Friday, October 5, 2018

All That Jazz

I play guitar a little.

For some years, I made a (meager) living as a wondering troubadour, a singer-songwriter on the folky circuit.  Guitar was my comp instrument, because you can’t find many a cappella gigs, and you can’t hitchhike very well carrying a piano. I’ve played some classical stuff on a classical guitar, I’ve played some blues on an electric guitar. I’ve rocked and rolled. Dabbled in flamenco.

I like all kinds of guitar music. Every style has something to offer, some unique thing about it that you really only find in that particular genre of music. They all have something to offer. But no matter what kind of music you play, you still have to keep time and hit the right notes.  Playing it well is key. A terrible classical guitarist isn’t inherently a better musician than an excellent bluegrass picker, just be cause he’s doing classical music.

In recent conversations, some folks have asserted that “modern sport fencing” has something to offer, that, by implication, “classical fencing” does not.  I’d really like to know exactly what they think that is.

Because “classical fencing” is simply correct fencing, fencing in strict accordance with the rules, which are based on the realities of the duel. “Modern sport fencing,” aka “olympic fencing,” is -- to put it bluntly -- incorrect fencing, a kind of pseudo-fencing in which they violate the rules and “fence” in a manner that is completely contrary to surviving a duel. 
In classical fencing, you have to keep time and hit the right notes.
In Olympic “fencing” you don’t even have to tune your guitar.
You just have to play real loud.

I’ve never found that playing the guitar incorrectly had “something to offer.”
Playing out of time, hitting the wrong notes, playing out of tune -- that’s not a “style” of playing guitar.  I don’t see any benefit to making a practice of it.

So I wonder, what is it that the “sport fencing” advocates think that fencing incorrectly has to offer that fencing correctly does NOT?

I guess that’s rhetorical.


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