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Play fast or play good .... I love these face contortionists that play 3 levels above their skill and make up for it by turning bright red. Same with some sax players I know, they have their signature licks and that's it regardless of whether it fits the song. If you cannot dazzle them with harmony, pretend that your cacophony is planned and cool!
 

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I can't shred, but I would love to be able to play fast double- and triple-time passages, when I am feeling it. I love me some Oscar Peterson, Freddie Hubbard, Coltrane from all of his periods, Johnny Griffin, Brecker, and Bergonzi. And also Alan Holdsworth, by the way. There is a way to musically play those double- and triple-time passages, especially on slow or mid tempo tunes, and the best of them could/can make musical sense while playing fast. For me, the term shred connotes playing fast to show off, the way rock guitar players sometimes do. That I do not aspire to do.
 

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What kind of situation is it that actually calls for shredding?
Maybe a situation like this?


Or one like this?


There are lots of musical styles where displays of speed and virtuosity are appropriate and expected. Audiences hearing a Tchaikovsky concerto or a bluegrass breakdown generally will be pretty disappointed if they don't get to see the soloist break out with a prodigious display of chops at some point. I would say that is also true of some uptempo bebop and funk tunes.
 

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Play fast or play good .... I love these face contortionists that play 3 levels above their skill and make up for it by turning bright red. Same with some sax players I know, they have their signature licks and that's it regardless of whether it fits the song. If you cannot dazzle them with harmony, pretend that your cacophony is planned and cool!
Or one can play fast well. Why do people think it has to be one or the other? Here's what I strive for - great music, and a lot of the time that includes playing fast. I've played many gigs where I need to be able to play ballads below 60bpm as well as up-tempo tunes over 300bpm. I say this to all of my students - to be successful you need to be well-rounded!!!
 

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Or one can play fast well. Why do people think it has to be one or the other? Here's what I strive for - great music, and a lot of the time that includes playing fast. I've played many gigs where I need to be able to play ballads below 60bpm as well as up-tempo tunes over 300bpm. I say this to all of my students - to be successful you need to be well-rounded!!!
Sure, there are exceptions, like Kenny G but most of the time it is like nails on a chalkboard. BTW, I love Keith Richards AND Al di Meola and Michael Brecker as well as Stan Getz and Coleman Hawkins. Charlie Parker is "borderline" for me, at least some of his stuff
 

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Maybe a situation like this?


Or one like this?


There are lots of musical styles where displays of speed and virtuosity are appropriate and expected. Audiences hearing a Tchaikovsky concerto or a bluegrass breakdown generally will be pretty disappointed if they don't get to see the soloist break out with a prodigious display of chops at some point. I would say that is also true of some uptempo bebop and funk tunes.
So is the definition of shredding the same as playing fast? I've never thought of Coltrane, Tchaikovsky or blue grass as shredding.

Of on a side note a bluegrass banjoist once told me there's smoke and mirrors, that he found judicious use of the bottom strong made it all sound twice as fast as it really is.
 

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So is the definition of shredding the same as playing fast? I've never thought of Coltrane, Tchaikovsky or blue grass as shredding.

Of on a side note a bluegrass banjoist once told me there's smoke and mirrors, that he found judicious use of the bottom strong made it all sound twice as fast as it really is.
+1 ... not even Paganini
 

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Paganini's a shredder. Liszt, too. Earl Scruggs. Sonny Stitt. Jimi Hendrix. Total shredders.

Actually, I don't think there's a dictionary definition of shredding. It's a slang term, and a relatively new one at that, so it wouldn't surprising if we weren't used to hearing it applied to saxophone playing, let alone classical music.

But judging by the context of the original post in this thread, it seems to mean "playing fast." The OP basically laments that he can't play fast and wonders if others feel the same.

Lots of people have responded by saying "nothing wrong with, neither can I." Which seems reasonable. But some have responded by saying, in essence, "I don't understand why anyone would want to," as if "shredding" was a euphemism for "overplaying," which of course nobody likes. But that wouldn't make sense, would it? Because why would the OP lament his inability to do something nobody likes?

FWIW I think of shredding as referring to the kind of playing that is designed to show off technical ability. Paganini certainly did that. Tchaikovsky certainly wrote cadenzas that were designed to do that. Earl Scruggs did that. Sonny Stitt. Jimi Hendrix. We could go on and on. It wasn't the only thing those guys did, but it was definitely part of their artistry.
 

