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Any methods on cleaning the subjectivity palette for your music?


Brisbot
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We can push this argument and start reviewing ambient drone to see whether it's innovative from the standpoint of "music theory". Clearly most of it is utter crap because there are too few complex arrangements. It's over for Brian Eno.

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1 minute ago, thawkins said:

Sorry mate if you show up to me after a show trying to explain that I should have used more harmony or whatever it is that you think "music theory" is, then you are getting the "yeah I will just hear what the crackpot has to say before I get an excuse to bail" treatment.

If you want to be a critic you got to do better.

i really don't see what your problem is, dude. you act like i offended you in some kind of way, maybe you think i'm a fucking clown and you're the real deal or something, i don't know. i'll give you that i'm a bit of a clown since my knowledge is kinda limited tbh but it's not like i don't know that (well i tend to forget it at times but that's a different topic lol), and it doesn't change a thing to my point. 

maybe i should have mentioned from the get go that i too believe that music doesn't have to be complex to be good. 

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16 minutes ago, Freak of the week said:

he also knows when/how to introduce variations in a track.

i'll give you that. if there's one thing he learned very early on, it's adding variation. it's one of the very simple tricks that sets him apart from a lot of other electronic musicians. adding variation to a pattern goes a long way in making a good tune. 

 

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On 5/17/2021 at 3:24 AM, thawkins said:

I think Mozart's and Afx's stories both show that it's the combination of grinding (hard work) and talent (luck). I don't think either of them lucked out by accidentally composing their music perfectly on the first go. It was probably a lot of experimentation and learning (not necessarily classical music theory) that got them to where they were.

I read something in one of those smart books (Thinking, Fast And Slow) that basically it's true that 10 000 hours of work will get you to an expert level of whatever thing you are doing, but the catch is that you need to work in such a way that you can get feedback/criticism on whether you are progressing in the correct direction or not. With music this is incredibly difficult because there is no such thing as objective criticism on art.

That said, working on your technical producer chops and knowledge of the gear and tools you use is going to make it much easier to execute your vision at least.

Great book(I am only halfway through it right now) but there is some (imo) better writing on this in the talent code, that partly dismantles the 10000 hours idea and focuses more on what you're saying about *how* you spend that time learning

And yeah I think objectivity isn't a huge issue as long as you know what you're trying to maximize, personal enjoyment , opinion of others, etc. But being able to get that detailed feedback instantly is important so you have to be able to assess your music by yourself otherwise that feedback loop just isn't tight enough to get anywhere, I often wonder if being in the studio with multiple other people makes you learn faster in terms of making music to others tastes because of this.

I still feel like what you are saying is encouraging people to go in the direction of just grinding though, and it appears at least to me that it's more about conscious thought about what you are doing, how your music "works", why it works, etc.

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Posted (edited)

The 10.000 hrs idea works for the performing arts, for creative ones less so! 
bc creativity includes originality which is based on intelligence and so called ‘lateral horizon’, both of which are demonstrated to be the least changeable traits of all, especially the latter.  

Edited by xox
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yeah the 10k hours thing only works if you practice deliberately, otherwise you're very likely to progress very slowly. to those who don't know what deliberate practice is, i'll just quote a bit from the wiki article: 

Quote

One of Ericsson's core findings was that how expert one becomes at a skill has more to do with how one practises than with merely performing a skill a large number of times. An expert breaks down the skills that are required to be expert and focuses on improving those skill chunks during practice or day-to-day activities, often paired with immediate coaching feedback. Another important feature of deliberate practice lies in continually practising a skill at more challenging levels with the intention of mastering it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Practice_(learning_method)#Deliberate_practice

basically, you need to identify your weaknesses and systematically target those areas where you suck and work on them methodically, and constantly raise the bar higher. that's how you get to insane levels of mastery. so it's less about putting in the hours than it is about being methodical and smart with your practice. 

13 hours ago, vkxwz said:

Great book(I am only halfway through it right now) but there is some (imo) better writing on this in the talent code, that partly dismantles the 10000 hours idea and focuses more on what you're saying about *how* you spend that time learning

And yeah I think objectivity isn't a huge issue as long as you know what you're trying to maximize, personal enjoyment , opinion of others, etc. But being able to get that detailed feedback instantly is important so you have to be able to assess your music by yourself otherwise that feedback loop just isn't tight enough to get anywhere, I often wonder if being in the studio with multiple other people makes you learn faster in terms of making music to others tastes because of this.

I still feel like what you are saying is encouraging people to go in the direction of just grinding though, and it appears at least to me that it's more about conscious thought about what you are doing, how your music "works", why it works, etc.

totally agree with you 100% 

btw here's a post-tuss era afx tune that i absolutely love despite the fact that it's harmonically simple, proof that i actually don't give 2 fucks how complex a tune is: 

ok, the microtonal intervals add a layer of complexity but you get my point. 

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Posted (edited)

Thought music theory was just a way of describing music. I don't see why you'd need to describe music the way academic people do in order to make music with harmonic complexity, you compose with your ears not a pen.

I do see what some of you are saying about it limiting people, Brian is right in that it's descriptive BUT for a lot of people this ends up being more prescriptive anyway, since they naturally try to build up music the way they analyse it.

I think there are some fundamental things to understand that will help you with composition, like knowledge of what intervals are, timing, phasing etc, but I almost view this as more physics than music theory, although music theory describes that stuff too.

