why is it hard to write good music?

Anything about MUSIC but doesn't fit into the forums above.
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Hink
Rad Grandad
27229 posts since 6 Sep, 2003 from Downeast Maine

Post Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:16 am

do_androids_dream wrote:
I miss filthy frank a lot..
is that who that is? I just figured if I searched youtube for music and banging rocks together I would find something :hihi:

But thanks for the reminder because a little over a week ago I posted this in the zappa thread, Frank Zappa kind of this subject talking about listening to "experts"

https://www.facebook.com/happymagtv/vid ... 19619/?t=2

Harry_HH
KVRAF
2920 posts since 4 Aug, 2006 from Helsinki

Re: why is it hard to write good music?

Post Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:52 am

Hink wrote:
do_androids_dream wrote:
But thanks for the reminder because a little over a week ago I posted this in the zappa thread, Frank Zappa kind of this subject talking about listening to "experts"

https://www.facebook.com/happymagtv/vid ... 19619/?t=2
Zappa had often deep wisdom in his words - perhaps not the "whole truth", but here he really saw what was coming. This comment is from 80-90's, the situation in 2018 is now ten times worse.
Think about guys such as Ahmet Ertegun, Alfred Lion and Max Margulis, Jerry Wexler, even Joseph Lockwood - they were willing to taka a risk, try something new.

Mike777
KVRist
436 posts since 8 Oct, 2005

Re: why is it hard to write good music?

Post Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:16 am

MadDogE134 wrote:maybe i just don't understand people. music or any art for that matter is a gift given to you. it is for you. you should do it to please yourself and you alone. now if others can appreciate it then it is shared... but if you feel the 'need' to share then that 'need' is nothing more than an ego or a self esteem problem. if you please yourself then that is the point for which it was given. if others find value it in then it is a shared gift. bottom line is... please yourself. you can create the best possible thing and there will STILL be those that don't appreciate it or like it. don't base your self worth on others... they will ultimately let you down. it is a spiritual thing. cheers
Please yourself yes, but don't fall into a trap of thinking you can't make improvements in your music. In my early attempts I was just improvising around, doing what I liked. Now, I hear how amateurish it was, where melody is wandering around undeveloped, no real song form, abrupt tempo changes I thought had impact. Not really. Did what I liked though. But it wasn't good.

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Hink
Rad Grandad
27229 posts since 6 Sep, 2003 from Downeast Maine

Re: why is it hard to write good music?

Post Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:44 am

Mike777 wrote:
MadDogE134 wrote:maybe i just don't understand people. music or any art for that matter is a gift given to you. it is for you. you should do it to please yourself and you alone. now if others can appreciate it then it is shared... but if you feel the 'need' to share then that 'need' is nothing more than an ego or a self esteem problem. if you please yourself then that is the point for which it was given. if others find value it in then it is a shared gift. bottom line is... please yourself. you can create the best possible thing and there will STILL be those that don't appreciate it or like it. don't base your self worth on others... they will ultimately let you down. it is a spiritual thing. cheers
Please yourself yes, but don't fall into a trap of thinking you can't make improvements in your music. In my early attempts I was just improvising around, doing what I liked. Now, I hear how amateurish it was, where melody is wandering around undeveloped, no real song form, abrupt tempo changes I thought had impact. Not really. Did what I liked though. But it wasn't good.

ok my point was very similar to madDog and also was received with a comment suggesting somehow with the implication that this means not trying to grow (I choose grow of better as that is what I personally do). Sorry how is that connection drawn? Maybe it's my age or the fact that primarily I am a guitar player and have been for long before there was a word DAW, therefore growing was always the goal and frankly a given. I too look back at my stuff I did in the past and dont care for some of it, but that's because I grew. That also means that that music was also good in it's own way as I drew lessons from it and once again, grew. :wink:

tapper mike
KVRAF
4772 posts since 20 Jan, 2008

Re: why is it hard to write good music?

