The following comprises the contents of The World According to Garv, a booklet prepared by members of John Garvey's various ensembles on the occassion of his retirement.
To John Garvey, whose witticisms, stories, and advice over the years have taught us much more than music.
Music Theory 101
What will there be if you do not play? If you do not play, there will be silence. If many of you do not play, there will be profound silence.
If you see a crescendo, you play softer. If you see a decrescendo, you play louder.
The fact of the matter is that crescendos must start soft. If everything starts loud, how can you play louder than that?
What do you do when you see a crescendo? You play soft. So start easy and then swell out.
Fast notes sound louder than slow notes. High notes sound louder than low notes.
Short strings sound quieter than long strings.
An accented note is an emphasized note. A note or a word, when you're speaking or saying something in a play, or reciting a poem, it can't be emphasized unless it's prepared for by the previous thing. You made an accent, but it was vitiated, if not largely cancelled out, by the fact that you played the preceding quarter note long, without a lifting feeling. Just try to jump off a diving board without bouncing first; you're going to belly flop. That was a belly flop.
Sharp notes will always dominate correct notes. A sharp note will make a correct note sound flat.
The important thing as you're learning something is to render the central.essence of the music. it's not to get every minute detail right immediately if, by trying to do so, you get everything wrong.
Find your high notes so it doesn't sound softer when it goes high, but at least as loud.
I don't follow the usual music school bias that you see in the West—and by that I mean the West, like Western culture—that says that if you can put something into a small number of words, then you can understand it. People really believe that. it's like primitive magic or something, and I don't mean that as a put-down of primitive magic. This preoccupation with defining things in words often keeps you from actually getting to know the musical subject, from actually understanding what you set out to learn about in the first place. You see, in the first place, in music most of your clues are going to be non-verbal.
Fetishes, Fixations, & Other ObsessionsYou bass domras have developed an F fetish. You get to the F, and it sounds so good, “ooh—ooh—ooh—look what I’m doing, Ma . . . .” But meanwhile, you have to play the next lick. Divest yourself of your boomy F fetish.
Unlike the bass domras who have developed an F fetish, you have not developed a D fetish. You have developed a D aversion.
You may or may not know that I am anti-electricity. What I mean by that is that I don't like it when music is buried in volume. The more your music involves amplifiers and all, the less you develop your own sense of musicianship.
Put a chalk mark on the D sharp. You have some sort of fatal attraction for a D natural.
Now that's called the ME generation. I WANT MINE NOW. You wanted your B flat now. But now wasn’t the time to do it. You gotta stick, whether you like it or not, with the D for five beats. However, you did play a B flat instead of a B natural, so every cloud has a silver lining.
It's really fun to play loudly. God, how everybody likes to play loud, and that’s fine. But you must, as you near “11”, have in mind that suddenly it's going to be much softer, and then till the end of the piece, it gets yet softer. So have that in mind and don’t be shocked by the quietude of “11”.
You are exhibiting a very common thing that happens when you have a tremolando note; you become so obsessed by the playing of the tremolando that you totally ignore the character of the short note that follows it. The tremolando is just a preparatory sound, a preparatory buzz, for the pop that follows it. That’s called a tremolando fixation. You have become, inadvertently, tremolando fetishists.
Life, the Universe, & RehearsalIt’s interesting that the Russian word for rehearsal is “repetitsiya” (repetition). That’s a pretty crummy attitude about how you learn something. But it sure is a lot better than not repetitioning things.
Do not play while we’re rehearsing. Do all that secret life of Walter Mitty style in your head and in your body, but not externally.
Every time we get something right, try to store it in your brain, even though you won't really remember it until three years from now.
Too much Scattergood McBain stuff—sitting on the front porch snapping your suspenders.
Whoever came in wrong at number seven, fine. I mean, that was good. You played that firmly and confidently. You were just wrong; there’s nothing wrong with that except being wrong.
That sounds wimpish and puerile.
If next week you can’t play it any better than that, then that’s not OK. What you’re doing now is OK because it’s that much better than what you did before. You must improve. I mean, you have to practice.
Rehearsals should always be conducted in Italian or Russian.
Do not play, I’m rehearsing. I'm not rehearsing with you. I mean, I am rehearsing with you, but you’re not doing anything right now. So be quiet.
“That sounded mighty picayune,” as Roger Whitaker might say.
