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  #81  
Old 06-03-2009, 07:25 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Originally Posted by Deltadrummer View Post
That's the point exactly. I did some minor studio work many years ago, and I found the limitations of my technique quite a struggle. When you listen back it is not what you thought it would be because the mic picks up everything, the nuance or lack there of. Never mind the ability to do what you want to do. It's frustrating to be able to hear it but not be able to execute with the same ease and musicality that is going on in your head. Although I had studied a lot and had what I considered good technique, I didn't have the technical training necessary to really excel in the studio. It was a bad experience for me as a young drummer. Had I been more prepared, my story may have been a lot more positive.

Technique allows you to relax and that is a big part of it. I remember when I first played Home at Last with a band. There was those triplet figures on the bass drum. There was a certain place where I wanted those bass drum notes to land, and it was not easy getting that feel, getting them to land where I wanted them to land. It is splitting hairs because it is either in the pocket of it's not and the difference is minuscule. But when I got it to fit in, the pocket was so much deeper; it took it to a new level of expression.

You can talk about Rosanna as well, and the great feel; but the technique that it takes to drive the feel out of the groove is staggering, and Jeff Porcaro was one dude who certainly had it.
Porcaro was amazing. You can watch him play a groove unaccompanied and it still sounds great.

Studio work or just recording your playing with a band is a real eye opener for drummers.
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  #82  
Old 06-03-2009, 07:45 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

John Riley here:

This is an interesting discussion.

It seems to me that, on any given Saturday night, there are more grooving drummers working while all the technique guys are sitting home practicing.

The refinement of one's technique can improve one's groove. It's important to realize that the groovers always play within their limitations, while the technique guys are occasionally out to "prove" something...

Best,

John
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  #83  
Old 06-03-2009, 09:07 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

John,

I was talking to this guy the other day about your Dizzy Gillespie story, he had gone to UT Austin. He interjected that he noticed that your set ups were the best he had ever heard. Upon hearing the live CD Monday Night at the Village Vanguard, that was the one of the first things that really struck me how good your set ups are. It's something every drummer needs to do regardless of what they play.How do you do those great set ups? Is it just the wisdom of experience? ( Is it a feel vs. technique thing. :) )
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Last edited by Deltadrummer; 06-03-2009 at 09:19 PM.
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  #84  
Old 06-03-2009, 10:02 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Originally Posted by John Riley View Post
John Riley here:

This is an interesting discussion.

It seems to me that, on any given Saturday night, there are more grooving drummers working while all the technique guys are sitting home practicing.

The refinement of one's technique can improve one's groove. It's important to realize that the groovers always play within their limitations, while the technique guys are occasionally out to "prove" something...

Best,

John
Didn't realize technique and groove were mutually exclusive. Thanks for clearing that up.

Groovers always play within their limitations? Considering the number of "feel" drummers I've met that really get their feeling on after a bowl, you're damn straight about playing within their limitations.

All those years of marching wasted because the goal wasn't to be in some bar feeling a groove on a Saturday night? Shear Genius from a Pro Drummer? I can't even begin to imagine how many drummers you just took a dump on.
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  #85  
Old 06-03-2009, 11:03 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Didn't realize technique and groove were mutually exclusive. Thanks for clearing that up.

Groovers always play within their limitations? Considering the number of "feel" drummers I've met that really get their feeling on after a bowl, you're damn straight about playing within their limitations.

All those years of marching wasted because the goal wasn't to be in some bar feeling a groove on a Saturday night? Shear Genius from a Pro Drummer? I can't even begin to imagine how many drummers you just took a dump on.
A little respect for the finest big band drummer in the business would seem to be called for here. Let me apologise for donv, Mr. Riley.
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  #86  
Old 06-04-2009, 12:31 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

I thought John's post was very insightful. I don't think he dumped on anyone, he was just stating things as he see's them. I would tend to agree with him on all points as well. I know many drummers whose first priority is to in effect say "look at me" instead of seeing the bigger picture....making the music feel the best you can.
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  #87  
Old 06-04-2009, 01:12 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Originally Posted by VedranS View Post
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...
I am going to move out of context (I usually read a whole post before I chime in). I was thinking this very thing last night as to why a particular artist made their original choices in forming their original piece and how it relates to the music at hand and that truly is something that is the inner workings of feel that is too complex to truly handle, but that original "feel" if you will was then brought forth into their technique which gives us much of the wonderful drumming that we know today. I believe that if we are not feeling our musicality then out technique is purely sterile and moves no one as music should...it is a movement after all that must involve the emotional ebbs and tides of the individual as they relate that piece of music on their instrument. To me both go hand in hand otherwise the movement is rather bland (technique alone) or too sugar (feeling alone). It makes sense to me anyway and what you said VerdranS is right along the lines of my thoughts last night.
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  #88  
Old 06-04-2009, 02:02 AM
donv donv is offline
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
I thought John's post was very insightful. I don't think he dumped on anyone, he was just stating things as he see's them. I would tend to agree with him on all points as well. I know many drummers whose first priority is to in effect say "look at me" instead of seeing the bigger picture....making the music feel the best you can.
Whoever wants to kiss his backside is free to do so.

Think about what he wrote:

all the technique guys are sitting home practicing.