Post Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:55 am

I think we should now move past "What is good and what is bad" and onto the subject of "Why I can't write"

Are you wishing?
How many other things have you wished for that magically appeared? Wishing, dreaming of having some sort of magic won't make it a reality.

Are you wanting?
Are you needing?
As Mick Jagger once said, you can't always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need.

If you can turn your want into a need then you'll do the things required to make it happen. You'll accept that there are things which need to be done in order to achieve your need and make a way to make them happen. I needed a job awhile back. I didn't wish for a job and I didn't want a job but I needed it. What did I do? I did my best to impress potential employers. I sent out resumes I filled out applications I did interviews. And then, I worked hard to impress my bosses so I could keep the job. Was it the greatest job in the world? No but it was a job I needed. Otherwise I'd be either homeless or dead right now. I can't live with being homeless and I certainly can't live with being dead.

People don't become dedicated overnight. They set up a game plan. They put goals on paper (not in their head, not on their devices. On Paper. It's a contract they make with themselves. They look at it when they get up. They apply themselves to it daily and at the end of the night, week, month they ask themselves how much closer am I then I was before. Right now I am kicking myself for not practicing melodics for pads (launchpad) which I'm going to do as soon as I finish posting this. I invested in LP I invested in melodics and I'm throwing my money away if I'm not advancing my skills. So it goes with songwriting. If you refuse to apply yourself for all the things you want/ need then it's time to reconsider if you should be doing it. There are other things you could be doing with your life.

The next part is to actually produce a rough draft. Finish something don't dabble or doodle. Get it done. Put it out for critique and if you are lucky to get proper feedback learn to accept it and apply it.


I also hang at songwriters forums. They are for the most part Lyrics but also have instrumental and combined lyrics/music. I used to cringe and the "Poetry" people would post. But I would respect them for daring to post and accept critiques. In songwriting forums you'll need to get used to critiquing the works of others. Usually you have to reply to two posts for every submission you supply. Replying helps you to build your analytical skills which helps your writing skills. Serious lyric / songwriters accept that the first draft isn't the end product. They will rework everything to make it work. And then they start on the next project.

Mike777
KVRist
436 posts since 8 Oct, 2005

Re: why is it hard to write good music?

Post Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:40 am

JJ_Jettflow wrote:...
I think anytime you have a hit song from a signed band, you have to realize there are alot of people helping them behind the scenes. It was George Martin's idea to use the string quartet in "Yeserday" which took a basic ballad and turned it into something unique.

Almost all singed artists will have people that pour over their songs, if they write them, making changes to increase it chances of being a hit...especiallly in pop/rock.

This is not to say these artists to not posess any talent, but having professionals help you certainly will make your songs more marketable and give those artists who go it alone and hope to achieve the same results a more difficult time of reaching their goal. It will also make it appear the pro artist is much more talented than the actually are.
Sure, a great producer can make a good song sound better. But I think "Yesterday" would still have been a hit without the string quartet. And they've released some 'raw' Beatles studio recordings, without the wall-of-sound production, and I like them a lot because the songs and performing are very good. No fancy wall-of-sound, but still very good music. The raw takes are not polished, and sound like a band in a garage, and there are more talented performers today everywhere. But it's the quality of song writing. The label knew that and spent whatever it took in the studio to polish the songs for marketing. And while the final recordings were studio professional, it was the music that made it sell.

We have every sound and recording tool available the Beatles had and lots more. Any musical sound we want to make we can. We have unlimited multi-track in our bedrooms. With all these tools at our disposal, it matters little if the music is just ok.

Everyone's becoming a great producer at home. Many are great performers. Very few are great writers.

You can find many amateur songwriters online, and on youtube. I care less about production then I do the music. If it's just vocal/piano or guitar, that's ok. Many just perform on their smart phones or PC mics. If the music is good, that's ok with me. Some have great vocals, some great technique. And very few write great music.

