#1
I know it's easiest to make people feel emotions with lyrics, but how about the music itself? Especially classical or romantic music, where the piece takes you on an emotional ride. How can I learn to take any emotion I feel, then put it into musical form and make other people feel it too?

I know music theory pretty well, but I don't know how to apply it on the fretboard and even if I did, I don't know how knowledge of theory translates into ____ emotion. And when I just jam, I end up hitting accidentals that throw off my thinking and I lose what musical idea I had. Any help for me?
#2
if you knew theory pretty well youd know how to apply it to the fretboard
what im saying knowledge without application is useless

learn how to apply what you know

and as for the accidental problem...i dont know how to fix that problem when i hit a bad note i just pick up from where i was before and try a different note

puttin emotion into music takes practice and ive not even mastered it but im trying
#3
The emotion that people will hear in the music is the emotion that you're putting into writing it. They feel what you feel. That's really the whole point.
#4
Listen to Rush man, they set a mood, you can really feel what emotion they are trying to put out. Try 2112 or By-Tor and the Snow Dog, or even The Twilight Zone, they're all awesome songs, but close your eyes and listen and it's just so much better. Check em out \oo/
#5
I don't think there's an answer to your question. There's no set pattern to making emotion in music, you just have to feel it. But, don't worry, you'll get better at that the more time you spend playing. If you want to try to solve the emotion question, then study music that makes you feel emotion. You mentioned Romantic music: study it. Some people will tell you that happy = Major and sad = Minor...shoot them; they don't know anything.

As for jamming and hitting the wrong notes...think. Always think about what you're about to play. Don't let your fingers fall into patterns, this is a sure-fire way to sound mediocre to downright awful. Know what you want to do before you do it.

EDIT:
Quote by mikeysteve
Listen to Rush [...]


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Last edited by soviet_ska at Jul 28, 2011,
#6
For hitting the "bad" notes, use the chromatic scale. remember that in a scale/key there are seven right notes and five wrong notes, and your only a half step away from the right note.
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#7
Quote by TextOnTheScreen
The emotion that people will hear in the music is the emotion that you're putting into writing it. They feel what you feel. That's really the whole point.


I don't think so, they feel what they feel. You feel what you feel. The two are totally disjointed.

Music is at the most basic level, just sound organised in time. Believing that a sound wave can transmit the emotion you feel into another person borders on believing in magic as far as I can see. It seems much more sensible to me that the emotion the musician feels may influence the notes they play and how they them. From there, those sounds may trigger an emotional response in the listener, or they may not.

It does seem though that a vocablulary of common emotional triggers is known to the musical community, and perhaps a musician feeling a certain way might choose to (conciously or subconciously) make use of a sound that triggers that emotion in them, but of course, whether that same sound triggers any emotional response in a listener is another matter entirely.

The only advice I could give would be to learn as much about these common emotional triggers as you can (soundtracks to movies would seem like a good source to me) and study what triggers an emotional response from you. Then, when you want to trigger that emotion in a listener, use these triggers. That may have the desired effect on the listener, or it may not.
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#8
Quote by mikeysteve
Listen to Rush man, they set a mood, you can really feel what emotion they are trying to put out. Try 2112 or By-Tor and the Snow Dog, or even The Twilight Zone, they're all awesome songs, but close your eyes and listen and it's just so much better. Check em out \oo/



haha, i was going to say to listen to la villa strangiato a million times. i am convinced it has the most emotional guitar solo of all time.. take a listen to it if you haven't already, it gives me goosebumps every time.

but on a more serious note, you can't teach emotion. it is something that is learned through your own experiences. once, a guy from the army band came and gave a masterclass on a way to get better at improvising and improving your solo vocabulary. the whole idea is to connect your instrument to you mind, playing exactly what you want to play. a way to do that is keep is simple. start with a C blues or something.. soloing in G mixolydian.. now.. start by just playing the root. keep playing it, using rhythm to express how you feel.. hear the note before you play it. do this until you've exhausted EVERY POSSIBLE IDEA. then.. add the octave.. do the same thing.. then the b7, then the 3, then the 5 and so on.. systematically adding the notes of G7. but make sure that you are hearing the notes you want to play.. make sure you are executing EXACTLY what you want.. you will notice that you start to connect to your instrument in a way that you probably haven't before. it's an interesting exercise.. now.. it won't make you the most emotional player in the world, but using this method will help you develop your relationship with your instrument and you will learn to express yourself better.
#9
Quote by TextOnTheScreen
The emotion that people will hear in the music is the emotion that you're putting into writing it. They feel what you feel. That's really the whole point.

yeaaah, no


As for accidentals, chose them like regular notes by looking into other scales of the same key.

