Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But, man, there's no boundary line to art.
I worked hard. Anyone who works as hard as I did can achieve the same results.
J. S. Bach
For me, music and life are all about style.
Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself
Don't play what's there, play what's not there.
Chopin's rubato possessed an unshakeable emotional logic. It always justified itself by a strengthening or weakening melodic line, by exaggeration or affectation.
The music is not in the notes,
but in the silence between
W. A. Mozart
All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians
Holdsworth is so damned good that I can't cop anything. I can't understand what he's doing. I've got to do this [does two-hand tapping], whereas he'll do it with one hand
Eddie Van Halen
Allan's beautiful and unique chord voicings have always had an impact on me. His approach to guitar is one of a kind. He pushes the limits of the boundaries of electric guitar, and his lead phrasing would make Charlie Parker smile. His playing is essential listening for any guitarist, of any style, so they can see that the only limits we have are the ones we put on ourselves
Only the elite musician wishes not to imitate. Originality and finding your own voice are the only beacons that the elite musician follows. Allan Holdsworth is one of these musicians.
Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul.
J. S. Bach
You can do anything you set your mind to, man.
"Lose Yourself" Eminem
Music is at once the product of feeling and knowledge, for it requires from its disciples, composers and performers alike, not only talent and enthusiasm, but also that knowledge and perception which are the result of protracted study and reflection
Allan Holdsworth's prime directive has always been to avoid sounding like anyone else, and he has ensured compliance by
making it impossible for anyone else to sound like him.
I'm always thinking about creating.
My future starts when I wake up every morning...
Every day I find something creative to do with my life.
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
I went through this with Pat Metheny in 1980. No, he didn't sound like me; I sounded like him. When I realized I wasn't satisfied with that, I stopped listening to him altogether.
Power is like being a lady... if you have to tell people you are, you aren't. (power = own voice in music)
Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.
Everything popular is wrong.
Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't leaving being musician because I use to like it when noone came to see me playing, because I didn't feel any pressure. I can enjoy myself and probably play better. Sometimes when I play, people expect something of me, and I'm not always able to to that. Quite often. So I get totaly nervous.
It is in self-limitation that a master first shows himself
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.
Ludvig van Beethoven
When I talk about the courage, a creative person needs to find themselfs. It's a courage to embrace their own, inner, unique, creative vision. Because they have it. Everybody has ability to think
uniquely. But the thing that stops them is the voice in their head, that tells them, that what they are doing is not good enough or it's not going to be accepted,or doesn't fit into a form. Can you imagine somebody says that to Jimi Hendrix or Metheny? (...) It could be any field. My advice is to indentify yourself and throw yourself into and enjoy the process!
Critisism is just reflection of the person that speaking.
(REH workshop): The thing that I wanted to get over is that I'm a big believer in trying to figure out things on your own. Because then they becomes more meaningful to you. You understand it on the much deeper level than you would if you would just repeating something (...) Sometimes even if you would know or understand what you been shown for some reason seems to be something missing in that for me so I realy like to encourage everybody to try work realy hard on their own to develop themselfs. Good Luck!
Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself
But I have always contended that the greatest music can be viewed under the scrutiny of a musical electron microscope or from the telescopic distance of a casual music listener and what makes it great will withstand and transcend all perspectives.
Invest yourself in everything you do. There's fun in being serious.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see
Jazz composition is a tricky phrase. There is a jazz compositional tradition - a way of writing that's strictly a vehicle for soloing. But for me the composing tradition is predominantly a Western European tradition. I'm wrestling with a way to reconcile these two traditions - how to allow room for the improviser and how to explore the material in a written way as well. It's fertile territory and I don't think that I've been that successful at it so far. But I don't think there are many examples of anyone being that successful at it. These two arenas seem to be like oil and water. It may be that it's possible to join them but that's the task I've set before myself.
I want to deal in longer forms. What I've tried to do in the Pat Metheny group is introduce further exploration of the material in the context of a blowing jazz group. One of the things I like to put in the music is a kind of condensed development section or some additional piece of music that takes the material and looks at it from a slightly different angle. On my first record there is a piece called "Highland Aire", which contains a fairly conventional exposition of three themes and then a solo, but after the solo rather than just going back to the head it goes to another section based on different changes and the melodic motifs seem to be leading the way. I haven't been content for the solo to be the only way in which the material is developed.
So often the way jazz composition is taught implies that 50 or 60 percent of the music will be invented by the rhythm section and we just focus on this little part writing. Tune writing is approached like that - there's melody and chords, as if that alone defines music. Even more elaborate study of jazz counterpoint deals with the sections of the big band as if the music is defined by the horns and the rhythm section exists somewhere else. The biggest lacking I hear in most jazz composers is this blind spot where all the elements of music are not dealt with. I've tried to build up the music from every perspective possible, rhythmic as well as melodic, and to get completely away from the notion of "Chord". It's a possibly useful reduction of music after the fact and enables jazz musicians to play on a song, but it has to be understood as what it is - a reduction of the music, a shorthand, and doesn't really describe the music and to start out writing a piece of music with a chord I think is a huge mistake and people who still think of music in terms of chords have kind of missed the point.
The difference between mediocrity and art is that art shows what's not obvious.
The guitar for me is a translation device. It's not a goal. And in some ways, jazz isn't a destination for me. For me, jazz is a vehicle that takes you to the true destination - a musical one that describes all kinds of stuff about the human condition and the way music works
- What do you think the most important quality required for young musicians today?
- There are many young musicians who just steal and collect other great musicians' sounds made for lifetime, simply combine them and they say it's their music, but we should listen to our own voices from our hearts and create our own unique sounds.
I'd be all afternoon counting the many, many times over the years I?ve been approached by artists writing to me inviting me to take part in their project that say "Here's an area of music you'd feel at home in?" ... and I play the damn thing and it's yet another Allan Holdsworth clone! They get a very concise response from me, I can tell you! Then I hear echoes of Allan in my head, saying what he always said. "Clones don't count". It's actually a heavy statement, and correct. Well ... at least for me. It also reflected his philosophy on the whole thing. And he was passionate about it. He hated the wastefulness of a musician trying to emulate him. All the decades I knew him he felt that way.
But they're still out there. Perhaps more of them than ever before.
Loved to hear Pat Metheny's commentary on this issue.
Clones don't count
Guitarists should be able to pick up the guitar and play music on it for an hour, without a rhythm section or anything.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
I say, play your own way. Don't play what the public want - you play what you want, and let the public pick up on what you doing - even if it does take them fiveteen, twenty years.