DON'T FORGET: Hartmann's Law # 6 - "Look For Virtuosity" - There's music and there's great music. The criterion for excellence in musicianship are long established. The perception of the absence, or presence, of greatness bust be measured by observation. Music itself is intangible and ethereal. It is of the moment and requires a creator and a receptor. The makers of music seemingly revel in the wonder of their own achievement. I never met a musician who didn't believe he was going all the way to The Big Top. I always found this to be somewhat romantic and charming since it is decidedly untrue. In fact ninety percent of musicians fail to profit from their art. Music appears to be imbued with the power to enchant the players as well as audiences.
There are several ingredients that must be addressed when dissecting music. Melody, meter, timbre and pitch must be crafted in harmony to create a song. These elements compose the ring setting and the lyric becomes the jewel. The combination of instruments used in the creation of tracks is determined by the arrangement. The quality of musical performances by individual musicians is determined by the recording artist and the producer. It is always easy to tell what is great. Music is intrinsically appealing and it can be difficult to determine when it is not so great.
There is an automatic, visceral and emotional response to music that is not subject to logical analysis. It just makes us feel good and we crave more. The best judges of virtuosity in musicianship are other musicians. They are the most aware of what it takes to accomplish the presentation and completion of the notes the composer has designated as correct. The top musicians are able to deliver "hot licks" to live and recorded performances based on their technical mastery of their instruments and the emotion they infuse into their work.
A great player will push the other musicians to reach beyond their perceived ability. This kind of inspiration contributes to extraordinary achievements in the recording arts. The differences in quality may not be describable by the average listener, but the vibration of the subtle energies of music can be received and appreciated by anyone. The mathematics of the masses satisfies an addiction we all share. Every human community has developed a musical component within their respective cultures. Some of the music produced is brilliant and some is dull; some becomes instantly classic and most dies with the last echo of its sound. When the notes are played with exceptional dexterity they are long remembered and repetition is sought by player and fan.