Say im playing in A minor. I start on root and want that odd, dark tension building effect, so i hit A# which is present in A (half-whole) diminished scale! Or maybe i want something that would give me midle eastern sounding wibe without changing the fact that im playing minor scale and still want to keep sad mood.
In that case i could throw in a C# or something thats part of A phrygian dominant scale (i use "modes" like separate scales, sue me) as accidental to achieve desired wibe, yet maintain original tonality

TL;DR: crossreference scales for accidentals
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Last edited by hr113 at Jul 28, 2011,
#10
I think to convey emotion in music you first have to spend time studying music you like. Dissecting it and discovering what it is about the piece that makes you feel the emotions. An understanding of music theory will help you pinpoint theoretical aspects such as a particular chord movement that you like. Dynamics are a big one too as is your time feel. A passage played softly behind the beat can evoke more emotions than the same passage played loudly with no dynamics on the beat. Your technique should also be at the level where it allows you to convey your message without having to worry about any technical weaknesses you may have. I a a believer that if you really want to make an emotional impact with your music that will eventually shine through in your playing. Its hard to describe in words how music can make us feel. So listen and learn from all the music that currently makes you feel that way.
Andy
#11
[slightly unrelated anecdote]I once heard someone describe the difference between the effects of words and melody (which you can read as music itself). They said, "Words and melodies both convey ideas, but of a different kind. Words convey the concept of an idea, but music conveys its structure." I think that is a pretty interesting (and in my view, accurate) descriptor of the expressive power of music.[/slightly unrelated anecdote]


There is a lot of thought in this thread towards the idea of the "music as organized sound and thus unable to convey definite emotion." While this idea is certainly valid when considering the idea of music itself, in practical application I'm not so sure it holds up. The fact is we do have a pretty well-developed musical vocabulary, we are writing in a tradition that has pretty specific effects attached to various types of tone-colors, harmonic progressions, melodic movements, etc. If you know the audience you are writing for, you should ideally be able to put yourself in that position to determine what sort of musical ideas affect them in what way. Fortunately, most of us write for an audience that shares our aesthetic viewpoints, at least for the most part.

Will the effects differ somewhat? yes. Will everyone feel emotion from the same piece of music? Certainly not. But as a composer you want to shoot for a specific audience with a specific aesthetic viewpoint and try as best as you can to address them in the way you want. If you do it well, people with those viewpoints will be affected the way you want, and that is the measure of success you want. Other aesthetic viewpoints might be affected as well, or might have a different, yet equally moving experience, or they might hate it. All of this is secondary to the way it affects the audience you are writing for.

TL;DR, have a goal, have a way to reach that goal, and try to reach it. If you reach that goal, you are successful, and anything else that happens is secondary.

(EDIT: I realize that no practical advice was given here. But PM me if you are interested and I can possibly give you a starting point. Hopefully I will also be doing a lesson series soon that partially addresses these issues)
Last edited by nmitchell076 at Jul 28, 2011,
#12
Phrasing techniques (vibrato, bending, legato and so on) are important to convey emotion with a guitar. Listen and learn. It's all about feel.

Tempo is important. Sad emotions are most easily conveyed with few notes at a slow tempo. Imagine playing (or actually play) solo electric guitar with no accompaniment. It's not hard to imagine how to express sadness, melancholy with ponderous notes, possibly mimicking sighing and crying. Now suddenly try to change to a happy sound. You'll probably speed up the playing to achieve this.

Heroic striving and achievement is expressible in harmony. I often hear suspended 4ths in this way.
#13
The only way to really do it is to practice more.

If you have an emotion and put it into lyrics, those first lyrics will be pretty average. The more lyrics you write the better you get at expressing yourself. The same goes for melodic guitar lines (or any other instrument).

Having the emotion is one step, but the people who express it the best will be noticed. I don't think that musicians have stronger emotions than non-musicians, it's just that they are competent on their instruments to the point where a non-musician can feel or interpret the emotion that is conveyed.
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#14
Well, you have to have the skills to express yourself on your chosen instrument. You get that by playing... ALOT. it takes time.
Studying theory can also give you more to work with.


ultimately it comes down to this..

1) have something to express in the 1st place
2) have skills/knowledge/experience necessary to be able to express it musically.
shred is gaudy music
#15
Quote by GuitarMunky
Well, you have to have the skills to express yourself on your chosen instrument. You get that by playing... ALOT. it takes time.
Studying theory can also give you more to work with.


ultimately it comes down to this..

1) have something to express in the 1st place
2) have skills/knowledge/experience necessary to be able to express it musically.

I agree with point 2 but I think everyone has something to express. We all have daily experiences as humans. Some positive, some negative etc. I think everyone can develop their own voice on the guitar and tell their story.
Andy
#16
^^ what I believe he means is:

Quote by GuitarMunky
1) have something worthwhile to express in the 1st place


Everyone has something to express, true. But not everyone has something that other people would like to hear them express. Musically speaking, that is.
#17
Quote by Andy_Mclaughlan
I agree with point 2 but I think everyone has something to express. We all have daily experiences as humans. Some positive, some negative etc. I think everyone can develop their own voice on the guitar and tell their story.
Andy


point #1 in no way implies otherwise. I was pointing out the obvious because the obvious is often overlooked in lieu of fancier words. My main point being, "Start with the expression".... that's the catalyst, that's the reason you chose a dissonant chord, or started off really soft, or included an upbeat melody.

see, a lot of people forget about the expression part. They put in a poly rhythm because they think polyrhythms are indicative of in advanced musician. They mechanically piece together theoretical concepts that aren't connected in any way to any of their actual thoughts or feelings.

