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Daniel james live on twitch now with an important topic!

Henu

Senior Member
I don't know about "better" necessarily. I think a good pop song or three chord rocker can be as good as anything else.
But it's not what inspires me creatively for my own music.
Yeah, sorry, a bit bad choice of words. What I mean was what @WindcryMusic also said. It's surely not about 3-chord song couldn't be good (hell, my favourite genre of music besides orchestral has always been black metal since 1995 :D ) but the fact that laziness isn't an excuse.
 

Consona

Senior Member
This thread. :emoji_ok_hand:

My point in the show was that with modern technology it is no longer a barrier to entry in the same way it used to be. There are tools literally designed to fill the ignorance gap (not using ignorance as a derogatory term, I'm using it literally) and so people can create amazing music without knowing or studying much about it. Would their creative process be more enriched and informed had they learned music theory...absolutely! but you can hit the ground running without it more so these days.

And as creatives I think the end result is all that really matters. The person listening doesn't care how well read you are on theory if the music moves them emotionally.
I mean, how awesome is Inception's Time by Hans, yet it's 4 and a half minutes of the same non-modulated chord progression with things just layered atop of it.

I agree the end result is what matters, no matter how simple it is, or how it was achieved.

But, again, as Verta says, the result should be about our decision, and not about our limitations. Meaning, a piece should be minimalistic and with limited development because that was the composer's choice, not because he can't compose anything else.
Can't agree more.

The other important thing I took from Mike's classes is, composing is totally free-form.
That's why my head is not preoccupied with chord progressions, or parallel fifths "laws", or whatever. I sit in front of a piano with my mind totally clear, figuring out the piece as my fingers run around the keyboard.
This mindset will make some YT videos so funny, when academically trained guys (with much much deeper knowledge than me, of course) are commenting on some Williams' piece, totally making excuses for his parallel fifths, how it's ok the way he uses them, or when they are trying to describe some Mozart piece saying he modulated here from here yet even using chords out of that scale... It's like these academic guys have theory before music, but these composers do music before any theory. (Or maybe there's theory behind it since they know it so well, but some chromatic movements, chords and modulations are so wild that I doubt they were done with theory in mind.)

What I'm personally training now is going from a chord to chord, figuring out how changing those chords from major to minor to other ones changes the overall feeling. Because just the other day, I was checking out the Lord of the Rings scores, and Shore moves in thirds a lot, there are no standard chord progressions in those parts, it's very free-form.


So like nice, we have the technology that helps us overcome our ignorance gap, but in the end, that gap is about experience more than musical theory. That's why I rather study actual pieces by Williams, Horner, Shore, than reading books about parallel fifths.


And at the end of the day, when the result is the most important thing, you go listen to Star Wars and realize that maybe your one piece made an impact on people, but it failed in other different categories, like being a fitting part of an overarching narrative, to subtly communicate some things because the structure was so rigid, or your harmonic vocabulary is rather plain to capture what was really going on in the story.

I personally think having a strong theoretical knowledge, and learning every day (including your technical tools!), is vastly important. But I also believe that in this day and age, the one thing even more important than that, is having a unique musical voice. The reality of scoring today is that deadmau5 is scoring studio films... and young film makers know who he is. So rather than trying to sound like Williams (which is great for study), try and sound like yourself.
Hm. Like nothing against the guy, but I hope our current situation won't escalate to the state where people like him score the next Star Wars. (Unless they somehow get to the level of Verta-like guys, of course.)


Dunno, I get this whole post-modern thing, it makes sense, yet on the other hand, it shows the pointlessness of it all. 4 days ago I visited our local art gallery here. You literally can't tell whether someone forgot his handbag on a showcase or whether it's the actual exhibit you should admire... There was a projector showing a footage of a girl randomly running and writhing on a meadow. Put's all your f*cking effort to be as good as Goldsmith into perspective. :roflmao: No wonder the ability to just click midi notes in the piano roll is now the threshold to become a movie composer. It's way more about production rather than composing itself these days, be good at sound-design and mixing and that's basically it.

Art became so democratized, not only due to technology, but our post-modern mindset does this, basically anything can pass as an art now. Is it good, it is bad? I don't know. I personally feel a lot of things is getting more and more retarded. Especially when listening to music or visiting those galleries.

