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Are musicians masters of time?


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This is something ive been thinking about a lot. Im helping my brother in law learn the guitar and its been really interesting and has taught me a few things here and there in the process. It also made me remember some of the times when I was learning and what it used to be like trying to play before I was any good at it.

 

One of the first things I remember was chord changes were so hard. You would struggle to keep time with the beat and make the next chord, often fumbling and missing it and getting frustrated.. Now ive been playing for over 26 years which is since I was 12 and obviously its just part of my life now and I generally dont even think when changing chords..

 

But what amazes me is sometimes your playing something, and it could even be like 130bpm a good speed, and the time I have now to change chord sometimes seems like an eternity and is what this post is really about.. When we are playing and in the moment where we are at one with the guitar and the music the time between a beat seems to extend..

 

Now is this just experience and muscle memory? Or is there something else? I mean I have experience in many things but dont often feel that special feeling when time seems to stop when your right there in a tasty solo or just really into what your doing. Whats really amazing is as musicians and guitarists we can experience that almsot whenever we want (even though sometimes mood and life gets in the way)..

 

I guess this is similar to my "Does playing open your mind" thread. Im not sure ive explained myself very well but does anyone else get what im saying? I wonder if they have ever studied the brain waves of musicians to see what happens when we get into the zone? Im just interested to see if anyone else experiences this and how it feels to them.

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But what amazes me is sometimes your playing something, and it could even be like 130bpm a good speed, and the time I have now to change chord sometimes seems like an eternity and is what this post is really about.. When we are playing and in the moment where we are at one with the guitar and the music the time between a beat seems to extend..

 

Now is this just experience and muscle memory? Or is there something else? I mean I have experience in many things but dont often feel that special feeling when time seems to stop when your right there in a tasty solo or just really into what your doing. Whats really amazing is as musicians and guitarists we can experience that almsot whenever we want (even though sometimes mood and life gets in the way)..

 

I guess this is similar to my "Does playing open your mind" thread. Im not sure ive explained myself very well but does anyone else get what im saying? I wonder if they have ever studied the brain waves of musicians to see what happens when we get into the zone? Im just interested to see if anyone else experiences this and how it feels to them.

 

I know exactly what you're talking about. I think this phenomena happens because "time" doesn't actually exist. It has been said that musicians use the same parts of their brains as people that are either meditating and/or praying. Could this then mean that you are actually entering another consciousness? One that allows even a faster paced up beat song to feel like it is lasting an eternity, quite literally? I think so, because too many times I have played for hours straight without an actual thought or concern for life itself.

 

I believe the part of the brain was referred to as the "God Cortex".

 

Music is consistent with mathematics, patterns, colors, themes etc...

 

...so I feel like playing does help utilize different parts of your brain you might not have before been using.

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I know exactly what you're talking about. I think this phenomena happens because "time" doesn't actually exist. It has been said that musicians use the same parts of their brains as people that are either meditating and/or praying. Could this then mean that you are actually entering another consciousness? One that allows even a faster paced up beat song to feel like it is lasting an eternity, quite literally? I think so, because too many times I have played for hours straight without an actual thought or concern for life itself.

 

I believe the part of the brain was referred to as the "God Cortex".

 

Music is consistent with mathematics, patterns, colors, themes etc...

 

...so I feel like playing does help utilize different parts of your brain you might not have before been using.

Thats it really. We all experience life throught our perception.. And that is what changes when we play.. Our current state of mind.. from one of work and reality, to a reality of our own creation.. Quite mad when you think of it like that.

 

In a documentary I saw about this sort of thing. They said that when the mind experiences something, it cant tell if its happening now or in the past. The physical connections that are made when a memory is made stays the same. So when we experience emotion its based on all of these links made in our brains as we experience life. So it can be said that when we experience emotion say about a past memory, as far as our brains are concerned we are in the past and the present at the same time.

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Thats it really. We all experience life throught our perception.. And that is what changes when we play.. Our current state of mind.. from one of work and reality, to a reality of our own creation.. Quite mad when you think of it like that.

 

In a documentary I saw about this sort of thing. They said that when the mind experiences something, it cant tell if its happening now or in the past. The physical connections that are made when a memory is made stays the same. So when we experience emotion its based on all of these links made in our brains as we experience life. So it can be said that when we experience emotion say about a past memory, as far as our brains are concerned we are in the past and the present at the same time.

 

Quantum mechanics my friend. You are God.

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Quantum mechanics my friend. You are God.

LOL yes even though I wouldnt quite put it like that :)

 

But yes in that way of thinking we are the creators of our own universe.. Love all that stuff... Oh and thanks for your answer..good to know im not going batty quite yet ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMUjfi5hbhU&feature=related

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I like your post. With sound projection, wave detection through pickups and signal amplification through electron fields in vacuum tubes, you could also say that guitar player in particular are also masters of space.

 

In short, masters of time and space...

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Actually to me it's a matter of anticipating and responding - very much as in martial arts.

 

In both, there's a "form" that fulfills certain required brain-body response; when one recognizes the form, the response follows. That could be hearing a known chord change coming for a basic folk guitarist or seeing note changes on a sheet of paper - or detecting the weight shift in an "attacker" tossing a punch or beginning a throw or projection.

