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Thread: Is It Possible to Fake It?

  1. #26
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    Quote Originally Posted by catmandu2 View Post
    All of life is a performance. You might say that we're all faking it, all the time...
    Ummm... yea. I mean, yea. It is a bigger problem than just music. Why do we groom ourselves, shower, clean up, care about what we wear. If I wear my nice formal suit to a wedding, I don't tell people it is my only suit, and the last time I got dressed up it was for a funeral.

    To the women who wear makeup, is the difference between day to day going to work makeup and performance stage makeup just one of degree?

    Again, however, arguing with myself - is the sitting around in a batman tee shirt and sweatpants with uncombed hair a more authentic me? Or just a slovenly me? When does caring what I look like change into caring what I look like to other people.

    I have the feeling I was supposed to have this solved as a teenager.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

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  3. #27
    working musician Jim Bevan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    Quote Originally Posted by CBFrench View Post
    'Errol, did not know enough about 'Music theory, to be able to explain to others, what key, and what changes he was making.
    Fresh out of high school, I started studying jazz improvisation with a private teacher (Adolphe Sandole, brother of 'Trane's teacher Dennis). The first few weeks were "Ah, that's what that's called?" I knew what I was doing, but I was pretty green when it came to commonly-used jazz theory terminology.
    Most of music theory is simply a set of terms that are not necessary to create music, but are necessary to communicate with other musicians.

    Quote Originally Posted by CBFrench View Post
    Most of the truly great players had no concept in understanding the theory behind what they were playing
    I'll bet that Garner understood the theory behind what he was playing very well, he just didn't know the common terms well enough to communicate to his band what he was doing. And I'd also bet that "most of the truly great players" understand at least their version, their organization of the theory behind what they're playing perfectly well.

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  5. #28

    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bevan View Post
    ...And I'd also bet that "most of the truly great players" understand at least their version, their organization of the theory behind what they're playing perfectly well.
    Pretty fun to watch videos of the older guys, masters, et al communicating (verbally) about their music. I like the clip of Charlie Rouse asking Monk, "Well is it C or C#? To which Monk replies, "Yyyyeeaaa...aaa...."

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  7. #29

    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    Ummm... yea. I mean, yea. It is a bigger problem than just music. Why do we groom ourselves, shower, clean up, care about what we wear. If I wear my nice formal suit to a wedding, I don't tell people it is my only suit, and the last time I got dressed up it was for a funeral.

    To the women who wear makeup, is the difference between day to day going to work makeup and performance stage makeup just one of degree?

    Again, however, arguing with myself - is the sitting around in a batman tee shirt and sweatpants with uncombed hair a more authentic me? Or just a slovenly me? When does caring what I look like change into caring what I look like to other people.

    I have the feeling I was supposed to have this solved as a teenager.
    Convention, culture, semiotics. There's a good book, many actually, on 'rethinking representation.' I would say that it's simply valuable (or, at least for me) to question. That's why I like jazz.

    But I digress.

  8. #30

    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    I love this site. It offers some of the most interesting and unexpected philosophical discussions. Life is a stage!

    One thought on the expression/performance topic. My intent when playing is to express how the music makes ME feel- which may be quite different than the songwriter felt, or another performer. In covering a song with my band, we start with the basics of the original but eventually make it our own depending on what we like. We try to preserve iconic phrases or riffs that are essential to the song but sometimes change tempo or beat or key from the original. Whether that’s laudable or lamentable is in the ear of the beholder I suppose. I know a few covers I wish we did better, but also a few that I prefer our rendition better than the original artist.

    Back to the original topic, it wasn’t until several years into playing harmonica that I realized how much improv was happening. I’d be comping along with someone and they would signal me to take a solo, so I’d play a variation of the melody with some bends, harmonies, octave shifts, etc. After the song someone would say wow, that was great, I didn’t know you learned that song... and their eyes would bug out if I said I’d never played it before.

    Of course the harmonica is a bit of a cheat because with the right key of harp there a lot of easy safe notes, but it certainly helped learn to recognize the major and minor keys and chord changes. There are still some voicings I’ll skip playing with, but I can usually find something meaningful to add.

    I’m too new to the mandolin to offer much wisdom but I’m hopeful I’ll learn that it works the same with strings as with reeds...mentally (or vocally) sing what belongs in the song, then figure out how to make that sound happen.

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  10. #31
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    ...If I wear my nice formal suit to a wedding, I don't tell people it is my only suit, and the last time I got dressed up it was for a funeral...
    Makes me think of the Jerry Rasmussen song:



    On the topic: if you couldn't fake mandolin breaks, I'd play nothing but back-up chords... You can start with the melody, or start with the chords, or combine the two. You can fall back on your repertoire of "licks" in that key, or string together something that seems to express the mood of the piece, even if it pays little attention to the melody. (Example: doing a Ladino song with an obvious Spanish feel, swiping the licks and ornaments I originally acquired to play Malaguena, fitting them in around the melody.)