The real question is, can you personally reconcile with that, knowing you suck compared to those old-school guys yet you have the audacity to call yourself a composer and score movies? :grin:

I'd be fricking embarrassed to put my shoes on a piedestal and call it an artifact when I know, somewhere, there's a Buonarroti's Pieta on display.

To be fair, I remember visiting some modern art exhibition where there were really interesting paintings that made you really think about them and stuff, and you know how this goes... what if those shoes on a piedestal instil more inside you than the Pieta due to some latent psychological association... Eh.


There's no intrinsic value in anything, or rather, there's some intrinsic value in everything... Does that mean we should settle for being unable to compose like Horner just because... it's too difficult and we can score films even without that skill level anyway?.. :shocked:

It's just me, but f*ck that question, one listen to Wrath of Khan's Epilogue tells me I do want to be as good as that guy even if nobody on this planet except me appreciates that. Even if I should be flipping burgers at McDonalds (which's gonna happen anyway :laugh:) while all those producers deem that old-school symphonic notion outdated hiring those so sought after low synth pattern composers to score their next huge budget Captain SuperAwesome-Meh movie. :roflmao: (Nothing like being catharsistically melodramatic.)


Lol, remember those days when action scenes were scored with pizzicati?! Me neither. Jerry, you madman. :2thumbs:
 

I like music

Senior Member
This thread. :emoji_ok_hand:


I mean, how awesome is Inception's Time by Hans, yet it's 4 and a half minutes of the same non-modulated chord progression with things just layered atop of it.

I agree the end result is what matters, no matter how simple it is, or how it was achieved.

But, again, as Verta says, the result should be about our decision, and not about our limitations. Meaning, a piece should be minimalistic and with limited development because that was the composer's choice, not because he can't compose anything else.
Can't agree more.

The other important thing I took from Mike's classes is, composing is totally free-form.
That's why my head is not preoccupied with chord progressions, or parallel fifths "laws", or whatever. I sit in front of a piano with my mind totally clear, figuring out the piece as my fingers run around the keyboard.
This mindset will make some YT videos so funny, when academically trained guys (with much much deeper knowledge than me, of course) are commenting on some Williams' piece, totally making excuses for his parallel fifths, how it's ok the way he uses them, or when they are trying to describe some Mozart piece saying he modulated here from here yet even using chords out of that scale... It's like these academic guys have theory before music, but these composers do music before any theory. (Or maybe there's theory behind it since they know it so well, but some chromatic movements, chords and modulations are so wild that I doubt they were done with theory in mind.)

What I'm personally training now is going from a chord to chord, figuring out how changing those chords from major to minor to other ones changes the overall feeling. Because just the other day, I was checking out the Lord of the Rings scores, and Shore moves in thirds a lot, there are no standard chord progressions in those parts, it's very free-form.


So like nice, we have the technology that helps us overcome our ignorance gap, but in the end, that gap is about experience more than musical theory. That's why I rather study actual pieces by Williams, Horner, Shore, than reading books about parallel fifths.


And at the end of the day, when the result is the most important thing, you go listen to Star Wars and realize that maybe your one piece made an impact on people, but it failed in other different categories, like being a fitting part of an overarching narrative, to subtly communicate some things because the structure was so rigid, or your harmonic vocabulary is rather plain to capture what was really going on in the story.


Hm. Like nothing against the guy, but I hope our current situation won't escalate to the state where people like him score the next Star Wars. (Unless they somehow get to the level of Verta-like guys, of course.)


Dunno, I get this whole post-modern thing, it makes sense, yet on the other hand, it shows the pointlessness of it all. 4 days ago I visited our local art gallery here. You literally can't tell whether someone forgot his handbag on a showcase or whether it's the actual exhibit you should admire... There was a projector showing a footage of a girl randomly running and writhing on a meadow. Put's all your f*cking effort to be as good as Goldsmith into perspective. :roflmao: No wonder the ability to just click midi notes in the piano roll is now the threshold to become a movie composer. It's way more about production rather than composing itself these days, be good at sound-design and mixing and that's basically it.

