View Full Version : Music and YOU

10-22-2004, 07:47 AM
Seeing all these pop/band discussion lately got me thinking ...

How do you want your music to be?

Instilling emotion in others?
Expressing your own emotion?
What if you write a song and everyone "connects" to it except you?
What if you write a song and no one "connects" to it except you?
What if you don't write "this" song but cover/interpret another one with instensity?
anything else you can think of here...

i don't really think there is any black and white about this. It's even cooler cause each one might have his own way to look at it.

It would be nice to get many opinions though.

At the moment i'm in a state of confusion so i can't quite give an opinion myself sowwy. Some might have it straight in their mind already though :)

10-22-2004, 08:36 AM
hmm.. it depends on the situation and if i am getting payed for it.

if i have a studiogig i play to please the producer since he pays the bill, to do a good job in a studiosession you better know what the guy wants to hear and play exactly that right away. doing the "i want to play it my way" thing will make him not to call you again next time. if that guy is not sure what he wants the guitar to do i'll offer him suggestions according to style of the playback - but with a comercial "filter" and i'd leave out the diminished warp-licks.

if i do my own stuff i make sure that every single hihat and every tiny sound is exactly how i want it to be. that's why it'll never be finished *g*. my own stuff is firstly there to please me and nothing else. if others like it - great, in fact, perfect! but i don't write to please anyone else then me. otherwise that track wouldn't be "totally me".

and then there are different possibilities in between. just wanted to point out the two most opposit ones.

10-22-2004, 09:30 AM
The best music I make comes when I forget that it's me playing or that I'm playing for someone - when I lost myself in it and just let it flow.

"I wept at the beauty of your music, and was powerfully moved at the sweet sound. These sounds flowed into my ears, and the truth streamed into my
heart." - Augustine of Hippo.

Doesn't happen all the time but it's the real thing when it does.

10-22-2004, 09:48 AM

no doubt, music is divine, and having those magic moments unraveling sheer beauty is proof enough for that. those moments mostly come in "uncontroled situations", bringing them to tape (or digital) or recreating them instantly is a task that takes lifetimes. it is a pity we only have one....have we?

i think that may be the basis of another esoterical phantom thread.... no don't worry .. just kidding.

10-22-2004, 11:04 AM
I can give a little advice here, maybe it'll help, maybe not.
For 5 years, my band decided to write what we thought others would like... writing to please the masses. While the music was actually quite good, (Tool-ish, sometimes a bit faster in tempo, and somewhat progressive) there was something contrived about the whole thing. There was a driving beat, good vocals, and (I like to think) shredding guitars. But all of this amounts to a pile of beans if there is no heart. We played quite a few gigs, with mixed results. But I think in the long run we fooled no one.
The moral of the story?
Since I started writing for myself again, not taking the public into consideration at all, just going by my own judgement, the music since has been met with great reviews by some very good local musicians and music fans alike. I'm looking very forward to the next year.
Take into consideration, being your own judge can be a double-edged sword; I've been writing/studying music for 17 years, and have been acknowledged as a pretty good judge of distinguishing between something with good potential, and actually being good.
I would wager to say, that when you reach a stage in musicianship/songwriting, being a good judge comes with the territory, the next step is actually being able to toss some of your own stuff when you know it's not cutting it.
My little brother, who is playing rhythm for my band at the present, was at the stage for about 3 years, where he thought whatever he wrote sounded good... because he wrote it. After getting into an intense writing atmosphere, he realized how many ideas are actually thrown out the window, EVEN by people who had written them.
Just a few points to ponder. I hope I'm not coming off as conceited, I'm not trying to. I just feel one of the biggest mistakes younger musicians make, is settling for something just because they wrote it, instead of being objective and listening to what theyre writing.
Then again, if you're into music completely for yourself... why would you care? :)

10-26-2004, 06:44 AM
thanks everyone for your feedback ... it's healthy to see what opinions others have about this issue

@all the others

10-26-2004, 12:34 PM
Interesting thread.

Re: "Then again, if you're into music completely for yourself... why would you care?"

