Musical Fallacies

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by bostjan, Jul 20, 2017.

  1. will_shred

    will_shred not that good.

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    I have no clue about the physics, but having played hundreds of guitars, electric and acoustic, from cheap to boutique, from brand new to pre WWII, I can confidently say that wood has almost no effect on the sound of an electric guitar, and it has an enormous impact on the tone of an acoustic guitar. Besides wood the largest effect on the tone of an acoustic guitar is probably how the top is braced.
     
  2. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I disagree- I think those things are EXACTLY what constitutes "feel" in playing. I've always taken "with feeling" be basically be a poor shortcut to describing tastefully expressive playing. Take something played by Vai or Govan - lots of people can hit the same notes, but very few can match the expressive way they play those things. Instruments are all about dynamics on some level - if you can hit every note but have no dynamic, that to me has no "feel". When all the little extra dynamic details are filled in, in a way that comes across as deliberate and expressive, that to me is "with feeling". And lots of people can't do that. Most beginners can't do that.

    The simple answer to "how do you tell who plays with feeling or not" is that it's a question of taste relating to all the little bits of technique that come after simply fretting the right notes.
     
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  3. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    There are several reasons to try to learn a song by ear, and there are alternative reasons to learn by tab:

    By ear:

    1. Most tabs have flaws in them. Many of the ones available for free on the internet are flat out wrong.
    2. Learning a song by ear helps you hear the song. You'll understand a lot more nuances a lot better, since those cannot be conveyed by tabs.
    3. It takes a lot more attention, so you will learn the song better.

    By tab:

    1. It's quicker and easier, and generally you get the main point of the song in less than a minute.
    2. Why duplicate effort? If someone else put as much effort as you would in a transcription, it's pointless to waste your efforts.
    3. Worst case scenario, a tab can be a decent starting point for learning a song by ear.

    And to address bass playing by ear - Man, it is really difficult to clearly make out the bass in a lot of recordings. There are tricks to isolating bass a little, but they take a lot more time to set up, and it's inconvenient. I couldn't imagine trying to learn bass lines to ...And Justice for All by ear back in the 1990's. And songs with more than one low register instrument (I'm looking at you, keyboard player) - good luck easily telling whether that ultra low C is a bass or a synth.
     
  4. Unleash The Fury

    Unleash The Fury SS.org Regular

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    Yes we all know how expressive Mr. Vai is hes amazing. I would agree with you there.

    Originally, i was refering to players who play fast or shred. Theres the people who dont like shreddy music that say that "well this guy can shred but plays with no feeling". It can either be they dont like a certain player or they just dont like shreddy music at all, thus claiming the player has no feeling; just because the listener themselves are not feeling the music. I call that a fallacy.
     
  5. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I just call it a difference in taste.

    Edit: And I mean that in the sense that a lot of shreddy playing does lack some feel to my ears. Not because speed = no feels. Shreddy solo playing isn't something that usually strikes me as aiming for the feels in the first place. To me, the fallacy is that the level of feels equates to any other musical quality or value. Music doesn't have to be expressive or have all the feels to be "good".
     
  6. _MonSTeR_

    _MonSTeR_ SS.org Regular

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    I think it's probably that "feeling" itself, is probably synonymous with a "difference in taste" and frankly due to very little else.
     
  7. stevexc

    stevexc Laura Like Butter

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    [​IMG]

    EDIT: Oh whoops FALLACY not PHALLUS-Y
     
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  8. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    Ok so I know it was a while ago Lars was discussed in this thread but reading it I just gotta say something... He's TERRIBLE, and that's not a fallacy!

    Considering how long he's been playing and the fact that he plays for one of the biggest bands in the entire world, his playing is embarrassing. His technique is bad, he's sloppy, he has NO feel, he can't play fast double bass, his fills are super awkward and bad, he doesn't use a RIDE CYMBAL?!? And his gear just sounds like shit generally, with too heavy cymbals and shit drum sticks, and a snare that almost always seems to sound crap.
     
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  9. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace 0 0 1 0 0 6 5 0 3\

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    So I take it you will NOT be preordering any Lars signature drum kits?
     
  10. Dayn

    Dayn silly person

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    If we're still on playing with 'feeling', I'm going to jump on the side saying it's all a bunch of bull. When people say 'playing with feeling' in the context of guitar, they almost entirely mean music like slow blues and the like, where you get people who say "oh so soulful". What they mean by 'feeling' is almost always one very specific emotion brought about by exploiting slow tension and release. Study enough of what people usually say has 'feeling' in the context of guitar, practice it, and you can emulate it too.

    I can play with 'feeling' like the above while personally feeling absolutely nothing. I'm just going through the motions, but it elicits 'feeling' in others who hear it because that's what they expect 'feeling' to sound like on a guitar. I can do that easily - but it means nothing to me. My personal feeling is "god this is boring to play" while others think it's oh so soulful.

    Meanwhile, if I play something that I really, really get into, completely lost in the moment and pouring my heart out, it won't elicit the same thing as above. Because what I'm feeling and expressing is not within the traditional paradigm of 'feeling' on guitar. Shredding your heart out in manic happiness is chock-full of feeling, but people will dismiss it as wankery because it lacks 'soul'. Because it doesn't fall into that narrow view of what constitutes 'feeling' on guitar.

    TL;DR: playing with 'feeling' on guitar usually means one specific feeling evoked by slow tension and release traditionally exploited by blues, and other feelings that aren't expressed in that narrow way are typically dismissed out of hand as soulless garbage.
     
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  11. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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    playing with "feeling" is one part vibrato(including bends), and one part face expresions
     
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  12. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace 0 0 1 0 0 6 5 0 3\

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    You forgot the two parts premium note choice.
     
