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For electronic musicians, is it meaningless (or uncool) to be a keyboard virtuoso?
Old 4 days ago
  #121
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you play two chords, than what?
Old 4 days ago
  #122
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickdafunk View Post
you play two chords, than what?
Music is made of chords and scales. If you're into that lame modular synth music then you won't understand this. It takes a lot of effort to compose something and turn it into a song, it's not like pressing a few buttons here and there while tweaking the cutoff filter on your synth. It's music vs electric noise/farts.
Old 4 days ago
  #123
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There are bleeps and bloops and then there are Bleeps and Boops; Morton Subotnick might sound like Bleeps and Boops, or Suzanne Ciani on a Buchla System, but they are indeed masters of that kind of music.

Not all music has to be chromatic, either, but you should know enough about music to understand what you’re trying to do, yes.

I agree with Progger mostly; any way of achieving mastery, for any kind of music on any instrument, has my respect, be it a koto, a shamisen or electronic emulations of same. Or be it a full-88 sized digital keyboard, or analogue synth with minikeys or even a sequencer.

With all my musical practice what appeals to me personally the most as fresh turf is sequencing, and groove boxes. And sampling, though I’m not excited enough about the actual tedium of multisampling to learn how to do that from scratch.

In all those areas, you can quickly distinguish between mastery and creativity and mere button-pushing. There are Boiler Room sets that are astonishingly blah, and others that are a revelation.

The main point is to really go deep, at whatever matters to you, and not just posture and pretend to make money. Unless that’s what you want to make your skill set, and more power to you if so, but that’s different from making music.
Old 4 days ago
  #124
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B_and_W View Post
Music is made of chords and scales. If you're into that lame modular synth music then you won't understand this.
Ah, so that would explain why I don't understand.
Old 4 days ago
  #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by realtrance View Post
There are bleeps and bloops and then there are Bleeps and Boops; Morton Subotnick might sound like Bleeps and Boops, or Suzanne Ciani on a Buchla System, but they are indeed masters of that kind of music.

Not all music has to be chromatic, either, but you should know enough about music to understand what you’re trying to do, yes.

I agree with Progger mostly; any way of achieving mastery, for any kind of music on any instrument, has my respect, be it a koto, a shamisen or electronic emulations of same. Or be it a full-88 sized digital keyboard, or analogue synth with minikeys or even a sequencer.

With all my musical practice what appeals to me personally the most as fresh turf is sequencing, and groove boxes. And sampling, though I’m not excited enough about the actual tedium of multisampling to learn how to do that from scratch.

In all those areas, you can quickly distinguish between mastery and creativity and mere button-pushing. There are Boiler Room sets that are astonishingly blah, and others that are a revelation.

The main point is to really go deep, at whatever matters to you, and not just posture and pretend to make money. Unless that’s what you want to make your skill set, and more power to you if so, but that’s different from making music.
Relying on making money with music is kinda impossible. How many guys actually reach the top? You're better of learning to trade on the stock market at least with that you can make millions within one year starting with a small capital if you're know what you're doing.

Mini keys, 2-3 octaves are crap. I have no idea why people take these things seriously, like the keyboard gimmick Roland had released for the boutique. Sh!ttiest (and I'm dead serious about this) equipment a company has ever released EVER.

It's hilarious when these button pushers complain about space when you look at their so called "studio" it's just a desk with a couple modules.
Old 4 days ago
  #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
Ah, so that would explain why I don't understand it.
You're fake news!
Old 4 days ago
  #127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B_and_W View Post
Relying on making money with music is kinda impossible. How many guys actually reach the top? You're better of learning to trade on the stock market at least with that you can make millions within one year starting with a small capital if you're know what you're doing.

Mini keys, 2-3 octaves are crap. I have no idea why people take these things seriously, like the keyboard gimmick Roland had released for the boutique. Sh!ttiest (and I'm dead serious about this) equipment a company has ever released EVER.

It's hilarious when these button pushers complain about space when you look at their so called "studio" it's just a desk with a couple modules.
I know you like to argue so I’ll just leave it at this, but Moog Model D and Voyager are only 37 keys, or three octaves. That keyboard size is fine for mono synths, bass and lead.

As to mini keys, well, you’d be surprised how good quality the Roland K-25m is! It’s a special skill to learn to play that, or the Microfreak’s capacitive minikeys, but it is a skill one can learn, and it’s not really that hard if you’re already a keyboardist.

