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Old 10-07-2013, 02:17 PM   #1
dannydawiz
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Improvisation: Active vs Inactive

I've always been curious to hear from everyone whether they consider improvisation an active vs an inactive process. What I mean by that is should improvisation be something guitar players should be consciously thinking about when they're doing it or is it something that should be unconscious?
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Old 10-07-2013, 02:23 PM   #2
Benya Weller
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I think in the beginning you cannot do anything but being conscious about it, because you learn, you play slowly or you just have to keep track of every little movement you make. But when you grow into improvising, then you will have the ability to generate it and play unconsiously the adequate modes etc.
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Old 10-07-2013, 04:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannydawiz
I've always been curious to hear from everyone whether they consider improvisation an active vs an inactive process. What I mean by that is should improvisation be something guitar players should be consciously thinking about when they're doing it or is it something that should be unconscious?

well, how much time is there to think when you're actually doing it?

If you do the thinking when you study/practice, then when it comes time to play you can just listen and play.
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Old 10-07-2013, 05:01 PM   #4
mdc
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Inactive.

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Old 10-07-2013, 05:28 PM   #5
AETHERA
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I would suggest that, assuming you want to play musically and not just wank off (and I would imagine, given your history here, that musicality is in fact your desire), improvisation should be done consciously and deliberately - following your ear - until the mechanism by which you come up with things that are musically stimulating to you is an autonomous one - and I mean that strictly, in that your body should be able to do it as if you were breathing through the guitar. There's a phrase out in the world that goes something as follows: "A master [(or a true student, as I'd prefer to say)] practices not until he does it right, but rather until he cannot do it wrong."
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Old 10-07-2013, 05:41 PM   #6
mdc
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^ I love you're English. A fascinating read in one short paragraph. Thank you.
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:06 PM   #7
smartguyreviews
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active, easily

Quote:
Originally Posted by AETHERA
improvisation should be done consciously and deliberately - following your ear - until the mechanism by which you come up with things that are musically stimulating to you is an autonomous one - and I mean that strictly, in that your body should be able to do it as if you were breathing through the guitar.



more or less

i think of music as a language. we hear it often growing up and what we listen to shapes our little lingual idiosyncrasies - my dad's from philadelphia so I grew up hearing window pronounced closer to 'winduh', tomato as 'tomatuh' etc.

and the same principle applies to music to some degree. once I had my lingual sensibilities about me, the little things I would hear and like (usually along the lines of intervals or small-scale harmonies) became worked into my playing. I audiate and analyze phrases as I'm about to 'say' them through my instrument just like I would speak a phrase in english

if improvisation is a truly inactive process then the improviser is probably just moving through scales without thinking it - while some may think they're improvising 'inactively' they're still doing some sort of processing on some level of consciousness
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:40 PM   #8
sweetdude3000
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Its analogous to knowing what to say without much or any premeditated thinking with technique or theory. You don't have to think of the keystrokes on a computer to externalize your ideas. When you are learning, you do have to listen to refine technique or hunt and peck to find notes. That part should hopefully be an impulse if you are improvising in a situation. You probably should be actively thinking about what you want to say musically at that level.
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:56 PM   #9
Tyson2011
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as a jazz musician, I'd say that improvisation is highly active. You're constantly keeping a sense of the melody and chord changes in your head and using them to create your own spin on things. If you want to get past a beginner level of improvisation, it has to be thought about as its going on.
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:17 PM   #10
British_Steal
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Its active until you master the fundamental rudiments and ear training requirements as well as the technique aspect, and you also have some vocabulary in whatever style it is your playing.

Then, it becomes much more inactive, ie you dont think when you actually do it you just do it.
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:25 PM   #11
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If you mean physically, then inactive.
If you mean musically, very much active.

If you're physically and musically inactive, then you're just running scale shapes.

I think in the begining you'll have to be both physically and musically active, but this will be hard as you not only have to think of the sound but how to make it. Still, its better than being physically and musically inactive.
The general idea is to get to the point where you don't have to think or even really try to physically make the interval or chord or whatever as you'll have muscle memory'd the motion you need to do while at the same time thinking of the sound. I don't know if this is possible but if it is that sounds pretty awesome.
As it stands I don't think being both physically and musically active is bad; in fact I think most good musicians and maybe even virtuosos fall into this category.
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