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  #121  
Old 06-05-2009, 08:12 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Originally Posted by donv View Post
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.
Actually, most of us just thought you were terribly rude to someone here who is very well-respected. If you sense possible intimidation, consider that it may just be your conscience.
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  #122  
Old 06-05-2009, 08:38 PM
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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.
Matt,

I read all of your post and took it as additional knowledge to be prepared with in the future. Again, I am new to this and I view recent events as my baptism. I still can't get over how John got away with making the statements he did, but I understand why he made the comments he did. It underscores the dynamics of how the boards work and how they can be hi-jacked by perceived communication when allowed. I wonder how many people are reflecting on their part and participation. I sure did. I'm not sure who Bernheart is, but before I'll go to the lengths of investigating whom I may be responding to because it will effect what I write, I'll just quit writing. As far as I know only one person has been given the accolade of perfection and I know that person isn't me, and I'm confident it isn't anyone else here either.

I'll tell you what Matt, your family may be harsh, but they sure do sound interesting. Got to give them that!

Again thanks. Your level headed point of view and honesty about it have been helped with my education.
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  #123  
Old 06-05-2009, 08:40 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Originally Posted by VedranS View Post
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.
I read a lot of your posts and haven't gotten a chance to respond, though I think you are bringing up a lot of good points and asking a lot of good questions. You've also had some kind things to say to me and I do appreciate that.

Your post is the reason why I brought the idea of expression into the equation. Feel and technique are expression.Expression may be what you are talking about. I think when a lot of people talk about 'feel' they mean expression. What is the musical expression? That can be something emotional or psychological or even intellectual like you were saying. You want to feel something musically. It's a very romantic idea. The Romantics were the only ones who got it right :)

But music does not need to be about emotional expression. Stravinsky essentially argued that in his Poetics though years later he said he was wrong. he said taht musci couldn't express anything but music. Bringing in punk rock to the equation like we were doing last week also puts another cog in the world. There is a lot of music that wants to fore go technique so music is pure emotion. I was listening to Keith Jarret talk about his time with Miles and he said, it wasn't about music it was about energy. There is also a lot of music where feel is important and technique is not. it jsut gets in the way. Most folk oriented music. Where would you put Bob Dylan in that equation?

The kids love Tommy Lang and Joey Jordison for that matter. I don't have any problem with virtuosity for the sake of virtuosity. Some body needs to define the limits of what can be achieved on the instrument.

I think there good questions to ask. Don't really know the answer. :)
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  #124  
Old 06-05-2009, 08:44 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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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.

What you're talking about here is a musician playing with feeling. You're not the only one BTW.

When someone says, "what a great feel" that's not what they are talking about and that seems to one of the problems with this thread. There are many who simply don't understand what the word feel means in a musical context.

If a drummer is playing a groove too stiff, another band member may ask that he put a little swing on it. That changes the feel of the groove. That's feel!
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  #125  
Old 06-05-2009, 08:46 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Originally Posted by Deathmetalconga View Post
Actually, most of us just thought you were terribly rude to someone here who is very well-respected. If you sense possible intimidation, consider that it may just be your conscience.
Nope! I think John got out of this exactly what he wanted although I suspect he is pondering the value, extent and maybe even responsiblity of blind faith.
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  #126  
Old 06-05-2009, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by mattsmith View Post
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.




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.

I don't think it's harsh at all, though it's a good point, I guess you can say that in a rational discussion there's no point in arguing something you don't consider rational, like emotion. And you also seem to be saying that the "argument" then could be extended to other vague and mystical realms, such as the Cherokee language thing. I can see your point there.

However, we're obviously still going to disagree, because personally I'm saying that the very core of musical experience is that of emotional communication and reaction. I'm not just talking about the "rush" one can experience listening to music; I truly believe that music can communicate a wide variety of feelings and emotions and that this emotional quality is its main purpose. I guess this is a subjective take on it, as music has many functions to many people, though I'd say that to most the emotional aspect is an important one. You disagree. That's fine. We obviously have different uses for music, which highlights to me the variety of purposes it has in society.
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  #127  
Old 06-05-2009, 09:06 PM
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I read a lot of your posts and haven't gotten a chance to respond, though I think you are bringing up a lot of good points and asking a lot of good questions. You've also had some kind things to say to me and I do appreciate that.

