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Music vs. sound? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 31st March 2010
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maks View Post
while i agree with Henry about the lack of certain fundamental education atleast, you gotta give some credit for those willing to read through the 900 page manuals for DAW's, learning plug-ins, drivers, etc etc and other tedious technical s**t, and finally coming up with something after years of twiddling around, LOL heh
Old 31st March 2010
  #32
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...art and craft...

...I have a happy knack of missing the point, but the comments here interest me so forgive my tuppence worth of thoughts....as a kid learning the guitar my dear old dad used to tell me to remember the difference between art and craft.....a well made wicker basket is a marvellous thing, but ultimately it's just a wicker basket....the music/art that comes from within, regardless of the medium to transport it, is where true value exists.....

.....but then again my mate 'mad Andy', reckoned we all hear things differently so to review and compare anything is pointless.....

.....interesting topic, don't you think....

Lazy Sinatra.
Old 31st March 2010
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maks View Post
good post Metaphor, but i would suggest that Timbre is by far not the last frontier to be explored in/with music.
Here's where I'm coming from on that:

as far as raw musical elements go, what do we have?

-Harmony/Melody
-Rhythm
-Arrangement
-Timbre

as far as I can tell, that's it. Out of the 4, most had been explored long ago. Certainly Harmony has been pushed into some sort of infinite flux with Jazz. Rhythm has been pushed as far as it can go with various percussion traditions, and most arguably, Indian classical music. Arrangement was long ago perfected with the rise of the orchestra. The only frontier left to really explore, as least as far as I can tell for the last 70 years or so, has been Timbre. Everything since in music happens in the context and in reference to that which has already been laid out and perfected by our musical predecessors. The way I see it, It's no longer about pushing new ground, it's about playing with the elements in new and interesting ways.

Since you see this differently, what else do you see as something that hasn't already been thoroughly explored already? The idea really excites me
Old 31st March 2010
  #34
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you see im working on a master plan to make millions, if id tell you, i wont make the millions heh... but really, getting into deeeeper waters eh? ..i see where your coming from, yet being that music-sound is an energy vibration like life itself which carriers intelligence, consciousness is ever expanding as our universe so things will be added, its kinda naive to predict transformational potentials through shear earthly logic, just like i could not predict using an ssl desk costing 1 million bucks in 93 that a laptop could mimic a whole studio as a mere example. Music is life , when we go, music will too, until then if ever, there will be some clever person/s pushing it beyond our present evidence? maybe it could be you? far fetched? maybe so, but at least it makes me sleep better at night knowing were better and capable than we usually think we are.

here's a hint though: interaction heh
Old 31st March 2010
  #35
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And let us not forget all the culture starved poor negroes (both african and american) who have never been subjected to the obviously superior classical western music.

Then there are other colored peoples too.
Poor misled souls as well.
How could they ever believe that the hideous noises emanating from their primitive instruments ever could be accepted for music?

They must all be civilized (by force if necessary), because the only way music can be created correctly is the classical european way.
Old 31st March 2010
  #36
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Relax, grumphh.

Consider for a second that we agree that the contribution of black musicians to the lineage of western music is MASSIVE, and already in this conversation in the context of Jazz and it's complete pushing of the envelope of harmony of western music. Yes, western music has the most complex expression of harmony of any music system on the planet-- it's been mapped much further than any other system of harmony. This includes the contribution of black musicians.

Additionally, you could state that black musicians "wrote the book" on rhythm. Certainly, some of the most complex rhythm in the world comes from africa. That being said, I believe that Indian classical music has the most deeply explored relationship to rhythm of any on the planet.

If you had read closely, you wouldn't be offended. Nobody here is suggesting that european western music is the be and end all of music. It's not, but it is a very foundational part of our current understanding of harmony.
Old 31st March 2010
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by :Metaphor: View Post
Nobody here is suggesting that european western music is the be and end all of music. It's not, but it is a very foundational part of our current understanding of harmony.
Actually, that is what quite a few people here seem to suggest.

A lot of posters display the "old man syndrome", complaining about the lack of theoretical foundation in music making today - and theoretical here meaning harmonic relationship...

Whereas maybe that part isn't so important to convey emotion at all and other ways of making music can be equally valid as the trodden path.
As other musical cultures prove.

