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''F... the frets"


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#1 Edward Powell

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 09:58 AM

FRETS!? I sometimes hear FGist make comments like ''f... the frets'' or whatever. . . In my opinion this is not fair or even helpful. The truth is that there is nothing wrong with a FRET. The problem is with FRET PLACEMENT! Sitars, baglamas, tanburs, rababs all have frets (but they are MOVEABLE) and they are not, in my opinion, ''compromised instruments''. A standard fretted guitar IS a compromised instrument not because it has frets, but because those frets are fix in out of tune positions.
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#2 Guest_Michael_*

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 12:47 PM

I still like frets and even the standard fretted guitar.

#3 Paul Shigihara

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 01:59 PM

A standard fretted guitar IS a compromised instrument not because it has frets,
but because those frets are fix in out of tune positions.


ok... it's a compromise but a nice one... and there are workarounds and ways to
play 'in tune' to a lot of music...
even shrinivas doesn't feel bothered by his western ET frets on his mandolins
when playing gamakas...

#4 Edward Powell

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 02:16 PM

A standard fretted guitar IS a compromised instrument not because it has frets,
but because those frets are fix in out of tune positions.


ok... it's a compromise but a nice one... and there are workarounds and ways to
play 'in tune' to a lot of music...
even shrinivas doesn't feel bothered by his western ET frets on his mandolins
when playing gamakas...


good point! it is amazing actually, there is a whole school now of carnatic electric guitarists who don't feel at all bothered by ET fret placings. If you look closely at a VEENA you will see that the 4th fret is placed slighly lower... obviously to accommodate ETs horribly high major 3rd.
...in my opinion this is a very dangerous and very sad trend. You see it all over the world. Go to Greece or the Balkans and the old traditional instruments that used to have multiple moveable frets, now generally have 12ET frets instead. Don't try to tell me this is an advance :D ...Greeks and Bulgarians playing what used to be microtonal makam-based music now in ET--- it's perverse.

personally i have never been bothered by ET guitar in Jazz. Probably because jazz harmony never gives you really obvious fundamental intervals like 1 - major 3rd... usually it is stacking 4ths and other intervals - intervals which are much closer to pure in ET.

...but i find it very painful on my ears to listen to the average campfire guitarist playing fundamental chords like C, G, D7 etc... in these chords anyone can here how out of tune ET is.
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#5 Ed DeGenaro

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 04:12 PM

A standard fretted guitar IS a compromised instrument not because it has frets,
but because those frets are fix in out of tune positions.


ok... it's a compromise but a nice one... and there are workarounds and ways to
play 'in tune' to a lot of music...
even shrinivas doesn't feel bothered by his western ET frets on his mandolins
when playing gamakas...

I was kust about to post the same...

#6 Paul Shigihara

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 05:07 PM

...but i find it very painful on my ears to listen to the average campfire guitarist playing fundamental chords like C, G, D7 etc... in these chords anyone can here how out of tune ET is.


what are you gonna do ?

you could

a) not listen and walk away...
b) teach them to tune quite not right...
c) try to pass a law against 12TET...

even poor harry partch couldn't convince the music establishment... :D

#7 Guest_Michael_*

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 06:24 PM

even poor harry partch couldn't convince the music establishment...


That is a work in progress brother!

even shrinivas doesn't feel bothered by his western ET frets on his mandolins


I feel that is just another example of the 12-TET polluting the sonic world even though "he" sounds incredible on it.


12-TET is like McDonald's, people just somehow get used to it even though in their "hearts" they know that is wrong.

#8 Monosynapsis

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 06:29 PM

... it is amazing actually, there is a whole school now of carnatic electric guitarists who don't feel at all bothered by ET fret placings. If you look closely at a VEENA you will see that the 4th fret is placed slighly lower... obviously to accommodate ETs horribly high major 3rd.
...in my opinion this is a very dangerous and very sad trend. You see it all over the world. Go to Greece or the Balkans and the old traditional instruments that used to have multiple moveable frets, now generally have 12ET frets instead. Don't try to tell me this is an advance :D ...Greeks and Bulgarians playing what used to be microtonal makam-based music now in ET--- it's perverse.


I've been very (negatively) impressed by this trend in India as well: it appears to me that only the old masters and a few young nerds really appreciate srutis in India anymore.