Your post is the reason why I brought the idea of expression into the equation. Feel and technique are expression.Expression may be what you are talking about. I think when a lot of people talk about 'feel' they mean expression. What is the musical expression? That can be something emotional or psychological or even intellectual like you were saying. You want to feel something musically. It's a very romantic idea. The Romantics were the only ones who got it right :)

But music does not need to be about emotional expression. Stravinsky essentially argued that in his Poetics though years later he said he was wrong. he said taht musci couldn't express anything but music. Bringing in punk rock to the equation like we were doing last week also puts another cog in the world. There is a lot of music that wants to fore go technique so music is pure emotion. I was listening to Keith Jarret talk about his time with Miles and he said, it wasn't about music it was about energy. There is also a lot of music where feel is important and technique is not. it jsut gets in the way. Most folk oriented music. Where would you put Bob Dylan in that equation?

The kids love Tommy Lang and Joey Jordison for that matter. I don't have any problem with virtuosity for the sake of virtuosity. Some body needs to define the limits of what can be achieved on the instrument.

I think there good questions to ask. Don't really know the answer. :)

Good points Delta, and thanks for the kind words yourself. Yeah, I've heard that thing about music only expressing music before also, very interesting quote. Personally, I'm a guy who thinks in metaphors and everything is something else to me, so music can never be just music to me :) You're also on to something with the virtuosity thing, I guess music has a lot of functions to a lot of people, and different ones get a different degree of priority depending on who you are. Wow, I sound like an apologist, don't I? Just sayin' it's all really complex and I don't think any of us are really going to have one definitive answer on musical expression anytime soon, but no harm in wondering.
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  #128  
Old 06-05-2009, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by VedranS View Post
I'm saying that the very core of musical experience is that of emotional communication and reaction. .
We are the sum total of our experiences and they are only ours.

About your quote, in classical western philosophy music was considered\believed to surpass emotions. Music was in the realm of reverence. It's still there with many people and philosophies.
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  #129  
Old 06-05-2009, 09:17 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

Just my opinion: If music didn't move me in an emotional way, why would I even listen to it. I may as well look at mathematical formulas.

Music for me, has the capacity to tell an emotional story of any emotion from anger, lust happiness, beauty, sadness, depression, love, etc...the whole gamut.

When MTV came out, I didn't get it....I still don't get it. The pictures ruin the music. They leave out the power of the imagination. My imagination is far better than something any video director could ever conjure up.

I still say it's the "feel" that works for me.
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  #130  
Old 06-05-2009, 09:23 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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We are the sum total of our experiences and they are only ours.

About your quote, in classical western philosophy music was considered\believed to surpass emotions. Music was in the realm of reverence. It's still there with many people and philosophies.
Unless I'm mistaken, Gregorian Chant was one of the mucial roots of western music, and so even from its earliest instances music has been strongly tied to the spiritual. African musical events in a lot of instances were an integral and inseperable part of weddings, funerals, and other religeous functions. it's just interesting that music has had such powerful spiritual connotations throughout history. I'm always teetering between atheism and agnosticism myself, but if I've ever had a spiritual experience, it's been because of music.
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  #131  
Old 06-05-2009, 09:32 PM
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I think perhaps one day we will see a drum off where the goal will be to be the most "uninspired,slow,unimaginative player"....that would be fun to watch.
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  #132  
Old 06-06-2009, 02:42 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Unless I'm mistaken, Gregorian Chant was one of the mucial roots of western music, and so even from its earliest instances music has been strongly tied to the spiritual. African musical events in a lot of instances were an integral and inseperable part of weddings, funerals, and other religeous functions. it's just interesting that music has had such powerful spiritual connotations throughout history. I'm always teetering between atheism and agnosticism myself, but if I've ever had a spiritual experience, it's been because of music.
This is an interesting polemic. Gregorian Chant was neither an aesthetic nor an emotional experience. It was there to engage the words, which of course were divinely inspired. The music was probably a pneumonic device. Don's point about it "suppressing the 'hostile' beast" emotion is a good one.

The music was not really that important in the western tradition until the biggies came along Bach, Mozart and esp. Beethoven. Even in opera, it was the great texts that were seen as the artistic expression and the music served the text.

Your point about spirituality is most interesting because I think in the modern world people do look for a spiritual or trans-consciousness relation to music whether that was something that happened historically is a good question. I don't see why not. I mean if your listening to Josquin or Bach in church it would seem possible. But it was not the intention of the Church Fathers that you get off on the music, and if they knew you were, they would have banned it.
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  #133  
Old 06-06-2009, 02:50 AM
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it was not the intention of the Church Fathers that you get off on the music, and if they knew you were, they would have banned it.
Ha! Yeah, my new-agey spin on the matter is probably very different from how it actually went down at the time. It's that romanticism again.
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  #134  
Old 06-06-2009, 03:33 AM
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What you're talking about here is a musician playing with feeling. You're not the only one BTW.
FredStead, when I compared Al DiMeola and BB King I wasn't only talking about playing with feeling. I was talking about touch - the sense of hearing finger on fretboard.

I liked what you said in the rest of your post, though. I still see "feel" as being about sensitivity of touch and taste. It seems there are a lot of definitions of "feel" here (anyone fancy collating them? :).

I think both feel and technique have been massively overrated in this thread. I've seen drummers with crap feel and drummers with crap technique who were highly effective in their genre and gave a lot of people a lot of pleasure.

Druid said:

Quote:
I think perhaps one day we will see a drum off where the goal will be to be the most "uninspired,slow,unimaginative player"....that would be fun to watch.
More power to the slowhands, I say. Drummers often struggle with slow playing. I guess they'll only have an "uninspiration drum-off" after they first try having an "inspiration drum-off". You don't see a lot of drumoffs where the goal is creativity either :)
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  #135  
Old 06-06-2009, 05:55 AM
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I hate to throw the word out there, but this has really become a semantics playground. Of COURSE technique is required to play an instrument competently. Technique is even required to plan an instrument incompetently. Technique is required to roll out of bed in the morning, and that's regardless of what kind of day it becomes. I think we all know what the original thread starter means by "feel" vs "technique":

In the tragically limited hours we have in the span of a day, should the practice of 64th-note ostinatos over a double-pedal blushda pattern in permutating time signatures be the priority, or should it be about listening to the groove, listening to phrasing, note placement, beat placement, dynamics, etc?

I think we have some techy drummers on here who get flustered by all the discussion of the importance of the intangibles, those things not so easily quantifiable. And yes, at its essence, you could probably say that what makes Steve Gadd sound like Steve Gadd can all be quantified as varying "techniques" of one sort or another, but at the end of the day, we all know what the difference is between a "technical" drummer and a "feel" drummer, and where each one's priorities lie.
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  #136  
Old 06-06-2009, 06:07 AM
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This is an interesting polemic. Gregorian Chant was neither an aesthetic nor an emotional experience. It was there to engage the words, which of course were divinely inspired. The music was probably a pneumonic device. Don's point about it "suppressing the 'hostile' beast" emotion is a good one.

The music was not really that important in the western tradition until the biggies came along Bach, Mozart and esp. Beethoven. Even in opera, it was the great texts that were seen as the artistic expression and the music served the text.

Your point about spirituality is most interesting because I think in the modern world people do look for a spiritual or trans-consciousness relation to music whether that was something that happened historically is a good question. I don't see why not. I mean if your listening to Josquin or Bach in church it would seem possible. But it was not the intention of the Church Fathers that you get off on the music, and if they knew you were, they would have banned it.

Wait, are you saying music was not intended to originally evoke an emotional response? How do you explain roots of music and its implementation in general, be it African, Aboriginal or other? Couldn't you really utilize the same argument for any art form?
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  #137  
Old 06-06-2009, 08:43 AM
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I didn't say that in its earliest implementation music in the western tradition was not intended to evoke an emotional experience. Don said that. That's my man Don there. :)

As far as explaining other world music, I am smart enough to beat myself at my own game and try not to 'explain' it. :)

Much world music that you described is about the ritual of community making. Music is usually accompanied by dance, costuming, make-up, ceremony, or the acting out of myths, etc. Is there an emotional component? probably. But that might not be the basic focus of the ceremony. The idea of individual subjectivity that we associate with Romanticism may not be present either. The ritual is after all, a communal experience. My focus here is not to grant a prescribe understanding of all cultural rituals in the world. It is just to say that we should not project our own preconceived ideas on those rituals. We're modernists who came through Romanticism who came and the Enlightenment. That's a lot of baggage to be carrying around.
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  #138  
Old 06-06-2009, 09:27 AM
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Ken,

I wrote a response and took it out. Nobody said or implied music didn't provoke emotion.

Last edited by donv; 06-06-2009 at 09:34 AM. Reason: too much of too much
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  #139  
Old 06-06-2009, 11:28 AM
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I didn't say that in its earliest implementation music in the western tradition was not intended to evoke an emotional experience. Don said that. That's my man Don there. :)

As far as explaining other world music, I am smart enough to beat myself at my own game and try not to 'explain' it. :)