Ego. I'm sure no one likes to admit it, and I'm sure it took me years (hahaha!!!), but when I stopped thinking in terms of audience during the writing process and focused solely on what I wanted to accomplish musically (though sometimes what you want to accomplish includes audience reaction - but more on that later), I found that I still wanted ...whats the word? Approval, maybe, or recognition. I still wanted people to like it. I wondered why, and still wonder why.

I have the good fortune to sometimes write for me (personal projects) and sometimes to write for others (commercial music), and somewhere along the line in my personal history the border between what I like to do and what I'm hired to do got blurry and vanished. I now simply see limits as a challenge to see how creative I can be while still fulfilling a client's needs. It becomes almost a fringe benefit that I get paid for it, and (oddly) it's still the praise (whether from fans of my personal music or the guy who hired me for a project) that means the most.

I suppose that means that I have a ways to go until I'm properly Zen, what with my ego still in the way. But at least it receeds during the creative process.

10-30-2004, 11:13 PM
For me, I play mostly my own material. The way I see it is the songs are always going to mean more to me than to anyone else. Seeing as how I play mostly instrumental music there are no words for the listener to hold on to. The best compliments I get are not necessarily the ones about how fast or clean I am but that it made someone feel this way or that way. i like when someone comes up to me after a gig and tells me what one of my tunes made me feel like. I like when someone says it reminds them of something in their own life.

MMMMMMMMMMM.............i sure do like instrumental music.


11-01-2004, 03:31 PM
This is sort of the Art vs. Commercial argument. I grew up loving pop and rock in the 80s, Journey, Hall & Oates, Kiss, etc. But I never wanted to copy that stuff in my own compositions, I wanted to take those influences in another direction. For example, I love "shred" players like Vai and Satriani, but I also love synth-based music such as Duran Duran. So I'd throw these influences into the pot. I've come out with a lot of stuff I'm happy with, but sharing this stuff with the public has always been mixed. Some people say it's fantastic, appreciating my efforts to be unique...others have trashed my tunes, saying they're contrived for including a "wannabe Satriani solo". Sometimes I'll get both reactions to the same song!

I actually put a tune on Garageband up a few weeks ago and took it down four days later, the reviews were so immature and nasty, even the ones that were trying to be constructive. Then I listened to songs judged in the top ten and couldn't figure out what was so special about them, they were clones of bands popular at least three years ago. On the other hand, there were a lot of bands (particularly in the metal category) who were modeling themselves after, say, Anthrax or some other hard thrash that I found cool because they were passionately following their influences. Not trying to be different...just trying to be, I don't know...good. Some would say they're dated, trying to be a band that was bigger in the past. Perhaps, but I kind of liked that they were doing their thing anyway.

As far as my own stuff, I don't aspire to write for the mainstream (hell, don't think I could), but I find myself taking mainstream rules into consideration. Despite the Garageband hostility I found many people complaining my intro was too long before the vocals kicked in. It's making me think more about a "radio" version versus a performance version.

11-20-2004, 11:53 PM
You cant do much about peoples expectations!

the best thing you can do is to make it sound like nothing else! then nobody can judge you like they can judge a mainstream artist/group.

people are formed by the mass.

So the problem is that people expect something from art
you should not expect anything, you should feel,
but that is quite hard when many artists/producers wants to emulate something successful, but we only see their flaws when it comes to imitate. but that is probably a good thing, cause then the mass will only have "good" music ;)

let the best imitators win!, hehe


Expectation is something that we should draw use from! think about what you would expect and try to think of what others could expect,
if its something that you would not expect from your self then your on the right track ;)

unfortunatly those moments often comes when your not in total control.

11-21-2004, 03:13 AM
I could go off on a big schpeel about this topic, it's something I would normally get right into, but it's obviously a slightly different thing for everyone, yet it's just as meaningful to all. So, all I'll add for now is this: When I play, whether it's my music or someone else's I always come at it from the perspective that I'm going to perform it the best that I can, regardless of whether it's the first time or the 100th. My honesty and my deepest passion, at its core, can only be expressed through music and I always try to stay true to that.

Metal Dan
11-21-2004, 04:16 PM
A teacher of mine years ago gave me the best advice ever: "Stick to your guns..."

