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Old 4 weeks ago
Lives for gear
7Wave's Avatar
Funny this should come up. I started getting these ads for MIDI chord progression packages in my Facebook feed and thought of starting a thread about it here a few months ago, but never did.

I think what I didn't like was the fact that they were selling them not as an instructional tool but as drag and drop solutions for songwriting. I dislike it for the same reason I'm not a fan of companies that sell sampled loops and phrases as drag and drop elements for making music. Even NI Komplete Ultimate has too much of this for my taste (loops of keyboard riffs played by George Duke, etc.). I don't really see a good use for it, and wonder why anyone would want it.

On the one hand, no one can deny there's a certain technological determinism at work here. Computers and software are becoming sufficiently advanced to where we'll eventually see "composer software" that pretty much creates music on its own. The human user ("songwriter," "composer") just has to hit the button that says "Go." I'm oversimplifying, but you get the point.

The good news is that the music will be derivative uninteresting crap that nobody will want to listen to.

But the larger scheme is the democratization of music making. The more people you can include/empower, the more money you can make. People seem to care more about getting a certain result than the means of arriving there.

It's true that Fruity Loops has been around for decades. But the difference today is that the technology is more advanced and streamlined, and the sound quality is better. There are people in certain genres -- hip hop, for example -- who make music professionally and don't know any music theory or how to play an instrument. I know because I used to do contract work and music composition, beat making, etc., for hip hop artists from the late 80s through the early 2000s. Knowing how to play complex jazzy EP chord progressions and bass lines over a 909 drum machine rhythm was a hot commodity back then.

Dragging and dropping MIDI chord progressions into a sequencer is to them no different from crate digging for samples from records. Their method of songwriting is a trial and error search for the right riff or chord progression to drop over a beat and see how it sounds.