  13. Unleash The Fury

    Unleash The Fury SS.org Regular

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    Agreed. Thats basically what i was trying to say in the previous pages
     
  14. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I don't disagree, but I still think that's a skill not everyone has- both in terms of writing songs with that tension and release mechanic to it, or in terms of being able to pull it off convincingly on the instrument. Deconstructing "feeling" in music does kinda take the magic out of it (as deconstructing anything would do), but I don't think it negates its existence.
     
  15. marcwormjim

    marcwormjim SS.org Regular

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    It does with magic.
     
  16. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Carry on with this side topic, but I have an unrelated observation:

    The adage: "There are only twelve notes in music, therefore, nothing will ever truly be new."

    I disagree with that, and, personally, consider it a musical fallacy, but perhaps the conclusion can be subjectively considered true, although the logic here is pretty easily torn up.

    There are not "only twelve notes in music" when referring to the context of a song. For example, B A G A B B B sounds totally different if it's all quarter notes B3 A3 G3 A3 B3 B3 B3 than it does if it's played with a mixture of different octaves and a mixture of whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes, and sixteenth notes with rests interjected in between some of the notes. In the contrary direction, all quarter note Bb Ab Gb Ab Bb Bb Bb sounds pretty much exactly the same, yet uses different notes from the same "only twelve notes."

    My point is that the number of notes has nothing to do with it.

    Thought experiment. Say there are a finite number of melodies possible. Each melody has a specific number of notes. There must be a melody then that contains no more notes than any other extant melody. If so, I can make a new melody by arbitrarily adding one note into the melody somewhere. Therefore, there cannot be a finite number of melodies.

    Some of the most glorified songs written have just been ripped off completely from a mixture of sources. For example, "Uptown Funk." A youtube user posted a video of an almost exact recreation of "Uptown Funk" by editing 4 or 5 old songs together. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great song, but what I'm getting at is:

    A) Any two or more old ideas can combine to successfully and effectively make a brand new idea.
    B) No new idea ever happened without some influence of at least one old idea.
    C) There are not technically a finite number of melodic combinations, although I would argue that there may very well be a finite number of aesthetically viable melodies.
     
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  17. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    Let's be honest. Western music theory and preferences barely understands microtonals and complex polyrythyms.
     
  18. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Hmm. Ok, let me roll with that a little bit. It's a great comment.

    Modern western music theory does understand a lot about microtones and polyrythms, even if it rarely gets discussed in open forums that are not tailored to those discussions. Western musical preferences, on the other hand, are not terribly kind toward anything outside of a few scales and three or maybe four time signatures and maybe three or four different rhythmic feels.

    To be clear, I wasn't even trying to get into either of those two topics with my post. Even if there was only one note, say 440 Hz, then you could technically make a beyond-infinite number of songs simply by holding that tone different amounts of time and placing rests in various places. If you wrote a number of songs with that one note, and limited yourself to quarter-note quantization, I could always make a new song by taking the longest one of yours and adding another quarter note beep at the end of it, thus my point that the idea that there are a finite number of ways to combine x number of notes is technically false.

    But, perhaps the gist of the adage is still true on the practical level. If you limit yourself to a genre, say pop, you are limiting yourself to 4/4 time, 3 minute song length, either the major or minor scale, one of a half dozen chord progressions, then a melody that "fits" over the chords and time. Add in the fact that you are limited in structure to verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus, and that you have a palette of maybe three drum beats and tempos to choose...I guarantee that you'd run out of ideas for the backing track after a hundred songs or so, and then you either have to incorporate something from outside the genre, or else you get really weird and creative, or just keep reusing that same handful of backing tracks.

    There's a guy on youtube who wrote a pop song using a MAD LIBS program and just kind of picking cliches from other pop songs, and, lo and behold, the result sounded pretty much like a stereotypical silly pop song.

    Rock and metal have a little more wiggle room, but are still limited in so many ways. But, in the 21st century, we don't really have every band trying to fit in a specific genre by the rules anymore, which is why you get weird genre descriptions, like post-grunge--psychedelic-dad-core
     
  19. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoils = tr00

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    I used to think that, but somewhere along the line I realized that what people generally call "feeling" is the ability to convey emotion, basically just being good at communication through music. Being really, really honest is usually the only way to do that. Sometimes that means taking it slower and being more sensitive, but it can also be the opposite. For example I hear a lot of "feeling" in Dillinger that I don't hear from the next derivative mathcore teenagers, and I hear more "feeling" in Warren Zevon than the next sensitive singer songwriter douche. It's a complex thing because humans are complex, an eyelid or a breath can change our perception of what a person is saying to us. Music is just like that, and that's why it's way harder to learn to convey emotion as a musician, than it is to recognize it when you hear it. Getting there by simply copying someone else is not gonna happen. It has to begin with honesty. Like John Mayer said: "The public is about a million times smarter than you." If there's anything derivative, braggy or dishonest behind your songwriting or playing most people can tell way easier than you can.
     
  20. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    The problem with these kinds of statements is that they have no real meaning. What is "honest" in terms of guitar playing? Or maybe a better question is how do you play a guitar "dishonestly"? Guitar playing doesn't "lie" or "tell the truth". I agree as far as the ability to convey emotion through songwriting is a skill, and one that not everyone has, but "honesty" isn't a thing. You can't hear "honesty". Maybe you can spot someone trying to BS their way through a technique they aren't really good at, but that often comes down to body language that you'd never pick up in a recording, and you could argue that watching someone struggle with the instrument somehow is MORE honest looking, which negates the whole thing.

    Can music communicate emotion? Sure it can. But lets not kid ourselves in terms of our tendency to attach this sort of pseudo-inspirational imagery to the stuff that we like. A shreddy player whose music doesn't "convey deep feelings" is not somehow less "honest" than other music.
     
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