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Old 10-24-2020, 03:50 AM
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elmcmeen elmcmeen is offline
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Default Falling Off the Cliff ...

In my *early* (I claim) dotage, I am finding myself starting to listen to a guitar player, and after 30-60 seconds losing interest and going on to something else (often trumpet and fiddle players, and singers). Is that just me, or do you find yourself falling off a cliff of interest in a player after a short period of time?
If so, what genre? If there are certain players or genres that sustain your interest to the end of the tune, who or what are they?

El
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Old 10-24-2020, 04:19 AM
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El - that is one heck of an interesting question and a behavior of my own that I have encountered more and more.

A few thoughts: first of course is my frame of mind. Over the last year, especially, I have had so much on my mind that I find it hard to take the luxury of relaxing and clearing it out. My attention span has been scrambled by agita! Hopefully, this is temporary, and my ability to enjoy the moment will return.

But second, I believe, has to do with timing and predictability. In another thread, an AGFer was asking why, when he listened to a song by Dave Van Ronk, that it seemed so alive, yet his playing couldn’t create the same vibe. Several responses pointed out that Van Ronk changes his timing (and groove) through the song, but it’s subtle.

If we look at music as an abstraction of speech, this makes a lot of sense. When you listen to a good story teller, the phrasing and the timing are changing throughout the story and this helps to retain interest. Plus, the timing and phrasing is a subtle cue as to where you are in the story and the emotion that you are trying to convey.

Long ago, in single days, I spent many, many, nights listening to musicians and their groups both in coffeehouses and bars (as many of us did). It was the story tellers that kept my attention through an evening. As I think about it, their stories continued between the songs as they told about the song or interacted with the audience. Also, the set list was ordered to add to the story, both in narrative and pace.

Maybe we should all ditch our metronomes?

Thanks for posing such an interesting question,

Best,

Rick
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Old 10-24-2020, 04:19 AM
Robin, Wales Robin, Wales is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elmcmeen View Post
In my *early* (I claim) dotage, I am finding myself starting to listen to a guitar player, and after 30-60 seconds losing interest and going on to something else (often trumpet and fiddle players, and singers). Is that just me, or do you find yourself falling off a cliff of interest in a player after a short period of time?
If so, what genre? If there are certain players or genres that sustain your interest to the end of the tune, who or what are they?

El
It is singers and songs that maintain my interest. I like to hear the steel strung acoustic guitar played as just a folk instrument in support of a song. I love singer songwriters. When I played in a bluegrass band we would be the guys standing around at festivals with plenty of beer and whisky singing songs in close harmony. There would be much higher class musicians than us firing off fast fiddle tunes in small groups all over the campsite. But the crowds and the fun was all happening where we were (mind you, they probably came to us because of the beer and the whisky!!!!).

It's that old adage of a jazz guitar ensemble soloing around 100 different chords in the local library to a studious audience of three. While down the road in the local bar a bluegrass band is banging out 3 chords to a raucous audience of a hundred! I know where I'd rather be!
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Old 10-24-2020, 04:28 AM
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It is singers and songs that maintain my interest. I like to hear the steel strung acoustic guitar played as just a folk instrument in support of a song. I love singer songwriters.
I agree 100%! A good singer\songwriter weaves a spell over the audience.
Quote:
When I played in a bluegrass band we would be the guys standing around at festivals with plenty of beer and whisky singing songs in close harmony. There would be much higher class musicians than us firing off fast fiddle tunes in small groups all over the campsite. But the crowds and the fun was all happening where we were (mind you, they probably came to us because of the beer and the whisky!!!!).
Beer and whiskey weaves a potent spell, too!

Quote:
It's that old adage of a jazz guitar ensemble soloing around 100 different chords in the local library to a studious audience of three. While down the road in the local bar a bluegrass band is banging out 3 chords to a raucous audience of a hundred!


Best,

Rick
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Old 10-24-2020, 04:37 AM
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I can only say that for my own observation, while I do appreciate the talent that guys like Steve Via, and Joe Satriani posses, more than one or two songs, and I've stopped listening.

And as much as I've wanted to, I don't like quite a few forms of Jazz. It's just not my cup of team. For example, New Orleans style. Some people love it, me? can't do it.

I'm a classic rock dinosaur. I like guys like Joe Bonnamassa, (well there aint many guys like him actually)

I found that I actually like Americana Folk. (John Gorka, Jeff Foucault, Jason Isabel, Amos Lee.) Big fan of J.T. too, the late great Dan Fogelberg.

Also Soloists like the forums own Doug Young, and a few other guys that post stuff here, of course, Michael Hedges, Alex De Grassi, Tommy E.

I play piano too so I like to follow guys like David Lanz, David Nevue, Jim Brickman.
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Old 10-24-2020, 04:54 AM
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It's an age thing!! I'm sure as you age your attention span does shrink, although last night i watched First Aid Kit doing a copy of America by Simon and Garfunkel at some Swedish concert with Paul Simon in the front row, i think it was a tribute to him, Anyway not only was i listening i was captivated by it, stunning harmonies from the girls and the orchestra accompanying them was mind blowing, dare i say it's even better than the original! It's that good!!
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Old 10-24-2020, 05:14 AM
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Excellent points by Rick and others. I've written on this subject, emphasizing phrasing - dynamics, rubato, attack, and allowing space in an arrangement to draw in the listener. Interestingly, my experience is that employing some devices reminiscent of the human voice - e.g., a controlled vibrato and a legato use of slides/hammers/pulloffs - can maintain the interest of a listener. If an arrangement is too busy, without enough space, it can keep my interest for a while, but then I abruptly lose interest. The same is true with predictable music, often original guitar music (much of which I find to be, well, non-melodic and boring).
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Old 10-24-2020, 06:15 AM
The Bard Rocks The Bard Rocks is offline
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I listen to live music. Or I should say, I used to. And I listen to recorded music from my rather large collection. but almost never on UTube. We don't have TV, too much else to do.

