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Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000

wilco 04 Oct 04 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 04 Oct 04 - 02:59 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 04 Oct 04 - 03:02 PM
Amos 04 Oct 04 - 03:08 PM
Leadfingers 04 Oct 04 - 04:31 PM
M.Ted 04 Oct 04 - 04:35 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Oct 04 - 04:53 PM
PoppaGator 04 Oct 04 - 05:11 PM
M.Ted 04 Oct 04 - 10:13 PM
GUEST,HELLO, Hello, hello, hell 04 Oct 04 - 10:40 PM
GUEST,Jon 05 Oct 04 - 02:36 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 05 Oct 04 - 02:48 AM
wilco 05 Oct 04 - 10:24 AM
greg stephens 05 Oct 04 - 10:40 AM
pavane 05 Oct 04 - 11:24 AM
frogprince 05 Oct 04 - 11:59 AM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Oct 04 - 06:51 PM
mack/misophist 06 Oct 04 - 12:40 AM
wilco 06 Oct 04 - 11:32 AM
Alaska Mike 07 Oct 04 - 11:46 AM
Joe_F 07 Oct 04 - 05:56 PM
shepherdlass 08 Oct 04 - 07:23 AM
shepherdlass 08 Oct 04 - 07:28 AM
M.Ted 08 Oct 04 - 12:39 PM
shepherdlass 19 Oct 04 - 08:29 AM
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Subject: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: wilco
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 01:45 PM

For years, I've heard some statistics cites that I would like to verify.
    Supposedly, in 1900 the US had at least one musician in 90% of all american households. These were people who could play some kind of instrument. Supposedly, in 2000, the percentage was down to about 15%. The decline is attributed to the widespread use of recorded music via radio, records, CD's, etc.
    My late father told me that, when in the 1920's and 1930's, he would ride the streetcars in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He said that in every neighborhood, you would hear someone playing some kind of instrument. I suspect that air conditioning also had an impact here.
    Other friends have told me that in the southern US, in the period of 1930 to 1950, you could hear the entire grand ol' opry broadcast while walking through neihghborhoods, because everyone was listening; you would hear it from various houses and porches, as you walked or rode through the neighborhoods.

Thanks!!!!

Wilco48 in Tennessee


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 02:59 PM

Probably very true. It sounds correct to me. We in the folk movement have always tried to stress that doing it yourself was one of the fine things about this music. Learn 4 or 5 chords, buy a capo and you are set for life.---Or study your instrument your entire life and you will still not have learned all there is to know about it. Either way, you will have had the wonder of it---and the ability to come home after a bad or a good day, pick up your instrument, and in five or ten minutes, transport yourself to a new and even better place.

It is very sad that so many will not know what the few in our little subculture have known, thankfully, for all these good years. But what the hell, that's life ! We'll never realize their pleasures either----like walking and hitting a ball for 36 holes---like cheering wildly at a heavy metal concert---like strapping a ton of explosives to your body and pushing the button---like painting huge signs on my beer belly and sitting shirtless and drunk in zero degree weather while a guy dressed like a torpedo tries to run with a swine-skin covered blow-fish bladder from one end of a frozen field to the other without getting knocked down or stepping in something!

Don't get me wrong, I am fascinated by the entire parade passing by. I really am--although much of it is horrendous. But, as Thomas Wolfe once wrote, "This world, this time, this life---is stranger than a dream."

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 03:02 PM

Sorry for the thread creep...

Art


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: Amos
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 03:08 PM

Great quote, Art!!


A


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: Leadfingers
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 04:31 PM

And still so many people tell me they wished they could play an instrument , but so few of them actually try !


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 04:35 PM

Even forty years ago, there was live music in a lot more places than now--there were still weekly school dances, fine restaurants usually had a pianist, and many community and civic organizations had annual formal banquets (which had a pianist, organ, or even a string ensemble that played while people entered, a combo playing during dinner, and a dance band after), there were still nightclubs with a real floor show, and a lot of bars had bands on Friday and Saturday nights, not to mention the coffee houses and such that had sprung up for people who wanted a more populist alternative--

Recorded music, replaced a lot of live music, there is no question, but nightlife, with real entertainment, dispeared as the old fashioned "downtown" disappeared--as people moved out to the suburbs, downtowns died, and watching TV became the center of family life, at least until shopping malls and recreational shopping came along--


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 04:53 PM

Ah, These modern coffee houses! Don't you just love Starbucks with only the rumble and burp of the coffee machine and the occasional blingle from a cell phone. So-o-o now!


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: PoppaGator
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 05:11 PM

One thing that's *really* unfortunate is the trend for performers at the few remaining "live-music" venues to use recorded music as part of their presentation -- including singers who use "canned" backing tracks as well as rap-hoppers engaged in "sampling."

Someday there may come a day when *no one* knows how to produce music on a non-electronic instrument!


