Rants of a Weird Little Bird

Random stuff involving myself…and people around me. Hello, and goodbye. :-)

MM Lee is no musician

with 5 comments

Came across this quote:

“To be the prime minister, you don’t have to know every instrument, but you got to recognise, ah, he’s a good violinist, he’ll be the first violinist, he’ll be the double bass. He will play the viola, he will have the trumpet, he will do the drums. Then you coordinate them and then you have great music. And if you already have a great orchestra, you can put a dummy there and you still got great music.” – Lee Kuan Yew

I have not had the talent nor the luck to be in a great orchestra. However, I have had a lot of experience in the amateur music scene, and I’ve played under the batons of some of the best music conductors in the business.

MM Lee should ask his son, who used to be a clarinet player, about what would happen to a great orchestra if it does not have a sort of conductor to balance the parts together. Different individual musicians have different egos, and different outlooks in music.

For example, many musicians still debate over whether Beethoven’s tempo markings on his scores should be followed. Some insist that since Beethoven wrote the tempo down, they should be played as how he had written it – but others also say that Beethoven might have been of unsound mind at the end, so his tempo markings should be disregarded.

Although I am aware that there exist orchestras who have done away with their conductor, the fact remains that having a conductor is still the more efficient way of getting great music made, as conductor-less orchestras have still not caught on.

No, MM Lee, making music in an orchestra is not that simple if you put a dummy in front. If you’ve played under the batons of conductors of various levels of experience and abilities, you will understand that some conductors have a tendency to rush the tempo, others have a tendency to drag, still others conduct the wrong time signature, yet others conduct in the wrong manner and get their orchestras to sound absolutely terribly. There are a thousand and one possibilities which a conductor can mess up an orchestra made up of the best musicians, and even though they make no noise during the performance of an orchestra, their job is to lead the performers towards a common direction and a common musical idea.


Written by aweirdlittlebird

March 4, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. LOL. Just wondering, was MM Lee talking abt the dummy being put in the orchestra itself or being put in the conductor’s position? :P

    if he was talking abt the dummy being put into the conductor’s position… then i think you’ve got an excellent point IMHO. :P

    but er, if it’s the other option, then i guess MM Lee was right on the money then. LOL

    so gotta see which one Mr Lee was talking abt…


    March 5, 2010 at 4:09 am

  2. but whichever way Mr Lee meant, i like ur post! :) ‘cos i think it’s very true – leadership often makes or breaks the team.


    March 5, 2010 at 4:10 am

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