Warmoth.com darrenriley.com Amplified Parts Lollar Pickups

Warmoth.com darrenriley.com Amplified Parts Lollar Pickups Guitar Pickups

Warmoth.com darrenriley.com Amplified Parts Lollar Pickups Guitar Pickups

Join Strat-Talk Today

Theory VS Feeling

Discussion in 'Sidewinders Bar & Grille' started by MayerFan, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. GuitarGeorge

    GuitarGeorge Strat-Talker

    365
    Feb 3, 2011
    Vancouver
    I get the apprehension that some people have towards theory in that it might somehow inhibit one's natural expression...as in many things, we tend to perform better when our heads aren't in the way...

    But ironically for me having strong theory frees me rather than inhibits me...it allows me to play what's in my head...because I know what I'm playing and why and where to find the notes on the instrument, I am free to concentrate on something else, namely, the music I hear...

    As long as it's within my technique, I can play whatever I want, when I want...there's no guessing...I don't doubt that there are guitarists out there who have achieved a level of mastery of their instrument such that they can reproduce the sound in their head strictly by feel, and those guys have my full respect...but for me, knowing music is essential to fully expressing myself...

    And maybe more importantly, theory is really just a way of codifying a form of expression so that it can be communicated to others...imagine trying to get an orchestra to learn a symphony without sheet music...of course, most of what guys like us play is not as complex but it's still a whole lot easier to jam or teach your rhythm player a part if you can use the language to express yourself...

    I'd wager that knowing at least some never slowed anyone down, but not knowing any probably has...
     

  2. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 28, 2011
    USA

    That's funny, coming from a guy named "Guitar George." I thought you knew all the chords, but were strictly rhythm, you didn't wanna make it cry or sing.
     

  3. louis cyfer

    louis cyfer i know nothing

    Oct 2, 2010
    arcadia
    i have a question. it looks like you love guitar. when you love to do something, why not learn all you can about it? it does seem that you think that theory can be learned by just listening. ear training is just a small part of theory. it is very important, one of the most important things, but when you play with other musicians, you need to be able to communicate, so knowing what things are called is important. i can't believe that growing up around touring musicians and they wouldn't impart the importance of learning as much as possible.
     

  4. Naradajim

    Naradajim Senior Stratmaster


  5. louis cyfer

    louis cyfer i know nothing

    Oct 2, 2010
    arcadia

  6. carver

    carver The East Coast Strangler Strat-Talk Supporter

    i love playing. and i dont need to tell my band mates that this song is in g, or e, i just show them the riffs, and they do the same for me when im learning something they wrote, our hands all know how to move and how to get there and we create and then meet and teach each other.
    when it comes to learning the ins and outs of something you love., i will... right now the theory aspect isnt something that drives towards me. im really into the playing and enjoying the entertainment aspect of it, if i was told after playing that i sounded like **** i would think about my tactics, but when people compliment on a regular and the performances just feel better and better as the time goes then i will stick to my recipe, ive personally always had a thing for theory, but have been in touch with i guess the less then musical theorists out there.. which is a shame im sure.
    the main thing is is its how a person learns best.
    theory has its place and as stated before i bet there is a whack of theory i know with out even knowing it, and thats just from playing.
    at some point, in my life, who knows.. maybe i will take up on the idea of learning this theory. and im sure it will open doors for me as well, but at this moment im opening doors in my mind with this instrument and can get my way around very confidently to the point where i dont need to think. im sure a lot of you are at this same point where you can drift off into thought and your playing is simply the soundtrack to your head dream.
    but all aside. i love music and im sure you all do to. so why does the way we learn it really matter to any one.
    sorry for coming across as abrasive if i did at any time. it wasnt meant as such, simply just chattin about learning techniques and what separates us as individuals can bring us together as musicians.
     

  7. MayerFan

    MayerFan Strat-O-Master

    594
    Apr 8, 2011
    Ontario

  8. Malikon

    Malikon Dark Cabaret

    Sep 2, 2009
    Chicago

  9. GuitarAJ

    GuitarAJ Most Honored Senior Member

    Age:
    21
    May 27, 2011
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Well, 208 posts and days of conflict and bloodshed later.........who wins the debate ??

    Feeling or Theory ?? :rolleyes::p
     

  10. Malikon

    Malikon Dark Cabaret

    Sep 2, 2009
    Chicago
    Who wins?

    Manny Pacquiao,....always. :)
     

  11. Naradajim

    Naradajim Senior Stratmaster

    That is the most well done song on the album, with the possible exception of My Pal Foot Foot. But every song is done with a great deal of feeling, so they must not suck.

    Journeyman Noodler
     

  12. Naradajim

    Naradajim Senior Stratmaster



    The Offspring Feelings - YouTube

    Journeyman Noodler
     

  13. pauln

    pauln Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 14, 2011
    Houston
    Nice discussion happening here.

    There have been some cross-purpose posts that make me think it might be helpful to examine both the terms "theory" and "feeling" with respect to guitar playing and musicianship in general.

    Theory is not the same for all musicians. We use different mental strategies to play the guitar because individuals are different.

    Formal theory is very much based on the foundation of "named things" like notes, scales, chords, etc; and then these named things are put together in various configurations. This is a highly verbal approach and uses verbal strategies to analyze, understand, and execute music. It is this approach that you see when the musician explains by talking about how "the sub-dominant relates to the bIII because the Eb is the flat fifth of the secondary key center..." or whatever he would say. This a one way of comprehending what is going on in the music.

    Some people use a more visual approach that sees the physical fingerboard schematically and views the notes, scales, chords, intervals, and other things as geometric overlays to the fingerboard. This is a fairly common and natural approach to understanding the guitar because of the physical nature of putting fingers in certain places in a certain sequence.

    Others use a strictly ear approach to playing; I do. I hear and recognize the scales and chord types by their distinctive sounds without knowing their names. Likewise the key, the intervals, and the progressions - all these I hear and comprehend without knowing their names. This will seem strange to verbal strategy users because for them the named things are the foundational elements. For me, and I think most ear players, the reason we can play without knowing the named things is not that we don't know theory, but that we know theory in a different way.

    My opinion is that all players develop theory, meaning knowledge of music, but ear players may have a more abstract internal representation of the theory that is not really verbal and not really visual... in some ways it seems kind of hidden.

    But the way it works (for me) is that when I hear a 7b13b9add#9 chord I recognize it just like I would recognize a face I know, no effort is involved because it is clear and simple. I don't have to classify the color of the eyes or the shape of the nose and seek known combinations to find a match. I don't measure the wide of the lips or distance between the eyes and formulate a graphic for comparison to known measures... I know instantly who it is without any effort at all. So when I hear the chord I don't try to know its root's name, or break it apart and compare intervals, or check for alterations, etc, because as soon as I hear the chord I know it; and within the context of a progression I can hear what chord forms will sound correct in advance of playing them, and I know what my solo phrases will sound like against the progression chords before I play.

    For me, I have learned a lot of formal theory but I find that as long as it is verbal (the way it is formally presented and learned) or visual (the way it is often informally shown and grasp), it is of no use to me when performing. It is much to slow and the verbal/visual processing in my mind would be way too distracting to even play. My ear is so much faster that in comparison it is virtually instantaneous (I think because I can also "hear ahead" of what is happening, too).

    No, for me the verbal/visual theory needs to set with me for a while until it gets internalized. This takes time, but afterward I don't need the verbal/visual content of the theory - it becomes part of my internal mental abstraction of which I have no direct contact. This is the part of my mind that hears, understands, enjoys, and performs music. This is the part of my mind that knows nothing about named things or the names of how these things are comprised, compounded, manipulated, and organized.

    So we all have theory, but it may be held in very different ways and used through different means. I can examine what I do when I play and I can name notes, scales, intervals, chords, progressions, etc; but when I'm on stage performing the part of me playing knows none of these things... and mysteriously does not have to know them at all - it is as if the guitar plays itself and I'm just hanging on to it for dear life. :)

    On stage, all my conscious mind is about feeling; the theory is embedded so deep I would not recognize it.

    Now on the feeling side, that is the driver for how I play. I listen and formulate ideas based on how I want the music to sound and feel. I do this consciously and let the internalized unconscious invisible part of my mind that understands these things guide the actual execution of my hands. It is like using a middle man - I suggest a musical idea, my hidden theory figures it out and presents my hands with the expression of that idea.

    I ceased attempting to explain this process to myself a long time ago. I continue to learn theory and find that in time it begins to show up in my playing without directing it to do so. I have come to trust and respect this "abstract internal middle man" and try to provide him as much to work with as possible. This frees "me" up to approach playing freely with feeling. I'm sure I'm with many others in having discovered this hidden process in their playing.
     

  14. GuitarAJ

    GuitarAJ Most Honored Senior Member

    Age:
    21
    May 27, 2011
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Pauln,

    Wow. ;)
    Your first post, and it's one of the best essay's I have ever read on this forum :D

    It summed up everything !!
    Great writing too.

    I think we may have a winner after all.

    [​IMG]
     

  15. Malikon

    Malikon Dark Cabaret

    Sep 2, 2009
    Chicago
    Great post man, I agree 100%.

    Welcome to Strat-Talk.
     

  16. louis cyfer

    louis cyfer i know nothing

    Oct 2, 2010
    arcadia
    with bandmates that can work. but let's say you have a gig with some people you have never met and they are playing songs you don't know. something as simple before a song like 12 bar shuffle in Bb with a ii-V turnaround and bVI-V for the bridge. to show all of that on stage is quite a bit. unprofessional too. but to be able to describe a song in a few words so everyone is on the same page can help you. i am not questioning the different ways we learn, i am questioning what.

    i do this kind of thing, playing with strangers and never heard the songs, all the time, and when people are trying to show chords and have no idea how to describe things, looks really bad and 10 minutes pass between songs.
     

  17. Krab

    Krab ----------------------

    Oct 31, 2010
    Here is an example of where theory comes in handy. Yes it is a movie but these guys were some of the best players of the day and this is how people who know theory talk on stage in a pinch.

    Blues Brothers - Rawhide - YouTube
    And a second one from the second movie
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8sJm7ZecR8
     

  18. louis cyfer

    louis cyfer i know nothing

    Oct 2, 2010
    arcadia
    pretty much. the only difference is that the song titles don't mean much if you don't know them. people are always telling me song titles, and i have to tell them "give me the key and the changes", as i don't know a lot of songs. but i have played 3 hour r&b sets and all kinds of other stuff.
     

  19. Krab

    Krab ----------------------

    Oct 31, 2010
    When I was doing church gigs I would show up ask what key we were in.Then taped to the floor was the set list with the key next to it. I knew all of the praise and hymms just needed the key. sorry to say a few times I had to capo or seven string it(if I had it with me) when they were in piano keys.
     

  20. Krab

    Krab ----------------------

    Oct 31, 2010
    Also if you don't know theory then the Nashville system is lost on you.