Eric Zuber: After the Concert


Pianist Eric Zuber recently performed Beethoven’s Piano Concerto #5 (with piano accompaniment) and Liszt’s B minor Sonata in Baltimore. I caught up with him afterwards to ask a few questions.


How do you prepare for a performance?


There are many facets to preparation for a concert. First of course, you have to commit the music to memory and fully understand it. (Hopefully you are given enough time to do this. When

you have to play something in public without having been given adequate time, it's often doubly nerve-racking.) Then you have to try and play it for as many people as possible before the concert date. If you try a public performance of a work that you've only learned and

played for yourself, it's liable to be a huge disaster. Everything changes when there are other ears besides your own. On the performance day I try to avoid eating things with salt (which causes your heart to pump faster) or sugar (which can cause a rush of energy followed by drowsiness). Other than that I try to be as normal as possible, otherwise your brain starts to feel like it needs to get activated for a big event, and that can lead to unease. Some people don't like to touch the instrument on the day they play, or just enough to keep warm. I tend to practice a lot on the performance day, hopefully inundating my short-term memory with the music to avoid lapses.

How do you practice?


I practice around 5-6 hours a day these days, which seems to be about the maximum I'm capable of without hurting myself. I try to be very careful about listening to what my body is telling me so as to avoid injury. Practicing piano when you are playing difficult, tiring works such as the Liszt Sonata is extremely taxing on the ligaments of your arm. If you turn your arm upside down so that your palm is facing you, and place your left thumb over your right wrist (as if taking your pulse) and wave your fingers in the right hand up and down, you can see how much activity this causes in your arm muscles. This constant extension and contraction combined with the enormous amount of force that it takes to produce a loud sound can easily cause injury if you aren't careful about it. Piano playing at a high level is extremely athletic... more so than most people are aware of. Of course, if I could stand it I would practice 24 hours a day. The more refined your ears hear nuances in the music, the more you have to practice in order to refine your own playing. If I'm not satisfied with my playing, and I know I'm not giving it my all in preparation, I come off the stage feeling disappointed.

Can you offer any other tips to a performer working on pieces such as these?

For the Liszt Sonata, practice the fugue! But I'm sure if they are playing the piece, they probably already know that...

Authenticity

I recently read Sing Me Back Home by Dana Jennings. The book details the role of county music (authentic country music – think Hank Sr. and Johnny Cash) in post-war rural U.S. up to the mid 1970’s. By painting a picture of the poor in that time period from first-hand experience, Jennings points out the parallels in the music and lyrics and illustrates why that music was relevant to so many at the time and is still important to this day with those that have come from that era and circumstance.

The point is clear that this music meant something to Jennings and those he knew because listeners identified with it and it was authentic. Lyrics about cheating, being busted, doing time, or just getting by when things aren’t going your way were familiar. The delivery, instrumentation, and arrangements often reflected the subject better than the lyrics. People who were still using an outhouse in the 1960’s could relate to this music.

This measure of a music’s worth seems to get lost at times in the art/business/manufacture of music. While music is definitely a reflection of the artist that created it, the measure of how it relates to others is a very important component. Think about it: if an artist is a member of a society, the art created will reflect existence in that society (sometimes in recognition and approval, sometimes indifferent, and sometimes protest). The artist will embrace the possibilities and the result is often a reflection of the times.

There are many instances where it seems that a music was formed in such a state of detachment in striving for a unique voice that the music is, while original, difficult for anyone else to relate to in that time. Who does that serve? How can music like that be considered authentic? To be clear, I’m not referring to an audience’s reaction to The Hammerklavier Sonata in 1818 or Eruption to those in 1978. While these both were shocking in their depth and exploration, they were rooted in a heritage that made these pieces culturally relevant. That made them relatable. That made them great works of art. That made them successful. What I’m referring to is the instances where manufactured elements drive the creative process. That leads me to the greatest hero of all composers: Arnold Schoenberg.

Schoenberg struggled with how to compose music after tonality had been dismantled by the Romantic trends occurring in classical music. At first, he was handling things quite well. Transfigured Night and even the less accessible String Quartet No.2 are compelling pieces I enjoy listening to, but he longed for tonality. Trends were moving past the conventional ordering of tones that had been guiding composers and consumers of music for some time, and it appears that he was unable or unwilling to use this structure for new compositions. His output illustrates that the freedom provided by atonality was not a favorable alternative. His solution was to invent his own method of ordering pitches where all tones had the same importance…12-tone music. The result was that the composer was enslaved by his own invention and there are likely volumes of great music that were never written due to this self-imposed struggle.