You fit the music and performance practices to what’s there, like any instrument. Is a recorder too small, with not enough holes, and thus inferior to a bassoon? No.
Old 4 days ago
  #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by realtrance View Post
I know you like to argue so I’ll just leave it at this, but Moog Model D and Voyager are only 37 keys, or three octaves. That keyboard size is fine for mono synths, bass and lead.

As to mini keys, well, you’d be surprised how good quality the Roland K-25m is! It’s a special skill to learn to play that, or the Microfreak’s capacitive minikeys, but it is a skill one can learn, and it’s not really that hard if you’re already a keyboardist.

You fit the music and performance practices to what’s there, like any instrument. Is a recorder too small, with not enough holes, and thus inferior to a bassoon? No.
I'll argue you to death, and once thats done I'll track down your kids and argue with them every single day, as soon as they leave trough their door I'll run into them and start arguing. I'll even argue with your grandkids, yes I'll even argue with the babies who can't even argue. I'll even record myself arguing so when I die people can still hear me arguing! HELL I EVEN LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND ARGUE AGAINST MYSELF!!!!! I have a black belt in arguing, I'm the father of the Argue-ists.

You can't play anything serious on those keys, especially complex melodies how do you want to play the bass notes? A double octave bassline would be impossible.

For me the Boutique series and the K-20m are really inferior, but it might be different for someone else.
Old 4 days ago
  #129
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zerocrossing's Avatar
I think when some people think “virtuoso,” they think self indulgent [email protected]|<3ry. That’s fair. We all know the Yngwie Malmsteens of the world. However, that kind of skill level in a guy like Prince is magic. Someone who serves the music, instead of becoming a slave to dexterity. If you listen to say a young Eddie Van Halen, it’s interesting to hear how sloppy he is, compared to someone like a Steve Vai. But where’s Steve Via’s popular hits (other than one’s he’s played on for other artists)? Few people outside the guitarist world have probably even heard of him. But for all Eddie’s sloppiness, he’s got great soul and a vibe. The solos serve the songs, as opposed to a Via song, that just seems like a nice container for his solos.
Old 4 days ago
  #130
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zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by realtrance View Post
Is a recorder too small, with not enough holes, and thus inferior to a bassoon?
Yes.
Old 4 days ago
  #131
Gear Maniac
 

It's the imperfections in performance that makes most styles of music interesting to listen to. Every live performing musician adds specific nuances that make that performance unique to that performer. Those include timing variations, sloppiness, dynamic changes, accents, etc., and this is not something that can be acquired overnight. It takes years, often decades of practice. Even more so when you have multiple live players in the same performance. Often times those nuances can be distinct enough where we can identify the musician, they become his/her signature, "the soul", kind of like the brush strokes of famous a painter. A music that's perfect or sterile is boring, unless that's the intended style.

That said, back to the OP, having keyboard skills makes it easier to sequence it into your DAW. Anything is possible thru programming, given enough time, but when you play it live, you give the music "the soul" that is very difficult to program in otherwise.

Most classical music, when sequenced (as opposed to played live), doesn't sound right simply because it's missing the human element, no matter how advanced the underlying technology is that creates the sounds. Electronic music of course has different rules, and it's completely possible for someone without keyboard skills to create great music while another with these skills could not. For that genre, production methods (sound design, mixing, song structure, composition, etc.) are more important than hard keyboard skills.

So in the end, it really depends on the type of music.
Old 4 days ago
  #132
Gear Nut
 

Art is a funny thing. There’s great art made by people with little conventional skill in music,writing, painting, acting, sculpting, etc etc. and there’s great art made by masters or virtuosos. And on the other hand some people look at a blank canvas with a dot in the middle as the masterpiece of their lifetimes. While others think it’s junk. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to emotions.
Old 4 days ago
  #133
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JPogo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coorec View Post
I found the best electronic music to me was made by people who had both.
The naivity and open mindedness to let the technology guide them. An then enhance the result with their composing or player skills.
I'm sorta glad to see the subject broached, because I can't play for s**t on piano -- but when I play keys in a band, people love what I do.

My favorites are largely the old virtuoso keyboardists. So I was rather relieved to see Jarre in concert, and realize he had very rudimentary keyboard skills. I was surprised to read Nick Rhodes of Duran admit he couldn't play piano. But now that I'm focused on playing keys myself, I see what he means.

