Feel or Technique, importance?

Feel and Technique, importance?

I interpret - Feel - as an human emotion, sensation that channels you into the music flow, drums, to play instead of overcome.

Technique - a group of skills, methods, cleverness to be applied into music, drums.

In my opinion, both (Feel & Technique) are important, but it seems to me that - Feel - has an advantage and pleasant tasting to the listeners and players. Besides, Technique can be learnt and taught, is it the same for Feel? I am interesting to know.

Can you share your thoughts, comments?

Many Thanks,
 
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VedranS

Senior Member
If anyone would like to try to follow me, I'll try to convey here the image that entered my mind as I read Ian's post. This is not meant to be serious, so I hope I don't offend anyone.

We're in Drummerworld, a large town square and gathering place in the city called Music. Drummers are milling about and conversing on a beautiful day, when Ian asks his question: "What's more important, technique or feel?"

Upon hearing the question, several old-timers suddenly stop dead in their tracks. A hush falls upon the crowd as their anticipation is noticed by the general public. The nervous silence is broken by the shrieking of a large bird of prey coming from the sky. As the crowd scatters to find shelter, a huge creature eclipses the sun, and descends upon the town square with unbelievable, superhuman speed. As it gets closer, the raptor can be seen to be Matt Smith in the form of a gigantic eagle.

Swooping in on the unsuspecting Ian Williams, the Smith-Eagle picks him up with his lightning-fast talons and caries him into the sky. As the cowering crowd looks up at the sky in confusion, bloody Ian-chunks start falling to the ground.


Matt, if you read this, I agree with most points you make and like your writing, I meant this as a joke.
 

VedranS

Senior Member
I guess I'll attempt to contribute something of substance...

There are those who would say that you can't seperate feel and technique. Everything involved in drumming, including "feel" is technical. That is, everything can be broken down to technical specifics. This means that through technique, "feel" can be and is learned. These would be things like solid meter and subdivisions, internal dynamics, whether something is "behind" or "ahead" of the beat, and other nuances that are generally interpreted as "feel". There are also other aspects of "feel" that can be, like everything else musical, broken down to technical details, such as making the correct musical choices given a particular musical context. I believe this is along the lines of an argument that Matt Smith would make, along with social commentary on forum trends. I agree on most points. (feel free to correct me, I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, in fact I would welcome your actual thoughts)

However, I would contend that there is such a thing as "feel" both from the performer's and listener's perspective, that is not technical in the traditional sense, unless we break it down to the technical workings of one's brain chemistry. What I'm talking about is creative, artistic choices. These are a thing of emotion, of motivation, something abstract and too complex and individual to be broken down to its component parts. We can teach someone to make the right choices in a style, but have you thought about what motivated the original player who made that very first stylistic choice? Why did he do it? I don't mean the why of "how to" which could be answered with "because that lick gets played in that place in a funk song". I mean "why" as in what was that person's original motivation, why did they make that particular aesthetic, musical, emotional choice to convey and express what was in their hearts? That type of feel I believe to be quite seperated from technique.
Maybe this'll get some kind of ball rolling if it makes sense...
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
I interpret - Feel - as an human emotion, sensation that channels you into the music flow, drums, to play instead of overcome.

Technique - a group of skills, methods, cleverness to be applied into music, drums.

In my opinion, both (Feel & Technique) are important, but it seems to me that - Feel - has an advantage and pleasant tasting to the listeners and players. Besides, Technique can be learnt and taught, is it the same for Feel? I am interesting to know.

Can you share your thoughts, comments?

Many Thanks,
I agree, feel is somewhat more important of the two. I have heard technically demanding music superbly executed that lacked any excitement or interest. And I have heard simple, crudely rendered music that is very moving.

The stuff that really blows me away, however, combines great feel and great technique.

Development of technique and feel both require practice. To really develop good feel, I believe it is important to play with others, so that you know what it is like to create a song amongst yourselves, shape it and give it life with the vocabularies of technique and feel.
 
If anyone would like to try to follow me, I'll try to convey here the image that entered my mind as I read Ian's post. This is not meant to be serious, so I hope I don't offend anyone.

We're in Drummerworld, a large town square and gathering place in the city called Music. Drummers are milling about and conversing on a beautiful day, when Ian asks his question: "What's more important, technique or feel?"

Upon hearing the question, several old-timers suddenly stop dead in their tracks. A hush falls upon the crowd as their anticipation is noticed by the general public. The nervous silence is broken by the shrieking of a large bird of prey coming from the sky. As the crowd scatters to find shelter, a huge creature eclipses the sun, and descends upon the town square with unbelievable, superhuman speed. As it gets closer, the raptor can be seen to be Matt Smith in the form of a gigantic eagle.

