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Theory ?
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Brandon W
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:26 pm    Post subject: Theory ? Reply with quote

How much emphasis should be placed on theory? I just finished a demo and i am about to track the vocals and i went back and looked at it from the theory side and it doesn't make musical sense. I don't think it does. I think it sounds fine though. I played all the instruments up to this point so it isn't perfect. It will sound 100 times better with the vocals also. My thing is how are people going to react when i get in to do it for real with pros. These dudes do this for a living and work with tons of big time musicians. I was talking to a violin player and i ended up having to just let him hear it because it was hard to explain. I'm afraid the song won't have any integrity if i can't tell other musicians the progression and the basics. I'm uncomfortable with the fact that it doesn't follow some kind of normal pattern and that it moves into a minor key. Thoughts?
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Gabriel
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it sounds good it probably makes musical sense, it just may be a little more complex than you thought. I wouldn't worry too much unless you have to write out scores or anything like that.
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Brandon W
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Gabriel. I figured it did because i think even things that are wrong have names and can be written. I thought about that and it would end up being in a different key without the 1. C for example would work except there is no c in the song at all. It stays around A major most of the song but then there's a little pre-chorus (i guess) move from a to g to f and then back to a and then repeated but the second time it breaks into the chorus and the A major is replaced with an e minor. There is also an e minor before the verse. So explaining this to musicians is difficult. The good thing is i have a version uploaded for them to hear without the vocals. It's not a final take or anything but at least they can hear that it works better than the theory suggests. I'm having trouble getting the guitars in the verse mixed right. I have a clean guitar doubled with a dirty one and the dirty one is only playing mutes mostly but i wanted a mix between any of the cars songs and the pumpkins disarm. I'm not getting enough "air" under the clean guitar and it's feeling too choppy. I've played it 10,000 times and miced it differently and used different amps and i'm not getting it out of my head properly so i'll have to redo it in the studio. I know on my friends equipment that i can get the sound right. I've always believed fuck the theory until lately when theory has really been attractive. I want to speak the language and i want to go back and figure out why certain things sound cool and sometimes i wish i hadn't. Thanks again.
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George
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

theory is important but they aren't solid rules, just guidelines

sounds interesting. let us know when it's done!
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Brandon W
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a version without the vocals upped on my soundcloud so my friend can hear it and we can discuss it before i get there. I actually have 2 versions and one is the one i messed up the compression on. I'm sure i could link it. The only thing probably changing is the very beginning of the intro and the outro. I have this disease where i get new gear and i want to use it on every song. I got an unpleasant companion and the ravish sitar and my friend hot rodded my tele as a christmas gift. So, of course i went back and replayed everything from scratch. I was trying to get sitar sounds and it's way harder than it seems so i'm changing it once i really grasp the capabilities of the pedal. It starts with a sitar piece and then the unpleasant companion comes in and it's staying but some of the sitar may not. I'm going to go and make some notes in the song and then i can upload it if you would like to hear it.
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Brandon W
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is pretty close to what i hope the music sounds like. It's a far stretch from my comfort zone of blues or heavy stuff. I think with the vocals in there it may be ok. I like it for 2 seconds and then hate it and then like it and etc. Oh well..

happy
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Brandon W
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If there is something that sounds off then please let me know. I'd rather fix it now. I won't be upset.
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Peter Bond
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the way it goes into that minor sounding section. Sounds really good, quite cinematic.
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George
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah this is cool stuff brandon.

i've been listening to this in the background while learning some spanish
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Brandon W
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank ya'll very much. I appreciate that. It was a song that i wrote originally for a film but i thought it had more potential than 17-35 seconds so i revisited it. The vocals are going to be very dramatic. I'm aiming for a queen or elo feel. It's totally not about being happy though. It's the exact opposite. I was asked to write songs that felt "happy" and in doing so it made me terribly unhappy. The minor part i added in after and it isn't in the version they have for the film.

