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- Miles Davis may have been taken out of context here. We don't know what he was discussing such that this statement could perhaps be true. For example, if Miles was discussing whether there were any notes that should never be used in an improvised solo he might have responded that any note might possibly be used in an improvised solo, so therefore don't worry about making a mistake about having chosen that note at the start of a solo. Maybe!
- If we take this statement of Miles as an absolute claim, and not context sensitive, and we use the standard meanings for mistakes, then he is most certainly wrong. There are many kinds of mistakes both possible and actual that can occur during the playing of jazz music. Here is a list of the innumerable types of mistakes that can occur and that one should try to avoid and one should worry about not making:
ChatGPT explains Miles Davis on mistakes in jazz
PoJ.fm: Why would Miles Davis claim that there are no mistakes in jazz?
ChatGPT: Miles Davis famously claimed that "there are no mistakes in jazz" in his autobiography, "Miles: The Autobiography." Davis was a highly influential jazz musician who helped shape the direction of the genre through his innovative playing and compositions.
Davis's statement reflects his approach to jazz as a highly improvisational and spontaneous form of music. In his view, jazz was not about playing a predetermined set of notes in a particular order, but rather about creating something new and innovative in the moment. In this context, what might be considered a "mistake" in a more structured or traditional form of music could be seen as an opportunity for creative expression in jazz.
Davis's statement also reflects a broader philosophy that emphasizes experimentation and risk-taking in jazz. In his view, playing it safe or sticking to established conventions was not the path to creating truly innovative and groundbreaking music. Instead, musicians had to be willing to take risks and try new things, even if it meant making mistakes along the way.
Overall, Davis's statement that "there are no mistakes in jazz" can be seen as a reflection of his innovative and boundary-pushing approach to the music. He saw jazz as a highly dynamic and creative form of expression, and believed that mistakes could be transformed into opportunities for growth and innovation.
PoJ.fm: Is Miles Davis wrong that there are no mistakes in jazz?
ChatGPT: Whether or not Miles Davis is wrong in his assertion that "there are no mistakes in jazz" is a matter of interpretation and perspective. In the context of jazz as an improvisational and spontaneous form of music, the idea that mistakes can be seen as opportunities for creative expression is a widely accepted concept. Many jazz musicians and fans believe that mistakes in jazz can be transformed into moments of unexpected beauty and innovation.
However, it is also true that jazz, like any art form, has certain standards and expectations that musicians are expected to meet. In this sense, mistakes in jazz can be seen as deviations from these standards and expectations, and can negatively affect the quality of a performance.
Furthermore, the idea that there are no mistakes in jazz can be seen as overly simplistic or idealistic. While mistakes can certainly be transformed into opportunities for creative expression, it is also true that not all mistakes in jazz lead to positive outcomes, and that some mistakes can detract from the overall quality of a performance.
In the end, whether or not there are "mistakes" in jazz is a matter of interpretation and context. While Miles Davis's assertion that there are no mistakes in jazz may reflect his particular philosophy and approach to the music, it is not necessarily a universally accepted or objective truth. (bold not in original)
List of Types of Musical Mistakes
1. The musical instrument malfunctions producing the wrong sound from the one required by the musician or the musical score.
2. A note or sound is produced different from the one intended by the musician.
3. A musician plays either out of rhythm or in the wrong rhythm.
4. The improvised solo is inappropriate for this song. You should not play only Yankee Doodle Dandy in the middle of Thelonious Monk's 'Round Midnight as your solo. This would be a mistake because it is not the right melody in relationship to that of Monk's song.
5. A musician doesn't know where one is located in the beat/pulse.
6. A musician plays an inappropriate or wrong noise. For the trumpet this is known as a clam. It is considered a mistake by all parties.
- On the other hand, Ornette Coleman, one of the founders of free jazz, reported that when he started to make mistakes was when he started to learn some new things. Here is how he put it: “It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something.” See more of his quotations at Ornette Coleman Quotations.
- It is impossible to do anything, much less something as complex and complicated as playing jazz, and not make mistakes. There are simply too many ways that things can go wrong. For examples, see the list above of "Types of Musical Mistakes." As philosophers it is incumbent for us to investigate with reasoned arguments answers to the following questions:
- ChatGPT (January 30 2023 version), "Jazz Mistakes and Standards," Generated on February 14, 2023.