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Lots of people have responded by saying "nothing wrong with, neither can I." Which seems reasonable. But some have responded by saying, in essence, "I don't understand why anyone would want to," as if "shredding" was a euphemism for "overplaying," which of course nobody likes. But that wouldn't make sense, would it? Because why would the OP lament his inability to do something nobody likes?
I guess my response might be included in those you are referring to. It could also have been misconstrued as "why would anyone want to" but I do understand why they might as a valid form of musical performance as well as the other side of the coin which may just be ego driven overplaying. I'm sure both exist.

One point I was making would be that I have never found it necessary, and am not very good at plating fast, yet still managed a professional career. Whether it's my finger muscles, brain or whatever - I decided at one stage to not bother being able to but concentrate instead on other aspects of technique, such as tone.

As for definition I have always associated it with rock music and specifically lead guitar, though I see no reason for it to not cross over. But as with any kind of newly derived possibly niche or slang bit of language, the inventor/s are probably difficult to pin down in order to get the authoritative authentic meaning.

Is it just apparently meaningless superfast noodling with no inherent harmonic sophistication intended purely as ego driven showing off (aka w***ing) or can it apply to so-called more sophisticated art forms and underlying harmonic structure?
 

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This thread reminds me of something that happened a month or two ago— I brought my flute to a lesson instead of my sax and my teacher said I should use the instruments ( like flute) that I';m not very experienced with more often because when I';m not sure what to play I just stop and think— but when playing sax I know so many licks I tend to just play anything regardless of whether it fits or not
 

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I'm listening to Dexter right now play and he's not double timing a thing, still playing his butt off.
 

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Yes Yes Yes. You want them to have all the skills to succeed and in some cases thats fast playing K
Or one can play fast well. Why do people think it has to be one or the other? Here's what I strive for - great music, and a lot of the time that includes playing fast. I've played many gigs where I need to be able to play ballads below 60bpm as well as up-tempo tunes over 300bpm. I say this to all of my students - to be successful you need to be well-rounded!!!
 

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and a situation came up....playing Kenton’s Malaguena with a local pro big band....I have a solo, two chords....E to F for 16 bars....I’m starting out slowly, hopefully melodically...then the solo gets faster and higher as the band builds....getting louder and more complex parts in the background....there are likely a lot of different ways to play this solo, what I’m doing seems to be working...for me that’s an example of needed shredding....
 

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and a situation came up....playing Kenton's Malaguena with a local pro big band....I have a solo, two chords....E to F for 16 bars....I'm starting out slowly, hopefully melodically...then the solo gets faster and higher as the band builds....getting louder and more complex parts in the background....there are likely a lot of different ways to play this solo, what I'm doing seems to be working...for me that's an example of needed shredding....
This is a great example. Assuming a player has put in the time to learn how to play fast runs effectively, a rhythm section or group may bring it out of you naturally. I think it is counter intuitive, in terms of creating art with others to go into a situation with a predetermined idea of avoiding certain concepts.
 

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As it relates to the mid to late 80s style of guitar, I'd say Yngwie Malmsteen and Paul Gilbert best exemplify the style, Pete. Their inspiration mainly came from the Van Halen and Randy Rhoads style of playing, which is more hard rock and not metal. Rhoads unfortunately died at a very young age and he may have gone on to morph his style to be closer to DiMeola and Holdsworth had he lived. Shred guitar is a very distinct sound as well as most of these players used, almost exclusively, the bridge pickup and lots of gain and volume from a large format EL34 based amplifier, Marshall mostly.

I guess my response might be included in those you are referring to. It could also have been misconstrued as "why would anyone want to" but I do understand why they might as a valid form of musical performance as well as the other side of the coin which may just be ego driven overplaying. I'm sure both exist.

One point I was making would be that I have never found it necessary, and am not very good at plating fast, yet still managed a professional career. Whether it's my finger muscles, brain or whatever - I decided at one stage to not bother being able to but concentrate instead on other aspects of technique, such as tone.

As for definition I have always associated it with rock music and specifically lead guitar, though I see no reason for it to not cross over. But as with any kind of newly derived possibly niche or slang bit of language, the inventor/s are probably difficult to pin down in order to get the authoritative authentic meaning.

Is it just apparently meaningless superfast noodling with no inherent harmonic sophistication intended purely as ego driven showing off (aka w***ing) or can it apply to so-called more sophisticated art forms and underlying harmonic structure?
 

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Shredding seemed to be started by guitarists to denote playing very, very fast without much letup. The guitar equivalent of bebop.

This thread is the first I've heard it applied to saxophonists.

I can shred, I don't shred. I save my bursts of speed to small passages and only when my inner self feels the need for that.

If you shout all the time, shouting loses it's impact. If you play blazingly fast all the time, the effect loses its impact.

My best advice is to watch and feel your audience.

Insights and incites by Notes
 
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