quote:
Recording is fundamentally wrong. Playing live is what it’s all about.


-- Jeff of Cowboy Junkies from “Cowboy Junkies: The Trinity Session Revisited”

I just saw this documentary, heard the line, and it resonated.


This is pretty representative of Cowboy Junkies
Sweet Jane.
Blue Moon

And decades later
Trinity Revisited and Trinity Revisited

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Original Post
quote:
Originally posted by ST:
quote:
Recording is fundamentally wrong. Playing live is what it’s all about.


-- Jeff of Cowboy Junkies from “Cowboy Junkies: The Trinity Session Revisited”

I ... heard the line, and it resonated.
It resonates with me, too.

Music, to me, is fundamentally an ephemeral transient event that encapsulates -- no, embodies, or is -- a "piece of life".

A recording, even of a live performance, bears much the same relation to the "living music" as a photograph or a video relates to the original "live" subject.

Those 'facsimiles' to the original may be inspiring in their own right, but should one ever try to pass them off as "the real thing"?

One doesn't typically assume that a photo captures more than just a small aspect of the original subject -- yet, with music we often equate a recording with the "reality" of music.

Perhaps that's a bit of what Jeff of Cowboy Junkies was hinting at with that statement.

==========================

Having written that, however, one has to wonder how it is that recorded music *does* seem to become 'alive' for so many people ... is Jeff's statement only true for performers?

Perhaps.

And perhaps, also, there is a process of listening to music where the listener re-infuses that "listening event" with the feelings and intensity which an original live performance might have also evoked.

A wrinkled, faded, slightly off-kilter photo can revive unexpected emotions for the subject captured in that photo... if one had a relationship with the subject of the photo, then the feelings for that subject can re-surface in spite of all the imperfections of that 'facsimile'.

So, too, perhaps the imperfections of a recording can evoke the feelings "projected" by the original performance -- if we are open to "listening".
quote:
Originally posted by ST:
quote:
Recording is fundamentally wrong. Playing live is what it’s all about.


-- Jeff of Cowboy Junkies from “Cowboy Junkies: The Trinity Session Revisited”

I just saw this documentary, heard the line, and it resonated.


This is pretty representative of Cowboy Junkies
Sweet Jane.
Blue Moon

And decades later
Trinity Revisited and Trinity Revisited


I disagree. I've personally found that recording, that is multitracking and trying to get the best possible performance, really quickens improvement in writing, vocal performance and musician ship.

I've found it to be the final step in writing a song and really polishing it.

The process up to the final process really improves me in all areas.

As I listen back to a track things become very obvious that could be better or tried a different way. Then when I go back to rehearsal I find playing the songs easier and they come out better because I've played every part of the each song numerous time, taken it apart and put it back together.

While live music may have more energy and with a crowd a lot of back and forth and off the cuff stuff, recording really polishes musical abilities.

Also, with a recording you hear a musical moment trapped in time as the artist intended it.
An interesting perspective, Ric.

What you're presenting is that the "process of recording" is a means to refine both the composition and the performance ...

I know that Cliff (a.k.a. Cliff-at-Bose a.k.a. Col. Cliff) (and others) have talked about this issue of "recording a live performance" vs. "creating recorded music".

It may come down to what your 'goal' is with respect to music:

-- are you seeking "perfection in the performance"? Perhaps the recording process will get you there most effectively.

-- are you seeking "uniqueness of life in the music"? Perhaps the recording process will hinder.
Ric,

I think Cliff feels that he is getting that final bit of polish through rehearsal before live recording. Of course that doesn't work for those of us who multitrack several instruments played by ourselves, does it?

More to ponder about this whole idea of recording versus live. I agree that in songwriting I really like being able to sketch out ideas on multitrack.

Tom
I find that multitrack recording enables an artist to look at their own music in a brutally honest way.

If the artist allows the process to happen, without it hurting their ego to bad and just giving up, they can come at the song from an ouside perspective. It ends up making it like the artist has their own producer.

Instead of just approaching the song from the perspective of just how they sing or play their instrument in respect to the rest of the band, you end up seeing the possibilities that hadn't occured before.

Don't get me wrong, nothing can replace the energy and off the cuff nature of live playing. I find that as an artist I play the same orignal with a different delivery just about every time. Multitracking allows me to hear all of my different versions and see which one I like best and would probably get the best response from a listener.

For vocals I can even molt different deliveries. For some songs I find I may alternately sing them a bit higher or lower or with different timbre or clean or raspy. Somtimes I molt these together and really find something special.
Hi everybody,

My issue is not with recording. It is when THE RECORDING is the ultimate goal. When it becomes the embodiment of what it means to be a musician.

