Originally Posted by caddywumpus
I've noticed that my personal perception of tempo is skewed when I'm playing. When I'm playing something blazingly fast, it seems a medium tempo to me, and I hear each note, feel each sticking, can meditate to the space between the notes, etc. However, when I listen back to a recording of the show, I think to myself, "Holy crap! Is it REALLY that fast? Man, we should slow that tune down a hair..." Same thing with slow tunes, but the oppositie direction. "I thought it was slower." My only possible explanation is that while pushing the notes to either side of the beat (playing ahead or behind the beat) it makes time either stretch or constrict in my own mind. If playing ahead of the beat, the perception is that there is a lot more time to get the next note in, due to the little bit of extra time from playing the beat early, and vice versa for laying it back. The time and feel are good, but the perception of tempo is skewed, and listening to recordings is like awakening from the Matrix...
There has to be some physiology/chemistry to this too I think.
For example when we are learning something that is faster than we can curently play, we train the muscles until they can cope. Eventually the muscles find this new speed easy and instead of having to concentrate each muscle movement, I think we feel the extra space, because we hit a point where we could actually activate the muscles for another note in between.
Add to this the adrenaline ie chemistry during gigs and I'm sure there is something too this.
However i am neither a physiologist or a chemist!