Are DJ's Musicians??


Cavefish X
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Cavefish X
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04/11/2003 8:23 pm
Please help me with a debate I am having...
DJ friends of mine claim that record players are musical instruments, therefore they are musicians, because, as they put it, they "play tuntables".

The DJs say that because they select and blend (non-original) records dependent upon the situation, they are musicians.

In my opinion, music is a combination of emotion and life experiences set with rhythm, melody, and harmony. Are DJ's musicians when they are playing a record player by dropping a needle and pushing play only to hear a prerecorded recording composed by another person? I dont think so. I've seen these guys perform, they have awsome SKILLS as a DJ, but arent musicians.

Other thoughts??

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Eventually the puppy stops whining.

# 1
metalisbest
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metalisbest
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04/11/2003 9:21 pm
Umm, no. They are losers who couldn't learn how to play a real instrument, so they learned how to scratch, which isn't hard.
# 2
chris mood
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chris mood
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04/11/2003 10:05 pm
hmmm, I guess you would have to aesthically define what a musician does / is and see if scratching meets those requirements. Quite interesting debate.
Are harmonica players musicians?
What about drummers?
# 3
hairbndrckr
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hairbndrckr
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04/11/2003 10:20 pm
Personally anyone who is going to play cuts from other musician's songs doesn't make them musicians...I don't care how much they wanna be musicians. You have to actually make the music to be a musician. Any monkey can play other people's songs in a pleasing manner.
So. If you throw a cat out of a car window, is it considered "kitty litter"?
# 4
Cavefish X
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Cavefish X
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04/11/2003 10:22 pm
dictionary.com definition of "musician":
"one who composes, conducts, or performs music." DJs compose music? No. Conducts music? Ya kinda. Performs music? definitely. Hey 2 out of 3 aint bad...does this mean I'm a musician just because I pop in a cd in my cd player?

dictionary.com definition for "musical instrument":
"an instrument used to produce music." Dj's dont produce music... they PLAY music on their turntables.

dictionary.com definition of "produce":
"to create by physical or mental effort."
What's the difference between a puppy and a singer-songwriter?
Eventually the puppy stops whining.

# 5
SLY
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SLY
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04/12/2003 2:03 am
No .

They're job isn't much more than mixing and editing ... Making a "cut & paste" track doesn't make one a musician.

I don't think we can call an audio engineer or someone who's working on a recording studio a musician ... Musicaly involved ? Yeah , sort of .


Anyway , I won't be realy bothered if it was agreed worldwide to call them musicians someday.
# 6
Leedogg
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Leedogg
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04/12/2003 2:23 am
I'm a huge fan of electronic music. But DJ's are nothing more than professional makers of mix-tapes.
Blues is easy to play, but hard to feel.
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Slow Diver
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04/12/2003 7:40 am
I think that they are definitely musicians when they compose the stuff they are playing on their turntables. For example when they play with a band.
Also when they are playing un-oruginal samples in an interesting context. For example, Asian Dub Foundation, I am a big fan of them, they play electronic music and the DJ is adding some samples from traditional Indian music and the effect is awesome.
I generally respect DJ-s who play with a band much more than those who just mix music at a techno/whatever party, cuz it takes in my opinion greater skills to play with other musicians, to be able to communicate with them.
I'll be definitely looking for band with a Dj because I believe that the future is in the extensive use of technologies. And it looks kind of dumb to go on stage with a PC and to play the samples from there. It is much more cool to have some person(s) who operates with the turntables and drummachines.
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# 8
Woodoo Chile
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04/12/2003 3:54 pm


"Personally anyone who is going to play cuts from other musician's songs doesn't make them musicians...I don't care how much they wanna be musicians. You have to actually make the music to be a musician. Any monkey can play other people's songs in a pleasing manner." What about classical music? Lots of top class " musicians " play only Bach .....
# 9
Dr_simon
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Dr_simon
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04/12/2003 4:44 pm
I think people need to tighten up their definitions otherwise un-quantifiable opinion takes president, which is only subjective and effectively meaningless. Is an apple better than an elephant ?

Is a record deck an instrument?

A CD player / record player hooked up to a PA could be an instrument if you were to hit it with a stick in a percussive manor, other wise it is a CD player / record player hooked up to a PA. If people like it, well great.

Another way of looking at this issue is to ask, “Is a small table a small table if you rest your feet on it and call it a foot stool?”

Is Britney Spears a totally synthetic puppet generated by a corporate entity for the sole purpose of making money, feeding nothing artistic and simply adding to the level of corporate greed tainting our collective unconscious....Or is she an artist?