I hope one day I'll find an unsigned songwriter on youtube with a new song about as good as "Yesterday". Have not yet. Most amateur songs lack melodic appeal because the vocal melody will hang around a few notes bar after bar. They might have good voices and lyrics, and they worked hard on that. But you know they didn't work as hard on the music writing.

experimental.crow
KVRAF
5510 posts since 9 Mar, 2003 from The Druid Hills

Re: why is it hard to write good music?

Post Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:22 pm

Mike777 wrote:
JJ_Jettflow wrote:...
I think anytime you have a hit song from a signed band, you have to realize there are alot of people helping them behind the scenes. It was George Martin's idea to use the string quartet in "Yeserday" which took a basic ballad and turned it into something unique.

Almost all singed artists will have people that pour over their songs, if they write them, making changes to increase it chances of being a hit...especiallly in pop/rock.

This is not to say these artists to not posess any talent, but having professionals help you certainly will make your songs more marketable and give those artists who go it alone and hope to achieve the same results a more difficult time of reaching their goal. It will also make it appear the pro artist is much more talented than the actually are.
Sure, a great producer can make a good song sound better. But I think "Yesterday" would still have been a hit without the string quartet. And they've released some 'raw' Beatles studio recordings, without the wall-of-sound production, and I like them a lot because the songs and performing are very good. No fancy wall-of-sound, but still very good music. The raw takes are not polished, and sound like a band in a garage, and there are more talented performers today everywhere. But it's the quality of song writing. The label knew that and spent whatever it took in the studio to polish the songs for marketing. And while the final recordings were studio professional, it was the music that made it sell.

We have every sound and recording tool available the Beatles had and lots more. Any musical sound we want to make we can. We have unlimited multi-track in our bedrooms. With all these tools at our disposal, it matters little if the music is just ok.

Everyone's becoming a great producer at home. Many are great performers. Very few are great writers.

You can find many amateur songwriters online, and on youtube. I care less about production then I do the music. If it's just vocal/piano or guitar, that's ok. Many just perform on their smart phones or PC mics. If the music is good, that's ok with me. Some have great vocals, some great technique. And very few write great music.

I hope one day I'll find an unsigned songwriter on youtube with a new song about as good as "Yesterday". Have not yet. Most amateur songs lack melodic appeal because the vocal melody will hang around a few notes bar after bar. They might have good voices and lyrics, and they worked hard on that. But you know they didn't work as hard on the music writing.
there are a number of good songwriters on this forum , imho ...
Image

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herodotus
KVRAF
5468 posts since 8 Dec, 2004 from The Twin Cities

Re: why is it hard to write good music?

Post Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:17 pm

ghettosynth wrote:
herodotus wrote:
ghettosynth wrote:
herodotus wrote:I have never called any music either 'good' or 'bad' in a public context such as kvr. It doesn't make sense to me. Such a simple dichotomy is too blunt a tool to categorize the many varieties of musical experience.

I will say, though, that there is something rather tendentious in the way many people people use the difficulties involved in applying this dichotomy to music.

The fact that neither J. S. Bach nor Lil Wayne can be said to 'objectively good' or 'objectively bad' doesn't make them equal. It isnt a clever critique of musical standards nor is it a demonstration of the impossibility of such standards. In fact it doesnt really tell us much of anything about anything except how useless these words are for describing or discussing music.
I like how objective becomes "standards" when it becomes clear that it's rather challenging to define an objective measure of music.
No. Objectivity is a scholarly standard that simply doesn't apply to judgements of taste. I don't believe in objective reasons for aesthetic preferences any more than I believe that I love my Wife for objective reasons. I can find objective justifications for why it was a good idea to marry my Wife, but it would be a lie to say these justifications were the reason I proposed to her. We, or at least I, don't fall in love over a laundry list of fine qualities.
Scholarly's a little heavy, it applies to things that can be measured, wait for it, objectively. My farts are probably objectively louder than yours, for example, assuming, of course, that I lift a cheek first.
But for the rest, the objective standards I am talking about are not on the grand scale of love or beauty. They are practical matters, of practical import. One objective standard would be

"Can you, or can you not play this part?"
Even play requires definition before it can be an objective standard. Probably everyone can play the solo to "I want to be sedated" in some key on the piano.

