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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, this is sort of embarrassing. I have a piece that was recorded some time ago but the guitarist hasn't played it since (was played only once and recorded during a rehearsal with my improvising a melodic line). He played it recently in a different tempo with a different feel. It was recorded and I picked it out as OK and gave it a different name. Is one better than the other? The original used tenor, the current one is played on alto.

Link to the current one:
https://soundcloud.com/whampton-court%2Fi-didnt-know
The previous one is:
https://soundcloud.com/whampton-court%2Fmagpies
The guitar and sax are on separate channels so you can download or just play the guitar track and do your own thing with either version. If you need these re-posted with the guitar only, this can be done on request.

My interest was in honestly not recognizing the piece and finding how different each improvisation came out.

Comments, and/or additions of your own renditions are welcome.
 

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No one could possibly play the exact same way regardless the circumstance.
Personally, they both carry their own identity and not necessarily because one is alto and the other is tenor. As far as likes and dislikes are concerned I like Magpies more than
I Didn't Know. Not that one is better than the other. Not so.
You definitely have your style and that style comes through
in both pieces.

I enjoyed listening to them both, personally. Nice tone, good train of thought and it appeared to me you enjoyed what you were doing.
Lol....Did you communicate to me? I have no idea what you were really thinking. I only know how it was received from my end. What do you think about when you're playing? And were those thoughts essentially the same when you recorded the tenor as opposed to the alto? Meaning, were they saxophone related thoughts, execution, thinking of the next note, your surroundings, etc?

Nice work from both of you guys! Tell the guitarist I really enjoy his playing...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thinking? Reminds me of an angry question from my mother: "What were you thinking!?" There is little or no conscious thought just response. I don't know how many players consciously decide on what or how they play. The sax is an instrument that I try to sing through. It's spontaneous and only requires that I have the sounds in my head and enough technique to play the notes I'm hearing. My lack of technique semi-consciously filters out more technical playing.

At times I fight with my conscious mind/ego to get into the "zone" where it just flows. Every once in a while something comes out of the horn that surprises and delights triggering the ego/conscious mind to decide some self congratulations are in order. At that instant of "trying to own" what happened it usually falls apart with my slipping out of the "zone". I've heard many others relate similar experiences.

My goal is to stay as long as possible in the "zone" without being let down by ego and/or technical problems. Hearing the lines without conscious contrivance is not a problem; accurately executing them without owning them is the hard part.

A long way around to answer your question Mike: I have no idea what I was thinking as it's more like a meditation where the conscious mind is (hopefully) shut off.

Will tell the guitarist that you like his playing. We are somewhat complimentary in that neither of us is technically very good, but are comfortable playing in our own style and (within our limitations) experimenting with different sounds and feelings.

Many thanks for the feedback.
 

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Well, this is my point Wade. No conscious effort yet you want to communicate with the listener.
In improvisation there is much thought in trying to spew out phrases the musician has learned. When these phrases become second nature, the musician should be able to pull them out of a hat at any moment while thinking of the moment itself, as in their present environment, the audience, some hot woman in the front row, or realizing where their keys were all the while. How much time is spent trying to communicate directly to each and all? In essence the improviser first and foremost is either trying to and/or show off/or delight themselves with a good performance if they're really good, or hope they don't screw up if they're not 100% sure of themselves! Seriously, do you really think musician's are trying to reach the inner depths of anyone? I guess I can only speak for myself and I say no.

Additionally, you mention trying to get into a zone and sometimes you become surprised when you're on. How can a situation such as this be about communcation to the listener when you're trying to make sense of it yourself? It's a struggle, right? We all struggle and I don't buy the communication thing at all. Never have! Essentially, as I've always stated, it's about communicating with ourselves brain/hands that makes us happy because we feel we're in that zone you speak of which happens from time to time. If someone else out there happens to pick up on it, it was not because the improviser made a conscious effort to connect to a wide selection of ears. The improviser/composer-listener process is never what it may appear. Communication in music isn't about liking what the improviser displayed, which is usually technique because technique is a rouse in thinking we're getting a glimpse of the improviser's soul when in fact it's nothing but coloring by numbers. Please understand, I'm speaking about improvisation or classical composition instrumentation. When lyrics are added, then it kind of cuts to the chase a bit more so because words evidently are highlighted and even words can be misconstrued.

Getting back to improvisation, If indeed the listener may indicate that they got it, well what if the improviser/composer felt they weren't playing up to par that night yet the listener indicated that the improviser nailed it.
Was that communication, or was that misinterpretation?

You're welcome Wade. I enjoy your music. It's unfettered, unpretentious and it's certainly not color by numbers work. The essential element in all this is that I don't understand where it comes from as in your thinking process but that doesn't matter at all and it shouldn't matter.
I do enjoy our discussions of the communicative process related to music.
 
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