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  #16  
Old 09-14-2017, 03:26 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Originally Posted by Guitar Slim II View Post
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!!!
LOL. And make sure you do your guitar face as well!
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  #17  
Old 09-20-2017, 05:12 PM
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I'm beginning to believe that playing with feeling, playing with your soul, playing musically, or whatever you want to call it is as much a skill you have to recognize and learn how to develop as much as the effort we put into learning the mechanics and theory of playing a guitar (or any instrument). I'm just starting to learn how to play with more feeling to make my music more appealing to both myself and anyone listening and it's a challenge to stay in the moment and not be distracted. I'm sure it will be less of a challenge as my technical skills improve and my mechanics are more consistent.

I think it is not as complicated for a singer who is not playing an instrument as they do not have to deal with the physical connection to an instrument. This really makes me even more impressed by those who sing AND simultaneously play an instrument well, with feeling.
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  #18  
Old 09-20-2017, 05:30 PM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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I think it is not as complicated for a singer who is not playing an instrument as they do not have to deal with the physical connection to an instrument.
That's right! A singer can't help but feel.
It's not about what the lyrics mean or anything like that. It's the vibration and resonance - the feeling of different registers in the body, the sensation of reaching for high (or low) notes, breathing fully. You get it from wordless vocals at least as strongly as from lyrics.
That seems like a crude level of feeling (physical rather emotional), but that's at the root of music's meaning. It's not spiritual (or at least not until later); it begins as visceral. It's a pre-verbal language.

An instrumentalist is one stage removed from that; we have to feel our way into the instrument, so it becomes part of us. When you have that connection, then playing with "feel" is a lot easier. It's hard not to! Melody (on any instrument) is singing, and rhythm is a bodily thing too. There's no other art that is so intimate.
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  #19  
Old 09-20-2017, 10:17 PM
yairimann yairimann is offline
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I always appreciate your posts Jon but that is really spot on, thanks.
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  #20  
Old 09-21-2017, 05:34 AM
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An issue I have with flat picking is that there are allot of people who are proficient at it but very, very few who play the style that convey a feeling that they care about the song or music. And I bet you won't find many flat pickers that will elect to read a thread on playing with feeling :-)
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  #21  
Old 09-21-2017, 09:37 AM
Puerto Player Puerto Player is offline
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Interesting topic. Glad you brought it up. Personally, I think 90% of the guitar players out there don't feel the song while playing it. They play the chords and notes perfectly, but they don't feel where all the soul of the song comes from while playing. It's the emphasis or lack of through the song along with the accompanying vocals in many cases too. Lot's of songs lack any good soul to begin with.
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  #22  
Old 09-21-2017, 09:49 AM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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I appreciate what Jon posted.

I find that music elicits different feelings based on rhythms. A good rhythm player can get people feeling things in their body which as your move with the music can bring up emotions in the heart. I find that some players who are technically proficient can lack groove - that rhythmic thing that pulls people in and engages them with the energetic feel of the music.

As a singer who also performs a bit, I agree that performance is something that needs to be practiced. Where to let the emotion of the music come through and when to pull back a bit so it doesn't overwhelm. It is about the song - not about me. If I can stay connected to the song and the audience - that seems to be the sweet spot.

Best,
Jayne

Last edited by jaymarsch; 09-21-2017 at 09:49 AM. Reason: Typo
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  #23  
Old 09-21-2017, 10:19 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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I think attempting to play with feeling or evoke a feeling in others is overrated.

I think the player should relax and convey the music, let the emotion happen if it does. I don't like the idea of playing music as "acting." I like truth.

For me, it's not "I'm going to play sad." That's contrived. It's more "I'm sad today, I'm going to play."
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  #24  
Old 09-21-2017, 12:17 PM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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I agree with much of what has been said above, even Jeff's post just above that I'm going to sound like I'm 180 degrees from.

All art, including music, is about communicating/transferring experiences between the artist to the audience. This includes, but is not limited to, things we call emotions. If music couldn't communicate emotions it'd be a much more limited art, perhaps not an art at all.

One has to expect to be lucky to convey emotions just because you feel the emotions. Even "method acting" isn't that. I will say, considered apart from the performance context, music used simply for the player's own wellbeing, can be helpful. Playing an instrument instead of kicking the dog, overindulging in some chemical, or saying what you want to say, but can't, can be helpful. I know it has been this to me when I needed it to be.

In a performance context you need to know how to best communicate things to the audience, so practicing the techniques that communicate things is the way to go--after all, you're not going use some kind of telepathy to communicate.

Here's I'll get back to what Jeff said. Sometimes--just as we can overplay with other techniques--we can "overplay" using the techniques for portraying/communicating emotions as performers. In my current project I'm working with other peoples words, some meant to communicate intense feelings, and sometimes the best approach is a more minimal one, "just say the words."
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  #25  
Old 09-21-2017, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaymarsch View Post
I appreciate what Jon posted.