I think that it's even challenging to come up with an objective measure of "play a part" that will past muster even assuming that the part is "perfectly" notated, if that's even possible. Given that, you are still going to have to aggregate how well notes are played across many notes and here all of the limitations of aggregation will come into play. Moreover, which is better, the person that perfectly replicates the perfect score, or the person who plays it with the feeling that you think best fits the song. Now, how do you objectively define that?
This is something that I ran up against over and over again when trying to work in bands. Some people learn parts faster than other people. Like, a lot faster. Some people hear an unfamiliar scale or an unfamiliar rhythmic figure, listen to it 3 or 4 times, and know how to work with it. Some people never quite seem to learn.
No doubt, but now we're talking the objective measurement of a player's ability to replicate parts in a given style.
So that is an objective standard. I would call the ability to learn unfamiliar music quickly a 'skill'. But you could call it a 'defect' and the quality of learning quickly would have the same practical outcome.
Not so fast, it isn't an objective standard of the music, and two bandleaders might have two different opinions over which of two players is most appropriate for the same style of music. I'm not saying that with sufficient effort you could develop an objective standard of "player skill", we do have algorithms that asses this to some degree today, but you're not there yet and it has nothing to do with whether or not music A is objectively better than music B.

I certainly think that we can subjectively rank players in very strong terms, having auditioned bandmates myself, and I suspect that we can take a few very simple input parameters to build a reasonable predictive model, e.g., years of training, years of experience, number of records sold, number of bands performed in, number of shows, total dollars earned from shows, unique number of styles, etc.

The problem with models like this is that they lack ground truth and so there we are, back to subjective measurement. Anything you choose as a response is either a proxy for talent or a subjective evaluation. You can validate these kinds of models against subjective assessment and, in fact, that's often how it's done. See, for example, papers that talk about automated mixing and mastering. But once you've done that, you're training a model against collective experience and that that's all your objectivity measures.
To assert that they are not equal requires that you have framework that can support the notion of equality in the first place, you don't. You haven't even established a partial ordering of any form.
See above, "Can you, or can you not play this part?"
See above, you're getting warmer but you've not yet established an objective measure of "music", at all. Music doesn't need to be "played" by a "player" at all, in fact, it doesn't even need to be played to exist.
I would think that those of you that interested in "standards" would have academic references to back up your point of view.
Academic references are wonderful, but in the realm of musical learning there are very few studies concerning the practical skills of practicing musicians.
I'm talking about objective measurement of music. That music A of arbitrary genre/style is greater than music B of arbitrary genre/style. That is the claim on offer here. That there exists music that is objectively better than other music. We even have a predictable example, some violin piece is (predictably) better than some pop piece, usually some rap piece.
Sort of like how I don't have a single study proving the statement that "you can't use a garden spade to dig up a concrete driveway", but I feel quite certain that it's true.
No, it's nothing like that at all. We can easily find data to support that thesis. I get that most of you don't want to do the work, but perhaps you should consider that before being so sure.
Ghettosynth, I would live to do a detailed quote-and-parry with this, but my only internet access is on my phone, and long, complex series of quotes are really difficult and annoying to attempt on a phone.

I will limit myself to a handful of points.

1. When I wrote of standards, I was referring to performance standards. The most obvious examples of this are the tests used at Juilliard and Berkeley and other schools to determine whether you win a contest or get a degree in piano performance or guitar performance and the like. I used Bach as an example because his pieces are famously difficult to perform, and often serve as a test of advanced performance ability. Lil Wayne's music, on the other hand, doesn't seem anywhere near as exacting to perform.

Personally, I think that people who train and practice for many years to be able to play Bach well are worthy of a kind of recognition that I have trouble applying to people who can perform Dirty South Hip Hop.

