London Calling – They say the world is full of answers, what it needs is good questions.
Does the amount of effort (practice, learning, perfecting) that went into a piece of music or performance count for anything? I think the arts are very cruel: from the listeners perspective, the only item on the scales is the output, not the input.
That said, if sweating 24 hours a day got you to the point where you could play better than Jimmy Hendrix, then bravo, the tortoise has beaten the rabbit. Output always wins. The “inspiration versus perspiration” argument takes you some way, but it doesn’t address the “genius factor” I saw Hendrix live in 1966 in a tiny pub-basement gig in Golders Green – stood three feet from him. We were all aspiring guitarists then, and what we saw we simply could not believe. He didn’t play “better “than anyone else, he played different to every other guitarist. Different better. If you had told us he was not of this earth we would have believed you.
Every once in a while a Hendrix, a Thelonious Monk or a Charlie Parker turns up. No amount of perspiration comes close to genius. However I think a lot of good music flows from “craftsmaship” and not genius. I don’t want to listen to genius all day and night, it’s exhausting. Sometimes what I want is just good music, well played. It’s what craftsmen do. And I admire those who have learned their craft.
C.Flitney – Very nicely put, Thank you for your valuable insight.