[JPL] Re: Guitar vs. Piano

Music at AndreaWolper.com Music at AndreaWolper.com
Fri Oct 6 16:44:07 EDT 2006

Jae wrote:
<<I would also like to know the musicians perspective on this - instrumental
and vocal. The vocal thing always intrigued me and how they intrepret
singing with guitar or piano. Ella loved singing with Joe Pass. What do
singers hear differently when working with guitar players vs pianist and
visa versa?>>

      Hi, Jae.  For several years now, my core group has been a
voice-guitar-bass trio.  It's not that I don't like piano; it's just that
this setting works for me.  What's hard to put into words is why. Who and
what we play with is so entirely personal, has so much to do with the
chemistry among any combination of players, and is always subject to
    Obviously, many, many singers have a strong affinity for piano; I
imagine some prefer a more traditional sound/setting, or require that denser
piano sound for what they do.  (And in fact, there are some musical thoughts
I'm working on--just in my head/ears or on paper at this point--where piano
probably will work better.)  But for me, I can tell you that the textural
aspect, which you mentioned as being problematic for some people, is such a
big part of what I love!  I love the space: there's plenty of room for all
three voices.  I love the intimacy: there can be a wonderful kind of
nakedness in this sound/combination (and, by the way, that doesn't have to
mean quiet and delicate; it can also be energetic, dense, etc).  Oh, and I
guess I shouldn't forget that  bluesy-guitary-rock'nrolly thing, which I
realize isn't for everybody.
    Since you talked about the guitar sound in combination with horns, I'll
add that I've found it can work, although I haven't gotten really deeply
into it.  But based on my somewhat limited experience with that, I've found
we can add other instruments as desired/needed.   This is really how we
approached "The Small Hours" -- the trio is the foundation, and then the
drums, horns, and flutes are there in chosen spots.  I feel it works for us.

     Acck. . . it's hard to put into words something as ephemeral as how we
experience music, and I'm not sure I've come anywhere close to responding to
your post.  But anyway, thanks for raising the subject.
Andrea Wolper


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