No matter what the situation is... just be you... Like one of the above posters said, if you don't FEEL the music you are writing the audience WILL catch on to that and you'll get lukewarm responses. People can really tell when a musician is speaking from the heart and I think they connect to that more than anything else. People aren't stupid and they don't like fakes.

11-21-2004, 10:39 PM
Instilling emotion in others?
Expressing your own emotion?
What if you write a song and everyone "connects" to it except you?
What if you write a song and no one "connects" to it except you?
What if you don't write "this" song but cover/interpret another one with instensity?
anything else you can think of here...
the basic thing is, ya gotta find or create "life" within a riff or a song or progression. it's hard to say if that life even has to be "yours," or if it ever is fully yours. it's more the song's. i believe it is MORE the song's, and that the job of the writer is to be keyed into recognizing such emotions and forces in music generally. i think the song just has to be in some way really alive and therefore real instead of faked. its like channeling. for example, i think you can, say, by writing during a thunderstorm, often put the mood that *is* the storm into a song. you're channeling the storm and the storm is alive and the song becomes alive because youve captured the storm's feeling in intervals and rhythms and timing. but...how is that even different from trying to play like someone else? it's too easy to say that 'copying' is always bad. it can be. but i think that this 'copying' approach fails all too often because the person doing the imitating is more interested in being a rock star or a performer than he is about capturing emotions and life force in sound. but i do think you can get this raw living feeling--and even source musical ideas like progressions--from anything, including other people's stuff, if you look at things the right way. and make it your own (or the song's own.) in one way, any force or emotion you extract from the world around you is yours alone, and in some way it is not--it's very often universal. anyone aroused by a thunderstorm is going to feel something unique to them, and yet there's common agreement, generally, that a thunderstorm embodies certain feelings. so maybe the key question is: is your music alive? the second question is 'what is alive?' but i dont know how to answer that in words.

so many bands are just not alive.

i have no idea if this makes any sense right now, as i am on heavy cold medication.

Metal Dan
11-22-2004, 12:14 AM
"i have no idea if this makes any sense right now, as i am on heavy cold medication"

Yeah it shows! :D

But you bring up some very valid points!

11-22-2004, 06:51 AM
but i think that this 'copying' approach fails all too often because the person doing the imitating is more interested in being a rock star or a performer than he is about capturing emotions and life force in sound. but i do think you can get this raw living feeling--and even source musical ideas like progressions--from anything, including other people's stuff, if you look at things the right way.

i definitely like the reasoning behind this. If i got you right that is. I mean it's useless copying stuff unless you get the feel too?

So if this particular line for me expresses this particular emotion and it has been used 6 MegaTrillion times before what stops me from using it? (in language we have the equivalent of proverbs, idioms and this stuff no?)

definitely i'm pro originality. But i don't' really see any boundaries or restrictions anyway like some who see the originality part as the core of it all. Maybe i'm totally wrong.

or i got you wrong?

p.s. what the name of the medication you're using? Sounds worse then LSD :p j/k

11-22-2004, 03:56 PM
yeah, thats what i mean, rmuscat.

you can take something someone else has done and modify it in small ways and achieves its own new life. progressions, solos, whatever.

slash from gnr, i just read in an article, has one riff--the first guitar riff he ever learned--that he claims to use in every solo he writes, because it always works. yet i find some of slash's solos to be really evocative and unusual--they really work and are individually wrought. so these little riffs are just in there, somewhere, doing connective work, i guess. and danzig is a big fan of the i minor--i minor +5 progression. its suitably dark and forlorn. there are countless ways to incorporate it into a song, even by changing up the rhythm and sticking with those two chords, so i've started using it too whenever i have an interesting rhythm.

yeah, i think the key is never forgetting that the job is to channel a feeling into what youre doing. because feeling is life, and the life makes the song.

what drug am i on? this vision has been a result of NyQuil. taking musicians to new plateaus. NyQuil.