2. Again, and I really can't stress this enough, I don't believe that music can be objectively good or bad. For a better than/worse than relationship to make any sense, the thing in question has to have an objective function. I don't believe music has an objective function. If it does, it is to amuse the people who create or consume it. I may call something boring, because that word describes my state of mind, of which I have first hand knowledge. But my preferences, however snobbish they might be, are by definition not objective, and I admit this openly.

3. The question of whether or not someone can play a part is nowhere near as complex as you are making it out to be. All of the factors you mention, of whether the performer plays it with machine like notated accuracy, or with emotion and elegance and so on, are nuances in the performances of people who can all ACTUALLY PLAY THE PART.

People who can't play a part will get lost when trying to play it in an ensemble. They will skip notes or play the wrong notes or screw up the rhythm and end up on the 4th beat of the tenth measure when they should be on the 2nd beat of the eleventh measure.

Now I don't know of any academic studies proving that some people can't play some parts. I also don't of any academic studies proving that some people can't spell some words. And yes, I do believe that the reason no such studies exist is that these facts are so obvious as to render studies of them redundant.

Now if we were to ask why some people can't spell some words or play some parts, there might be some relevant studies. But as this question reaches into the politically charged and controversial realm of IQ, I thought it best to steer clear of it.

ghettosynth
KVRAF
11116 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Re: why is it hard to write good music?

Post Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:37 pm

herodotus wrote:
Ghettosynth, I would live to do a detailed quote-and-parry with this, but my only internet access is on my phone, and long, complex series of quotes are really difficult and annoying to attempt on a phone.

I will limit myself to a handful of points.

1. When I wrote of standards, I was referring to performance standards. The most obvious examples of this are the tests used at Juilliard and Berkeley and other schools to determine whether you win a contest or get a degree in piano performance or guitar performance and the like. I used Bach as an example because his pieces are famously difficult to perform, and often serve as a test of advanced performance ability. Lil Wayne's music, on the other hand, doesn't seem anywhere near as exacting to perform.
However, that test exists in an ad-hoc sense and will determine your acceptance among a different set of peers. You may believe what you will, and I may even agree with you, but you are not closer with that belief to an objective standard of which is more "exacting."
3. The question of whether or not someone can play a part is nowhere near as complex as you are making it out to be. All of the factors you mention, of whether the performer plays it with machine like notated accuracy, or with emotion and elegance and so on, are nuances in the performances of people who can all ACTUALLY PLAY THE PART.
Fair enough, but my point was more about the challenge of identifying an objective standard. I grant you that it's relatively easy to define a gross objective standard for "can you play this part.", see Rock Band 3 with advanced controller. I thought that I had actually mentioned this in some sense but it appears that I gave it the axe before posting. I talk too much as it is, so be grateful for my heavy editing hand. Given that gross standard, however, it then becomes rather subjective as to who can play it better, i.e., who is the better performer. Moreover, the standard of who can play this part is not precise enough that all may agree that it, in fact, measures who can play this part. How much of the notated nuance, or, in the case of only an audio recording in lieu of score, the played nuance is necessary for "can play this part."


Of course, this moves us no closer to whether the Bach pianist has more skill than Lil Wayne. Please note, I'm not opining either way on this particular question.
Now I don't know of any academic studies proving that some people can't play some parts. I also don't of any academic studies proving that some people can't spell some words.
All of these questions have some academic material to back up thoughts, you do have to have the right google foo to find them as well as the right skill to put them in the proper context. That said, my challenge of scholarly study was more about the inference that some art is objectively better than other art.

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MadDogE134
KVRist
125 posts since 26 Nov, 2007

Re: why is it hard to write good music?

