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Can anyone produce music?

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Can anyone produce music?

Postby Arpangel » Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:45 am

As in, actually be a producer, these days.
I watched a video about a top name producer who made a finished track from a raw unaccompanied vocal recording.
He used software to suggest a chord progression, then more software to make one finger chords, and then added pre-made drum loops from a sample library, job done.
What I’m asking is who actually made this track? and who should take the the credit for it? The writer of the vocal, the producer, or the software and sample companies?
Good luck to all of them, but it does beg the question.
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Re: Can anyone produce music?

Postby MOF » Thu Dec 26, 2019 1:01 pm

In this instance he is the Producer, he’s maybe not the songwriter, that would be the person who composed the vocal, unless he‘d edited together short sections of library vocal samples, in which case he becomes the songwriter too.
Producers vary in their roles, some are just a trusted set of ‘ears’ that can motivate and guide the artists through the recording process, others such as Sir George Martin would be involved from the A&R stage through to arranging tracks, supervising recording and mixing sessions etc.
Nowadays some producers are the artist, composer, engineer etc i.e. they do everything including label boss, pop video director and promotion.
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Re: Can anyone produce music?

Postby CS70 » Thu Dec 26, 2019 2:11 pm

Arpangel wrote:The writer of the vocal, the producer, or the software and sample companies?

Well, no more than paint manufacturers are the artist, I guess.
But anybody can buy the colors and make a painting, so anyone can create art.. and yes, anyone can produce music.

The main difference between "recognized" artists (or producers) and not is simply the willingness to invest your life into it, I guess. But anyone who creates art is an artist, so also your producer.
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Re: Can anyone produce music?

Postby Arpangel » Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:55 am

CS70 wrote:
Arpangel wrote:The writer of the vocal, the producer, or the software and sample companies?

Well, no more than paint manufacturers are the artist, I guess.
But anybody can buy the colors and make a painting, so anyone can create art.. and yes, anyone can produce music.

The main difference between "recognized" artists (or producers) and not is simply the willingness to invest your life into it, I guess. But anyone who creates art is an artist, so also your producer.

There was a time, and it’s still done, when artists ground their own pigments, and they had unique colours.
I could, load a sample into a DAW, add nothing to it, and not manipulate it in any way, and call it art, it’s a finished piece. That’s what’s changed, our definition of art, and what’s acceptable, we go to the compost heap, recycle, rather than create new building blocks.
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Re: Can anyone produce music?

Postby CS70 » Fri Dec 27, 2019 9:02 am

There was a time, and it’s still done, when artists ground their own pigments, and they had unique colours.

Well yes but that was out of necessity. Picasso or Cezanne had more or less ready made colors, does it make them less of an artist ?

As what it goes to the bin or not, you’re talking of commercial fortune, and that’s little to do with the actual content I think.
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Re: Can anyone produce music?

Postby Arpangel » Fri Dec 27, 2019 9:33 am

CS70 wrote:
There was a time, and it’s still done, when artists ground their own pigments, and they had unique colours.

Well yes but that was out of necessity. Picasso or Cezanne had more or less ready made colors, does it make them less of an artist ?

As what it goes to the bin or not, you’re talking of commercial fortune, and that’s little to do with the actual content I think.

Commercial, fortune, art, content, all of those things can be combined, or not, in a zillion different ways to make money, and are artists judged on the basis of what tools they use?
I’m not concerned in the slightest about what brand of brushes Picasso used, or how Shakespeare made his quills. But Picasso didn’t "paint by numbers" and Shakespeare didn’t use ready made sentences from the internet, what I’m trying to ask is when does the creative input drop to such an insignificant level, that the work then ceases to become your own.
If money is the focal point of an artist, then I applaud any short cut to achieve that goal, but that shouldn’t be the yardstick by which the tools are judged.
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Re: Can anyone produce music?

Postby BillB » Fri Dec 27, 2019 10:37 am

Is this the five minute argument or the full half hour?
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ohDB5gbtaEQ
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Re: Can anyone produce music?

Postby CS70 » Fri Dec 27, 2019 1:40 pm

Arpangel wrote:what I’m trying to ask is when does the creative input drop to such an insignificant level, that the work then ceases to become your own.