To me:
Recording as a tool in any of the ways that this aids in creative process is great.

Recording as a tool to help someone improve his/her craft - of course.

Recording as a way to share an experience with others - sure we can't all be everywhere all the time.

Recording as the perceived ultimate proof that one is a legitimate musician - not for me.

It's taken a couple of days to think about this, and reading your comments above have helped.

It got me thinking about conversations with the audience and how those have influenced my perception of THE RECORDING.

I think that is different topic so I started one here:

Questions and Answers - the subtext - what have YOU heard?
quote:
Originally posted by ST:
Hi everybody,

My issue is not with recording. It is when THE RECORDING is the ultimate goal. When it becomes the embodiment of what it means to be a musician.

To me:
Recording as a tool in any of the ways that this aids in creative process is great.

Recording as a tool to help someone improve his/her craft - of course.

Recording as a way to share an experience with others - sure we can't all be everywhere all the time.

Recording as the perceived ultimate proof that one is a legitimate musician - not for me.

It's taken a couple of days to think about this, and reading your comments above have helped.

It got me thinking about conversations with the audience and how those have influenced my perception of THE RECORDING.

I think that is different topic so I started one here:

Questions and Answers - the subtext - what have YOU heard?


That brings up another point. I hate recordings being being considered the end all as well, especially when bands use cheaters such as pitch shifters to correct vocals. It really bugs me when I hear a nice recording, then go see the band live and the vocalist sounds horrible compared to the recording. Even worse is when the band a whole can't live up to the recording.

To me personall, I like recordings to say, "hey this is what we sound like on our best day, as we intended it, when everyone is in their best form."

I don't want it to say, "This is what we wished we sounded like if our singer could stay on pitch or the drummer didn't race."

My favorite bands have always lived up to their recordings live, this added to the sonic perfection the energy of actually being live.
quote:
It is when THE RECORDING is the ultimate goal.

To me any playing is the ultimate goal. Live, in the studio, practicing, rehearsing, or just at home playing along to a record. As long as I'm playing, that “is” what keeps me sane.
I guess I'm saying that I don't agree with
quote:
Recording is fundamentally wrong. Playing live is what it’s all about.


What I am saying is playing is what it is all about. Being a musician and not playing is fundamentally wrong.
quote:
Originally posted by starvin007:
Being a musician and not playing is fundamentally wrong.
Truth.


Although, to encompass all varieties of musicians, a bit more general rendition might read:

Being a musician and not making music is fundamentally wrong.

Edit:
Later today I was perusing a site about decision-making, and found in this section the following:

A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.

(Warning: links to rather philosophical connections followSmile

A bit further on, that site also declares that "Music [is] the supreme form of all arts..." because, while all other arts are kept in museums to amuse others, too, music is an art where the composers are driven by value for "all the things that you can do for yourself and no one else can do for you". (See this sub-section.)

The first paragraph of a section on 'Thinkable Decisions' might also be of interest to musicians.
Last edited by Dan Cornett
I recently reconnected with a Dan Fogelberg song that was on his last album (Full Circle) that was directed to musicians & artists. The song is "Icarus Ascending" & the line is

quote:
You have been given the most sacred of gifts
You must be fearless now and follow


The entire lyric can be found here - Full Circle Lyrics

I find it comforting that music is a gift & almost a responsibility.



He said more in his comments about the song - Full Circle Comments

quote:
This song says you have to have enormous courage to follow the muse and that's Icarus. The Greek story is one of the great stories of optimism and foolishness, that he would make wax wings to fly to the sun. But as an artist you've got to be fearless and keep flying to the sun even though you know you might crash. ' There is a gamble in each proud act of flight' is one of the best lines I've ever written."


Powerful words that speak to me & make me want to continue on.

Tom

[edited for typos]
Last edited by Tom Munch
I have recordings, all the way back from the 60's through 2008.
These are not only myself and various bands I have been in, but friends bands, my kids and various shows.

Some people can only dream of memories like these. I believe the spontaneity of most recordings brings out the best memories. Live performances, practice sessions, studio work, all of these are things we built as part of our lives.
Interestingly, there were many moments, where I felt the live recordings had a certain greatness, feeling or presence that could not be duplicated. I realize a lot of that was emotion for the time or the people involved.

As repetition and musical skills become more polished, I feel it becomes more of a matter of focus. What do you want it to sound like? Some gig's may just click, but the real magicians/musicians, are the players that can crank out a consistent sound, be it on stage, in the studio or wherever required.
I'd be the first to say I love (So-Called) live recordings over the general radio audience influenced studio release, but it was that initial release that got you familiar with the song and the band.