Much world music that you described is about the ritual of community making. Music is usually accompanied by dance, costuming, make-up, ceremony, or the acting out of myths, etc. Is there an emotional component? probably. But that might not be the basic focus of the ceremony. The idea of individual subjectivity that we associate with Romanticism may not be present either. The ritual is after all, a communal experience. My focus here is not to grant a prescribe understanding of all cultural rituals in the world. It is just to say that we should not project our own preconceived ideas on those rituals. We're modernists who came through Romanticism who came and the Enlightenment. That's a lot of baggage to be carrying around.
I dont think its possible to seperate these rituals and ceremonies from the emotional niche that they filled within society.Whether it is the conscious or stated purpose of the act, I think the emotional element of these rituals are too apparent to just be cast aside.The idea of building a community and becoming closer to one another through art is something that I dont think can be absent from the entire process and I view to be a driving force, but Im no ethnomusicologist. I just know that I cant listen to African music and not hear an emotional outpour.
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  #140  
Old 06-06-2009, 12:32 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Originally Posted by raggletaggle View Post
I think we have some techy drummers on here who get flustered by all the discussion of the importance of the intangibles, those things not so easily quantifiable. And yes, at its essence, you could probably say that what makes Steve Gadd sound like Steve Gadd can all be quantified as varying "techniques" of one sort or another, but at the end of the day, we all know what the difference is between a "technical" drummer and a "feel" drummer, and where each one's priorities lie.
I would counter by saying that you assume a great deal about what you call techy drummers. You further imply that a drummer grounded in technical application is frustrated by aesthetic intangibles, then immediately resort to labeling, which is the least aesthetic and/or intangible road to travel.

All I personally have ever said about this topic is the following/

There is an initial period in the development of a person's playing when the primary goal should be technical grounding. And yes, if you do it right that process takes years. I can't tell you how many times I used to get ripped on a forum about my old WFD experiences from a guy giving me a groove cop lecture. Then you'd ask him how long he had been playing, and he'd reply, 1 year, 2 years. Well, sorry but that's a joke. If you've been playing drums for even less tahn 5 years, you have no business yacking on and on about percussive aesthetics when you don't even know enough about the drum itself to speak coherently. Then there are guys who have been behind drumsets for 20 years or more and have never learned a single rudiment. A lot of these guys call themselves feel drummers, because they have through sheer willpower figured out a way to occasionally sound respectable. But for all their bravado, they are still people who are going into their 20th year as 1st year drummers. Besides if they are getting by, you have to wonder how many more actualizations they could have attained had they not taken this road as opposed to the other.

Then I think there is that next period when yeah, aesthetics are the only issue, and I'm fairly certain that the technically grounded drummer who travels that road will fly past that 20 year guy who did it the hope for the best way in about 20 minutes. A lot of groove priests don't like to hear this, but it is what is, especially when a groove pope like Gadd has all those obvious chops that came from years of having all that drilled into him when he was in school, the military and elsewhere.

We all tend to obsess about tech specialists as if they're the dominant force in drumming and the ruination of civilization, when it has already been correctly established that few guys like that work real gigs. So that problem fixes itself anyway. And I'm not talking about clinic freaks. That's an entirely different subject. I'm talking about grounded, solid totally musical drummers.

Therefore, a technically grounded drummer has to come to the mountain, just like all the groove priests who got there first but forgot to take communion. The problem for the original guys is they get upset when the technically grounded drummer becomes a far better groove and feel drummer than they could ever be. and in most cases, that is exactly what happens for those who travel that road.

Again/ feel and technique/ inseparable.
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:49 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

On a slightly different tack:

I urge all readers of any forums to "consider the source" when agreeing or disagreeing with a particular statement

For example: If I hear John Riley proclaim the importance of "feel over chops", I know that this statement is coming from a man who has put THOUSANDS of hours in on his technique. This statement is coming from one who has been through the forest and come out the other side. It has perspective and substance behind it.

Now take some guys who has played the drums for 3 years and has never worked on a serious practice schedule and have him say the same thing. His is a statement that has little to no substance behind it. It's coming from someone who is simply trying to justify his lack of dedication as somehow being an advantage.

Two people can say the same words yet one can be dead wrong and the other spot-on.

Remember what Bruce Lee said of martial arts:

" Before I studied the art, a punch to me was just like a punch, a kick just like a kick. After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick no longer a kick. Now that I've understood the art, a punch is just like a punch, a kick just like a kick. The height of cultivation is really nothing special. It is merely simplicity; the ability to express the utmost with the minimum. It is the halfway cultivation that leads to ornamentation."

He pretty much says it right there doesn't he?

He who knows nothing may mouth the same words as the master yet the meanings are worlds apart.

If you have devoted less than thousands of hours to the development of your technical and musical skills then you haven't even earned the right to comment. You are like Bruce before he studied the art. You don't even know what you don't know.
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:53 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Originally Posted by con struct View Post
Two guys are listening to a band. One guy says, "I really like that drummer's feel." The other guy says, "Are you kidding? I don't think he has any feel at all."
Feel is something that's percieved. No matter how hard you try you're just not going to look or sound to others exactly the way you see or hear yourself. So your best bet is to get your technique down, play musically and let others decide how good your feel is.
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I think that's an excellent point.