As far as my definitions of DJs, musician and creativity are concerned DJs are only plagiarizing the creative efforts of others. This is not to say they are bad or not artistic, however they are certainly not musicians. Ask one how a Minor 7th is constructed or what the difference between a chromatic and a diatonic scale is if you want further proof of this point. If, as a guitarist you don’t know what I’m talking about, may be you need to take some lessons or get a theory book, you may even find your playing improves!

To my mind, DJ is a DJ, a musician is a musician and they are called different things because they are different.

Just my 2c


[Edited by Dr_simon on 04-12-2003 at 11:48 AM]
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# 10
hairbndrckr
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hairbndrckr
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04/12/2003 9:17 pm
What about classical music? Lots of top class " musicians " play only Bach .....


Hey Woodoo Chile...Just in case you missed to topic... We were referring to DJ's. My monkey comment pertained to playing records in a pleasing manner. I didn't think I had to clarify myself since I was referring to the topic at hand. But...just for YOU....

To reiterate.... Any MONKEY can spin a record on a turntable and make sound come out of speakers in a pleasing manner....
I don't know of any DJ spinning and scratching to Bach dude, so you best lay off whatever you were smoking when you read the thread...

So. If you throw a cat out of a car window, is it considered "kitty litter"?
# 11
Justin8426
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Justin8426
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04/12/2003 9:49 pm
If you look up music in teh dictionary, the definiton is sounds that are pleasing to the ear, and so if ANYONE finds scratching, or sampling, or any of that suff, pleasing to their ear, then a dj is a musician, now, whether they are talented musicians is a different story. I think they get way too much credit for what they do, it takes years of practice and hard work to become a decent guitarist, depending on your standards, but it seems to me like being a dj is something you could learn in a year or less.
~Justin
# 12
Dr_simon
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Dr_simon
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04/13/2003 3:56 pm
Yahooo !
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# 13
Grub
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Grub
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04/14/2003 7:49 am
DJs may not be musicians but as producers/re-mixers they are performers every bit as valid as guitar players, singers etc. There are many examples of DJ's taking crap records and giving them a new spin, with the results often ending up far superior to the orginals. Just look at certain rock tracks. The dance mix of 4 Non Blondes 'What's going on for example'. A pretty rubbish rock record turned into a great floor filler. U2's 'Even better than the real thing mixed by Apollo 440 is far better than the original. And Armand van Helden's reworking of Tori Amos 'Professional Widow'. This made a track destined for obscurity into a worldwide smash.
# 14
Cavefish X
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04/14/2003 1:55 pm
The DJ friends of mine brought up an intresting point:

I said that DJs arent musicians because all they do is play other peoples music.
They replied with: What about when a band plays a cover tune? The music that the band is playing isnt their own. So by that twisted rational the bandmembers wouldnt be a musican either.
Funny, I'e been playing guitar 23 years now and have graduated from a music school. I thought I was.

Oh well, this is what I'm dealing with..maybe its time to find some new friends... :)
What's the difference between a puppy and a singer-songwriter?
Eventually the puppy stops whining.

# 15
Woodoo Chile
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Woodoo Chile
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04/14/2003 3:15 pm
Look hairbndrckr. My post was ment in similar way as cavefish x wrote. - So cover bands ain't musicians, becouse all they do is play others people stuff.

# 16
Dr_simon
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04/14/2003 3:22 pm
Yes, as well as playing covers, the band also eats lunch, goes to the can and all the other things common to living people, that doesn’t mean one is not a mathematician or a scuba diver.

If we are going to argue that "this" (A) is not "that" (B) we need to first set up mutually exclusive definitions and show that they are either the same or not the same.

As our definitions in this instance are not mutually exclusive we are wasting our time.

As I said earlier, ask him what a diatonic scale is or how minor tonality differs from a major tonality.
You may want to add that if he wants to be known as a muso, he should learn to play an instrument.

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# 17
chris mood
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04/14/2003 6:31 pm
I would bet most drummers don't know what a diatonic scale is or a minor tonality.
What about dj's who play w/bands, like dj logic?
# 18
Dr_simon
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04/14/2003 7:08 pm
or the guy who turns the lights on and off at the gig or the sound man or the promoters or the people who print the disks ?


This is an old joke but here goes any way....

Q) what do you call a guy who hangs around with musicians

A) A drummer

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# 19
metalisbest
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metalisbest
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04/14/2003 10:07 pm
Originally posted by Cavefish X
dictionary.com definition of "musician":
"one who composes, conducts, or performs music." DJs compose music? No. Conducts music? Ya kinda. Performs music? definitely. Hey 2 out of 3 aint bad...does this mean I'm a musician just because I pop in a cd in my cd player?

dictionary.com definition for "musical instrument":
"an instrument used to produce music." Dj's dont produce music... they PLAY music on their turntables.

dictionary.com definition of "produce":
"to create by physical or mental effort."



Good use of your dictionaries man.
# 20

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