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Thread: Richard Provost Art & technique of practice queries

  1. #1

    Post Richard Provost Art & technique of practice queries

    I bought and read this book and have a couple of queries. I wonder if anyone has used the book and found answers to my queries.

    First on page 23 he says "Mark the phrases and motifs shown in figure 3" ... "the example can be divided into three melodic or harmonic sections". My confusion is how are "phrases", "motifs" and "sections" different to each other. I consulted my Jacobs Penguin dictionary of music and could make out what he meant were their differences

    Second on page 25 "2. Focus carefully on the shape and direction [of the bass line in relation to the melody]. My confusion is what does he mean by "shape" and "direction".

    I emailed richard provost at his university address a couple of times and never received an answer.

    Of course, if anyone has some recommendations on other books, happy to know what they are. I didnt get very far with the amazon highly rated Madeline Bruser Art of practice. There seemed to be a much shorter book in there when the anecdotes were discounted and some of her suggestions did not work for me e.g., the three focus items in breathing described on page 48-49 (breathing, noticing sensory reality of texture of breath body on seat; air, light and sounds of the foreground, then expanding awareness to ground beneath and space around)

    TIA/gary

  2. #2
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Richard Provost Art & technique of practice queries

    Seems whatever music you’re looking at naturally divides into three sections.

    A phrase can certainly be considered a “section”, but whether that is what the author intends would depend on the content of the music you’re looking at. In a lengthy section, you could have several phrases, but phrase and section could also be used synonymously depending on context. “Motif” would indicate common themes or movements when comparing phrases or sections.

    Re: Shape & direction of the bass line as compared to the melody … okay, does the bass line move up in tone as melody moves down, or vice versa, or are they moving in the same direction tonically?

    I have to say that if the details of the language the author uses cause you such stress, it is doubtful that you’ll get much help musically from using it. Also have to say that I’m doing my best to understand your confusion as one having never used that book, so there’s that. Perhaps someone here is familiar with it and can be of more help. In my limited thinking, time wasted on the minutiae of the author’s use of English is time better spent playing tunes, practicing scales, transcribing by ear, or pretty much any other musical practice.
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    Default Re: Richard Provost Art & technique of practice queries

    There's a few books i remember being good on practicing but some of them were more woodwind/brass/violin oriented, others more Western classical music oriented, dependin on author. My local public or community college libraries had these, hope yours will, you can google the authors name and "practice" or do that search in amazon. Practicing is a really funny thing, I have different emotional attachments (or none whatsoever) to different instruments.

    - Tom Heany
    - Margret Elson
    - David Dumais
    - Jonathan Harnum
    - Gerald klickstein

    Harnum's review of Provost book is good https://www.amazon.com/ART-TECHNIQUE...ustomerReviews
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  4. #4
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Richard Provost Art & technique of practice queries

    +1 on Jonathan Harnum, The Practice of Practice
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Richard Provost Art & technique of practice queries

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    Seems whatever music you’re looking at naturally divides into three sections.

    A phrase can certainly be considered a “section”, but whether that is what the author intends would depend on the content of the music you’re looking at. In a lengthy section, you could have several phrases, but phrase and section could also be used synonymously depending on context. “Motif” would indicate common themes or movements when comparing phrases or sections.

    Re: Shape & direction of the bass line as compared to the melody … okay, does the bass line move up in tone as melody moves down, or vice versa, or are they moving in the same direction tonically?

    I have to say that if the details of the language the author uses cause you such stress, it is doubtful that you’ll get much help musically from using it. Also have to say that I’m doing my best to understand your confusion as one having never used that book, so there’s that. Perhaps someone here is familiar with it and can be of more help. In my limited thinking, time wasted on the minutiae of the author’s use of English is time better spent playing tunes, practicing scales, transcribing by ear, or pretty much any other musical practice.
    Thanks Mark for explaining what Provost meant by shape (pitch) and direction (tonic relationship). That was very helpful. Thinking further on this, I think Provost is using section and phrase as building blocks for analysing the piece and they dont really have any objective definition. I appreciate your comments.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Richard Provost Art & technique of practice queries

    Quote Originally Posted by gtani7 View Post
    There's a few books i remember being good on practicing but some of them were more woodwind/brass/violin oriented, others more Western classical music oriented, dependin on author. My local public or community college libraries had these, hope yours will, you can google the authors name and "practice" or do that search in amazon. Practicing is a really funny thing, I have different emotional attachments (or none whatsoever) to different instruments.

    - Tom Heany
    - Margret Elson
    - David Dumais
    - Jonathan Harnum
    - Gerald klickstein

    Harnum's review of Provost book is good https://www.amazon.com/ART-TECHNIQUE...ustomerReviews
    Thanks gtani7 for the other references. I like Provost because he keeps himself focused on to what to look for (do) when starting a new work.Harnum and Klickstein take a while to get started and cover territory which I find uninteresting (e.g, stage fright etc which I think is personal based on interviewed comments from actors e.g., Lawrence Olivier). I will look at Heany, Elson and Dumais who I did not know about

    Warm regards/gary

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Richard Provost Art & technique of practice queries

    This is a good book, also, Halberstadt, funny story of going to Univ of Washington for a jazz trombone degree and becoming a pianist in the process

    https://www.amazon.com/Metaphors-Mus.../dp/1883217121

    Also, Inner Game of Music, Gallwey/Green, many years since i read it, I remember it being good, I should dig it out of the public library again and reread.
    Kentucky km900
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    Stage 1 pedal steel (highly recommended); banjo, dobro don't get played much cause i'm considerate ;}

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  8. #8

    Default Re: Richard Provost Art & technique of practice queries

    Quote Originally Posted by gtani7 View Post
    This is a good book, also, Halberstadt, funny story of going to Univ of Washington for a jazz trombone degree and becoming a pianist in the process

    https://www.amazon.com/Metaphors-Mus.../dp/1883217121

    Also, Inner Game of Music, Gallwey/Green, many years since i read it, I remember it being good, I should dig it out of the public library again and reread.
    Thanks again gtani7 for the pointer to Metaphors for the Musician which I have previewed at Amazon. It seems to have some focusing comments on practice suggesting both order and method so I have ordered a copy. I am familiar with Inner game having read the original. I found they are not specific enough on what individuals should do but instead describe what outcomes to aim for. We all know that. I have started reading the Schillinger system of musical composition which is really where I want to go. I find he covers all aspects of my interest and I just have to adapt back to the given piece

  9. #9

    Default Re: Richard Provost Art & technique of practice queries

    Maybe you should take notes (pardon the pun) on the process you discover for yourself and then write your own book. The appetite for such books is endless. I know. I own almost all the ones that have been suggested, plus others. Good luck on your journey.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Richard Provost Art & technique of practice queries

    The Schillinger system sounds interesting but the wikipedia writer obviously hates it (so I don't think i'm going to spend $200 to read it...)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schillinger_System

    two-part counterpoint. It is marred by a wildly uneven tone, at times neutral and objective, at times vehement and polemical.
    Kentucky km900
    Yamaha piano, clarinet, violin; generic cello
    Stage 1 pedal steel (highly recommended); banjo, dobro don't get played much cause i'm considerate ;}

    Shopping/monitoring prices: marimbas, Roland drumsets, Yamaha brass and single/double reeds

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