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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Structure of Magical Literature (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Amiable
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I'm an academia in real-life, and I appreciate very much the value of Those-Who-Came-Before-Us. Magic seems no different than other higher-education disciplines in that there's primary literature in Genii and Magic and original books/pamphlets/DVDs, and then there's second literature and textbooks in Royal Road and Card College.

What I marvel at when I come to the Café' is how well-versed some magician-scholars are - they literally can name a hundred passes or fifty variations of the DL. My question is, does professional magicians have access to some sort of public magic library? (Surely it's too expensive to have your own collection?) Do they specialize in a branch of magic entirely to exclusion of others? And if so, how do they (you!) come to the choice of the branch? Is it a matter of hand-size? Or just by chance what you first started well with? How do you get time to practice all the thousands variations of a sleight to find one that suits you? Plus, how do you keep track of your arsenal of sleights and effects and routines?
Loual4
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Montreal, Canada
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Speaking strictly for myself, I can tell you that I went through several phases. I first tried every type of magic available. Bought books that showed a little of everything (Amateur magician’s handbook comes to mind…). In my time, there weren’t any DVD’s, and no cassettes… so books were the main source!

As I progressed in magic, I focused more on things that I enjoyed more. Found sources that specialized in those fields. Today, I know a few other magicians, and we talk about various aspects of magic, different techniques, etc… I can tell you that I know quite few ways to make a DL, but the more you know, the more you realize you only need one, or two. Those are the ones you feel more comfortable with.

The other thing you have to keep in mind is that this knowledge is not acquired in minutes, but rather years. Yes, you do buy a lot of material, but you also get to discuss with others, attend lectures. It is a long process.

Have a nice day,

Louis Jutras
Brad Burt
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Inner circle
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Unless your hands were almost preternaturally small hand size is never a problem. Oddly with magic we basically all 'do' have our libraries! It's just the nature of the beast.

Specialization comes generally as one sifts through the various categories and decides if one is a better fit, etc. Many of us, myself included, are generalists. I am proficient in cards, coins, sponge, rings, etc. But, I tend toward 'cards' and 'coins' more than others, etc.

Part of what makes magic so dynamic and in such a state of flux is the wider distribution of knowledge and a greater breadth of knowledge than ever before. 40+ years ago when I began the books available were fairly few really and many of the best texts were not available. For instance it was years before I tracked down a copy of Greater Magic!

Best,
Brad Burt
Amiable
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Thanks Brad and Louis for your experience. I'll probably hop to the local magic ring - that seems to be a good way to keep up the enthusiasm over span of years, and to find someone to talk magic with. I'm hoping it's not going to be a very competitive ("one-upping treadmill") environment.

Consider both of you talk about started as a generalist, it's another good reason why folks here suggests books as entry-portal - one-trick-DVDs would simply be prohibitively expensive! I'll probably try to find a copy of Wilson's course to get the dabble in the various areas, and then find something that would suit me. It's at once daunting and exciting to see how much practice there is in front of me, and how vast the magical landscape is.

Thanks again, and see you around the Café. Whee, maybe one day I'll be proficient in something and you can boast that you folks have a hand in getting me started Smile
airship
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In my day, I have driven
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I remember hearing about a subscription-only magic library in New York that supposedly had an extensive collection of magic materials. It cost a small fortune for a membership, and I can't for the life of me find anything about it either here or on the Web. Maybe someone else can point you in the right direction.
'The central secret of conjuring is a manipulation of interest.' - Henry Hay
Loual4
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That type of library would definetly be of interest if you knew what you were looking for, but would it be usefull to a beginner who still wonders about what type of magic he prefers and wants to learn? Especially if it cost a small fortune for membership...

Have a nice day,

Louis Jutras
The Amazing Noobini
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Oslo, Norway
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Since a lot of people drift into magic already in childhood, many Café users have accumulated decades of experience while still being young(ish). Smile You will notice that getting to know what hundreds of different sleights are about is something that can come very quickly in this modern age of DVDs and web searches.

