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Steve Vai 的吉他课  (2)

(2008-03-16 23:07:38)


分类: 音乐教学

Steve <wbr>Vai <wbr>的吉他课 <wbr> <wbr>(2)



PART II Musical Meditation
第二部分    音乐的冥想

  When you concentrate on a given situation wholeheartedly, you'll get the best results. The key is single-pointedness of mind. This holds true for any pursuit; a bricklayer who concentrates on the work at hand covers every detail and gets the job done quicker and better. When you read a book with your mind fully focused, your comprehension and retention are vastly improved.
        Here's a musical example: I was transcribing music for Frank Zappa, doing everything from guitar and drum solos to orchestral scores and lead sheets. The work was quite intensive, and I found myself spending 10 or 12 hours a day listening to just one minute of music. I was concentrating so intently that I felt dazed whenever I stopped for a moment, but I achieved unprecedented results. I discovered new forms of written notation, greatly developed my ears, and transcribed some of the most rhythmically complex musical situations ever recorded -- all by sheer single-pointedness of mind.
        这里有一个音乐上的例子:我曾经拿 Frank Zappa 的音乐来记谱,把吉他和鼓的 Solo 的每一个细节都记录在管弦乐谱和主音表上。工作非常的集中,而且我发现我一天花了 10 到 12 个小时来听仅仅一分钟的音乐。我的精力非常的集中以至于我停下休息片刻时竟感觉到头昏眼花,但我却获得了空前的效果。我发现了一个新的写谱的方式,我耳朵的听音能力大为进步,而且记下了谱的一些节奏最复杂的音乐情景成了永久的记录——完全归功于思想的专一。
        Mind control of this sort is a meditation. People meditate all the time without realizing it; watching TV is a meditation, in a sense. When many people hear the word "meditation", they relate it to spiritual realms. "Stilling the mind" is probably the highest form of meditation. That is, keeping one's mind from erroneous thoughts and focusing on the divine (or whatever path you're on). We get the best results when we meditate on a subject, but alas, meditation is not easy. The mind loves to wander, and these intrusions keep you from the precious results you seek.
        Now what on the face of God's beautiful blue earth does all of this have to do with learning to play the guitar?
        When you meditate on something, you're forced to look at it from many different angles, including some you've probably never thought of. You're forced to reach down into the depths of your identity and individuality. Consequently, your results will be uniquely yours. That's what we seek as musicians: to light that tiny flare (or bonfire) of originality and individuality.
        The following exercise will help you develop your musical meditation skills. Take one isolated musical idea, such as a single chord or riff. For our example, let's take vibrato. Vibrato is a very expressive technique, and can say a thousand different things when properly used (or misused). Sit with your guitar and a clock, and vibrate a note for one hour. Sounds simple, but here's the catch...
     ever deviate from holding that note.

        Pick it as many times as you like. Try many different vibrato approaches (fast, slow, soulful, mellifluous, etc).
        Most important, don't let your mind wander. When you find yourself thinking of anything other than vibrato (and you will, probably in the first few seconds), pull your mind back to the note. Your mind will wander off into thoughts such as "Am I doing this right?", then "Boy, what a waste of time this is!" Eventually, you'll find yourself thinking about your friends, your financial situation, what you did yesterday, what you're going to do tomorrow, and of course, "Let's eat!" This is the hard part. Just keep pulling your mind back to vibrating that note. It's a discipline worth working on.
        Eventually, you'll exhaust all conventional vibrato approaches, all the ways you saw someone else do it. Then (if you have the discipline to continue), your mind will enter private realms and you will reach deeper into your own uniqueness for different ideas.
        You may have to start practicing this technique little by little, doing it for just five or ten minutes. Try timing yourself. Ultimately, you'll find that when it comes time to "just play", you'll use these vibratos with great ease, and you will discover something different in your playing.
        You can practice this exercise with any riff, solo, or chord change. Just keep your mind on it and constantly analyze your performance. It can become very soulful. You might, for example, take just two notes -- any two -- and play them for an hour without straying from them. Try any approach; stretch them, use different picking styles, play hard or soft, make the notes long or short, or vibrate them.
         One of the great things you'll gain from this type of practicing is authority. When you play something, you'll feel confident about pulling it off with flying colors.
        But most important, you'll gain discipline. Great results require discipline, and meditation is a discipline. But if you are really into this, it won't seem like a discipline, but a pleasure. But there's one thing for sure: Nothing you read in a column can teach you anything. 
You just have to do it!

