Feel or Technique, importance?

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
I am not talking about general constructive criticism. I am talking about the desire for complete control. Where does that come from? If a song-writer feels need to tell someone exactly what to play, perhaps they are playing with the wrong person?
Some of the greatest music ever made came from a composer writing down the exact parts he wanted musicians to play, and giving them very little leeway in interpretation.
 
Re: Feel and Technique, importance?

Practice, what to practice, how to practice, these are things that are discussed in great detail on other threads here.
It is naturally assumed that all musicians practice their instruments.
This thread is about something other than practicing.
Hope that clears things up!
Good on you, thanks.
That was my previous point, some fellows brought in "practise" which is out of this context. Feel and Technique are the core subjects, as per my original post...take a look.
 
M

Mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
Re: Feel and Technique, importance?

Good on you, thanks.
That was my previous point, some fellows brought in "practise" which is out of this context. Feel and Technique are the core subjects, as per my original post...take a look.
Practice is a fundamental tool for technique. Technique is practice. What's the problem with a little scope in the discussion?
 

con struct

Platinum Member
Some of the greatest music ever made came from a composer writing down the exact parts he wanted musicians to play, and giving them very little leeway in interpretation.
Yes, exactly. But I get the impression that most of the people here are thinking in terms of a rock band setting where the music more of a collaborative effort. Any professional drummer, however, knows what it's like to get a sour look from a band leader/composer. "Hey drummer, what's that you're playing at bar 20 after the first ending? It doesn't say drum solo there, does it?" Oops...
 

Steamer

Platinum Member
Some of the greatest music ever made came from a composer writing down the exact parts he wanted musicians to play, and giving them very little leeway in interpretation.
Yes and on the other side of the coin some of the greatest music i've ever heard has also been created on the spot by individuals and ensembles being highly developed/intuitive and "compositional" in it's own way by nature depending on the process of music making at hand. No one size fits all and no black+white simple answer response in the bigger picture that makes up many forms of modern music.

Works both ways....
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Some bands encourage you to go for it but most just want drummers to stay well out of the way and only pop their head up at strategic moments.
Well said Polly...I've found this to be quite true. But I have to say I do agree with the approach. I think the more space the drums leave, the better things sound, generally speaking. Less is more strikes again.
 

Steamer

Platinum Member
Well said Polly...I've found this to be quite true. But I have to say I do agree with the approach. I think the more space the drums leave, the better things sound, generally speaking. Less is more strikes again.
Another generalization that doesn't apply to all forms of drumming and ensemble music.

One choice and style/type of approach doesn't fit all types of what makes up the much bigger world of creative music making...
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
Re: Feel and Technique, importance?

Good on you, thanks.
That was my previous point, some fellows brought in "practise" which is out of this context. Feel and Technique are the core subjects, as per my original post...take a look.
I'm a little confused here.

Not one person here has said "Technique is more important than feel".

It's fairly obvious that technique is a means to an end. The end being creative expression.

Means and ends are not of the same magnitude of importance, the end is always senior.

What Matt and I have argued is that those players whom we respect as having great "feel" are most often those with stellar technique.

Technique is improved through dedicated practice.

So the argument/discussion could logically evolve into a debate on the value of practice, i.e. "Does practicing technique improve one's feel?"

If not, then what are we discussing? It's painfully obvious that technique for technique's sake is not music. Please don't tell me that's all we can agree on.
 

dale w miller

Silver Member
Some of the greatest music ever made came from a composer writing down the exact parts he wanted musicians to play, and giving them very little leeway in interpretation.
Though there are some great ones be it Mozart or Prince let me give you some examples.

Who would the average person say has that IT quality to them?

The Beatles or Paul McCartney solo?

Led Zeppelin or Aerosmith?

The Police or Sting solo?

The latter in each comparison are examples of bands where the players have had stories told wanting complete control or in some cases footage shown of them doing just that. McCartney telling George how to play on Let it Be to the point where George is stating he won't play at all if Paul doesn't like what he does and at one point you even see Paul behind the kit. Aerosmith's case you see Tyler telling Kramer exactly what beats to play in the making of Pump as if playing drums for 20+ years by now he wouldn't know what to play to their songs. Don't even get me started on control freak Sting! Can you imagine anyone telling Bonham how to play? The guy was doing his own mic placements for sake of arguments.

I just think that when the right collaborations come together, they are stronger than any one person. Who knows that person better than that person themselves? How can they tell you how to express yourself artistically? Next thing you know they will be telling you how to dress.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I don't know Dale it seems to me to survive in this biz you have to be able to give people what they want. If a person can't be instructed to play something because they don't like to be told what to play there will be a hundred other guys who will.
The way I see it is give them what they want. If it's good, then you maybe ended up doing something you wouldn't have done yourself, a good thing, and you've been open minded. If it's bad, that's when you say, maybe try it this way.....
 