    As you acquire experience, you have to think about this less and less. Some things will seem to come almost automatically; you'll "feel" the chords and melody shifting without having to learn either by rote. I've been complimented (really!) on being able to play along with a song or tune I've never heard before; I just reply, "50 years of experience."
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  11. #32

    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    Is it possible to fake it??
    No, it is all real. Just some things sound a lot better than others.

  12. #33
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    I've been complimented (really!) on being able to play along with a song or tune I've never heard before; I just reply, "50 years of experience."
    For me only 44 years to go! Seriously, I appreciate all the comments and have concluded different approaches work for different people. I believe for me I have to be careful not to get bogged down in the theory. I know what sounds good and what doesn't. That's a start.

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  14. #34
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    I would encourage any musician to practice "expressing themselves" with their music. Who cares if no one else is interested? Play what's interesting to you and you'll enjoy it; express your feelings in music, it's great therapy for life; in learning to express yourself you may gain insight into how better to express what's in a song as you understand it - you may even make it more your own - you may even make it compelling.

    Jeff has gone down this path before, and makes some good points, for instance, how am I going to sing about being raised in a cabin in the mountains when I haven't experienced that? I have to perform & pretend & tap into what the original author felt. Okay, but through your creative power as an imaginative human being you can put yourself into those circumstances mentally and emotionally. Learning to express yourself mentally and emotionally through music prepares you for expressing stories that way, even the stories of others, stories with which you empathize.

    When you're sad, express yourself through sad tunes or happy tunes - reflect your mood through music, or change your mood. By all means express yourself, challenge yourself, educate yourself. It's all good stuff.

    Just my simple thoughts.
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    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    "did you ever get the feeling that the stories too damn real and in the present tense,
    or that everyone else is on the stage and you're the only person, sitting in the audience"

    Ian Anderson ( Jethro Tull -Skating Away on the thin ice of a new day)
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  17. #36
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    Quote Originally Posted by NDO View Post
    My intent when playing is to express how the music makes ME feel- which may be quite different than the songwriter felt, or another performer. In covering a song with my band, we start with the basics of the original but eventually make it our own depending on what we like..
    Maybe it is all differences in wording. I am 100% behind this. I know how a tune makes me feel, and i do everything in my powers, volume, speed, harmony, alter the melody, to bring out what I think or feel is great in the tune.

    Absolutely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    I would encourage any musician to practice "expressing themselves" with their music. Who cares if no one else is interested? Play what's interesting to you and you'll enjoy it; express your feelings in music, it's great therapy for life; in learning to express yourself you may gain insight into how better to express what's in a song as you understand it -
    Ummm. If I understand what you are saying, nah. Or maybe a better answer, what great experiences or accomplishments has the performer to his credit that i would be interested in his public therapy session. If the guy was a prisoner of war, or won the lottery and lost it again, or met and fell in love with a girl on a cruise ship who turned out to be a well known actress, something...

    Now regardless of who you are, if in your playing you can make me feel something, that is great, I love those moments, those goose bump moments, and I care not if what you made me feel has anything to do with you personally, with you expressing yourself, or expressing something you found in the tune, in the music itself.


    I think one can tap into their own feelings and experiences to play more expressively, but again, that is not, nor need it be, expressing yourself.
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  18. #37
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    “Own feelings and experiences” = expressing yourself. Some of you goes into your playing if your playing has enough originality to be interesting, in my lowly opinion.
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  19. #38

    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    If you can find a melody by ear or something that sounds good by ear that is great. You will get better as you learn which chords are being played and which notes are in those chords.

    The reality is that much of Western music is constructed where the chords and melody match up. Meaning when the chords change, the melody notes will be found in the next chord. So if you are unsure where to go or what will sound good but you know it is going to go from a G chord to a C chord, if you know where those C chord notes are you have a 1/3 chance of grabbing the actual note, otherwise getting a note that would fit into the harmony of the song. After a while you get better at finding the right one. It all seems to come together over lots of practice, but starting to think about it or planning to think about it when you have the executive functioning available to do it will certainly serve you along the way. All in due time, though.

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  21. #39

    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?




    Performance or confessional? (an interesting dialectic to pursue, thanks JeffD.)

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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    Performed my first solo today and recorded it! My (#2) teacher told me at a lesson on Wednesday just to play from the pentatonic scale notes in key of A. I was elated to find it wasn't difficult and I enjoyed doing it.

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  24. #41
    Registered User Jon Hall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Performed my first solo today and recorded it! My (#2) teacher told me at a lesson on Wednesday just to play from the pentatonic scale notes in key of A. I was elated to find it wasn't difficult and I enjoyed doing it.
    Congratulations Sherry! I bet it felt good!

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  26. #42

    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    Way to fake it Sherry! J/k, congratulations! I bet you had a blast and sounded great. Now you gotta share that recording on our group!