Swooping in on the unsuspecting Ian Williams, the Smith-Eagle picks him up with his lightning-fast talons and caries him into the sky. As the cowering crowd looks up at the sky in confusion, bloody Ian-chunks start falling to the ground.


Matt, if you read this, I agree with most points you make and like your writing, I meant this as a joke.
You must be the new version of Jim Morrison, the electric poet...an strong candidate to write a book, just a joke!
 

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
Technique is the mechanical aspect that allows the drummer to move the sticks and pedals in an efficient manner.

Feel is the lope that the drummer puts on the groove.

Drummers like Phil Rudd, Charlie Watts, et. al. have great feel, but lack the technique of a drummer like Thomas Lang.

That said, I'll take feel over technique any day.

YMMV
 
I agree, feel is somewhat more important of the two. I have heard technically demanding music superbly executed that lacked any excitement or interest. And I have heard simple, crudely rendered music that is very moving.

The stuff that really blows me away, however, combines great feel and great technique.

Development of technique and feel both require practice. To really develop good feel, I believe it is important to play with others, so that you know what it is like to create a song amongst yourselves, shape it and give it life with the vocabularies of technique and feel.
Very interesting feedback. Most of the times, We focus only on bass drum and snare patterns, but no grace notes - ghost notes - magic fills/rolls, that makes the difference and brings up to surface, the technique and feel of the drummer.

Putting it in plain words, Technique comes from the (brain) while Feel comes from the (heart).

Cheers,
 
Technique is the mechanical aspect that allows the drummer to move the sticks and pedals in an efficient manner.

Feel is the lope that the drummer puts on the groove.

Drummers like Phil Rudd, Charlie Watts, et. al. have great feel, but lack the technique of a drummer like Thomas Lang.

That said, I'll take feel over technique any day.

YMMV
Very good input. Drummers such as Ian Paice, John Bonham, Bill Ward and Carmine Appice, do they have feel and technique?
 

aydee

Platinum Member
...

I agree Ian. Feel does comes from the heart and technique does from the head. But we express ourselves as a whole and so cannot separate the two, ever.

Even if one has bad technique/ no technique, that is then still your 'technique'. But if you have no heart ( nothing meaningful to say musically speaking), with all the technique at your command, you are doomed.

Having said this, I have never understood this 'either/or' debate.

If I was the drummer for the Rolling Stones for example and derived all the musical joy I ever needed from playing straight up simple rock beats all my life, as a drummer I'd still be curious about what was possible on my instrument. That would always be my pursuit.. i.e to know everything I could learn about playing the drums. And that pursuit in itself would make my simple rock beat sound better and more soulful.

On the flip side, for example, there is absolutely nothing "The Technical Grandmiester" Thomas Lang can say musically that I'd care to listen to, except to say " see what I can do?"

'tis a zen thing, my friend.

...

If anyone would like to try to follow me, I'll try to convey here the image that entered my mind .
......hilarious!!!! : )


...
 
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zzdrummer

Senior Member
I feel like technique is just a way to better portray your "feel". For example, anyone can sit at a drumset and play, but technique obtained through practice lets them portray it much better. I would want to listen to what Jabo feels more than I would want to listen to what my 5 year old cousin plays when I let her play my drums. However, if you just spit out technique without any emotion, or "feel", I find it not as interesting to listen to, which is why I'm not such a fan of music I find all about techinque.

There is a great quote in The Art of Bob Drumming from Max Roach, saying something along the lines of that percussionists (and other instruments) run the risk of becoming unhuman because they do not need to stop to take a breath, like woodwind instruments, brass, ect. This is what happens when technique is used without feel, and I personally don't care if you can play odd time signatures and a bunch of cool licks if it is devoid of emotion, "feel", and does not sound good. Sure, it may be interesting, but I'll take music you just wanna hop up and dance to any day.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Very interesting feedback. Most of the times, We focus only on bass drum and snare patterns, but no grace notes - ghost notes - magic fills/rolls, that makes the difference and brings up to surface, the technique and feel of the drummer.

Putting it in plain words, Technique comes from the (brain) while Feel comes from the (heart).

Cheers,
I think that's a good way to put it, technique coming from the brain, feel from the heart.

Technique is also like the vocabulary and feel is the content. You could have great things to say, but if you don't know the words or how to put sentences and stories together, you won't be able to express yourself or say what is really in your heart, or people might even misunderstand you. Or. you could have a great vocabulary, but nothing to say of any value that anyone wants to hear. Even if you have something interesting to say, you could throw in lots of big words to impress people and lose them.
 