It didn't take me long to be able to understand what most of the discussions here were about. Less than a year. Of course, I haven't then practiced hundreds of different variations of a particular move as someone may have who have learned them one by one over the years. But I have seen quite a few variations and perhaps made some sort of initial choice on what to pursue.

DVDs that cover many different versions of one sleight are great because you will see right away what appeals to you, whereas with a book you will have to invest a lot of time in order to learn what something even is, only perhaps to discard it after having read through. So DVDs have their uses for browsing as well as learning. If you start with magic as an adult, you simply won't have the time to spend 30 years learning things you will never use. You may never catch up with the living oracles and scholars, but there is nothing preventing you from being great at many many different things.

One frustrating thing is when you know a lot of great sleights in theory but you know that your hands will need months and years to catch up. So in your imagination you are beginning to piece things together even though you will not actually be able to even start rehearsing it for a long time. I'm thinking that I need maybe 3-4 years of hard studies before I can really begin with magic. As you would expect with any education.

As far as magic rings and clubs go, I have to say that I am getting all the help and input I feel that I need right here in these forums. And reference books somehow pile up in my shelves even though I'm unemployed. Little by little the foundation is built. Which is perhaps also the biggest reason why I haven't given up. I have crossed my magic Rubicon and invested too much now.
"Talk about melodrama... and being born in the wrong part of the world." (Raf Robert)
"You, my friend, have a lot to learn." (S. Youell)
"Nonsensical Raving of a lunatic mind..." (Larry)
csantill
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Hi,

Just thought I would mention

http://www.conjuringarts.org/

and their AskAlexander library online http://askalexander.org/

subscription start at $95.00

Also the Learned Pig is a great resource.

http://www.thelearnedpig.com.pa/
airship
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Thanks, csantill. That's the place I was thinking of when I posted above.

And Learned Pig is definitely cool. You have to apply for entrance, and it will take Marco awhile to respond, but once he lets you in, there are a ton of great publications there.

Also check out http://www.lybrary.com for lots of historical material in inexpensive ebook form.
'The central secret of conjuring is a manipulation of interest.' - Henry Hay
clarissa35f
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I just went to learned Pig. It really sounds Like an awesome resource. I Like the idea of having to pass a test. Kind of discourages the exposers. I am sure that they may HAVE some Knowledge, but the idea they have to wait , may just brush them off to a place that is easier to join... therefore it discourages them from applying.
“Amateurs practice until they get it right.
Professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.” <Anonymous>
"There is no such thing as magic, there is no other way that could have been done" <Whit Haydn>
Amiable
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Quote:
On 2008-05-28 13:07, The Amazing Noobini wrote:
Since a lot of people drift into magic already in childhood, many Café users have accumulated decades of experience while still being young(ish). Smile You will notice that getting to know what hundreds of different sleights are about is something that can come very quickly in this modern age of DVDs and web searches.

It didn't take me long to be able to understand what most of the discussions here were about. Less than a year. Of course, I haven't then practiced hundreds of different variations of a particular move as someone may have who have learned them one by one over the years. But I have seen quite a few variations and perhaps made some sort of initial choice on what to pursue.

DVDs that cover many different versions of one sleight are great because you will see right away what appeals to you, whereas with a book you will have to invest a lot of time in order to learn what something even is, only perhaps to discard it after having read through. So DVDs have their uses for browsing as well as learning. If you start with magic as an adult, you simply won't have the time to spend 30 years learning things you will never use. You may never catch up with the living oracles and scholars, but there is nothing preventing you from being great at many many different things.

One frustrating thing is when you know a lot of great sleights in theory but you know that your hands will need months and years to catch up. So in your imagination you are beginning to piece things together even though you will not actually be able to even start rehearsing it for a long time. I'm thinking that I need maybe 3-4 years of hard studies before I can really begin with magic. As you would expect with any education.