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 10:13 PM

There are a few independent coffee houses around that have live music--even a couple that have house instruments--


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: GUEST,HELLO, Hello, hello, hell
Date: 04 Oct 04 - 10:40 PM

Wilco - ARE...you reading me?

How the-H-in-blazes ....could your father hear inside Chattanooga homes while riding streetcars? Was he bionic, or privy to Mr. Hoover's telephone taps?

Are you a communist....or illiterate.....why would you "lower-case" AMERICAN?

I've heard some statistics If you "want" to appear credible....PLEASE acknowledge you source.

The following phrase, inserted into your opening sentence renders it ????? when in the 1920's and 1930's, incomplete, without a subject, illiterate?

Friends could hear ...the entire grand ol' opry broadcast while walking through neihghborhoods, because everyone was listening..."

What the-F-in-blazes does THIS the pasive activity (listening) have to do with ACTIVE PROCESS of Playing Music????

Wilco Waco - Over and Out

Sincerely weeping for poor non-commissoned souls.


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 02:36 AM

I can believe that sort of decline mentioned but I think:

The decline is attributed to the widespread use of recorded music via radio, records, CD's, etc.

Is a bit of a narrow view. I think you could add tv for other programs, computers, tv games, mobile phones and probably a load of other factors to your list. I believe the main point is not so much recorded music but that people have become used to being entertained than entertaining themselves.

This has wider implications than music - I wonder how many schoolyard games are played now for example. When I see pictures of shools on the news, the kids all seem to be texting or talking on mobile phones...

I suppose one consolation though, at least if the UK folk scene is anything to go by, is that of those who do want to play music, the general standard seems higher than it was even 20 years ago. There seem to be a lot of very talented young musicains around. This presumably means that the oppertunites are greater for those who do want to learn an instrument. In this sense, it's quite possible that recorded music and the occasional showing on tv and radio have helped.


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 02:48 AM

I reckon crappy television is killing live music, in fact all live art, before tv was invented people would sing, go to music hall theatres etc.
now they stay at home watching crappy game shows, or crappy reality tv, or crappy plastic surgery or other such rubbish.
only decent culture we see on tv, is on BBC4, which most people still cant see.
[you need a special decoder box to plug into your tv set before you can see it.


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: wilco
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 10:24 AM

Thanks!!! But, again, is anyone familiar with the source of these statistics?
Wilco, Tennessee
PS: My apologies for the guest (hello) posting above. I didn't intend to suggest anything that would incite the feeble minded.


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 10:40 AM

My family confirms this trend, alas.
My 4 grandparents. All musicians.
2 parents, both regular players.
My generation. Me and two brothers, all three know how to play things, I m the only one who does.
Next generation, 6 kids (two from each brother). One can just about play "three blind mice", rest nothing.
What we need is a new Lonnie Donegan to fire up a generation.


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: pavane
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 11:24 AM

My wife is a singer and uses 'canned' backing music.

We hear from other artists the horror stories of the old days, when you had to turn up and hand the 'dots' to the house band, then try to sing to it without any rehearsal. Often a total disaster.

The new licencing act here in the UK will help to kill off what's left
of live music anyway.


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: frogprince
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 11:59 AM

I found what PoppaGator said kinda painful, not because I took it as mean or offensive, but because of my own situation. I'm a non-singer, bad enough in the shower, so paralyzed in front of an audience that you wouldn't want to hear what happens. And I lack the finger dexterity to play; it takes a long struggle to type something readable here. My age and experience says these things aren't apt to change.
I am, however, blessed with a better half who sings beautifully; she plays a little piano, but isn't about to accompany herself on stage.
I can write a decent lyric, imagine a decent melody, pick it out with one finger on piano, and put things together in a computer program.
Some of my songs lend themselves fine to acapella, in which case we're home free. But some of them want accompaniment. I can work up a CD with the computer, and in some settings that is fine. But in other settings that is met with grudging acceptance at best. Feedback, guys?


















i'


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Oct 04 - 06:51 PM

I'm a bit sceptical about those kind of statistics. My instinct is to think that it is all a lot more complicated and much patchier, and goes in circles.

For example I'd reckon there are a lot more people playing concertinas and such like than there were forty years ago. And there is far more folk music in bars than you'd have found then either. And the technical standard of musicianship among those playing it is far higher.

Swings and roundabouts.


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: mack/misophist
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 12:40 AM

When I was a boy in central Texas, at least one parent of every second person I knew could play an instrument. One girls mother said that, when she was young, you weren't considered proper company unless you could entertain your guests. And vise versa.


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: wilco
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 11:32 AM

Mack/misophist's anecdotal information is an example of what I hear from older people; amateur musicians were much more common.
    The point here is that most of the population has some kind of musical abilities, and "folk" music encourages it's expression.
    I just wish I could find the source of the statistics; they woulc support all of the anecdotal information.
   
