What in music (or guitar playing) moves you?


i do wonder this:

with so many different favorite guitarists, such a diversity of styles and interests on the TGP ( though I do sense a heavier proportion of SRV fans), it would be interesting to know if people can articulate what aspects of guitaring (or more broadly music itself) do people gravitate to, are moved by, try to incorporate in their own work.

Whats important to you musically? what do you need to hear or feel in order to be stirred? What quailities or experience do you seek out in the music you consume or create?

if you like a lot of players of vastly different styles,are there a couple of overarching qualities you find they have in common for you?

im not asking for objective, definitive statements or a set of absolute criteria to be imposed on others. Far from it! I'd love subjective, personal, thoughtful answers.

What in music do you love, and why, and your favorite exemplars of those qualities...


I guess i'm really not that sure. As you said, with such a diverse selection in music it's hard to say which "one thing" grabs me. Sometimes it's a rhythm groove, other times it's the actual words, many times it's a melody, be it vocal or instrumental. With lyrics, I think i'm more drawn to how it's sung and the melody more than what is literally meant. Yet, I can think of many contradictions to that.

If there is a common idea between all the different music I like I guess it's that it makes me feel....somthing! I dig Funk so when I hear it, a great funk tune makes me want to move.

I dig metal...A great metal song should make me feel like putting the gas to the floor when i'm driving.

I think what i'm getting at is that i'm drawn to music that brings an emotional response. Happy, sad, angry, pissed off, forelorned etc.....How that happens can be different from song to song, from genre to genre.

Interseting post, I'll look forward to reading others responses when I get home from the stupid day job!

Voodoo Blues

A good song is like a story, it has a beginning a climax and an end and I think the same about a good solo. With a good song I can hear what the player is trying to say through music and I can connect with that. If it's really good it will move me to the point where it will bring up memories or make me just drift off and think about something and forget that I'm even listening to the song.


What in music do you love, and why, and your favorite exemplars of those qualities...

Very hard to nail down but when I really analyze it, it seems to come down to melody, overall sound and what kind of mood it evokes.

Miles Davis & Chris Botti - Elegance like a swanky nite on the town (Kind of Blue, Night Sessions)

Yes - Intricacy, spaciness (Close to the Edge)

Tull - a sense of medevial & earthiness (Songs from the Wood, Thick as a Brick)

Metallica - Headbanging Friday nites cruising with yer buds (Sad But True, King Nothing, For Whom the Bell Tolls)

SRV - Soul shaking, kick in the gut (Crossfire, Texas Flood, Riviera Paradise)

Robben Ford - Taste, groove & vibe (Ain't Got Nothing, Cut Me to the Bone, Help the Poor)

Vince Gill - Sat afternoon Sh*tkickin' beer drinkin' fun (Oklahoma Borderline)

Max Webster, Kim Mitchell - Just makes me smile
High Class in Borrowed Shoes, Oh War!! Yeeeooooh!

The Hamsters - Rock & Roll! (They Live By Night)

On and on and on and on...........:phones


when a song works together with instruments in a beautiful way. I guess that covers it all actually... It can be any style of music, but certain songs just work and I can feel it through and through.

during improv, I love to listen for things like (and this can be simple/subtle) an instrument taking cues from another. Say a sax or guitar is soloing and the bassist or drummer enhances or changes with what they do.

Song examples..
the guitar solo and jam for 5150 raises the hair - live versions are best.
Let love rule by lenny kravitz gets me feeling it. - the groove at the end specifically.
The lazy rolling feel of wiser time (b.crowes). I could listen to that tune over and over again. It puts me in a great mood.
a certain solo in mountain jam at the filmore gets me every time.
Intimate tunes get me to -
ben harper - walk away. what a great tune.
jeff buckley - hallaleua or however you spell that.

soulful entertainment.
bbking belting out a song is amazing to me.
black crowes - descending. the studio cut for this is amazing.

there is so much more and I could go on and on.

but any music can move me I guess. .


Great question.

I've never been able to quantify the elements in music that appeal to me - as soon as I try something confounds it.

So, I just like what I like and stopped trying to figure out why.


cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce
Great question.

I've never been able to quantify the elements in music that appeal to me - as soon as I try something confounds it.

