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  #201  
Old 06-08-2009, 06:22 AM
VedranS VedranS is offline
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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I don't think anyone should answer this, but how much feel do you(generic) really have for your instrument?\

Funny that, I know it was a rhetorical question but I'll give my two cents, just because what I thought of was kind of amusing. Funny enough, but I don't think I have nearly the feel on my instrument that I'd like to - and so, in order to improve my feel I practice technical excercises such as playing with low stick heights, studying accenting techniques and working with a metronome. It's like the ideas of how I want to sound are already there, and have probably been built out of a lot of listening to music and deciding what I like, but in order to make my drumming "feel" to others like I want it to, I have gain a lot more control over my hands and feet.

As far as the being able to play someone elses "feel", it's really difficult and I've been learning that with my current band. They play "punk-rock-reagge" music and have very specific ideas about what I should do in certain parts, but sometimes have a hard time articulating them, as they're not terribly technically versed themselves. So, usually it goes down something like "man, I don't know, but the way you're doing that part is just off, like there's something like 'uuuuhhhh' that's not there" So then I play quarters on the hi-hat. They say that's not it. Then I swing the eights. Not it. Double time snare. Nope. Follow the bassline more with my foot. No man, you know, like uuuuhhh! Open the hi-hat a bit....That sounded pretty good.. Yeah, so as of now it's kind of a crapshoot, but that probably depends on the people you're with and the situation.
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  #202  
Old 06-08-2009, 06:55 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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It's like the ideas of how I want to sound are already there, and have probably been built out of a lot of listening to music and deciding what I like, but in order to make my drumming "feel" to others like I want it to, I have gain a lot more control over my hands and feet.
Well, but the point is make it "feel" to others, meaning the band leader, the producer, the song writer, whoever, want it to feel, not you. It's how the song wants to feel, not you. Play for the song first, immerse yourself in it, and there's your feel right there.
But your example with your band brings up something that should be obvious. Most of us are never going to be in a situation where a conductor says "Your staccato is suppose to be marching boots on a cobblestone street." I know I never have (boots on a cobblestone street?) but then I don't play classical music. And really, I just don't think that's what we're talking about here.
Seriously, are there any symphonic percussionists here? If so they must feel a little...weird.
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  #203  
Old 06-08-2009, 07:22 AM
VedranS VedranS is offline
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Well, but the point is make it "feel" to others, meaning the band leader, the producer, the song writer, whoever, want it to feel, not you. It's how the song wants to feel, not you. Play for the song first, immerse yourself in it, and there's your feel right there.
But your example with your band brings up something that should be obvious. Most of us are never going to be in a situation where a conductor says "Your staccato is suppose to be marching boots on a cobblestone street." I know I never have (boots on a cobblestone street?) but then I don't play classical music. And really, I just don't think that's what we're talking about here.
Seriously, are there any symphonic percussionists here? If so they must feel a little...weird.
Couple of things. First, I'd agree that most conductors would not be talking in such metaphorical language when trying to give concrete instructions. However, the idea, that abstract "feel" is more than likely going to be in there somewhere, even if it was just a feeling the composer had.

Secondly, about the fact that you're not supposed to feel a certain way, "the song" is. Well, songs don't really feel much of anything as they're abstract constructs (<-- ha ) made by people, and not living things. So, the feel must reside somewhere. You're saying it's the audience. I can agree with that, but wouldn't you agree that in order to create that "feel" using technique, there has to be some kind of empathy, that the performer somehow has to be involved in it. You can't evoke something specific without knowing what you're trying to evoke. So, the performer has to "feel" it at some point. Now I can fully understand that during the actual performance it might be best to try to distance yourself from that in order to do accurate work uninhibited by your emotions. However, I'd contend that you as the "interpreter" of that music do have to make an emotional connection at some point in order to "get into" that piece so you know what you're trying to say. Now, this could happen during practice, while listening back (for me this is a good point to "get into" it), while reflecting on the music, while talking about it to your bandmates, et cetera. I'm still saying that music is about feeling, and as a performer you'd better have some connection to those "feelings" you're trying to bring across...
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  #204  
Old 06-08-2009, 07:24 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

Time for a long overdue thank you note folks......