Using the word "all" doesn't leave room for subjecttive or objective thought. All is all. He's also wrong.

groovers always play within their limitations,

Always? Feel free to rationalize "always" all you want, he's wrong.

while the technique guys are occasionally out to "prove" something

Well amen brother, he's finally got something right. Most, not all, of the technique players I know are out to "prove" they can play the score in front of them. There is no improvising or making crap up as you go.

Of course I guess you have to be a "Real" drummer to catch his mieaning. Does it really elude you how many world class drummers and percussionists he dumped on? There is no hope those that are just aspiring.

I never expected such comments from someone of his stature. It's dissapointing, and I imagine upon reflection he might feel the same way.
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  #89  
Old 06-04-2009, 02:37 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

Maybe we could swap "all" for "a lot" and "always" for "a lot of the time"?

I think John's point was just that the musical decisions we make (as per Drumhead's post) can go a couple of ways ... we can either look for an excuse to throw in that cool new chop we worked out or we can think symphonically or groovily and just serve the song. I think most of us have made the mistake of doing the former at some stage or another. Mea culpa.

So I think John's talking about how getting too caught up with technique creates a risk where someone might want to use all that stuff they've learned rather than using the stick control they gained from their practice to just make music. There's also more risk when trying to show off that you'll stuff up. Some music really is mostly about the chops so the risky stuff is cool there, and the occasional stuff up when pushing the limits is just part of the deal. I guess it's a matter of finding the band that's the right fit. I've heard Dream Theatre, for example, play stuff that seems like it has no feel but a lot of people dig their complexity and chops. Horses for courses.

Last night I was thinking about how lazy I am with rudiments and never enjoyed practising them *ducking for cover* (don't hit me - I'm very sensitive!). So I end up with my own "rudiments" - the beats and licks I want to learn of stumble across - and I try to play them with groove, dynamics and sound that pleases my ear and occasionally checking with a metronome to make sure it's ok (especially with slow tempos). It's not the most efficient approach in terms of the destination but it's a fun journey all the way if you're always playing things you enjoy hearing.

Warning: Kids, don't try this at home or you might end up like me, crunching statistics by day and drumming by night :)

Last edited by Pollyanna; 06-04-2009 at 08:49 AM.
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  #90  
Old 06-04-2009, 03:13 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Whoever wants to kiss his backside is free to do so.
How about just a modicum of respect for a drummer whose technique, reputation and achievements far outweigh anything you'll ever be likely to realize?
You've got a lot to learn brother. You can start by working on your attitude.
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  #91  
Old 06-04-2009, 03:21 AM
donv donv is offline
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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How about just a modicum of respect for a drummer whose technique, reputation and achievements far outweigh anything you'll ever be likely to realize?
You've got a lot to learn brother. You can start by working on your attitude.

NOT!

I can see you're all about feeling because you can't be you can't be honestly evaluating whats been written, by whom and with critical thinking. I'm amused though. "Look what this man can do! Look at what this man has done! He can't be wrong because he's. . . "

lol
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  #92  
Old 06-04-2009, 03:27 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

Hey Donv we all have opinions, yours is just as valid as anyone elses. The fact that Mr. Riley is a pro didn't influence my post, I would have agreed with that statement no matter who made it. Also don't you think it is totally hypocritical of you to dump on me by implying that I was kissing his duff? You accuse John for dumping on others by stating his opinion, but it's OK for you to dump on me for stating my opinions? You sir "took a dump" right on ME.

While I don't think he literally meant ALL the technique guys are sitting home, I'm pretty sure that the message he was trying to convey was that the grooving drummers are the ones that other musicians are most comfortable with and therefore are more likely to get hired. Couldn't agree more.
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  #93  
Old 06-04-2009, 04:06 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Hey Donv we all have opinions, yours is just as valid as anyone elses. The fact that Mr. Riley is a pro didn't influence my post, I would have agreed with that statement no matter who made it. Also don't you think it is totally hypocritical of you to dump on me by implying that I was kissing his duff? You accuse John for dumping on others by stating his opinion, but it's OK for you to dump on me for stating my opinions? You sir "took a dump" right on ME.

While I don't think he literally meant ALL the technique guys are sitting home, I'm pretty sure that the message he was trying to convey was that the grooving drummers are the ones that other musicians are most comfortable with and therefore are more likely to get hired. Couldn't agree more.
Larry,

I was thinking enough is enough. This isn't going anywhere and responding is fanning flames rather then creating a discussion. Then you post this! You are absolutely right and I do apologize. I had meant to "Quote" Con Struct and his comments and then apologizing for me to Riley. Your comment was balanced and level headed and I regret the error.

I do understand how most agree with John. I'm confident though that if some people here spent some time marching, spent some time with a symphony or orchestra or most importantly, spent some time keeping time at the direction of someone else there would be a new level of appreciation for what "technique" encompasses. There is no improv, there is no changing tempo because that's what's you're groovin. There is a lot of room for style though which would be a very different, but maybe relevant discussion.

Again, my apologies.

Last edited by donv; 06-04-2009 at 05:29 AM.
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  #94  
Old 06-04-2009, 04:29 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

I guess, in summary, part of the game is in our hands and part of it is in our heads.

Some drummers have great hands and feet but don't entirely connect with the songs because they are doing their own thing.

Some drummers have weak hands and feet but their ideas would sound great if only they could execute cleanly.

Most of us are probably somewhere inbetween.
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  #95  
Old 06-04-2009, 06:48 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Originally Posted by donv View Post
NOT!