Imagine being in a music venue. The crowd is hanging out having fun. Then this song comes along and everyone gets on thier feet and they start dancing.

Is that because the drummer is playing doulbe inverted flamadiddles or because the song just has a great groove? Or one could say, a great feel. The word feel and groove overlap in a musical sense.
This is a great point but WHO is it coming from? I know plenty of guys who feel Slipnot has done as much artistically as early Metallica has. I knew some guys from the older generation who would rather have listened to Doc Severson & the Tonight Show band over the Miles Davis Quintet.

This could simply mean they have bad taste.

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  #143  
Old 06-06-2009, 03:00 PM
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O You don't even know what you don't know.
Brilliant. The best thing I've read all week!
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  #144  
Old 06-06-2009, 06:15 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

Matt and Jeff

Yes, I know you are trying to say that if a drummer can't keep things solid for the band then the brief moments of smoothness between the clumsiness doesn't mean they have "feel".

Yes, I know you're saying that formal training means much faster and more efficient progress.

But you guys are getting carried away.

If a person cannot have a valid opinion on musical quality or attractiveness without mastering an instrument then a wine connoisseur cannot judge the quality or pleasantness of wine if they have never been a wine-maker.

Sorry Matt and Jeff, I think you've had a perspective malfunction.

I think feel is more important than technique when it comes to providing musical pleasure. That's what I think, not what everyone thinks. Some people prefer "herd of stampeding elephant" double-kick excitement to Bernard Purdie's subtlety.

My perception of "feel" in drummers is mostly about sensitivity of touch and sensibility, swing/groove, the ability to coax good sounds out of the instruments in the kit, and the creation of pleasing legato sensations. Formal training helps greatly, but it's not mandatory for a drummer to be formally trained in order to to drum with feel.

Moe Tucker performed with excellent feel in Venus In Furs even if her timing was dodgy at times; it fit the mood of the music beautifully. That is, she was sensitive to the sensibilities of the song. I wonder how many formally-trained drummers would have come up with her minimalist contribution that helped to give the song its exotic appeal? Necessity is the mother of invention so limitations can allow players to follow unique routes as long as they are aware of those limitations.

I agree that a guy trying to play a tasty Steve Gadd groove, employing complex little ghost notes and dynamic sensitivity while only landing in the pocket once every few bars isn't a joy to hear. There is a difference between being limited and being unaware of your limitations.

Quote:
O You don't even know what you don't know.
This observation was best evidenced in that timeless poem by the famous bard, Donald Rumsfeld, The Unkown:
The Unknown

As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.
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  #145  
Old 06-06-2009, 06:34 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Ken,

I wrote a response and took it out. Nobody said or implied music didn't provoke emotion.


Quote:
Originally Posted by brittc89 View Post
I dont think its possible to seperate these rituals and ceremonies from the emotional niche that they filled within society.Whether it is the conscious or stated purpose of the act, I think the emotional element of these rituals are too apparent to just be cast aside.The idea of building a community and becoming closer to one another through art is something that I dont think can be absent from the entire process and I view to be a driving force, but Im no ethnomusicologist. I just know that I cant listen to African music and not hear an emotional outpour.

But you're right about the historical importance of emotion in western music. It was not the intent of the Church Fathers that people have an emotional response to the music and actually a big part the concern of music at the first Vatican Council. was emotionalism that a lot of late Renaissance church music was evoking. The other thing is that to go back and understand the way the people of the time heard or understood that music is not really possible. I would say it's the same for any music whether it be from Africa or China. One cannot assume that another culture experiences the music the way we do. So I was just taking a go slow attitude when it came to that. So I think Brett has a good point, like usual. I am just asking the question do these rituals provide an emotional impact or is it something much deeper and also can we experience that as an outsider. And eis it the music aspect of the ritual the provides the emotion?


and Jeff great post. I would just add that this mess has gone way beyond the niceties of discourse and has become about the subtleties of vengeance. is that really going to attract pro drummers to want to post here? I for one, am tired of being told off by people. But I am even more tired of the fact that others stand by a let it happen. Let me tell you, it's been no great week for me either.
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  #146  
Old 06-06-2009, 06:47 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post
Matt and Jeff

Yes, I know you are trying to say that if a drummer can't keep things solid for the band then the brief moments of smoothness between the clumsiness doesn't mean they have "feel".

