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Speed or feeling?


smithy78

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Silly question. That's like asking which is the more important element of a Van Gogh - the use color or texture?

 

Speed is quantitative - objective - measurable. While "feeling" is made up of tone, phrasing, style, taste, vibrato, etc. -- none of which are really quantitative - objective - measurable. Seems to me, all of the above are part of the players palette and none of them are more important than the others.

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Silly question. That's like asking which is the more important element of a Van Gogh - the use color or texture?

 

Speed is quantitative - objective - measurable. While "feeling" is made up of tone' date=' phrasing, style, taste, vibrato, etc. -- none of which are really quantitative - objective - measurable. Seems to me, all of the above are part of the players palette and none of them are more important than the others. [/quote']

 

+1

 

These conversations almost always include particular names of guitar players who can play very fast, typically Steve Vai, Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen and some others. Next, there will be a few people who say, "Sure, they can play fast, but they have no feeling" which I think is a bunch of BS. I think saying that guys like Vai, Van Halen and etc. have no feeling shows a serious inability of being able to appreciate their musical styles and would argue that at least some of those players probably have a deeper feeling and understanding of music than a lot of us will ever be able to even recognize.

 

I believe a lot of what people perceive as "feeling" is really "less precision;" that is, the human element that makes things imperfect. A lot of those speedy guitar players are also very precise in what they play - they have to be to be able to play so fast and not have it sound like crap. But, just because they are precise, that doesn't mean that they don't have feeling in what they play.

 

Speed may not be my thing and I'm a bit sloppy at times but that isn't feeling, it's that I'm not the most technical player. However, I don't project my own shortcomings on to other players who are much more proficient than I am and simply don't believe that feeling and technical prowess are mutually exclusive.

 

I apologize if it seems like I'm presuming the intent of this thread, it's just that I've seen these types of topics go in the way I've described many times in the past so I figured I'd just cut to the chase in case my presumption is correct.

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My turn...

 

Face it, one can play with feeling and do so either slow or fast, but one can play fast with or without feeling.

 

I think it's easier to sound "good" from my perspective with feeling than speed.

 

In some musical styles, such as "bluegrass," or others of a significant portion of Brit "folk" heritage, there's a question whether there should be overt feeling in one's playing or singing - or if it should be "flat" in terms of "feel."

 

So... I dunno.

 

But what I find reeeeally interesting is how many "feeling" guitar players are perceived as playing "slowly" when, if you actually time what they're doing, they're going awfully fast in some phrases. They just are so lyrical that one doesn't think of them as "fast."

 

On the other hand, one tends to notice the speed of the "fast, but not particularly played with feeling" guitar solo - and again, so I won't anger some fans of relatively recent rock vintage, I'll note that many bluegrass solos follow exactly this sort of pattern, and by overt intent.

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Speed for it's own sake has it's admirers although I don't count myself amongst them. If some people like it then why not?

 

However; for anyone who thinks slow and simple is boring - listen to the opening bars of Beethoven's "Moonlight" Sonata. (OK, OK; Sonata No. 14 in C#m Op 27 No. 2, 'Quasi una Fantasia' to use it's given title).

 

Sometimes "Feeling" can ruin a good tune. Going, again, down the 'Classical' route an overabundance of 'expression' will ruin almost anything by J. S. Bach; especially his 'cello suites.

 

Other than that I say 'Feeling'.

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Speed may not be my thing and I'm a bit sloppy at times but that isn't feeling' date=' it's that I'm not the most technical player. However, I don't project my own shortcomings on to other players who are much more proficient than I am and simply don't believe that feeling and technical prowess are mutually exclusive. [/quote']

I think that's the key.

 

Fast != lack of feeling

Precision != lack of feeling

Slow != feeling

Sloppy != feeling

Dynamics, phrasing, timing etc. == feeling

 

Remember, lots of slow playing/players out there are pretty devoid of 'feeling' - probably a lot more than there are fast players, as in technically proficient, lacking it.

 

There is also this thing: if someone sees a youtube clip of someone playing something fast, they immediately assume that this player a) always plays fast and O:) can't play slow nor deliver music with 'feeling'.

 

Better mention that I am not a fan of fast playing for the sake of it (David Gilmour is my favourite player), but when it's done in appropriate musical context it can be very good, even moving.

 

Not all things are black and white.

 

DJ

--

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If I had to pick only one, I'd definitely pick feeling, after all, isn't that what music is all about?

 

On the other hand, if you play with feeling, there is a time to play slow, a time for speed, and a time for everything in between. And to me the best players can play fast, medium, and slow with feeling.

 

Insights and incites by Notes

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If I had to pick only one' date=' I'd definitely pick feeling, after all, isn't that what music is all about?

 

On the other hand, if you play with feeling, there is a time to play slow, a time for speed, and a time for everything in between. And to me the best players can play fast, medium, and slow with feeling.

 

Insights and incites by Notes

 

[/quote']

 

Well put!

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The references to "classical" music - such as Bach - in this discussion is pretty much on point, especially since when that stuff was being written and performed as "new," it wasn't considered either "classical" or more correctly "baroque," but rather "music."