So, I just like what I like and stopped trying to figure out why.

i like this.

the overall movement of organized sound is the beautiful thing, though these sounds are no 'things' at all.


Of many possible answers to your question, my list would always include harmonies. When right voices and notes come together I become a candy bar on a hot sidewalk.

Pat Healy

I like huge, powerful, majestic sounds. Trans Siberian Orchestra's music is a good example of this. There are a couple of Coldplay songs that embody this as well, like the instrumentals at the end of "Politik" and "Fix You." It doesn't have to be complicated - in fact, complexity is the enemy of this.

I like sonic textures, a la U2 and Radiohead. Mark Knopfler is a good example as well, though in a different way. The Edge creates texture using effects. Mark creates it using his hands, a variety of guitar and amp tones, and sometimes a subtle tremolo effect here and there. John Fogerty created some cool textures as well with CCR.

I don't really pay much attention to lyrics, but the ones that grab me are the ones that tell an interesting story. Knopfler again. Also Dylan, obviously.

Finally, I like indulgent virtuosity, in SMALL doses. Once every couple of months, I'll throw on some Satch, Vai, Paul Gilbert, etc. to have my mind blown. 3-4 songs and I'm good for a while.


Aside from the usual.

I find I often enjoy the unexpected. Whether it's a small throw-away lick, a rhythm break (long or short) or even 1 note - often times it'll never be repeated in the song. It's unexpected, yet it fits perfectly within the song and doesn't sound out of place.

When this happens, I usually laugh because I'm tickled to hear some thing so cool and clever.


david torn / splattercell
Platinum Supporting Member
if i could & can qualify & quantify these things, verbally,
break them down into "elements",
i simply wouldn't & won't.....
unless in sidelong, abstract & potentially poetic ways,
as ineffable & obscure as the broken elements, themselves,
might appear to be.

dt / spltrcl


It's definitely the emotional connection.

As for the guitar work, I want to hear some fire in the playing.

mad dog

Silver Supporting Member
Themes always present in music I respond to:

Expressing deep emotion
Fearless ... step out and keep going
Showing "connectedness", a fluency of dialog, a progression or exploration, an awareness of these things even in the wildest, seemingly chaotic note frenzies.

Aside from that, I love sparkly guitars that are shaped funny.


Gold Supporting Member
Wow what a question. I have no idea. I am regularly surprised by stuff. Sometimes it is a tune I have known for years, but haven't heard in a while (nostalgia?). I do find that as I grow older (47), I am more regularly moved by art in general, and as a muso, certainly more by music.

Would have no clue how to quantify. Having read the previous posts, Ken's and David's probably resonate the most. I can hear well constructed tunes, and appreciate the craft, but not necessarily be moved. At this point, I think I would rather be surprised by the next thing that moves me than try to predict or create it.


Clouds yell at me
Gold Supporting Member
All I can say, and I'm not trying to be a wise axe, is that I hear something, and it moves me.

I think it depends on my own receptivity or mood or whatever at the time too. Something gets me today, a couple of days from now it doesn't, next week it gets me again.

I have certain styles of music that I tend to identify with and listen to the most, but something absolutely doesn't have to fit one of those for me to enjoy it.


I like a certain rawness. I like hearing things not go perfectly, I think it makes for the best music. I think over producing a record is the worst thing one can do for the music, which unfortunately is so important today.

Other than that, I'm not sure of any specific qualities I can put my finger on.


wow, everybody 's giving great responses...

ill go ahead and try to answer my own thread....

for me, music has to give me an extreme, absolute, unshakeable depth of commitment and conviction -- anything else is just entertainment, and that 's fine in its own right, but its not what i put music on my cd player for, generally.

Call it passion, heart, or soul, intensity, but music has to carry that to me.

Maybe "integrity" is a better term.

aesthetically, ive always gravitated to pretty dissonant territory, but i absolutely love and respect any artist regardless of genre that has the aforemetioned qualities.

My current listening is divided between the White Stripes and the music of Rabindranath Tagore... am also revisiting the free jazz pianist Cecil Taylor.

i cant imagine a more diverse set of choices on the surface, but they each give me those qualities i seek out.

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