I respect the classical world; I had harmony and musicianship classes. And I do in fact practice on piano, which will necessarily improve my other keyboard skills. But a big part of synth playing -- the part that attracted me in the first place -- is just letting sounds be sounds, and seeing where they can go
Old 4 days ago
  #134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
If you listen to say a young Eddie Van Halen, it’s interesting to hear how sloppy he is, compared to someone like a Steve Vai. But where’s Steve Via’s popular hits (other than one’s he’s played on for other artists)? Few people outside the guitarist world have probably even heard of him. But for all Eddie’s sloppiness, he’s got great soul and a vibe. The solos serve the songs, as opposed to a Via song, that just seems like a nice container for his solos.
This has been my main complaint about most (all?) the post-VH guitar wizards -- blinding speed can be a quality just in itself, but so much of it just seemed to disappear up its own behind. Steve Vai's best album, for my money, was his first one, Flex-Able -- stuff he never intended to release. My particular favorite side was the last one, which didn't make it onto the CD. You haven't really found the soul-center of Steve Vai until you've heard "There's Something Dead In Here"

Meanwhile there have been others: Joe Satriani and Eric Johnson scored some hits, and of course Yngwie. But it was pretty much a one- or two-song punch, because how much can you listen to songs that seem to have misplaced their vocalists? EVH by contrast was a song-man first, the World's Greatest Rock Guitarist second. And he sang backups (always puzzles me when guitarists don't sing).

In the synth world, Wendy Carlos' "Timesteps" didn't leave me feeling like anything was missing -- and Carlos is undoubtedly capable of executing keyboard skills, as Switched-On Bach proved. So there's definitely something to be said for someone who can occupy both worlds totally and capably.
Old 4 days ago
  #135
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ralphNYC View Post
Art is a funny thing. There’s great art made by people with little conventional skill in music,writing, painting, acting, sculpting, etc etc. and there’s great art made by masters or virtuosos. And on the other hand some people look at a blank canvas with a dot in the middle as the masterpiece of their lifetimes. While others think it’s junk. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to emotions.
Interesting view.


The following may read as going off the deep end a little, but it is integral to the conversation RE 'the artists we know/the artists who are promoted through various media outlets'.


At the level you're discussing, the arts are political, and not based on merit/originality/'skill' etc. There are plenty of great musicians who are held back as they don't tick certain boxes, including ethnocultural boxes.

Lang Lang isn't known as a 'great virtuoso' as there's no-one like him. If you walk into any conservatoire, almost any Masters-level piano performance major could fill the same shoes. But they wouldn't serve the same political/marketing function i.e establishing connections within/profiting from the Chinese marketplace.



Going back in time, there's the likes of the CIA long-leash bankrolling Abstract Expressionism through various channels, including Rockefeller/Fleischmann/Farfield/MoMA etc (read up on it if you haven't).

Labels don't release material that is counter to current political agenda. As is the case with material given commissions/grants etc (including orchestral repertoire). This isn't a happy accident.


The above also extends to the synth world. There are commonalities RE the reviewers you know of - and the artists whose material is promoted by synth companies.
Old 4 days ago
  #136
FWIW I saw nearly every guitarist mentioned live, from the Vai generation the guy from Ozric Tentacles is better than them all imho.

But then there is Jeff Beck, who doesn't use many effects as its all in the hands ... something midi/cv can imitate on a live player but its not the same to me.

Then again, fast was defined by punk ... no else ever played this fast, good bass player btw.

Old 4 days ago
  #137
Not quite what I listen to day in day out, but Dorian Concept does the most pure synth workery in recent times for me.

https://twitter.com/dorianconcept/st...74957030096898

https://twitter.com/dorianconcept/st...92525880774657
Old 4 days ago
  #138
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Quote:
Originally Posted by realtrance View Post
Is a recorder too small, with not enough holes, and thus inferior to a bassoon?
It really depends on what you want to do with it and how big you are. To be fair this goes for the bassoon too.




Old 4 days ago
  #139
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I really wish I had taken piano and music lessons when I was younger. Trying to learn the basics of playing keys as an adult coming from another instrument where I never studied much of anything has been a rough climb. Better late than never I suppose.
Old 4 days ago
  #140
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shreddoggie View Post
It really depends on what you want to do with it and how big you are.