Just listen to how somebody else does it and imitate it, like we all do about almost everything else in our lives. We do what everybody else does. We do it the same as everybody else does. If somebody parks his feet up in the seat in front of him, part way, do it that much, don’t just park a little bit. Be reasonably offensive just like everybody else.
Just “play out plenty,” as Percy Grainger would say.
Bass Domras, you’ve got to learn these licks because they are very jazzy, spritely licks and not accomplished by looking seriously at the music either. You got to play something lively and spritely whether it’s right or not because what’s not right is every one . . . . Look. We appreciate that you look studiously at the parts you cannot play yet. Thank you.
Folks, you’re supposed to remember from one week to the next some vague approximation of what we did before.
You’re supposed to figure that out, but it’s too late now, ‘cause I already told you, so that I’m responsible for your retardation. But I’ll try not to tell you some other things to give you a chance.
Once again, that’s fine. Now were gonna do it twice right so we can at least equal the number of wrongs that we did. Folk wisdom says two rights don’t make a wrong, no, two wrongs don’t make a . . .whatever, we’re gonna do it again.
Now that’s pretty good. Somehow or other we got through those minefields and it sounded alright. Let’s do it once again to give ourselves either a true or false sense of assurance.
Don’t play while I’m talking. You’re distracting my one-track mind.
You’re playing like the 4th chair violin with 38 years experience in the Cincinnati Summer Pops Orchestra. Play lively.
We’re going to play number “5” again at the risk of playing it well too many times in a row and getting jaded.
The Jazz Man Cometh
Play loud—This is a jazz band.
Play as though you paid for that saxophone.
Respond to the challenge of an ululating saxophone.
I don’t feel like I’m dictating proper jazz articulations to a North Korean military band—That would be like six months before anyone played a note.
The rhythm section sounds like what a psychiatrist would call free-floating anxiety.
Music is primarily oral, and not anal.
You don’t have enough variety in your mistakes.
A snare drum is a piece of something hard in a sausage.
There was a lot of that in the old days—occasional whacking. So whack it out.
To the powerhouse instruments surrounding the genteel flutist: “Modulate your powerhouse-icity.”
If you see someone lying beneath you, ignore them. I’m going to act like myself or Leonard Bernstein.
C’mon, concentrate. We’re gonna lose the Iowa game if you’re the team.
Life only exists for a year or two.
Don’t protect yourself from prowling, man-eating tigers.
Be like a voracious hen.
It’s a mistake to play it well the second time. It makes me think you could have played it that well the first time.
You’re playing it wrongly well.
Don’t give me any of that Robinson Crusoe sound.
Never apologize, never confess.
Your risk is the same as a six-day bicycle rider—hemorrhoids.
Your answer tailed off into the dimness of an old man’s hearing.
Come out of your Essene reclusiveness.
It’s legato—It’s bicycle riding.
John Garvey, ConductorI don’t have a philosophy about conducting. I just do it and don’t think about it. I enjoy it. If I didn’t, I’d take steps to do other things.
Your judgement must always come before the composer ’s ‘cause he’s not here.
That’s why people become conductors. So they can go like this [wave arms] and then somebody does something. It gives them a sense of power. What you’re doing is making me feel impotent. I didn’t come to conduct this orchestra to reinforce my impotence.
During that GP—which doesn’t mean country doctor, it means general pause, and so on—you must gird you loins, put on your pants, or panties, or whatever the case may be, that’s what gird your loins means, and them WANG-O WANG-O WANG-O. Let’s go. 1-2-3-GIRD.
Get out your loud triangle.
It's called lifting your legs—male dogs do it for other reasons. A conductor isn't someone who goes around finding pimples on your face or smelling your armpits or between your legs. What was that an example of? I already forgot.
I'll give you a cue ‘cause it’s fun for me to do that.
I get ecstatic when the band achieves a goal it was aiming toward. It's a group thing, distinct from just playing the notes right. It's heuristic, when you've achieved a certain level, that new goals and levels appear. You have the elements of hard work combined with the fun feeling. The achievement is an emotional thing, and it always has been.
I'm always embarrassed to conduct such obvious rubatos, but apparently, they're not obvious to you, so I'll take back my embarrassment now.
It's hard for me to keep track of everything when you make such a variety of mistakes all over the orchestra at the same time.
I'll stand up—maybe I can hear better that way.
