Are there Illusions in Music - KarazwLaimoon

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Are there Illusions in Music

Music Talks > 2020 Spring
Wednesday 15 July 2020
8:00 pm meet opens. 8:15 pm talk starts (Beirut Time GMT+3)
All are welcome

Language: English
Speaker: Jad Azkoul

Click Here to download the talk (500 MB).

Profile of the Talk
We live with illusions. The sun goes around the earth. The earth is flat. We see the sunset 8 minutes after it has happened. People with wicked looking faces are evil. The more money we have the happier we are. Cinema and music celebrities have interesting things to say. The voice really comes from the ventriloquist’s doll.

Music is an illusion because it is nothing, yet it is everything. To appreciate what it offers we need to suspend the type of reality that science asks us to accept. There is absolutely nothing in a melody, for example, that dictates how or even that we should appreciate it. In fact, people from one culture may not enjoy or understand the melody of another culture: does an Arab have to like a Beatles song or a Chinese tune?

An illusion can be defined as a distortion of the senses, with optical illusions being the most common. It is thanks to illusions in the auditory realm, however, that we can enjoy music as much as we do. Many of us can identify the sound of a clarinet or an electric guitar. When listening to a full orchestra we are usually able to recognize the melody and sometimes even which instrument is playing it. The same sound can strike us as loud in one context and soft in another. Notes coming from a piano can appear so smoothly connected even though each one is produced by a hammer percussively striking a string. Rubbing strips of horsehair back and forth on a metal string can produce the most beautiful music imaginable. Most guitar players do not hear the squeaks they make when they shift their fingers on the strings. The intelligent “distortion” of the western musical scale can give us a flavor of Arabic music.

Jad Karim Azkoul: The Jeunesses Musicales du Liban sponsored the first major concert by world renowned classical guitarist Jad Azkoul. It took place at the Salle Montaigne in 1980. Since then he has been performing in many parts of the world, often as guest artist at many international music festivals, including the Al-Bustan.

Amongst the awards that Jad has received are the Affiliate Artists Award (New York) in 1985, and the Lebanese Order of the Cedar.

Jad'd CDs "Latin Illustrations for Guitar" and "De Granada a Buenos Aires" have been widely acclaimed and are available on iTunes and from Amazon.  Several composers have dedicated works to him.

Jad was born on June 8, 1948 in New York while his father Karim was representing Lebanon to the United Nations. He began the guitar in Australia at age 12, and when he came to Lebanon played mostly rock music. It wasn't until he was 23--while he was finishing his MA in psychology at AUB--that he was formally introduced to the classical guitar by professor Joseph Ishkhanian.

Jad then studied jazz at the Berklee College of Music in Boston before a total turnover to classical music, which he pursued in Paris, studying composition and orchestration under Pierre Petit and Nadia Boulanger, and guitar under Alexandre Lagoya, Oscar Cáceres and Alberto Ponce.

In 1978, invited by the great Uruguayan virtuoso and composer Abel Carlevaro, Jad went to Montevideo, where for three years he perfected his technique. He later became one of Carlevaro’s principle teaching assistants.

Jad has published many articles in music journals in the US, France, Italy and England. He has been on the guitar faculty in Geneva at the Conservatoire Populaire de Musique, Danse et Théâtre, and in Washington, DC at the American and the Catholic Universities.

Jad now lives in Geneva and has two sons: Julian who is a professional violinist in London, and Michael (aka Dr Koul) who is a hip-hop artist in Switzerland.

"Azkoul can make his instrument sing. This is a skill far more important than the ability to whip out thousands of notes per minute accurately and expressively, which he also can do". (The Washington Post).

Discography: Jad has two released CDs shown below:


And here is a gallery of photos of Jihad in action . . . . (The violonist is Jad's successful son: Julian)

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