Yeah, and it's an interesting question indeed. In my $.10, it's its premise that is the issue: the premise being that we intuitively think of art of something that "is" or exists, and is created by a someone - who we label "artist".

But (to me) art and creation exist only in the eyes of public or audience or whatever. It's not so much that someone creates something artistic (or their own), but that what they do is perceived by others as artistic (and as a creation made possible by the "artist", often just that one person).

Creative input is irrelevant: art is a function of the receiver(s), not the producer.
If anything, the producer/creator is the person who dares to put his face and his name on the whatever he presents as art or creation. The amount of creative input is then not so important: if you call it your own, it is.. unless someone says it isn't (and that it's a copy, unoriginal, un-creative etc). Perhaps it's not so much about creation, as of daring to show off something as yours and give it an interpretation. If enough people buys it (and I ain't talking of money, but belief), then it's artistic. Where from or how much creative input there has been... well, it matters little. I think :)

Craftsmanship and skills, on the other side, are a completely different ball game. That's what we - or at least I - tend instinctively to respect (and once upon a time, all art indeed required them). In your producer example, there's surely very little of it.

However, there isn't much in any of Fontana's cuts, Pollock's splashes or - for what matters - any modern Melodyned pop singer. Picasso was a truly gifted and amazing painter, but it doesn't show at all in many of his most celebrated works.

They all put their faces out and said "this is art, and I'm an artist". Perhaps that's all the creativity is needed.

If money is the focal point of an artist, then I applaud any short cut to achieve that goal, but that shouldn’t be the yardstick by which the tools are judged.

From the above, I'm forced to conclude that art - and an artist - cannot exist without a public.. so in a sense money (or better, recognition) is always the focal point of an artist, even when he doesn't know or want it. Not sure I like the conclusion. :)
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Re: Can anyone produce music?

Postby shufflebeat » Fri Dec 27, 2019 2:31 pm

"Having children" and "parenting" are not the same thing.
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Re: Can anyone produce music?

Postby MOF » Fri Dec 27, 2019 3:50 pm

I could, load a sample into a DAW, add nothing to it, and not manipulate it in any way, and call it art, it’s a finished piece.

That’s not true, the T&Cs of sample libraries are that you use their samples as part of a song, what you describe is copying, which is illegal.
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Re: Can anyone produce music?

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:09 pm

Tell that to Jeff Koons ;)

"Koons has often been accused of plagiarism, but he says he is merely an appropriation artist." :headbang:


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Re: Can anyone produce music?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:24 pm

I think he means a polyuria artist. :lol:
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Re: Can anyone produce music?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:49 pm

Photography might be an interesting consideration here. I would suggest that there is plenty of art created in photography but all that's involved sometimes is pointing a box and pressing a button.
Art is sometimes nothing more than finding something and sharing it with someone else.
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Re: Can anyone produce music?

Postby desmond » Fri Dec 27, 2019 9:07 pm

blinddrew wrote:Photography might be an interesting consideration here. I would suggest that there is plenty of art created in photography but all that's involved sometimes is pointing a box and pressing a button.

No, that's not all that's involved. There the choice of where to be, where to look, how to frame, and many other things that factor into it. And that's just the basic "snapshot" type of picture. For this kind of thing anyone can get a lucky shot, but it's a bit like the old "who will do better - a talented, experience pro with crap gear, or an inexperienced user with great gear?" thing - someone with good skills will produce (in general) "better" art under the same conditions most of the time.

(What the viewer best responds to is another factor, or course).

But the good photographic artists don't "take" pictures, they "make" them - and that's a whole different ballgame....
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Re: Can anyone produce music?

Postby GilesAnt » Fri Dec 27, 2019 9:54 pm

But the good photographic artists don't "take" pictures, they "make" them - and that's a whole different ballgame....

Which takes us to the basic philosophy of art. Whilst anyone can take a picture, jot a few words down, hum a tune etc, this doesn't make it art. There has to be some kind of investment from the artist, some concept of creativity, and as CS70 points out, this needs to be recognised by an audience somehow.

Somewhere along the line that runs from a basic shopping list through to the works of Shakespeare we recognise that the words are delivering a higher experience to the reader. Now each individual can have a different experience so there is no clear point, and hence much artistic criticism. But the tendency is present nonetheless. If we call all forms of written word art, then the word art itself has no meaning.