I can see you're all about feeling because you can't be you can't be honestly evaluating whats been written, by whom and with critical thinking. I'm amused though. "Look what this man can do! Look at what this man has done! He can't be wrong because he's. . . "

lol
Oh boy. What I'm about is respecting and learning from drummers who have something to show me.
You're going to go far in this business, I can see that.
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  #96  
Old 06-04-2009, 07:14 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Originally Posted by John Riley View Post
John Riley here:

This is an interesting discussion.

It seems to me that, on any given Saturday night, there are more grooving drummers working while all the technique guys are sitting home practicing.

The refinement of one's technique can improve one's groove. It's important to realize that the groovers always play within their limitations, while the technique guys are occasionally out to "prove" something...

Best,

John
John, I have immense respect for your talent and teaching skills and thanks for coming to share your perspective with us. I was practicing out of The Art of Bop drumming earlier tonight. I agree, refining technique can improve one's groove.

I apologize that others here treat you rudely.
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  #97  
Old 06-04-2009, 07:35 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Originally Posted by donv View Post
Whoever wants to kiss his backside is free to do so.

Think about what he wrote:

all the technique guys are sitting home practicing.

Using the word "all" doesn't leave room for subjecttive or objective thought. All is all. He's also wrong.

groovers always play within their limitations,

Always? Feel free to rationalize "always" all you want, he's wrong.

while the technique guys are occasionally out to "prove" something

Well amen brother, he's finally got something right. Most, not all, of the technique players I know are out to "prove" they can play the score in front of them. There is no improvising or making crap up as you go.

Of course I guess you have to be a "Real" drummer to catch his mieaning. Does it really elude you how many world class drummers and percussionists he dumped on? There is no hope those that are just aspiring.

I never expected such comments from someone of his stature. It's dissapointing, and I imagine upon reflection he might feel the same way.
This was very rude and disrespectful to someone who has a great amount of experience as a professional musician and educator who was simply trying to share his opinion. Youre coming off as a whiney little child in this situation and taking things just a little too personally. And Im almost certain we were talking about drumset musicians, so many of your points are invalid when you bring up marching and classical percussion (No one is bashing those arts either! Its just not what I believe this thread was originally about). ANd all youve done is picked on word choice and semantics when he was making a very valid point. I honestly dont appreciate the attitude you have and I dont think many people do, you come off as very combative and rude and I think you need to tone it down. Its a great thing that we have professionals like John here, maybe you should be more appreciative of that and let your ego deflate a bit.
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  #98  
Old 06-04-2009, 08:19 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

Give Don a break man. So he's a little disrespectful. Mr. Riley can take it. He teaches and works in NYC. We're tough here in NY. You don't get to be where he is without letting a little slide. If he has to take a little grief, it will really make him feel like one of the guys.

In all honesty, I and others have put forth quite a lot of amount of work over the last week to get this point across and put up with grief as well. Don has really taken this issue to heart and really been open to thinking about it and growing with it in several conversations here on the board. Bless him for that.

And the whole idea was just to think about it. After people agreed with me, I was actually going to say "Yeah, but truthfully most music is really just about feel." So that's really what John did. I don't think John appreciates my Romantic ideals anyway. I've never been very pragmatic.
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  #99  
Old 06-04-2009, 08:20 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

...

I for one am extremely grateful to John for being here.

Most of the pros here on DW have their own threads where you can ask them questions which they answer, but John goes beyond that.

For a musician of John's calibre and history to be freely sharing his views & opinions on many threads & topics here,is a huge bonus for me.

When John says the groovers are working more than the techies, its really not that difficult a concept to grasp, specially when it comes from a guy who has played with Woody Herman, Stan Getz, Milt Jackson, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, John Scofield, Bob Mintzer, Gary Peacock, Mike Stern, Joe Lovano, John Patitucci, Bob Berg, to name a few.

He is stating a fact not an opinion.

Also when the same guy also has studied with Morello and written a couple of definitive and timeless texts on drumming technique himself, he has all the back up he ever needs to represent both ends of the spectrum. If indeed there are two ends.

I understand the internet forums are a platform for winning debating points as well but lets draw the line somewhere, folks.

Disrespecting John Riley, is to disrespect your own love of drumming.

...

PS- Kenny, you're perpetuating our myth, bud!

Last edited by aydee; 06-04-2009 at 08:54 AM.
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  #100  
Old 06-04-2009, 09:43 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

I don't know what myth I am perpetuating and who the our is that I am not a part of. I am glad you consider yourself part of the our. All I wanted to do was get to a point where you could talk about technique AND feel. Where you could have another way to think about this without someone always saying it's all about feel man. That took a lot of work because I had some one saying "everything is relative" or "music is about the heart." :)

I don't like to see everybody gang up on some kid because he was disrespectful. I was the first poster after Don's post and it read something like "Hey dude, it's okay to disagree but you need to respect John and the pro drummers that post here." Plus a lot of accolades about the great work John has done. Simple and sweet. I didn't need to tell him that he will never amount to anything. I didn't post it though. I just wanted John to answer my question and maybe we could have moved on without getting all hung up on it. But that didn't happen.
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  #101  
Old 06-04-2009, 09:59 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

Some, most even think I'm rude. Fine. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. I think I responded appropriately and the escalating wasn't due to me.

To the subject, don't confuse feelings with emotions. They arre not the same.