... and one more thing - imo a good musician is a good musician, no matter what his formal training is - be it a turntablist or an opera singer.

But technology and the internet has made it possible for more people than ever before - many of whom simply have no talent - to display their creations, thus giving the impression that modern music is in an actual decline.

I would claim that there are still as many good musicians as there have always been, but that there are many more now that should try other outlets for their creativity. Easter egg painting or something maybe?...
Old 31st March 2010
  #38
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nice thread

Nice thread,

Going back to the original post (and some have already stated this correctly), Bach was a "working" musician. Music was a trade, which he was sort of born into coming from a very musical family. The music he wrote reflects the jobs he had. For example, the reason he wrote a s***load of cantatas is because he worked for a church in (Leipzig? always get his 3 cities confused) where he was required to perform a new cantata each week for every service. He dealt with his musical culture to make a living.

With technology, as was pointed out, the manufacturing and dissemination of music is way beyond what it was. Lots of brilliant stuff mixed in with lots of awful stuff.

Notes and Sound? Again, people are responding to their musical culture in which they live. Lots of "sound" oriented stuff because there are instruments that do it easily. Still, I find there is plenty of melodic stuff out there.
Old 1st April 2010
  #39
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A good musician IS a good musician. The question is what MAKES a good musician? I think it's training across the boards. You can be a great player, but not necessarily a good musician.

And by the way I'm a "negro" musician, but not a poor one. hehIn jazz Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and Bill Evans wrote the book on harmony, so I'm not sure I'm in complete accord with your missive about european tradition, since all of those folks, save one, were black. Yes they borrowed a tradition already in play, but all expanded it beyond what had been done previously. Hell Coltranes substitutions threw an entirely different light on the subject. And Bird/Monk/Diz/Powells take on reharmonization and altered tones like the flat 5 created a true revolution in music. And did you forget the blues? That wasn't just rhythm. That was a harmonic/melodic concept as well.

And as for exploring the new and unexplored, I'm don't know. How about just making music with the massive amount of tools we already have. There seems this psychic trauma about doing the new next thing not yet discovered. I think those "discoveries" happen best when they just happen, rather than being forced or contrived. The self conscious innovator is cool and all, but damn, what about just playing music?
Old 1st April 2010
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
A good musician IS a good musician. The question is what MAKES a good musician? I think it's training across the boards. You can be a great player, but not necessarily a good musician.

And by the way I'm a "negro" musician, but not a poor one. hehIn jazz Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and Bill Evans wrote the book on harmony, so I'm not sure I'm in complete accord with your missive about european tradition, since all of those folks, save one, were black. Yes they borrowed a tradition already in play, but all expanded it beyond what had been done previously. Hell Coltranes substitutions threw an entirely different light on the subject. And Bird/Monk/Diz/Powells take on reharmonization and altered tones like the flat 5 created a true revolution in music. And did you forget the blues? That wasn't just rhythm. That was a harmonic/melodic concept as well.

And as for exploring the new and unexplored, I'm don't know. How about just making music with the massive amount of tools we already have. There seems this psychic trauma about doing the new next thing not yet discovered. I think those "discoveries" happen best when they just happen, rather than being forced or contrived. The self conscious innovator is cool and all, but damn, what about just playing music?
Hehe, you are contradicting yourself quite a lot here ;-)

First of all - you have gotten the player/musician thing backwards - you can be a fantastic composer of avantgarde works (or just classical music for orchestras) yet not know how to play half of your compositions - are you a good musician then?
You could also be a drummer from South Africa who just falls into a groove with ease without any formal training - would that make you a lesser musician?
The actual playing is just as important as the theory behind it.
Both are equally valid.

next
If all those jazz greats weren't consciously looking for the new and unexplored wouldn't they still be playing swing music? heh

And finally,when i talked about other musical cultures i meant "blues" as well (rather than the overintellectualized jazz stuff, which i personally just can't get into ) which certainly makes no pretense of having knowledgeable musicians and almost takes pride in its limited harmonic diversity.
Yet most people agree that even the simple pentatonic based blues scale over three chords repeated ad nauseam can stir emotion in people when done by the right player. (Who by my definition is then also a great musician - even if he only knows how to play 6 notes in a limited harmonic context ;-) )
Old 1st April 2010
  #41
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Interesting views....

