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Thread: technique

  1. #1
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    Default technique

    I was told by the great mandolin virtuosos Andy De Meo that technique comes before expression. Sometimes I think you can have too much technique. Some people can play very fast but not say very much,
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    Default Re: technique

    I think expression comes with technique. Expression uses various techniques. One achieves expressive playing by the use of good techniques.

    As to not saying very much. That is poor technique, as would be not playing musically. Technique is a lot more than getting the notes in the right order at speed. There is intonation, dynamics, emphasis, playing behind or ahead of the beat to give weight or lightness, a whole raft of techniques.

    I don't confuse "not saying very much" with "not having much to say". I promise you I have very little to say. But the music has a lot to say.

    Play expressively, Absolutely! Express effectively what is in the tune, its story, its narrative logic, its drama. What is in the music. That is our job as musicians.

    Unless one is the composer of the piece, I would say expressing oneself is wrong headed. Everyone uses the phrase "express yourself". There is very little or nothing about myself that anyone wants to hear or, quite frankly, that I care to express.

    Well except for yammering on and on in this thread.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

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    Default Re: technique

    You can never have too much technique. You can easily be short of good taste.
    Play it like you mean it

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    Default Re: technique

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    You can easily be short of good taste.
    At long last... a goal that might be achievable!
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: technique

    Bad technique can limit your ability to express yourself. However good technique is not only the ability to play fast and clean. To me playing fast and clean but with no expression is a waste of technique—you may as well be a machine. On the other hand, to me there is the technique and skill that comes from shaping the notes, phrasing a melody and mastery of dynamics. The first time I heard Carlo Aonzo play a slow opera aria on the mandolin and it brought tears to my eyes. And every time I listen to Hilary Hahn play the Bach Chaconne on the violin—obviously those musicians have monster technique but they also go way beyond mechanics. Obviously!
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  11. #6

    Default Re: technique

    This is a fight with a straw man. The virtuoso said that technique comes before expression, he didn't say technique guarantees expression.

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    Default Re: technique

    Quote Originally Posted by OldSausage View Post
    This is a fight with a straw man. The virtuoso said that technique comes before expression, he didn't say technique guarantees expression.
    Quite true!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Bad technique can limit your ability to express yourself.
    I certainly agre that lack of technique definitely limits expression on a musical instrument.

    Technique is a means to a musical end.

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  15. #8

    Default Re: technique

    Quote Originally Posted by domradave View Post
    I was told by the great mandolin virtuosos Andy De Meo that technique comes before expression. Sometimes I think you can have too much technique. Some people can play very fast but not say very much,
    -if you can play cleanly and very fast, then well done. It takes a lot of hard work to get there, and you can’t force it.
    I think it becomes increasingly difficult to be emotionally expressive as the tempo increases above a certain level.

    Personally there are techniques that attract me less, but you can learn a technique and then not use it.

  16. #9

    Default Re: technique

    Quote Originally Posted by domradave View Post
    Sometimes I think you can have too much technique.
    You can't have too much technique, but you can certainly USE too much technique, if that is your only goal.

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    Default Re: technique

    I agree with everything everyone "here" has said. I would just add while technique and expression are key.If you want to play like Jascha Heifetz, Jacob do Bandolim, Stephan Grappelli, Django Reinhardt, SRV, Jimi, to name a few, you gotta have heart. That magical way to connect all three that's sooo hard.

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  20. #11
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    Default Re: technique

    Somebody recently posted a video of Sierra Hull demonstrating how to achieve good “tone”. Interestingly, everything she discusses in that video is about technique.
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    Default Re: technique

    Quote Originally Posted by OldSausage View Post
    This is a fight with a straw man. The virtuoso said that technique comes before expression, he didn't say technique guarantees expression.
    Hmmmm... assuming those are the virtuoso's exact words that is a very vague pronouncement. Does that mean a player must acquire the technique before he/she can express him/herself? or that it is a natural progression? I can't imagine that any of us have sacrificed attempts to improve technique in service to expression.
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    Default Re: technique

    ........Pete Townshend...........

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    Default Re: technique

    Yehudi Menhuin was clearly well versed as far as technique is concerned, however, when he was playing jazz, Stephane Grapelli said “It’s OK but it doesn’t swing.”.

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    Default Re: technique

    Canít really separate technique from other aspects of playing, can you? Expressiveness would rely in part on technique, and can even be said to be a technique in and of itself.
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  29. #16
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    Default Re: technique

    Iíve had an epiphany that started with the Sierra Hull video I mentioned in an earlier post and was helped along by this thread and by some personal observations of my own playing: Technique = tone

    Tone can be constrained by limitations of a given instrument, acoustical properties of the environment and/or accessory equipment ... but mostly by the technique of the player. That explains to a large degree why Grisman would sound like Grisman on a 1960 Harmony mandolin. Impeccable technique coupled with his personal sensibilities.

    Forgive me if this is self evident to you. It is a recent game-changing epiphany for me. When I listen to my own recordings or pay close attention to my practice, I find that where my tone suffers most is where I do not fret cleanly or I miss a stroke with the pick. Time to wage a personal war with sloppy playing.
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  31. #17
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    Default Re: technique

    Interesting thread. I have most recently found, that if I am careful with fretting, use the optimal pick and pressure, I can attain the best tone. Unfortunately that all comes at the expense of speed. Doesn't matter if I am playing notes, double stops chords, chop chords or whatever. So, to me technique is becoming everything!
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    Default Re: technique

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Scott View Post
    Interesting thread. I have most recently found, that if I am careful with fretting, use the optimal pick and pressure, I can attain the best tone. Unfortunately that all comes at the expense of speed. Doesn't matter if I am playing notes, double stops chords, chop chords or whatever. So, to me technique is becoming everything!
    I think that is just a matter of discipline. You know what you can do at slower tempos so gradually work faster in your practice. Metronomes are good since they give you a number to aim for. The good news is you *can* achieve that tone and the goal is to do it at the speed you want.
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  34. #19

    Default Re: technique

    Maybe the paraphrase should be, one can't have too much technique in reserve, but in some instances, not appropriate to deliver it every time.
    Somebody told Vince Gill on his first studio gig, " Nice, but on the next take, play only half of what you know."

  35. #20

    Default Re: technique

    Quote Originally Posted by domradave View Post
    I was told by the great mandolin virtuosos Andy De Meo that technique comes before expression. Sometimes I think you can have too much technique. Some people can play very fast but not say very much,
    Speed isn't technique.

    First learn the song. Then put feeling into it.

  36. #21
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    Default Re: technique

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    Speed isn't technique.

    First learn the song. Then put feeling into it.
    Speed is only a single aspect of musical technique. One also could include dynamics, tone color, rhythmic feel and accuracy, and many other technical bits, but speed is the one that seems to upset folks as if when you play fast you lose feeling.

    "Then put feeling into it"

    This is the debatable issue.

    I ask , how do you put feeling into a tune? Your inner musicality has to feel something of course - but then your hands need at least enough technique to express it.

  37. #22
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    Default Re: technique

    The better your technique the more feeling you can express, even in a fast piece. Speed and feeling comes with time and being able to incorporate both into a fast piece is technique. Technique is everything, the first important thing to develop, everything else will come later with more work.
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