You can see how Bonham felt a triplet groove when riding a cymbal. You can see it even if he was just playing the cymbal on the downbeat. More then likely we can all do the same thing with our own technique.

Watch a video of "The Mule" sometime with the sound off when Paice is doing his snare\cymbal roll pattern. You can see and feel the groove to the entire song. Again, more then likely most have the technique to play the groove.

Pick some Tony Williams. Your choice. Really doesn't matter. I can see and feel the groove. 5 to 7 minutes of blazing cymbal work with mind bending polyrthyms underneath it. I can even imagine myself playing the same thing. The reality is, I can't play it. I doubt there's a handful of drummers here that can play it. I know there are a lot here that can feel it. They can't play it because they\we lack the technique.

Bonham had great technique for nailing the downbeat and playing off of it.

Paice was an expert with his accenting technique to what might otherwise be standard or routine. He just added a whole new depth to the heavy rock groove.

Groove is technique. If groove was feeling, then most or many here could lay down a good part of Williams work, but that's not the reality. Technique doesn't improve groove. Groove exists from learning technique so the feel becomes second nature. If you have a hard time with this, there's plenty of Tony Williams on the net. Do you have the technique to play what he's playing and keep up with him? If you can't, and I can't for all too much of his work, then his grooves aren't part of your repitoire regardless of what you feel.

The best to all of you.

Ken, lol, I wish but thanks just the same. 18 years of carrying sticks put down for over 600 jumps until the last one. 53 next month.

Last edited by donv; 06-04-2009 at 10:09 AM.
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  #102  
Old 06-04-2009, 10:40 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

At one point you said something like, all those years of marching so I thought you had done the ropes at football games like we do in HS and you were looking to do something with it.

Anyway, you shouldn't disrespect John Riley. If you wanted to disagree you could have worded it differently. I am one for disagreeing and then coming around and actually learning from the situation. But I thought you were sticking up for the idea and what we had been discussing, I couldn't chide you for that.

Ultimately these internet chats become about vengeance rather than the discussion at hand and you're right. You are not to blame for that. I just let it go. I figured the mods would delete it. Who cares what you think about what John Riley said anyway. I work at his books everyday and they are so beat up from use. What I've learned from them is like a pebble in a rock garden. But I have my whole life still ahead of me. My doctor said I should live to be 100.

I understand where you're coming from. Many of the the guys I play with are in their fifties and they do the day grind, but there good players and "musicians" who just do something else for a living because they don't want to spend there life playing Bon Jovi or Play that Funky Music. It's a hard way to try to make a living and there are a lot of great players out there who just don't do it through music.

Ultimately, though, you do need to be pragmatic, as John was saying, if you want to work. And you need to play within the limitations of the music. So developing a lot of technique that you don't use may just be a waste of time.
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Last edited by Deltadrummer; 06-04-2009 at 10:50 AM.
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  #103  
Old 06-04-2009, 11:33 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

I dont feel as though there is anything wrong with having great technique, so many of the great drummers playing right now have astounding technique. I mean, just listen to Nasheet Waits or Jim Black, both have great technique and a great feel. I feel like some people venture into dangerous territories though when they begin to view themselves as technicians who specialize in a musical instrument instead of musicians. It happens on every instrument, its not something that is exclusive to the drums. I do agree with Donv that a great feel comes with a lot of practice, but a lot of technique isnt gonna give you a good feel. Working on your feel is what gives you a great feel. There are some things that are just not explainable through paradiddles and metronome markings. Listen to Billy Higgins for instance, he never plays half the stuff that Tony pulls off, but he feels sooooo good. And his ride cymbal feel is almost inexplainable, its not something that comes from having incredible hands that can play 1500 single strokes a minute, it comes from working on that feel and making the music feel good. I suppose learning to play the ride cymbal is your technique, but I guess Im saying that in terms of just being able to fly around a drumset, its not neccessarily pre-requisite to having a good feel.
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  #104  
Old 06-04-2009, 11:45 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Originally Posted by Deltadrummer View Post
Give Don a break man. So he's a little disrespectful. Mr. Riley can take it. He teaches and works in NYC. We're tough here in NY. You don't get to be where he is without letting a little slide. If he has to take a little grief, it will really make him feel like one of the guys.
I go to school in NJ so Ive been to NYC my fair share of times and yeah the people are tough, maybe tooooo tough sometimes...
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Pick some Tony Williams. Your choice. Really doesn't matter. I can see and feel the groove. 5 to 7 minutes of blazing cymbal work with mind bending polyrthyms underneath it. I can even imagine myself playing the same thing. The reality is, I can't play it. I doubt there's a handful of drummers here that can play it. I know there are a lot here that can feel it. They can't play it because they\we lack the technique.
....
Groove is technique. If groove was feeling, then most or many here could lay down a good part of Williams work, but that's not the reality. Technique doesn't improve groove. Groove exists from learning technique so the feel becomes second nature. If you have a hard time with this, there's plenty of Tony Williams on the net. Do you have the technique to play what he's playing and keep up with him? If you can't, and I can't for all too much of his work, then his grooves aren't part of your repitoire regardless of what you feel.
Buh buh buh BINGO! Practice --> good technique --> good feel. How many tens of thousands of hours has John Riley spent practicing and learning technique to be one of the premiere drummers in the world? Can it even be argued that Riley is a 'feel drummer' with no technique?

What bothers me about this whole debate is that some people argue that good technique has nothing to do with good feel. You simply cannot have good feel without the requisite good technique to execute the feel.

