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Author Topic: A Revelation  (Read 8880 times)

Offline simonlock

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A Revelation
« on: March 14, 2008, 09:47:08 AM »
I've been on a quest for some time to find out what is holding my playing back from being in the top notch category. You guys have read the Type 1 and Type 2 muscle thing and I think I've kinda figured out what it REALLY is. Wouldn't you know it it's SO simple. Kinda like stories of the quest for the Holy Grail it always ends up being the most beat-up common looking cup.

I was at the store i got my S2 from and the Guitar guy and I have a very good rapport and he's very straight talking. He was rambling about my playing and how he wished he knew what the hell I was doing with some of my stuff and that he thinks I'm a "technique monster"(don't know if I agree but anyway) He added that it lacked any kind of feel. I know him well enough to not take it personally but took it as very wise insight. He's been around the globe a few dozen times and rips on guitar and piano and is one of those guys with a 10,000 song repertoire. So I went home to practice my "feel".

I used to revel in playing slow and melodic improvs gradually going deeper into my emotions until I was really transmitting what I was feeling. I've been so caught up in trying to reach a pro level that I'd forgotten about doing this for a long time. Anyway I was practicing this feel and trying to maximize the range of dynamics etc. Well while I was at it I notice something quite remarkable. All the tension I normally held in my wrist, thumb, index finger, forearm and picking hand was gone. Then I was like "hey wait a minute" this feeling of effortlessness is just allowing my hands to feel exactly what i was hearing in my head. I had made an internal metaphor of your hands being like dancers floating around and always flowing with the music but I was thinking that the pressure should always stay the same and it wasn't a clear enough or simple enough concept to work for me. By simply making your hand FEEL the exact flow and dynamics your hands have to completely surrender to your emotional voice and the motions become subconscious.

I know I may sound like I'm rambling and stating the obvious but after 22 years playing it's a connection I'd not payed much attention to. Some of you might even be saying "duh!" lol But when you're learning a song and your hands don't know which fret is next and feel is not implimented yet it's really easy to have muscles that conflict as you move and causing tension. Once you have the song learned much of those tensions remain unless you can "let go" and succumb to the emotional flow and feel.



Simon
Vancouver,BC
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A Revelation

Offline uburoibob

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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2008, 07:29:38 PM »
Simon, When I wrote that I'd rather hear Link Wray or the Beatles Twist and Shout than Joe Satriani, FEEL is exactly what I what I was talking about. The other side of music is the emotion thing, and that comes from feel. Being all technique is like trying to be married to someone only by practicing what you are supposed to be doing instead of just doing it. Certainly, all that practice is about getting to the point where your heart and your guitar are one, without having to think about it (even at a cellular level). You seem to be a VERY feeling person. Let it come out your hands now...

Bob

2001 Parker Fly Single 2 Silver  â€¢ 1997 Parker Fly Concert Burnt Butterscotch  â€¢  1999 Parker Fly Artist Custom Hardtail Butterscotch  â€¢  1998 Fly Classic in Transparent Dark Blue  â€¢  1998 Fly Classic in Cherry Red with DiBurro Roland Mod •  http://bobmartin1111.com
1999 Parker Fly Artist Custom Hardtail Butterscotch -   2000 Fly Standard Classic in Cherry Red - http://bobmartin1111.com

A Revelation

Offline Bill

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A Revelation
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2008, 08:21:58 PM »
I am happy you are breaking through there Simon.

I think you are very lucky. Your years of training have put you in a unique position. You simply need to dumb down a bit.

My plight is the opposite, which is much more common. I can find the emotion. I can have feeling out the wazoo.  But I simply lack the training/skill/knowledge to make my fingers go where I need. And that, my friend, is what is rarely obtained. Now I'm trying to play catch up to learn stuff that those kids you teach learn after a year of lessons.

Bob hit it on the head(here and in another thread). No matter what kind of music you choose to express yourself, you wont be able to do it optimally until the instrument (guitar, voice, whatever) becomes a part of you. A natural extension of your "voice" so that your basic message/feel that you are trying to share come through effortlessly, subconsciously, and without filters of the bias of selfconscioussness.

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« Last Edit: March 14, 2008, 08:25:03 PM by Bill »
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A Revelation

Offline Paul Marossy

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A Revelation
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2008, 08:59:57 PM »
That's some good insights Simon. Now that you are liberated from your own self, some better days are ahead of you. [;)]

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A Revelation

Offline simonlock

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A Revelation
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2008, 12:05:01 AM »
Bob, do you just not enjoy Joe? I find he is one of the most feeling players out there and far from a technique monster. He has trouble with a lot of techniques but he's managed to get them up to a level that allows him to express some of what goes on in that beautiful mind of his. He'll always be my hero.

Dumb it down? Never. In fact with this new revelation it means my hands can move fast enough to do what i'm hearing. I don't really care how fast it is or if people will like it or not. I just want to be able to create what I hear in my head. When you get fast, fast isn't fast anymore it's just denser. I know what I like won't appeal to many and Im ok with that.

