You play what you hear?

aydee

Platinum Member
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So someone says to me the other day, everything you play is only an interpretation of what you have already heard. There is no music creation that is borne of thin air...

The instinct to create music isnt as original and individualistic as we seem to think. ( for example, in a manner of speaking, Jimmy Page was 'interpreting' Muddy Waters, Miles Davis was 'interpreting' Dizzy' etc etc.. )

Agree? Disagree? Thoughts?


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Andy

Administrator
Staff member
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So someone says to me the other day, everything you play is only an interpretation of what you have already heard. There is no music creation that is borne of thin air...

The instinct to create music isnt as original and individualistic as we seem to think. ( for example, in a manner of speaking, Jimmy Page was 'interpreting' Muddy Waters, Miles Davis was 'interpreting' Dizzy' etc etc.. )

Agree? Disagree? Thoughts?


...
I'd agree if we said everything we play is either an interpretation of, or reaction to what we've already heard, especially if you expand the reference beyond musical influences.
 

inneedofgrace

Platinum Member
Every musician, to a certain extent, rips off musicians that came before them. But over the years, the music morphs and evolves in different directions.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Of course everything comes from something. It depends on how many influences you have and the way they impact on your playing.

Sometimes, say in the case of someone like King Crimson or Zappa, it can seem very fresh and different, but their non-rock influences are well-documented. I like players with disparate influences.

But, more than anything, what we play is influenced by those we're playing with.
 

AndyMC

Senior Member
There are only 2 ways to play something.

1 hear it in your head
2 screw up playing something else in your head

So you can be unique, but only by accident
 

aydee

Platinum Member
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The point this guy was trying to make was that, if for instance we play a guitar lick and its a cool lick that we think we've created for a certain part in a certain song... what we are actually doing is....
.... subconciously playing or trying to play an existing lick we have heard. What might come out is an interpretation or a version of that with your own mojo on it.. but that is an accident!

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AndyMC

Senior Member
Yeah but actually I was going a bit deeper than that, you can hear noises on the street or mis-hear songs in your head, etc. And then play either that exact idea or some combination of ideas to create something new. Or try and play something mess up and create something new. Both of which are outside of your direct control making uniqueness accidental, same as it is in nature, a chance mutation has to occur for new genetic variances to come into existence.

But I entirely agree that no music could pop into the head of someone who never heard or felt some outside influence. I add felt because deaf people still get the music of the world just through touch not sound. And there are strange cases like Beethoven where he was able to hear the music in his head and already had the context from when he could hear in order to translate his thoughts into symphonies.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Yeah but actually I was going a bit deeper than that, you can hear noises on the street or mis-hear songs in your head, etc. And then play either that exact idea or some combination of ideas to create something new. Or try and play something mess up and create something new. Both of which are outside of your direct control making uniqueness accidental, same as it is in nature, a chance mutation has to occur for new genetic variances to come into existence.
Great point, and one that I didnt consider. I wasnt thinking tonal textures, soundscapes, and sheer sound/noise. Maybe free jazz, and a lot of experimental music is born of a need to depart from 'predetermined circle of life'

But I entirely agree that no music could pop into the head of someone who never heard or felt some outside influence. I add felt because deaf people still get the music of the world just through touch not sound. And there are strange cases like Beethoven where he was able to hear the music in his head and already had the context from when he could hear in order to translate his thoughts into symphonies.
Another good one. I guess in these cases, patterns that you can feel/sense would substitue melodic/chordal/rhythmic sequences..?

just guessing..

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larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I agree that there is nothing new under the sun. Even the very first human that made the very first pitched instrument....was probably imitating a bird or something. We are a product of our environment. We are born stupid, and learn by imitating what is around us.
 

mind_drummer

Platinum Member
Fundamentally I find this statement absolutely wrong.

"So someone says to me the other day, everything you play is only an interpretation of what you have already heard. There is no music creation that is borne of thin air..."

If It was right, music would would be in infinite loop without any development and creativity. We would still "Hum" what cavemen were "Humming" back in ice age.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
So someone says to me the other day, everything you play is only an interpretation of what you have already heard. There is no music creation that is borne of thin air...

The instinct to create music isnt as original and individualistic as we seem to think. ( for example, in a manner of speaking, Jimmy Page was 'interpreting' Muddy Waters, Miles Davis was 'interpreting' Dizzy' etc etc.. )

Agree? Disagree? Thoughts?
...
The idea that art is made up out of nothing is naive, so it's not insight of the century or anything, but it's mostly true; it's also kind of over-reductive- I don't think I agree with that way of phrasing it. Actual creativity does happen, maybe as a result of listening to the other musicians more than yourself in performance, and of just being truly fluent with the language of the instrument, or parts of it. Maybe having a strong internal voice and being daring enough to follow it completely, too. I don't claim to understand the process real well. A lot of creativity comes from understanding the range of options available for managing the specifics of the job at hand.