Getting back to the gist of Riley's post -the guys who have a lot of technique but blast away on every song regardless of what is required will not work as much. That is a confidence issue. If you are confident in your own playing you won't feel the need to muddy up a slow blues tune with 32nd note ghost notes everywhere and 32nd note blasts on the bass drum in inappropriate places. If you are confident in your playing, you won't feel the need to play at your maximum to impress everyone all the time.

Look at some of the busiest drummers out there. Gadd, when playing with Clapton, just lays down a great groove. Gadd has chops that he doesn't use 10% of. He could solo his butt off if he wanted to. Likewise with Carter Beauford. Most of the time he lays back and puts down awesome grooves. He can solo his butt off, despite what he may have said in 'Under the Table and Drumming.' Don't believe me - check here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOatIrazULw
Look at Porcaro's work, Jordan's work or any of these other greats. I would argue that they have great feel because they also have great technique. They have enough confidence in their own playing to play what is appropriate to the song and not overdo it.

Bottom line is this. If you are trying to get some false status by claiming that you have 'feel', without putting in the practice needed, you won't be successful.
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Old 06-04-2009, 10:43 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

A couple of points.

No one said that technique isn't important. No one said not to develop technique, Some of us are simply stating that the feel that you lay down is more important than the technique one would use to lay it down. If you can't play the groove than it really won't matter anyway.

The Stevie Wonder album with the track Superstition. I forget the name of the album, but Stevie played drums. Greg Bissonette auditioned for Stevie once and Stevie played drums for Greg during the audition. Greg stated that Stevie didn't use a recognizable grip or fulcrum. I think it's safe to say he didn't use Moller, free stroke, constant release. or whatever.

Stevie layed down some amazing grooves on that record without the benifit of years of technical study. Still a timeless recording.

YMMV
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:17 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

Wow, it seems really difficult around here to try to put forth an idea and have people actually consider that idea, instead of having them respond to something that they mistakenly think is being implied.

Ok, I'm trying to say that technique and feel are separate, right? No, I don't think technique is not important, I'm not saying that you could play like Tony with "feel alone", I'm not trying to argue against building one's vocabulary and technical facility.

I'm just saying that technique itself doesn't make one a great creative musician. I'm not saying that you can be great on "feel" alone, without technique. But I am saying that beyond technique, there is something that is required for someone to be a great musician, or any type of artist. This is what I mean by "feel", though that may not be the best term to use as it seems that people have a lot of opinions and emotions attached to that word. There's something, an original motivation, a sort of creativity, a kind of expressive and empathetic understanding that causes someone to make a musical, aesthetic choice which ends up resonating with people. It's this IDEA that I'm talking about. Again, not the how-to of execution, but of creation.

I'm not talking about the mechanic's reading of a score, I'm again talking about creativity. When I say feel, i don't mean "how far behind the beat is this" or "what are the internal dynamics between his limbs". That's still technique to me. I'm saying that there's something separate, something that Thomas Lang doesn't have but that Tony had in spades, though they both had techincal facility. Tony, however had a creative spark, a "feel" for communication, for expression, for abstraction, for the sublime, for spiritual things, a fire inside that allowed him to use his technique to connect with his listeners, as opposed to some who are only able to use that technical facility to show that they have it.


Also, obviously the type of thing I'm talking about doesn't enter into marching or orchestral music. Those are mechanical things, not creative endeavors, so the only "feel" that can be talked about there is the technical "feel" of dynamics, tempo, and so on.
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:39 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Wow, it seems really difficult around here to try to put forth an idea and have people actually consider that idea, instead of having them respond to something that they mistakenly think is being implied.

Ok, I'm trying to say that technique and feel are separate, right? No, I don't think technique is not important, I'm not saying that you could play like Tony with "feel alone", I'm not trying to argue against building one's vocabulary and technical facility.

I'm just saying that technique itself doesn't make one a great creative musician. I'm not saying that you can be great on "feel" alone, without technique. But I am saying that beyond technique, there is something that is required for someone to be a great musician, or any type of artist. This is what I mean by "feel", though that may not be the best term to use as it seems that people have a lot of opinions and emotions attached to that word. There's something, an original motivation, a sort of creativity, a kind of expressive and empathetic understanding that causes someone to make a musical, aesthetic choice which ends up resonating with people. It's this IDEA that I'm talking about. Again, not the how-to of execution, but of creation.

I'm not talking about the mechanic's reading of a score, I'm again talking about creativity. When I say feel, i don't mean "how far behind the beat is this" or "what are the internal dynamics between his limbs". That's still technique to me. I'm saying that there's something separate, something that Thomas Lang doesn't have but that Tony had in spades, though they both had techincal facility. Tony, however had a creative spark, a "feel" for communication, for expression, for abstraction, for the sublime, for spiritual things, a fire inside that allowed him to use his technique to connect with his listeners, as opposed to some who are only able to use that technical facility to show that they have it.


Also, obviously the type of thing I'm talking about doesn't enter into marching or orchestral music. Those are mechanical things, not creative endeavors, so the only "feel" that can be talked about there is the technical "feel" of dynamics, tempo, and so on.
Awesome, awesome post. I agree 100%. I think the originally posed question is faulty. There is no dichotomy between technique and feel. To have feel you must have technique. I agree 100% that you can have technique without feel and youtube is rife with examples. Thank you for posting.

