Email

Finding your own voice

(14 posts)
  1. denjz
    Member

    Probably the most important and also the hardest thing for any jazz musician is to find his own sound that is unique and recognizable.
    So...What do you guys think about it? How do you work on developing your own voice in music? Should it be a conscious prossess or maybe it just happens by itself as a result of dedicated practicing?

  2. Record yourself and A) Listen for things that you already do that you can develop into other parts of your playing B) If you are hearing something else try to go for that C) Examine the things that you played and see if you could do them better or differently without changing the basic idea.

    Also---ear training is good for tuning into the inner voice.

    I said it like I'm good but I'm not---but I keep trying---at least I'm persistent.

  3. cruxtable
    Member

    this is difficult to do - especially these days, when there are such monster, influential players that are already paving the way of the future, it's hard to imagine how you could be unique...my thoughts are just to keep listening to music you like (not just jazz, either) and try to fuse together everything you hear that you want to be, in terms of improvisation, sound, chordal/harmonic language, and your original compositions, and eventually i think you'll start sounding like yourself, and you'll have your own style, sound, voice... that kind of stuff develops naturally, assuming you actually do some work transcribing, listening, figuring out how you want to sound..

    the hard part, in my opinion, isn't finding your own voice - like i said, that should eventually come naturally. it's finding a voice that is truly original, forward-thinking or progressive. it's hard to imagine because all you can hear is what there already is - but before there was kurt, there was nobody that sounded anything like him. so that's the hard part - becoming something new, original, sounding completely different from anyone else before you. good luck with that, i'm still just trying to cop the changes and the tempo..

  4. Sandemose
    Member

    I really dig recording myself as a way to improve. I dont often dig what I hear though. Dough! But I can say, that I do feel like the VOICE of ones playing maybe should be sought for outside the practical playing. Maybe its about how you are like a person, in a intellectual way. Its maybe about finding who you really are? When listening to Kurt who I dont know at all of course, I still get vibes of him as a person. You can hear that he is a thinker, dreamer, prayer etc. Its something primitive (not simple) but deeply human, origin, and ancient quality in his playing to me.

    About recording, it is as someone said, a great way to enforce stuff that you need to work on (for me, timefeel among other things). I learn alot from it.

    Best, Sandemose

  5. Sandemose hinted at it, but I feel like the non-technical side of it is a pretty big part. You have to develop as a person in order to truly find your sound and that is a process that none of us will ever "complete." It's one of those things (at least to me) that is simultaneously encouraging and depressing...

  6. Colonel Trane
    Member

    You guys are hitting on something I've thought for a long time. I think a big part of why I'm drawn to improvising, it is so much of a reflection towards you as a person and life in general (the BIG improvisation).

  7. Brendan
    Member

    I think every next note you choose sheds light on your identity as a musical voice.
    Song writing is some sort of dialogue between you, your heart, instrument, day, and age....

    There was something really inspirational i remember kurt saying in an interview i watched online a while ago where he said that his heart feels what he is playing before his ears hear it or something along those lines....that really struck the core of something to me.

    Recording is an amazing tool we are lucky enough to have these days

    imagine when it wasnt widely available back in the prolific erras...

  8. 111
    Member

    Random thoughts on a great topic:

    It's worth commenting on how fear (conscious or sub-conscious) impeads your ability to express your true-self (i.e voice) both socially and musically.

    What undermines your confidence? A microphonic tube? A delay pedal you are apprehensive to step on during a ballad? Did you decide to give your strings another week before the gig? Is there a video camera in your face? Do you know the tune? What builds your confidence? Are you willing to do the work? At what cost? Can you deal with failure? What kind of balls did it take to step on stage with Bird and Dizzy?

    Devices build vocabulary..."better get it in your soul". You have to be able to build upon things.

    Play songs by yourself, get deep inside the changes, is it flowing? Are you chasing after the perfect note? What works for you?

    In my opinion- it's all connected and continuous. We have to work very hard, at a cost, and be smart about our choices to have that freedom of expression, there is nothing "genius" about it. However, if you do not think you have your own unique, progressive voice right now, who's do you have and are you relying on your ego to tell you when your there?

    Your voice is right there, right now and don't worry about it. I think, if there was ever a starting point it is with that notion.

    Comparing yourself to others and self-judging, is a whole other topic...

    ..done rambling. Thanks for listening to my opinion.

  9. Colonel Trane
    Member

    Confidence definitely playes a role for me in how well I play, or at least how well I perceived that I played. There's been a lot of times when I'm not happy with my tone or how something has been going before I played that just makes me feel like I wasn't playing as well as I can. I don't really know if that's just my perception or if I really didn't play as well. Good post.

  10. cruxtable
    Member

    trane - i think any professional musician will tell you that if you're sound's not happening, then probably your playing isn't going to be happening, you're not going to feel good about anything..focus on getting your sound happening, and if you're really happy about the way you sound then you're playing will be all that much better.

  11. denjz
    Member

    Wow,this really turns out to be very interesting discussion.

    The idea about how one's life experience comes through music made me think a lot.I mean,there are many deep,clever and kind people I know that just happen to be very ordinary musicians.On the other hand I know some very young guys who in real life act like complete idiots,but when I hear them play,oh man... it strikes me on the deepest level.And I know for sure there's definitely something beyond there hip lines and complex rhythms that touches me.Why is this?

    There was another very interesting idea about music,I think I heard it in Kurt's interview.He said that no matter how good you are as a musician,you can't make music happen every time you play.You can't make it happen by just willing.The only thing you can do is to work hard on things you do have control over,like craft,technique and such, and then just hope that music comes next time.

    To 111:you're probably right,it has much to do with self acceptance.Maybe my own voice is the one I wanna hear the least ...because it doesn't sound like anything I like?Not like Kurt or Coltrane or anything like that...Got to think about it.

    Please keep your thoughts coming!

  12. I actually asked Kurt about this when he did his clinic in Montreal a few weeks ago. My question was basically the same as yours Denjz, you know, whether it was conscious or just an after-effect of just playing and practicing so much. Kurt basically said that the whole idea is like what Picasso said to just "try and draw a perfect circle" and ever since he said that, alot of people here have been confused as to what that meant. To me it really sums it up. Maybe Kurt would be able to clarify but I think what he means is basically to strive for that perfect ideal of what you want your music and your playing to be and since it is impossible to achieve your ideal goal to 100% (just like it is impossible for a human hand to draw a perfect circle) whatever "errors" or flaws you have in your circle becomes your voice. It makes sense because nobody can draw a perfect circle but nobody will make the same mistakes either, so your personal mistakes defines you, your flaws define you. In Kurt's case you can see that in his technique (or at least you used to but his chops have gotten alot cleaner and smoother recently) he had alot of technique but it was rough around the edges like he was struggling just a wee bit, you know? But it sounded amazing because it had so much character and attitude, and so in a way it's a flaw but in another way it's your voice.

    That's not to say that I think his sound was better before or anything, it's obviously evolving and it's great I love that, it's just getting closer to that perfect circle for him. I think self-acceptance has a lot to do with it too. Kurt also doesn't sound like he's trying to be something. He just is who he is and that's it, he's happy with that, it's a deep thing in a way, but it comes down to just being accepting of the nature of your life and of other people's. If your always trying to be something then how are you going to just let go and say what you need to say through your music? Just be yourself and love that and then tell your story. That's what I think at least...

  13. Sandemose
    Member

    Stevee_y: Thanks alot for that post. I found it very comforting. Thanks for sharing. Best, Sandemose

  14. Thanks man! No problem! Sharing is what it's all about!


Reply

You must log in to post.