Simon
Vancouver,BC
A Whole Mess of Flys and I Love Them ALL!!!!!
« Last Edit: March 15, 2008, 12:13:09 AM by simonlock »
 

A Revelation

Offline mojotron

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A Revelation
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2008, 02:01:56 AM »
quote:
Originally posted by simonlock

...Joe? I find he is one of the most feeling players out there and far from a technique monster...


When I think of people that play with a lot of feeling Al di Meola certainly comes to mind - he's big time into technique - I don't think technique and expression are mutually exclusive, or even inversely related. Technique is just an expanded set of tools that someone has avalible to them to play what they feel.

There are people running around with great technique that are not really seeking to create art - IMO - musicians that really express something in their playing - but the refinement of technique does not prevent expression or make a person's music sound mechanical. If a person sets out to create art in what they do, or merely to impress people, that's what they will acheive because I think those motivations produce, IMO, mutually exclusive results regardless of a person's technique.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2008, 02:02:22 AM by mojotron »
 

A Revelation

Offline Bill

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« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2008, 06:41:21 AM »
Simon, I used that expression to try to say sometimes its helpful for me not to think too much. Not to be overly analitical. Anyway, thats what is helpful sometimes for me, but it may not make any since for others?

Anyway it was not a comment about speed or style. It has nothing to do with either. I certainly didn't mean to offend.



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A few Flys in my soup

A Revelation

Offline Paul Marossy

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A Revelation
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2008, 06:48:42 AM »
quote:
When I think of people that play with a lot of feeling Al di Meola certainly comes to mind - he's big time into technique - I don't think technique and expression are mutually exclusive, or even inversely related. Technique is just an expanded set of tools that someone has avalible to them to play what they feel.


I agree. Just watch Al's face when he is playing. I saw Al in Nov. of 2006 at the House Of Blues here in Vegas. He wasn't especially emotional that night, but he has a way of pulling you into the music - you can tell it's his passion and that he is into it. It was also fun when he'd do funny stuff with Mario Parmisano and Gumbi Ortiz. They are all such incredible musicians. [:0]

quote:
There are people running around with great technique that are not really seeking to create art - IMO - musicians that really express something in their playing - but the refinement of technique does not prevent expression or make a person's music sound mechanical.


+1

quote:
If a person sets out to create art in what they do, or merely to impress people, that's what they will acheive because I think those motivations produce, IMO, mutually exclusive results regardless of a person's technique.


And both types of players have fans. I much prefer the "emotional player", but it's especially good when feel and technique combine forces to kick gluttous maximus. [:D]

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« Last Edit: March 15, 2008, 06:54:01 AM by Paul Marossy »

A Revelation

Offline Lwinn171

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A Revelation
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2008, 07:37:33 AM »
Simon,

Ah yes, feel! That is something I find lacking in most players who have attained a high level of technical skill. It's easy to forget the emotional aspect of a single note, a simple line. Caress the notes as you play them, put your heart into a melody. This is how I've always approached guitar, as most of my hero's are just this kind of player. Now if I could add some skills to that, I'd be onto something!

Seriously, there's nothing hard about playing a solo by, say, David Gilmore or Elliot Easton (two of my faves). The licks aren't that hard... but try getting the emotional content they achieve. Not at all easy. To me, that's the hardest part. For me, the difference between a good gig and an average or poor one has to do with this very concept. It isn't enough for me to hit the right notes at the right time. That's only the beginning. And what happens beyond that is very hard to express in words.

Anyway, I'm glad to hear you are on this path. You are a gifted player, and this line of thinking will do much to further your growth as an artist. Best wishes, as always...

Lawrence Winn
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A Revelation

Offline uburoibob

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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2008, 08:32:17 AM »
quote:
Originally posted by simonlock

Bob, do you just not enjoy Joe? I find he is one of the most feeling players out there and far from a technique monster. He has trouble with a lot of techniques but he's managed to get them up to a level that allows him to express some of what goes on in that beautiful mind of his. He'll always be my hero.

Dumb it down? Never. In fact with this new revelation it means my hands can move fast enough to do what i'm hearing. I don't really care how fast it is or if people will like it or not. I just want to be able to create what I hear in my head. When you get fast, fast isn't fast anymore it's just denser. I know what I like won't appeal to many and Im ok with that.

Simon
Vancouver,BC
A Whole Mess of Flys and I Love Them ALL!!!!!



Hey Simon,

Not a huge fan of Joe, but that may be generational. The technique monsters with feeling for me are John McLaughlin, Los Indios Tabahares, Tommy Emmanuel, Kinloch Nelson. It might be just the style that makes it feel stiff to me. I ain't saying he's not good. Just never made his way into my enjoyment range, based on what I've heard.

And I never said to dumb it down. I said, what Bill so eloquently elucidated - to get SO good that technique doesn't matter in what is offered. That you get SO good that you don't even have to consider technique - that you just cut to the message and bag the medium. And I was saying, based on your post, that it looks like you'll get there - whatever style of music you want to play. My examples were based on a gut feeling that was being passed from the player to the audience. I could site Birds Of Fire or Dance Of Maya in the same breath. Or One More Red Nightmare or Fracture, by King Crimson. When technique and the intellectual side of music become invisible in the final product, to the listener, then you've got art. Sounds like that's what your revelation is - or what it is leading to...

