It is true that a single heartfelt note takes a lot more courage than multitudes of carelessly played notes… Shouldn’t a guitarist practise playing a single note, practise drawing the most beautiful sound from that single note, as often as practising scales and chords?
I bought a book called ‘Minimum’ by John Pawson yesterday, published by Phaidon books, and I’d like to quote from it:
‘The Minimum could be defined as the perfection that an artifact achieves when it’s no longer possible to improve it by subtraction. This is the quality that an object has when every component, every detail, and every junction has been reduced or condensed to the essentials. It is the result of the omission of the inessentials.’
And why shouldn’t the same apply to music? Hear some of the music by Miles Davis. The trumpet lines are direct, economical, without vibrato and brilliantly clear!
And, whether you look at the single line portraits (drawn in ink!) by David Hockney, or the paintings of Mondrian, Agnes Martin, or Rothko, the works by Donald Judd, or the houses designed by Mies van der Rohe – they all have that in common… simplicity.