Re: Feel and Technique, importance?

Practice is a fundamental tool for technique. Technique is practice. What's the problem with a little scope in the discussion?
It is your personal opinion and I respect it, does not mean I fully agree with it. In fact, I do believe in practice as the key to achieve many things besides technique.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Yes and on the other side of the coin some of the greatest music i've ever heard has also been created on the spot by individuals and ensembles being highly developed/intuitive and "compositional" in it's own way by nature depending on the process of music making at hand. No one size fits all and no black+white simple answer response in the bigger picture that makes up many forms of modern music.

Works both ways....
Yes, I agree, and I didn't mean to imply otherwise. Some kinds of music can only be produced with a rigid written structure, with musicians exactly executing what they are told to do. And other kinds of music require a collaborative, intuitive process, with few or no advance dictate. Yet other kinds of music are somewhere in between.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Though there are some great ones be it Mozart or Prince let me give you some examples.

Who would the average person say has that IT quality to them?

The Beatles or Paul McCartney solo?

Led Zeppelin or Aerosmith?

The Police or Sting solo?

The latter in each comparison are examples of bands where the players have had stories told wanting complete control or in some cases footage shown of them doing just that. McCartney telling George how to play on Let it Be to the point where George is stating he won't play at all if Paul doesn't like what he does and at one point you even see Paul behind the kit. Aerosmith's case you see Tyler telling Kramer exactly what beats to play in the making of Pump as if playing drums for 20+ years by now he wouldn't know what to play to their songs. Don't even get me started on control freak Sting! Can you imagine anyone telling Bonham how to play? The guy was doing his own mic placements for sake of arguments.

I just think that when the right collaborations come together, they are stronger than any one person. Who knows that person better than that person themselves? How can they tell you how to express yourself artistically? Next thing you know they will be telling you how to dress.
HAHA! Well, in certain musical settings, you are in fact told how to dress! For those settings, dictating your dress, as well as what and how you play, is part of the style, genre and audience expectations. For symphonies and choirs, the power of dozens of instruments playing exactly in harmony is an undeniable part of their identity.
In certain settings, the composer, conductor and/or section leader do, in fact, tell you how to express yourself artistically. Your value as a musician isn't based on your ability to improvise, play with creative freedom or interpret what is put in front of you. You value is based on technical mastery of the instrument, your ability to capture and refine emotions, your ability to stay true to the intent of the composer, and your ability to play with other people with the exact same directions.

This is neither bad nor good, and it has its own set of possibilities and limitations. It's just one of the many ways people do music.
 
Re: Feel and Technique, importance?

I'm a little confused here.

Not one person here has said "Technique is more important than feel".

It's fairly obvious that technique is a means to an end. The end being creative expression.

Means and ends are not of the same magnitude of importance, the end is always senior.

What Matt and I have argued is that those players whom we respect as having great "feel" are most often those with stellar technique.

Technique is improved through dedicated practice.

So the argument/discussion could logically evolve into a debate on the value of practice, i.e. "Does practicing technique improve one's feel?"

If not, then what are we discussing? It's painfully obvious that technique for technique's sake is not music. Please don't tell me that's all we can agree on.
Jeff,

Don't get me wrong, maybe I didn't explained myself properly.

I think great drummers became great in feel and technique, because they have done their work right from the base, foundation (manage - practice the rudiments) and still do.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Re: Feel and Technique, importance?

I'm a little confused here.

Not one person here has said "Technique is more important than feel".

It's fairly obvious that technique is a means to an end. The end being creative expression.

Means and ends are not of the same magnitude of importance, the end is always senior.

What Matt and I have argued is that those players whom we respect as having great "feel" are most often those with stellar technique.

Technique is improved through dedicated practice.

So the argument/discussion could logically evolve into a debate on the value of practice, i.e. "Does practicing technique improve one's feel?"

If not, then what are we discussing? It's painfully obvious that technique for technique's sake is not music. Please don't tell me that's all we can agree on.
The problem is that the scope of what people see as technique is generally so narrow. Every semi-professional musician knows that the buzz word, FEEL as in, "I play by feel" means that I have never practiced, I get a groove going, it's my groove and if you don't like it there's something wrong with your groove. It is the way I play and the only way I play. And that way may be great. And you may find people who you really jive with. BUT

A professional has to learn to adapt and play with others well. What are you going to say when you're offered a $80, 000 tour with a bass player who doesn't have your feel? You are going to whine home to Mommy, "wahh, that's not my feel, I couldn't do it." You learn to adapt, You learn to play with people, You learn from them and you grow, and you find yourself more comfortable in more situations. That is the difference between a pro and an amateur.

