Thursday, October 07, 2004


Man, you talk about death and everyone just goes away. Hmmp, anyway back to our irregularly unscheduled whining.

I spent last weekend in the mountains with the LUC. She's on a non-profit board and they had a weekend retreat. This meant I got a free ride to the mountains, well the foothills anyway. Got some quality mountain biking in, just the thing I needed to clear out a little of the grief. Nothing like 2 hours of moderate to frickin' steep climbing followed by a half hour of hair raising descending to get your mind off things.

I've decided I'm too polite to be famous. We stayed at a hostel and part of the hostel experience is gathering in the common room. I'd been hiding in our room practicing so as not to disturb anyone, but the LUC insisted that I play for everyone. I really didn't want to do it. That sort of demonstrative act always feels like showing off. "Lookit me, lookit me, I play guitar!" Bah. Fortunately my travel guitar is very quiet. I don't think I annoyed anyone, only one person got up an left after I started, but who knows?

I want people to hear me play but I hate the idea of putting people in a position where they have to listen. As far as I was concerned the people sitting in the common room were entitled to the peace and quite they had when they sat down. On the other hand a few people stopped to listen and the LUC enjoyed it.

My other concern is, well, drool. Yup, if I really get into it I kinda forget to swallow. I enjoy improvising and as I don't know any recognizable covers I always improvise in these situations. It also has an advantage in that no one can say you played something wrong. The drool only happens when I'm improvising or practicing intensely. To the best of my knowledge it's never happened in public and I want to keep it that way. I won't let myself be caught up in the music the way I would in private so it's not as fun, nor is it as good. If I get to the point of slobbering on myself I'm so far gone that the only thing in my head is what I'm playing and what I'm going to play next. It's the point where hands and ears are working together perfectly and musical thoughts are expressed without conscious effort. If I could keep control of my saliva I'd love to get to that place in front of an audience.

Last night at practice I had a great moment. I was playing a rhythm line that has a lot of stops in it. Less is more is a concept that I'm still struggling with and I recently changed my part on this tune. My new line ends on the first beat of the last bar of the phrase. The idea is to let the drum fill to push it into the next phrase. I was startled to hear my line being finished without me! It really sounded like I had played the line through to the cadence like I used to. The even more startling thing was that the cadence came from the drums. [a cadence is a sequence of chords that resolves harmonicly to the chord around which the key is based]

Most people don't know this but drums sets are tuned. The various heads are tightened to different pitches and good drummers will put them in tune with each other. Watching someone do this is a bit like watching them trying to level a table. It's a fiddly, time consuming process that's never ending. E, being an excellent drummer, keeps her drums in good tune and whatever she hit was a perfect ending for my line. It was really like I'd played it myself.

When the band is clicking it's like 8 hands with 1 mind and that's great feeling. Now if we could only push that symbiosis to the point of group drooling....

No comments: