I know, this goes far beyond the intended message behind @Charlie O'Hara
‘s post below, but it made me think that what she described is actually a tendency which can be observed in many fields:
As soon as you eliminate the artisans, the appreciation by the users for their masterpieces and the willingness of the users to invest some effort (and thus, to become actors
themselves) in order to handle the masterpieces is gone, maybe because what used to be a unique and distinctive masterpiece is now replaced by mere products. Take photo cameras. Take shoes. Take cloths. And, being an active musician for 25 years now, I find this tendency also valid with regard to the design and use of popular musical instruments in the european (and derived) cultural sphere, especially in terms of tonal systems. Of course, in the case of musical instruments, we’re talking about an evolution which took centuries and not decades, and "old school" requirements would be for example to learn „basic understanding of applied harmonics
“ rather than the „basic technology
“ which Charlie O'Hara mentioned.
The narrative of “normal users shouldn’t have to learn basic technology” is valid. But to make that happen you need to make everything a Product. Smooth, and shiny, and without responsibility. Which is exactly what we’ve been doing for decades and look at where that has got us.
Take a guitar or piano—whose "default configuration" doesn't allow to play natural and pure tonal systems
—, and then look at their ancestors, the oud
and the santur
, which not only allow that, but whose core principles of playing are based on them. Of course, to be able to play them, it needs years of work.
I mean, when I want to play music—as it used to be played for millenia—on a keyboard, I have to use a haken continuum fingerboard
. Which I did until it got destroyed by some bad voltage circuit due to a wrongly installed electric plugs in my appartment. Hacks like a Hi-P Instruments TBX2
connected through MIDI
are lacking in operability. On a guitar, the hack is simpler: Take a bottleneck or a tube and start to slide. Which was all I did when I was a guitarist with the psychedelic blues band The Honshu Wolves
The far most popular instrument in Okinawa is the sanshin
, which is hand crafted. It’s a long-necked spike lute which is the oldest kind of lutes we‘re having knowledge of (2300 BC). If you‘re interested in learning more about the #Sanshin
, how it sounds and how to play it, you‘re welcome to visit @utasanshin 唄三線
and to get in touch. I happen to teach it, also online.
The shared video at the top and the bottom of this post your're reading shows what a human is capable of—if following the path of respectfulness and responsibilty. Elshan Ghasimi's playing—she plays a tar
here—is just gorgeous. I'm working myself on the Radif
with the help of my santur
teacher, and I have no illusions about the years of work which are lying in front of me.
Elshan Ghasimi – The Reinterpretation of the Radīf | Dastgāh-e Shur (live)
by Elshan Ghasimi on YouTube