Post Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:31 pm

well i certainly was not insinuating not to play with others. you learn a great deal from others especially during improvisation. what i was trying to get across is... do not rely on others for your self worth and don't let your ego get the best of you. i have been playing music since i was about 6 but not really trying til i was about 10. i am now almost 60. truly i am not trying to disrespect anyone but from experience i have found most musicians to be some of the worst people i have met through playing in bands over the years. i understand part of it since most people do not have an ear for music and they tend to admire those that do which goes right to a person's head. you will find a lot of arrogance in the music industry. the best musicians i have met and played with actually don't think they can play that good and could definitely be better. they tend to play to amuse themselves and find pleasure in the music itself. it is a gift that is inside you... you are born with it but it does take a lot of effort and persistence to fine tune it.

the sad part to me these days is that everyone thinks they can be good musically. i have seen many guitarists that play decent technically but were unable to even tune their guitars without a tuner and couldn't tell when their instruments were even out of tune. :( and now you have auto tune and everyone thinks they can sing which is even harder to do than play an instrument. when it comes to singing... it is far easier to sing along with notes being played but very few can actually sing acapella... you have to hear the notes in your head before they come out of your mouth and that goes back to those guitarists that can't tell they're out of tune. like back when i was playing in marching band at school... many could play a trumpet due to 'fixed' positions. all they had to do is form their mouths correctly and then could play technically but very few could play the trombone 'cos you had to hear the notes and stop the slide along with mouthing the mouth piece. :)

in closing... no one likes the truth... either it is in you or it isn't and there is no shame in not having it. it is far worse to have it and think your shit don't stink and walk around with your nose in the air. to be honest... if you play to please yourself and no one else you will be a lot happier. 'good music' is subjective. as the adage goes... "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" there is no true happiness... happiness is being contented. take from what i say what you will and take it with a grain of salt. it would be great if everyone could be 'good' with just practice... sadly that is just not the case and it kills me to see so many young people set themselves up for disappointment. if you have it be thankful and humble... share what you can. some will like it... some will not. cheers and good luck all

p.s. i must add ... i have also known many that can't play a lick or hold a tune in a bucket but they don't care. they play to please themselves and have a LOT of fun doing it. :)

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jancivil
KVRAF
15386 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: why is it hard to write good music?

Post Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:38 pm

regarding objectively good vs objectively bad as I tried to go into, it isn't about any 'intelligentsia' or 'academically correct' or any construct which tries to make knowledge suspect by this divisive gesture. It is however about knowledge. It isn't about being able to talk about knowledge, or write a paper on the music theory of what you found. But people know things more they more interested they are in it. For instance: Paul McCartney doesn't have any interest in music theory or academic talk. He bloody well knows what he's doing. There are all kinds of people in music like this, but there's one that easily came to mind.

We could analyze melody and find things to talk about such as contour, or analogize about internal rhymes, and recurring motifs... yet not all good, not all great melody is reducible to facile analysis.

But I, and this isn't going to be any outlier, hear 'music' out of cars and boom boxes all the time with the most feeble tossing of a tune by someone who hasn't the interest, the cajones, the muscle or the courage (or probably the talent, albeit I don't want to get a red herring going here) to get more involved and do more; while on the other side of life people really went for it, and worked, and were self-critical, who weren't happy until it was right.

And that is ethics, my friends. Sure you could say that talking about that is subjective, or do something else to deflect away from it, but who's the subject? The world is.

It's as some politician or cop or somebody said about obscenity. You know it when you see it. The people who don't have missed something. And here we have to confront: is everybody's view of anything/everything equally valid? What's the honest answer. Seriously.

ghettosynth
KVRAF
11116 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Re: why is it hard to write good music?

Post Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:14 pm

jancivil wrote: It's as some politician or cop or somebody said about obscenity. You know it when you see it.
Yes, we call that subjectivity, emphasis mine.
The phrase "I know it when I see it" is a colloquial expression by which a speaker attempts to categorize an observable fact or event, although the category is subjective or lacks clearly defined parameters. The phrase was used in 1964 by United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart to describe his threshold test for obscenity in Jacobellis v. Ohio.[1][2][3] In explaining why the material at issue in the case was not obscene under the Roth test, and therefore was protected speech that could not be censored...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_know_it_when_I_see_it

Mike777
KVRist
436 posts since 8 Oct, 2005

Re: why is it hard to write good music?

