Monday, July 09, 2007

Is it real?

John Scalzi asks an important question: is Spinal Tap a real rock band? He adds a follow up, whether the band is worthy to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The first one is an interesting question, which can be generalized to all musicians: what makes a musician real? Is it the technique, the musicality, the authentic desire? If reality is based one or more of these qualities, at what level does a person become a real musician? A beginning violinist can only play "Twinkle Twinkle," is that person a real musician? What about when they finish the first Suzuki book?

As my own follow up, can you think of any classical music equivalents to Spinal Tap? Victor Borge and PDQ Bach are the two that I can think up.


Herb Levy said...

The Portsmouth Sinfonia may be closer in spirit to Spinal Tap than either Borge or PDQ Bach.

Elaine Fine said...

Like the Velveteen Rabbit, musicians become real by spending time with and loving music. I have heard musicians who were musicians after spending ten minutes with an instrument, and I have heard people who are extemely adept at the physical process of playing an instrument who I would not classify as musicians at all because they don't love music. It has nothing to do with how advanced a player is.

Spinal Tap, as we know are the same musicians who were in the Folksmen (from A Mighty Wind), was a fictional group made of great comic actors who were (and still are) musicians.

The Hoffnung Festival would be a good addition to your list of parody musicians (though they did actually play concerts).

Scott Spiegelberg said...

Herb, remember that the members of Spinal Tap can actually play their instruments. Their tour management is awful, but they do make good music.

Elaine, Spinal Tap actually played concerts as well, both for the documentary shoot and a few charity events. Sometimes the Folksmen open for them.