Yes, I know you're saying that formal training means much faster and more efficient progress.

But you guys are getting carried away.

If a person cannot have a valid opinion on musical quality or attractiveness without mastering an instrument then a wine connoisseur cannot judge the quality or pleasantness of wine if they have never been a wine-maker.

Bah!

I never said anything of the sort. I never said a non-musician couldn't judge music. I essentially said this:

" You may have the greatest musical thoughts in the world, but if you haven't got the muscles to press the strings down in the right places, all your idealism is for zilch"
Janos Starker (cellist)

A master has earned the right to "disregard technique" (look at Picsso, for example) but someone playing for 1 year simply hasn't.

Here's one more quote:

" The music must be dominant, not the technique. The two things are not of equal importance. You have to have both craft and emotion to make art but when you focus on your goal, you had best see it as a musical goal. When I'm playing, I don't want to think about technique.
A true artist is someone who can express emotions is such a way that it creates those emotions in others. When my 7 year old throws a tantrum, that's not art. You can't just throw paint at a canvas and say that's art. You can dump a bucket of paint on the floor in a fit of anger and say it expresses anger-but it isn't art. It takes organization and discipline to create art"
Pamela Frame

'nuff said from me
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:57 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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It takes organization and discipline to create art
But does it? I'm with you on most of that post up there, but I really don't agree with that last sentence. What matters the most to me, is the concept - or if you want to refer to another thread, the aesthetic of the piece. That might, in itself be, a lack of discipline and organisation. If you're making a statement, it doesn't need to be achieved through perfect technical merits in order for its aesthetic merits to be obvious. It's not the technique's organisation or discipline that necessarily garners the merit of the piece and often the best pieces are created haphazardly, at least within a post-modern perspective. But there are techniques being used, just not physical ones. Conceptual technique is where a lot of the 'art' lies and that doesn't always need discipline and organisation.
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  #148  
Old 06-06-2009, 07:03 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Almeyda View Post
On a slightly different tack:

I urge all readers of any forums to "consider the source" when agreeing or disagreeing with a particular statement

For example: If I hear John Riley proclaim the importance of "feel over chops", I know that this statement is coming from a man who has put THOUSANDS of hours in on his technique. This statement is coming from one who has been through the forest and come out the other side. It has perspective and substance behind it.

If you have devoted less than thousands of hours to the development of your technical and musical skills then you haven't even earned the right to comment. You are like Bruce before he studied the art. You don't even know what you don't know.
Very nice!

So do we post out resumes and hope that we be allowed to speak, or will we be allowed to speak and then ignored because we haven't lived up someone's sense of self importance?

Very nice indeed.
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  #149  
Old 06-06-2009, 07:13 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Originally Posted by Jeff Almeyda View Post
Bah!

I never said anything of the sort. I never said a non-musician couldn't judge music. I essentially said this:

" You may have the greatest musical thoughts in the world, but if you haven't got the muscles to press the strings down in the right places, all your idealism is for zilch"
Janos Starker (cellist)

A master has earned the right to "disregard technique" (look at Picsso, for example) but someone playing for 1 year simply hasn't.

Here's one more quote:

" The music must be dominant, not the technique. The two things are not of equal importance. You have to have both craft and emotion to make art but when you focus on your goal, you had best see it as a musical goal. When I'm playing, I don't want to think about technique.
A true artist is someone who can express emotions is such a way that it creates those emotions in others. When my 7 year old throws a tantrum, that's not art. You can't just throw paint at a canvas and say that's art. You can dump a bucket of paint on the floor in a fit of anger and say it expresses anger-but it isn't art. It takes organization and discipline to create art"
Pamela Frame

'nuff said from me
Don't leave, Jeff. This is the whole post-modern problem. everything is up for grabs. no one has authority, no one has ultimate perspective, everything can be defined only with in context. It's a wonderful, wacky world. Welcome to it!!
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  #150  
Old 06-06-2009, 07:26 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Don't leave, Jeff. This is the whole post-modern problem. everything is up for grabs. no one has authority, no one has ultimate perspective, everything can be defined only with in context. It's a wonderful, wacky world. Welcome to it!!
...And it's a bloody wonderful place to be.
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  #151  
Old 06-06-2009, 07:27 PM
donv donv is offline
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Almeyda View Post
On a slightly different tack:

I urge all readers of any forums to "consider the source" when agreeing or disagreeing with a particular statement

For example: If I hear John Riley proclaim the importance of "feel over chops", I know that this statement is coming from a man who has put THOUSANDS of hours in on his technique. This statement is coming from one who has been through the forest and come out the other side. It has perspective and substance behind it.
Excellent point! As I'm sure you're aware there are many conductors who wouldn't even take the time to talk to John. His resume lacks the requisite names of conductors he has played for. He comes from a jazz background which would automatically label him as unqualified.