Just taking a moment to personally thank John Riley for his contributions to this thread which I haven't seen much of any acknowledgement of {?}

For those who don't know who he is and what he has acomplished and has to offer and bring to the table on this subject do your homework is my advice and also take the time to ask him questions from his insightful point of view. Thanks John for putting in the time and sharing your wise words with this forum.

end of this public service announcement.....
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  #205  
Old 06-08-2009, 07:45 AM
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Well, but the point is make it "feel" to others, meaning the band leader, the producer, the song writer, whoever, want it to feel, not you. It's how the song wants to feel, not you. Play for the song first, immerse yourself in it, and there's your feel right there..
...

Good point. Most of the 'feel' talk so far has been in context of self.

It struck me that probably 90% of Steely Dan's music was played by session players who all 'felt' the song very differently. Walter Brecker & Donald Fagen forced most of them to change their parts to follow very strictly their own vision of the song.

Buddy's impatience with his band members is legendary.So were Mingus & Miles ( at least in the first half of his musical life ).

Good feel is very often 'beaten' into musicians by band leaders. Hopefully they are 'trained' enough to allow the beating to have some positive effect ; )


...

Last edited by aydee; 06-08-2009 at 07:56 AM.
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  #206  
Old 06-08-2009, 07:47 AM
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Time for a long overdue thank you note folks......

Just taking a moment to personally thank John Riley for his contributions to this thread which I haven't seen much of any acknowledgement of {?}
Well done, Stan, I second the sentiment. Thanks again, John, highly appreciated.
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  #207  
Old 06-08-2009, 07:49 AM
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Good point. Most of the 'feel' talk so far has been in context of self.

It struck me that probably 90% of Steely Dan's music was played by session players who all 'felt' the song very differently. Walter Brecker & Donald Fagen forced most of them to change their parts to follow very strictly their own vision of the song.

Buddy's impatience with his band members is legendary.So were Mingus & Miles ( at least in the first half of his musical life ).

Good feel is very often 'beaten' into musicians by band leaders. Hopefully they are 'trained' enough to allow the beating to have some positive effect ; )
Just part and parcel of the process of taking your feel and technique and becoming "flexable" with it when playing music with others Abe... :}
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  #208  
Old 06-08-2009, 08:20 AM
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Couple of things. First, I'd agree that most conductors would not be talking in such metaphorical language when trying to give concrete instructions. However, the idea, that abstract "feel" is more than likely going to be in there somewhere, even if it was just a feeling the composer had.

Secondly, about the fact that you're not supposed to feel a certain way, "the song" is. Well, songs don't really feel much of anything as they're abstract constructs (<-- ha ) made by people, and not living things. So, the feel must reside somewhere. You're saying it's the audience. I can agree with that, but wouldn't you agree that in order to create that "feel" using technique, there has to be some kind of empathy, that the performer somehow has to be involved in it. You can't evoke something specific without knowing what you're trying to evoke. So, the performer has to "feel" it at some point. Now I can fully understand that during the actual performance it might be best to try to distance yourself from that in order to do accurate work uninhibited by your emotions. However, I'd contend that you as the "interpreter" of that music do have to make an emotional connection at some point in order to "get into" that piece so you know what you're trying to say. Now, this could happen during practice, while listening back (for me this is a good point to "get into" it), while reflecting on the music, while talking about it to your bandmates, et cetera. I'm still saying that music is about feeling, and as a performer you'd better have some connection to those "feelings" you're trying to bring across...
For what it's worth, it sounds to me like you're on the right track. My example was an attempt to point out that at one level, music is music from the preformers side. Look into what Carlos Santana has to say about writing music and how he does it. Find others to read. It's not often that off the wall jamming is turned into something meaningful. It's usually developed and well thought out. Gadd doesn't get hired to "jam" what he feels at the moment. Someone else brought up Steely Dan.

It once was feel was between you and the instrument, the musician had sole, and the emotion was in the music. If someone wants to be quixote on the existential music highway though, I can't see any reason why anyone would want to stand in their way.

