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  #1  
Old 09-08-2017, 03:29 PM
yairimann yairimann is offline
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Default playing with feeling

Trying to play with feeling is not something I normally try to practice, however today I was feeling particularly depressed and mad and when I sat down to play I noticed I was trying much harder than normal to express my feelings through the guitar. I found it surprising that it is something I don't try to do
more often. I usually pick up the guitar to practice my technique without a lot of work trying to express my feelings. I was sort of gobsmacked that this is something I have not been trying to practice.
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Old 09-09-2017, 07:20 AM
Pitar Pitar is offline
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Few people actually involve their passions when playing. They play, period. Music becomes a hobby but one that is not allowed to elicit emotion. That's very odd to me. Music is all about emotion. If you deprive music of it's key feature it comes across as very mechanical and absent of art.
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Old 09-09-2017, 08:19 AM
A-Mac A-Mac is offline
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I agree and disagree with Pitar, particularly if one performs in public.

I have often said here that all performing is acting. Having done some acting, I am not a fan of method acting as as means of expressing emotion. To me it is a short cut to controlling the exterior, it utilizes more energy than necessary and produces uneven results. To express emotion while playing the guitar, I do not think of things that make me happy or sad, I analyze what techniques make the piece happy or sad and I concentrate on producing them at will.

Often attributed to Spencer Tracy is the quote, "Acting is all about sincerity - if you can fake that, you've got it made."

In short, I do believe it is important to convey emotion to the audience in one's playing, but I do also believe it is best conveyed by technique, not inner release.
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Old 09-09-2017, 11:11 AM
Arthur Blake Arthur Blake is offline
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Here's an example of a fairly simple piece, played technically well but also with feeling.
Without a sense of the music being expressed, seems to me it comes off uninspired and uninteresting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRUaQIy_H6M

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Old 09-09-2017, 12:50 PM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A-Mac View Post
I agree and disagree with Pitar, particularly if one performs in public.

I have often said here that all performing is acting. Having done some acting, I am not a fan of method acting as as means of expressing emotion. To me it is a short cut to controlling the exterior, it utilizes more energy than necessary and produces uneven results. To express emotion while playing the guitar, I do not think of things that make me happy or sad, I analyze what techniques make the piece happy or sad and I concentrate on producing them at will.

Often attributed to Spencer Tracy is the quote, "Acting is all about sincerity - if you can fake that, you've got it made."

In short, I do believe it is important to convey emotion to the audience in one's playing, but I do also believe it is best conveyed by technique, not inner release.
Agreed.

It's not about "emotion" as such, as in something we are feeling in ourselves, outside of (or before) the music. It's about committing totally to the music itself. The music is its own expression. We can't be half-hearted or detached, we have to play it like we mean it - which I'd say is what worked for the OP. It wasn't that he was depressed or mad, but that that condition enabled him to enter into the music with more power, to not hold back.

Hal Galper's Dizzy Gillespie story sums it up for me:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_7DgCrziI8&t=225

while this one explains the counter-intuitive need to minimise emotion:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJRjEpjd9S4
- TL;DR: because emotion gets in the way of the technical control needed to convey accurately what's in the music.
Feeling emotional means you push the music, which distorts it. Instead you have to get inside the music, be calm, and let it carry you.

Dizzy Gillespie screaming the notes to himself in his head is not his own emotion - it's being taken over by the power of the music itself.
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Old 09-09-2017, 12:55 PM
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Some music is simply about melody and energy with out much room for emoting. Thank the composer (and/or arranger) for the pep and zest.
Other music has more room for individual expression. Emote away. I like a both types of music.
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Old 09-09-2017, 01:48 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is online now
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I'm not going to tell anyone what or how they should perform, but I'll share my approach if it is of interest:

I sing songs that I've written, or by others which have "grabbed" me for some reason.

Whoever wrote it, when I'm performing it esp when singing solo, it is MY story, and I'll tell it as sincerely as I would if sharing something personal with someone else.

I'm British so I don't over emote, but I sing like it's my personal story.

I've done some acting in my past,and for me it is much the same - for a limited time, you play a role.
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Old 09-09-2017, 02:59 PM
Old Poseur Old Poseur is offline
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Since some of you are comparing playing to acting, consider this quote from one of America's greatest acting teachers (Stella Adler): "You can't be boring. Life is boring. The weather is boring. Actors must not be boring." To me that means that the actor must bring more than technique or study to a role - they must bring authenticity and real emotion. Similarly, when I hear music I love, it is played with emotion. I own all of Clapton's albums and have seen him almost a dozen times. No one can seriously critique his technique or skill. But when he plays without emotion the performance seems flat and, frankly, boring. But when he plays with emotion - when he's feeling it - he is nonpareil.
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Old 09-09-2017, 03:25 PM
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For me it's a 2-way street. Music influences how I feel - including music I am playing - so in tern I try to impart this to the music - 'closed loop' feedback.

I would say technique helps convey the range of emotions - some pre-arranged some spontaneous, but on it's own there is something missing from the performance, whether lively or slow, melodic or rhythmic.

OP: Did you hear as well as feel the emotion you put into your playing? Did you feel the practice session helped?
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Old 09-09-2017, 03:38 PM
yairimann yairimann is offline
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Yes I definitely feel that the emotion I was feeling helped me play with a bit
more feeling. What surprised me was that I had never in all my years of playing really concentrated on playing the piece with feeling. I have always been concerned mostly with getting the notes correct. I don't sing, I'm just talking about playing acoustic guitar and somehow it never occurred to me before to concentrate on the feeling of the piece. I have to admit I have never taken lessons and I just play by myself for my own amusement. I'm just sort of surprised that it, I mean playing with feeling, was something that I had never really even thought about before. I've always been concentrating on something else.
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Last edited by yairimann; 09-09-2017 at 03:40 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 09-09-2017, 03:57 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is online now
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I have a friend who comes to play at my club. He walks onstage, sits down, tunes up ( that is supposed to be done before) then he takes off his specs and puts them away. Then he mumbles something incomprehensible (supposed;y announcing his next piece) then ...he plays.

He plays exquisitely. His instrumentals transport me (and most others).
Then he stops, pus on his specs and walks off. We know him now and he keeps to time but he has NO personality...... but his music .... oh my.

I have videoed him but he refuses to allow me to post them on YouTube.

Breaks my heart.
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Old 09-10-2017, 01:51 AM
RodB RodB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yairimann View Post
......I don't sing, I'm just talking about playing acoustic guitar and somehow it never occurred to me before to concentrate on the feeling of the piece....
For those of us that don't sing, without words to convey emotion it is our only way to do this, and can add another level to the music, but there are some extremely talented guitarists out there that don't yet seem to have realised what you just have. You might enjoy listening to the music of Franco Morone, known as the Italian guitar poet.

Even if we don't sing I have found that knowing the words to a song can help put appropriate expression into the piece.
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Old 09-10-2017, 04:06 AM
Mr. Jelly Mr. Jelly is offline
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It's about the performance. The feel.

"Feel is the fundamental way people lock into music" Eric Skye
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:14 PM
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For me the truly great musicians are the ones that do exactly that. Express themselves when they play.....
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:52 PM
Guitar Slim II Guitar Slim II is offline
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Style and expression -- how we come by it is a mystery every individual must explore for themselves.

I do know this one trick, though: Use lots of VIBRATO!!!
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