Amusing musings by a music industry insider from the outside
Friday, March 07, 2003
BACK TO THE MUSIC
Live music is sooooooooooooooo screwed...
Here's a sick thing for the working musician: The last place you'd expect music to get cut is the Broadway theatre.
These genius producers were knocking around the idea of cutting back a full ensemble of 25 pieces to 7. Seven? Part of the excitement of theatre is to hear the timpani roll at just the right time or hearing a string section bring in one theme while the horns are already stating another. The rhythm section supporting underneath it all creating the 'bed'.
Part of the excitement of a 'show' is the live pit orchestra.
When I was young,my heart would race when I would hear the overture in anticipation of what was to come...textures, dynamics, everything would weigh on the opening overture.
When I played in pit orchestra, that excitement, my racing heartbeat, would be a part of the event. The audience didn't realize why they too were effected emotionally. The key here is HEARTBEAT. There is a HEARTBEAT behind the notes that are being played. You can't get that from a drum machine. Okay, a drum machine has consistent time as well as sound but No Heartbeat! This is the power of live musicians and live music: These heartbeats are playing these notes, hitting drums, emotionally charged!
Did I mention this is therapeutic whether the average listener realizes it or not. Ok the obvious stuff about instrumental music [it's sensuality] has been a known fact but, some of us were taken by something innocent, deeper, definitally spiritual---at least I know I for myself these were the elements that made me love music. Just because some sicko conservative elder's body responded with sexual references, that's not my problem. Words/lyrics are another issue. I speak of instrumental music. But, I digress...
Apparently my musical brothers and sisters working the Broadway shows have had enough and are now on strike tonight in NYC. This is not good. We can be replaced now more than ever by machines. Don't think producers won't figure out a way to have canned music for Broadway. They did this in Vegas! First you had canned music and now you have cheap live music...I don't mean to degrade because I do consider some DJ ing an art form but, for the most part all I can say is WTF?! To quote Buddy Rich, 'You gotta' be f*****g kidding me!'
I do recall the musician strike in the late 1960's. The Tonight Show had no opening music; it was sad. The Smother's Brother's used singers to pick up the slack and guest stars like Dion and Donovan played their own instruments. It was exciting to see this but the lack of live music was too noticable.
Maybe there should be a musicless week and I mean:
NO Live Music ANYwhere
NO Pre'Recorded Music of any kind
Computer generated midi music [no samples] is allowed because it doesn't have a heartbeat. I guarantee total insanity and chaos within 48hours