Post by Mandryka
I see, but I'm guessing that there's an art to it. I mean, let me ask this question. Are there any old teaching manuals or remarks from composers which explain how musicians in ensembles of non fretted instruments should do it?
I doubt there are manuals for this, since it's not something you can describe...
Consider the following:
- [Polanyi] offers the interesting insight that often the essence of a skill cannot be adequately described, measured, or specified. Hence, these kinds of skills cannot be transmitted by written descriptions and instructions intended to be memorized by later generations. In Polanyi's words:
"An art which cannot be specified in detail cannot be transmitted by prescription, since no prescription for it exists. It can be passed on only by example from master to apprentice. ...
"It follows that an art which has fallen into disuse for the period of a generation is altogether lost. There are hundreds of examples of this to which the process of mechanization is continuously adding new ones. These losses are usually irretrievable. It is pathetic to watch the endless efforts--equipped with microscopy and chemistry, with mathematics and electronics--to reproduce a single violin of the kind the half-literate Stradivarius turned out as a matter of routine more than 200 years ago." (P. 53.)
It is Polanyi's view that we can learn a skill only by imitating the skillful performance of one who has mastered the skill--even though the teacher whom we imitate cannot specify and measure every detail of his art...
Continuing the quotation from Polanyi, note that he is writing not about religion, but about knowledge as a field of science, even though he does (perhaps unintentionally) make a point about religion:
"To learn by example is to submit to authority. You follow your master because you trust his manner of doing things even when you cannot analyse and account in detail for its effectiveness. By watching the master and emulating his efforts in the presence of his example, the apprentice unconsciously picks up the rules of the art, including those which are not explicitly known to the master himself. These hidden rules can be assimilated only by a person who surrenders himself to that extent uncritically to the imitation of another. A society which wants to preserve a fund of personal knowledge must submit to tradition." (P. 53.)