Others would want to see the list of John's Reviews for Heads of States or the Tattoo's he had been invited to.

Face it, in some instances, John is not qualified so what difference does his opinion make? But that's OK. That's the way John wants it because obviously he has made the choices to put himself in that position.

The reality is most conductors, drummers and musicians would enjoy hearing John's opinion on anything when it comes to music. But to most here, that's a one way street.

Try explaining to someone that there are situations where if the word "feel" is used and you don't comprehend that it has nothing to do with emotions you are in way over your head. But rather then appreciate the wide and varied backgrounds that come with drumming they reply with a tone of--well let's just say not pleasant.

The way I see it, if John came on here and said 2 + 2 now equals 5, too many here would not question him, except it, and perpetuate the false belief. Sorry that's not me.

But then again, this place is for the "real" drummers, right?
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  #152  
Old 06-06-2009, 07:34 PM
aydee aydee is offline
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Originally Posted by Steady Freddy View Post
Very nice!

So do we post out resumes and hope that we be allowed to speak, or will we be allowed to speak and then ignored because we haven't lived up someone's sense of self importance?

Very nice indeed.
...

I think you might be missing the Zen in Jeff's point, SF.

Its in the principles of Shaolin monks for example. They master kung fu to keep the peace and meditate.

or the modern day idea of nuclear deterrence..to keep the peace ( ? )

The point I'd made about John Riley earlier is that he has been a very serious student & a very serious teacher of technique, and when someone like that makes a light hearted but accurate point about working drummers being mostly the ones that keep it simple & and keep it tasty and not the ones that fly all over the kit all the time, you have to take that in the spirit of his intent.

I also think this whole debate is getting lost in a sea of looseness of the definition of 'technique' ( surprise surprise ).

'Groove Pope' Steve Gadd is the groovers groover right ? 50 ways and all of that....

What is he when he plays the incredibly technical solo on Steely Dan's Aja? ( Which he sight-read for the album, btw !!! )...

... or when he blazed through Chick Corea's Leprechaun with a masterful samba?

Its the same guy.

Steve Jordan? Mr. Pocket, right? Anybody see him solo? I have..he can mix it up with the best of them.

Glen Kotche? A drummer doing some of the most artistic, non technically oriented linear playing... he knows his meat & potatoes

Matt Abts? Govt Mule..solid technique.


So its it possible too play like all these people without putting in the all the work on technique. Possible but unlikely. So where's the debate?


...

Last edited by aydee; 06-06-2009 at 07:53 PM.
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  #153  
Old 06-06-2009, 07:43 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Originally Posted by Steady Freddy View Post
Very nice!

So do we post out resumes and hope that we be allowed to speak, or will we be allowed to speak and then ignored because we haven't lived up someone's sense of self importance?

Very nice indeed.
I wouldn't say it's about someone else's sense of self importance. It's about earning your stripes.

In the end, would you rather listen to JoJo Mayer's opinion about left hand finger control or some kid who has played for 6 months?

Musical performance has nothing to do with democracy. The very concept of an audition implies that there are some who rise above the norm.



In my musical world, everyone does not get an equal vote. That's right, I said it.
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  #154  
Old 06-06-2009, 08:22 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

Jeff, this thread isn't about discussing the particulars of a technical issue, it's about what makes drumming pleasing to our ears. So everyone's opinion is of equal weight and no one has to "earn their stripes". That only counts in some of the technique threads and even then the view of an inexperienced drummer may be of more value to a total beginner than a pro's view that's light years away.

Futher, a great jazz player's view might not be relevant to someone playing a completely different genre. For those who aspire to be a great jazz player, that view might be like gold.

I'm guessing that Ian's initial post in the thread was just saying that he preferred smooth drumming, for instance, as you might hear from Bernard Purdie over some of the more extravagant technical outings of Return to Forever or Dream Theater.

You said yourself that you can have sound musical judgement without having the chops, yet you wish to deny people without formal training the right to express an opinion about what style of drumming they like best, which is what this thread is about.

I'd like to think that the message you're trying to convey is that drummers with weak technique shouldn't kid themselves into thinking they can do awesome things on the kit. However, not having great chops and over-reaching yourself are two different things. Not everyone with weak chops plays outside of their ability and produces slop. Assuming that you have good chops, I still doubt that you could pull off Billy Cobham's lines in Mahvishnu's You Know You Know. By the same token, I don't pretend that I can play Steve Gadd's tasty beats. It would be nice to have that option but there are many other enjoyable things one can do.