Don't play the last note until I conduct it. Otherwise, I'll lose all my confidence and think you are the conductor, not me. That's called an identity crisis.
The third measure begins to be subdivided. The fourth measure is plenty subdivided.
It's fair to say I would never have started a band if all there was to play was the horrible music of the '70's. By and large, I'm not enthusiastic about the music coming out today.
I want everyone to look up at me, whether you mean it or not, transfixed. Don't sit there sprawling. Look transfixed. Transfigured, even.
There is a rest there, not a note. If I think he plays a C natural, I won't explode; it will just shorten my life 32 minutes.
There are certain places in pieces where you must look at a conductor.—At least until you've played 38 years with the same orchestra playing the same pieces and you know what the old f*rt is gonna do.
OK, that's pretty good, but do it twice as dramatic as that. Rule everything you see in the principality of Monaco.
It's a banal piece. If Victor was somebody other than somebody I like and respect, I'd turn the piece over to him to conduct.
Just Play It Like It Ought To Be . . .It makes me feel so funny to [be explaining all this music], um, like somebody explicating the gospel or something; this word means this, that he sayeth rather than he said. Just play it the way the sound ought to be.
Don't play when I'm giving an example, especially if it's a bad example. I want you to hear it very clearly.
Now the funny part of it is that all this [playing loud] seems exaggerated, but it's not. It's just the right way to play that.
There are four sharps in this piece, I know that. What are the sharps; F#, C#, . . . That's just academic stuff. Use your ears and play what the layout of the tune dictates it should be. And that's why there are four sharps.
Don't use a sledge hammer when a finger cymbal will do the job.
When you don't play that right, that throws them off and they don't know where to come in because . . . because it just does.
Don't pussyfoot on large intervallic leaps.
When I sing it right after singing it wrong, it always seems so obvious to me. Let that be obvious to you, too.
It's true that my ears aren't as good as they used to be, but it's also true that you people aren't playing NEARLY LOUD ENOUGH. Play too loud until I tell you to play softer. Don't sit there like Iraqi troops hunkered down; this is not a hunkered down concert. Get up out of the foxhole.
Later on it's going to get louder, maybe. How do we know? Until we turn the page of life . . .
Come on! You already played this part at the beginning of the piece. Play, please, as LOUDLY, RAUCOUSLY, AND IRRITATINGLY GAUCHE WAY that you possibly can. Play like a rock musician or something It’s too tinkly.
We would have to replace the ethnic origin of this tune if that were a B natural.
If I can’t hear it, then it isn’t there.
If you play the wrong note at the right time, it’s only part wrong. If you play the right note at the wrong time, it’s all wrong.
Play it like superglue and smoolie, not like molten slivers stuck in your flesh.
Play a mellow, singing F—not one that lacerates the colon.
Look at the third beat. Play it in your mind. Play it in fact. Play it LOUDLY. Now play the second beat a little less than that. Play the first beat a little less than that. Reverse that and you have a crescendo.
There’s an accelerando in the fifth measure, then there’s a Ford Motor Company, about eight mph bumper collision test, so you have to wait before you play your arpeggiation.
You’re trying to hard to fit all the notes into one beat, like the sausage makers of Lititz making sausages.
You settle into a comfortable, what can I call it other than a rut,—Oh, a groove,—but you’re not groovy. You settle into the groove, then you play the second measure like the first. The second measure is quicker than the first. This piece has passion. Whether you feel the passion or not, follow me. Maybe I don’t have the passion, but at least it’s simulated passion.
Play that LOUD and OVERBEARING. Then maybe it will just sound normal.
It’s the bicycle effect. You’re playing like university students on bicycles . . . not stopping or slowing down. Observe the rules of the road in this piece.
Don’t play phlegmatically.
The famous onomatopoeic descriptor for that lick is boom-ditty-boom-ditty, not boom- DITTY-boom-DITTY.
The da-ya-da lick of the balalaikas is so flabby that it’s no wonder they don’t play their parts right. Although, actually, they don’t play their parts right for their own reasons. They don’t even know what you’re doing. Play un-flabbily.
Rhythm, Rhythm, & RhythmThe three most important things in music are: rhythm, rhythm, and rhythm.
Play with the right rhythm. The right feel is more important than the right notes.
Play any notes. You have to play that instrument as if it were a drum. You must provide the rhythm.
