Know anybody else who signs their name like you do? Know anyone else who speaks and laughs like you? Plays the same melodic turns and twists? No? So each of us is unique in so many positive ways. To sing with our own voices a joyous phrase and play that line and speak that joy through our chosen instrument. That's cool. To convey the joy and compassion of our hearts through the music we play. To tell our stories with the sounds of music we shape and create. Sound like a mantra? Aspiring to these goals is what begins to shape our own unique artistic signatures. Do you have a favorite musical artist? Can you recognize their sound wherever or whenever you hear it? Yes? Well, that's their artistic signature yes?
For emerging improvising musicians, the concept of artistic signature is to a certain degree initially founded in the exciting ability to sing the line, play the line. As each of us is unique in our own ways, so may our musical creations and own personal sound project our uniqueness. This basis of sing the line / play the line is contingent on having something to say I guess and as with verbal language, is partially based on one's internalized vocabulary of words. Same principles apply to the music? Yep. So how do we build our musical vocabulary?
Well, potentially lots of ways. In all of the art forms, the study of the recognized masters and their careers is potentially a large part of the development process of the emerging talent. This knowledge of the historical development of a musical style and its creators, coupled with the new ideas from our own searching and experiences, helps to gradually shape our own artistic voice and in doing so, we each help to continue and pass along this historical process. So, have so many of the great artists we love studied the work of the great artists before them, and those artists studied with those before them, and back and back and back in history to go forward, forward, forward in time?
Listening to music is often an essential part of this process, while knowledge of music theory can help organize and internalize the sounds we hear. The aural, theoretically interpretive ability of sing the line, play the line can provide an inexhaustible source for new artistic ideas. Combining this simple idea of "sing and play" with a gradually expanding understanding of the theoretical structure of our music system, we set in motion a proven program of study to initiate the development our own artistic signatures. Adding our signature to the ledger of the music history includes us in the collective energy to bring forth and share the joy, light, sorrows and challenges of the world we live in, past, present and the future.
Each of the broad categories of American music styles can to a certain degree shape a players concept and sound to fall into certain historical parameters. This is in a sense a recognition and respect for the historical tradition of a particular style of music and the players who have created and developed that style. While listening to music we can often identify our musical hero's by simply hearing a few notes of their music. This identification of the artist by their sound is the aural recognition of a player's artistic signature. The idea to consider here is how each of us can use the strengths we are given and develop to create our own unique signature. This is hopefully an ever evolving process of searching, whereby our artistic statement and signature evolves and matures as we ourselves evolve and mature, as artists and human beings, as we channel the universal energy and share our discoveries in music with those around us.
So, is the concept of artistic signature important for everyone? Nope, but searching for one's artistic identity can be a healthy endeavor, regardless of one's aspirations artistically or professionally. Just knowing of the concept oftentimes helps to validate an artistic direction we might choose to go. And although we might not really know what might develop from our labors, perhaps it is the lessons learned through searching that help shape our being. Artistic signature, and the search for each of us to capture our own, becomes an integral part in the continued growth and development of the various styles of American music. Seek and ye shall find eh? Cool with this?
|Where to next?|
New artistic concept topics? How about artistic techniques?
The greatest discovery of my generation is that you can change your circumstances by changing your attitudes of mind. William James