To be fair this goes for the bassoon too.
This holds true for any instrument.
(Or any endeavor, for that matter.)
Here's an example:
.
Old 4 days ago
  #141
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Well, I can't say I've seen everything, but after that carrot video, I think I can say I've seen enough.
Old 4 days ago
  #142
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcearl View Post
Listening to electronic music I definitely veer towards the non virtuoso side of things...I really dont like proggy stuff or even vangelis (sacrilige) much.

Making music Im glad I can add little piano or guitar parts to my tracks...which although pretty basic have enough going on to remain interesting mostly, Id put that down to some limited music theory too. So years later my youthful piano lessons are paying off, hated them at the time
I hate Vangelis too, but it’s not due to his skill level. It’s his heavy handed composition style.

I do love some prog... King Crimson... Material... John Zorn. I hate others, like Dream Theater. Even their name makes me gag a little.
Old 4 days ago
  #143
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPogo View Post
Well, I can't say I've seen everything, but after that carrot video, I think I can say I've seen enough.
Did you ever find the Thomas Dolby commemorative plaque?
Old 4 days ago
  #144
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Knowing how to play keys (and at a higher level, more traditional composition techniques and theory) is never a bad thing.

Because I can play keys, I can improvise and perform parts live and in the moment that other electronic performers without those musical "tools" can't touch.

Being able to play doesn't mean I'm inherently bad at sound design or that I can't create dynamic rhythms and soundscapes that make people dance or experience various emotions from the sonic textures. It just means that when I DO want to incorporate cohesive melodic and harmonic ideas in my music, I can do it easily and even come up with compelling improvisations over any key/progression without "fishing".

That said, I also hear amazing stuff that I like from people without formal training. You don't NEED it to make "good" electronic music (whatever "good" means).

But I will say, I've watched a dance floor get cleared and people start to leave because someone didn't "read the room" which was full of techno and house-heads, and spent their entire hour-long set twisting knobs and playing modular fart noises. Time and a place for everything.

At the same venue, I watched a guy who was paid a bunch of money to come in from out of state spend his entire set just launching and transitioning between easily identifiable "stock" clips on an MPC Live. And yet the dance floor was full.

And if I have to watch ONE MORE YOUTUBE VIDEO of someone twisting a couple of filter and LFO knobs for an hour on a $10,000 euro-rack system whilst staring meaningfully at the webcam as if they've somehow divined the secrets of the universe in this particular incarnation of repetitive noise ...

Where am I going with this? I don't know, even I lost the thread.

TL;DR? Theory and keyboard performance ability can certainly elevate one's ability to create music, but there are great pieces created by people with no formal background or keyboard ability too. And ... there's a time and a place for everything.
Old 4 days ago
  #145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iksrazal View Post
...

Since this topic is about "uncool" ... I am a big fan of Nikola Tesla who invented the AC generator, which Edison slandered him on but was thankfully ignored.
Here, here!!!

Nokola Tesla was a brilliant genius, a virtuoso of the mind and probably the most accomplished electrical designer and engineer that ever lived. He was as cool and classy as us humans get, imo.

His contributions (many or most created visually and completed in his head!) to our modern society and quality of life are immeasurable and extraordinary. Our AC power and electrical grids, the first hydroelectric plant, radio and wireless communications, remote control, x-rays, MRI’s (flux density), the amazing Tesla Coil, dozens of incredible patents, etc.

He truly wanted free electrical power distributed wirelessly around the globe, utilizing the sun and the earth’s magnetic field and ionosphere. He was squashed by the powers that were.

The AC/DC wars were a joke, where Edison paved and rode his own Highway To Hell. See what I did there?

If electronic synths were around when Tesla lived, I have no doubt he’d have been a sound design and performance virtuoso, given that life path, and his interest in electricity and it’s properties, sonic or otherwise. His low (or is that high) frequency oscillators were legend and could create manmade earthquakes upon feeding back. Perhaps we’d all have access to the Tesla Coil Synth... just imagine that stage show!
Old 4 days ago
  #146
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Quote:
Originally Posted by realtrance View Post
Ditto Bartok's late Quartets.
On of my all time favorite musical moments is at the end of the 3rd quartet, where it builds up to this moment where the two violins play rising rhythmic motif, and the cello and viola play a descending slide below it.

A lot of performances hide the slide so you don’t hear the contrast the way you should, but Emerson is one of the better ones:

https://youtu.be/Gp7m1yZVHHI

The lead in starts at about 12:50, and the slide comes it at about 13:07. It only lasts for maybe 10 seconds, but it always gives me goosebumps.

