Does your instrument define you?

Does your instrument define you?

I know we’ve had discussions before about players of particular instruments behaving in similar ways, but this entry from Dictionary.com raised an eyebrow.

> flout \FLOWT\, transitive verb:

> 1. To treat with contempt and disregard; to show contempt for.
> 2. To mock, to scoff.
> 3. Mockery, scoffing.

> Flout comes from Middle English flouten, "to play the flute."

Unfortunately there’s no explanation of why it comes from that root.

Mind you, it did instantly bring to mind a couple of faces from local sessions. 😉

Eno

Re: Does your instrument define you?

Yes.

Re: Does your instrument define you?

Psh leave it to a box player to ask such a question.




;)

Re: Does your instrument define you?

I hope not. I play the banjo.

Re: Does your instrument define you?

I certainly hope not. A fiddle can be a petty crime (embezzlement, etc.), fiddling can be excessive tinkering ("tinker" is another one of those declasse words)… and then there’s the "Uncle Ernie" connotation (as per Pete Townsend, who reportedly has personal experience with such things). Maybe I should call myself a "Celtic Violinist" instead.

Re: Does your instrument define you?

Which instrument?

Re: Does your instrument define you?

Aye, I play the pipes and I am I suppose a quare fellow, but then again if I was completely mad, that is stark raving, foaming at the ears, then I wouldn’t be aware of my situation I suppose. I think I was weird before I got my pipes, but it’s such a long time ago I can’t remember…

Re: Does your instrument define you?

Dutch flyuten, to play the flute, to jeer. Hence to mock. (Skeat’s etym.)

Posted by .

Re: Does your instrument define you?

I don’t know if there is any relevance, and I’m too lazy to research it, but there was a time when the flute was so closely associated with pagan rituals, and with summoning up the devil, that the church in some parts of Europe would deny communion to known flute players.

Re: Does your instrument define you?

I think it’s reasonable to say that what you have done and would like to do with your life - plus what life has done and will do to you - helps define who you are. And the stuff you have put effort into remembering is a significant proportion of that.

But I certainly don’t think that a general populace’s preconceptions and prejudices of a particular musical instrument should in anyway help to define an individual.

There’s always exceptions, of course. It takes a certain type of antisocial blinkered numpty to play the bodhran when every one else is playing tunes.

Posted .

Re: Does your instrument define you?

I was going to say no, but there are a few people out there who would say I fit that definition of a flute player…

Re: Does your instrument define you?

Fiddle players are obsessives and clarinets players are
doofusses. I guess I’m an obsessive doofus. Playing the
whistle and concertina too does not help with this.

Re: Does your instrument define you?

Concertina players must be mad. It’s not an instrument set up for normal humans…..

Re: Does your instrument define you?

This reminds me of the thread that matches instruments with psychological disorders…

Re: Does your instrument define you?

Definitely.
Actually, being a musician in a serious non-musical day job defines me. Having been identified as a Church organist/piano player/occasional guitarist, I was given some benign tolerance on the business side, but sensed that I lost some respect because I had a ‘soft side’. Church musicians have this provenance of being real wooses often and self-centered demagogs at worst.

The box changed that. At first, it was viewed as a bit weird… Then, people started to consider it a very out-of-the-box (no pun intended), contrarian pursuit that only some one with a strong personality would take up.

And box players must be smart….all that push pull with a bunch of apparently random buttons to make a sound. 😉

It’s fooled everyone so far! 😉

Re: Does your instrument define you?

I would think that your instrument of choice has a profound effect on how you play the music. So, in that way, it defines your playing to some extent. If you consider your playing to define you, musically speaking, then yes.

At the very least, your instrument defines your place in a session.

Re: Does your instrument define you?

I profoundly disagree. It’s not the instrument, it’s the music. I have nothing in common whatsoever with someone playing bach on a violin. But the music I share with a flute player is almost identical.

It’s the music that defines my playing, not the instrument. And it’s one’s ability to play the music that defines not you place in the music, but the music’s place within yourself

Posted .

Re: Does your instrument define you?

What if bodhran players know their reputation, and subcontiously fulfill it? (and so forth with other instruments)

Re: Does your instrument define you?

Well, llig, I said "the music", basically referring to Irish. And I did say "to some extent". Yes, you have much more in common with a flute player playing Irish than a violin player playing Bach.