While some may argue that this reflects his time in a search for order and stability before the Great War, I wonder how those around him related to the music. Did they share a similar quest and identify with the elements of 12-tone music? Accounts I have come across show an overwhelming rejection of this approach by audiences. Why is that? Is it because his works in this style were just bad? If so, why has the practice fallen so far out of favor only 100 years later? It is rather unfortunate that Schoenberg influenced so many others to work in this method given the results and the relevance. I am only thankful that Wozzeck was primarily an atonal work.

So why is Schoenberg the hero? He demonstrates by his example that creating music in a test tube is doomed. While there may be a few unique and memorable pieces, the majority will fail by falling outside the collective experience. On the other hand, he does illustrate by his example that trying something new and seeing the results is not altogether a bad thing: If you are unhappy with the results, there is still the lesson learned. He did eventually abandon the 12-tone method in his later works. This might have happened after realizing that most 12-tone music sounds like the bumper music in the original Star Trek TV series (had he lived to see that).

Most great musicians, songwriters, and composers spend hours in solace working out ideas, finding an original voice and style of expression, and preparing and honing their craft without distractions. The truly great ones also keep an ear to the rail to see what else is happening to be better able to share what they see with the rest of us. At the very least, we cannot help but reflect the times and place in which we live.

BOOK REVIEW: The Indie Band Survival Guide

Book Review:

The Indie Band Survival Guide

Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan

St. Martin’s Press New York


The internet has greatly increased opportunities for the independent artist to promote and distribute music. As a result, being signed to a major label or having a distribution deal is not as critical as it once was to be able to reach a wide audience. In fact, the Indie Band Survival Guide argues what is becoming more apparent as record labels lose their prominence and traditional function: surrendering the rights to your music and artistic control to the recording industry is not as desirable as it once was to musicians in the past.


Though a lot of the tips and techniques presented may be common knowledge for independent artists who have been active in the past ten years, the detail and organization of the ideas will serve as a good checklist for people in this category in addition to a few ideas that may have been overlooked. The book would also serve beginners well by outlining marketing basics, how to use the web effectively, employing your organization, and navigating the at-times mystical recording process from start to finish.


In addition to the how-to aspect of the book, some interesting background is given as to the state of the music industry and the best way to work in it. Does payola still exist in the music industry after the 1962 conviction of Alan Freed? How does that affect an independent artists approach today? How does the decreasing prominence of the large recording company actually benefit the independent artist?

Because so much of what an artist can do to promote music is done on the web, a large part of the book is devoted to describing the tools and features that are uniquely relevant to musicians while offering additional resources for those that are unfamiliar with the web in general.


Being an independent artist means wearing many different hats. A short list includes sales, marketing, networking, record producer and distributer, promoter, and web designer. And then there’s the music. The Indie Band Survival Guide offers tips to handle these aspects as well as getting the right help from others. Overall, the book is a great resource for musicians who want to get their music out there.

CD REVIEW: Sprinting Gazelle

Reem Kelani

Sprinting Gazelle

Palestinian Songs from the Motherland

and the Diaspora

Fuse Records CFCD048



The ten tracks of this disc are presented as the result of the research conducted by Reem Kelani of the music and poetry of the Palestinian people from the past and still practiced today. In addition, many of the tracks are arranged by Kelani and some of the music is composed by her. Though the music represented is usually performed on indigenous instruments, some arrangements merge the styles and instrumentation of the Middle East with Western instrumentation such as piano and double bass.

The opening track demonstrates the complexity of the vocal style from this region, and Kelani recreates these with ease. Vocal trills and leaps as well as sustained notes that stand alone against a drone accompaniment are the highlight of the opening.


The orchestration is increased for The Cameleer Tormented My Heart. Though the instrumentation and arrangement are refined, the track retains an attractive raw quality that has a compelling groove. Many tracks feature the authentic instruments such as the yarghul (similar to a clarinet but with two pipes), nay (end-blown flute), and daf (open drum with metallic ringlets). It is interesting to hear them in ensembles that sometimes include piano, saxophone, and string quartet.