Good luck, I'm out of here also.
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  #209  
Old 06-08-2009, 08:21 AM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Wouldn't you agree that in order to create that "feel" using technique, there has to be some kind of empathy, that the performer somehow has to be involved in it. You can't evoke something specific without knowing what you're trying to evoke. So, the performer has to "feel" it at some point.
Yes, I absolutely agree with that. It's what I meant when I said "immerse yourself in the song." But to do that requires a certain "letting go," in my opinion anyway, and letting go requires, well, technique. That may, in fact, be the ultimate in technique, to just let the song tell you what to play. Simplistic, I know, but to serve the song requires a kind of musical "radar," if you will. As you say it's a sort of empathy, and empathy is not about about thinking of yourself. It's the extra sense that all good musicians have, it's more about participation than about standing out.
I believe, I am convinced, that musicians are here to serve the music, and I just don't get any "feel" at all from musicians who force the music to serve them. But that's just me.
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  #210  
Old 06-08-2009, 08:45 AM
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. Gadd doesn't get hired to "jam" what he feels at the moment. Someone else brought up Steely Dan.

.
Actually he does and has on countless recording sessions some quite legendary in stature especially with Steely Dan.

Its when the "jam" becomes interpretive improvisational skills {the act of creating drums parts in ensemble playing situation based on a rough framework guide} with one's gained musical voice based on experience, feel and technique combined becomes center stage for the task at hand.

His famous drum performance on the tune Aja was a one take improvised performance I was told and created off the rough guide the composer{s} gave him in the studio which became an instant classic. Giving him carte blanche to create off a guide to combine his technique, feel, gained musical experience, interpretive skills and having a creative vision for the music at hand tells the complete story.
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  #211  
Old 06-08-2009, 12:01 PM
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Default Re: Feel or Technique, importance?

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Punk drummers look back to The Pistols. (They should look back to Moe and The Velvets.)
Ken, yes and no. I love Moe's ideas but they don't satisfy the energy and anger of some young guys, so the demand was more for Paul Cook's punky playing.

Victor DeLorenzo of the Violent Femmes is about the only modern drummer I know of in the public eye who seems to have followed the path Moe laid - eschewing the conventional kit for an abbreviated standing setup (it's no coincidence that he's touring with her now).

Its interesting how the feelings of anger and rebellion in teenage boys and young men create so many new genres.
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  #212  
Old 06-08-2009, 05:13 PM
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Ken, yes and no. I love Moe's ideas but they don't satisfy the energy and anger of some young guys, so the demand was more for Paul Cook's punky playing.

Victor DeLorenzo of the Violent Femmes is about the only modern drummer I know of in the public eye who seems to have followed the path Moe laid - eschewing the conventional kit for an abbreviated standing setup (it's no coincidence that he's touring with her now).

Its interesting how the feelings of anger and rebellion in teenage boys and young men create so many new genres.
The Velvets, for all the ir anti-art rhetoric, produced some great tunes, and very artsy at that. I think Waiting on My Man is a classic. There is nothing else like it in rock, the way the drums and bass do thate constant eights shimmy like a guy who is 'jonesing.' Moe is actually a big Baba Olatunji fan. Talk about influence in the strangest places. But that song was such an artsy statement.

I think it's interesting that bands put themselves in a situation where they are working with a producer who is telling them what to do. From what I've read Brian Eno is the type of guy who really likes to let the musicians natural talent come out. Bob Rock put Metallica through hell and back creating The Black Album. He would ask them to do things that were so specific and so counter what they were doing as a band. But that was their biggest selling album , I think. Or at least one of them.

Fagen and Brecker were tyrants and I think to some extent had a bad name among studio players because they often didn't know what they were looking for until the guys did it, or wanted something so specific and the player would feel that it needed something else and try to sneak it in. I remember Chuck Rainey talking about slapping on the bass during the chorus of Peg even though they didn't want that. But it's in there. I think Steve Gadd must have blown them away with that playing on the title track of Aja. Gadd's known for his playing with Dan, but he really wasn't a big Dan drummer as were Jeff Porcaro and Purdy..