So by the time I start spending money to hear someone, I already know they will hold my interest.
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Old 10-24-2020, 06:20 AM
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Interesting observation and question, and interesting responses thus far.

I have noticed similar responses in me to many things. Sometimes it is a “mood thing”: something that I usually enjoy, like a particular comic or a particular TV series, doesn’t land for me when I am in a certain mood, and I quickly recognize this and move on. Sometimes it is a “discernment thing”: I won’t continue to listen to people who are lecturing about a topic that is interesting to me unless they are pointing out something that is new, and/or unless their presentation has a certain flow or dynamism that is engaging. And my mood definitely affects whether I want to listen to music, whereas in the past, I almost ALWAYS wanted music on as I woke up, as I drove, as I relaxed.

When it comes to music, and especially solo guitar stuff, I have heard a lot of players over the years, and there are some that offer surprises in regards to notes and phrasing, and some that just move through a song in a way that is derivative or repetitive (though it may be technically challenging and well-executed). I won’t listen to something that doesn’t offer surprise, or meaningful variation. I used to find repetition to be enjoyably hypnotic....not so much anymore.

Last: “It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing”. Some players and bands seem to manifest a certain bounce or swing, others don’t. More and more, I enjoy that quality when present, and won’t endure music that lacks that quality.
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Old 10-24-2020, 06:21 AM
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Bob Womack Bob Womack is offline
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Interesting question, El. I find that it isn't just guitaristas that I pull the plug on, it is anyone who doesn't have something that grabs me. I'm a sucker for a beautiful melody and I am interested in mature execution that takes me somewhere I haven't been before, as you put it, "emphasizing phrasing - dynamics, rubato, attack, and allowing space in an arrangement to draw in the listener. Interestingly, my experience is that employing some devices reminiscent of the human voice - e.g., a controlled vibrato and a legato use of slides/hammers/pulloffs - can maintain the interest of a listener." That's what sucks me in. A year or so I got obsessed by the silliest thing: a professional gear reviewer did a review for the Origin Effects Revival Drive. He opened it with a little melodic thing he composed to demonstrate the abilities of the box.



That thing is a catalog of methods to attack a note, and is pretty as well. All of the technique is used to support the song. But that is what does it for me these days: a good string melody with mature technique subordinated to the development of the piece.

Bob
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Old 10-24-2020, 06:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bard Rocks View Post
I listen to live music. Or I should say, I used to. And I listen to recorded music from my rather large collection. but almost never on UTube. We don't have TV, too much else to do.

So by the time I start spending money to hear someone, I already know they will hold my interest.
And live music has dynamic range. So much of what we hear today is over compressed, and as El notes, leaving no white space.

Best,

Rick
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Old 10-24-2020, 06:53 AM
musicman1951 musicman1951 is offline
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Instrumental guitar is, I believe, a tough road to hoe. I loves me some outstanding technique, but I think of it more like salt - a little makes the dish more interesting and a lot just makes it salty (or, in my case, boring).

I love a good melody in any genre of music, but I find it vital without vocals. Then there is the problem of the limited dynamic range of the instrument. There are not a lot of players who hold my interest for very long.

One of them is Michael Watts. He gets an incredible amount of dynamic and stylistic variation from 6 strings, and he is inherently musical. He paints pictures.
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Old 10-24-2020, 07:14 AM
j3ffr0 j3ffr0 is offline
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It' not the player that keeps my interest, it's the song, and sometimes the tones or unique voicings/tunings are a part of that. I don't ever even know what I'm looking for, but I know it when I hear it. And I do know what it's not.... It is definitely not some player taking a solo over some progression... I do appreciate and respect musical-athletic ability, but it's the song that has the ability to move someone (or at least me).
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Old 10-24-2020, 07:59 AM
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I enjoy instrumental guitar music in short bursts. For every Angelina that I enjoy listening to there dozens that I find uninteresting. I don't attend many instrumental concerts as I'm generally bored by the 4th or 5th song.

A song with vocals and instruments woven together masterfully is what I enjoy.
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Old 10-24-2020, 08:14 AM
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What an interesting question and topic!
I’ve found I have the same predisposition to quickly lose interest in a piece of music if it doesn’t initially “speak to me”. Being a newbie I was unsure what triggered my attentions departure. Done well, It makes sense that varying tempo, etc. to mimic components of human speech could contribute to a songs allure. Some people call this “Musicality”, I think.
Bradford Werner’s website has several lessons concerning practicing not only for technical accuracy but also de-emphasizing tempo and introducing and experimenting with Lagato, crescendo, vibrato, etc. which I will revisit after reading this thread.

https://www.thisisclassicalguitar.co...ssical-guitar/


I also wonder if certain keys (or tunings) are more likely inspire a longer listen. I will pay closer attention.

I hope all have a wonderful weekend,
Tom
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