Last edited by Average; 06-05-2009 at 12:41 AM. Reason: his post was really really good.
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:55 AM
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Default Re: Feel and Technique, importance?

The scope of the original post: is to share the knowledge among us - drummers.
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Old 06-05-2009, 01:39 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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What bothers me about this whole debate is that some people argue that good technique has nothing to do with good feel. You simply cannot have good feel without the requisite good technique to execute the feel.
Agreed. That's why these related thread topics come up over and over and over again. "Let's pretend two interrelated concepts vital to good music are separate and apart, then have the same discussions and come to the same conclusions that we always do."

Enterprise vs. Death Star.
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  #111  
Old 06-05-2009, 05:08 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

I think I'm making a different argument here than most are, or maybe my definitions are out of whack with everyone else's, but I'm going to attempt one more time to articulate what I'm trying to say.

People are making the argument that technique and feel are interrelated, inseparable. I can agree on this under certain conditions, with a very specific definition for "feel". "Feel" then would refer to certain technical nuances that allow one to play a specific drum part and have it sound good. Examples of this "feel" would be how does the volume of the ghost notes relate to the volume of accents, or to the bass drum, or their sense of subdivision, if there's a degree of swing to the playing, the overall meter, basically more subtle technical matters. I understand that these aspects of "feel" are technical in nature and cannot be separated from the drummer's technique.

When I speak of "feel" however, I'm using a very literal interpretation of the word, probably one that most people reading here don't share. When I say feel, I mean the perceived "feeling" or emotion carried by a piece of music from the performer to the listener. This feeling doesn't have to be something as simplistic as "happiness" or "sadness". There are feelings that can be communicated through music, such as kinesthetic experiences of "vertigo" or the feeling of "pressure" and other more abstract "feels". In fact, the way I see it, the primary function and asset of music is that it can communicate matters of feeling and emotion in a way that spoken language lacks, in an immediate way, almost like it's mimicking those feelings instead of just "communicating" them.

I believe that this kind of "feel" that I'm talking about is quite separate from what is traditionally known as "technique". The one arguing point I would make is the case of Thomas Lang. He has been honing his technique to an amazing degree for many years. I don't mean just the technique of complexity and of speed, but also the subtleties and nuances involved in technique. However, despite all this, his performances leave me absolutely cold. They have no "feel" to me, in that they don't communicate anything other than the fact that he can do all those things. I think this is because music is an emotional vehicle, that it is best used and finds its purpose in communicating feelings. I think Tommy simply doesn't have the depth of feeling, is lacking some abstract connection to his fellow human beings and to the core of human experience, to move me.

People are going to accuse me of reducing "feel" to some mystical, non-definable concept that can't be talked about. I'm simply saying that it (at least in the sense I mean) is SEPERATE from technique, and I used the example of Lang to argue the point, as he still seems to lack that elusive "feel" no matter his technique. I would hope if somebody responds that they would respond to that point in particular.

I think of music as art, I want artists to move me. Technique can only give you a better vocabulary, but one has to have something to communicate first, which is separate from the technique itself (like MFB said, it should be a means to an end). Personally, I'm not interested in technicians and mechanics and crafters, I'm interested in artists whose souls are screaming to be expressed.
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Old 06-05-2009, 05:35 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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I'm interested in artists whose souls are screaming to be expressed.
VedranS,

I support you on this one, mate! As I wrote before Feel + Technique = Expression, Soul.

In addition:

"Rhythm is the soul of life. The whole universe revolves in rhythm. Everything and every human action revolves in rhythm." - Babatunde Olatunji
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Old 06-05-2009, 05:41 AM
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VedranS,

I support you on this one, mate! As I wrote before Feel + Technique = Expression, Soul.

In addition:

"Rhythm is the soul of life. The whole universe revolves in rhythm. Everything and every human action revolves in rhythm." - Babatunde Olatunji
All The Best,

Nice quote Ian, thanks. I think that what I'm saying might in some way go along with your original intent when you started the thread. I can tell you have a lot of passion and I think your original post was about just that.
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  #114  
Old 06-05-2009, 08:59 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

I wasn't going to come back to this, but I think I owe John an apology. I believe John has played "Devil's Advocate" to both technique and feel. In todays vernacular, I've been "punk'd." With words like "all" and "always," maybe it should have been obvious.

The groove drummer that always plays within their limitations. I know alot of them. They are doing exactly the same thing they were doing 30 years ago and their abilities haven't grown at all over that time.

The technician that is always at home practicing so he's ready when "that" day or big break comes? I don't know so many of these, but I do know of a few.

Neither extreme is taking any risks. It doesn't matter how many times you practice something, it doesn't matter many times you rehearse something, until you pull it off in front of an audiance and entertain someone, it hasn't happened.

I think someone said John was also a teacher? I imagine the lesson here is about balance.

Also, to not show back up to accept the many accolades or to defend yourself suggests John is a humble teacher and not an opportunist. I've come across too many who pass themselves off as "teachers," but are just opportunists.

Semantics are important. Feelings and emotions are not the same thing. If feel wasn't such a big part of drumming it probably wouldn't matter, but it does. This topic is about feel and technique.

Light a match and put your hand over it. That pain is a feeling. Lose a loved one and the grief you feel and that's an emotion. One is a physical sensation, the other originates in the head.