Now you have something to compare it against. After a band is on the road promoting their new CD, they can't help but get more polished and perfected with it's delivery. I've seen several performers, small time and pro, sell their CD at the show, only to listen and find it can't compare to what they are putting out now. Unfortunately, the small time players, need to dump their inventory, before they can re-release the new "Live" version, which is still mastered and tweaked, but usually a major improvement.

The main issue I would consider with the statement "Recording is fundamentally wrong" is with players who do not improve from where they are. That needs to be tempered with, "Are you a serious musician or just having fun". There is nothing wrong with having fun, but recording a bad or mediocre performance, without learning from it and trying to improve is tough to handle.

Sorry if I got carried away a bit on this one.
When I perform someone else's tune - I would rather my friends see me do it live. I don't want to copy what the original artist did, I just wanna sing it - and if I'm lucky, impart how much I like it, or how it makes me feel.

When I WRITE my own tune. I sometimes feel that I need the multi-track to convey everything I wanted to say/express. I want the extra tools so people can hear the way it sounded in MY head.

and then sometimes I feel the exact opposite.

So I'm either really confused, or their's a place for both <G>

m
my job description is "recording artist" but that doesn't pay enough without playing live to sell those recordings. ;-)

Any recording is just a representation of what that artist sounded like "live" on the day it was recorded. If Mick Jagger sang "Honky Tonk Women" every day (assuming Mick Jagger can sing), it would sound a little different every time.

The best recorded performances are the ones that are recorded naturally. For the last 7 years, I have never done more than 2 or 3 takes of any vocal when recording and then we make a composite of the best parts of those takes. If I can't capture the passion (or the actual notes) in three tries, then I can't do it live either.

If it isn't working in 3 tries, I come back another day and try again. This keeps the recording as "live" a performance as possible.
Dan Cornett posted:A wrinkled, faded, slightly off-kilter photo can revive unexpected emotions for the subject captured in that photo... if one had a relationship with the subject of the photo, then the feelings for that subject can re-surface in spite of all the imperfections of that 'facsimile'.

This is true but also consider that the end results of recording and playing live can be two different art forms.

ST posted:
quote:
Recording is fundamentally wrong. Playing live is what it’s all about.



Artistically speaking, of course!

Live music -performed well- is sacred. For the artist as well as the audience.

Proper recording of audio and/or video gives performances eternal life.

Respectfully, there is NOTHING wrong with that. In fact, it is essential to the glory of music to play. It is essential to the glory of music to record. It is essential to the glory of music to listen.

Further, with the line of thinking in that quote, writing down music on paper, a form of recording, is also fundamentally wrong.

The statement is surely spiritual and sort-of inspiring- dare I say, it resonates... yet at it's core the statement itself is just fundamentally wrong.

Sharing music is what it is all about. By any means necessary.

Regards,
Ppp & <3

Last fall I had a Dr. appointment in a new office. I arrived early and took a seat in a large waiting room. I looked across the room at a somewhat familiar face that I thought was an old friend / fan I talk to periodically but hadn't seen face to face in 20 years.

I pulled out my phone and dialed her number, and she dug through her purse and answered. I teased along asking what she was doing, then telling her that I was in the Dr's office as well, before crossing the room to talk.

She was called in first and I asked her to meet after our respective appointments to have coffee. So we went to a nearby restaurant and laughed and talked for quite a while.

As we left, we were parked at opposite ends of the lot, but she asked me to come to her car, she wanted to show me something. She opened the door, turned on the key and her 20 year old cassette player started playing a 40 year old recording of me playing somewhere live. She doesn't remember where she got the tape, I don't recall it being recorded, although many were made at various locations in the 70's by audience members.

Live music is meant to be recorded.

O..

 

 

ST posted:

Hi Oldgham,

I've heard you perform. Your story comes as no surprise.  I don't think most live performances stand up so well.

ST

 Thanks ST, but what has stood up is that old cassette tape and the player in her car. I have one cassette player on an old boom box that will still work, but I'm afraid to put any cassette I value into it. My old work van has a cassette player, but it ate the last tape I put in it.

My friend quit driving at night a long time ago, so even when I play close to her she won't come out. She is getting up in years, a few more than me, which I had the pleasure of reminding her of just a few days ago on her birthday she shares with St Patrick.

Another old friend passed away last summer and left me quite a collection of recorded music which also had cassette tapes of me. I haven't listened to them and don't know the quality, but usually those made live are not very good.

I've talked to a friend with a studio and have plans to get them all converted to digital in the near future. No interest in sharing, but always interested in how I have changed over the years.

O..

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