I play with people often who like my playing even when I don't. I have often had the problem where someone will love my playing, I feel a little intimidated because I always think I suck.I lacked confidence as a player. Not so much anymore. I think as a musician you have to realize that you are dealing with personalities, and artists who can really bring the best artistry out of their fellow players are the guys worth their weight in gold.
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  #213  
Old 06-08-2009, 08:25 PM
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I think it's interesting that bands put themselves in a situation where they are working with a producer who is telling them what to do. From what I've read Brian Eno is the type of guy who really likes to let the musicians natural talent come out. Bob Rock put Metallica through hell and back creating The Black Album. He would ask them to do things that were so specific and so counter what they were doing as a band. But that was their biggest selling album , I think. Or at least one of them.
It starts with song-writers. I've been in more than my fair share of situations, more than I even want to admit, that the main "song-writer" feels he/she is Beethoven and needs to tell everyone specifically what they should be playing. It's not a pretty sight. In my case I lack the professionalism sometimes unless it is an exceptionally over paid gig where I enjoy the end result artistically to deal with that sort of behavior.
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:49 PM
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It starts with song-writers. I've been in more than my fair share of situations, more than I even want to admit, that the main "song-writer" feels he/she is Beethoven and needs to tell everyone specifically what they should be playing. It's not a pretty sight. In my case I lack the professionalism sometimes unless it is an exceptionally over paid gig where I enjoy the end result artistically to deal with that sort of behavior.
In defense of the songwriter, I think they are well within their bondaries by insisting on certain parts, after all they do have the concept of the song already thought out. It's a good thing to have definite ideas of what you are trying to achieve.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:39 PM
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I' ve been on both sides of the fence. I had a band that did my material, and subbed for the guitar player when ever we had problems with maintaining one, which we always did because they didn't want to do songs. That was unless they thought you were the next Tom Petty. I would just say, hey don't come around here no more. I remember once I told a guitar player that I liked his solo. He did a motif that came out of the chorus that I really liked. I asked him to keep that in. We ran the song again and he took it out and never played it again.

Some songs need to be sold. Mine did. I doubt Fleetwood Mac's classic albums of the mid 70's would be under that designation. They work just simply as songs because they are so good. It is interesting that band members say they had more input into the songs than originally credited for. I don't know the merits of the Liberty De Vito case; but if he could claim that about Billy Joel, one of the most traditional song writers around, then the sky has fallen. I always wanted player input into my songs. The first thing I learned about songwriting was you have a lyric, you have the melodies, everything else is up for grabs: style, key, mode, and in the end even the lyric and melody are up for grabs. Look at Jeff Buckley's version of Alleluia, or Aretha Franklin. I think it's rough when you're in a band situation and people are telling you what to do unless that someone is Miles Davis, Phil Ramone or John Cale.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:48 PM
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I can see both sides too, I guess I prefer to get the song out as close to the original conception as possible, and then make any mods from there. I don't mind being told to play a certain thing, but if it aint working, then either I'm not doing it right or it's the wrong part. No doubt all the great songs you know had important input from the guys who originally worked it up.
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Old 06-08-2009, 11:38 PM
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In defense of the songwriter, I think they are well within their bondaries by insisting on certain parts, after all they do have the concept of the song already thought out. It's a good thing to have definite ideas of what you are trying to achieve.
I am not talking about general constructive criticism. I am talking about the desire for complete control. Where does that come from? If a song-writer feels need to tell someone exactly what to play, perhaps they are playing with the wrong person?
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  #218  
Old 06-09-2009, 12:02 AM
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I am not talking about general constructive criticism. I am talking about the desire for complete control. Where does that come from? If a song-writer feels need to tell someone exactly what to play, perhaps they are playing with the wrong person?
I don't know about that. Maybe it's a matter of context, of what kind of music we're talking about. Duke Ellington, James Brown, Frank Zappa, these are examples of song writers having complete control over their music, telling the musicians exactly what to play, and they didn't have any problem finding the right people to play for them.
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:16 AM
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Moe is actually a big Baba Olatunji fan. Talk about influence in the strangest places.
A lot of us love that African jive. I've long been a fan of Sol Amarfio from Osibisa. I saw them play at the Hilton and they have the most contagious joy of playing. African and Latin drummers are an inspiration to those looking for alternatives to the ubiquitous backbeat.