Several tracks demonstrate the mix of Western musics. Galilean Lullaby finds the folk elements along with instrumentation and moods found in jazz and acoustic rock ensembles. Above this, the vocal presents the lyric with microtonal slides and goes between melismatic decorations, melody, and recitation. During Il Hamdillah, Kelani sings sections in portamento leaps that would be the envy of a Moog synthesizer.


The album is an enjoyable presentation that boasts the complex arrangements this music is capable of in a way that remains focused and entertaining throughout.

Ideas and Approaches for Songwriters

Introduction


I had a conversation with a friend regarding music. He was becoming frustrated with his attempts at songwriting and asked for my help. There are many ideas circulated by many songwriters on the subject – from the tried and true to the questionable, but I knew that exercises were not what he was looking for. I offered my own beliefs on the matter and attempted to do so in a way that would not set rules to be followed, but allow for free expression. The results were impressive. The following is a reproduction of my thoughts from that meeting.


Beginning the process


Music or Lyrics


This is an old question that has plagued songwriters honing their art, mainly because there is no right answer. Even writers who have had success with one method will have breakthroughs working from the other direction. I find that the title is often most helpful in focusing ideas. But, having said that, I can think of several of my own pieces where the title came after the entire composition was complete.


Finding Inspiration – First Instinct


Songs should be as unique as the composers that create them. Because of this, it may not be helpful to say, “Write about this or that and try using these chords.” There are, however, some things I find constructive.


In writing music, it is often the case that the first idea or solution you come up with is the best thing for your piece. In some cases, you may have to work out some rough spots so that it fits exactly what it is you want to say, but don’t disregard it if it doesn’t feel right at first. Moments that don’t fit what you are working on can also be great for a song you write at a later time.


The first instinct approach can break times of slow progress or “writer’s block.” If, after hours of work, your songwriting session is not productive, try giving it a break for a while. Then come back to your guitar, piano, or legal pad, and begin to tinker with the first thing that comes out. Usually there is a bit of an idea that turns into what you were trying to say all along. I have found this technique to be very useful, but have also found that there are days when no songwriting should take place, and other days when it is necessary to write three.


Lyrics and Melody


The best songs come from ideas and feelings that are important to you. In addition to being a platform for communicating these thoughts, songs can serve to express what would be difficult with words alone. Everyday occurrences, from conflict to harmony, can be the basis for an idea if the thought resonates in you and you desire to express what you think. Follow your passions…and your gut. From this point of view, anything is possible. But keep this in mind: “It’s all been done,” so make your ideas as unique as yourself.


Not to say that each piece should be a revolutionary reinvention of language and music as we know it. In serving the message and the intent, it is almost always better if it is not. In song, music serves the lyrics the majority of the time. Overcomplicating a piece with unnecessary levels of complexity in the music can render the entire effort useless.


The lyrical component is an art in itself. There is an approach that is very popular today where the details are spelled out so clearly on the most basic level that there is no room for the imagination of the listener. When lyrics provide a level of depth and imagination, the results can be the difference between an “OK” song and a timeless one.


One of the things I enjoy most about a song is when there is room for interpretation of a message on different levels. A song is about one particular idea, but the thoughts expressed could easily apply to something seemingly unrelated. This doesn’t have to be extremely complicated, but the application of this art in the lyrical content can prevent the song from being too shallow.


Melody can be added to the chicken-egg complex of songwriting. So now is it music, lyrics, or melody? Because the melody is so closely related to the lyrics, I put this in a different category than “music” as a whole. Since it can come before or after the lyrics, and any riff or chord progression for that matter, the gut reaction process can be applied. Most lyrics are sung, so sing anything. Nonsense words, sounds, rhythms. This approach will sometimes not only reveal a melody to begin with, but also help key into a particular word or phrase that you find interesting.


Your interest is key. The level to which you are excited about your melody or an aspect of your song will directly translate to the amount of interest for the listener. For example, a monotone string of eight notes may serve a section of a song well at first, but it will soon become background especially if it is used for several verses with the text boxed in to fit the rhythm.


Because of this, it can be helpful to begin to fuse the lyric and melody early in the process. Word choice has an impact on the melody, and rightly so. Lyrics will sometimes have to be adapted to fit the melody, but this isn’t always a bad thing. The results can be quite interesting and memorable. The melody, though, can serve as a powerful guide in focusing the lyric.


