Why so little respect for the synthetic "instruments" we're creating?

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
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parma
KVRian
546 posts since 21 Apr, 2004

Post Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:55 pm

I love pedal steel and glitch music.

I win.

(for real though, I do)

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ccDuckett
KVRist
468 posts since 15 Jun, 2011 from Betwixt or between

Re: Why so little respect for the synthetic "instruments" we're creating?

Post Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:58 pm

There goes BONES just tiptoeing timidly around the subject again...
will the man ever say what he really feels? So wishy-washy, that guy :P
Music can no longer soothe the worried thoughts of monarchs; it can only tell you when it's time to buy margarine or copulate. -xoxos
Discontinue use if rash or irritation develops.

mrfuzz
KVRer
24 posts since 27 Jun, 2019

Re: Why so little respect for the synthetic "instruments" we're creating?

Post Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:10 pm

I think one of the distinguishing things between piano and synths, as instruments on the whole, is the role tone colour has on the role of the instrument. On piano, tone colour doesn't really define a style of piano, but things like chord voicings, use of arpeggios and leading tones, what sort of bass part you use, etc are a big part of what separates styles of piano.

Jazz piano often uses quite complex and varied chord voicings, solo classical piano pieces are often very dynamic using much of the pitch range of the piano at different times, while in a lot of modern pop (in the broad sense of the term) styles a piano will play simple major and minor chords on the downbeat and in between just kind of sit on the chord.

Synths rarely play complex chords, often use fewer than 2 octaves of range, and often only play one hand's worth of notes in piano terms. Those certainly aren't hard limitations, and there are plenty of exceptions, but most music I listen to with synths will follow most of those properties. However, synths have a broad range of tone colour that they can make. It is the nature of the instrument. Being able to play the "simple chord on a downbeat" piano style and nothing else does not make you a good piano player, and being able to make the "Van Halen's Jump intro" synth sound and nothing else does not make you a good synth player.

That's not to say that "chord on a downbeat" or "Jump" are inherently invalid or can't be used in good music. The point I'm trying to get at is that if you're hearing it all the time it gets stale, and we can aspire for more.

Dirtgrain
KVRist
290 posts since 12 Jan, 2019

Re: Why so little respect for the synthetic "instruments" we're creating?

Post Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:11 pm

BONES wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:45 pm
People need to have the courage of their convictions and should be able to handle any such critique.
If only we lived in the world of "should."

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BONES
GRRRRRRR!
8725 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Re: Why so little respect for the synthetic "instruments" we're creating?

Post Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:45 pm

I do, if others don't that's their problem and I'm not about to make it mine.
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NewDelhiTommy
KVRist
30 posts since 5 Mar, 2019

Re: Why so little respect for the synthetic "instruments" we're creating?

Post Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:56 pm

This thing is that classical music still dominates the piano world whereas, modern music only has a 10 year cycle. It’s the same thing as in rock music, nowadays kids don’t really care for 80’s rock anymore (but I do).

Stefken
KVRAF
1587 posts since 9 Nov, 2016

Re: Why so little respect for the synthetic "instruments" we're creating?

Post Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:36 am

I totaly understand the sentiment of the OP.
I'm not really a rock fan and I have never understood why people have no problem that every song is with the same guitars but if you use the same synth sound twice you might get the reaction: hey, you used that sound already.

Like when you listen to the Stones:
Song1 : hey they use guitars
Song2 : Ok, same instruments
Song3: hey guitars again
Song4: guitars: this must be a rock band ;)
Song5: yeah, you guessed it. Same guitars again.

So, no problem that rock artists use the same sounds in their entire discography.

But if you like e.g. used the same pad sound from Go from Moby, people might go: "hey, you stole that sound from this song" or "it's the same thing all over again"?? :dog:

Of course, there are quite idiosyncratic sounds like e.g. the hoover sound. I only know a few songs that use it. And even though "Dominator" is like 30 years old, if you made a song with the hoover sound, people might probably go: "hey, it's the same thing again"?? But rock songs, with the same guitars all the time, that's no problem.

Very strange.

recursive one
KVRAF
4181 posts since 7 Feb, 2013

Re: Why so little respect for the synthetic "instruments" we're creating?