I definitely agree with you that everyone has something to express.

Regarding ways to achieve expression on your instrument, what I would recommend is to spend plenty of time listening to, and playing music on your guitar that you find emotionally stimulating. Memorize the music....... play it....... feel it. Build up a nice repertoire of this sort of music. Enjoy playing it, and listen. learn what it feels like.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jul 28, 2011,
#18
Quote by GuitarMunky
point #1 in no way implies otherwise. I was pointing out the obvious because the obvious is often overlooked in lieu of fancier words. My main point being, "Start with the expression".... that's the catalyst, that's the reason you chose a dissonant chord, or started off really soft, or included an upbeat melody.

see, a lot of people forget about the expression part. They put in a poly rhythm because they think polyrhythms are indicative of in advanced musician. They mechanically piece together theoretical concepts that aren't connected in any way to any of their actual thoughts or feelings.

I definitely agree with you that everyone has something to express.

Regarding ways to achieve expression on your instrument, what I would recommend is to spend plenty of time listening to, and playing music on your guitar that you find emotionally stimulating. Memorize the music....... play it....... feel it. Build up a nice repertoire of this sort of music. Enjoy playing it, and listen. learn what it feels like.


Certainly. I was clarifying my point because I have had students hear similar phrases and then assume that they must not have anything to express. We can practice technique until the cows come home and know that we will improve. But it can be quite devastating to come to the conclusion that you just don't have as much to express as your favourite artists. I have had students who were funny who as soon as they believed they had something to express, humour ends up coming out in their playing! I dont personally know Guthrie Govan but he is an example of a player who I know has a humorous side just through his playing!

I think its a good thing for students to experiment using different rhythms etc in their practice. Especially if that kind of stuff stimulates them emotionally in other peoples music. But then the biggy is allowing those new rhythms to be integrated into their playing to allow them to arise naturally. I remember when I first encountered 7/4 and I tried and tried and tried again to write something cool in 7/4. Didn't happen. However, months later I found that I had a knack for it as I think the brain takes quite some time to assimilate new information! But anyway...if you can relate to a piece of music which is emotionally driven, my thoughts are that the empathetic part of the human condition will allow you with the right amount of practice and trial and error to make your valid statement in the same vein!
Andy
#19
Quote by Fool's Paradise
I know it's easiest to make people feel emotions with lyrics, but how about the music itself? Especially classical or romantic music, where the piece takes you on an emotional ride. How can I learn to take any emotion I feel, then put it into musical form and make other people feel it too?

I know music theory pretty well, but I don't know how to apply it on the fretboard and even if I did, I don't know how knowledge of theory translates into ____ emotion. And when I just jam, I end up hitting accidentals that throw off my thinking and I lose what musical idea I had. Any help for me?


Well the first way is to understand pitch collections in such a way as to become intimately familiar with them, to where you can hear something as you feel it, and then translate those feelings to your fingers in real time. For example if I asked you to imagine a melody that sounded sweet, you probably could...IF you are frequerntly exposed to melodies of this nature. Well then if you had a head-heart-hands connection to the fretboard, then you could evoke that. Be it a tender romantic melody or the like.

Much of this may be linked stronger with an understand of theory and musical function. The guitar has potential to be a VERY emotive instrument because of two things: Articulation and Dynamics.

Articulation, may be defined as characteristic embellishments, such as slides, hammer ons, pull offs, vibrato and bends, for instance. Dynamics has to do with the loudness and softness of a note or passage. A soft strum versus a pounding raging series of strums. Time, Tempo and Syncopation is another, the use of time and understanding of up beats and ties to move music forward, to the use of times like 3/4, 4/4 or even compound time signatures all can contribute to the emotion you can convey via your guitar playing.

Hope this helps....and inspires.

Best,

Sean
#20
Quote by nmitchell076
^^ what I believe he means is:


Everyone has something to express, true. But not everyone has something that other people would like to hear them express. Musically speaking, that is.


But then we should play music for ourselves I believe. When you play music for other people its always a case of some will like it some will not. When you play for yourself you are only trying to please yourself. Then you can truly develop your own personality on the guitar. Just my opinion.
Andy
#21
Quote by Andy_Mclaughlan
But then we should play music for ourselves I believe. When you play music for other people its always a case of some will like it some will not. When you play for yourself you are only trying to please yourself. Then you can truly develop your own personality on the guitar. Just my opinion.
Andy

True, but then again, not everything you have to express is something that even you yourself would want to hear expressed through music. Only some emotions work in that way, and its a value judgment on which emotions you think will work the best.

Again it goes back to find your audience and work to affect them. If that's other people, then fine, and if it's just you (and, by extension, people who hold the same aesthetic ideas as you), then that's fine too. As long as you accomplish your goal.