Form And Poetry


Most songs, especially pop, follow the well-known verse-chorus-etc. format. Working within a structure such as that can help focus ideas, but they should not be followed unquestionably as an absolute. Sometimes doing so can wreck an otherwise good piece. There is a trend that has been developing for many years to blur the lines between the sections of a piece, some with good results. It’s not a matter of one being better than the other, but it’s important that the form (if any) serves the expression. With regard to the “hook,” I don’t think it is a requirement that it occur in the chorus. Unique and memorable moments don’t need to be dogmatically relegated to the same place in every song. For that matter, it doesn’t even have to be in the vocal or melody.


Rhyming verses and structure within the poetry of a song is a good approach, but not always the best answer. Unless it is your intent, rhyming clich├ęs should be avoided. Sometimes a word that ends a phrase that breaks the rhyme scheme can have a dramatic effect. The expectation of the rhyme in lyrics can make a piece more compelling, but sometimes when a rhyme is anticipated from around the corner, it might be more interesting to go in another direction.



Continuing and Focusing Ideas


Once you are at the point that you have some thoughts down, a topic, maybe a verse, the start of a chorus; try to resist the urge to just pile up ideas to create a song. You should always keep the musical bits that you come up with, and don’t dam up any lyrical download that you may have, but keep in mind what it is you are trying to say. This is especially useful to remember if you have become stuck or unsure what to do next. Digging into a word, phrase, or melody you already have can be quite revealing in where the song should go next. Stream of consciousness on a part can be helpful as well. That being said, when working out ideas, especially lyrics, I find that it is best to write first and edit later. Some ideas can be so fleeting that they get lost if transformed when working to make them fit.


Demo and Critique


Even if your song has a detailed accompaniment, solo sections, and harmonies, try recording it in its most basic form once you have completed writing. Voice and instrumental accompaniment recorded on any format, boom box to digital studio, will reveal your composition’s strengths and potential weaknesses. If you are happy with the results, then try adding other players or overdubbing parts as needed.


Everyone has opinions of the songs they hear, and it won’t be surprising if they are different from yours. Still, you should seek feedback from others. Especially from those willing to be objective. This doesn’t mean that you have to follow any suggestions for change, but this is, after all, the intention of song – to be heard by someone other than the author. See what happens. Most important, though, is that it is your idea being expressed and you get the final say in what you think is right and how good the piece is.

IMQ Fall 2008

Popular music is not always intended for focused appreciation by an attentive audience, and for that reason, I was somewhat apprehensive in compiling this issue due to the intent of this publication. On the one hand, popular music is defined as music that places very few demands on the listener and performer. On the other, there are elements of its heritage that are relevant to practitioners of any genre. Anything from technology’s impact on music to how a culture is defined in its era by music can be most easily traced by a brief survey of this genre. In addition to this point, my worries were finally eased when I considered that sometimes a solid four-four and some loud guitars are the only things that will do.


It is generally accepted that popular music is a loosely defined genre as well as an umbrella definition of many other specific styles such as rock, jazz, and country. In this issue, a few of the sub-categories will be covered.


The art of songwriting is relevant to nearly every category of popular music. This is addressed in Ideas and Approaches for Songwriters which is a reprint from a pamphlet originally published in 2006. Rock music is the subject of the essay The Pursuit of Artistic Expression In Rock and Roll. Though not intended to be the definitive treatise on the subject, it will hopefully generate some lively discussion on the topic.


Speaking of which, we have enjoyed the feedback from the last installment and encourage you to continue letting us know what you think.

REVIEW: RUSH Snakes and Arrows 2008

Rush returned to the Nissan Pavilion continuing their 2007 tour supporting the latest studio release, Snakes and Arrows. As the group has done with several other tours, selections from the performances of the current tour was released as Snakes and Arrows Live in April of this year.


Like other groups that tour arenas, Rush had all of the big production toys at it’s disposal including laser lights, computer controlled spots, super troopers, pyrotechnics, smoke machines, and projection screens. With the exception of the overuse of the strobes that were at the performer’s eye level, the arena add-ons were used conservatively.


The closed circuit big screens are necessary for those far away to get some close-up views, but surprisingly, they weren’t used consistently throughout. They were important for the pre-recorded video shorts, which paced the show well. The skits featured the band members as well as Jerry Stiller and the South Park Kids and added charm to the show through the band’s self-effacing humor. The group’s musicianship and solid performance nearly renders these extras unnecessary, but they were used tastefully and added to the performance.