Marching, Orchastral, Symphonic drumming is all about feel. The ability to play a blazing fast single stroke roll pianissimo is all about touch-- the epitome of feel. We all have our own reasons for doing what we do, but the concert drummer that has foregone all the distractions of a kit and focused their energy and concentration on the 14 inches of a snare and the chance to fill that chair is nothing any drummer should dismiss or sneeze at. At least until they've tried it themselves. Same for marching.
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  #115  
Old 06-05-2009, 09:21 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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VedranS,

I support you on this one, mate! As I wrote before Feel + Technique = Expression, Soul.

In addition:

"Rhythm is the soul of life. The whole universe revolves in rhythm. Everything and every human action revolves in rhythm." - Babatunde Olatunji
All The Best,
Man, if you're going to continue to quote me, you should at least state where you got the quote. This may be an informal discussion; but to continue to quote somebody and then pass uit off as your own is just wrong.
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  #116  
Old 06-05-2009, 09:33 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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I wasn't going to come back to this, but I think I owe John an apology. I believe John has played "Devil's Advocate" to both technique and feel. In todays vernacular, I've been "punk'd." With words like "all" and "always," maybe it should have been obvious.
Well, I think the only deal here, as reiterated by Britt, Ken etc was the initial tone of your response. Even if John Riley meant everything he said literally, his place in the business gives him the advantage of a respectful tone. Actually, I thought you made some dead on points in your first post. But man in all honesty, you talked to John Riley like he was some goober from the sticks, and that's where you blew it. Besides the devil's advocate thing should have been obvious anyway, since you can't play Riley's books without some kind of technical understanding.

But in defense of donv, I hope this forum never turns into one of those places where the famous drummer will say something, someone will respectfully disagree with a thought out response, then 20 wing men will come swooping down for no other reason than to be seen hanging with the famous guy. I'm not saying that happened here, but it is a habit of a couple of the tragically hip drum forums, who believe that forums like this are for the unwashed and the unprofessional. You people know who you are because you complain about this site every time it wins one of those reader's polls you claim don't matter.

I used to attempt this kind of participation at one of them and recall getting a snitty response from a guy who used to be a famous drummer. I say used to be because I wondered how a working musician had time to post over 12,000 times on a drum forum. I then responded to him with a point by point rebuttal, only to be slammed by 10 guys who I knew couldn't play, but thought their defense of the guy would give them the opportunity to live vicariously through the guy. Then one of their moderators who thinks younger drummers don't have real thoughts until guys like him say so, gave a long condescending speech. The only thing achieved by that foolishness was their false social elevation, and my talking negatively about them on this forum 2 years later.

Just some food for thought.
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Old 06-05-2009, 09:53 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

Donv, if it makes you feel any better I had no clue who John Riley was until some people started bagging you out. I agree that "all" is loose language, whether it comes from the King of the Universe or beggar on the street.

You also mentioned the word "touch" in your last post and I think that's right at the heart of the issue. I also think that playing within yourself has a lot to do with feel.

The thing is, you find drummers often play with feel in some songs and passages and not in others. You hear fusion guys do these wonderful, sensitive passages and then overplay wildly in the busy ones (at that point deciding to favour excitement over taste).

What if we talk about guitarists. Who plays with more feel in your opinion - BB King or Al Di Meola? I've heard big Al play some lovely, soulful things but on balance he also shreds a truckload of scales whereas you don't hear a lot of scale-based runs by BB. Al has heaps more technique but that technique doesn't necessarily imply more feel.

Does more feel make BB preferable to Al? To some it does. To others, not. Some people seek mental stimulation in music and some of the best groovemeisters don't provide that. You can be as thick as pig droppings and still be a groover, but you need brains if you're to play in King Crimson or ELP.

Those with more wish for emotion will prefer "feel". Those who seek mental delight from music will put less weight on it. There's always an implication that feel is better than technique but it isn't. It just appeals to a different crowd.

"Feel" is hard to define with drumming anyway. It's like swing in that way. You just know it when it's there.

Last edited by Pollyanna; 06-05-2009 at 11:16 AM.
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  #118  
Old 06-05-2009, 10:32 AM
donv donv is offline
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Well, I think the only deal here, as reiterated by Britt, Ken etc was the initial tone of your response. Even if John Riley meant everything he said literally, his place in the business gives him the advantage of a respectful tone. Actually, I thought you made some dead on points in your first post. But man in all honesty, you talked to John Riley like he was some goober from the sticks, and that's where you blew it. Besides the devil's advocate thing should have been obvious anyway, since you can't play Riley's books without some kind of technical understanding.

.
Matt,

Until this discussion evolved after I got involved, I didn't didn't know who John Riley was except for what came with his name, Drummerworld Pro Drummer. Or something like that. His methodolgy of so neatly boxing drumming they way he did I took at face value and was insulted. And it came from a "pro drummer" no less. Someone who should know better. I even said so, "he can't really believe this." Or something to that effect. There is a lot more to drumming then gets discussed here and the only thing consistent in all the different roles drummers fill is to entertain--even if your only goal is to entertain yourself. Beyond that, the different roles and responsibilities require different focuses and concentrations. No one role is better or worse then the other. Why we do what we do, and what it is we are trying to "prove" as John put it is a varied as the number of drummers that there are. There seems to be a need by some to justify themselves, or their choice in genre in terms of better and worse. Can't see the forest for the trees? Who knows. This is what got me to thinking that there was more going on here then I picked up on. I am new to this.