Alas, most times, the humble kick/snare/hats backbeat is what people usually want from rock players. It leaves space and makes it easy for everyone to know where they are. Then you think to yourself, "Hmm, this song is a bit plain and could do with a bit of a lift". Next minute you notice that the bassist is losing her or his groove even though your rhythm on the toms has the same accents as the old kick/snare pattern. Or someone (the songwriter?) will say, "Could you just play it a bit less busy?". Back to the backbeat you go and the song sounds the same as a thousand others - everyone feels better LOL

Trouble is, toms have less definition than snare/hats and can impinge on the bassist's territory. I've been thinking about ways of de-cluttering songs at both the top and bottom ends, which is what lead me to Moe. Busy kick patterns rarely thrill me because I prefer a cleaner bottom end (this sounds Freudian!).

Our ears have become conditioned to the sound of the kick and snare pivoting against each other and I'm trying to go the other way, but I get nervous about leaving the kick out of beats in circumstances when you'd expect it. It puts more onus on the bassist's and your timing, but it can add air to non-dance numbers. Victor DeLorenzo from the Violent Femmes doesn't use a kick at all and sometimes they sound a bit thin, so it's a balancing act.

Crash cymbals are often used in ways that probably lessen their, and the songs' value. Originally cymbal crashes were reserved for musical climaxes. If you climax all the time then it's not a climax any more, so where do you go from there? (Freud again?). I can do without quite that much drama. When I was younger I often used them at the end of fills to "protect" me in case I didn't come back to the beat cleanly. Classy (not).

A few people have looked into the cymbal thing. Moe disliked them because she reckoned it masked the lyrics (sometimes a good thing? :). Peter Gabriel asked Jerry Marotta and Phil Collins not to use cymbals on his "Melt" album. Robert Fripp did the same with Bill Bruford on Discipline because he felt the hats would interfere with his guitar tone in his new style. They were both stunning albums, so there's something to be said for working with a songwriter's vision; it forces you to stop thinking like a drummer. Bill B and Tony Levin's playing on the Discipline album is my favourite rhythm section performance although it's not an influence because Bill's a marvel and I suck :)

So I relate to you there, Ken. Our singer loves my playing because I'm the only drummer he's played with who focuses on supporting the vocals (and I make him laugh). Some bands encourage you to go for it but most just want drummers to stay well out of the way and only pop their head up at strategic moments.

It's not easy to follow another person's vision because you can be forced to play in ways that feel weird to you. Sometimes everyone has to compromise because, if the drummer's groove is weaker than it would otherwise be, it can harm a song more than not living up to The Vision. At that point, a songwriter needs to improve enough to attract more dextrous musicians.

Please pardon yet another long, rambling post. Insomnia :(
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  #220  
Old 06-09-2009, 01:35 AM
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Bruford took to riding the roto toms, which I really liked. They weren't as heavy as the tom, That was a great idea. They are a big part of Discipline; and then of course that led to his using the Simmons melodically with Earthworks. There's a whole world out there that has barely been touched.

I always enjoyed the eager movement away from doing these well-established grooves. And you are right. it is the Afro-Latin thing that really starts to bring you away from that. It's not only the groove, it's the fills as well. I get very frustrated with doing the same thing over and over. That's why I suck. Afro-Latin drumming really gets the melodic context happening. You start thinking more as a percussionist. That was a very big part of what Elvin was doing, elongated the groove and making it more lyrical. That's my next project.

I am lucky to be in a situation now where the guys like when I work these busy ideas in, so I can experiment. But in the end, it is always about coming back to the basic idea that makes the concept work without the busyness. In most situations, if you take out the bass drum, you're going to have the band leader up your butt in about ten seconds. But I always take it out, esp when working with a singer, and have had that happen to me. But like yourself, I have found myself attracted to those situations where players are allowed to get beyond that. Your quote about Moe saying she didn't like the cymbals is an interesting one. Here is a bold artistic move by a drummer who many would see a a very minor player; yet, she is making a major decision.

