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  #46  
Old 05-18-2012, 04:54 PM
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Bern Bern is offline
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Music is a human expression. If a musician can translate some of his/her emotions musically (although, some are good in leaving out the 'e' out of emotion) and it has an effect to a listener, I would say, that is really what it boils down to. Personally speaking, it stops right there.
As for the theory...obviously, always a touchy subject around musical circles, I don't think that it a definable attribute to be a musician. If a musician intents to work as hired musician (studio or live), then, yes, it is probably a good idea to have a solid theoretical foundation. However, if a solo artist who is a good performer and songwriter (and, perhaps, has a good record contract to top it) doesn't know too much about circular fifth, chord substitution. etc., I don't think it's really necessary.
I believe, it's really up to an individual to learn what he thinks is best for him or her.
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  #47  
Old 05-19-2012, 08:47 AM
williejohnson williejohnson is offline
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Steve,
IMO, both the best and the fastest way to improve as a musician is to play with other musicians (not necessarily guitar players.) Playing with others will accelerate your learning curve much more than just playing by yourself. Now, having said that, it is easier said than done to find the right people. But, playing with other musicians, is like a turbo boost for learning and improving.

Willie
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  #48  
Old 05-20-2012, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonPR View Post
"Faking" is a loaded word!
It suggests cynicism, which is not the right attitude at all.
The point is - IMO - that the "emotion" contained in (or communicated by) a piece of music is not something that can be expressed any other way. It can't be duplicated, IOW. It's something that happens when the music is played right.

Its "message" is not even classifiable as "emotion" IMO, in the sense of feelings we can describe as "sadness", "anger", "joy", etc. Those things are mundane, caused by a mix of biology and human interaction. Music is beneath and beyond all that: both more primal and more transcendent.

If music moves us to tears - and it can sometimes - we never know why. It probably won't be a "sad song" that does it. It'll just be some kind of sudden connection with our unconscious, like a memory we can't quite recall, or a dream we just woke up and forgot.

In short, you can't "fake" music. You can only play it well, or play it badly. Playing it well means accepting it, in a sense. Not trying to impose your own agenda on it.

If you've enough experience of playing live, you know the feeling when it all just "clicks". People talk about being "in the zone". It's like the music is playing itself, and you're just being carried along, like surfing a wave: you might start out with a conscious plan, an idea of controlling the situation, but once you're "up" you know the wave is in command.
An audience will recognise that when it happens, and they will "get it". The weird thing is, even though it's totally mysterious, nobody regards it as strange. It's just a "great gig". Sometimes we might be tempted to put it down to the audience just having drunk more than usual (because we don't think we actually played any better than usual). But if they get into it, then so do we, and it becomes a feedback loop.
What I'm taking from this is that it's not my 'job' as a performer to duplicate or replicate the emotion that I feel the music is communicating - it's to understand and identify with the music's story, play and sing the music well, and let the music do it's work!

That is actually kind of liberating.

Steve
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  #49  
Old 05-20-2012, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonPR View Post
The "soul" is not in you, it's in the music. You don't impose your emotions on it; you allow the music to speak through you.
I know when I get the deepest emotional charge from playing music, the most passionate connection, it's always when I've managed to play it honestly and correctly, with no emotional input from me (just the desire to hear it properly).
Right.
IMO, the secret (if there is one) is in the detail. Make every note count. Great players can make very simple stuff sound amazing.
It's called "expression", of course, but that's a tricky word. I think it's about having the utmost respect for the smallest elements of the music.
Like brushwork to a painter: if a painting lives and breathes, it's down to the attention to the brushwork. If each mark wasn't perfectly controlled, the whole thing would not work. You wouldn't say a single brush mark was "expressive" - and the painter certainly was not feeling any emotion when he put it down. But he controlled it just so (through a combination of experience and judgement).
(And IMO the analogy works for Jackson Pollock as much as for Rembrandt : if Rembrandt is "classical", Pollock is "jazz" - it looks splashy and uncontrolled, but constant taste and judgement is being applied; accidents are accepted if they work. A jazz musician may often not know how what he is about to play will sound; but he plays it anyway, listens, and goes with it, maybe to somewhere else. Again, it's about giving the music enough respect, allowing it say what it seems to want to say.)
You've said alot here, Jon - you're saying that if you give careful attention to the little details, the music will have a better chance to speak and create the emotion in the listener.

I don't which is more pressure - to create and try to generate emotion, or to artistically control the little nuances

Thanks for the food for thought.

Steve
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  #50  
Old 05-20-2012, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by williejohnson View Post
Steve,
IMO, both the best and the fastest way to improve as a musician is to play with other musicians (not necessarily guitar players.) Playing with others will accelerate your learning curve much more than just playing by yourself. Now, having said that, it is easier said than done to find the right people. But, playing with other musicians, is like a turbo boost for learning and improving.

Willie
Great suggestion. I do play with others, the problem is that I'm finding it hard to find players stronger than I am (who are willing to play with me) so I can follow instead of leading.

I keep looking.

Steve
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  #51  
Old 05-22-2012, 02:34 PM
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This has been a great thread to spark my thinking about improving my musicality. I expect to read it a few more times before I'm done.

Larry made a post about using musical devices. In searching for what he was talking about, I found this article that you might find helpful.

http://www.guitarmasterclass.net/wik...ore_expressive

Thanks to everyone who has posted.

Steve
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