But you’re the first one to point out that this music has to be articulated differently (poorly? 😉) on banjo, for instance. Things are done across different instruments that try to emulate each other. But each instrument has its own specific ways of doing things that are generally unique to that instrument. Take crans, for instance. You can do a cran on many different instruments, but they’ll never have that unique, warbling sound of the uilleann pipes on any other instrument. And as much as a fiddler may emulate the pipes with rolls, or cuts, vibrato on the fiddle never sounds anything like a piper’s finger-wiggling vibrato.

To me, it seems that the really great players seem to take the unique characteristics of their instrument and make them shine. That’s what I was referring to.

So my playing is definitely defined to an extent by the fact that I play banjo. Dow’s playing is defined to an extent by the fact that he plays English concertina (very well, I might add). And your playing is defined, to some extent, by the fact that you’re a fiddler. Even though we’re all playing the same music, and might sound really good playing it together (if you were able to put up with playing with a banjo and a concertina, that is…) 😛

Re: Does your instrument define you?

Ilig

Very interesting point… I wanted to disagree. It seems that the Music dictates what it will be whether we play ITM, Bach, or the stuff I play on Sunday from the Big Church Music Sausage Machine in Chicago. The musicians have in common being that communicator of the Music.

But then I think to the ‘stuff’- rap, hip-hop, music done in the background of Orange Glow, Cell phone company or Toyota commercials…. and I am inclined to accept at least part of your position..

I know this is for another thread, but there is great commonality between most proper (what an aweful word…but can’t find one better) music, for instance Bach, American Jazz, ethnic folk music traditions etc.

Is there a line to be drawn if there is prostitution of the Music?

Re: Does your instrument define you?

In a little known section of "Man and His Symbols" Jung provides us with his accurate and insightful understanding of the various musician archetypes, based upon what instrument they play.

Flute: Smart alecky smart ass, prone to taking the p*ss.
Fiddle: Eccentric and bizarre, yet may range from absurdly friendly to ragingly anti-social.
Pipes: Do they act like aliens because they ARE aliens? It’s possible…
Box: Virtually indistinguishable from your company’s Information Technology guy, aka ‘the computer dork’. May be seen wearing thick-rimmed glasses and pocket protectors.
The drummer: [even Jung didn’t bother to flog this dead horse]

Re: Does your instrument define you?

One suggested etymology of ‘mandolin’ is Italian ‘mandorla’ - ‘almond’ - owing to its shape. I have, on numerous occasions, been told I was nuts, although it was never specified what type. many modern flat-backed mandolins are more chestnut- or hazelnut-like in outline.

Re: Does your instrument define you?

The shape of the instrument one plays may define the person in some cases but I doubt it.

Guitar = shapely woman
Flute = tall and thin
Mandolin F style = tilts head to the side.
Irish Bouzouki = big hips
Bodhran = big round head
Bass = ????
Fiddle = ????

Re: Does your instrument define you?

Jung must never met a box player.

The description is a bit closer to some PA players…but only a minority.

The box players…and PA players I know fall into three categories. Coping ADHD’s, independent extroverts with high senses of ‘self’, and self-conscious introverts in denial about something.

The person Jung is describing seems to be that strange subset of accordion players who insist on installing midi’s in their boxes so the can play louder than the electric guitar player (who is normally a frustrated electrical engineer)

Re: Does your instrument define you?

"One suggested etymology of ‘mandolin’ is Italian ‘mandorla’ - ‘almond’ "

My own hunch is that the almond connection is a somewhat fanciful retrospective association and that many instrument names - mandoiln, mandola, mandore, mandorino, bandore, bandurria, pandura, tambura, tanbur, dom’ra etc. - are derived from a common parent, irrespective of the actual ‘genealogy’* of the instrument.

But I’m nuts anyway, so why would you listen to me?

Re: Does your instrument define you?

Yeah, that was late in life zippy. Jung was fully into his cups. Too much of Freud’s magic powder, me thinks.

Re: Does your instrument define you?

My instruments define me exactly.

Being the whistle and the melodeon, they are evidence that I couldn’t be s*dded to spend from 1973 till death mastering the basics of a real instrument, but wished to arrive at pseudo-musical effects by way of short cuts. And I would be the first to admit that this is entirely true.

Though until I read SWFL’s post somewhere above, it had not occurred to me to regard my box as a sex toy.

But Hup is right about fiddlers - I thought of all the fiddlers I have known, such as I recall, and yes, they’re ALL obsessives!

Re: Does your instrument define you?

She goes in and out and in and out and in and out and in and out
‘Cause she’s playing all night and the music’s all right

Re: Does your instrument define you?