If people think that talking about practice and techniques that some of the pro drummers have used like Bruford, Gadd, Steve Jordan, Moe Tucker Jerry Marotta and Phil Collins is not related to the topic, that is a big problem because it is about technique. Not technique to show that you can play six kick drums at once. But technique so you can get your groove on and lay something down that can inspire others to play and be something musically satisfying.

This has been said so many times, by so many famous drummers. Look at John Riley's work, it is all about using technique to meet the musical ends of the situation you find yourself. Add Stan's great quote by Louie Bellson and it's "no more calls we have a winner."
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I have to say I do agree with the approach. I think the more space the drums leave, the better things sound, generally speaking. Less is more strikes again.
Larry, on one level - the one that wants to enjoy the physical sensations of my pet lines - resents having to stay in my box until summoned. On another level, I agree that it's best (for me, as a sucky drummer) to leave space and pop up at times when the song calls for action. In a way I'm glad my natural gift for clumsiness forces me to be tasteful. I suspect that if I had the chops I'd make Famadou Don Moye look like Charlie Watts :)

No doubt we all know that Steamer was correct in saying that some forms of music require more from a drummer than accompaniment. Was it hard bop and acid rock that elevated drummers from being sidekicks to equal partners and/or leaders? Much of that music is instrumental and, again, we probably run into that jazz vs rock nexus which so often has people here running at cross purposes.

Obviously, when you have a singer with substantial lyrics then the drums either leave space or be way down in the mix. The illusion of space with clear, simple accents can be created by masters of subtle ghosting like God Gadd and co, but there is also a charm in simplicity. Is Edwardian ornateness better than art deco's clean lines? Each have its attraction and it depends on one's taste.

Ken, I see we share enjoyment of Bill B's work on Discipline - a vision imposed on him Robert Fripp. I'd guess that you would need great negotiation skills and put a strong to get the highy experienced, talented and hard-headed Mr B to do anything that he didn't want to do! Yes, riding the rotos was a great idea, not to mention the slit drum and electronic drums. Yet he still managed to slip in those big cymbal crashes in Discipline's refrain :)
 
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Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Yes and I am listening and he also used the octobons. They were big on that album. There's also Matte Kuddasai, the Bruford shuffle
 

elpol

Senior Member
Larry, on one level - the one that wants to enjoy the physical sensations of my pet lines - resents having to stay in my box until summoned. On another level, I agree that it's best (for me, as a sucky drummer) to leave space and pop up at times when the song calls for action. In a way I'm glad my natural gift for clumsiness forces me to be tasteful. I suspect that if I had the chops I'd make Famadou Don Moye look like Charlie Watts :)

No doubt we all know that Steamer was correct in saying that some forms of music require more from a drummer than accompaniment. Was it hard bop and acid rock that elevated drummers from being sidekicks to equal partners and/or leaders? Much of that music is instrumental and, again, we probably run into that jazz vs rock nexus which so often has people here running at cross purposes.

Obviously, when you have a singer with substantial lyrics then the drums either leave space or be way down in the mix. The illusion of space with clear, simple accents can be created by masters of subtle ghosting like God Gadd and co, but there is also a charm in simplicity. Is Edwardian ornateness better than art deco's clean lines? Each have its attraction and it depends on one's taste.

Ken, I see we share enjoyment of Bill B's work on Discipline - a vision imposed on him Robert Fripp. I'd guess that you would need great negotiation skills and put a strong to get the highy experienced, talented and hard-headed Mr B to do anything that he didn't want to do! Yes, riding the rotos was a great idea, not to mention the slit drum and electronic drums. Yet he still managed to slip in those big cymbal crashes in Discipline's refrain :)
I don't mean to hi-jack, however I don't agree with this. Bill Bruford is an an Artist and Musician first - It's a challenge and takes talent to realize the visions of others. just my opinion.

elliot
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
Re: Feel and Technique, importance?

I'm a little confused here.

Not one person here has said "Technique is more important than feel".

It's fairly obvious that technique is a means to an end. The end being creative expression.

Means and ends are not of the same magnitude of importance, the end is always senior.

What Matt and I have argued is that those players whom we respect as having great "feel" are most often those with stellar technique.

Technique is improved through dedicated practice.

So the argument/discussion could logically evolve into a debate on the value of practice, i.e. "Does practicing technique improve one's feel?"

If not, then what are we discussing? It's painfully obvious that technique for technique's sake is not music. Please don't tell me that's all we can agree on.
Exactly,

Ok cards on the table. Here's my take.

Both of these povs are essentially driven by 2 unwashed majorities of literalists. In all candor, neither group is actually represented on this thread, because both points of view require sincere thought that the majorities are unwilling to devote any kind of time to. Still we are all controlled by the following 2 cliques, and both deter a reasonable dialouge.

