Fahey on Performance

…while technique is very important, it is only part of the story. Music is a language – a language of emotions. The worst possible way to play these songs – and I am not only talking about my own compositions – is in metronome time at a uniform volume. Another terrible thing would be to play any composition the same way every time, or to feel that you have to play it exactly the way someone else, such as myself, played it or said to play it. A good technician must also be creative. Even if a person is not a composer, he can interpret and arrange, and these skills are as important as technique in making a performance interesting.

Interpretation depends on two factors: First is the ability to dramatize one’s self, to get caught up in and carried away by what one is doing… Second is musical background. A broad spectrum of musical interest over a long period of time is ideal. The broader and longer your musical appreciation the better; and the earlier you start, the better.

The process is cathartic, creative, and automatic, since the freer you are to choose this or that determination, the more your spirit will permeate the music in this or that composition, arrangement, or fragment.

…sight reading, or tablature, should be merely aids. Emphasis should not so much be on hearing and feeling anything external, but on internal states or conditions. What I am advocating is the supremacy of subjectivity, which is the evocation and externalization of internal moods. Every chord (and certainly every chord progression) should evoke a particular emotion, and you must learn to hear what you play and feel that emotion.

If you sit and listen to yourself, the creative act will happen.


One Response to “Fahey on Performance”

  1. great insight. thanks

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