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Playing fluidity similar to speaking fluidity?

Pkdawg

Member
Messages
152
Does anyone else with some speech issues ever feel it coincides with their guitar playing?

I've never been a very good speaker and have gone through speak therapy on and off for years. I have a stammer where it's hard to start certain words and I just pause and can't the work started or I may not say something as smooth as I wanted. It's really not that bad now and most people hardly notice.

What's strange is I find my guitar playing similar sometimes where certain phrases are hard or certain licks come across stiff and not fluid. Again most would never know unless they heard me practice. Live of course I'd change the lick to something that comes easier. I do the same with words.

Please don't flame me or laugh. It took a little nerve to ask this.
 

matte

Senior Member
Messages
10,418
interesting theory.

when i think on it, my speech patterns are as fluid as my playing.

i'm no neuroscientist but it wouldn't surprise me if the same parts of the brain were tasked for these activities.

Does anyone else with some speech issues ever feel it coincides with their guitar playing?

I've never been a very good speaker and have gone through speak therapy on and off for years. I have a stammer where it's hard to start certain words and I just pause and can't the work started or I may not say something as smooth as I wanted. It's really not that bad now and most people hardly notice.

What's strange is I find my guitar playing similar sometimes where certain phrases are hard or certain licks come across stiff and not fluid. Again most would never know unless they heard me practice. Live of course I'd change the lick to something that comes easier. I do the same with words.

Please don't flame me or laugh. It took a little nerve to ask this.
 

KRosser

Member
Messages
14,160
It's funny, I have taken notice of that a few times, where you can see a correlation between speaking 'styles' and musical 'styles'.

Bill Frisell being the most blatant that comes to mind....
 

splatt

david torn / splattercell
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
26,324
i think it's def possible, but not a necessarily universally-true analogy;
ie, maybe it really depends upon the individual.
 

Neer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,700
Read about the Alexander Technique and the use of self.
 

splatt

david torn / splattercell
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
26,324
integrity of heart, mind & body are important to me, in regards to playing, writing & listening to music;
but,
i'm gonna say that my own verbal functions do not run in some kinda regular parallel
with my own speaking functions, afaict.

music, though:
tied-in tightly with what+how i feel, and how my body acts & responds?
yes.

speech?
it seems there may be similarities w/music-making in some situations, but not the very same shapes, arcs & overallness.
 

dsimon665

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
773
Oliver Sacks' book "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat" had a few cases to do with brain/music connection.

One case was of a drummer with Tourettes syndrome.

It turned out that when they treated the drummer's tourettes, he didn't play drums as well.
So his solution was to take medication during the week and let the ticks fly on the weekend.

There are some other cases in the book...temporal lobe and music memory...one guy (a composer?) had a piece of metal in his brain. He didn't want it removed because when he tilted his head he heard music.

Sacks has a recent book out that is even more dedicated to music "Musicophelia"
 

splatt

david torn / splattercell
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
26,324
There are some other cases in the book...temporal lobe and music memory...one guy (a composer?) had a piece of metal in his brain. He didn't want it removed because when he tilted his head he heard music.
hi!
i'm a composer, & i have a nice, big piece of metal (titanium) holding my brain inside my head.....
i also don't want my flexi-plate removed, because of the mess it would probably make.

still, i haven't yet found any regular connections 'twixt my verbal speech patterns & my music;
then again, i'm not a neurological researcher, so i don't make much time, therein, for further discovery.....
and, i'm officially wrong about all manner of stuff at least 44 times per day.
 

stevel

Member
Messages
15,140
I think that's an interesting parallel and I would agree with your assessment.

I don't know enough about speech impediments or just the inability to speak in public from a medical standpoint to make any claims. But, it seems to me that someone who has difficulty speaking needs to "practice".

I've noticed, the great speakers also have a great vocabulary, are generally well-read, and speak in public a lot.

I would see an immediate parallel to playing music there. If your "vocabulary" is not large, and you haven't "practiced", you're going to have to "simplify".

I know when I speak, my brain races before my mouth - and I do a lot of stream of consciousness rambling (in text too, like here on TGP!) and I can trip myself up pretty easily. But, I've definitely gotten better at it over the years. Just kind of going over what I'm going to say before I have to speak to a group of people helps me be more comfortable at the event. And the more I do it, the easier it gets - in a way, it's a lot like "improvising" - I "improvise" a lot when I speak but really the things I say are "licks" that I've said enough times to have instant recall without flubbing them up.

