Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A conversation

A boy and his guitar having a conversation.

This cannot be taught. Either you have this conversation with music, or you do not. Most so-called "prodigies" do not -- they are technically excellent, but attack the music as an adversary, rather than as something they feel.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin


  1. I've know people who play a lot and have for years looking for that touch, that soul. So I'm amazed when anyone plays like that, makes the instrument come alive, it's like an appendage they were born with.

    Thanks for passing this on.

  2. i've known a couple of honest to gawd prodegies. those rare folks born with the ability to read and write music. harry "the hipster" gibson was born knowing how to play the piano. he still studied the rest of his life so that he could play like a demon. harry's pitch was so true that you could say "gimme an 'a' harry." harry'd go "ba..." you could tune up to that.

    where the prodegies lose out to musicians is usually that place where the notes stop. there has to be something there behind the notes, something emphemeral, something that cannot be written down or quantified. that's where the music lives.

  3. Good Lord ! That kid really has it .
    I grew up with a kid like that , he could play you his soul , especially with a blues riff . It was a different generation then and
    my friend had a taste for acid , to match his skill . He plays lots of "old folks homes" now . So sad .

  4. I don't know if Sungha Jung was born with the ability to read and write music. He apparently picked up a guitar and started playing it without looking at music or anything, just from watching his father (a professional musician) play. But anyhow, yes. It's not just notes. If there's nothing past the notes, then it's just mechanics.

    Ruckus/w3ski: It's interesting to watch Sungha's technical chops improve over the past three years as he moved from being a tiny 9 year old to a lanky 12 year old. But even his earliest technically sloppy works had what I for lack of a better word might call feeling. As MB says, you can't exactly write down or quantify what we're talking about here, but it's the difference between being a technician and being where the music lives.

  5. BT
    Absolutely agree.
    In all walks of life there are only a few who just have the chops to be as good as it gets. In this case I have listened to both the early stuff and the latter and yes you can see the progression but this guy has it. His skills will improve but his soul or if you will, understanding, is already there
    Have known people that do things other than music with the same style and feeling and it looks like they are not even trying. As one of us who has to work hard just to look competent(well maybe!) in life it is/should be utterly entertaining to see this skill level.


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