So, let's talk about phrasing.

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Sascha Franck, Nov 26, 2017.


  1. Sascha Franck

    Sascha Franck Member

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    Regarding speech/narration, to sort of paraphrase Scott Henderson:
    "Ed buys some tomatoes."
    "Ed buys some oranges."
    "Ed buys some apples."
    Etc.
    "Ed has sex with his girlfriend."
    "Oh, why not do it again? Ed has sex with his girlfriend!"
    "Hey, why not again? Ed REALLY has sex with his girlfriend!"

    (From the aforementioned video, considering the important/un-boring parts you might want to get through in your playing, aka "milking an idea".)
     
  2. JonR

    JonR Member

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  3. Sascha Franck

    Sascha Franck Member

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    Translation of the last post: You don't need to show someone how you can play 4 notes in a row multiple times, regardless of how fast you can do that, the content won't get any better. But your killer bending might touch someone - so why not do it again, just as Ed does?
     
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  4. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Yes. Rap is arguably African-American music reduced to its essence. Non-essential European frills stripped right out. The marriage of speech with music (and vice versa) was always at the core of the African-American tradition.

    First rap record?


    Or this?
     
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  5. Tmidiman

    Tmidiman Member

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    That is my thought as well. Early on it should be about listening and imitation to learn new ways to express ones self. It’s not about just learning nouns, verbs, predicates, conjunctions, and participles. Music is the same.

    Theory of course has its place, but not in long droning on and on about I/IV/V chords. IMO Frank Gambale does a perfect job of discussing theory while playing actual musical examples with great phrasing.

    Enough blabbing! With that I leave you with the beautiful phasings of Allan Holdsworth. 2:06 to 2:16 is the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. Makes me cry every time I hear it. Even better, I got to tell Allan that in person after one of his clinics.

     
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  6. Tmidiman

    Tmidiman Member

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    Phrasing, phrasing, phrasing!

     
  7. harmonicator

    harmonicator Supporting Member

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    I love it.
     
  8. Babaroo

    Babaroo Member

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    It's a mystical thing that transcends words . M'kay?
     
  9. BriSol

    BriSol Member

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    And here I thought "phrasing" primarily refers to how you articulate what you're playing, I.E. staccato, legato, accents, dynamics, tonal variation, bending, vibrato, etc. 9/10, when an amateur blues or rock player sounds bad, it's because their phrasing is poorly articulated - out of tune bends, pressing too hard on the frets, picking awkwardly, terrible vibrato. Which does sort of have to do with technique in a way. An another note, when a technically accomplished player is perceived as sounding dull or "without feel", 9/10, it's because they just aren't playing with any phrasing at all, it's a stream of perfectly even notes with no character.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
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  10. JonnyQ

    JonnyQ Silver Supporting Member

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    As a matter of semantics, what you call 'phrasing' I would simply keep it at what you also detailed: articulation, technique and character, some of which is very guitar specific.

    Phrasing to me, is not instrument specific, but rather involves note duration and note placement , with the interrelationship of various rhythmic implications. As such, one call look to a singer ora saxophonist or a conga player for phrasing ideas and inspiration...then replicate those ideas on the instrument of his/her choice.

    But, as you suggest, it all matters, words not withstanding.
     
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  11. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Phrasing:
    Good: Hi! Good to see you. How are you doing?

    Bad: Higoodtoseeyouhowareyoudoing.
     
  12. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Or if you're Miles Davis:
    "... Hi. ..."
     
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  13. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Lol!!!
     
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  14. silky_sam

    silky_sam Gold Supporting Member

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    sing what you play and your phrasing will develop as do speech patterns(cadence) for effective communication
     
  15. BriSol

    BriSol Member

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    To clarify, my definition isn't exactly instrument specific. It applies to saxophones and pianos about as much as guitar - dynamics, accents, glissando, expressive maneuvers, etc. I basically defined phrasing as "articulation".

    By your sense of the word phrasing, it basically means melodic and rhythmic contour. Which is definitely an important consideration. But then, it would seem that pretty much everyone uses phrasing, except if they are just letting their fingers move without thinking about it or they are just going up and down scales or arpeggios like an exercise. Any melodically and rhythmically cohesive idea has/is phrasing. For someone to lack phrasing in this way would seem to mean that they lack melodic sense. I mean, if you're not doing something with specific note duration and placement, you're just not playing music. You're playing linear exercises. It sounds like the idea of a player learning phrasing late in the game mostly only applies to people who never developed any melodic sense and only know how to run scales and arpeggios straight up and down in a stream of 8th notes or 16ths notes. But the moment they decide to skip an interval, or use a rest, they are using phrasing.
     
  16. Sascha Franck

    Sascha Franck Member

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    @BriSol, as JonnyQ has said, all the things you mention belong to articulation. Phrasing is just note choice, placement and length. Anything else is articulation.

    This is very instrument specific.
    Fwiw, If one was splitting hairs, one could say that there's pretty much no articulation options on a piano but dynamics (on an organ you even lose that) - because all you can do is note choice, placement and length = phrasing, not articulation.

    Obviously, in many cases, phrasing only works in combination with articulation, but as said, on a piano/organ it does work fine without.
     
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  17. frdagaa

    frdagaa Supporting Member

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    There we go. Simple and easy to work with.
     
  18. jens5

    jens5 Supporting Member

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    Concerning phrasing. There are musicians and there are technicians who play music.
     
  19. The bear

    The bear Member

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    To me phrasing is strongly connected to developing rhythmical and melodic ideas in a solo. So many guitar players out there leave no space in their solos and don't develop any ideas at all. It's very hard for a listener to relate to something like that.
    It helped me a lot to work on playing shorter phrases. When playing short phrases you really have to make the notes you play sound good and in time.
    Practicing on a blues is a great way to develop simpler more rhythmical phrases.I often have students play through choruses on a jazz-blues using just 3-4 notes as an exercise. Working on ballads and slow 3/4 tunes is great for a more legato approach and emphasis on melodic phrases.
    Developing a strong sense of rhythm an swing feel(f you are a jazz player) is essential in order to phrase well. I have never seen anyone with bad rhythm being able to play with good phrasing. Often overly technical players seem to focus less on phrasing. Listening to horn players is also a great idea. They usually have way better phrasing than guitarists.
     
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  20. Outlier

    Outlier Member

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    What a fantastic teacher! That takes talent to show something in a way that makes it accessible. Thanks for sharing that.
     
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