It's kind of a complicated matter... Bach himself invented the well tempered scale of 12 semitones we still mostly use...and this is what builds up melodies and chords, basically music.

Sound on the other hand has no such rules, as Kilon sayd it resembles nature... who knows what direction we'll take.. maybe someday there won't even be notes....
Old 1st April 2010
  #42
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one of the guys staying at my hotel has an irish wolfhound. ever seen one?

anyway, i think it's easy to look at these matters on a categorical level. it's inevitable that we split components of a sound or set of sounds up for identification and study. That is all well and good. but, you may say "I'm a sound designer type guy" or "I'm a musician" etc. but at the end of the day whatever you've made doesn't care, it's just existing with all of these things, harmony, note value, timbre, spacing, whatever, combined as a unit, monolithically. and that's the way people are going to take it in.

and that's just my opinion. the more you know ...

as to the fact that bach's composition could be written down and recreated with other instruments and sound the same, i agree, but there are definitely certain voicings i prefer. you dont listen to back on a piano, you listen to bach on a harpsichord or an organ ... it just sounds better. maybe thats my mind playing tricks, maybe its just preference, maybe its the fact that those are the instruments he regularly played, maybe its a little bit of everything.
Old 1st April 2010
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkerton View Post
one of the guys staying at my hotel has an irish wolfhound. ever seen one?

anyway, i think it's easy to look at these matters on a categorical level. it's inevitable that we split components of a sound or set of sounds up for identification and study. That is all well and good. but, you may say "I'm a sound designer type guy" or "I'm a musician" etc. but at the end of the day whatever you've made doesn't care, it's just existing with all of these things, harmony, note value, timbre, spacing, whatever, combined as a unit, monolithically. and that's the way people are going to take it in.

and that's just my opinion. the more you know ...

as to the fact that bach's composition could be written down and recreated with other instruments and sound the same, i agree, but there are definitely certain voicings i prefer. you dont listen to back on a piano, you listen to bach on a harpsichord or an organ ... it just sounds better. maybe thats my mind playing tricks, maybe its just preference, maybe its the fact that those are the instruments he regularly played, maybe its a little bit of everything.
At last a great post.... I agree 1.000.000%

Just try to play Bach on electric distorted guitar and see how what you hear is totally diffirent. Thats how fundemental sound is ....

You cant know music if you dont understand sound. And believe me classical composers knew all about sound synthesis, its called orchestration and they used extremely well. Actually all rules of music are coming from rules of sound and the way it behaves in nature.
Old 1st April 2010
  #44
Quote:
Originally Posted by ark View Post
Not only did J. S. Bach write some of the greatest music ever, but his music, as interpreted by Wendy (originally Walter) Carlos, sparked much of the subsequent interest in synthesizers as musical instruments. As a result, I am particularly fascinated by how much of today's electronic music has become virtually the opposite of Bach's ideal.
I was right with you until the word "opposite". And I mostly agree with you even there, except that your statement is over-broad. One could argue that an enormous amount of non-electronic music is similarly opposed to the ideals of Bach you lay out here:

Quote:
Every time I listen to Bach's music, I realize again that he cared more than anything else about what notes his instruments were playing. He rarely wrote chords as such; instead, what one might hear as a chord usually came about as a fleeting combination of several otherwise independent voices. On several occasions he took music that he had written for one instrument and reused it for another. Sometimes he did not even indicate what instrument or instruments he intended.
There is bad pop music that sounds absolutely terrible regardless of instrumentation, orchestration, etc.

Quote:
Most of the electronic music I hear today approaches its art from the opposite direction: Sound design comes first, then rhythm, and then the actual choice of notes. Rhythm and texture matter much more than melody or harmony.
And here's the book you need to read about that (along with my Amazon.com review).

If nothing else it will give you a vocabulary of terms and ideas beyond merely "sound vs. music".

Quote:
At this point, some people might rant about how much better things were in the old days. Not me--I think that such things are a matter of taste, and you can't argue about taste. Well, you can, but such arguments are usually impossible to settle so there's not much point.

