Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, October 10, 2005

On reading music

Pauca Lux ex Oriente is continuing his series on music by offering a basic course in reading music and sight-singing. This is the meat and potatoes of one's musical education, and I'm often surprised by how many musicians and singers can't actually read music or understand basic theory. It's rather like claiming that you're a poet but that you've never bothered to learn to write because you already know how to rhyme. (If only all small children were made to take piano lessons, this sort of musical illiteracy could be avoided...)

His earlier entry on singing properly is here.


Todd said...

Strong endorsement from the liturgical musician here: it is essential in the formation of a musician to be able to read music and to understand how and why music is put together.

Improvisation and the use of imagination are also essential. I've known many otherwise fine musicians who put my modest reading skills to shame. But they had no ability to put spirit and life into their music.

Bernard Brandt said...

I would like to thank Mrs. Darwin for her kind words, and for her link to my weblog.

Re Todd's comments, I would agree that while both good singing technique and reading technique are necessary, they are by no means sufficient. Both imagination and improvization are important skills, which are largely lost upon the present system of musical training, or its products.

I think, however, that it is entirely possible to have a good vocal and musical training, and also to be able to sing, read, write, and conduct music well and easily, with imagination and the ability to improvise. I also think that attempts to state that you cannot have them all are examples of the fallacy of false dichotomy.