And I don't see people don't talk about psychology as something important in music, which is more important than theory imo. You're creating something that's interpreted by a brain, maybe knowing how the brain processes sound is more important than knowing the names of all the scales/modes etc ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Edited by vkxwz
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Posted (edited)

I studied piano from age 7, trombone from age 11, chose music modules throughout high school and did 2 yrs of a Music Composition degree at University. I have done a lot of music theory study.

But, still, I rely on writing by sound as much as I do on theory. Often I don't register what key signature I'm writing in. 

I value my theory understanding of rhythm more than I do harmony. I was never as gifted as many of my friends in terms of recognising chords, harmonic modulations, and improvising on chord sequences. Many of those friends were as interested in rock/pop as they were classical or jazz music.

Rhythm excites me, and I'm glad I understand the difference between simple and complex time, time signatures, duplets/triplets, etc.  

Throughout my education, classical education and love of electronica were usually kept separate. What I loved about a lot of electronic music was that it was made by producers who didn't have classical theory education, and that often resulted in surprising, happenchance results that a strictly classically trained composer might not think to plan to create. For example, classically trained composers are told not to use parallel harmony, as a loose rule, but I've heard it in electronic tracks where it really works.

Edited by Thu Zaw
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2 hours ago, Thu Zaw said:

Throughout my education, classical education and love of electronica were usually kept separate. What I loved about a lot of electronic music was that it was made by producers who didn't have classical theory education, and that often resulted in surprising, happenchance results that a strictly classically trained composer might not think to plan to create. For example, classically trained composers are told not to use parallel harmony, as a loose rule, but I've heard it in electronic tracks where it really works.

The rule about parallel harmony is a very interesting thing because it is really restricted to the context you're in: Writing classical harmony.

Go outside of that context and you'll see people who downright revel in parallel harmony. It's a huge part of modal jazz, it's in power chords, it's what happens when you tune an analog synth into a chord, so it's all over electronic music.

Someone explained the rule to me like this: You want four voices moving independently, like they're all singing different melodies that harmonize. As soon as two of them start moving in parallel it feels like they're the same voice, so now you've lost one. I liked that explanation a lot because it explained the point of the rule as well as describing the aesthetic it belongs to.

Personally I like the explanation that musical rules are a description of a style. Electronic music has rules too, but I don't think we really know what they are yet - which to me is exciting. But one rule might as well be to not write classical harmony, lest you be accused of making exotica cheese. I mean, I don't think anyone really wants to go back to Switched-On Bach sounding stuff.

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Posted (edited)

Good point. Absolutely there are "rules" in electronica music. It's precisely why electronic music has so many genre names and spin-offs. The elements which characterise a genre's sound are those rules.

Tempo, rhythmic groove (4 to the floor / breakbeat), sound palette are major elements in electronica which place a piece of music into a genre, and many producers actively seek to adhere to those rules.

In terms of harmony, I think there are fewer rules in electronic music. It's one of the things I love about electronic music; it can be inspired by any musical tradition around the world, based upon any harmonic tradition, but it's still electronic music.  

 

Incidentally, I am inspired by Bach harmony. After weekly exercises in writing SATB 4-part harmony in music class, it has stuck with me and influenced much of my music.

 

Edited by Thu Zaw
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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, brian trageskin said:

yeah the 10k hours thing only works if you practice deliberately, otherwise you're very likely to progress very slowly. to those who don't know what deliberate practice is, i'll just quote a bit from the wiki article: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Practice_(learning_method)#Deliberate_practice

basically, you need to identify your weaknesses and systematically target those areas where you suck and work on them methodically, and constantly raise the bar higher. that's how you get to insane levels of mastery. so it's less about putting in the hours than it is about being methodical and smart with your practice. 

totally agree with you 100% 

btw here's a post-tuss era afx tune that i absolutely love despite the fact that it's harmonically simple, proof that i actually don't give 2 fucks how complex a tune is: 

ok, the microtonal intervals add a layer of complexity but you get my point. 

What about this beautiful bassline ? Always love how it just jumps between octaves. I wonder if he used just one 303 ( if its even a 303) for this.

Edited by Wunderbar
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15 hours ago, vkxwz said:

Thought music theory was just a way of describing music. I don't see why you'd need to describe music the way academic people do in order to make music with harmonic complexity, you compose with your ears not a pen.

Yes.

 

Like I said before, theory follows practice.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Wunderbar said:

What about this beautiful bassline ? Always love how it just jumps between octaves. I wonder if he used just one 303 ( if its even a 303) for this.

My guess is a devilfish mod (or some type) 303, and 606 for the beginning drums. Oberheim for the weird pitched thing. Maybe

Edited by Himelstein
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12 hours ago, TubularCorporation said:

 

not that i've ever watched this btw, i just know it's a staple of guitar instructional videos. i probably should though, now that i have an interest in such things and understand how they work. 

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Posted (edited)

yeah this is me derailing this thread for absolutely no reason. here's a video of squarepusher's pal, more likely to teach us anything about music other than how to play the guitar (i've only watched bits of it so maybe it's mostly guitar technique-oriented, idk. not that anyone gives a shit anyway. alright i'll fuck off now)

 

Edited by brian trageskin
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1 hour ago, brian trageskin said:

yeah i started watching this and there's really nothing there if you're not willing to learn how to play the guitar:datboi:

Shred guitar is boring.

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