EDIT: To the general discussion I’ll add this. I’m not a huge fan of virtuosity, when you use it in the pejorative send of “showing off”, like may of the cadenzas in concertos, or the various showpieces in the classical repertoire. But the coda to Bartok’s third quartet is absolutely virtuosic and places huge demands on the performers. To me it give the impression of controlled manic chaos. While it’s not a style you would impose on all your music, I don’t know that you could create that sensation very well without virtuosity. In electronic music, you might be able to step record similar music, and with careful editing, recreate the same sort of controlled chaos, the the result would still sound like virtuosity.
Old 4 days ago
  #147
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Quote:
Originally Posted by string6theory View Post
Here, here!!!

Nokola Tesla was a brilliant genius, a virtuoso of the mind and probably the most accomplished electrical designer and engineer that ever lived. He was as cool and classy as us humans get, imo.

His contributions (many or most created visually and completed in his head!) to our modern society and quality of life are immeasurable and extraordinary. Our AC power and electrical grids, the first hydroelectric plant, radio and wireless communications, remote control, x-rays, MRI’s (flux density), the amazing Tesla Coil, dozens of incredible patents, etc.

He truly wanted free electrical power distributed wirelessly around the globe, utilizing the sun and the earth’s magnetic field and ionosphere. He was squashed by the powers that were.

The AC/DC wars were a joke, where Edison paved and rode his own Highway To Hell. See what I did there?

If electronic synths were around when Tesla lived, I have no doubt he’d have been a sound design and performance virtuoso, given that life path, and his interest in electricity and it’s properties, sonic or otherwise. His low (or is that high) frequency oscillators were legend and could create manmade earthquakes upon feeding back. Perhaps we’d all have access to the Tesla Coil Synth... just imagine that stage show!
I really dig that machine that he invented that made hats disappear then reappear in a field next to a house on a hill. That was epic. dunno why that machine never caught on.
Old 3 days ago
  #148
People still value musical virtuosity these days -- provided you're only playing a cover song (no originals, please) on a viral YouTube video.
Old 3 days ago
  #149
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elsongs View Post
People still value musical virtuosity these days -- provided you're only playing a cover song (no originals, please) on a viral YouTube video.
It also helps if you are 3 years old. WOW 3 YR OLD PLAYS TOOL ON DRUMS.

Talking of covers, this guy did a CRACKING cover of Turrican II recently, and only has a couple hundred views, so I’m posting it here to try and bump it up. I don’t know the guy, I just thought it was amazing:

Old 3 days ago
  #150
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abruzzi View Post
On of my all time favorite musical moments is at the end of the 3rd quartet, where it builds up to this moment where the two violins play rising rhythmic motif, and the cello and viola play a descending slide below it.

A lot of performances hide the slide so you don’t hear the contrast the way you should, but Emerson is one of the better ones:

https://youtu.be/Gp7m1yZVHHI

The lead in starts at about 12:50, and the slide comes it at about 13:07. It only lasts for maybe 10 seconds, but it always gives me goosebumps.

EDIT: To the general discussion I’ll add this. I’m not a huge fan of virtuosity, when you use it in the pejorative send of “showing off”, like may of the cadenzas in concertos, or the various showpieces in the classical repertoire. But the coda to Bartok’s third quartet is absolutely virtuosic and places huge demands on the performers. To me it give the impression of controlled manic chaos. While it’s not a style you would impose on all your music, I don’t know that you could create that sensation very well without virtuosity. In electronic music, you might be able to step record similar music, and with careful editing, recreate the same sort of controlled chaos, the the result would still sound like virtuosity.
Yes! Like Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata for piano. There are not a few pieces in the repertoire that push the performer(s) to the utmost. Chopin’s Ballades, as well.

I always like to think that in the piano repertoire, these kinds of virtuosity are meant to deeply sound the sonorities of the instruments being played (though in the case @ abruzzi mentions, it feels to me like in that movement it’s almost a kind of harmonic as well as rhythmic counterpoint being generated). It’s as if the composer is looking for ways to bring forth new sounds from the instruments at hand. Debussy’s “La Cathèdrale Engloutie” is another good example (all of the Preludes, Books I and II, are just wondrous).

This is the aspect of electronic music always calling to me, as well. The fresh sonorities possible, regardless of musical form: they’re so much easier to obtain with synthesizers than they once were!
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