I am the same way with singers because I am one. And now I am looking for a nice gig with a good singer who can appreciate what I do. And I can even do back up. Actually, my band wants me to start singing more. Drumming and singing is not an easy task. Doing a fill and climaxing a lyric line in the chorus is a problem, for example. What happens when the bass and drums push ahead while the vocals hang back? I'll do a couple of songs though.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:38 AM
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I am not talking about general constructive criticism. I am talking about the desire for complete control. Where does that come from? If a song-writer feels need to tell someone exactly what to play, perhaps they are playing with the wrong person?
Some of the greatest music ever made came from a composer writing down the exact parts he wanted musicians to play, and giving them very little leeway in interpretation.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:45 AM
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Practice, what to practice, how to practice, these are things that are discussed in great detail on other threads here.
It is naturally assumed that all musicians practice their instruments.
This thread is about something other than practicing.
Hope that clears things up!
Good on you, thanks.
That was my previous point, some fellows brought in "practise" which is out of this context. Feel and Technique are the core subjects, as per my original post...take a look.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:46 AM
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Good on you, thanks.
That was my previous point, some fellows brought in "practise" which is out of this context. Feel and Technique are the core subjects, as per my original post...take a look.
Practice is a fundamental tool for technique. Technique is practice. What's the problem with a little scope in the discussion?
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:50 AM
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Some of the greatest music ever made came from a composer writing down the exact parts he wanted musicians to play, and giving them very little leeway in interpretation.
Yes, exactly. But I get the impression that most of the people here are thinking in terms of a rock band setting where the music more of a collaborative effort. Any professional drummer, however, knows what it's like to get a sour look from a band leader/composer. "Hey drummer, what's that you're playing at bar 20 after the first ending? It doesn't say drum solo there, does it?" Oops...
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Old 06-09-2009, 02:04 AM
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Some of the greatest music ever made came from a composer writing down the exact parts he wanted musicians to play, and giving them very little leeway in interpretation.
Yes and on the other side of the coin some of the greatest music i've ever heard has also been created on the spot by individuals and ensembles being highly developed/intuitive and "compositional" in it's own way by nature depending on the process of music making at hand. No one size fits all and no black+white simple answer response in the bigger picture that makes up many forms of modern music.

Works both ways....
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Old 06-09-2009, 02:49 AM
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Some bands encourage you to go for it but most just want drummers to stay well out of the way and only pop their head up at strategic moments.
Well said Polly...I've found this to be quite true. But I have to say I do agree with the approach. I think the more space the drums leave, the better things sound, generally speaking. Less is more strikes again.
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Old 06-09-2009, 02:55 AM
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Well said Polly...I've found this to be quite true. But I have to say I do agree with the approach. I think the more space the drums leave, the better things sound, generally speaking. Less is more strikes again.
Another generalization that doesn't apply to all forms of drumming and ensemble music.

One choice and style/type of approach doesn't fit all types of what makes up the much bigger world of creative music making...
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Old 06-09-2009, 03:21 AM
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Good on you, thanks.
That was my previous point, some fellows brought in "practise" which is out of this context. Feel and Technique are the core subjects, as per my original post...take a look.
I'm a little confused here.

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

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

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

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

Technique is improved through dedicated practice.

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

If not, then what are we discussing? It's painfully obvious that technique for technique's sake is not music. Please don't tell me that's all we can agree on.
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Old 06-09-2009, 03:25 AM
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Some of the greatest music ever made came from a composer writing down the exact parts he wanted musicians to play, and giving them very little leeway in interpretation.
Though there are some great ones be it Mozart or Prince let me give you some examples.

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

The Beatles or Paul McCartney solo?

Led Zeppelin or Aerosmith?

The Police or Sting solo?

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

I just think that when the right collaborations come together, they are stronger than any one person. Who knows that person better than that person themselves? How can they tell you how to express yourself artistically? Next thing you know they will be telling you how to dress.
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Old 06-09-2009, 03:56 AM
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I don't know Dale it seems to me to survive in this biz you have to be able to give people what they want. If a person can't be instructed to play something because they don't like to be told what to play there will be a hundred other guys who will.
The way I see it is give them what they want. If it's good, then you maybe ended up doing something you wouldn't have done yourself, a good thing, and you've been open minded. If it's bad, that's when you say, maybe try it this way.....
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:27 AM
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Practice is a fundamental tool for technique. Technique is practice. What's the problem with a little scope in the discussion?
It is your personal opinion and I respect it, does not mean I fully agree with it. In fact, I do believe in practice as the key to achieve many things besides technique.
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:28 AM
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Yes and on the other side of the coin some of the greatest music i've ever heard has also been created on the spot by individuals and ensembles being highly developed/intuitive and "compositional" in it's own way by nature depending on the process of music making at hand. No one size fits all and no black+white simple answer response in the bigger picture that makes up many forms of modern music.

