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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Do you often play with closed eyes?


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TuneWeaver - Posted - 06/13/2020:  14:39:04


It is not uncommon for me to get a swift kick in the shin from a jam mate when it is time for a tune to end. That is because I Usually play with my eyes closed.. Does this ever happen to you? When I'm busking I MUST have open eyes because part of my act involves interaction with passersby, but from time to time, I just get lost in my tunes and close my eyes and Fiddle... Often when that happens I'm awakened by someone saying something or by the clink of a coin in the tip jar.. Gotta work on that.

stumpkicker - Posted - 06/13/2020:  15:56:53


I rarely close my eyes. Often, I will be staring into space, imagining I am front and center at my favorite open mic.Occasionally my fingers will play a lick I didn’t realize I knew, it will bring me back to reality wondering “how in the world that I do that”! ??

doryman - Posted - 06/13/2020:  16:11:36


I once played in the dark. It went poorly.

farmerjones - Posted - 06/13/2020:  17:47:21


No. I'm not the boss, so i gotta pay attention.
I don't have this sussed either. Even smiling can mean a bunch of different things. I'm always puzzling it out what ever they throw at me. So facial control slips into neutral. I guess i couldn't get stranger than John Hartford, God Rest His Soul.

DougD - Posted - 06/13/2020:  19:19:36


"Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see."
Gotta keep my eyes open. Might be somebody sneaking around trying to take something.


Edited by - DougD on 06/13/2020 19:23:49

ChinnRest - Posted - 06/13/2020:  20:49:15


I can play blues guitar eyes closed all day, but old time or bluegrass fiddle or mandolin... heck no. Played a jam last night, played mandolin. I still don't know many songs, so I watched another players hands and tried to keep up.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 06/13/2020:  23:55:26


My eyes are either staring off into space, watching my partners for clues on where things might be going, staring at the point where the bow meets the string to keep my bow at least in the vicinity of where I'd like it to be, or staring at the music in front of me.

UsuallyPickin - Posted - 06/14/2020:  04:04:23


At times I will close my eyes and play when I want to avoid visual distractions. It is just easier for me to listen that way.

carlb - Posted - 06/14/2020:  04:43:18


I often have my eyes closed, but not all the time. Also, I've taken to utterances to end a tune, so at the end of the tune or just at the beginning, I'll say "one more". Doesn't matter if your eyes are closed.

I find with my eyes closed, there's less distraction as my ears are trying to hear what other people are playing.

ChickenMan - Posted - 06/14/2020:  07:31:32


I like to look around and engage with my environment, be it the living room or the backyard or a gig with an audience or a just a jam with friends and/or strangers. I almost never look at the fiddle in my hand. If the jam is tight, I’ll close my eyes and be absorbed by the sound, but not for long. I just like to make uncomfortable eye contact with everyone else. laugh

TuneWeaver - Posted - 06/14/2020:  11:55:40


quote:

Originally posted by ChickenMan

I like to look around and engage with my environment, be it the living room or the backyard or a gig with an audience or a just a jam with friends and/or strangers. I almost never look at the fiddle in my hand. If the jam is tight, I’ll close my eyes and be absorbed by the sound, but not for long. I just like to make uncomfortable eye contact with everyone else. laugh






Funny.. I have a musician friend who, excels at eye contact to the point of intimidation.. When I'm playing with this person and look in their direction they are ALWAYS staring back.. and doing so eye to eye.. Ok, once in a while, but ALWAYS???  It makes me want to .... close my eyes!!laugh

farmerjones - Posted - 06/14/2020:  17:15:02


quote:

Originally posted by TuneWeaver

quote:

Originally posted by ChickenMan

I like to look around and engage with my environment, be it the living room or the backyard or a gig with an audience or a just a jam with friends and/or strangers. I almost never look at the fiddle in my hand. If the jam is tight, I’ll close my eyes and be absorbed by the sound, but not for long. I just like to make uncomfortable eye contact with everyone else. laugh






Funny.. I have a musician friend who, excels at eye contact to the point of intimidation.. When I'm playing with this person and look in their direction they are ALWAYS staring back.. and doing so eye to eye.. Ok, once in a while, but ALWAYS???  It makes me want to .... close my eyes!!laugh






So strange isn't it?  It's like the eyes are the musicain's back channel. Good Lord! Do i gotta learn this too? There's alot they never told me when i hired onto this outfit. laugh

alaskafiddler - Posted - 06/14/2020:  18:11:49


quote:

Originally posted by ChickenMan

I like to look around and engage with my environment, be it the living room or the backyard or a gig with an audience or a just a jam with friends and/or strangers. I almost never look at the fiddle in my hand. If the jam is tight, I’ll close my eyes and be absorbed by the sound, but not for long. I just like to make uncomfortable eye contact with everyone else. laugh






The non verbal communication can be useful. Folks you play regularly with... can learn to read their facial expressions to give cues and feedback. A good uncomfortable "stink eye" - or bit of "what the he!!?" - wrong chord/timing is useful. But as well to see for positive feedback, that slight expression that can inform if they are bored, or excited; like slight smile in eyes that they like what you are doing.



That said, I do close my eyes, or just stare into space... caught up in the listening.


Edited by - alaskafiddler on 06/14/2020 18:14:01

Jimbeaux - Posted - 06/15/2020:  03:31:22


I have a friend who is good at telling you he is going to end the tune with his fiddling. He just exaggerates a few phrases in some indescribable way that clearly tells you "I'm about to end the tune". Of course, it only works if you know he does this, but once you got it, it's always clear. It probably wouldn't work in a big jam, I find it a really nice way to end a tune in small groups. I have to practice that...

I sometimes play with my eyes closed, but usually stare off into space. I also practice a lot in a half torn up and abandoned office space. The floor is cement with random splotches and the remains of old flooring. I stare at this like a Rorschach test and sometimes see strange faces and creatures.

sbhikes2 - Posted - 06/15/2020:  13:00:55


No I do not play with closed eyes. In a jam situation I usually am looking at the ground or someone else's fingers or feet until it's seeming like maybe time to stop the tune and then I look at the tune starter to see if they give the signal.

When I'm alone, as you commented in the playing advice video I posted asking for help to play faster, it may look like I'm looking at my own fingers or strings or whatever, and maybe I was at some point, but often I just am not really looking through my eyes anymore. Kind of my eyes are closed while they are still open kind of thing.

boxbow - Posted - 06/15/2020:  17:54:21


When I'm done woodshedding and just playing for myself I'm often playing with eyes closed. The bow is likely to wander a bit, but so long as the tone is okay I don't care. In a jam there's too much to watch for. In some jams you need to see just to tell what rhythm the guitars are banging out.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 06/17/2020:  10:07:33


I can't see my own eyes, so who knows? Back in the old days, my old friends and I mostly picked guitars...usually in some local meeting spot with our kids, friends, neighbors, etc. Once in a while someobyd would attempt to say something to a guitar player, and get only a blank staring into outer space as a response. We'd always say..."Sorry, s/he's in a State-of-Strum right now...s/he can hear everything you say, but can't respond." But I guess our eyes were open...just sort of staring into some place within the quantum world where we could visualize the music we played.


Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 06/17/2020 10:09:20

ChickenMan - Posted - 06/17/2020:  16:06:41


quote:

Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

I can't see my own eyes, so who knows? Back in the old days, my old friends and I mostly picked guitars...usually in some local meeting spot with our kids, friends, neighbors, etc. Once in a while someobyd would attempt to say something to a guitar player, and get only a blank staring into outer space as a response. We'd always say..."Sorry, s/he's in a State-of-Strum right now...s/he can hear everything you say, but can't respond." But I guess our eyes were open...just sort of staring into some place within the quantum world where we could visualize the music we played.






I always called that the guitar face! laugh

DougD - Posted - 06/17/2020:  16:15:56


"I can't see my own eyes, so who knows?" Peggy, when your eyes are open you see things, and when they're closed it seems kind of dark. Thought I'd mention it just in case you hadn't noticed.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 06/17/2020:  18:38:17


Lol...thanks for that excellent explanation, Doug!

Joel Glassman - Posted - 06/18/2020:  06:12:38


Watching the fretboard is useful for mandolin and guitar, but with fiddle you're looking at the end of the fingerboard. Not much to see there. :^)

bsed - Posted - 06/21/2020:  15:45:24


only when trying to convince you I'm not reading dots.



 

Humbled by this instrument - Posted - 06/22/2020:  18:57:16


Maybe. By my fifth Sudwerk's Amber Lager....

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 06/23/2020:  05:25:19


...like, minutes before you hit the ground???? Lol.

Dick Hauser - Posted - 06/23/2020:  07:51:30


My eyes stay open, but I am not consciously looking at anything - just in a certain direction. My mind is usually thinking about something. Harder tunes do require my attention.

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