14. January 2009 · Comments Off on BQOD · Categories: BQOD, Ramble

Now comes the really difficult question: Are we instrumental musicians really creative artists? Painful to contemplate! Is the music we play in our various gigs true art, are we instrumentalists worthy to compare ourselves in any way with the likes of Shakespeare, Mahler, Hemingway, Mozart or even John Williams? Is playing a single line instrument in a symphony orchestra, a single sonic fiber, perhaps of great beauty, but only one colorful thread in a rich tapestry of sound, where real individualism and creativity is frequently discouraged, an art form? Or are we really just a kind of sonic soldier repeating our sonic tasks. And again I find myself forming uncomfortable questions that I avoid or am unable to answer.

I remember occasionally hearing great moments of magic from certain symphony musicians but it seems to me that today, that little bit of individualism, where we occasionally get to shine, has become a non personal non spontaneous approach to music making, i.e. the Sonic Soldier Syndrome.

I read it here — a new blog to me.


Maybe because I play a solo instrument (English horn) much of the time, which has solos nearly any time it’s included in a work, I don’t feel quite “sonic soldier”ish. I dunno. But I do feel as if I get to be expressive and add my take on what I do. At the same time, of course, I do have to follow the written part. I don’t get to be a creator, for the most part, but I do feel as if I get to be creative. There’s a difference, but I’m happy to be doing what I do.

I wouldn’t ever compare myself to a composer, though. Or Shakespeare. Truth be told, I don’t usually compare myself to anyone else. I compare what I’m doing to what I’ve done in the past. Am I better? I’m I playing something worse? Have I added something new to what I am doing? Have I taken away something unnecessary? I think those questions can keep my fairly busy.

Well, that and whining about reeds.

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