SWFL—
From the days of "Behind Blue Eyes" and "Pinball Wizard" to "Squeezebox" is one sad down slide. Poor Pete.

Re: Does your instrument define you?

If you are a bass player, does that mean you are fishy?

Re: Does your instrument define you?

The "self" is an illusion from a conditioning of the brain (not the mind). The brain is conditioned and the mind is not. The brain is an instrument of the mind when it’s not self served.

Experience & thought are limited so I might say that it all helps to "refine" but definitely not to say "define" my-self.


-choice exist where there is confusion

Re: Does your instrument define you?

Maybe the original question should have been: "Does your instrument define you and say what type of person you are?"

Re: Does your instrument define you?

We must be a truly over-educated lot here!

LOL

Re: Does your instrument define you?

From the top of a double decker bus in Swiss Cottage I saw a bust of Sigmund Freud underneath which somebody had written, "W a n k e r". From the same bus a week later I noticed that somebody had erased the word "W a n k e r" and written in its place, "My insights spawned a hideous repression."

I passed it again a week later and somebody crossed that out and put, "W a n k e r".

Freud reckoned the only reason we got out of bed in the morning was to have s e x, whereas Carl Jung gave us the credit for having a spiritual appetite. I like to think that Jung’s philosophical insights were enriched by his life as a musician with the band, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Jung. (It was during his time as a drummer with the band that he wrote his celebrated treatise, Man and His Cymbals).




There’s loads more from this genious of words:
http://www.rorymotion.com/rory_motion.htm

Posted .

Re: Does your instrument define you?

Why did Freud think it was necessary to get out of bed in the morning in order to have sex?

If anything, it demonstrates he was not a w - - - - r.

Re: Does your instrument define you?

And for anyone who still thinks that there is some stupid spurious specific definition that sets a flute player apart from a fiddle player, here’s a splendid illustration that the argument is just plain silly

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3R3z1gJQkQ&NR=1

Posted .

Re: Does your instrument define you?

Since I play a few instruments, does that mean I suffer from multiple personality disorder? I am a-Frued to ask!

Re: Does your instrument define you?

I’m a weird shape, my buttons are easy to push and I make a funny noise when I am squeezed. Yep, I’d say my favoured instrument comes close to defining me.

Re: Does your instrument define you?

I am not a-Freud to admit that I either have a split personality and/or two personalities because I play two very different instruments.

Re: Does your instrument define you?

"the argument is just plain silly"

llig, this whole thread is just plain silly. Of course. And why not?

Nice clip, though.

Re: Does your instrument define you?

"It’s the music that defines my playing, not the instrument. And it’s one’s ability to play the music that defines not your place in the music, but the music’s place within yourself."

Very well stated—I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I usually think of it as "internalizing" the music to the point where I do understand it and can play it properly after listening to it carefully.

Where is the thread that matches instruments with psychological disorders? I know that I am a sick and depraved person (just ask my wife) but I would like to know just how sick and depraved I am supposed to be.

Re: Does your instrument define you?

Guess I’m a little sophist then (relativity). I don’t like being labelled and boxed, so I call my instrument by the name I gave her, rather than calling her a fiddle or a violin. And I don’t call myself a violinist nor a fiddler… fiddlist. What does that say about my personality? LOL 🙂

Re: Does your instrument define you?

That Rory fella and his CSN & J joke slays me every time. I wonder how Neil Jung feels about it?

Re: Does your instrument define you?

"What does that say about my personality?"
That you are beyond professional help, Fiddlechick7, and you should be proud of that fact.
Maybe you should write new words to the song "Don’t Fence Me In" and re-title it "Don’t Box Me In" on the label.

Re: Does your instrument define you?

Since I also play a bass fiddle (or string bass or double bass if you prefer that term), I get a lot of teasing about being a "fishy" musician. In self defense, I gave my bass fiddle the nickname of "Fishy".

Re: Does your instrument define you?

Sometimes a fiddle is just a fiddle.

Re: Does your instrument define you?

This is for you then SWFL:

Bloke walks into a shop and asks, "do you sell crusifixes?"
The assistant replies, "Yes. Would you like a plain, one or one with a little man on?"

Rory Motion

Posted .

Re: Does your instrument define you?

HA! Thanks Llig. This guy is right up my alley.

Re: Does your instrument define you?

At the old time music group, one of the fiddlers jokingly said that there is a little button on the back of his instrument so he can easily switch it from violin to fiddle.

Re: Does your instrument define you?

Is that kind of like saying that people look like their pets….?
I’ve found this thread hilarious,,,,,made my night!