You must go like this before you play. Ungh. That’s called a preparatory motion. What’s it a preparatory motion to? It’s a preparatory motion to playing.
That’s how you learn a rhythm like that. You sing it to yourself four or five times, then you play it. You know, sing it once, play it wrong, then play it wrong again. Then by the thirtieth time it gets so close; incisively do it the first time.
Faint heart never won fair lady. Let’s hear some rhythm over there.
The backbeat people must play stiff. Don’t give us any of this namby-pamby stuff; Clarence Buddington Kelland out on the front porch with his suspenders.
Now let me tell you something about backbeats and syncopation. Unfortunately, this is a generalization, but universities indulge in that stuff. You play ung—AAH. Like Carmen Miranda, whether you have a bunch of fruit on your head or not. Now Bass Domras, you have two Carmen Miranda pelvic movements in a row.
No! One of you gets the idea of a certain rhythm in your head and plays it wrong and then everybody like a sheep does the same thing.
What’s important is to play BA-DA-DA-DUM, like the Bayonne Symphony. It’s not correct to get the notes right and falter at the same time.
Not bad, seconds and altos, but play your backtime much stiffer. It’s too amiable. We’ll march you in an anti-violence parade if you play like that.
You go um-pah um-pah . . . and now, I don’t know what your age is and so on, but now your condemned to 50 years, or 36 years, or 72 years, depending on how old you are and how long you’re going to live, to have an eighth rest followed by a pah. umpah um-pah . . . take your pulse . . . um-pah um-pah . . . even when you sleep . . . um-pah um-pah. No! ! you do um-pah for two measures and then you have a quarter rest which is twice as long as an eighth rest.—Everybody put special attention to when something changes to something else. Otherwise, they change to Daylight Savings Time, and you’ll be an hour early or late, I always forget which.
Part of the reason that wasn’t decisive is that you’re running all your notes together, just like evangelists and so on run all their words together.
No! You have to make a space. Otherwise, somebody will give us money thinking it’s a religious appeal for money on TV. Bruce, you would like that, right? Constant all the
notes run together.
All the balalaikas should play with a more incisive sound. In other words, I see the seconds and the altos looking real “Boy, things are going really good.” They got that benign look that people who are in the groove have. That’s fine, but now you have to play with a little bit of a snarl. Human beings also snarl.
Second altos and basses, in the second ending, you have to play out a bit more because all the rest of the Nebuchadnezzarian “mene mene tekel . . . ufarsin” stuff disappears. There’s only a few of you left playing and you sound puny. We don’t want that.
Life, The Universe, & Everything Else
There is a tendency in our non-traditional culture to drop the values of the older generations. Learning from the masters is really OK.
Jerk is not a description of a person, it’s an act in weightlifting.
The current college audience doesn’t have the ability to think about or appreciate much of anything. Hold that, they have a latent critical ability, but it hasn’t been developed. Students today would have no idea of how to sit down and, independent of “what’s popular,” figure out what they enjoy or don’t enjoy. Of course, I blame a lot of this on television and the mass commercial market. And that’s just what I think, remember.
Rule #31: What you paid for is always the last thing you find.
When something gets more complicated, do it with more decisiveness, not less.
People are high class if they have 5 digits in their address.
Everyone thinks he’s an individual, but in reality, only 5 percent actually achieve this, and it’s not when they’re 19 or 20, which is when people are consumed with that concept. To them, everyone wearing the same thing is repugnant. All around the world, it’s a symbolic thing.
Don’t laugh gleefully if I insult him by telling him the truth.
Plunge in with all the vigor of your ignorant situation. If you’re ignorant, that doesn’t mean you don’t do anything; just do something definite whether you know what you’re doing or not.
Excuse my laughing—It’s only because it sounds funny.
When you get large groups of people in any one place in the arts, they are there because something is well known—not because the music or the performer has any intrinsic worth.
No generalizations until my sore throat gets completely healed.
The largest audience that goes to an event around here with a critical, informed ability to make a judgment about whether what they are seeing is good or not is the basket-ball audience. You want to see an informed audience of college students? Go to a basketball game at the Assembly Hall. They know what they’re looking at and whether they think it’s any good.
The same is not the same as different.
Learn to do everything quickly—except loaf.