Clayton_C

Senior Member
Technique is the difference between Jackson Pollock and Van Gogh. They approach things in completely different ways, have different feels, different people like their work, but they were are both artistically genius and excellent artists that led to progressivism within their art form, the highest goal an artist can seek to achieve.
 

rmandelbaum

Platinum Member
I personally feel that learning the mechanics of good technique enables the abilty to play with feel with far less limitations.

If your technique allows you to play things you would not be able to other wise you have a greater abilty to play what you feel and play it with feeling because you are not distracted by limitations in your technique.

My 2 cents anyway
 

criz p. critter

Silver Member
There are as many answers to this question as there are drummers on the forum. I agree with aydee that the two can't be separated. Every drummer is going to have a different mix of the two.

I don't see how you could ever have a pure case of "one or the other". A purely "technical" player would be so dry and boring no one would want to listen to him/her. And the purest possible "feel" player would still possess some kind of technique.

If it was possible to have a pure case, though, I wouldn't hesitate to pick feel.

The great thing is, you don't have to settle on one approach to the question: you can keep changing it up over the years, taking different approaches. Master the technique, then throw it away. Or vice versa.

And aydee: I'd say it's more a tao thing, myself...
 

king fail

Senior Member
If anyone would like to try to follow me, I'll try to convey here the image that entered my mind as I read Ian's post. This is not meant to be serious, so I hope I don't offend anyone.

We're in Drummerworld, a large town square and gathering place in the city called Music. Drummers are milling about and conversing on a beautiful day, when Ian asks his question: "What's more important, technique or feel?"

Upon hearing the question, several old-timers suddenly stop dead in their tracks. A hush falls upon the crowd as their anticipation is noticed by the general public. The nervous silence is broken by the shrieking of a large bird of prey coming from the sky. As the crowd scatters to find shelter, a huge creature eclipses the sun, and descends upon the town square with unbelievable, superhuman speed. As it gets closer, the raptor can be seen to be Matt Smith in the form of a gigantic eagle.

Swooping in on the unsuspecting Ian Williams, the Smith-Eagle picks him up with his lightning-fast talons and caries him into the sky. As the cowering crowd looks up at the sky in confusion, bloody Ian-chunks start falling to the ground.


Matt, if you read this, I agree with most points you make and like your writing, I meant this as a joke.
That has got to be the funniest thing I've read all year.



:')
 

dale w miller

Silver Member
Technique is the mechanical aspect that allows the drummer to move the sticks and pedals in an efficient manner.

Feel is the lope that the drummer puts on the groove.

Drummers like Phil Rudd, Charlie Watts, et. al. have great feel, but lack the technique of a drummer like Thomas Lang.

That said, I'll take feel over technique any day.

YMMV
That I am not sure of. I believe they have plenty of technique. They have just chosen to use their years of developing their technique towards feel & musicality instead of athletics, speed & independence on the drums.
 
M

Mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
It's not a case of either/or. What matters is that you treat technique as a means to an end.
 

zafrothunder

Senior Member
you cant have one without the other.

if you have "feel" but suck, then you're a sucky drummer.

if you have "technique" but lack any feel, flow, or groove, then you're a boring drummer
 

Average

Senior Member
Technique is the difference between Jackson Pollock and Van Gogh. They approach things in completely different ways, have different feels, different people like their work, but they were are both artistically genius and excellent artists that led to progressivism within their art form, the highest goal an artist can seek to achieve.
This is the perfect example to use. I remember once on Howard Stern, Robin claimed to be "moved" by Jackson Pollock's work. She went on for like 10 minutes about what a genius you would have to be to paint like that. Howard then said that any idiot with some paint and a brush could make a Jackson Pollock painting. Needless to say a challenge ensued. Howard went out with a brush and some paint and painted a bunch of stupid slashes and splotches on a canvas. The paintings were lined up, a few actual Pollock paintings and Howard's painting. Guess which painting Robin picked as being the real Jackson Pollock painting? She said "this one moves me the most so it must be the real Pollock." It was Howards painting. Robin's response "you're a master painter."

WTF?

This discussion comes up OVER and OVER again for some reason. I think there are a lot of people out there who don't practice very much, or if they do, they don't practice smart and don't make any progress. So instead of taking a lesson or two, or putting in some real dedicated practice, they go out and invent a mushy concept called "feel". "Feel" can't be argued about because it means something different to everyone. So when the novice claims to be a good drummer because of his "feel", who can argue with him? This argument is about having status without doing the work. Period.

Steve Gadd has good "feel" because he is a technical master. All these guys who talk about playing ahead or behind or on the beat, I'd love to see them intentionally doing it without massive amounts of practice and live playing. Anyway this topic chases its tail around constantly.
 
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