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    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    Quote Originally Posted by NDO View Post
    Way to fake it Sherry! J/k, congratulations! I bet you had a blast and sounded great. Now you gotta share that recording on our group!
    Is posting an mp3 to a social group the same as a video?

  28. #44
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    I Do see Fake Books 'real book' they help sight readers of standard notation with the melody line.. but do have the chord progression
    if you have what it sounds like, in your head.
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
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  29. #45
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    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Is posting an mp3 to a social group the same as a video?
    Henry posted instructions in the Newbies group. Thanks, Henry!

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    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    you don't always know the chord changes? Is it possible to "fake" a solo?
    I reckon you really need to know the chords and then you could "solo" like Bob Weir or Dave Nelson (New Riders), which is within the reach of any decent rhythm player.
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    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    Quote Originally Posted by CBFrench View Post
    Studying music theory, scales, modes etc etc will not make you a good player but actually can be a constraint in a way...there are many more music theory buffs that can talk a good game, explain every movement, the names of each chord, scale and movement but when it comes to playing with soul, feeling and emotion simply don't have a clue. No amount of music theory or studying music will make you a musician. Most of the truly great players had no concept in understanding the theory behind what they were playing and yes theory was in there whether they knew it or not but they played what they heard and felt.

    I read this "'Errol Garner, that produced millions of LP's, and gave 'Concerts, all around the World. His 'Group', had difficulty following his playing, because 'Errol, did not know enough about 'Music theory, to be able to explain to others, what key, and what changes he was making. Years later, he decided to try and learn. A Piano Instructor, refused to teach, telling him, If he learned 'Theory, he would never be able to play again, because his 'Conscious Mind, would be trying to figure out what to do next, and his mind would boggle.

    Theory is in everything musical but often times according to a persons musical aspirations and level of playing it can be like putting the cart in front of the horse and you'll wind up going nowhere as your mind is bogged down and some brains aren't wired to understand complicated theory especially beginner and casual players. Some can understand complicated theory and still be extremely lacking in musical talent. Anything you practice, learn and hear has theory in it, as you progress you'll start to pick up theory related ideas and began to understand how they relate to musical structures.

    For the beginner or simply a person wanting to play music at home or with a group of amatuer players your ear training will carry you a great distance connecting and learning musical theory whether you know it or not. A child learns to talk without ever learning the alphabet, ear training helps you to learn rhythms, pitches, melodies, chords the basic elements of music theory that is not even recognized or called theory at that point. Crawl, walk, run or run, walk, crawl. Learn by listening as a child does by hearing sounds and words they begin to speak. The ability to hear and play something musical begins in your head and is the foundation of being a musician. So making my long story longer I'd be much more concerned with ear training opposed to books on theory and improvisation, just my cart before horse thought.

    Nope. Music is first of all, number one, a craft. You can not know too much about it. BTW, ear training is a big part of music theory.

    Erroll Garner was an amazing genius, and not relevant.

  32. #48
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtone2 View Post
    Nope. Music is first of all, number one, a craft. You can not know too much about it. BTW, ear training is a big part of music theory.

    Erroll Garner was an amazing genius, and not relevant.
    If he had written, "Studying music theory, scales, modes etc etc will not [necessarily] make you a good player" - then yeah, maybe there's a point in there. It may be that nothing could make Joe Smith a better player because Joe Smith just can't play.

    I doubt any good musician is hurt by learning music theory, and many are helped. If a person cannot play with soul, feeling and emotion, and simply don't have a clue, I would seriously doubt that too much understanding of music theory is their problem. Who are these theory buffs mentioned here?
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  33. #49
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    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    J S Bach was reputed to have invited his homies over for musical shootouts, where one would propose a theme and a chosen victim would improvise on it. Given that improvising was expected of many musicians at the time, even if only adding decoration to a simpler written part, that would have been second nature to a lot of them. JS is reported to have improvised a six part fugue in front of Frederick the Great. Frederick was not only a very big cheese, but a cheese who composed music and thereby understood where JS was at better than the average cheese. Now, did JS 'fake it'? Well, if by 'faking it' you meant just doing your thing and letting the music come out without running a composing algorythm in your head, I suspect he must have. He's mostly painted wearing a big heavy wig, and running the theory for a six part fugue with a big wig on would surely have overheated his brain into tortilla. That's my considered logic, without benefit of alcohol.

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  35. #50
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    Default Re: Is It Possible to Fake It?

    I don’t know if this would be considered “faking it” but I don’t ever have a pre-loaded solo in my head for a jam but I do practice playing lead with recordings and also check out what others have done to embellish a simple melodic lead. But basically, If I have the melody in my head, I kinda know where to find that on the fretboard. Embellishments just work their way in slowly. I might add passing notes, arpeggios, definitely tremolo, and double stops when I remember to do so. But if you can hear the melody, you can play some “take” on it for a solo. If I can’t get a clear melody in my head, I pass on taking a break. I don’t have to know the song in advance. Often the tune is simple and catchy and I can get it in my head during the first playing if the verse.

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