I find that music elicits different feelings based on rhythms. A good rhythm player can get people feeling things in their body which as your move with the music can bring up emotions in the heart. I find that some players who are technically proficient can lack groove - that rhythmic thing that pulls people in and engages them with the energetic feel of the music.

As a singer who also performs a bit, I agree that performance is something that needs to be practiced. Where to let the emotion of the music come through and when to pull back a bit so it doesn't overwhelm. It is about the song - not about me. If I can stay connected to the song and the audience - that seems to be the sweet spot.

Best,
Jayne
I participated in an interesting workshop earlier this year, where we were encouraged to bring songs that were challenging us to perform.

My song challenge is an Alison Kraus song that makes my eyes leak and my voice choke up , every time I try to sing it.

So, the workshop leader has me up on the stage, starting the song and stopping me when the leak/choke starts - must be three times in a row I get started and stop.

Two significant suggestions turned the corner and allowed me after a few more tries to move ahead and get through an entire verse dry-eyed and smooth voiced:
1: focus on an imaginary person in the audience.
2: use the song to tell the imaginary person the story (instead of internalizing the story and in effect telling it to myself)

I do hear a story in all the songs I choose to sing, and I also notice that the sad stories typically mirror a sad experience of my own. So, I guess it's some emotional baggage that gets in the way of performing without leaks or chokes.

that's all I got!
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  #26  
Old 09-21-2017, 01:58 PM
Mr. Jelly Mr. Jelly is offline
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Originally Posted by Puerto Player View Post
Lot's of songs lack any good soul to begin with.
++++++++++1
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  #27  
Old 09-21-2017, 02:38 PM
pf400 pf400 is offline
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I'm always trying to figure out how to emote while playing solo instrumental. I admire how Tommy Emmanuel and BB King (rest in peace) do it, but that's "too much" for me.

I do feel that I have to act out some emotions, just to let the audience feel the music with me, or to let them know that this music does mean so much to me...but I struggle with how to act it out. I always wondered why so many top performers can just get on stage and act out the emotions of a song, even when they've performed the song hundreds of times.

Here's what I do, or try to do:

- now and then, delay playing a note just a bit, then move my head in a way when I do hit the note
- always have something moving, the head, a foot tapping, swaying the upper body
- put on a sad face for a sad song
- smile while playing non-sad songs
- exagerate the strumming motion at the peak point of a song
- really look down at the fretboard during certain parts of a song, not just while getting through a difficult passage

Any other tips ? (Aside from the great tips from previous posters)
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  #28  
Old 09-21-2017, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pf400 View Post
I'm always trying to figure out how to emote while playing solo instrumental. I admire how Tommy Emmanuel and BB King (rest in peace) do it, but that's "too much" for me.

I do feel that I have to act out some emotions, just to let the audience feel the music with me, or to let them know that this music does mean so much to me...but I struggle with how to act it out. I always wondered why so many top performers can just get on stage and act out the emotions of a song, even when they've performed the song hundreds of times.

Here's what I do, or try to do:

- now and then, delay playing a note just a bit, then move my head in a way when I do hit the note
- always have something moving, the head, a foot tapping, swaying the upper body
- put on a sad face for a sad song
- smile while playing non-sad songs
- exagerate the strumming motion at the peak point of a song
- really look down at the fretboard during certain parts of a song, not just while getting through a difficult passage

Any other tips ? (Aside from the great tips from previous posters)
And....If the audience closed their eyes while you played, would they still sense emotion and feeling in what you are performing and offering them?
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  #29  
Old 09-21-2017, 07:08 PM
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Perhaps another element that might be missing in this discussion is that if in playing a song, it brings true and genuine joy to you then conveying that joy is a way of connecting with an audience whether it is one or many (and in a sense connecting with yourself through the music). I've been to four Tommy Emmanuel concerts and two of his guitar camps and what I come away from all is that he truly loves what he does, it brings him great joy, and he conveys that joy to his audience and students. I believe that is why he is so popular as a solo artist. You never believe he is putting on an act and he is always being honest and sincere with you through his music. I'm a shy and introverted person by nature so I will always struggle with conveying that kind of emotion, hope that can change for me.
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Last edited by SprintBob; 09-22-2017 at 12:55 PM.
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  #30  
Old 09-22-2017, 06:59 AM
Golffishny Golffishny is offline
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When you see a river with a smooth top there's alot more going on below the surface that you don't see. I prefer the feeling in a song to come through the music. If I close my eyes and feel it through my ears I get more satisfaction. I don't need to see a monkey chasing a football around the stage.
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