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(@vic-lewis-vl)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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I'm with Taso on this one....my musical listening pleasure is enhanced if I've got an idea what the guitarist is doing.....if I hear a great song, I want to be able to play it, even if it's only for my own amusement.

As for the deconstructing poetry - well we do something pretty similar in the SSG every week....someone'll post their lyrics and the rest of us will pull it apart (in a friendly way, of course!) and let the writer know what works or what doesn't work for us.

It's like magic - we all know it's just trickery, and there's no real magic involved, but that doesn't make it any less magical.....

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


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(@musica23)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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Since I resumed my guitar playing about a year ago, I've definitely found it more difficult to actively listen to music as I always had. I feel compelled to pick up a guitar and play along, or I end up turning the music off and practicing! I really, really miss just listening to music. Several times I've set out to "just listen" but it's never actually worked out that way. I've never been a "music in the background-type" listener, so this has been frustrating. :?

I'm not sure whether or not my apparent inability to listen is due to the reasons you've given, though. I haven't given it enough time to even try and deconstruct any songs or solos on record; I just play along or turn it off! It's great to be enthused about and dedicated to playing, but I really need to find the balance here! It's not the first time (and it won't be the last) that I've found it very tough to locate and stay within the "middle ground." I have a very addictive personality, but I intend to fight it in this area as I've had to do in many other areas.

Thanks for posting this, Jenny. Now I feel motivated to put more effort into enjoying my music collection. I'll lock up the guitars if necessary and sit there and LISTEN without THINKING. It's always given me great pleasure and has helped me to relax, and I miss it a great deal. I'm looking forward to trying this experiment sometime today!

Take care, good luck and thanks again! :D

Love and Peace or Else,
CC


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(@ignar-hillstrom)
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I enoy music more because my ear improved. Knowing theory has nothing to do with my enjoyment of music.Knowing the alphabet and basic grammar doesnt reduce my enjoyment of reading books, either.


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(@peejay)
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I enoy music more because my ear improved. Knowing theory has nothing to do with my enjoyment of music.Knowing the alphabet and basic grammar doesnt reduce my enjoyment of reading books, either.
However, you need the alphabet and grammar to read books; you don't need to know musical notes and theory to listen to music. It's more equivalent to listening to a beautiful foreign language and then learning the language and realizing how boring the conversation was to begin with. ;)

It's more like a magic show: a good magician/musician makes you forget to pay attention to how it's done. :D


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(@ignar-hillstrom)
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you don't need to know musical notes and theory to listen to music.

Yes we do. And most of that we all learn by listening to music. Which is why most of us can easily listen to blues, rock and pop music. We're familair with it, we learned their grammatic rules even though we dont have the words for it. Most of us would probably end up pretty disorientated by African or Asian music: we are not so familiar with it so the music doesn't make sense. Like watching a movie in a foreign language: you can kinda follow it but dont know enough to really get it.

Reading books and such on theory is just making explicit what you already know. It allows you to communicate those thoughts you already had on a level beyond "wow, that 's cool!". Whether you want that or not is up to you, but everyone needs to get the theory behind music implicitly to really appreciate it as music instead of creative noise.


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(@jenny-b)
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Topic starter  

Some really interesting thoughts here, thanks for taking the time to post. Seems everyone's experience of listening is different. I wonder if at some point of mastery of your instrument, you can kinda 'forget' what you've learned and play in a very free way without thinking or deconstructing - like being in a 'flow' state, and then music can become an 'experience' again rather than being its component parts.
I'll lock up the guitars if necessary and sit there and LISTEN without THINKING. It's always given me great pleasure and has helped me to relax, and I miss it a great deal. I'm looking forward to trying this experiment sometime today!
Thats exactly how I feel. Hope it worked for you!
It's like magic - we all know it's just trickery, and there's no real magic involved, but that doesn't make it any less magical..... ..yeah, but.. it does tho!
No, I can't say I ever remember poetry seeming magical when I was in school... What, no Yeats, Kavanagh, Hopkins, Wordsworth, Roald Dahl, Cat in the Hat??
We broke down the poets, stole their lumch money and then went after their families. Kust kldding. :) Class!
Of course, to truly be great, you must learn all that you can - Then forget it all Hi Ken Yes I think you hit the nail on the head, you've put it better than I can, very Zen!


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(@scrybe)
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Somewhere during my prolonged absence from guitar playing, I started really listening to music again, rather than listening to how good a guitarist is. Its the best thing that I've learned to do musically. Perhaps I would have still learned to do it if I'd continued playing guitar, I don't know (so I'm not suggesting you book yourself a half-decade sabbatical, lol). What I do know is that I'm listening more to what is going on (e.g. is there a walking bassline, what is the harmony doing, etc) but also just plain enjoying its effect. There's something endearing about a simple but good tune - you know how easy it is play, yet its effect is much more powerful than the simple notes being played. Don't get me wrong, I like complicated stuff too (as my jazz collection would attest), but I've just started making 'what the music achieves' a priority above all else.

I think musicians can easily fall into the trap of thinking there's some 'ultimate' solo/composition/whatever, which is the most complex/innovative/whatever criterion one wants to applyThat probably flows into our listening, too.

Lol, I managed to post without actually offering any decent advice. You could, if you want, try a day (or longer if you're really brave) not playing guitar and not listening to music of any kind. This would be pretty hard to do (it'd mean no tv, radio, mute your computer, etc), but if you can go without music for a while, you might find that the music you're most desperate to hear is something which evokes a particular feeling/memory.