Part III     Emulating A State Of Experience
第三部分      仿效一段经历的状态

      The more you are able to identify and express your inner personality, the more respect you will give the instrument of expression -- your guitar. If you start identifying more with your different states of mind, you will have new insights into your playing. Your music will take on different characteristics: playful, sad, perverse, pure, or whatever. Guitar playing, after all, is a very personal thing.
       If you ever feel you're just meandering on guitar, or bogged down, here's an exercise that will help improve your rapport with your instrument. Think of the last few days, and break them down into a series of individual events. Pick one event and play it back in your head a few times. Your emotions will probably change as you feel that state of mind again. Now construct a musical situation that reflects that state of mind. It could be a chord, a progression, a lick, a melody, a sound effect, a whole sonata, or just a single note.
        If you are thoroughly saturated in that state of mind, your playing will reflect it. This is where the magic power of music comes in. Take, for example, a simple chord: a construction of notes being struck, strummed, plucked or hacked a certain way can represent a state of mind. Start by imagining the type of chord you think best suits the state of mind you've hypnotized yourself into. Once you hear that chord in your head, try constructing it on your guitar. If you feel you're losing sight of your goal, replay the event in your head and imagine the sound of the chord again. When you think you have a harmonic structure that represents your state of mind, play it over and over, keeping your mind fixed on the event you're emulating (as we did in Part II). Your playing approach, and maybe even the chord itself, may change to suit the mental environment more precisely.
        Next, try stringing a few chords together to help represent your state of mind. They can be simple or complex, familiar or unusual. There's a chord progression performance to match every human experience that ever was or ever will be. With that in mind, you're not likely to run out of ideas.
        Now try playing a riff, single note, or melody that reflects the events in your mind. When you find something satisfactory, keep repeating it as the event runs through your head. Remember, finding a tempo and groove for your state of mind is important -- it's one of the biggest factors of expression. We all know how different grooves make us move and feel different ways.
Eventually you'll find yourself changing what you're playing a bit, in order to better match your state of mind. The  bridge between what you're playing and what you're thinking will get smaller and smaller until it feels as though you and your instrument are one. It's very special when this happens. It takes work, discipline, concentration and patience, but sometimes it happens when you don't even realize it (and it's important not to get strung out if it doesn't happen).
        Whenever you play these chords, they will mean a lot more to you than the thoughtless meandering you were previously doing. Put it all together in a piece of music and it will be very powerful.
        A word of caution, however: When choosing a past, present or future event to focus on, choose a variety of emotional states. It doesn't always have to be a strong emotion such as sadness, anger, frustration, happiness or joy; it could be just a thought or impression. Some people dwell very heavily on the negative events in their lives. If you do this too often, your playing will reflect frustrated, twisted, anxiety-ridden emotions and you will attract those sorts of people to your life. On the other hand, if you emulate a wide variety of events, you will look forward to playing your beautiful instrument and people will perceive your visions.
         You probably experience thousands of states of mind each day, more than there are adjectives to describe. Let's say you didn't eat for eight hours and someone handed you a nice, cold, ripe apple, then CHOMP! You might experience many states of mind in these few moments: hunger, the thought of what to eat, your feelings towards the person before and after they gave you the apple (colored by your hunger), the thought, "Yes, that's right; that apple is history, babe!", the biting of the apple and the taste sensation, choking and coughing and spewing out the apple because you were too hungry to chew it properly, or the embarrassment of having predigested apple all over the shirt of the person who gave it to you -- I don't know!
        But these are all legitimate feelings to draw from. You can apply any of these states of mind to this exercise. For example, I have the perfect chord for spitting out the apple:
        This technique can help you through difficult times in your life, and people will identify with it. It is very powerful in its suggestions, and this is where the magic of music comes in again. The intensity of that power comes from you. When you send out that strong state of mind, you will move people. In what direction you move them is entirely up to you. Remember, your instrument is only wire and wood. You have to choose what kind of sorcerer you will be. Caution is advised. Listen to your heart, and you will play from the heart.



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