Tiger Lily
11-22-2004, 05:16 PM
music should tie into the lyrics, and whatever the artist itself it feeling. personaly, i like to focus on the emotion and whatever notes bring out that feeling. Something dark can easliy fit around E, Em, Esus4, ect (the E's) where as if you write somethign revolving around the D's it seems prettier, more light hearted. Then once you figure out tone and such, you can find things thta work. Music should reflect the soul of the composer, even if its comfusing, not whatever the audience expects. i dont know about anybody else, but when i get somethign that sounds good, so heard something i like, it sort of bring sme to a differnt world. CRAP! im sounding corny! but its true.

i didnt relise Nyquil had such drastic effects...

11-22-2004, 07:35 PM
nyquil is like the strongest, oddest over the counter drug i've ever tried. i don't even understand my own post.

Metal Dan
11-23-2004, 03:45 AM
I must be on something myself if I was able to understand it! :D

11-23-2004, 06:56 AM
Might as well throw my oppinion into the bag.

I always find that musicians as a whole are overly concerned about being original or chasing this idea of injecting their true feelings into something. If it's in you it's gonna come out no matter what, you shouldn't really worry about it. Plus, you have to distinguish between being completely original and being just straight up better then any one else out there. Both are equally possible and both can have just as much inner emotion injected into them.

It is entirely possible that YOUR sound has already been created. There is nothing wrong with that, just use history as your judge. J.S. Bach was 50 years behind his time, but is probably the greatest composer of all time. There are licks that Charlie Parker used in EVERY solo he recorded, yet he is the most influential sax player and possibly jazz artist of all time. Keith Jarrett formed one of the most successful and influential trios ever at a time when playing jazz standards was extremely frowned upon, to the point of being almost unheard of...and what is this trio's name? "The Standards Trio." On top of that, almost every composer since the begining of time has at some point chased the idea of doing the opposite of creativity, trying to actually take themselves out of the composition. And when you think about it that is probably the closest you can get to pure music. Arvo Part's (with the .. thing above the a) "Fratres" is probably the finest example of such a thing. It's the most recorded form of "new music" and it's been arranged for everything from full orchestra to an accordian and banjo duet.

So, in my oppinion, if it's in you and it's an important enough part of your life, it should be able to come out no matter what situation you are in or what you are playing.

P.S. if anyone hasn't heard "Fratres" get the version that Keith Jarrett recorded with violinist Gidon Kremer...it's unlike anything you've ever heard...nobody can play chords like Keith Jarrett.

11-23-2004, 02:20 PM
good points. i agree. i just think it's pretty obvious when someone is faking something AND at the same time, it doesn't work. those people (me sometimes) have to worry about 'it,' because 'it' won't come out, because 'it's' been temporarily misplaced or forgotten or lost.

Metal Dan
11-23-2004, 06:32 PM
Defines the word 'it'! Cha-ching! Sorry... little Clinton joke there :P

Basically it comes down to this: You can't please them all... so please the one person that really counts: Yourself.

11-23-2004, 10:17 PM
i notice my posts are making hardly any sense recently. i apologize. i am sick and i guess my brain stopped working.

12-04-2004, 11:39 PM
I've done some soul searching for a few months now about what I want to achieve with my music, and what I've come up with is this:

I want to create stories, fiction or real, where the lyrics works as a short story, and the music works as an "emotion enhancer", like in the movies. If I was to take away the lyrics, the listener should still be able to sense the feeling, thought, situation or whatever I'm trying to express. With this approach, I can write about my own experiences, and try to get the listener to understand what feeling I want to get across, but I can also try to write a song about a schizophrenic man who's arguing with himself whether he should commit suicide or not... there's alot of ground to cover ;)
Concerning playing for other but yourself for money, I guess I'm too much of an artist to do that... To me, music is an artform. I want to create music that means something to me, and try to get the listener connected to that, instead of writing something you hear every day just to get money.
In doing so, I realise I won't be swimming in gold in this lifetime, but I rather do something I love for three hours a day than doing something I almost love for ten hours a day... That's just me... :rolleyes:

12-05-2004, 01:13 AM
hey man, thats cool. i dig that as well. it doesnt have to fail commercially. i've been told the decemberists do this exact thing you're talking about. that their songs are basically stories. i've seen them. i cant hear lyrics in music without a lot of careful attention, but my friend is a major fan and she assures me that that's what they do. :)