 

Anyway, the term "phrasing" might be slightly misunderstood in this context. Writing music is one thing, performing it is yet another. Even Bach would figure the performer would add something of his own to the performance - every bit as much as we figure someone will add something of their own to even a note-for-note current "cover" of a popular song.

 

Much of that can't be put "on the map," even in a not-for-note performance, since it's a matter of the differences in timing and dynamics of the music.

 

That latter point is where, to me, speed fails in terms of feeling. Bach has been mentioned, and I think appropriately. I can't recall the full name of his "chromatic fantasia and fugue," but it's faster than doo-doo and ain't got even a quarter of the "feeling" of "Moonlight." One might make the case that it's "happy," that's being expressed through the notes and their rapidity, or something along those lines, but...

 

Back in the 50s, there was a fast "do-wop" version of "Blue Moon" and ... well, it hit the charts, but it wasn't the same piece of music and if one wants to consider whether the lyric and the tune held together in that faster mode ... it certainly did not.

 

This has nothing to do with criticism of the performer, but more with the perception of the listener. One may enjoy, or even prefer "fast," but it's not the same "lyricism" as one gets from a piece played with fewer notes and therefore a greater opportunity for those bits of timing and dynamic that are "feeling."

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+1

 

These conversations almost always include particular names of guitar players who can play very fast' date=' typically Steve Vai, Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen and some others. Next, there will be a few people who say, "Sure, they can play fast, but they have no feeling" which I think is a bunch of BS. I think saying that guys like Vai, Van Halen and etc. have no feeling shows a serious inability of being able to appreciate their musical styles and would argue that at least some of those players probably have a deeper feeling and understanding of music than a lot of us will ever be able to even recognize.

 

I believe a lot of what people perceive as "feeling" is really "less precision;" that is, the human element that makes things imperfect. A lot of those speedy guitar players are also very precise in what they play - they have to be to be able to play so fast and not have it sound like crap. But, just because they are precise, that doesn't mean that they don't have feeling in what they play.

 

Speed may not be my thing and I'm a bit sloppy at times but that isn't feeling, it's that I'm not the most technical player. However, I don't project my own shortcomings on to other players who are much more proficient than I am and simply don't believe that feeling and technical prowess are mutually exclusive.

 

I apologize if it seems like I'm presuming the intent of this thread, it's just that I've seen these types of topics go in the way I've described many times in the past so I figured I'd just cut to the chase in case my presumption is correct.

[/quote']

 

+1

 

 

Tell me theres no feeling in this.

 

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sj3ec2cCaJw

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HC60XNiS-MQ&feature=related

 

 

I think alot of the people who say the virtuosos are bad guitarist because they play fast are jealous.

 

Kinda like the guy who says his epiphone is better than a gibson.

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This has nothing to do with criticism of the performer' date=' but more with the perception of the listener. One may enjoy, or even prefer "fast," but it's not the same "lyricism" as one gets from a piece played with fewer notes and therefore a greater opportunity for those bits of timing and dynamic that are "feeling." [/quote']

 

I couldn't agree more. This point was brought home to me whilst in my teens when an astonishing and dazzling performance by the great piano virtuoso Oscar Peterson was followed by a lesson in taste and moderation by the elderly Count Basie with his trio. A tenth the number of notes and ten times the music.

 

(My earlier point in bringing up the Bach 'cello suites, by the way, was to highlight an overabundance of feeling - bordering on Schmaltz; Lynn Harrell's interpretation as compared to the sublime Paul Tortellier recordings, as an example.)

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Pippy...

 

I agree too on the potential of "schmaltz" even in Bach, as in the cello stuff. But then... that's kinda what we can do with blues if we're not careful, too.

 

I rather like Muddy Waters, for example, and his (frequently) soft vocals can too easily be turned to schmaltz.

 

Schmaltz? I find it interesting how we Anglophones collectively have an ongoing dialectic over schmaltz vs. "remote recollection storytelling" in our folk traditions. It's obvious in everything from the actual "old" stuff such as the "dirty ditty from the North" called "Greensleeves" to the most up to date "rap." (I personally dislike "rap" as much as "Oompah" music, but it certainly follows a degree of folk tradition as much as do "rock," "blues" and gospel.)

 

Basie was to me in is older days an incredibly capable "minimalist" even though he retained the capacity for incredible speed on the piano that so many people never recognized from his more popular big band recordings.

 

Overall one thing that truly appeals to me with "swing" is the timing and phrasing of the "great" pieces and recordings. Bea Wain's "Deep Purple" went to #1 in the late 30s because of her incredible phrasing with a minimalist - and IMHO not terribly "clean" band arrangement; later singers and "orchestras" had much better arrangements but...

 

Another factor - especially in "baroque" and "blues" that many folks seldom see as parallels are the "grace notes" that are fast - sometimes incredibly fast - but aren't perceived as "speed" but as "feeling." Heck, they're often not on the score. If there's a good argument for a lotta young guitar players to listen to "old" music, I think it's to help them think conceptually rather than specifically in terms of technique.

