I know, I know--you are probably wondering why I have called you all here. This is why:
You are watching a great movie and one of the characters decides to play a musical instrument. Maybe it is a guitar. Or a banjo. A violin or a piano. Just some musical instrument.
Suddenly this actor starts to play some awesome, technically interesting music. Enthralled you watch as he/she plays away, and you wish that you could play like that.
Well, hold on a minute, pilgrim.
Maybe you can. If you look very carefully at the movements of the hands, arms, and fingers, you will see something:
The actor is faking the frets.
With the piano, the camera can cut away and film some talented pianist take over the keyboard. But with a stringed instrument? It is impossible to ‘act’ the changing of the fingers on the strings.
This has become a real issue with me, as you can tell. While there are several movies from which to choose, the two that have disappointed me are “Songcatcher” and “O Brother! Where Art Thou?”. Both are excellent movies with music as the key focus of the movie.
In "Songcatcher", a professor of musicology at the turn of the 20th century sets about to document the songs of the Appalachian Mountains. In this segment, singer Iris DeMent (Rose Gentry) does a cameo appearance. Awesome performance. Muse Watson is a fine (one of my favorites) actor playing her husband Parley Gentry playing the violin. But, he is not.
|Muse Watson with Iris DeMent in "Songcatcher": source|
More information about "Songcatcher" can be found here.
Iris DeMent singing Pretty Saro from Songcatcher
Then there is "O Brother! Where Art Thou?" Another excellent movie, by the Cohen Brothers, based on The Odyssey. I really wanted the actors to be actually singing.
The guitarist looks like he does an incredible job, but he is not the guitarist we hear. Actually these are the musicians as per Wikipedia: "The original band soon became popular after the film release, and the country and folk musicians who were dubbed into the film, such as John Hartford, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, Chris Sharp, and others, joined together to perform the music from the film in a Down from the Mountain concert tour which was filmed for TV and DVD." Perhaps I am disappointed because over the years, I have endowed these actors with super-normal talents. I have assumed that they can sing, dance, play an instrument, talk coherently without a script, have a degree of intelligence, or are able to behave well. Obviously I am wrong on many counts.. While this is a rant, and I know it, I just wanted to see if anyone else finds Faking the Frets disappointing?