ability AND musicality. Without musicality, musicianship doesn't exist. A technically proficient player who plays without musicality (artistic sensitivity) is not displaying musicianship. It's possible to play with musicality at lower levels of technical proficiency, but it's impossible to display true musicianship without musicality. As far as definitions go, I think this post would make more sense if it was titled "Musicality vs. Technical Ability".
 

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Irvin Berlin, Paul McCartney, BB King--just 3 examples of self taught 'amateurs'--------------
Many may be unaware that the OP of this thread is one heck of a saxophone player,vocalist and author--and I personally think he's going through some kind of mid-life crisis!
Paul, dont let that "Delicious Hot Jazz" of yours become "Disgustingly Cold"--your quote!
Oh and BTW--you still owe me 16bucks!
 

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