I think i'm going to keep moving forward with it then even though it doesn't resolve correctly according to most theory. Thanks again for taking time to listen.
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cur wrote:
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Chico Malo wrote:
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iCEByTes wrote:
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Mo Law-ka
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My friend who is studying music at University once told me that "you can know all the theory you want, but it won't guarantee that it sounds good. At the same time, you don't need to know any theory to write a good sounding song."

You're in good shape.
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[quote="icey"]and thats for the hatters (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻[/quote]
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Brandon W
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

very true. Thanks Mo
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cur wrote:
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Chico Malo wrote:
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ultratwin
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mo is right, you've got a very good thing and musical approach going, Brandon. And a good thread, too!

To me, a better knowledge of theory would only "help" if one wanted to walk in the steps of others' use of compositional structure, harmony, predictable-to-the-human-ear cadence, and to a lesser degree counterpoint, complex meter and/or polyrhythms & hemiola. I guess it's safe to say that pop music in general thrives on such things because it's what we expect to hear in a piece of music, but does it really matter for the rest of us who make music? I'm not sure.

Doing through-composed form "well" is an incredibly subjective deal (and rather pointless in contemporary music), but it's actually not easy for many (such as myself) to do comfortably. I reckon that pretty much all of us get sucked into repetitive progressions and pop structure, simply because it feels good to do something that you like, again. It's not hard to hear how famous dudes like César Franck (despite his use of very complex harmony) was permanently stuck in his structured form and cyclical progressions, he sticks out like a sore thumb against most of Debussy's delightfully meandering repertoire (especially ol' Claude's Images and the whole Prelude catalog).

At the same time, I think understanding some simpler parts of theory such as secondary dominants, chord inversions, and the use of modes can be very constructive in developing both depth in a harmonic line as well as melodic interaction with a song as a whole, and may come in handy even later down the road. Also, listening to classical music with the casual intent to detect form can be mildy inspirational as well, like hearing a Sonata Allegro form (roughly simplified as A-B-A') in the first movement of a 19th century symphony and trying to figure out how the A' (recapitulation) gets regurgitated in a different way than the first time around. I sometimes find that without even analyzing the harmonic structure, I'm motivated to do something as simple as "make the second chorus of a song I wrote slightly different, or more developed", even just based on the feelings that came to mind when I listened to so-and-so's composition. That's just one example among many I could mention, that may not necessarily require theory knowledge to influence one's own approach to making music.

Of course (excuse me while I ramble on), Listening with much envy to the artists we throw our souls and love to death into can be mildy depressing when we return to the art ourselves, but I personally find nothing wrong with fostering "heroes", proper portraits on the wall of my compositional mind, with the intent to go beyond what they've done. It was Hector Berlioz who once wrote, "Now that I have heard that terrifying giant Beethoven, I know exactly where my musical art stands; the question is to take it from there and push it further". The giants in my life happen to be Hisaishi Jo, R.V Williams, Gustav Holst, J.Brahms, and Michael Torke (not to mention Johnny Marr and Will Sargeant), but it's honestly not from analzing their work from a musicological perspective that they are still having profound influence on my work today, much of it seems to be me acting out in an emotional reaction to their works' memory in my mind.

Don't know if any of that is helpful, but I hope some of it makes sense. Wink
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Brandon W
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh wow. I'm printing that post up and keeping it with me. That is the type of conversation that i dream of. I am fascinated with Ennio Morricone's work but i never wanted to sound like him as much as get a listener to feel the way i did when hearing him. That is why i wanted to write the score for this little film and i did it on my dollar. I may have paid him to let me do it! ha! I just wanted to give it a shot and see if i could translate emotion and certain visuals into music. The director and i both agreed that i would receive only one sentence vaguely describing the scene and that's it. No actual video. I wanted it this way because it was much more challenging. I needed the music to convey the scene but also bring across the feeling of the scene as a standalone piece of music. So in other words if the sentence i got said "man enters apartment and someone's there?" then i needed a listener who wasn't accompanied with a visual to initially feel casual and then slowly begin to feel tension until it climaxed. For me it didn't matter if someone was actually in the apartment. It can be the same exact release whether or not someones there or isn't there. It's the knowing but more importantly it's the building of the tension that i decided to focus on. That for me was where it was important. I wanted to make people's heart race and i was not concerned with the ending because the film will secure that part. If someone was reading or not paying attention when the scene started then i insisted on making them pay attention because of the music. The music was going to force them to pay attention and i believe that music is criminally underrated in films.

