Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We had dipped out of band rehearsal one time to see another unnamed band on Smith St. My friends had warned me that the lead singer played the violin too, but not in a classical kind of way. Not even in a folky kind of way. It was a method that should have appealed to my punk sensibilities, thrashing about randomly with a desperately detuned Suzuki, but the sight of it made me grizzle and then my friend informed me: "He picked it up at a garage sale, apparently. He never bothered to learn it."

I wish I could have marvelled at the on-stage antics, as my friends did. I could have accepted the squeaks and the squawks if it served any kind of melodic purpose. Instead I looked on, feeling irked by the whole demonstration. I could see that it was a clearly an on-stage gimmick, used deliberately to highlight a kind of roughed-up credibility. He was making it clear that his parents did not fork out money for violin lessons.

I thought my issue with it had something to do with my long-established relationship with the violin, after all, I'm irrationally territorial about it at the best of times. I thought that it had something to do with the physicality of the violin itself, how its delicacy suggests that its handler has been duly taught how to handle it respectfully. It's quite unlike the guitar in that way, in that it's relatively common for guitarists to be self-taught.

Thinking about it all now, I believe the source of my irritation really had nothing to do with the violin, itself. It didn't even have anything to do with my bourgeois expectations. If I had witnessed any performer play any instrument, from guitar to tuba, I would hope that the performer had made some small attempt to learn their instrument. I don't believe you need to be extraordinarily good, after all, I am the first to vouch my love for the Sniffin' Glue creed, This is a chord, this is another, this is a third... now form a band.

Friends, in leaving you with this week's Orchestral Pop podcast, I'm looking for your thoughts on a couple of things! Do you believe that notions of class attach themselves to certain musical instruments, but not others? Do you believe that certain instruments require professional guidance? What credibility comes from being a self-taught musician? How musically proficient do you expect your favourite musicians to be?


Cassettes & Chocolate Milk: Orchestral Pop Podcast #53
Depeche Mode - One Caress
Owen Pallett - Lewis Takes Action
Kishi Bashi - I Am The Anti-Christ To You
Beirut - Forks & Knives (La Fête)
Jens Lekman - Your Arms Around Me
Morrissey - I Know Very Well How I Got My Name
Agnes Kain - You Next To Me
Theoretical Girl - I Should Have Loved You More
Jem - They
Guillemots - São Paolo

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