Until I think it was Delta Drummer who said something in my defense, thank you and my apologies to someone if I've got that wrong, most of what was directed at me came across to me as an attempt to intimidate me into some submission and that was not going to work.

Anyway, thanks for your input and explanations.
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  #119  
Old 06-05-2009, 10:50 AM
donv donv is offline
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Donv, if it makes you feel any better I had no clue who John Riley was until some people started bagging you out. I agree that "all" is loose language, whether it comes from the King of the Universe or beggar on the street.

.

Pollyanna,

Yes it does. John and I have completely different playgrounds and although I would love to have the time to get a little piece of everything, it's just not going to happen.

Thank you.
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  #120  
Old 06-05-2009, 07:22 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Matt,

Until this discussion evolved after I got involved, I didn't didn't know who John Riley was except for what came with his name, Drummerworld Pro Drummer. Or something like that. His methodolgy of so neatly boxing drumming they way he did I took at face value and was insulted. And it came from a "pro drummer" no less. Someone who should know better. I even said so, "he can't really believe this." Or something to that effect. There is a lot more to drumming then gets discussed here and the only thing consistent in all the different roles drummers fill is to entertain--even if your only goal is to entertain yourself. Beyond that, the different roles and responsibilities require different focuses and concentrations. No one role is better or worse then the other. Why we do what we do, and what it is we are trying to "prove" as John put it is a varied as the number of drummers that there are. There seems to be a need by some to justify themselves, or their choice in genre in terms of better and worse. Can't see the forest for the trees? Who knows. This is what got me to thinking that there was more going on here then I picked up on. I am new to this.

Until I think it was Delta Drummer who said something in my defense, thank you and my apologies to someone if I've got that wrong, most of what was directed at me came across to me as an attempt to intimidate me into some submission and that was not going to work.

Anyway, thanks for your input and explanations.
Don,

You get no argument from me about any of that. And I hope you read the other part of my post, because I tried to make the same point you were making.

When I started forum participation 4 years ago, I only knew jazz drummers, maybe 5 fusion drummers and Bonham. I come from a proud family of jazz snobs who would actually leave a table at a club if people were even talking about rock music with any kind of respect. You don't argue with them about anything, because they believe that your need to question that view means you are already an inferior intellect unworthy of their time. With that said, when I started coming to DW, there were probably 100 drummers on Bernhard's roster I had never heard of.

So when I would see a DW forum poster with the Bernhard designated title of PRO DRUMMER, I would just do a little fact check before I responded. Besides I always like to know who I'm talking to. A few times after listening to their music I really didn't care what their opinions were, because I was going to be a lost case. I also knew that some pros, especially on the other forums only dropped by these places to spam before going away usually forever.

Once, my response to one in particular got me in a lot more trouble than anything that happened to you, and inside I still don't care what that guy thinks thinks of me, or how many wing men show up to mouth off, because they think that makes them look cool to a hero. But I did learn it was best to tip your hat respectfully anytime the opportunity presented itself, even when you disagreed.

Again, I think it's also correct for the pro to respectfully perform a back and forth with others, for if for any other reason to educate everyone and elevate the conversation. To DW's credit, most of pros will do that here, and it's fun to have those conversations. Frankly I think it would have been cool to have seen how this conversation evolved had John Riley been responded to with the same tone he demonstrated himself. That's also the only reason you got jumped here.


Quote:
Originally Posted by VedranS View Post
People are making the argument that technique and feel are interrelated, inseparable. I can agree on this under certain conditions, with a very specific definition for "feel". "Feel" then would refer to certain technical nuances that allow one to play a specific drum part and have it sound good. Examples of this "feel" would be how does the volume of the ghost notes relate to the volume of accents, or to the bass drum, or their sense of subdivision, if there's a degree of swing to the playing, the overall meter, basically more subtle technical matters. I understand that these aspects of "feel" are technical in nature and cannot be separated from the drummer's technique.

When I speak of "feel" however, I'm using a very literal interpretation of the word, probably one that most people reading here don't share. When I say feel, I mean the perceived "feeling" or emotion carried by a piece of music from the performer to the listener. This feeling doesn't have to be something as simplistic as "happiness" or "sadness". There are feelings that can be communicated through music, such as kinesthetic experiences of "vertigo" or the feeling of "pressure" and other more abstract "feels". In fact, the way I see it, the primary function and asset of music is that it can communicate matters of feeling and emotion in a way that spoken language lacks, in an immediate way, almost like it's mimicking those feelings instead of just "communicating" them.
No, most who are debating you understand exactly without a shadow of a doubt what you are saying and and merely wonder why you attach such selective reverence to something so obvious. Mostly, it just doesn't make the case for a separation of technique and feel under any reasonable circumstance. Yeah, they really are inseparable.

Emotion and feel are an integral part of the musical experience and are the ones stated first by most people because of their kinetic qualities. Stating it is the most important only opens another much larger can of worms. For example my father once wrote a novel about the Cherokee where the primary realization was that the original Cherokee spoken language was actually music claimed to have powers beyond a three dimensional understanding that would 1 day take people to their version of heaven. Well, is that more important than your emotion angle?

See, you can take that one point you made and forever travel down a road you never intended.

In other words all great music isn't about getting a rush and let's face it, a lot of crappy music can do the same thing. This is also why I agree with Average. It's just too easy to go to that old well. Sorry if that's harsh, but that's my take.
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