Aside from the near cult following that Neil Peart receives, the strength of this band is its songwriting. It was apparent from the audience response that even though all the members of the group are known for their virtuosity on their instruments and widely respected as players, their songs are what draws the crowds. The group doesn't suffer from a lack of interest in their new material as much as can be the fate of other established acts that have been at it for over thirty years. The big hits are what most came to see, but many were singing along with the material off their new album as well.


The show opened with their hit from the eighties, “Limelight,” and was followed by some proven crowd pleasers such as Freewill, Red Barchetta, and Trees. These were mixed with newer tunes like Larger Bowl, Between the Wheel, and one of their latest instrumental offerings, Main Monkey Business. It was obvious that the group was having a lot of fun with the performance while at the same time remaining focused during some of the more intricate moments. This was apparent during Mission, a recent addition to the set list of this tour. This piece begins as a standard progressive rock-pop tune, but soon leads to moments of orchestration and arrangement that go beyond simply being a bridge or interlude. Peart shifts between set playing and percussion which includes an electronic vibraphone. The part for this as well as the timing between the other players was very intricate and exciting to watch.


Freewill similarly demonstrated the group’s chops as the instrumental section broke into an entertaining solo duel between guitarist Alex Lifeson and bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee. Performances in the past years found Lee behind the keyboard for most of the show splitting time between keyboard and bass duties with the bass still strapped on at the ready (all the while performing the lead vocals). For most of the tunes at this show, the group was relying mainly on the power trio set up. The less prominent keyboard parts in some songs were triggered by foot pedal at the microphone set up away from the keyboard.


There were no opening acts for this performance, and the band took an intermission before continuing the three and a half hour concert. The group returned to perform some more recent songs such as Far Cry and Working Them Angels. Even though these were lesser known songs than their radio hits, the audience was carefully following Peart’s playing. Many next to me in the audience demonstrated their knowledge of the cymbal crashes and tom fills as they “air drummed” the parts. Rather than simply playing a beat, Peart creates drum arrangements that are more than just background or rhythm for a piece. Some of their songs even contain essential hooks in the drums and percussion. Lifeson also had his share of fans. His solos were often applauded in the same manner that an audience would praise a soloist at a jazz concert.


Halfway into the second set, the much anticipated drum solo is performed. Peart has taken the role beyond the obligatory cliche and performed a musical tapestry of drums, percussion, and electronics. Some parts were set against sequenced and prerecorded instruments. The crescendo of the solo was Peart performing Count Basie’s One O’Clock Jump to a prerecorded big band.


The group then performed Hope, 2112 Overture, and the radio hits Spirit of Radio and Tom Sawyer. The conclusion of the show was the anticipated encore of three songs ending with the immensely popular instrumental YYZ.


The band performed with the accuracy expected of a group that has been on tour this long and performing together for over thirty three years while not appearing to be fatigued at the conclusion of this long tour.

The pursuit of artistic expression in Rock and Roll

Rock and Roll has not yet turned sixty. By our standards, this vehicle for rebellion and innuendo is not yet ready for retirement. Still, the genre has gone through several transformations during this period. Rock and Roll was a welcome alternative to the acceptable forms of popular music in the early 1950s. The language was simple. Harmonically, usually no more than a few chords. Rhythmically, a danceable four-four time without much syncopation. Lyrics that were veiled only when it came to taboo subjects. So if Rock and Roll is the language of rebellion, is there room for artistic expression that exceeds the simple, yet powerful intent of the music and can the genre support a refinement that it rebelled against in the first place?

Musicians that seek to play Rock music that has more artistic aims than originally intended must also transform the aesthetics of the genre. The raw elements must be refined because as they are, they limit this approach. The instrumental technique and lyrical intent must be refined to achieve meanings not possible with the raw elements. Other genres have been faced with this problem. Country artists merged the harmonic complexity of jazz and the rhythmic variety from swing music to form a new style that was more suitable to their direction.

Rock and Roll musicians began to realize this and artists began to yearn for the ability to create serious music in a genre that was not intended to support these designs. Besides the social and political pulls that affect music from any period, there were two other elements that supported this evolution: technology and one-upmanship.

Rock musicians are always on the lookout for some new way of expressing themselves through adding unique elements to their music and there is never a shortage of creative spirit to provide new tools and toys to meet that demand. The list is probably most impressive in the realm of the guitar and guitar accessories.

Outboard effects helped enhance the sought after overdriven sound. Modulation effects such as the Wah Wah gave the guitar new expression. Time delay effects such as the Echoplex went beyond reverb to add another dimension of sustain to the instrument. Changes to the instrument itself followed. High gain pickups were essential to increasing the sustain of the instrument that paved the way for modern performance practice.