Post Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:52 am

McLilith wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:59 pm
Someone recently said the following on KVR. I've removed their name, because my post really isn't about them personally. It's about synth culture in general. Roughly similar things have also been said by others in the past. Anyway, here's the quote:
Someone wrote:I hope this admiration for everything 80's, synthwave and stuff like that will die away as soon as possible...
I think it might be me who said this, don't remember this exact quote but it's likely me.

Of course it was nothing but a personal opinion expressed in a bit exaggerated way (this quote or anything similar I may have posted), all I wanted to say that the "80's sounds" - that is basic subtractive tones with drift/unstable pitch - in my humble opinion are now way too clished and overused. I have no problem with them being popular and may even use something "retro"-sounding myself every so often, but when a company who has long hisotry of innovative hybrid synths releases a basic VA with retro sound, when people meet a new synth having cutting edge modern tone and crazy routing with the questions like "can it do BOC?", and the first soudset released for it is focused strictly on vintage sounds, it makes me wonder "how about something more modern or at least not that vintage? Don't we have all this 80's stuff already covered multiple times?".

When I started follwoing KVR, it was like 2011 or so, there were synths that tried to sound like Virus and synths that tried to do brostep and 9 or 10 soundsets had supersaws or wub-wubs or both which annoyed the hell out of people here. Now I feel the same about 80's sounds, they are fine but how many more of them do we need? Is it really possible to do something in this area which is not already reasonably covered by Diva, Repros, Monark, TAL and other incredible analog emulations we already have?

But of course any sound used in a creative way is good and of course a talented imitation is still talented and valuable, I'm not questioning that, I don't pretend to make anything innovative myself. I jsut feel zero emotional connection to the 80's music and synths but I envy the people who have, must be great time for them.
Last edited by recursive one on Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Lotuzia
KVRAF
10117 posts since 19 Feb, 2004 from Paris

Re: Why so little respect for the synthetic "instruments" we're creating?

Post Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:56 am

McLilith wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:59 pm
Someone recently said the following on KVR. I've removed their name, because my post really isn't about them personally. It's about synth culture in general. Roughly similar things have also been said by others in the past. Anyway, here's the quote:
Someone wrote:I hope this admiration for everything 80's, synthwave and stuff like that will die away as soon as possible...
This reminds me of something I've been wondering about lately...

I'll never understand this sort of thinking being applied to synth sounds. It isn't done for other instruments. Take the piano, for example. I never hear anyone say:

.......
Some people find it difficult to exist if they are not totally against what is at their disposal. It would be similar on forums about cars, vegans or politics. The way of life, approach, or attitude sometimes matters much more than the strict subjects, like synthesizers, they are applied to :shrug:
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AdvancedFollower
KVRist
473 posts since 8 May, 2018 from Sweden

Re: Why so little respect for the synthetic "instruments" we're creating?

Post Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:03 am

wagtunes wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:09 pm
The answer to your question is a complex one and not something I really want to get into in depth but there are many reasons for this attitude. One reason is this.

The piano, as you pointed out, has survived for quite some time. It actually has a fairly neutral tune, meaning it's not overbearing like some synth tones which, by their very nature, are quite exaggerated.

In addition to that, the piano has been used for countless types of music, so it's not identified with just one thing, like classical for example. There's jazz piano, which is also very popular and fairly old itself. And so on.

Synths, on the other hand, especially those 80s tones, are just that. They've primarily been used for 80s sounds. They don't have a rich history behind them. So the sounds themselves, because of the narrow use, have become a cliche.

It's a good part of the reason why Prog Rock eventually died out. People got tired of hearing that Lucky Man lead because it was such a narrowly used sound, whereas the piano, violin, and other "traditional" instruments were used for so many thing.

And this is just one reason. Some people simple hate the sounds, always hated them, and wish they never existed in the first place.

In short, you can't compare the "traditional" instruments to these "specialized" sounds.

Right or wrong, they will always be viewed this way.

FTR, I love the old sounds, but that's just me.
True people got sick of one particular type lead guitar sound, but it didn't mean lead guitars or guitars died out. Artists and producers just went for a different guitar sound. The same can be done with synths. They don't have to produce just a narrow set of cliched 80's sounds (even though I personally love those types of sounds), or just dubstep wubs, or highly detuned hardstyle sounds, or evolving ambient tones drenched in reverb. They can be all of that and more.

