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Countermelodies in Modern EDM, Pop, Rock and Rap ?

nuyo

Active Member
Are Countermelodies used in Todays Music or is it a thing for music school students, classical music, film scores, orchestra etc... ?
 

Saxer

Senior Member
Countermelodies happens everywhere in todays music too.

Though the original "classical counterpoint" is something special and like classical harmony it's mainly useful in music that sounds "classical".
 

SteveC

Active Member
Interesting question! Composers like Mozart, Wagner Schubert and so on uses the "classical counterpoint" to bring some nostalgia to their works. Maybe the same goes for film composers. I think in the modern pop music you can find everything! :thumbsup: Maybe you will find the most countermelodies in the bass lines. I will search some pop songs for countermelodies now! :D
 

gamma-ut

Senior Member
You will commonly get riffs set against a melody as well as in-fills between the main melody that can be treated as countermelodies. Though not strictly a countermelody, hocketing is very common in techno and trance: the lines could be treated as all part of one melody or riffs set against each other as the melodies, such as they are, don't follow the usual norms - lots of leaps, no easily recognisable curve etc.
 

SteveC

Active Member
You will commonly get riffs set against a melody as well as in-fills between the main melody that can be treated as countermelodies. Though not strictly a countermelody, hocketing is very common in techno and trance: the lines could be treated as all part of one melody or riffs set against each other as the melodies, such as they are, don't follow the usual norms - lots of leaps, no easily recognisable curve etc.
For me, the defination of a melody does not work for many riffs. It's not easy to define, but for me a countermelody has to have an own melodic quality. It's fun to search modern pop music for something like this!
 

Saxer

Senior Member
At the moment I'm transcribing a few James Bond songs (incl. the 2021 movie theme song) for a live event (Band & Orchestra). It may be "classical" songwriting but it's stuff that's in the current charts and in radio playlists. These songs are full of countermelodies!

Singer/songwriter-songs with simple harmonic developement can have countermelodies, even if it's a descending bass line against a vocal melody.

Every choir in pop songs that isn't pad or parallel following the main vocal is a kind of countermelody.

HipHop songs with a melodic chorus often have sampled intrumental phrases that work as countermelodies. It may not be very developed and also often kind of random but it is what it is.

Synth based film scoring is also full of countermelodies. Not really followig a harmonic development like in orchestral scoring but the principles are similar: a lot of overlapping motives working together.

But it's mainly a question how you define "todays music". Not a lot of countermelodies in techno, drum & bass, minimal, dubstep...
 

b_elliott

A work in progress.
Good stuff.

The past few days I have been listening to a genre completely outside my comfort zone: French metal. I ran across one of Gojira's current hit "Another World" (Aug 2020). Go on listen--shock yourself or your significant other!

While I set aside my Bach/Zappa preferences, I couldn't help but notice excellent use of ostinato, rhythmic counterpoint along with a chorus hook containing effective counter-melody between vocals and guitars. It simply works. All elements.

So to answer the OP: when musicians are the top of their game, all the Bach/Mozart/Stravinksy, etc., tricks are useful. All genres as my example and Saxer's et al proves.
 
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nuyo

nuyo

Active Member
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Interesting question! Composers like Mozart, Wagner Schubert and so on uses the "classical counterpoint" to bring some nostalgia to their works. Maybe the same goes for film composers. I think in the modern pop music you can find everything! :thumbsup: Maybe you will find the most countermelodies in the bass lines. I will search some pop songs for countermelodies now! :D
Please share them with us. And I'm talking about "mainstream" stuff not some experimental stuff. ^^
 

Saxer

Senior Member
There's something to keep in mind.

Todays "modern" isn't the way music will sound in the future. It's just the music that is "in" today. This music will be mega out in a couple of years. Some songs will remain as oldies and that's it. If there are no countermelodies or something else like a certain drum sound or the use of electronic today... it will be different in the future.

With the exception of some revivals I don't think there are complete styles coming back. But there are some basics that will remain. Harmonic structure is one of them. Rhythmic and melodic work is another. Song structure too... either in the way of EDM or HipHop or A-A-B-A or Intro/Verse/Bridge/Chorus.

So if you think about "not" learning something because it isn't "modern" any more you will close yourself a lot of doors for the future.
 
What about "walking bass" bass lines in Jazz? This way to use bass can be also heard in rock, blues and pop.... sometimes.

I agree guitar riffs could be considered counterpoint... but many times I hear them building arpeggios OR when they are building a melodic line... usually it is the only melody. Definitely bass example s are more common.
 

SteveC

Active Member
I think we have to define what we are searching for: Contrapunctus has a long history with different meanings. In the 19th century the meaning of Contrapunctus was more or less polyphonic music. Since somewhen in the 18th century, homophonic music with polyphonic elements was the standart(in opera of course long time before). I think, it's hard to find polyphonic music in the mainstream since then. Maybe with Richard Wagner and the late romantic aera it came a new style of polyphonie somehow which goes on until today. Slower and not that polyphonic as before. I think in the mainstream music today, we can sometimes find polyphonic Leitmotivs in this style, if there is an orchestra arrangement for the song. For example:


The Motown music had normally a kind of ployphonic quality:


And of course, bassists like James Jamerson had always a melodic quality in their lines:


But how many of these melodic basslines do we find in the charts today?

Of course, polyphonic music is still performed:




List of popmusic with polyphonic elements:

Not in the charts, but not unpopular:


Not very complex and a bit to repitetive for polyphony - but somehow 3 or 4 voices :D

 
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