 

Vivaldi ... Bach ... I even hear Wagner in some stuff by "Chicago" and some blues bands. (As a friend of long ago put it, ever notice how, when Wagner hits crisis points in his stuff, the violin section comes in with sets of "teeyah, teeyah, teeyah?")

 

<grin>

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+1

 

These conversations almost always include particular names of guitar players who can play very fast' date=' typically Steve Vai, Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen and some others. Next, there will be a few people who say, "Sure, they can play fast, but they have no feeling" which I think is a bunch of BS. I think saying that guys like Vai, Van Halen and etc. have no feeling shows a serious inability of being able to appreciate their musical styles and would argue that at least some of those players probably have a deeper feeling and understanding of music than a lot of us will ever be able to even recognize.

 

I believe a lot of what people perceive as "feeling" is really "less precision;" that is, the human element that makes things imperfect. A lot of those speedy guitar players are also very precise in what they play - they have to be to be able to play so fast and not have it sound like crap. But, just because they are precise, that doesn't mean that they don't have feeling in what they play.

 

Speed may not be my thing and I'm a bit sloppy at times but that isn't feeling, it's that I'm not the most technical player. However, I don't project my own shortcomings on to other players who are much more proficient than I am and simply don't believe that feeling and technical prowess are mutually exclusive.

 

I apologize if it seems like I'm presuming the intent of this thread, it's just that I've seen these types of topics go in the way I've described many times in the past so I figured I'd just cut to the chase in case my presumption is correct.

[/quote']

 

+1

I'm with Rich on this one.

 

For some people, playing fast is how they relate what they are feeling - Let's face it some people just "think" and do things quicker than others. It's unfair to say that playing fast equals no feeling.

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Another factor - especially in "baroque" and "blues" that many folks seldom see as parallels are the "grace notes" that are fast - sometimes incredibly fast - but aren't perceived as "speed" but as "feeling." Heck' date=' they're often not on the score. If there's a good argument for a lotta young guitar players to listen to "old" music, I think it's to help them think conceptually rather than specifically in terms of technique.<grin>[/quote']

 

I know exactly what you mean. My father was, from the age of 14 (say, 1932), the accordion soloist in a Scottish Traditional/ Scottish Dance band and he studied (formally) for many years to perfect both his technique and, equally important to him, his appreciation of exactly what the great accordionists of the time were doing. Their use of grace notes was a large part of what could elevate a player from being considered merely 'very capable' to 'Great'.

 

This point was raised, discreetly, when I set about the guitar in earnest......

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I think there is a subtle difference as to which genre we are contemplating.

 

As a bit of a fun experiment I've just attempted a 160bpm version of "Every Day I Have the Blues".

 

I doubt anyone listening would have believed me..........

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I think that is true' date=' that just because it's fast it doesn't mean it has no feeling, but the likes of Vai and Malmsteem just play with no feeling, slow or fast... In my opinion...[/quote']

 

Maybe you just don't like their style. I have always liked Yngwie, I think he has a lot of very melodic songs and a lot of his music has a lot of character. His first solo record is an ultimate album by any standard. Sure not all his material is great but he's been around for a long time and has a ton of albums, he's bound to have a few that are not great.

 

I can easily discern between a mindless shredder and a good fast player.

 

The automatic assumption equaling speed with no feeling is absurd. I will never be able to play fast neither do I want to but I do enjoy the music of those who do fast and well.

 

Playing with feel is very subjective as well, maybe a lot of us would like to think we play with feel but our audience would disagree. Playing slow does not make anybody good. really. I mean I have heard a few guys that bend sharp...

 

Sure I like play slow, with feel

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The automatic assumption equaling speed with no feeling is absurd. I will never be able to play fast neither do I want to but I do enjoy the music of those who do fast and well. Playing slow does not make anybody good. really.

 

Absolutely right.

 

Nuno Bettencourt (with Extreme) does a track called 'The Flight of the Wounded Bumblebee' which is a great twist on a well known favourite.

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I couldn't agree more. This point was brought home to me whilst in my teens when an astonishing and dazzling performance by the great piano virtuoso Oscar Peterson was followed by a lesson in taste and moderation by the elderly Count Basie with his trio. A tenth the number of notes and ten times the music.

 

(My earlier point in bringing up the Bach 'cello suites' date=' by the way, was to highlight an [i']over[/i]abundance of feeling - bordering on Schmaltz; Lynn Harrell's interpretation as compared to the sublime Paul Tortellier recordings, as an example.)

Good example. Compare some speed-demons on the piano to a piano player like

Keith Jarret. He has feeling galore!

However playing fast with feeling happens and is not that easy.

Speed only suck if the guy plays sloppy, does not know how to play and uses tons of

distortion to mask his crappy playing.

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Good example. Compare some speed-demons on the piano to a piano player like

Keith Jarret. He has feeling galore!

However playing fast with feeling happens and is not that easy.

Speed only suck if the guy plays sloppy' date=' does not know how to play and uses tons of

distortion to mask his crappy playing.[/quote']

 

+1 on all points mentioned.

 

The "Koln Concert" recordings are unique.

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