I am saying yes - I agree with you.

Bob

2001 Parker Fly Single 2 Silver  â€¢ 1997 Parker Fly Concert Burnt Butterscotch  â€¢  1999 Parker Fly Artist Custom Hardtail Butterscotch  â€¢  1998 Fly Classic in Transparent Dark Blue  â€¢  1998 Fly Classic in Cherry Red with DiBurro Roland Mod •  http://bobmartin1111.com
« Last Edit: March 15, 2008, 08:34:01 AM by uburoibob »
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A Revelation

Offline simonlock

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« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2008, 09:37:14 AM »
Thanks for your support as always gentlemen [:)] Though technique should be backstage to emotional value to have great art you cannot hold onto a high level of proficiency without the time put in keeping it. It takes at least a half an hour per day of speed work to maintain fitness.

Technique only? haha that' Rusty Cooley. Extra flame with your flamer?

Simon
Vancouver,BC
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A Revelation

Offline simonlock

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« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2008, 09:55:40 AM »
Oh another point about feel or emotion that some might be unaware of. A personal perception of how much emotion a player evokes can have a lot to do with what emotions the listener enjoys having evoked. I like a good ballad or peaceful reflection but I don't like ultimate sorrow songs. On the other hand I like loud,fast and screaming stuff too like Juice by Steve Vai. Some listeners are after a different emotion. Some want to cry and some want to mosh. Saying one person over another has more emotion in their playing is kinda hogwash really. I think what's more important is for the player to do what is NATURAL for them, whatever that may be,

Simon
Vancouver,BC
A Whole Mess of Flys and I Love Them ALL!!!!!
 

A Revelation

Offline Paul Marossy

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A Revelation
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2008, 10:07:56 AM »
quote:
I think what's more important is for the player to do what is NATURAL for them, whatever that may be


Bingo! Trying to be something you're not sounds forced and a bit unnatural (I know from personal experience). Not everyone is a shred monster or brilliant on the guitar. But even simple guitar players have gotten their point across very effectively with lots of feeling. [8D]

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« Last Edit: March 15, 2008, 10:10:02 AM by Paul Marossy »

A Revelation

Offline prjacobs

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« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2008, 10:20:57 AM »
Simon, For what it's worth I have a couple of thoughts..... (Gee, what a surprise!)
Since 1998, I've been back into classical piano with great intensity.  What I discovered about 3 years ago was that I'd take every piece that I'd learn as a technical or musical hurdle to overcome and sort of forget just to make music.  It's such an act of will to learn how to play difficult music and sometimes that willfulness brings great tension.  Being a musician as opposed to a student brought a great improvement to my playing.  My piano teacher noticed it right away and I told her how I'd changed my mindset.

I've also been taking a piano etude performance class at New York University and the feedback from the 2 professors and other pianists has given me new insight.  The absolute common denominator in what I see and hear in class, is that everyone is tense and scared when they play.  When you're tight at the piano, you don't connect to your body and only use the smaller muscles of your fingers, maybe forearms, and usually have tight, raised shoulders.  I've noticed the same things when playing guitar.  Without the relaxed weight of the body coming into play, many bad things can happen.  First, it makes your tone brittle.  I don't care how technically well anyone can play, if I don't like the sound, what's the point.  In the classical world, everyone has amazing technique. Secondly, it makes what you're trying to accomplish musically, much harder or impossible to do.
I have only one focus these days when I practice.  NO TENSION.  I'm sitting at the piano 4 hours a day, playing a Liszt Etude, a late Beethoven Sonata, and the Schubert Wanderer Fantasy, all of which have some really difficult parts for me. Daniel Barenboim, in my opinion perhaps the greatest musical mind alive today, was asked;how slowly should I practice?  His answer was: As slowly as you need to, so that you can accomplish every single thing you need to do, without any tension."  If that sometimes means taking a moment after every note to release tension, then that's what it takes.  I have really enjoyed my recent progress with this approach. However, I'm still far more scared playing classical music for 10 people than playing rock for 150,000.  My teacher just told me that I'm playing the Liszt Etude as the closer of our class recital.  Nothing like sitting for 2 hours waiting to go on, after hearing 20 other people play... Oh, well, I'm still going to try relax and get down with my bad self.
Best of luck with your playing.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2008, 10:23:32 AM by prjacobs »
 

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Offline simonlock

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« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2008, 06:56:17 PM »
Man I love classical piano. From as young as i can remember I can recall listening to my mother play Chopin, Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, I attribute much of my musical appetite to this early exposure to music. It's very grounding and timeless. I'd really be interested in hearing some of those pieces that you're playing f you don't mind sharing.


Simon
Vancouver,BC
A Whole Mess of Flys and I Love Them ALL!!!!!