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"Imagination is more important than knowledge" regarding performance

rob2001

Member
Messages
16,927
Learn it, then forget it and let it roll. I don't mean a set pattern, more like a map of a city with many roads leading to the destination. So I mean 'learn the map' and choose from many different routes, then forget about the map.

And I think the fun part of doing memorized licks is not about achieving perfection, but it's about how much grease you can get on it. I suppose it's the same with improv. For me it's more than just hitting cool or right notes.
 

Cary Chilton

Senior Member
Messages
4,471
The gig is no place for therapy, anything to do with learning and "how does that go", is simply not prepared. Whatever it is, remembering or technical difficulty
If you have to really think, you're not prepared.
I'm busting my own chops here since I've been unprepared and suffered embarrassment from it. These days when I play out I'm prepared. However being prepared is only part of the reason for this thread. I'd like to talk about imagination.
Being prepared has nothing to do with imagination. Imagination happens when analytical processes have winded down and we enter a sort of meditative place that doen't need need words. Just a good ear for good stuff, imagination,,

So what about memorized parts? Is there imagination going on or is it a more analytical paint by numbers approach. Instead of playing exact parts you could be more interitive. Some thing jazz players favor.but both kinds of players. Coexist out there in the wild world.
Last night I went to the blues jam and observed how many people only played memorized licks. Licks I've heard for years now. Sorry but there is no imagination going on wtf?


So
What do you think, is Albert correct? Is imagination more important than knowledge?
Imagination?

A deep understanding and connection with your instrument assuming the person HAS RHYTHM and Creativity for Music - that's all they need.
Look at Eddie Van Halen, besides some Dorian and Aeolian notes in his solos, most of his solos are ONLY based off ONE SHAPE of the Blues Scale, position3 I think it is called. Anyway, with Ed's rhythm and creativity, look at the TON of licks he made off the one shape! Insane! A whole career!
 

Seraphine

Member
Messages
3,600
I like how this thread began with Cliff ( op ) going to a Blues Jam. Most of us know the story by heart.. some blues jams are limited.. very limited. I've seen competent Blues Bands that could execute, what is apparently well rehearsed music, yet when I look at peoples feet, there's nothing.

Then you can see a band, in comparison, which moves everyone with ease.

How many Jams have we been to where the music is boring? Many! Not all musicians can jam, and that's a fact. They can go round and round something common and easy but they aren't jammin'... Many can fly on solo's and leads and comp a piece to death and they still aren't jammin'.. Most are playing by rote and playing what they know, rather than jammin' or playing music.

I agree if someone is playing an E like they mean it and digging into it.. they are musicians and jammin', but this is not what i mean by jammin'.

I always try and take music for a ride at jams and especially try to get the "Blues" common ground moving in many different directions. Not many can follow, because I'll play things they DON'T KNOW ( knowledge again? ). This requires they do have "knowledge'.. about music... how to play music.. and something very very important.. how to listen and hear.

If I find it isn't catching on, I return to enhancing whatever is being played and then try to segue the music into something I figure all can play and try again to have a "Jam"... this often works and then I segue into another form and when muso's catch on, they "get it" lol... or at least it's great when that happens.. and off we go.. the people start paying attention... most start dancing.. and the ride is on.. The journey.

Granted it doesn't always come off! lol .. even among us 'jammers'.. but it's the fear of even going there.. the lack of intrepid music playing required and the willingness to be made a fool on stage. This is what I find is the real issue. Many musicians can't play this way, because of how they feel and NOT because of knowledge or technique... It's disappointing when a musician stops and says I don't KNOW THIS... well can't you hear? Can't you "learn" something instantly by hearing it and then play along? NO! ... they can't... actually I know they can and in most all cases it's fear ( of the unknown ) of anticipating seeming a fool... on stage..

Thus.... they aren't jammin'

It's always great when I find musicians who can do this, like ringing a bell. It's amazing and brilliant and toss a truck load of Superlatives in this, it's niceeeeee. It's better than sex.. It's something many of us KNOW, I'm sure. Improvising within a form is easy enough.. improvising with the forms is a step many are hesitant to take. 'Where is this GOING?' they ask... LISTEN!!!! Let the music play us, as The Grateful Dead often illustrated.