 

Nothing magic at all. Yes, a zenlike "zone" plays a role, but again, ain't nothing magic to that, simply a matter of how our brains work. We best anticipate by not consciously anticipating; best respond with no conscious intent of response.

 

m

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"... The archer ceases to be conscious of himself as the one who is engaged in hitting the bull's-eye which confronts him. This state of unconscious is realized only when, completely empty and rid of the self, he becomes one with the perfecting of his technical skill, though there is in it something of a quite different order which cannot be attained by any progressive study of the art ..." - Zen and the Art of Archery (Herrigel)

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Ziggie...

 

That pretty well hits it. It's the purpose of kata; the purpose of practice to allow technique to be unconsciously a part of the conscious; the response that begins before that to which it responds. It's also why "visualization" works as practice, too, but in our case, a "listening" to that which we play.

 

There's nothing that is "magic," but there's nothing that is not.

 

m

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some things I've seen in my life is that the more familiar/ experienced you get with a given task those physical movements become automatic, almost could do'em in your sleep! then in a state of boredom the mind starts to wonder looking for some thing else to do, many accidents can happen when you do this!

but beings were talkin about git playin the mind is not as absorbed in how to do an upcoming chord change,say as we once were, so were now listening! it may appear to be more time but i really think that its the focus is less intense on what we may have in earlier times been overwhelmed with! we now may be even trying out something new within all this seemingly extra time! you really then get to be creative in a state that sounds good and can appreciate it all in what seems like its somewhere else! as they say PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT!

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I'd say that reading how to not do something is interesting; truly learning how not to do something is something else.

 

Yes, you can make a case that after having done something so often that it's functionally a reflex action, it's then easier and perhaps more likely to become distracted.

 

OTOH, that's because the "you" is not part of the whole.

 

BTW, practice does not make perfect; it makes habit. That may or may not be the ideal or the purpose itself.

 

m

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As I said, I have not read Kenny Werner's Effortless Mastery , but I have read the reviews and heard many say what a good book it is. Here's a Wiki exerpt from a blurb on Kenny Werner:

 

"Kenny’s groundbreaking work on Improvisation, Effortless Mastery – Liberating the Master Musician Within, was published in 1996. Using his life experiences as a microscope into the artist’s mind, Effortless Mastery is a guide to distill the emotional, spiritual, and psychological aspects of an artists’ life. Today it is one of the most widely read books on music and improvisation. The book is a required reading at many universities. Werner, without intention, touched off a revolution of inspiring musicians to do inner work on the mind, body, and soul in attempt to upgrade their musical experience from the mundane to the profound. The book is also popular with artists of other mediums and business professionals. Kenny continues to teach and give clinics in the United States and abroad. He is currently an Artist-in-Residence at New York University."

 

Sounds like the "Zenmaster of Improvisation."

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Ziggie...

 

Ain't read it either.

 

But... as it may seem obvious, I came at this stuff from another direction since I was a kid. My weakness has been, OTOH, too much with emphasis on skill development as opposed to art development. I wouldn't have believed that even 20 years ago and certainly not 50 years ago.

 

It seems that with age, that technical emphasis has become less important - and perhaps less likely in some ways in some things I do. OTOH, the zen thing has become increasingly relevant in an increasing number of life facets.

 

m

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Actually to me it's a matter of anticipating and responding - very much as in martial arts.

 

In both, there's a "form" that fulfills certain required brain-body response; when one recognizes the form, the response follows. That could be hearing a known chord change coming for a basic folk guitarist or seeing note changes on a sheet of paper - or detecting the weight shift in an "attacker" tossing a punch or beginning a throw or projection.

 

Nothing magic at all. Yes, a zenlike "zone" plays a role, but again, ain't nothing magic to that, simply a matter of how our brains work. We best anticipate by not consciously anticipating; best respond with no conscious intent of response.

 

m

Yeah.. I dont think its anything magical.. but maybe spiritual..

 

Sort of more along the lines of what is self.. Are we a brain, a body, a soul or a mixture of all? Thus any experience that is felt like this is only really an internal thing (as is most things).. In that way we are the masters of our own perception and our perception is how we view life. Which is why I ask are we masters of time as if it is just our perception that changes then to us at least, it is real :)

 

So time slowing down I know is just a perception (I dont think time actually slows down). But what I wondered was how other people felt about it all. Been some interesting posts.

 

I find that I dont really have the vocabulary to properly explain.. but try my best :)

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Depending on one's definitions, it ain't "spiritual" or it is... <grin>

 

But here's the bottom line: If one's head is not cluttered, and if one anticipates, one need not feel rushed. If one's consciousness is cluttered with technique and concern about timing, one feels rushed.

 

It's been suggested that it takes 2/5 of a second to perceive and initiate response to a stimulus. But if one perceives the need for a response as the stimulus is approaching, it's far less rushed.

 

m

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Depending on one's definitions, it ain't "spiritual" or it is... <grin>

 

But here's the bottom line: If one's head is not cluttered, and if one anticipates, one need not feel rushed. If one's consciousness is cluttered with technique and concern about timing, one feels rushed.

 

It's been suggested that it takes 2/5 of a second to perceive and initiate response to a stimulus. But if one perceives the need for a response as the stimulus is approaching, it's far less rushed.

 

m

[thumbup] and I liked your comparism to Martial Arts... As the master himself once said "Be like water" :)

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