Saturday, November 20, 2004

Time is on my side, yes it is?

Still working on R ubber D ucky. As I go along I keep changing my part, improving it I hope. Unfortunately it slows things up a tad. I get these great ideas then I have to learn how to play them. It takes time.

One of the new parts is a repeating figure that's quite tricky to play accurately. I must have repeated it for 3 hours trying to get it right. The whole time I was working on it I was cursing myself for being such a poor guitarist. I mean, I've been playing for decades now, I felt like I should be able to nail it in no time.

The subjectivity of time is a strange thing. As I repeated the same phrase literally hundreds of times my personal timescape became smaller and smaller. The world was reduced down to those tiny fractions of a second that define the difference between playing it right and major sucking. To give you some idea of the time scale: the tune runs at around 180bpm* I was playing 16th notes so the correct duration for a note is 1/12 of a second. Holding the note for 1/13 of a second would be a mistake obvious to even to someone who doesn't listen to a lot of music.

When I'm focused that narrowly the time passing disappears. I was really shocked to look up at the clock and see that I'd been at it for two hours. The time just flew, and yet my inability to get a good take made me feel like I'd been playing guitar forever. At least in the sense that I'm not a novice. It feels like it should come easier considering how much of my life I've spent playing music.

This ping-ponging perception of time is really messing my head. I keep expecting to turn around to see a muttering rabbit with a watch running by.

*bpm= beats per minute. The rate of the basic pulse of the song. A 16th note in this case is 1/4 of a beat. Sounds odd, but trust me on this.

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