John Garvey’s StorytimeI have in mind the fate of Tycho Brahe, but I’m no where near that yet. However, I do want the break to come soon. Did I tell you that last week Tycho Brahe also had—I found out in my Jazz Band cause they look up these things. We’re a scholarly group—For years I’ve been telling people how he died and that he had a silver nose cause his nose was cut off in a duel. Somebody in the jazz band did some research and found out he also had a gold nose and maybe even more than one of each, who knows? He wore them at whim, but we don’t even know that for sure. Maybe his wife ordered him, “Tycho, today is the gold day” or whatever. How he died was, he died from not leaving the king’s banquet table to go to the bathroom. This was the king of Denmark and you were not allowed to leave the table at these big state dinners which were six hours long, so he died from a ruptured bladder. OK Well, I still have my retirement concert to conduct, so we’ll wait.
In the old days, women used to wear petticoats. They had a skirt and they had petticoats. Who could know for sure why? Some people thought it was so you wouldn’t see the legs.through the skirt. And then they stopped wearing petticoats so you could see them. But in any case, there became a phrase, which meant that you were slightly slovenly, which was that your petticoat is showing. Your second sixteenth note is hanging over, like a petticoat in the 1930s, into the next beat. [ Play it faster. ]
Now you’re down in the murk register. Bekmesser was the merkur, the pedantic guy that marked off; did he make all the counterpoint in his songs right, and so forth and so on. A member of the Executive Committee of the School of Music or something like that. Anyway, you’re down in the murker range. You have to play your notes bumpier because they’re in a low register.
Folks, we still haven’t learned yet, but then again, plenty of other people haven’t, to play a tempo after a ritard. It sounds like I feel when I’m tired and I go home and sit down in a comfortable chair, and then, because the chair is comfortable, I get more sluggish. And here I’m drinking coffee and reading a science fiction novel and then I have to go to the bathroom. It’s just hard to get up. That’s how you sound at the a tempo.
That sounds like . . .. . . an alligator convention.
. . . a South Korean world championship typist.
. . . you’re reciting a poem in Finnish.
. . . Jack Benny going down to look at his money.
. . . some of my rooms at home look.
. . . a Bach organist with a sluggish left foot.
. . . you are peering myopically.
. . . unsightly cellulite bumps.
. . . Everglade’s swamp alligators moaning.
. . . you’re jamming Radio Marti.
. . . Eskimo snowshoe dancing.
. . . you’re pulling bristles out of a porcupine.
. . . someone cracking a nut at a Thanksgiving dinner.
. . . you have molten slivers stuck in your flesh.
. . . lumpy, undigestible pieces of oatmeal or something.
. . . somebody just goosed you.
The Jazz Man ReturnethWhat this band needs is more banjo.
Is that the same bass clarinet Fred played? “Yes.” Then it’s you. Learn to play it. You sound horrible.
You sound horrible, too. And that’s your own clarinet.
Writhe around in the throes of saxophonic passion.
I think that’s a Preparation H place.
It’s alright to have practiced.
On the hymn in “Lord Save the Sinner”: Play it like my mother did when she played in Sunday school.
Some sounds are perpendicular to the earth. All notes are either up or down.
Is that somebody sitting back there, or just a pile of stuff?
What you’re playing there is indescribable in Italian terminology.
The more you pound on a person’s chest, the less expressive the final excruciating pound.
Don’t play when you’re not playing.
Wong-Bahs are one of the fun things in music.
Don’t play like Ray Bolger.
If you can—inhale through your ears—to avoid yawning.
Sex is supposed to be gloomy.
Chastity is not vibration.
Swimming around in a sea of semi-comprehension.
Even Italian grocers know the interval mi-fa.
Play that note as if you’re making the championship javelin throw in the next Olympics in Barcelona.
It’s that old, “By God, I’ve started a tune, I’ve gotta finish it or I’ll fall off my bicycle.”
I feel like a French pig rutting up truffles—Boy, you truffles really make it tough on us pigs.
John Garvey, Man of the World
I know it’s time for me to travel again because I’ve almost repaid my debt to the credit union for my last trip.
In Australia, when they get real passionate, they get quiet, because everything’s upside down there.
I travel so I can observe what other cultures and people are like and bring a little of those differences into my world, my sphere of life. When you spend time in a different culture with a different point of view, you can begin to develop a perspective on how to behave.
Once, I was one of the two worst members of the U of I Judo Club.
For some reason or other, there must be a lot of Jews in this orchestra, because nobody’s playing wrong accidentals on the minor seconds and such. Everybody’s playing it. It’s just the Russian folk music that’s abnormal to us, not Jewish music. That’s right, it’s really a huge klezmer orchestra, and we didn’t know it until now.
That’s very good. You’re following the upward and downward surges. I realize that downward is not a surge, but if you’re Australian it should be perceived as such.
Get up and dance the Hora, or whatever this is. That’s pretty good, you’re moving more in that direction. It sounds semi-sedentary and semi-Hora-istic.
The slower it gets, the more you must be ready for liveliness. Those people [Russians] make quick changes, except from their duplicity. But that’s just the Party. Boy, don’t report me to the Soviet Consulate, or 1’11 never get any more visas.
Count backwards like an Arab.
Don’t feel like a fool and act like a fool. Sing. You’re singing pretty well now. Just recognize, it’s as if we were giving a concert at one of those nature nudist camps on the shores of the Adriatic in Yugoslavia. We would all feel funny because we don’t have any clothes on. Singing is not that strange.
Somebody remarked when we were on our tour in Russia, in fact, more than one person in the band, remarked that a very large proportion of Russian rock tunes, unlike American ones, are in a minor key.
This is a downbeat [downward motion]. This would be a downbeat in Australia [upward motion].
There will be a ritard in the measure before “6”. It’s a gracious thing, not BLAH BLAH BLAH . . . NO offense to Tibetans and Buddhists, but you’re not turning prayer wheels.
There is a ritard here. You’re droning on like a Buddhist monk turning his prayer wheel and accruing virtue. Don’t accrue virtue—play it right.
That sounds mumble-oso. That’s the way the people sound when they’re announcing the stops on the Washington Metro. You have to think; How do foreigners know what the next stop is?
The Book of Sideman’s Excuses
- Death in the family
- Equipment problems (real).
- Manuscript (real).
- Sex Change.
- Mesmerized by the only females in the room (got lost).
- I had my eyes closed.
- I was playing an upper voicing.
- Equipment problems (false). Manuscript (false).
- Flugelhom bell larger than the music.
- I was playing a polyrhythm
- I hate this f**king chart.
- Embouchure wasn’t set.
Loud is LoudLoud is loud.
In general, everybody play everything too loud. Then if it’s too loud, I’ll tell you to play quieter.
If you can’t hear me, just listen harder.
No! You’re coming in like a ton of bricks. That’s OK, coming in like a ton of bricks, but I just asked you not to.
I’d like the kontrabasses, in the absence of a bass balalaika, to make an extra Lizzie Borden type whack on the third beat of the second measure of “3”. It’s the note which propels them through their four eighth notes.
Back to the next, not ruminant, but reminiscent mood.
The first of the two sixteenth note pickups is quite vigorous. The second one is noticeably weaker, and then, when you get to the important note which is the B natural which is the downbeat of the next bar, by that time you’ve shot your wad. The B natural is the important note.
Where there are two eighth notes in a slur, you tremolo the first one VERY QUICKLY, and then the second one is short. Like a quick ring of the doorbell by Jehovah’s Witnesses on a Saturday morning.
You’re playing that whole pickup measure so vigorously that the important thing, which is the first beat of the next bar, goes down the drain.
It’s hootchy-kootchy music, not upscale music.
John Garvey, MusicianFirst of all, I’m not a jazz musician or a classical musician. I’m a musician. I don’t give a — whether something was written in the 16th or 20th century. I’m more interested in how music feels or how it affects an audience than what kind of music I’m dealing with.
Not every great group plays with variety—just the ones I’ve heard.
Well, musically I like just about everything except rock and “new” music, that far out contemporary stuff, and classical music that’s played in the wrong attitude. But I feel it is more important to think about the things I like rather than the things I don’t like. It’s more productive.
Most anything is more desirable played on the piccolo than the flute.
Playing should be preceded, generally speaking, by silence.
Silence can be sensuous—But only after intense and raucous noise.
Active listening is part of what gives people a KICK out of music in the first place. People shoudn’t have things dropped in their laps for them.
I will make a generalization. You listen to something in an orchestra and then you decide whether your part is just the same as everybody else’s or whether it is something you must make a special leaning to, and then you do it.
Sul E—That’s not an Arabic abbreviation for Sultan Emir. It just means you play it on the E string.