Not many can 'jam' in this way and it's one of the tests I use for any band I'll play in. If the band can't do this, it becomes my #1 priority for the band. Learn to play music. Drop the one on drums and ( important ) drop the 1 in the form... leave the tonic / key and beat the music around the block 50 times... meanwhile..usually 8th notes are flying out and every player is playing to what we 'hear'... This is basic Dead 101

Someone mentioned a Map. A map is good, but a Map can also be likened unto The Weather and do we care what the weather ( musically speaking ) might do? In a jam it could start musically raining or get hot and tropical.. or nighttime or sunrise... a storm may approach... as we LISTEN. To consciously control all this in a jam is ludicrous! lol... Especially when the entire band is jammin' or improvising... Not just some solo gtr on a solid background going round and round.. I'm talking about Jammin', as in all the music.

This can be cohesive. The Dead illustrated a cohesiveness in this process. It can be done without 'losing it' or having it fall apart, but requires 'Knowledge' of how to do it. It's almost frustrating to be doing this in jams and some players CAN'T.. they sit out.. They stand down and cease operations.

Imagine we're jammin' with JonR and some of his friends and the JAZZ is tossed around like cutting butter with a hot knife? Many foreign ( gtr playing wise ) sounds and directions... if we don't KNOW even basics here?

I suspect many think of anything they don't KNOW musically as the same experience.. yet it's NOT. This is why I always stress learning and KNOWING ( without thinking ) the entire fretboard...scales.. modes ( and i mean the sounds ) triads and extensions and nuances slurs etc etc... ( No conflict ) and outright ease in playing anywhere on the board.

Add to being able to 'play' on the gtr and then learning what you like... you like ol' classical.. baroque folk.. traditional.. blues jazz rock whatnot... A pedal tone? Dynamics? Ghost notes? What of hearing JonR tossing out statements and we go Wowa!... Lay BACK lol... LISTEN and learn.. Don't FEAR and apply what you know, use your eyes.. look at what he is playing.. Look at the Bass player and what he is doing... find your place.. and enter the frey...

What it basically reveals is we might need look into Jazz ( and more ) to be "able' to jam again with them... But to think that's always how it is, is nuts. How difficult would it be to give it a shot... wherever the music begins to go? So the Blues Jam is going along... and I'm throwing out a direction.. seamlessly and smooth... and Wowa!... it's a Jimmy Buffett tune and i see what Seraphine is doing... and you play along.. and before you know it..... You're singing along... "I don't KNOW... I don't KNOW.. I don't KNOW where I'm a gonna go... When the Volcano BLOWS! boom boom
 

KRosser

Member
Messages
14,297
Re: Einstein and "Imagination is more important than knowledge" - it's interesting to me this quote comes from someone who had a surplus of both and wasn't afraid to indulge in both. Anyway, I think this is one of those cases where using either is preferable to debating the point. Despite the number of pithy quotes of Albert's people love to pull out, the fact of the matter is most of the time Albert spent his time working on real problems, not debating philosophical ones.

Re: Preparation - if the gig requires preparation, I like to be as prepared as life leading up to it allows me to be. That's just being professional, IMHO. But preparation takes all kinds of forms. Part of my own professional responsibility is recognizing what form of prep the next gig takes. Sometimes it's hours and hours of work on very detailed scores. Sometimes it's just a new set of strings and a good night's sleep.

And it's totally possible to me that reasonable minds may disagree on all the above
 

Clifford-D

Senior Member
Messages
17,045
I like how this thread began with Cliff ( op ) going to a Blues Jam. Most of us know the story by heart.. some blues jams are limited.. very limited. I've seen competent Blues Bands that could execute, what is apparently well rehearsed music, yet when I look at peoples feet, there's nothing.

Then you can see a band, in comparison, which moves everyone with ease.

How many Jams have we been to where the music is boring? Many! Not all musicians can jam, and that's a fact. They can go round and round something common and easy but they aren't jammin'... Many can fly on solo's and leads and comp a piece to death and they still aren't jammin'.. Most are playing by rote and playing what they know, rather than jammin' or playing music.

I agree if someone is playing an E like they mean it and digging into it.. they are musicians and jammin', but this is not what i mean by jammin'.

I always try and take music for a ride at jams and especially try to get the "Blues" common ground moving in many different directions. Not many can follow, because I'll play things they DON'T KNOW ( knowledge again? ). This requires they do have "knowledge'.. about music... how to play music.. and something very very important.. how to listen and hear.

If I find it isn't catching on, I return to enhancing whatever is being played and then try to segue the music into something I figure all can play and try again to have a "Jam"... this often works and then I segue into another form and when muso's catch on, they "get it" lol... or at least it's great when that happens.. and off we go.. the people start paying attention... most start dancing.. and the ride is on.. The journey.