I teach in college and I've taught the same classes for a decade and much of the material is consistent so I've gotten so comfortable saying it I know how to pace it, and what's coming next, so I don't have to constantly refer to something, and if I go out of order I can get back on track without it messing me up, and so on.

In some ways, my playing is a little better, and in other ways, a little worse. A good example is, when I'm trying to play something exactly, but I don't quite know it yet, I'm either more likely to mess up, or not be able to fly by the seat of my pants when I do mess up because I have this spectre of what's correct looming in by brain. When I let go and just say there is no right or wrong and I'm just improvising, I'm much more comfortable.

So I think it's really easy to psych yourself out.

I'm interested if there are any links between Speech Therapy and Music Therapy in this regard. There are all these stories about people who stutter (Mel Tillis) but who don't do so when they sing. Sometimes I think a lot of that was put on (or played up) for show, but I'd love to see some studies about the relationship between the two,

Maybe some general advice for both, that seems to appear all the time in all kinds of sources:

Practice ahead of time, even if you're going to be "improvising". You need pre-rehearsed elements to tie everything together, or to fall back on in an emergency, etc.

Make sure your technique and your vocabulary are up to snuff and appropriate - right tool for the job. If you don't have these, it makes it harder.

The best way to combat anxiety or nervousness is with confidence - and the only way you can be confident is to know you know your stuff down cold before you go in. And of course, experience helps with this so you really need to dive in and work at it. I know I got SO much better when I was playing 4 nights a week - it wasn't just skill, but it was more basic than that - like, what worked and what didn't in a given setting, or, when to be adventurous or when not, knowing when you were having an off night or when you were "on", and what to do with that, how to deal with distractions and other things out of your control, and so on.

And, don't sweat the small stuff. And as they say, really, it's all small stuff.

Now if I could just pay attention to the same advice I just gave you, I'd be OK!

Best,
Steve



Does anyone else with some speech issues ever feel it coincides with their guitar playing?

I've never been a very good speaker and have gone through speak therapy on and off for years. I have a stammer where it's hard to start certain words and I just pause and can't the work started or I may not say something as smooth as I wanted. It's really not that bad now and most people hardly notice.

What's strange is I find my guitar playing similar sometimes where certain phrases are hard or certain licks come across stiff and not fluid. Again most would never know unless they heard me practice. Live of course I'd change the lick to something that comes easier. I do the same with words.

Please don't flame me or laugh. It took a little nerve to ask this.
 

stevel

Member
Messages
15,140
Read about the Alexander Technique and the use of self.
Our music department uses this with Voice majors, and maybe to some degree in our Education area. Many vocalists are training in Opera and/or Musical Theater and it's not just about singing the right notes, but being in character, presenting to the audience, etc. I don't know enough about it (and probably should know more about it) but from what I understand it's as much about "state" (mental state, physical state) as it is about technique and artistry.

Steve
 

splatt

david torn / splattercell
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
26,324
Does anyone else with some speech issues ever feel it coincides with their guitar playing?

I've never been a very good speaker and have gone through speak therapy on and off for years. I have a stammer where it's hard to start certain words and I just pause and can't the work started or I may not say something as smooth as I wanted. It's really not that bad now and most people hardly notice.

What's strange is I find my guitar playing similar sometimes where certain phrases are hard or certain licks come across stiff and not fluid. Again most would never know unless they heard me practice. Live of course I'd change the lick to something that comes easier. I do the same with words.

Please don't flame me or laugh. It took a little nerve to ask this.
to be clear, pkdawg, i certainly didn't mean to ignore nor dismiss your honest query;
i simply haven't noticed such a thing in my own speech/playing.

i believe it's eminently possible that we are all "wired" quite differently,
and don't doubt at all your own experience;
you know what you're experiencing better than we do.

it might be interesting for you to engage with neurological researchers who have a specialty
and special interest in these connections that you notice, though!

here's a weird question for you:
when you're playing, are you noticeably thinking verbally, too?
never?, sometimes?, a little?, a lot?

just wondering, there.
keep practising, keep playing and..... enjoy it, i hope!
 
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flavaham

Member
Messages
1,866
Does anyone else with some speech issues ever feel it coincides with their guitar playing?

