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Common tools that never get used?

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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Arpangel » Thu Oct 10, 2019 9:37 am

When I was hiring studios back in the 70's I had a lot of help from engineers, I'd say going as far as taking on the role of producer. I'd compose a track, but they'd diplomatically show me, or suggest things that I may like to use to enhance things.
I used to leave tracks with one engineer for a few days, and I always looked forward to hearing what he'd done with them. The studio where I used to record was very primitive, a four track place, with home made mixer and effects, but the results they used to get there were very good indeed, an example of great technical knowledge combined with a very musical approach to things, and experimentation was the order of the day. So often I'd go into a studio and it was "you can't do that" and these were London places, nothing like my regular and friendly studio back home.
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby CS70 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:52 pm

Arpangel wrote:I guess some of us like to get involved in the technical side more than others, it becomes an interest in itself....that's why we are here!

A good point. It's easy to forget that many musicians don't.

It just occurred to me that tools that never gets used by many (perhaps most) of younger producers and musicians are actual instruments! Lots of music made nowadays doesn't require much in the way of instrumental skills.
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:55 pm

Er, such as?
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby CS70 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:59 pm

Lots of electronic music?

I might be totally wrong, but I see younger friends and acquaintances making entire tracks without even a keyboard controller. Beats, loops and software synths programmed with mouse point and clicks.

Of course, it can be argued that the entire computer is the instrument..
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby desmond » Thu Oct 10, 2019 1:02 pm

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:Er, such as?

There's a wealth of electronic music being made by people without conventional performance/instrument technique. This includes people who are making music without the use of keyboards or other "played" instruments, and instead doing lots of modular sequences, sequencers and arps, people painting in notes in Ableton Live with the mouse etc etc.

Even back in the 2000's there was an increasing number of people making really good, beats-based music - I always found it slightly disconcerting, as a fairly average keyboard player (play to your weaknesses, as Eno said), that when I'd pick up a discarded keyboard and play a chord or two, these guys would say "Oh, you're a *player*..!" with some sense of hushed tones and mild wonder.

There's more than one way to make music, and it's never been more accessible to all than it is now... :thumbup:
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Thu Oct 10, 2019 1:17 pm

Beats, loops and software synths programmed with mouse point and clicks.

Exactly; I would argue that this is indeed a form of instrument skill, just not a traditional one.
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby The Bunk » Thu Oct 10, 2019 1:18 pm

CS70 wrote:
It just occurred to me that tools that never gets used by many (perhaps most) of younger producers and musicians are actual instruments! Lots of music made nowadays doesn't require much in the way of instrumental skills.

Absolutely! A while ago I actually put together a piece of music on which I actually played nothing; it was all samples. Fortunately I have enough general musical nous to be able to know how to put something like that together in the first place but I was actually intending to make a point of saying to some mates: "that's how an awful lot of music is made nowadays - you can knock up a song / instrumental without even being able to play an instrument".

Unfortunately, I actually enjoyed both the process and the outcome and now make a lot of music that way, but not at the expense of still playing and recording my real instruments.
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby CS70 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 1:28 pm

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:
Beats, loops and software synths programmed with mouse point and clicks.

Exactly; I would argue that this is indeed a form of instrument skill, just not a traditional one.

Well, yes and no. We (I) talk of instrumental skills as some ability dependent on physical time, and more - this physical time is quite short. "Traditional" playing consist (also) of developing neuro-motorial and muscle skills which allow you to play fluently, precisely an in total control at a reasonable speed.

Obviously speed it's not the only element of playing, but nevertheless is an unavoidable one. In other words, if it takes you three seconds to finger a chord on a guitar (or a keyboard), you cannot say that you can play. That's why I consider that I cannot play the keyboard or sight-read notes, even if I've occasionally invented melodies on it and can read a score.. slowly. :-D

The same goes for any instrument - or really any "skill".. the ability to produce musical phrases to a sufficient degree in a short amount of time.

In that sense, mouse and click aren't imho "instruments" - unless you're using them in real time.

But of course it's nitpicking, and I guess a definition can vary depending on the weight you put on the process or the output
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Oct 10, 2019 1:56 pm

So what would we call somebody who creates recorded music but can't sing or play an instrument in real time?
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby CS70 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 1:59 pm

Someone skilled in music production?
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:03 pm

I was thinking 'composer' maybe but 'programmer' or 'producer' might also be appropriate.
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Watchmaker » Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:20 pm

I don't use a mixing desk although I was trained on one and thought at first that I needed it. Now I have a Mackie MCU sitting in it's box in the back of a closet.

I don't use more than one guitar at a time.

I don't use the majority of plugins I've bought

I don't use the opinions of others to overturn decisions I've made

I don't use a food processor
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Guest » Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:46 am

Wow, some people here don't use EQ? I don't think I've recorded a track that didn't have some EQ boost in it. EQ is a powerful studio tool and you'd be kidding yourself if you think even the most skilled engineers shy away from boosting EQ. Forget the art of mixing. EQ is an art form on its own and everyone approaches it differently.
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Arpangel » Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:59 am

Sam Spoons wrote:So what would we call somebody who creates recorded music but can't sing or play an instrument in real time?

Interesting, but where do we draw the lines? Are there any lines?
When do the loops and pre-formed beats become so easy to put together, like a Lego set, that literally anyone could make electronic music with absolutely no skill whatsoever. Does the "value" of this work reside entirely in the finished product, in which case the composer/programmer whatever you want to call them, will eventually become irrelevant, and we may as well just type some 'coordinates' and preferences into a computer and let that make the music for us, like Brian Eno's generative music, but for beat based genres, or any other genre for that matter.
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby CS70 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:20 am

Arpangel wrote:
Interesting, but where do we draw the lines? Are there any lines?
When do the loops and pre-formed beats become so easy to put together, like a Lego set, that literally anyone could make electronic music with absolutely no skill whatsoever. Does the "value" of this work reside entirely in the finished product, in which case the composer/programmer whatever you want to call them, will eventually become irrelevant, and we may as well just type some 'coordinates' and preferences into a computer and let that make the music for us, like Brian Eno's generative music, but for beat based genres, or any other genre for that matter.

There's already plenty of music-generating software, who can write in style of known composers or new styles (read https://qz.com/488701/humans-are-confus ... -j-s-bach/ for amusement and have a look at https://analyticsindiamag.com/7-online- ... own-music/ for a recent list ).

In any genre there's lots of formulaic work (to a degree, lots of commercial music has to be that way by definition, as we buy what we like and we like what we know). And it may be a little easier to create "Bach" works than "Mozart". Stuff like soundscapes are probably also easier to create by recipe. I haven't really looked at the attempts to generate AI vocalists, but there are already and more will come.

I think for pop music what is harder (again, at the moment) is that pop is much more than just the music. It's the image, the gigs etc.

It's also arguable that making music - also in a lego manner - is a skill by itself (doesn't need to be hard, to be a skill)
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