Granted it doesn't always come off! lol .. even among us 'jammers'.. but it's the fear of even going there.. the lack of intrepid music playing required and the willingness to be made a fool on stage. This is what I find is the real issue. Many musicians can't play this way, because of how they feel and NOT because of knowledge or technique... It's disappointing when a musician stops and says I don't KNOW THIS... well can't you hear? Can't you "learn" something instantly by hearing it and then play along? NO! ... they can't... actually I know they can and in most all cases it's fear ( of the unknown ) of anticipating seeming a fool... on stage..

Thus.... they aren't jammin'

It's always great when I find musicians who can do this, like ringing a bell. It's amazing and brilliant and toss a truck load of Superlatives in this, it's niceeeeee. It's better than sex.. It's something many of us KNOW, I'm sure. Improvising within a form is easy enough.. improvising with the forms is a step many are hesitant to take. 'Where is this GOING?' they ask... LISTEN!!!! Let the music play us, as The Grateful Dead often illustrated.

Not many can 'jam' in this way and it's one of the tests I use for any band I'll play in. If the band can't do this, it becomes my #1 priority for the band. Learn to play music. Drop the one on drums and ( important ) drop the 1 in the form... leave the tonic / key and beat the music around the block 50 times... meanwhile..usually 8th notes are flying out and every player is playing to what we 'hear'... This is basic Dead 101

Someone mentioned a Map. A map is good, but a Map can also be likened unto The Weather and do we care what the weather ( musically speaking ) might do? In a jam it could start musically raining or get hot and tropical.. or nighttime or sunrise... a storm may approach... as we LISTEN. To consciously control all this in a jam is ludicrous! lol... Especially when the entire band is jammin' or improvising... Not just some solo gtr on a solid background going round and round.. I'm talking about Jammin', as in all the music.

This can be cohesive. The Dead illustrated a cohesiveness in this process. It can be done without 'losing it' or having it fall apart, but requires 'Knowledge' of how to do it. It's almost frustrating to be doing this in jams and some players CAN'T.. they sit out.. They stand down and cease operations.

Imagine we're jammin' with JonR and some of his friends and the JAZZ is tossed around like cutting butter with a hot knife? Many foreign ( gtr playing wise ) sounds and directions... if we don't KNOW even basics here?

I suspect many think of anything they don't KNOW musically as the same experience.. yet it's NOT. This is why I always stress learning and KNOWING ( without thinking ) the entire fretboard...scales.. modes ( and i mean the sounds ) triads and extensions and nuances slurs etc etc... ( No conflict ) and outright ease in playing anywhere on the board.

Add to being able to 'play' on the gtr and then learning what you like... you like ol' classical.. baroque folk.. traditional.. blues jazz rock whatnot... A pedal tone? Dynamics? Ghost notes? What of hearing JonR tossing out statements and we go Wowa!... Lay BACK lol... LISTEN and learn.. Don't FEAR and apply what you know, use your eyes.. look at what he is playing.. Look at the Bass player and what he is doing... find your place.. and enter the frey...

What it basically reveals is we might need look into Jazz ( and more ) to be "able' to jam again with them... But to think that's always how it is, is nuts. How difficult would it be to give it a shot... wherever the music begins to go? So the Blues Jam is going along... and I'm throwing out a direction.. seamlessly and smooth... and Wowa!... it's a Jimmy Buffett tune and i see what Seraphine is doing... and you play along.. and before you know it..... You're singing along... "I don't KNOW... I don't KNOW.. I don't KNOW where I'm a gonna go... When the Volcano BLOWS! boom boom
This validates my thread.

Said better than I could do, it's totally right on.

Except The Jimmy Buffet being played at the blues jam.??????
I'd like to see Thrasher or Rooster or Goose play that lol.

Btw, my pet blues name given to me, Cliffy, wtf?
 

Seraphine

Member
Messages
3,600
This validates my thread.

Said better than I could do, it's totally right on.

Except The Jimmy Buffet being played at the blues jam.??????
I'd like to see Thrasher or Rooster or Goose play that lol.

Btw, my pet blues name given to me, Cliffy, wtf?
well! I was imagining a brilliant drummer too!.. From Buffett's "Volcano" the music could go anywhere.. and the people would most likely be dancing... Iko Iko or Men Smart Women Smarta.. or rock it a little with Bowie's Jean Genie.. Enter some 15 minutes outta New Orleans . lost in the Bayou and snakes dropping from trees music.. or Doctor John.. Little Feat or Neville Brothers... Or....