The U of I School of Music teaches that all notes are connected to all other notes like mellifluous creatures talk and talk and talk. No. No. No. Life in the real world is more staccato.
You’ve got to wail out the first note of the triplet, hold the note, wail on it, and then get out of the way and fade down while some other person comes up to wail.
Things move toward something, or they slack off away from something.
You can’t make up a program out of pieces that you don’t think much of but you think the audience will love them.
Just Play When You’re Supposed To Play...Don’t play while I’m attempting to deal with modernity.
Balalaikas, identify what instrument you play, and then play.
You’re playing again while I’m talking. I’m going to go home tonight and talk to my dog. I’m gonna yell at her if she wee-wee’d on the floor, or ask “do you want to go outside,” and so forth and so on. And she won’t talk because she can’t talk. So I get plenty of situations where people won’t talk. So don’t play while we’re rehearsing.
Don’t fool around so much when we’re . . . whatever it is we’re trying to do. I shouted for you to play one bar too soon. Thank you for not playing then. Sorry, that was ambiguous. I just want to hear the players over here, not over there. That was a World War I tune.
No! Don’t play I said. I’m you, not you’re you. I’m you. That means you observe me.
I’m doing what you should be doing.
Look at your part. You may recognize something that looks like what I lust sang. That sounds like the accompaniment to something and nobody else is playing the melody. You’re the melody.
Did you hear the instrument you are playing described by me in askmg who is supposed to play? I won’t ask you to name your instrument, but you must learn the name of your instrument.
It only takes one person coming in early for there to be one person coming in early.
You’re playing the same measure, not ad eternum, because we can’t be sure that eternity has arrived yet. You’ve got to change to a new chord. That point is a place where you put railroad tracks, so there is a psychological end of what went before. Now we’re going to start the next paragraph, so to speak.
The piece winds down at “11” like the spring of an old clock So we’re going to start unwinding in the third measure.
I’m not surprised. I’m not indignant. I’m not angry. Just follow me.
That sixteenth note must come at the last possible moment, like a Gunther Gable- Williams whip crack, before the next down beat.
If you don’t have a tambourine, then just shout, whistle, or—here’s a new word for many people—sussurate. Even a lot of Yale grads don’t know that word It means sssssss; hissing.
It’s not like the beginning. You know, it makes me begin to believe in Dianetics. That you get imprinted on you the fact that in the beginning of the piece there are two beats rest. Now there’s only one. The beginning never existed. You won’t remember that really, until three years from now. It takes three years to really remember something. Although, some of us have been playing this piece for three years.
Don’t play on one. One is he—or him depending on what verbs precede the pronoun.—It’s not you.
John Garvey’s Book of Arcane Knowledge
agogic — inflected
animadvertence — a warning
break — short solo of four or more beats (see fill).
dryad — mountain nymph
eclat — with style and pizazz
excrescence — abnormal outgrowth
fill — short solo of 0–4 beats noninclusive (see break).
furbelows — a frilly thing of some kind
hoipolioi — high class
hoi legoi — low class
Jeeves — quintessential English butler
minatorily — warningly
post hoc ergo propter hoc — (Ancient Latin) after this therefore because of this.
prate — ramble on
risible — laughable
self-abnegation — self renunciation
Spengler — bald-headed German who wrote The Rise & Fall of the West.
ululate — what Serpents do
Who has the highest rate of hemorrhoids?
- French great bicyclists.
- Other great bicyclists.
Who was the onomatopoeic sound for the and of four named after? Layman Pang
Who was John’s theory teacher? Miss Nancy Campbell
In what country do you never step over a musical instrument (or anything else), unless you intend to show disrespect for it? Thailand
Who is Idries Shah? a teacher of Sufi.
At what age are you obligated to become a saint? 75.
What is a sign of status in Thailand? The number of syllables in your name.
What does John say to his dog when he leaves the house? Be a good dog, Winnie, and don’t wee-wee on the flood
What was the book John never bought? Why People Don’t Listen to You When You Talk
Who played “Charge” at Custer ’s last stand? John Martin
Tycho Brahe was maybe the second most famous astronomer of his time, next to Copernicus, or Nikolai Kopemik. One was a Pole, and the other was a Dane. But Tycho Brahe had silver and gold noses. Copernicus only got in trouble with the Pope.