CGC 063 : Musicality with Michael and Evita

//CGC 063 : Musicality with Michael and Evita

CGC 063 : Musicality with Michael and Evita

In this week’s episode Simon sits down for an interview with Michael and Evita . . . only this time Simon’s the one being interviewed! This is a great conversation about what is the true nature of musicality (and also how this applies to dance). Simon, Michael, and Evita talk about errors and how essential they are to musicality, baseline rules that are involved in more musical performances, and also the nuances that a master musician or dancer has garnered from a lifetime of knowledge. You definitely won’t want to miss this episode!

2018-03-11T19:11:41+00:007 Comments


  1. Donna Zitzelberger March 12, 2018 at 2:44 am - Reply

    Lots of take-aways from this podcast:

    The definition of syncopation is very succinct – “putting the emphasis on an unexpected place”.

    This quote is going in my practice binder: “You can’t just learn it, you’ve got to earn it”. I would love that on a plaque with the CGC Academy logo in the corner! Evita’s follow-up on the importance of understanding the “why” brought it home for me.

    I really enjoyed Evita’s and Michael’s dance analogies. I’ve had the pleasure of being in the audience of many Pepe Romero master classes, and he would always tell the students to imagine the fingers are dancers on the fretboard.

    A musicality tip that has helped me and my little students is creating a story for the piece. I learned this from guitarist and instructor, Scott Kritzer. The idea is the story helps with musicality, and reminds us where we are in the piece. It also really helps children to analyze the piece of music, looking for areas of conflict. The kids have created some very adventurous stories! Recently I was reminded how well it works when I had a little guy create a story for his Tarrega “Study” from Matt Hinsley’s collection for young people. The 4 lines of music came alive as he thought about peacefully walking his dog through the park and then his dog going crazy after a squirrel. :)

    Thank your for another wonderful podcast!

  2. David Kettenhofen March 13, 2018 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    I found this discussion very interesting and thought provoking. I have like most musicians or music lovers thought about this topic quite a bit. It’s kind of funny that the way I define it for myself is kind of different. I sort of agree with the Miriam definition of the quality of be musical. The reason I agree with that definition is I think the purpose of music the reason we spend hours practicing learning to play or dance hours listening to pay money for concerts etc is we are desperate to connect with others emotionally. Music has the ability to express emotions that can’t be put into words or to express more deeply than words can. So I think “the quality of being musical” is the ability to effectively express an emotion. In order to do that you have to understand a piece of music emotionaly. The piece of music has to make you feel something. You also need the technical skill to be able to effectively convey what you feel. Being able to transition between notes and phrases smoothly in a way that doesn’t take you out of the emotion of the song. Having the control to play the right articulation. Knowing what you want to emphasize and how. So I also agree with what Michael said about it being related to style. A piece of music isn’t going going to effect everyone the same way and not everyone will relate to the same emotion. So when someone says of someone else that they have musicality they are in effect saying that that person was able to make them feel something. As an example Recuerdios de la Alhambra is a very nostalgic piece perhaps sad and dealing with feelings of loss. When a performer is able to tap into those emotions and conveys them effectively it becomes musical. I also agree with what was discussed about understanding through osmosis we become more sensitive to the emotions and possible emotions of the music. Because the emotional response of both the performer and and observer is involved and because it might not exactly be the same it can be hard to define what was the musicality.

    Ps hope I am not way out in left field here

  3. David K March 14, 2018 at 1:05 am - Reply

    The last w podcasts were really good engaging. Just to throw my 2 cents in I wanted to say I like the Webster dictionary definition the quality of being musical. What make music different from noise isn’t rhythm or pitch but the combination of the two in a way that elicits an emotional response. So musicality would be the understanding to know what emotion and feeling works with a piece. Then to relate to that feeling personally, and know how to convey proper: phrasing, articulation and expression. And the technical skill to convey that emotion and feeling to an audience. So to summarize musicality would be the ability to communicate emotion through music.

  4. Bonnie Stenstrom March 15, 2018 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this podcast. Interesting to hear the viewpoints of dancers and classical guitar musician on musicality. Also appreciated the reminder that you can take a simple example and add one surprise element to it and this is the beginning of the journey. Gosh, you can probably remember what you did even!
    Bonnie Stenstrom

  5. David Reynolds May 11, 2018 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    Yesterday I listened to this podcast on Musicality and heard what I thought was a very profound observation/explanation by Simon of the getting an emotional response to musical performance. It is the first time I had gone back to re-listen to a podcast so I could take notes so as not to forget what I had heard.

    Those of you who listened to the podcast will know what I’m referring to. Here is a summary of the discussion. Simon, Evita, and Michael were discussing what it means to be musical and the definition of musicality. Simon asked this question, “What is it that illicits an emotional response to music from listeners?” As music is just a set of written instructions on a page. He then began answering his own question, (I’m paraphrasing). It is errors, or distortions of the written instructions that leads the listener to have an emotional response. In other words, it is the way in which the performer distorts those musical instructions that makes the music individual, interesting and emotional. He went on to explain that this is not done at random, but that there are certain universalities and guidelines that are used in shaping musical phases that enhance these emotional responses. Simon also mentioned that if you want absolute accuracy; click the play button on a midi file.

    This is the best explanation that I have run across as to why it is important to practice phasing when learning a piece of music. I would also add that how one employs the distortions to the written music, within the accepted guidelines, is a means of infusing artistry into a musical performance. Just listen to Segovia.
    Thanks Simon!

    Dave Reynolds

    • Dave Belcher May 13, 2018 at 3:40 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Dave, and for pointing us to that part of the podcast!


      Dave B (CGC team)

  6. lissa June 15, 2018 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    Wonderful interview, and spectacular playing.

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