The vibrato arm which is often mislabeled tremolo and was simply a novelty in most early Rock and Roll had been refined from affecting the strings with a mild change of pitch to the floating tremolo which could drastically alter the tension on the strings higher or lower and allowed for the “dive bomb” effect popular in guitar music from the 1980s and 90’s.

Higher gain guitar systems also allowed the playing style to evolve. The sustain and compression of high gain setups allowed legato lines to be reproduced almost as clearly as picked or strummed notes. For example, where an acoustic player would have to pick each note in a string of several notes for the line to be heard, players would only have to pick the first note on each string and hammer on or pull off to the next note as in a trill. This was even taken the point where simply fretting a note and pulling off gave the string enough energy to be heard clearly without picking. Players could now use the picking hand to “hammer on” or “tap” a fretted note. This two handed tapping technique was exploited by players in the late 1970 (most notable Eddie Van Halen) and is still popular today.

The other instruments of Rock and Roll have similarly been transformed by technology. Pianists no are longer limited by the obvious logistics the large instrument creates, or whether the one available at a performance would be of a certain quality (or in tune) thanks to the digital age. Sampling technology and portable keyboards made the instrument easier to set up than an average guitar rig, and it was always in tune. Rock musicians often turned to the organ or electronic keyboards before synths and digital pianos were available, but now the acoustic palate is only limited by what presets are available in the memory banks.

Similar advances have been made in bass guitar and drum technology, studio recording, and live sound reinforcement. All of these changes have created new possibilities, but they also transformed the genre.

The other element that has spawned the evolution of Rock and Roll is simply a matter of trying to outdo the last generation, or even the latest release by another artist. It is often this drive that causes a certain style of playing or sound to be vogue and another passe. It has also driven Rock musicians (mainly guitarists and drummers) to strive to be the fastest and most technical player. These efforts are periodically undone when other players come into the spotlight that change the aesthetics of the genre to stress other areas of music and move technical ability to the background. A recent example of this is the “Grunge” movement which supplanted virtuoso Rock and hair metal.

The technological advancements and the quest for new forms of expression led to high volume instrumentation that spawned a new harmonic vocabulary. Guitarists began using the power chord. This device was both a convenience and a necessity. The chord removed the third scale degree form the root-thrid-fifth composition of the conventional major/minor chords. Removing this note made the chord easier to play and reinforced the ambiguity between major and minor tonalities that was inherited from the blues. The necessity lies in the overdriven sounds created when amplifiers were driven to distortion. The overtones created by the third in a chord when distorting the electric guitar clash with the other harmonics of the chord, especially when played in the tenor range of the instrument. Though this new vocabulary seemed simpler, it generated a more powerful “wall of sound” especially when the root is doubled in the bass than more complex harmonies. The new possibilities of this simplified harmony made heavy metal music possible. Early groups in this genre relied heavily on power chords combined with unison single note lines. These elements were combined in a cyclical theme that would usually repeat every four or eight measures and constituted the riff, or the guitar part of a song that serves as the hook. In this example, simplifying the materials actually created more possibilities.

Along with expanding the genre’s capabilities with technology, players also wanted a deeper musical expression than Rock and Roll is capable of. The most recognizable adaptation is the expansion of the form beyond the three minute Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Solo-Chorus formula. Some Rock artists went so far as the recreating large classical works and composing original music that was on that scale. Often in these large arrangements, the melodic instrument, mainly guitar or keyboard, would play a larger role than simply being spotlighted during the solo of a three minute tune. This approach led to a renewed popularity of the Rock Instrumental. Whenever players do this, they no longer are playing Rock and Roll, but playing in or creating a sub-genre of Rock that retains some of the core elements such as instrumentation and playing style.

Broadening the scope of the possibilities inherent in Rock and Roll has led to some memorable achievements in composition and instrumental technique. Pop Rock artists have become more sophisticated in how they reflect the culture of their time and Progressive Rock groups continue to stress the importance of precision in performance that is similar to the tradition found in classical music. There are hundreds of sub-genres of Rock music and each have their own unique take on the aesthetics that identify them, and at their core are the elements that define Rock and Roll, but the more complexity that is added to a sub genre the further it gets from the original. This is not a bad thing, but it’s good to know that Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly will always be relevant.