Wilco in Tennessee


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: Alaska Mike
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 11:46 AM

There are exceptions to everything I believe. In my own family:

4 grandparents never sang or played music.
Of my two parents, my mother was a professional singer, my dad didn't play or sing.
Of my siblings, all of us sing, my brother and I both play music.
Of my 5 children, 3 of them play music and all sing. My brother's 3 kids all sing and 2 are learning guitar. My sister's 3 children all sing and play music.

The trend away from "home made music" is certainly there, but we can have an effect on it by our active promotion and encouragement. Of my 3 grandchildren, all of them love to sing songs with me whenever they come for a visit.

Mike


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: Joe_F
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 05:56 PM

A. Mike: May the like of you increase!

Round about 1900, G. K. Chesterton (I wish I had made a note of the place) complained that men no longer sat around a table & sang; they sat & listened to one man sing, "for the absurd reason that he could sing better". I like his attitude, but the date at which he expressed it seems to show that the rot is not a result of technology, but was creating a demand for passive entertainment even before recordings, radio, etc., were developed to satisfy it and to promote it.


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: shepherdlass
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 07:23 AM

Poppagator

I run the whole gamut from unaccompanied singing to full production numbers on voice and a variety of "real" instruments complete with self-made electronic backings. Trust me, it takes as long to get any level of adeptness at MIDI programming as any other instrument or form of composition - if you don't want it to sound robotic you still have to carefully work out which notes to play in to the thing. Therefore, I think your concept of "live" music is a little naive. If it's OK for Herbie Hancock, Martyn Bennett, and Paul Mounsey, then who are we to say it's not real music? The "live" element remains anyway - most people I see working (as opposed to Karaoke-ing) with even mass-produced backing tracks are belting singers and many are fantastic live instrumentalists too - they'd just rather free themselves from the more mundane keyboard parts to play more interesting stuff on other instruments.

I suspect that when you add in the number of kids sitting in their bedrooms practising "scratching", sampling and MIDI, you might find that the number of musicians is sorely underestimated - it could be to do with our categorization of the term "musician". This debate is as old as instruments - each innovation (piano, concertina, electric organ, electronic tuner, etc) is seen as making music too easy - each one proves eventually to give us all different mountains to climb.

Was that a rant? If so, sorry, I just think that we're missing a vital bit of modern folk culture if we ignore the computer as an instrument in itself.


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: shepherdlass
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 07:28 AM

PS Pavane - I had exactly the same experience with lousy or drunk in-house backing bands. There was even one organist who took bets with the drummer on how well he could "throw" the act by deliberately missing a key change. Sorry, some of them deserved to be replaced my microchips. The good ones are usually still working.


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: M.Ted
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 12:39 PM

Most of the time, those electronic backings sound about as thin as the soles on a pair of cardboard shoes, and just as cheap--the vocalist who use them, however good they may be, get swallowed up in the noise, and don't come off any better than the shoes--you do get consistancy, but it isn't the good kind-

Performing with a synthesized backup may be preferable to playing with a cold, drunk, house band, but that is hardly a desirable performance situation either--

Any instruments can be used to make great music, and originally, synthesizers were used to do great things, unfortunately, they are often used to create cut and paste music, which sounds enough like the real thing to pass for it in a noisy room full of drunks--when you really play a real instrument, repetition makes you better, but when you play a midi file, it never gets any better--


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Subject: RE: Higher percentage musicians 1900 v 2000
From: shepherdlass
Date: 19 Oct 04 - 08:29 AM

M Ted - it depends on who's programmed said backing - there are a lot more than one or two of us out there who do our own and tailor them to our own sound - of course, cut and paste sequencing is just as boring as three chord strums on "real" instruments, but somehow the 3 chord strummers always feel superior because they're doing it live, no matter how predictably. There's some absolutely awful live accompaniment out there - thinner than the rice paper on a particularly cheap macaroon!

You say that when you really play a real instrument repetition makes you better - so if you really play a real instrument with a synthesizer to back you (cause you'd rather not play keyboards when you're a far better guitarist/saxist/bassist/trumpeter/vocalist - oh, sorry, Pavarotti/Callas/Ms Tabor: have to exclude you because evidently singers aren't real musicians!) don't you still improve on said "real" instrument that you "really" play? By the way, I play 6 "real" instruments live as well as being a trained singer, so you can hardly say I'm copping out of rehearsal time. What if you want to improvise and are stuck bashing out a fairly repetitious rhythm - something tells me your real skills would deteriorate? And if you work really hard on programming, don't your skills as a composer (done properly, it is the same principle as writing for an orchestra of "real" instruments) get better with repetition too? Just wondering ....

I still can't honestly work out why people have such an obsession with what constitutes "real" instruments - after all, we're not writing these letters with quills or even manual typewriters - surely whatever gets the message across most effectively is ideal.


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