Jam on Bo Diddly Jungle music till the place catches fire! It wasn't just a Volcano song and Jimmy Buffett!.. then we could do Burning Down The House and let the drummer/s have some fun :p

*******

Yea I remember how I got my name... Sweet... because of the way I played gtr.

no our love will not fade away

bang bang bang boom boom

no our love will not fade away


bang bang bang boom boom


no our love will not fade away

bang bang bang boom boom
 
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Clifford-D

Senior Member
Messages
17,045
well! I was imagining a brilliant drummer too!.. From Buffett's "Volcano" the music could go anywhere.. and the people would most likely be dancing... Iko Iko or Men Smart Women Smarta.. or rock it a little with Bowie's Jean Genie.. Enter some 15 minutes outta New Orleans . lost in the Bayou and snakes dropping from trees music.. or Doctor John.. Little Feat or Neville Brothers... Or....

Jam on Bo Diddly Jungle music till the place catches fire! It wasn't just a Volcano song and Jimmy Buffett!.. then we could do Burning Down The House and let the drummer/s have some fun :p

*******

Yea I remember how I got my name... Sweet... because of the way I played gtr.

no our love will not fade away

bang bang bang boom boom

no our love will not fade away


bang bang bang boom boom


no our love will not fade away

bang bang bang boom boom
Clever
 

splatt

david torn / splattercell
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
26,909
imagination without the activation of steady efforts-to-realise-&-know-same
might be akin to perceiving the beauty of the world from within the 'confines' of an opium den:
ie, a bit of a waste.
 

Manicstarseed

Member
Messages
746
Imagination IS more important than knowledge, but Knowledge is required to make it real.

Knowledge.. I include the technical skill with the theory.
 

o0Ampy0o

Member
Messages
2,479
This thread topic is based on a false dichotomy.

It is not a question pitting imagination vs. knowledge.

Imagination is limited by the quality and amount of knowledge, however, unless you are a baby you have some of both combined in as many ways as there are variations in color.

How this applies to playing music is obvious. Without knowledge of the instrument or music in general you will be very limited in your ability to produce music. The more you know the greater your chances will be that you can leave the knowledge in the back of your mind and use it as a foundation to express something with your humanity (heart or whatever term suits you) beyond merely reciting patterns or exercises.
 

Clifford-D

Senior Member
Messages
17,045
This thread topic is based on a false dichotomy.

It is not a question pitting imagination vs. knowledge.

Imagination is limited by the quality and amount of knowledge, however, unless you are a baby you have some of both combined in as many ways as there are variations in color.

How this applies to playing music is obvious. Without knowledge of the instrument or music in general you will be very limited in your ability to produce music. The more you know the greater your chances will be that you can leave the knowledge in the back of your mind and use it as a foundation to express something with your humanity (heart or whatever term suits you) beyond merely reciting patterns or exercises.

Knowledge is limited to what you know.

I am stuck at a certain level of playing abilities, fortunately for me it's high enough that I'm happy enough. But I would be lieing if I said I never imagined what it would be like to be John Scofield, or Julian Lage, just a young guy, I'm smart enough to know I'll never be Sco or Julian, but I do imagine what it would be like to be Gerardo Nunez, or Jimi Hendrix or Frisell,,,

Ok, that isn't creative inspiration that fuels imagination but thinking out of the box isn't new.
It happens in my music with the people I play with and it happens lots and lots in my studies.
I've been brave enough or stupid enough to share my imagination here on TGP.

If imagination wasn't as important we would not have advanced as a people,, our imagination had to overpower what was known to advance. We had to figure things out that were not known.
Bla bla.
 
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splatt

david torn / splattercell
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
26,909
talk was always cheap; now, it's even cheaper:
internet talk is often free.....
..... or at least it's seemingly been freed from real & personal responsibility.
 

matte

Senior Member
Messages
10,418
no doubt. especially when the sources of this free internet talk have offered absolutely no actual musical examples of their own playing/work.


talk was always cheap; now, it's even cheaper:
internet talk is often free.....
..... or at least it's seemingly been freed from real & personal responsibility.
 

Seraphine

Member
Messages
3,600
Oh ye of little faith... lol

Come on without
Come on within
You've not seen nothing like the Mighty Quinn

*******


Come all without
Come all within
You'll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn

*edit: grrrrrrr.. I've always loved changing people's lyrics singing, even the Master Poet's D.
 
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