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What are you thinking?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by bassteban, Dec 31, 2004.

  1. Does anyone out there hear or mentally play an instrument in their head? For me it's drums- kind of a subliminal hip-hop background loop.
  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I would hope every musician does.
    It's called internalizing 'time' &/or thinking beyond the bar you happen to be playing.
  3. slinkp


    Aug 29, 2003
    brooklyn, NY, USA
    It's funny. I hear entire songs - the whole arrangement. But it's not always very accurate - it's more of an impressionistic view.

    This goes back to when I was a bored loner with a 45 minute bus ride to and from school. Walkmen didn't appear in my town until a few years after I developed this habit. As a kid I would mentally "listen to" Sgt. Pepper's or whatever album I was really into at the time (all Beatles at first, later the Who, then Jimi Hendrix... eventually I caught up and started listening to music that was made after I was born!)

    But I often go back and listen to a favorite CD closely and realize how vague or wrong a lot of it was on my internal jukebox - e.g. I notice parts that I had heard entirely wrong, or words I had mis-heard, or sweetener parts I had never noticed at all (e.g. acoustic guitar overdubs, tambourines, etc) - usually, all of the above! I usually have the bassline pretty good but funnily enough, I'm often totally wrong about the drums - I get the main accents but misinterpret a lot of the minor details of the beat.

    Sometimes I'm wrong about the bassline too. E.g. I had to edit my "name that tune" signature after somebody PM'd me about it and I went and listened to the record for the first time in years, and I realized I had mentally added a note to the end of each phrase! (the extraneous note was actually played only by the drumbeat, but it seems to complete the bass phrase.)

    EDIT: not sure if the original question was about while performing, or more general. I took it as more general. While performing, I try to listen to all the music that's happening around me and actually not focus on my own playing at all. This is really hard to do, I have to fight the tendency to get too left-brain about my playing... but when I'm able to stop being deliberate and just let the music happen, I seem to get much better performances that way.
  4. Yeah, Slinkp, I could have said a lot of the same- especially w/regard to inaccuracy- & yes, I meant more generally. And JimK, I haven't played a bar in years.
  5. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    yep, click my teeth to the goove
    very annoying at times
    need more prozac
  6. drum beats, usually with double bass.
  7. Yes, usually the bass parts
  8. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Good one.
    One thing I try to practice-
    Play a 2-bar ostinato...then, while keeping that 2-bar phrase a-goin' in my head, just go completely out & off for maybe 8 bars & then come back on the "1" with the original ostinato. Hopefully.
  9. ...but what I'm talking about is when I'm nowhere near a bass, maybe even no music playing. That's when I realize I seem to have a soundtrack in my head, but usually everyone but the drummer drops out.
  10. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    "OK", I see.
    If I bored at work, stuck in traffic, on perpetual hold while on the phone, etc...then yes, I try to hear/create a bass/drum/percussion groove. Some of things I have 'composed' were done in this fashion. It's cool to then teach the parts to a band & then hear it come to life.
    (As long as I can scribble down the idea before it totally escapes me).
  11. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Yep, I do it all the time. Sometimes if I'm listening to music, I'll recreate the bassline in my head as I think it should be played (especially DB). Other times I'll be funkin' around on a chord arrangement and hear an entire band playing it, etc.

    Very useful for those times without a CD player!
  12. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    A musician I used to play with had a bad temp job. He worked the front desk of an engineer's office that never got visitors. Also, the engineers were always "out in the field", and oddly enough, he wasn't allowed to bring anything to read or keep him distracted.

    Mentally, he composed an entire album. Once he had something good, he would call his home phone and sing lyrics, melodies, drum parts, basslines, guitar parts, whatever, into his home answering machine so that he would remember them. Upon returning home, he would grab the guitar and finish the tunes.
  13. Does anyone do that thing where they play a song in their head but unconciously keep it looping over and over? I also find it cool to do this conciously and have awesome solos.
  14. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    I always hear music... Usually its either whole bands, or occasionally just a smoking drum beat. When I hear the drums... I add on a slightly more concious level, bass. :D