Thank you so much for the response. It wasn't rambling at all. It was genius.
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cur wrote:
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Brandon W
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I started tracking vocals. I also started another one. I'm going to stick to a basic progression to begin with and write it on piano first and then own it after. I'm going to use a I-vi-IV-V except it's going to be in eminor so all the caps will be lowercase and vice versa. I guess that is how it works... I wrote a few pieces and it sounds cool this way. I want to do wild things with the drums. I'm after really fuzzy and over the top distorted creepy volume swells and weird ambient guitar sounds. I want harmonics layered in reverb. I still listen to pretty hate machine almost daily so i would like it to sound like 1990 and it would fit on that record without ripping off trent. If i could make it feel like it sits at home on a record like that then i'll be happy. Well, i'll never be happy but i may reach a small level of personal satisfaction.

I'm trying to kill time constructively. The stuff that i'm doing with other people isn't like this at all and i want to explore all genres. This type of project is something i need to go at alone. It's really personal. It's really destructive and most importantly it's terribly uncomfortable. So in other words it's perfect for me to use an out. It isn't something that can be described very easily. So that's my agenda. I need to finish all the ones we started while still remaining creative alone and then everything will be ok. Thanks
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cur wrote:
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Brandon W
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So if i'm doing a I vi IV V in eminor, would this be the proper chord progression. I'm not totally sure which ones would be minor is what i mean. It sounds good with the piano doing

^Eminor Cmajor Aminor Bminor

Does that look right?
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cur wrote:
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Mo Law-ka
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In this case, I think a B diminished would fit better.
The chords you've given seem to make it Cmaj, rather than Emin.
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Brandon W
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mo Rawka wrote:
In this case, I think a B diminished would fit better.
The chords you've given seem to make it Cmaj, rather than Emin.

It would be a different progression in c but the chords fit both i think.

I keep playing a regular b on guitar for some reason anyways so i think i need to try something else. I'll try a bdim. Thanks a million. I'll let you know how it works.
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cur wrote:
I need it to be smaller or I get shitty messages from mezz telling me my junk's too big.

Chico Malo wrote:
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iCEByTes wrote:
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Mo Law-ka
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Instead of a standard Bm, try playing one with more texture, like Bm6...

7x677x

I like these chords and keep playing through them to figure out the Bm (lol) that fits best.
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Brandon W
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mo! Holy shit. How did you do that? You couldn't have known unless you were in my head to hear the lyrics. Ok bad news is i need to start over but good news is it will be way better i think. I'm going to have to try something first and redo it but i think you nailed it..somehow..

It needs to be in C. Reason is because i was struggling with the words working right at the very beginning of the verse with the music but with it in C then i'll use the III which would be a big huge crashing eminor and the single word falls directly on the chord change to eminor and the C wasn't working right as i hear it in my head. It needs to be on a minor.

This won't make sense but something like

I think it's time i face the pain ------- Alone
C -- C -- C -- C -- C -- C-- C -- C ----- Eminor --- Eminor

I think it's time i stand up on my -----own
C -- C -- C -- C -- C -- C-- C -- C ----- Eminor --- Eminor

Does that make sense. I can't put spaces so i put dashes. It sounds way better because that Eminor there for effect is perfect. It's a C5 and then open huge eminor and then back to C. The words aren't set in stone and that's a part of the first verse but i hope you see how it works better this way.

This one is in C. Thanks Mo. You are some kind of mind reading genius but i'll take it!
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cur wrote:
I need it to be smaller or I get shitty messages from mezz telling me my junk's too big.

Chico Malo wrote:
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