Post Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:08 am

jancivil wrote:... For instance: Paul McCartney doesn't have any interest in music theory or academic talk. He bloody well knows what he's doing. There are all kinds of people in music like this, but there's one that easily came to mind.

..
When you said this I thought, he writes hit pop songs but that really doesn't require a study of music theory. But I remembered we wrote a complete opera type work for full orchestra and choir, "Liverpool Oratorio" (1991).

You have to know what you are doing to write a complex work for full orchestra and choir. So I found the documentary of making the work, and found it was written with Carl Davis, an American conductor/composer. And in the documentary it shows the two at work composing and it's not McCartney at the piano, it's Davis at piano writing on a score as McCartney sings to him the song and lyrics. McCartney wrote the tunes, but it was Davis that scored it for orchestra, choir, and professional opera singers, one being Kiri Te Kanawa.

The work was a commercial success but not well received by critics who found the work too simplistic and too long. In other words, critics found it not so 'good'. I've heard parts of it and some is ok, but it doesn't hold my interest very much. I agree with the critics.

When it came out, and heard McCartney had written on opera type work, I thought wow this might be something. I didn't care for it then, and still don't. They should have made it a rock-opera type work, not classical oratorio.

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vurt
addled muppet weed
37262 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: why is it hard to write good music?

Post Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:38 am

check out mccartneys "liverpool sound collage" album for an orb style dub album
2 :tu:

Harry_HH
KVRAF
2920 posts since 4 Aug, 2006 from Helsinki

Re: why is it hard to write good music?

Post Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:22 am

Mike777 wrote:
jancivil wrote:... For instance: Paul McCartney doesn't have any interest in music theory or academic talk. He bloody well knows what he's doing. There are all kinds of people in music like this, but there's one that easily came to mind.

..
When you said this I thought, he writes hit pop songs but that really doesn't require a study of music theory. But I remembered we wrote a complete opera type work for full orchestra and choir, "Liverpool Oratorio" (1991).

You have to know what you are doing to write a complex work for full orchestra and choir. So I found the documentary of making the work, and found it was written with Carl Davis, an American conductor/composer. And in the documentary it shows the two at work composing and it's not McCartney at the piano, it's Davis at piano writing on a score as McCartney sings to him the song and lyrics. McCartney wrote the tunes, but it was Davis that scored it for orchestra, choir, and professional opera singers, one being Kiri Te Kanawa.

The work was a commercial success but not well received by critics who found the work too simplistic and too long. In other words, critics found it not so 'good'. I've heard parts of it and some is ok, but it doesn't hold my interest very much. I agree with the critics.

When it came out, and heard McCartney had written on opera type work, I thought wow this might be something. I didn't care for it then, and still don't. They should have made it a rock-opera type work, not classical oratorio.
"... he writes hit pop songs but that really doesn't require a study of music theory".

This includes several misunderstandings. Firstly, "pop song" can include all the device and aspects, than so called classical music. Not all pop music does, but Beatles music is in that sense much above the average standard. I could write a list of structural, rhytmical, harmony, counterpoint, modulation etc. aspects, which are common, and give examples song by song. But I leave that for an other comment.
For me music is music, (western) music can include the same elements/effects, no matter the genre. Music is either good or bad, interesting or boring (or something in the middle).

Secondly, you can "study" /learn the above mentioned effects, and composing, not only by reading theory or in music academy, as you refer, but also "learning by doing", listening others music - and being musical. E.g. L&M used the later method. (of course you can use the both "methods", which many does).

What comes to McCartneys Liverpool Oratorio, and other "affair" in the classical music genre, my personal opinion is, that it was more part of the "middle age crisis", and not-that-wise-move, than anything else. But as said, this is my personal opinion. E.g. I like the "opera" of the Abbey Road B-side much better than the Liverpool Oratorio (which is rather boring). :phones:
Last edited by Harry_HH on Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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