Also, playing what you hear is not the same as playing something you literally heard someone else play. That internal voice is educated by music you've heard, but it's a deeper process than your friend's idea suggests.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Indeed, it's "all been done, before" Musical notes are finite. Drum patterns are finite. That's math. We can "tweek" an idea, execute a flam-a-diddle a little odd, and make something "our own", but the ground has been all too well travelled for someone to come up with something new. Even if we never heard it before, the laws of average are far too great, to say "this is unique .... I invented this"!​
I've got a pretty substantial phonolog in my head, so almost inevitably any riff a guitar player comes up with, my head (or the voice in) simply says "that sounds like such and such".​
I passed an audition, on this method. The bass player later asked me "How'd you come up with that drum part"? ..... and I simply said ..... "the song sounded Beatke-esque. I merely thought of what Ringo would have done". It fit. It worked. Bam.​
I constantly "borrow" stuff .... and I figure, if I'm gonna rip something off, I'm gonna rip off the pro's. Like Vinnie Colaiuta, Terry Bozzio, Jack de Johnette, Tony Williams. And of course, I fail, in my execution, to clone those monster drummers, so it becomes mine, simply by default. My fault.​
About the only exception, might be some of my "avant garde" electronic stuff. But then, that treads on what AndyMC mentioned, non-musical sources. So, my knob tweeking might sound like a siren, a jet, a car crash, whale sounds, etc. And thrown into a loop, it might be unique, only in a sense, that it will never be recreated exactly the same way, again. It's made, it's played, it's erased, and it's gone ...... forever.​
 

paistemage

Senior Member
I look at it like a lot, or probrably all, chord changes note combinations, etc have been done by classical composers.

Style is paramount.

Forgetting about genre, rules of that genre, or rules of what musician you "are."

Meshing them together and taking someone to a new place is great.

You can be a "metal" guitatr player who is astounded by Al Demiola, who listens to tabla players and you end up sounding like Tom Waits cousin.

Subconciously you MIGHT play certain things to pay homage too, or a direct reference to create a mindset.
 

bonhamdrummer123

Senior Member
Creation is not about what you're playing so much as it is where you're playing it in reference to what the other musicians are playing at the time.
 

paistemage

Senior Member
A lot of creativity comes from understanding the range of options available for managing the specifics of the job at hand.

.

I totally agree with that. Having a wide tonal pallete, and technique, or understanding of whats out there.

That way you can approach the instrument with different avenues that can alter minimally or greatly change the composition.

I could play the part like Joey Kramer, Elvin Jones, or Giovanni Hildago.
 

paistemage

Senior Member
I agree that there is nothing new under the sun. Even the very first human that made the very first pitched instrument....was probably imitating a bird or something. We are a product of our environment. We are born stupid, and learn by imitating what is around us.

So does that mean stupid people have no smart people around to imitate? Or are they just too stupid to know any better?!

Ok that could go off topic...
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Fundamentally I find this statement absolutely wrong.

"So someone says to me the other day, everything you play is only an interpretation of what you have already heard. There is no music creation that is borne of thin air..."

If It was right, music would would be in infinite loop without any development and creativity. We would still "Hum" what cavemen were "Humming" back in ice age.
I understand where you're coming from, but I don't think Abe was meaning it the way you percieved his comment, everything we do in drumming has been done before by zillions of drummers, each one of us has many influences, which naturally is somehow reflected within our playing, but it's a snow ball effect, if you know what I mean, everyone's influences is coming from several different drummers, everyone's will play it how is feeling these influences, thus, in the end his/her own playing will develop and become unique and influence others, and the very escence of his/her influences came from drummers who also had several drummers as a model to create their own styles, it's a never ending evolution based on what has been created before our time, and this for many generations past and future, these "cavemen" had a style and each one of them influenced several other "cavemen" which in turn influenced... I'll stop there, I'm sure you get the gesture of it. :))

When you play with other musicians, they're like us, and their influences are transmitted to you, conciously or inconciously, the snow ball just get bigger and bigger, and the bigger the influences you have assimilated, the more is the chance that you'll play something you heard before, even if you're not aware of it :)
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I can say with complete conviction that many of my signature beats and licks are the result of me completely f*****g up the interpretation of how another drummer played something, but my mess up turned out okay anyway and now it sounds only like me.
 
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