I suspect the harmonium and lately the invasion of electronic keyboards into Bollywood (there are no sruti based keyboards comparable to the 'arabic' synths out there to my knowledge) to be the main culprits. I also got the impression (and this has been confirmed in conversations with indians who have been musicians in bollywood for more than 40 years) that the whole raga systems gets shrunk more and more into majorish songs (like khamaj or bilawal - i think the vast majority of 'happy' bollywood songs) and minorish ( like kafi and bhairavi for many many 'sad' songs). During my stay in India it seemed to me that never ever on tv or the radio did I hear a pop song in Myan Ki Todi for example, for obvious reasons if one tries that one on a 12 tet synth.

And Bollywood is what educates the masses in India! Add MTV western pop rock carpetbombing runs for 20 years to that and you get a whole Indian generation happily strumming campfire chords on a 12tet guitar amidst the ruins of their own culture!!

However, it seems also to be very instrument related: the classical singers (khyal and dhrupad) i've met were very conscious about srutis and so were the violonists and sarodists. Less so the sitarists/veena/santoor players. It seems that from thumri to pop 12 tet rules: bhajan singers with a harmonium being the most obvious.

The crazy thing to me is that nobody I've met in India (even several true master musicians) seems to know what 12 TET is !!!
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#9 Monosynapsis

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 06:35 PM

even shrinivas doesn't feel bothered by his western ET frets on his mandolins
when playing gamakas...



Thats why he always play so fast, even in alap: if he would slow down on a gamak a bit it would show how wrong it actually is. Oh, and he being a musical prodigy surely helps in masking his 12TET.
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#10 Paul Shigihara

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 07:15 PM

Thats why he always play so fast, even in alap: if he would slow down on a gamak a bit it would show how wrong it actually is. Oh, and he being a musical prodigy surely helps in masking his 12TET.


oh please.... :D

#11 Paul Shigihara

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 07:22 PM

12-TET is like McDonald's, people just somehow get used to it even though in their "hearts" they know that is wrong.


more BS.... and you probably mean it...

#12 Monosynapsis

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 07:27 PM

Thats why he always play so fast, even in alap: if he would slow down on a gamak a bit it would show how wrong it actually is. Oh, and he being a musical prodigy surely helps in masking his 12TET.


oh please.... :D



Just slow him down digitally to see what I mean.

He does use bends though. Among the carnatic purists I've met (I saw him three times in India) he is very respected as a genius but its also acknowledged that he plays out of tune most of the time (even shankarabarnam). And as much virtuoso as he is, he usually gets on my nerves after 30 mn: he plays fast every single gamak. Very, very monotonous (and man - his concerts last well up to 5 hours !!).
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#13 Paul Shigihara

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 07:45 PM

And as much virtuoso as he is, he usually gets on my nerves after 30 mn: he plays fast every single gamak. Very, very monotonous (and man - his concerts last well up to 5 hours !!).


now i'm very curious what you have to offer musically...
can i hear your work ?

#14 Monosynapsis

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 08:02 PM

And as much virtuoso as he is, he usually gets on my nerves after 30 mn: he plays fast every single gamak. Very, very monotonous (and man - his concerts last well up to 5 hours !!).


now i'm very curious what you have to offer musically...
can i hear your work ?



Whats your point?

First your rude (which the vomit smiley directed at posts obviously is - but I scoffed that off as good natured pun), and now you want to imply that I somehow pretend to be "better" than mandolin srinivas or what ? Whats wrong with you ?

Listen up:
Srinivis plays classical carnatic music with a 12 TET instrument. No meend possible. No correct gamakas possible. End of story. Whether you like/admire or whatever him wont change that fact.

Now go and buy yourself a better mood or some politeness. Both if you can afford.
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#15 Paul Shigihara

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 08:51 PM

Whats your point?

First your rude (which the vomit smiley directed at posts obviously is - but I scoffed that off as good natured pun), and now you want to imply that I somehow pretend to be "better" than mandolin srinivas or what ? Whats wrong with you ?

Listen up:
Srinivis plays classical carnatic music with a 12 TET instrument. No meend possible. No correct gamakas possible. End of story. Whether you like/admire or whatever him wont change that fact.

Now go and buy yourself a better mood or some politeness. Both if you can afford.


my point is.... after you've made it public loud & clear what your dislikes are and how informed you are about carnatic music i was just curious about your possible musical contributions...
don't put words in my mouth...maybe we can all learn a thing or two from you ???




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