I've never been a very good speaker and have gone through speak therapy on and off for years. I have a stammer where it's hard to start certain words and I just pause and can't the work started or I may not say something as smooth as I wanted. It's really not that bad now and most people hardly notice.

What's strange is I find my guitar playing similar sometimes where certain phrases are hard or certain licks come across stiff and not fluid. Again most would never know unless they heard me practice. Live of course I'd change the lick to something that comes easier. I do the same with words.

Please don't flame me or laugh. It took a little nerve to ask this.
I'm glad you did in fact get the nerve to ask this. You won't get flamed for this kind of thing here. This board is really a great resource, I'm sure you'll find out soon enough. You'll usually only get flamed for calling G# Ab or something like that!

I don't know if speech and playing are directly related. I don't have a speech issue really so I don't have a point of reference to really go off of. I am curious about something though. A lot of musicians are taught phrasing by singing what they are playing, or playing what they are saying/singing. Is this something that you have tried? Is one way easier than the other?

Along the lines of what Stevel was saying, if you have a rehearsed line, can you play that any better than stuff that you come up with on the fly?

I would imagine that there could be a correlation between the two (speech and playing that is). I also would imagine that you are a pretty unique and melodic player if this is something that you are noticing. A lot of guys just grab a scale or pattern and go to town. You seem to put more thought into it (if I'm reading you right). That's a good thing in my opinion and if breaks in speech come through in your playing, I'd say that might give you a pretty unique voice that would be very hard to mimic. Ya know, the kind of thing where someone could hear you on the radio and immediately say, "Hey, that's Pkdawg!!"
 

Pkdawg

Member
Messages
152
Thanks for the replies. I know this probably seems strange to most since most people don't stammer and if they do it's unlikely it impacts their playing.

Sometimes I want to blame my speech for not getting a riff right which seems like the easy way out. I could just say yep, I'll never get that riff since I can't speak right, but after 25 years of playing and working hard at it the entire time I really don't think it's from a lack of trying. I play as well or better than most player in my area, but there are still certain riffs that beginners could probably do better than me which seem like no matter how many years I focus on them it doesn't matter. The same could be said about anyone I suppose since we all have our strengths and weaknesses.

People tell me to speak or practice guitar slower, but even then certain riffs just get stuck and I can't even play the first note slow.

Don't get me wrong, I speak for a living in corp sales and playing guitar for money on the weekends, but I just strive to better. Even when I was at my worst speaking I took a job answering phones. I figured at the time I had to get over this speaking thing.

I have to believe we all have our limitations. Take those that can play 16th notes at over 300 BPMs. I don't care how much one practices, most aren't wired that way. No?
 

PatMcD

Member
Messages
56
For me, I'd have to say my speech and guitar playing are connected. The same way I try to think before I speak, i try to think before I solo. If I don't think beforehand, my sentences ended up riddled with 'errs', 'ums', and 'likes,' and my solos end up as rambling with awkward pauses and such. Everyone is different but if both disciplines are about communication of ideas, then I don't know why speech and music would necessarily be exclusive.
 

Pitar

Member
Messages
1,858
Carly Simon had a bad stutter when she was young but she didn't when she sang. So, her folks made her sing everything regardless of the situation. At least I think it was her who had that problem. I read that a probably 40 years ago now.
 

NotWesYet

Member
Messages
5,303
You shouldn't be embarrassed about posting at all!

I am no expert but my first thought was about Miles and some of the interviews I have heard. His speech pattern seemed to be very much like his solos in many instances.

Never heard Coltrane in an interview but I think it would be one long run on sentence! LOL
 

EL 34 X2

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,307
I've stuttered while talking ever since I can remember. I don't when I sing, or when I speak in unison with others. I find very little correlation between my speaking fluency and my guitar playing.

To some degree practice will help when I give a set speaking presentation. But not always. It takes a lot of focused energy to interact with people during an average day, as I can predict and/or control just a small percentage of what actually happens. Two factors that particularly negatively effect my speaking fluency are stress and fatigue. Then there are periods when I have a lot of trouble for no apparent reason. It can be limiting and frustrating in many ways.

Thankfully, over the years music has been a respite from the stuttering issues, and a great way to relax. We all have our limitations. Some are just more recognizable to others.
 
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