It sounds to me that you would like a gated forum where only professional drummers can contribute, although others may look in to benefit from their knowledge. That would probably be a useful resource, but this forum is an open one so you have to sift the pearls from the swine.

Still, I think it's good that there is a forum where the pearls and swine can interact because you never know what interesting things come out of the friction, as long as we overcome this pointless class warfare between some jazzers and rockers on a few threads.

This a great forum, swine and all.

Last edited by Pollyanna; 06-06-2009 at 08:32 PM.
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  #155  
Old 06-06-2009, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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In my musical world, everyone does not get an equal vote. That's right, I said it.
In your world you can do whatever you want. This is a public forum.

Take care.
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  #156  
Old 06-06-2009, 08:46 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post

If a person cannot have a valid opinion on musical quality or attractiveness without mastering an instrument then a wine connoisseur cannot judge the quality or pleasantness of wine if they have never been a wine-maker.
Apples and oranges Polly.

And again...I totally get the intangibles issue/ really do...swear..

Respectfully, I'm just a little surprised that you and others feel the need to continually lecture about an epiphany usually attained by most people who are serious. I'm actually more perplexed that you don't exhibit the same aesthetic perspective when making what seems to be some very black and white points passing as something more highly vaunted. You have to assume a great deal to even make those things stick, while all Jeff and I are guilty of is responding verbatim. I wouldn't assume what's in your soul. I have enough going on with maintaining my own.
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Old 06-06-2009, 08:53 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

John Riley here:

I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to study with Joe Morello when I was young. The lessons were 95% about technique but Joe always stressed that "technique was a means to an end, not an end in itself." To this day, most of my practicing is technique/coordination based because I've found that when my ideas are flowing effortlessly, my groove and feel are best.

On the bandstand, I've observed that the guys I am playing with feel the most relaxed and play their best when the feel from the rhythm section is the most centered. In those circumstances, the bandleaders seem the most creative and, curiously, more interested in allowing the sidemen generous solo space. So, the better the groove is, the more opportunites there are to explore the more virtuostic side of things. On the other hand, when the band hasn't been grooving, there have been fewer opportunities to stretch. So, for me, technique is critical but only a means to an end.
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Old 06-06-2009, 09:23 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Originally Posted by mattsmith View Post
Apples and oranges Polly.

And again...I totally get the intangibles issue/ really do...swear..

Respectfully, I'm just a little surprised that you and others feel the need to continually lecture about an epiphany usually attained by most people who are serious. I'm actually more perplexed that you don't exhibit the same aesthetic perspective when making what seems to be some very black and white points passing as something more highly vaunted. You have to assume a great deal to even make those things stick, while all Jeff and I are guilty of is responding verbatim. I wouldn't assume what's in your soul. I have enough going on with maintaining my own.
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Old 06-06-2009, 09:27 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

I remember back in 79 this very question coming up at a drum clinic in Seattle hosted by the great Louie Bellson. Louie's response was clear and to the point when the question of technique/feel came up to all those in attendance. You need to decide how much "technique" you need to get across your musical "point of view" and ideas on the drums and especially in regards to the context of playing ensemble music with others. After that the subject of stand alone technique/chops only becomes a case of "diminishing returns" according to Louie. In his case as a jazz musician he stated "if it aint got the swing it don't mean a thing" as a practical example of personal wisdom on the subject.

Everyone is different as are all snowlakes so as with what we want to get across musically speaking. So we each have to decide how to crack this personal equation and find a good balance point on what we truly need and have to say regarding this timeless debated subject of techique and feel.
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Old 06-06-2009, 09:44 PM
raggletaggle raggletaggle is offline
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Originally Posted by Steamer View Post

Everyone is different as are all snowlakes so as with what we want to get across musically speaking. So we each have to decide how to crack this personal equation and find a good balance point on what we truly need and have to say regarding this timeless debated subject of techique and feel.
And that's really what it comes down to -- great point.You can say technique and feel are inseparable. You can also use that same definition of technique to say technique and breathing are inseparable. Technique is defined as a systematic approach to a means -- good or bad, and in that regard, everything we do as human beings can be linked to one "Technique" or another. I think matt and other drummers, who spend insane amount of hours honing and refining certain facets of their technique, feel like other drummers like to pull the "it's all about the groove" trump card to compensate for their own lack of skills -- and of course that happens. I guess the end result is that, as you mentioned, all that matters is whatever YOU personally feel is a priority. It's just that in my experience, and from my own maturation process, I am learning to appreciate the importance of "feel" more and more each day as it relates to music.
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