Monday, March 17, 2014


What is it about the greats - the musical masters - that make them sound so much different from everyone else?  I'm not talking about just taiko here, but that's where I'm going to focus.

The best taiko players I've heard aren't necessarily the ones who can play the most notes.  There will always be someone who can play more notes than them, so it's not about that.  The best I've heard also tend not to be the loudest strikers, either.  Hitting hard is something a lot of people can do; it's hitting well that's difficult.  And while big motions can be fun to watch, intentional movements have a lot more impact.

The great musicians place their notes with purpose and control.  Patterns feel organic, textured.  Space is used to convey meaning.  Style doesn't really matter, nor does athleticism.  Some of the best can't play as fast or hit as loud or move as quickly, but when they hit, those notes carry weight.

Now I realize this is all subjective and somewhat flowery speak, but the point is in identifying what we hear in the players that have that expertise and mastery of the art.  Practice and experience got them there, but so did all the things I talk about in my blog: awareness, pushing past limits, listening to how they sound, etc. It came from hard work and honest practice.

Nuance takes time, but time itself won't give you nuance.

No comments:

Post a Comment