Perfect imperfections

Perfection is unatainable. No one is, has ever been, or can ever be perfect. In my early college days, I used to fret over every tiny thing that didn't go the way I thought it should in a performance. With each detail that wasn't "perfect" i would get hung up on it and distracted and more things would go "wrong". It wasn't until I learned to embrace imperfections as being part of life that I began to stop looking at my performances as abominations . Once that happened, my performances took on a much more relaxed and expressive nature. My technique blossomed and I wasn't afraid to take more chances and push my own boundaries a little further.


for me, the phrase "perfect imperfections" is exactly right. If a composer wants a technically perfect performance of their work, they're best off using software like Digital Performer to enter their score and record the computer playback. Even then, due to technical issues such as processor lag and digital jitter, The result is likely to be imperfect, still.


The advent of modern digital recording has resulted in artficially "perfect" recordings. It is all too easy for a skilled editor to take a dozen different recordings of a passage and splice a measure here or a note there to replace a slightly out of tune note or a small blip between two notes. Even recordings billed as "live" recordings are often edited in this way-taking the best bits of multiple performances and correcting the "mistakes". They may be all bits of live performances, but not one complete performance.


When I do audio recording, I take the early 20th century approach of recording in entire takes, and selecting the best overall performance with imperfections and all. After all, until the advent of magnetic tape, editing at all was not possible. In the days of records, it was all at once and move on. The final product may have been take number five. But it was all in one go. No correcting. No "fix it in post."


I don't use this philosphy as an excuse for a sloppy unprepared performance. It simply releives some of the self-imposed pressure to get everything right every time. After all, if people *only* performed music or showed artwork, once it was "perfect" We would have no art or music. and what a frightfully drab world it would be.



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