Works both ways....
Yes, I agree, and I didn't mean to imply otherwise. Some kinds of music can only be produced with a rigid written structure, with musicians exactly executing what they are told to do. And other kinds of music require a collaborative, intuitive process, with few or no advance dictate. Yet other kinds of music are somewhere in between.
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:38 AM
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Though there are some great ones be it Mozart or Prince let me give you some examples.

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

The Beatles or Paul McCartney solo?

Led Zeppelin or Aerosmith?

The Police or Sting solo?

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

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

This is neither bad nor good, and it has its own set of possibilities and limitations. It's just one of the many ways people do music.
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:49 AM
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I'm a little confused here.

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

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

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

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

Technique is improved through dedicated practice.

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

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

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

I think great drummers became great in feel and technique, because they have done their work right from the base, foundation (manage - practice the rudiments) and still do.
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Old 06-09-2009, 06:23 AM
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I'm a little confused here.

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

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

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

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

Technique is improved through dedicated practice.

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

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

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

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

This has been said so many times, by so many famous drummers. Look at John Riley's work, it is all about using technique to meet the musical ends of the situation you find yourself. Add Stan's great quote by Louie Bellson and it's "no more calls we have a winner."
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Old 06-09-2009, 06:53 AM
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I have to say I do agree with the approach. I think the more space the drums leave, the better things sound, generally speaking. Less is more strikes again.
Larry, on one level - the one that wants to enjoy the physical sensations of my pet lines - resents having to stay in my box until summoned. On another level, I agree that it's best (for me, as a sucky drummer) to leave space and pop up at times when the song calls for action. In a way I'm glad my natural gift for clumsiness forces me to be tasteful. I suspect that if I had the chops I'd make Famadou Don Moye look like Charlie Watts :)

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

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

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

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Old 06-09-2009, 08:37 AM
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Yes and I am listening and he also used the octobons. They were big on that album. There's also Matte Kuddasai, the Bruford shuffle
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Old 06-09-2009, 09:20 AM
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Larry, on one level - the one that wants to enjoy the physical sensations of my pet lines - resents having to stay in my box until summoned. On another level, I agree that it's best (for me, as a sucky drummer) to leave space and pop up at times when the song calls for action. In a way I'm glad my natural gift for clumsiness forces me to be tasteful. I suspect that if I had the chops I'd make Famadou Don Moye look like Charlie Watts :)

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

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

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

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Old 06-09-2009, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Almeyda View Post
I'm a little confused here.

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

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

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

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

Technique is improved through dedicated practice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes I think it would be cool for some of us to actually come together in more of a face to face encounter. I wonder how that could be set up. But I doubt it would ever happen.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:32 PM
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Heh, the Bruford shuffle :)

Elpol, sure, Bill's has been my favourite drummer for about 30 years. Still, he has very particular vision so I can't imagine him following Bob Fripp's without questioning them. I imagine that he would have liked the idea of the challenge but ...
In 81 I had a very clear idea of the way that Crimson should have sounded, but at the end of a year of touring, Bill and Adrian wanted to make changes. I asked Bill to use an electronic drum kit and to no longer hit the cymbals. As for Adrian, I asked him to modify his approach to the guitar...But at the end of a year, the cymbals had reappeared...Some people say Fripp is a dictator, but see, I've always made concessions, and in any case you can't tell musicians of that stature how they should play.
Bill missed his cymbals! From an interview with Pat Mastelotto:
Robert is not crazy about cymbals or hi-hats, so for Vrooom I didn't use a hi-hat. I had a piece of wood stuck over where one would normally be placed. Robert had a conversation with Bill and me about not using a hi-hat. But Bill told him, "I went without my hi-hat for four years. I'm not doing it again." [laughs] So I said, "Well, I guess it will be me." I tried to coerce Robert out of this concept, but he asked, "Why do you need a hi-hat?" I said, "It's a traditional thing for drummers." "Well, Crimson doesn't need tradition."


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

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

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

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