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


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(@kent_eh)
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No, I can't say I ever remember poetry seeming magical when I was in school... What, no Yeats, Kavanagh, Hopkins, Wordsworth, Roald Dahl, Cat in the Hat??
All present in my education, but I never "got" the point. Poetry always seemed to me like "saying something the hard way, just 'cause you can".

I can appreciate many art forms, and get very excited by some, but poetry (and opera and ballet FWIW) never stirred any interest or emotional response in me.
I do recognize and appreciate the technical skill of the artist/performers in those fields, I just can't manage to appreciate the artform.

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


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 cnev
(@cnev)
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The only difference to me is when I start learning a song on guitar that I have listened to for years. Then I tend to start hearing things I never knew where there, but otherwise I pretty much listen to music the same way.

My reasons for liking a piece of music hasn't changed now that I play an instrument. Usually but not always I know right away whether or not a song does it for me. I may not even understand what it is that draws me to the music but I just know whether I like it or not.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@blueline)
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Here's a practical application that takes into consideration everything we've said in this thread. :P

The other day I put in Aerosmith - Toys in the Attic. I was reminded of how much I loved this album when it first came out. It brought me back to my younger years. The fact that I know how to play guitar did not take anything away from me. I really enjoyed listening to each song. In fact, when "No More, No More" came on, I had actually forgoten how much I liked this song.

Having never learned how to play this tune, when I got home, (I was listening to the CD in my truck) I went directly to my guitar and within minutes started playing this song. My point is, knowing how to play did not distract me from enjoying the music and came in REAL handy when I wanted to play the tune myself. in fact, I was even happier when I found that I was able to play the tune by ear within minutes. (it's a kinda easy song)

Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.


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(@scrogdog)
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No, I never ever lose the magic.

It's sort of wierd, but I have no desire at all to play electric guitar. I've always gone with the acoustic, even though my favorite band is Rush. Acoustic just seems like a more musical thing because you make something that sounds more like a song all by yourself.

But the thing that has always amazed me about music is how it is written. I don't consider myself a very good writer, so when someone writes what I consider to be a great song, I just sort of shake my head in amazement.

See, even if I could play like Lifeson, I could not make music like Rush. Their songwriting and musicianship has always amazed me. How they segue from complex part to complex part and then somehow, at the end, they end up where they began.

Freaking amazing.

It is no matter that I can play "Here Comes the Sun" (or any other song for that matter) rather well, because the magic comes from the writing. Nothing at all is lost because I know how to play it. Nothing at all.


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(@nexion)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 536
 

Well, I do agree that detailed analyzing of songs usually ruins the vibe that it sends out.

But for me I really have to try to analyze music, so my default listening mode is "Sucked In".

The next time your listening to a classic and your mind starts evaluating it try pausing the song, taking a few deep breaths and let your mind relax, then when you feel a little less analytical and a little more creative start it back up.

"That’s what takes place when a song is written: You see something that isn’t there. Then you use your instrument to find it."
- John Frusciante


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 Bish
(@bish)
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Yep. Happens to me all the time. And in live shows, lots of times I'm closely watching the player(s) to see how it's done rather than just grooving on the scene.
Me, me, me, me, me, me, me.

Bish

"I play live as playing dead is harder than it sounds!"


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(@alangreen)
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Posts: 5366
 

Bit of a philosophical question here; I'll try not to be long-winded.

Remember when you were at school, and you read a wonderful poem which seemed all magical, and then you were made take it apart piece by piece, analysing the metre and alliteration and metaphors etc.. and you could never enjoy the poem in the same simple fresh way again cos the magic kinda left it when you started to take it apart?

Well, do any of you find this happens to music when you start to play an instrument? I find I'm listening now for chords, and changes, and strumming patterns, and rhythms, and I'm worried that I can't just sit back and let it flow over me, without analysis, and just well, be in it like I used to. Any thoughts? Can you listen to it anymore without picking it into component parts? do you switch off the analytical part of your mind when listening to new music, or are you always the 'mechanic' (for want of a better word?)

hope thats not too pompous.. just, I've loved being a listener all my life, now things are changing.. :?

Yep - everything's an intellectual challenge, but I find over the years I've developed from just sitting there thinking "that's good" to thinking "that's a step down to a 5th below, that's a relative minor, that's a very basic melody and (plink plink plink) it's in the key of..., that's a ...." you get the drift; and it makes working out somebody else's song for myself a much easier process. Ville Valo's doom laden writings for the latest HIM album are very hard work, but I'm going shopping for Serj Tankian's solo album at lunchtime and the lead single doesn't sound too complicated so I guess tonight will be spent with the thinking head on.

Best,

A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


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(@jenny-b)
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Topic starter  

:D DAH DAAAH, I've figured it out.. how to switch off the brain and feel the music again..the answer to( and cause of) most of lifes problems.. a coupla beers!!
Poetry always seemed to me like "saying something the hard way, just 'cause you can".
Just out of interest (and I totally take your point about some artforms leaving you cold, despite an appreciation the technical excellence involved)I presume that you see some magic in the lyrics of a song, that you don't get from poetry.. I wonder why there's a difference? Is it the added dimension of the music that lends more weight to the words, or perhaps make them less important.. hmm. Personally I have a pet hate of 'lazy' lyrics in songs.. I reckon if you know what the next line is going to be before you hear it, it shouldn't be there..


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