However, there is a question that I think is important, and that is why. What is it about the use of electronic instruments that has made the ideas of melody and harmony so much less important than they once were? Is it just that electronic instruments are so much more sonically flexible than acoustic ones that it impels people to use them? Is it that it is easier to mash fragments together if they are mostly rhythmic rather than melodic? Is there some other reason that I am missing?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.
I agree with an earlier response that your question basically opens the can of worms labeled Music Concrète, but it is a worthy question, and one I'm delighted to see being discussed here.

Having recently gone off the deep end and purchased a 4-boat Buchla 200e (with an armada of other supporting equipment), I have to say that I have a whole new appreciation for electronic music, and no less appreciation for Bach. In fact, even more!
Old 1st April 2010
  #45
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Well, what's gotten in the way for me enjoying alot of stuff these days is the musician. Particularly in jazz music. It becomes so much about their abilities that the music seems to always be a vehicle for their talent and not about a cool song, and in general the music sounds well, not like good music but a stage. It's music, but not realy interesting. You've HEARD IT before, but now you get someone elses take on it, but usually not a far stretch from it's inspiration if that makes any sense. There's no NEW sensations to feel, only a new player's personality. B l a H.

Then on the sound designer front, I listen to more of this stuff these days because they are more concerned with inventing new sounds than flexing schooled talent. Sometimes a created piano sound with a pad underneath it with a touch of modulation and a picked guitar plunk on it created from a synth can play 3 chords every 1 minute and it's more impressive than a whole new Wynton Marsalis ALBULM or a new STING song because the sound has so much substance and feeling to it, it's a new sensation to experience and not the flexing of a bundle of talent...... if that makes any sense.

Like someone else mentioned earlier, regardless of if it's just gargled noise, simply sound design, chops flexing, etc.. if it leaves a lasting impression than it's done something. But sometimes, it seems these two worlds are just too far apart, and IMO need to respect the impact that each has to offer on a more regular basis when they can come together.
Cake and eat it too? Why the hell not?


steelyfan
Old 1st April 2010
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
Hehe, you are contradicting yourself quite a lot here ;-)

First of all - you have gotten the player/musician thing backwards - you can be a fantastic composer of avantgarde works (or just classical music for orchestras) yet not know how to play half of your compositions - are you a good musician then?
You could also be a drummer from South Africa who just falls into a groove with ease without any formal training - would that make you a lesser musician?
The actual playing is just as important as the theory behind it.
Both are equally valid.

next
If all those jazz greats weren't consciously looking for the new and unexplored wouldn't they still be playing swing music? heh

And finally,when i talked about other musical cultures i meant "blues" as well (rather than the overintellectualized jazz stuff, which i personally just can't get into ) which certainly makes no pretense of having knowledgeable musicians and almost takes pride in its limited harmonic diversity.
Yet most people agree that even the simple pentatonic based blues scale over three chords repeated ad nauseam can stir emotion in people when done by the right player. (Who by my definition is then also a great musician - even if he only knows how to play 6 notes in a limited harmonic context ;-) )
I see no place where I contradicted myself.
Old 1st April 2010
  #47
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Originally Posted by kilon View Post
At last a great post.... I agree 1.000.000%

Just try to play Bach on electric distorted guitar and see how what you hear is totally diffirent. Thats how fundemental sound is ....

You cant know music if you dont understand sound. And believe me classical composers knew all about sound synthesis, its called orchestration and they used extremely well. Actually all rules of music are coming from rules of sound and the way it behaves in nature.
Ah, but you have to be intelligent about it. Plenty of Bach cello pieces have been transcribe for guitar. And piano was an excellent example. And of course Wendy/Walter Carlos. But distorted guitars?? Come on. That's just lame. Not EVERYTHING translates to everything!
Old 1st April 2010
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
Ah, but you have to be intelligent about it. Plenty of Bach cello pieces have been transcribe for guitar. And piano was an excellent example. And of course Wendy/Walter Carlos. But distorted guitars?? Come on. That's just lame. Not EVERYTHING translates to everything!
I think Manowar was the one band that did that bug song , I forget its name. Is it "flight of the Bummble Bee"? Yeah I think, its that one.

