do you play to exhibit virtuosity, or
do you play to demonstrate musicianship ?

I'd say that in some music styles virtuosity is considered one aspect of musicianship, so the answer is, as usual, "It depends".

@flavigula @gavcloud

@gavcloud neither.
i play to connect, to share, to feel close (and apart), to experience together.

@gavcloud i think the questions of virtuosity and musicianship are obstacles in this relationship between musician/composer and audience/society, though they come from the right critical set of ideas....

@gavcloud Define 'musicianship'... In fact, for that matter, could you also define 'demonstrate'? When I play it is neither to exhibit nor demonstrate. It is to explore, create, craft, evoke, meditate. In fact, sometimes, play is the only verb needed. I'm just having fun. And while I may sometimes share recordings, the role of the audience is secondary : either as a fictional counterpoint in my mind while composing; or in a real sense, as witnesses of a personal process.

@gavcloud Virtuosity can be breathtaking, but I'm distrusting of any desire to reduce art to any metric comparable to athleticism or even dexterity. Music is art. It is a means of inspiring feeling. The means need not be complicated nor difficult to be effective. Nor does complexity alone confer value. I am uncertain what you mean by musicianship though. Perhaps this is what you mean by effective means?

@Flophouse_Sam thanks for pressing me to clarify, my wording being perhaps intentionally oblique. i do admit to being fascinated by technical prowess (think Sviatoslav Richter or Glenn Gould, Grigory Sokolov …), and strive for such in my own instrumental playing. but i am convinced that empty virtuosity is a trap and a façade which masks art.

@Flophouse_Sam ‘demonstrate’ does now sound too pedantic. a better word might have been ‘manifest’

@Flophouse_Sam and by ‘musicianship’, I so agree with your oscillations b/w exploring, meditating, and crafting.

@gavcloud I probably tend to what @Flophouse_Sam said. Explore, evoke and meditate resonate with me. A conversation. An opportunity to gain some understanding of my own experience.

@eid @Flophouse_Sam yes! conversations with the self, an excavation of one’s own abyss of being


i play to nurture my humanity

(thank you for the evocative question)

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