As far as magic rings and clubs go, I have to say that I am getting all the help and input I feel that I need right here in these forums. And reference books somehow pile up in my shelves even though I'm unemployed. Little by little the foundation is built. Which is perhaps also the biggest reason why I haven't given up. I have crossed my magic Rubicon and invested too much now.


Thanks Noobibi, Airship, and CS for the answers and info! I haven't heard of Learned Pig (and like Clarissa I've applied Smile ), nor have I thought about DVD as means of browsing. We're quite privileged in this era when videos are widespread and electronic communication is facile - I'm trying to imagine "the old days" when your point of contact with others is the B&M shop and one have to reconstruct fairly delicate and subtle handlings from texts and line drawings. I would have quickly ascertained that the Dia- P- Shift as impossible Smile

I'll take the plunge and go to the local magic ring next week, hoping it'll be a positive experience. In the meantime, the Café' is awesome! I'm a blog of sorts that I can add to as I learn and grow - Erlandish's very helpful blog was something I read up when I first got started, and I think it'd be a wonderful way to get organized and track progress.
Aus
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I think magic is a very broad art form, that encompasses many things and to point an individual and as to why they should choose a slight, trick or branch of magic etc is really a matter of personal preference. I will try and answer your particular questions however.

"What I marvel at when I come to the Café' is how well-versed some magician-scholars are - they literally can name a hundred passes or fifty variations of the DL. My question is, do professional magicians have access to some sort of public magic library?"

There is really no public library that you can go to but I do believe Originations like IBM, SAM and Magic Circle do have libraries for their members. I believe IBM HQ has one and some of their many branches may as well, depending on the set-up and running of the branch by local members. But realistically that’s only one way we gains access to information.

"Surely it's too expensive to have your own collection?"

As you’ve probably come to notice with The Leaned Pig, not everything comes with a financial cost, if anything the Magic Café is a testament to that fact. So learning magic tricks, theory and anything else magic related may not necessarily cost you an arm and a leg. However that only happens to a point. As you come to notice the café (and many sites like it) you see strict rules in relation to divulging secrets, which is banned on all forums except two. Even with those I believe you can only discuss secrets that aren’t commercially sold or published, but rather variations on the method, theme or effects that are deemed in the public domain.

This necessitates in most cases purchasing things like DVDs, Books, Tapes and Cds etc. There’s an element of exclusivity that comes with buying these things that no one will share unless they do the same. However magic can have the possibility of being very expensive if not given the guidance.

"Do they specialize in a branch of magic entirely to exclusion of others? And if so, how do they (you!) come to the choice of the branch? Is it a matter of hand-size? Or just by chance what you first started well with?"

As alluded to earlier, this is very much a matter of personal preference, whether it be because you like card magic better or you have a natural dexterity that lends itself to manipulation. Some magicians do magic as the exclusion of other branches, but magicians do practices them with others as well.

Some magicians are forced to perform types of magic due to physical limitations, people such as Wayne Dobson who has to choose effects in light of his MS condition, or Rene Levand who lost a hand in a car accident. These magicians have the challenge of choosing tricks and therefore branches that best necessitate their needs. However I think you’ll find that magicians that have these issues feel these are advantages rather then limitations.

"How do you get time to practice all the thousands variations of a sleight to find one that suits you? Plus, how do you keep track of your arsenal of sleights and effects and routines?"

As with selecting a trick or its variation, it’s closely related to the previous thing just discussed and has many similar points.

However on the matter of keeping record, there’s a saying in magic that its best to know a few good tricks well then a 100 good tricks badly, or to put it into a more common cliché “A jack of all trades and a Master of none”.

Magicians worth their salt would not have this problem if many took this sagged advice. Although reading and other learning mediums do keep magicians in a general understanding of principles and techniques and I wouldn’t necessarily associate that with effects that fill a magician’s repertoire. Magicians may have simply noticed a trick or slight by its merits and then later discarded it for various reasons. This happens in magic all the time, which later means magicians know the slight by association.

Magically

Aus
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