Creativity is Interesting, Virtuosity is Inspiring

Mon, Dec 6, 2010

Blogs, Fearless Creativity

Creativity is Interesting, Virtuosity is Inspiring

Any new clever combination of A + B = Creativity, and there is more access to “A” and “B” than ever and more tomorrow than today. This is obviously true. Also obvious is the love of creativity in everything; people who never thought of themselves as creative are feelin’ it, and those who are in traditionally creative fields are pressured to be more imaginative.  Isn’t technology wonderful?

Well… to be honest, I’m getting little tired of hearing about how creative I must be; F%$# you, I’ll be who I am – you go and be fresh and new and different, I’m going to concentrate on being a better me.

Yes, we were born to be creative; hell, we were born out of a creative act. But here’s the thing, while creativity is the core of human existence, aren’t we all powerfully drawn to virtuosity? Virtuosity is human excellence of skill, fluency and style. It’s the heart skipping grandness of human achievement.

Creativity is a common and natural act. Yet, being a virtuoso is the ultimate analog goal requiring sacrifice. Great musicians, fine artists, writers, and even athletes inspire awe in what is possible when a life is devoted to skill honing and potential accomplishment. Success is visceral.

For example, when we think “virtuoso” our thoughts go to great musicians. Mastering an instrument isn’t something one can hand off to a machine in order to further increase skill complexity [architecture for example]. It takes a lifetime of devotion and it’s that devotion combined with accomplishment which draws our admiration.

The devotion to a skill that produces useless beauty is virtuous. Aesthetic aptitude + highly skilled craft + just enough creativity to be interesting = Virtuosity. This equation says nothing about being original just to be original.

No matter how fresh, mediocrity is the middle state overflowing with human weakness and unevenness. We’re pushing for fresh creativity but Larry Bird in the ’86 NBA Championship game defines virtuosity.

Virtuosity demands respect; it’s the complete loss of static in communication, it’s the defeat of flaws in the act of performance with a resonance that sends the human spirit. The virtuoso is a supreme victor in a battle over the average creative mediocrity.

Ira Gitler is an American jazz historian and journalist, listen to how he describes Art Tatum, the virtuoso pianist, in this video. Gitler is in awe of the skill Tatum achieved in one lifetime. It’s spectacular, it’s unique and it’s original Tatum. Tatum’s level of virtuosity set him apart; his virtuosity was freshness, everything he did was newly created because his level of musical skill is so rarely reached.

Zenph Sound Innovations is a creative company designing algorithms and deliverable software able to reproduce the virtuosity of artists like Art Tatum or Rachmaninoff on stage. It’s further demonstration of the lengths we’ll go to experience virtuosity. A recording isn’t good enough, we want the experience. We want to be intimately familiar with the performance down to what it feels like to be him.

Zenph’s obsession will succeed in creating a performance snapshot, a clearer portrait of virtuosity; the result, not the origin. Their technology is exciting. Our understanding of performance will be enhanced but it’s still a copy closer to a parlor trick than virtuosity.  To be authentically original is to make the sacrifice to be a virtuoso.

I’m willing to bet a huge ransom that an original low tech recording of Tatum will retain an higher value than a masterful performance reproduction of Tatum’s playing a la Zenph.  What does it say about virtuosity when reproduction quality isn’t worth as much as being closer to the authentic original?

Take a look at the technology behind performance reproduction in this video. John Q. Walker, PhD – Chairman & Chief Technology Officer at Zenph Sound Innovations.  Gave this presentation for TED in 2007.

https://youtu.be/KKHCy3f_6Og

Authenticity, Creativity, Imagination, Inspiration, Musician, Passion, Video, Virtuosity

4 Responses to “Creativity is Interesting, Virtuosity is Inspiring”

  1. Jerome Says:

    Thank you for this inspiring reading. Couldn’t agree more.

    I feel like virtuosity is a bit like a lack of confidence maybe, I don’t know. Maybe I don’t express myself very well, and i apologize for that.

    You took examples from the world of music, I have painting in mind: Picasso’s early paintings were a showcase of virtuosity (thinking about the the canvas titled “Yo Picasso”, as an example). He clearly had something to prove. How he mastered the brushstrokes, how sensible his use of color was, etc.
    Then after, it took him all his life to forget this pure technical showcase. Maybe because he had already proved himself (and the world) how virtuous he *could* be.
    His latest work is simple, naive, much less impressive at first. Probably because he had nothing to prove and was doing it mostly for himself. He seemed to enjoy it a lot though :)

    • Bruce DeBoer Says:

      Hi Jerome,

      Great response. Lack of confidence or fear – both have kept me from doing my best work; still does. I think it’s easy to think of virtuosity as high craft only. High craft, innovation, and aesthetic interpretation is true virtuosity – I’m not sure it’s possible to achieve it without a measurable balance of all three. Blind ignorance can be helpful too I think if one has an abundance of inherent talent – not me though – anything I own has been hard fought. Thanks for the comment.

  2. gold backed ira Says:

    Hi, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i
    was just curius if you get a lot of spam remarks?
    If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can advise?

    I get so much lately it’sdriving me mad so any assistance is very much appreciated.

    My web site … gold backed ira

  3. history of animation Says:

    We’re a gagle of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our community.
    Your site offered us with valuable information to work on. You have done
    a formidable activity and oour entire group can be grateful
    to you.

    Look aat my web blog: history of animation


Tweeter button Facebook button Digg button
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