Hearing this on a heavy metal guitar sound sounded so diffirent. Like a totally diffirent song, even though the melody obviously was there. All they did was to change the main sound.
Old 1st April 2010
  #49
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Well Steely, jazz is definitely about the musician. No doubt about it. When I started my band, many moons ago, I intended, and did, take the sensibilities of pop song craftsmanship and apply it to jazz musicians. In other words, take some of the great musicians and force them to make everything serve the SONG.

But some great jazz musicians always did it anyway -- Cannonball Adderly always played the song. Oscar Peterson always made the song fit him, which is just as good. They both played the songs.

But it's a different mind scape. If you love musical sophistication and know how and the land of virtuosos, jazz might be attractive to you.

I happen to love BOTH approaches. I can listen to a great player playing great on a mediocre tune and love it. I can't listen to a lame player playing on any kind of tune, unless the tune is so great it supercedes everything else. If the players playing is sufficient enough to get the song across, GREAT! That's all that's required. I can listen to great tunes all day long where playing is not a factor in the least -- where I never think about it.

But there's all kinds of music. In order to appreciate them one has to be open to experience them, on their level.
Old 1st April 2010
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kilon View Post
I think Manowar was the one band that did that bug song , I forget its name. Is it "flight of the Bummble Bee"? Yeah I think, its that one.

Hearing this on a heavy metal guitar sound sounded so diffirent. Like a totally diffirent song, even though the melody obviously was there. All they did was to change the main sound.
Yeah. That tune has made the jump to many instruments. I used to play it in high school! I knew a tuba player who played the mess out of that song at tempo! I've heard distorted guitars play it, baritone saxes, violins, flutes (the original, I think!).
Old 1st April 2010
  #51
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Old 1st April 2010
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by :Metaphor: View Post
[these days its common that] harmonic structure takes a back seat to Timbre and Rhythm.

Things are getting harmonically simpler, and rhythmically and texturally more complex.
Tautological and untrue, because the manipulation of timbre IS the manipulation of harmonic structure, but at the micro-harmonic level.

Conversely, traditional musical composition - notes, melodies, cadences, intervals - is manipulation of the same, but at the macro-harmonic level.
Old 1st April 2010
  #53
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And just to crystallise my last post in some response to the OP, sound design is still very much a compositional and musical process - but the "melodies" and "harmonies" are written with partials, not composite whole tones.

Ask a layman what is happening with a rising sync sweep from a synth; they'll swear they've heard the pitch rise up, but all that's actually changed is the harmonic structure of the sound over time, the balance of partials. The note hasn't changed.

What, then, is a rising sync sweep but a modern day harp glissando?
Old 1st April 2010
  #54
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(scene from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure where Beethoven discovered the synthesizer)
Old 1st April 2010
  #55
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That proves it!
Old 1st April 2010
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gremlin moon View Post


(scene from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure where Beethoven discovered the synthesizer)
HA! There it is.
thumbsup
Old 1st April 2010
  #57
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Paul McCartney didn't know theory and didn't want to know theory. I have video evidence. Not that I don't want to know theory, but its pretty clear some people just have a musical ear.

YouTube - Paul McCartney: Southbank Show 1977 (Rare) 3/3

@ 3:39
Old 2nd April 2010
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleestack View Post
Paul McCartney didn't know theory and didn't want to know theory. I have video evidence. Not that I don't want to know theory, but its pretty clear some people just have a musical ear.

YouTube - Paul McCartney: Southbank Show 1977 (Rare) 3/3

@ 3:39
Yeah, well I don't know anyone who said knowing theory was any kind of prerequisite to playing or writing music. Theory is supposed to work in reverse to that -- it explains what the ears tends to hear. Many people have great ears. Having them doesn't make you a great musician, but it certainly is a necessary requirement.
Old 2nd April 2010
  #59
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I read an interview in Tape OP with Daniel Levitan, author of This is Your Brain on Music, and he made it seem from his research that types like Paul McCartney were few and far between. Ahh, creation ex nihilo.
Old 2nd April 2010
  #60
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Daniel Levitan is not an opinion leader to me, so I don't know what to say. I don't put a whole lot of stock in "experts." Obviously McCartney is not an every day occurrence. But that doesn't mean a lot of people also don't have musical ears. One doesn't have to know theory to have one, or to be talented.
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