Mudcat Café message #1222300 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #71449   Message #1222300
Posted By: Uncle_DaveO
09-Jul-04 - 11:19 AM
Thread Name: PLEASE, defend BANJOS !!!
Subject: RE: PLEASE, defend BANJOS !!!
Rhoda Horse (clever name!) said, in part:

No tone, sustain, subtlety.

Clearly Rhoda has not listened to the right performances.

As to sustain, it's not particularly necessary. Harpsichords have little sustain, for instance. That hardly makes them "shite". The point is that a musical instrument must be used with judgment, for music which needs the aural qualities of the instrument.

As to subtlety, I recommend that you listen with a careful and hopefully unprejudiced ear to Michael Miles' CD, American Bach. Half of it is Miles playing (in magnificent fashion) three Bach suites originally for unaccompanied cello. Wonderful! The music, originally for cello, with lots of sustain, translates, in Miles's arrangement, to a greate piece. And remember that Bach himself was very free to arrange his work for various instruments foreign to the instrument originally written for. And that included lute, which tends to have a fairly dry tone and relatively little sustain.

The other half of American Bach is Miles's composition, Suite for the Americas. Observing that Bach's suites were sets of contemporary dances, Miles sets out to do a similar thing for the Western Hemisphere (and thus the title "American Bach"). With wonderful compositional judgment and formidable musical technique, using dance forms like the tango, guaracha, and others, he succeeds in presenting a suite which keeps me listening for hours.

Now, if you hear "shite music" which happens to include banjo, I strongly suggest that it's the music which is shite, not the instrument.

Dave Oesterreich