And so it is with music, anyone can bash out some kind of tune or rhythm, but that doesn't make it music (by which I mean music of artistic significance which I think is what the OP is aiming at).

For me, music will always require something more than just sounds, but it is so highly subjective that one persons music is another persons infernal racket.
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Re: Can anyone produce music?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Dec 27, 2019 10:04 pm

You're missing my point a bit there Desmond, probably because I didn't explain it very well.
The act of creating the photo calls upon a comparable set of skills to a producer taking a beat or sample and creating music.
It's taking something that already exists but presenting in a way that no-one has seen before.
Anyone can take a 'snap', and give a full frame camera to an amateur and that's what they'll take, 9 times out of 10.
Whilst the professional will be able to take a 'photograph' with any tool they have hand.
I see music production in the same light.
Pun intended. :)
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Re: Can anyone produce music?

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Dec 27, 2019 11:01 pm

CS70 wrote:
Arpangel wrote:The writer of the vocal, the producer, or the software and sample companies?

Well, no more than paint manufacturers are the artist, I guess.
But anybody can buy the colors and make a painting, so anyone can create art.. and yes, anyone can produce music.

The main difference between "recognized" artists (or producers) and not is simply the willingness to invest your life into it, I guess. But anyone who creates art is an artist, so also your producer.

I'd agree with Arpy above that a better paint analogy would be painting by numbers, though I'd guess producers fall across the whole spectrum for those who make their own paint to those that paint by numbers. If he took an existing vocal recording, added chords created in software using existing samples then to me he's at the paint by numbers end of the spectrum.
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Re: Can anyone produce music?

Postby Stratman57 » Sat Dec 28, 2019 1:35 am

I think that's the problem with samples in general, unless you use them to create a rough sketch of a piece, then actually play that piece with real instruments, then it's a bit like using the new Lego sets, in that they only produce the limited models on the box. When I was a kid, you had to make up your own constructions from the Lego bricks/wheels/lightable bricks. (I still have that Lego set, and I've used it to model a theatre set design).

I missed out on all the midi sequencing stuff, coming from a guitar band background and using a Tascam 244 Portastudio for recording, I do have an Alesis MT8, but I bought that alongside the HR16, which I used in an early incarnation of the band I'm still part of, but I could never afford the synths or other stuff you could control via midi.

I've now got MidiGuitar2 so that I can play virtual instruments for recording, but for live use I have the Boss SY-1 and a EH Mel 9 pedal, which give me great sounds, that I can record by playing the guitar. No sequencing/programming required.

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Re: Can anyone produce music?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Dec 28, 2019 12:04 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:I'd agree with Arpy above that a better paint analogy would be painting by numbers...

I'd disagree. Painting by numbers implies someone else has already worked defined the final image design, shape, colouring etc etc....

However, that's really not the case with someone creating music from samples. In this genre it is working more like a collage artist -- the 'producer' is in direct and full control of what the final image looks like, but it's built using pieces of other people's work and images... Check out Terry Gilliam's artwork in Monty Python as an amusing example.

Same with a producer using samples. They determine the final shape, sound, and structure of the piece.

It's definitely still an art... albeit maybe not one that moves or inspires everyone.

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Re: Can anyone produce music?

Postby CS70 » Sat Dec 28, 2019 12:26 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:However, that's really not the case with someone creating music from samples.

Yeah, that was my thinking as well. I drew the analogy with painting because anyone can splash color or paint canvas uniformly and then cut - like Pollock and Fontana did. Beyond the pure act of will to create, the creative input is minimal, or random. But whether or not splashes and cuts are art or rubbish is in the interpretation, and how the concept has been "sold" - at least to the small group from which we hear what's art or not.

And the opposition I also drew with skills and craftsmanship is because these are far more self-contained and do not usually need interpretation (DJs notwithstanding :D). You can be an exceptionally great guitar player without an audience. But you cannot be an artist without.

Same with music. For all the talk of "liberation" and freedom from labels and gatekeepers, these have been simply replaced with something else (playlists, forums, blogs, or simply huge marketing budgets). We all need - to a larger or lesser degree - to be told what's serious or not, what's art or not. We all are always in search of references. And we always either listen to a creche (if anything, to define us in opposition to it) or try to be part of the creche somehow - sometimes both.
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