1. You have technique clowns who listen to Slipknot day and night,entirely wrapped up in trying to play as fast as possible. Most of these guys are young and inexperienced but in some cases they're dedicated metal guys who claim they have to have those skills to play their music. But most times it's a bunch of 13 year olds trying to play as fast as possible. And again we have already determined that few who do just that kind of playing make it far anyway, past the rare blast beat perfectionist who hooks on with an established metal band. And even then, most of those guys have a difficult time making regular money,

2. Then you have the feel holy men/women who were those want to play fast kids back in the day, until an older cooler person told them about feel and economy. When those original 13 year olds became older, they developed a series of catchphrases...the stuff you read on youtube like Being fastest doesn't mean best etc, etc, because they weren't actually thinkers or feelers anyway, but wanted to be seen as such, because they were afraid of what the cool guys would think of them. They also weren't so interested in learning to practice correctly, because those same cool guys told them that practice wasn't really necessary, which was often a lie anyway, because the cool guy wanted to be seen as something extra special, and the kid he was yapping all that foolishness to was just naive enough to buy it. Later that don't need to practice line turns into don't have time to practice. This kind of feel guy is the same one who falls over himself trying to get his hands on a copy of Effortless Mastery, not so much for the actual content, but to find those 2 or 3 sentences that would possibly validate an obvious laziness as a musician. These players are no more serious than the speed kids they make fun of, and their so called feel more often than is not poor time they claim is intentional. When the other side calls them on it, their reply is to say that the unwashed tech guys aren't sophisticated enough to understand the same feel they have never understood themselves. But their point of view will often register on the Internet because the Internet does love those catch phrases.

Again, I don't think either group has much of a shared identity with the posters on this thread. But we still get drawn in. And interestingly enough, even thinking introspective musicians gravitate to one of these groups over the other out of force of habit.

What makes it interesting on the Internet is the invisibility of the discussion. All groups of varying levels come to the same place in a way that would never happen in a face to face encounter of what are usually either like minds, or like intellect and/or development. This is especially true on a vehicle like Youtube. In other words the people like us and the unwashed majorities are all in the same closed space, and it's usually a mess. These kinds of arrangements also create more divisiveness than you would ever find in real life.

Eventually everything reaches a head and stupid things can occur. For example, both sides of the unwashed majority showed up at the same time here exactly one year ago when I set the trad grip speed record. I have never seen such stupidity in my life. And it came from both sides. But here was the bottom line. Most from those groups simply couldn't play, as in the drums. They could not play. And yeah, for all the Internet attempts to level the playing field being able to play the instrument needs to account for something.

Sometimes I think it would be cool for some of us to actually come together in more of a face to face encounter. I wonder how that could be set up. But I doubt it would ever happen.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Heh, the Bruford shuffle :)

Elpol, sure, Bill's has been my favourite drummer for about 30 years. Still, he has very particular vision so I can't imagine him following Bob Fripp's without questioning them. I imagine that he would have liked the idea of the challenge but ...

In 81 I had a very clear idea of the way that Crimson should have sounded, but at the end of a year of touring, Bill and Adrian wanted to make changes. I asked Bill to use an electronic drum kit and to no longer hit the cymbals. As for Adrian, I asked him to modify his approach to the guitar...But at the end of a year, the cymbals had reappeared...Some people say Fripp is a dictator, but see, I've always made concessions, and in any case you can't tell musicians of that stature how they should play.​

Bill missed his cymbals! From an interview with Pat Mastelotto:

Robert is not crazy about cymbals or hi-hats, so for Vrooom I didn't use a hi-hat. I had a piece of wood stuck over where one would normally be placed. Robert had a conversation with Bill and me about not using a hi-hat. But Bill told him, "I went without my hi-hat for four years. I'm not doing it again." [laughs] So I said, "Well, I guess it will be me." I tried to coerce Robert out of this concept, but he asked, "Why do you need a hi-hat?" I said, "It's a traditional thing for drummers." "Well, Crimson doesn't need tradition."​



Hey Matt, you must know that's just the tall poppy syndrome. Put your head up and someone will kick it (not including anyone on this thread). I take it that the knockers you ran into assumed that all you did was play fast and didn't realise that you were honing your chops to improve your capacity to play music as opposed to just being a drumming acrobat (it was fun to watch the 1100 bpm vid BTW :)

Yes, as you say, Web 2.0 is messy and there's lots of nonsense masquerading as information that can mislead the unwary surfer, so everyone just has to sift through the junk for the good stuff. Those who can't pick the crocks get burned and hopefully come away a bit wiser.

I've caught up with people from another forum I visit and it was nice; I still do coffee with one of the guys. We live about 2kms apart ... in Sydney, Australia.
 
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