So I guess people aren't really complaining about synthesizers, but rather about one narrow subset of synthesizer-based sounds and "playing styles" (often sequenced rather than played) that in their view are overused and tired. That's fine I guess, there are certain types of music and sounds (acoustic and electronic) I can't stand either. But if those sounds and musical styles give enjoyment to people, there's no need to wish for it to die away. Just listen to something else...

kelvyn
KVRian
1075 posts since 9 Mar, 2008 from netherlands

Re: Why so little respect for the synthetic "instruments" we're creating?

Post Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:28 am

I’m having a bit of a problem understanding either side of the divide.
Broad brush strokes and sweeping generalizations seem to dominate on both sides. In their purest form both the piano and the synth have given the musician instruments that enable them to orchestrate without the need for other musicians, the piano due to its ability through harmony, dynamic and expressiveness and the synth with its different sounds and colors that can emulate everything from Raymond Scott like bleeps to Wendy Carlos orchestra’s. People define themselves as artists either by not confining themselves to limitations or by accepting the limitations. Ultimately it’s the public/critic who decide what’s seemingly acceptable in the mainstream but it’s a huge playing field where everything is allowed. Horses on the right courses.
Also... Not everyone who uses a synth is sounding eighties, one just has to travel the less trodden path to discover amazing synth sounds from the eighties that aren’t cookie cutter. And we shouldn’t forget that there was a big difference between American synth sounds and British/European synth sounds in the eighties.
As for the Hip Hop comments... there’s a huge amount of very interesting synth usage/mangling going on right now. Take a listen to TylerThe Creator’s new album. Some great stuff going on there.

classic
KVRAF
1758 posts since 26 Jul, 2004

Re: Why so little respect for the synthetic "instruments" we're creating?

Post Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:37 am

To talk about taste is a waste of time.
Lets compose some cool music and code cool plugins and be sure, you wound´t reach everybody with your music and not everybody wants your plugins.
And some of this people have enough time to state theire irrelevant thoughts here.
Who cares :P :D

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Googly Smythe
KVRAF
2480 posts since 12 May, 2011 from Not where I was just now.

Re: Why so little respect for the synthetic "instruments" we're creating?

Post Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:39 am

Somedays it seems like we're not allowed to dislike anything.
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What is life without a little whimsy?

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pixel85
KVRian
627 posts since 11 Apr, 2008

Re: Why so little respect for the synthetic "instruments" we're creating?

Post Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:57 am

When people have problem with certain type of instruments/sounds then it's... theirs and only theirs problem.
Some people hate certain sounds because they're surrounded by them all the time like they work in mall or somewhere where radio play that kind of sound/music.
Others would like to hear new sounds and they're overwhelmed by music that for many many years is the same.
Others act like they're victims of the world and just because someone else make music that they don't like they're forced by some invisible hand to listen to music that they don't like so later they hate it even more.
Some people just moan about everything depends on mood, weather etc.
Some people don't understand that someone else may like retro sound and may want to make this music for their own pleasure (how they dare to not think about me and what I want when they do their own stuff!!!)

So many people so many reasons.
don't use plugin/s in this topic! It has aliasing at -196dB and 60fps

Kwurqx
KVRist
446 posts since 15 Jun, 2017

Re: Why so little respect for the synthetic "instruments" we're creating?

Post Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:24 am

(to be read with some cynisism in mind)

And "the horror", when classicly trained musicians stray of the "true path" into the dark and despicable world of "electronic music"....or even worse....create bastards out of marriage of both...

Like the illustrious duo Olafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm.

I bet beating up a piano with toilet brushes will not go down well with pursitsts as well....as at some point in this performance.

Nils Frahm | A Winged Victory for the Sullen | BBC Proms 2015 | Full performance
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1mHyj3lubQ

I bet even the use of a "simple" delay is probably considered sacrilage.

Anyway...

To me the marriage between classical/acoustic and electro/mechanical works just fine. Even if it strays far into the electro/mechanical world as in this example...

RA Sessions: Nils Frahm - All Melody / #2 | Resident Advisor
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NW87dBPjHuU

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