Monday, November 4, 2013

"Ain't too many folks play too many notes on the mandolin"

I wasn't going to write a concert review about Chris Thile, seeing as how I already dedicated one blog post about him last week and concert reviews have historically been my least-viewed posts. However, after seeing him live, I decided I needed to share a couple of things. I'll keep it short.

Why I like Chris Thile in concert

  • Not many people can do a solo concert with one instrument and one microphone and no intermission. And keep it up for two hours. He didn't even have a loop machine.
  • He talks to his audience about form and chord progressions.
  • He really tries to make his songs sound different and try new things, even after years of performing. For example, among many novel things he did at this concert, for one short piece, he treated the mandolin only as a percussion instrument.
  • He often used his body to indicate the purpose or direction of a musical phrase or note.
  • I could tell that he thought deliberately about the placement of every single note, especially when he played Bach.
  • He never repeated a musical phrase exactly the same way.
  • His lyrics are well written, and he often uses form to accentuate the meaning of the words.
In short, if you ever get a chance to see him perform live, I would take it!

Vocab: loop machine, phrase

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