Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Speed vs Melody

One of the drawbacks of playing fast is that you can't play fast AND sound like you're playing a melody. You don't believe me? Ok.
Take a melody of 10 notes, make it play at 1000 bpm by your computer, what do you get ?
Certainly something that sounds like "blouip !" or "gluiip !".

But that's not all, there are is also some mechanical reasons which prevent you from playing a melody when you're playing fast :

To be able to play fast, you have to make the silence time between each note as short as possible. There are basically 2 ways to achieve that :
a) play the same note again.
b) play the closest note to the one you've just played.

The reasons are that it takes less time for your fingers to move, and it takes less time for your brain to ask your fingers to move to a close position (the hand doesn't move) than to a remote position (the hand has to move).

So what you get when you try to achieve ultimate speed is either tremolo picking (same note picked as fast as possible) or chromatic patterns (playing notes that are next one to another regardless of harmony). Both can't be considered as melodic.

Of course, you could say that techniques such as tapping and sweeping allow you to play fast notes that are remote from the first one, either by tapping a remote note with your right hand or by picking a note close to the first one but on a different string. Touché.

But if it makes you evade the mechanical hindrances (for how long ?), you still have to cop with our first rule : the faster you play, the less melodic it sounds.

We'll soon see other reasons to make you slow down a bit...


Blogger Sean said...

And if anybody needs proof of this, just listen to Dragonfarts

7:09 PM  

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