Art became so democratized, not only due to technology, but our post-modern mindset does this, basically anything can pass as an art now. Is it good, it is bad? I don't know. I personally feel a lot of things is getting more and more retarded. Especially when listening to music or visiting those galleries.

The real question is, can you personally reconcile with that, knowing you suck compared to those old-school guys yet you have the audacity to call yourself a composer and score movies? :grin:

I'd be fricking embarrassed to put my shoes on a piedestal and call it an artifact when I know, somewhere, there's a Buonarroti's Pieta on display.

To be fair, I remember visiting some modern art exhibition where there were really interesting paintings that made you really think about them and stuff, and you know how this goes... what if those shoes on a piedestal instil more inside you than the Pieta due to some latent psychological association... Eh.


There's no intrinsic value in anything, or rather, there's some intrinsic value in everything... Does that mean we should settle for being unable to compose like Horner just because... it's too difficult and we can score films even without that skill level anyway?.. :shocked:

It's just me, but f*ck that question, one listen to Wrath of Khan's Epilogue tells me I do want to be as good as that guy even if nobody on this planet except me appreciates that. Even if I should be flipping burgers at McDonalds (which's gonna happen anyway :laugh:) while all those producers deem that old-school symphonic notion outdated hiring those so sought after low synth pattern composers to score their next huge budget Captain SuperAwesome-Meh movie. :roflmao: (Nothing like being catharsistically melodramatic.)


Lol, remember those days when action scenes were scored with pizzicati?! Me neither. Jerry, you madman. :2thumbs:
I don't think you should be bringing Goldsmith and Horner into this. That raises the bar far too much for the mortals still trying to muddle our way through this. Let us consider those guys aberrations, a wobble in the Matrix, an accident that this universe should not have allowed to happen. They only make me feel worse about myself. In fact, those two (and I guess Williams) inspire me to want to make music more than anything else, yet they also single-handedly kill my inspiration, because everything I try to write, I try to compare with them (not consciously, it just happens). And then I stop writing because I know it ain't going to be as skilful as them.

And yes, madman indeed.

Out of all this, one big question comes forward for me. Imagine that you have 30 minutes (one hour tops) per day to "do" music. You don't have any formal musical training. You don't play an instrument, but you really do want to learn the theory. Where do you begin? What do you focus on?

Assume that you also can't pay for a teacher because your kids eat so much food that all the money goes on that.
 

Mason

Active Member
Even if you think music theory is not essential for you, you use more music theory than you think you are. If you play chords, you are using music theory, if you have the root notes in the bass you are doing basic music theory, if you make something in 3/4 or 4/4, that’s music theory as well.

If you don’t want to use music theory, what would the music be like? I can tell you it would be far from the music you write. It would probably be without a meter, without any specific key, without any logical melody, etcetera.

And I don’t think anything is different for “modern composers” compared with old-fashioned composers or the old historical ones. If you want to write music that changes lives and are remembered 200 years from now, more theoretical knowledge might be needed, but the most important is the talent to write a good melody.
 

mikefrommontreal

Active Member
Two things are essential: talent and ears.
I agree. And critical listening is key. It's also where - in my opinion - the talent lies. In the ability to listen, and discern.
However the execution of one's own ideas requires a certain level of competency and education in order to effectively, and efficiently create your own music.
 

robgb

I was young once
Even if you think music theory is not essential for you, you use more music theory than you think you are. If you play chords, you are using music theory, if you have the root notes in the bass you are doing basic music theory, if you make something in 3/4 or 4/4, that’s music theory as well.
I'm pretty sure all of this existed BEFORE the theory did, but, yes, there is theory built around these concepts and many more. Do you need to actually study them to succeed as a composer? Depends on the individual. Some learn by careful study, others learn by osmosis. Some play chord progressions and have no idea what the names of the chords are, or what specific notes create them, others have the Circle of 5ths, etc. firmly in their minds. There is no single path to successful composing. Like anything, it varies from individual to individual.
 

Pixelpoet1985

Active Member
It's just me, but f*ck that question, one listen to Wrath of Khan's Epilogue tells me I do want to be as good as that guy even if nobody on this planet except me appreciates that. Even if I should be flipping burgers at McDonalds (which's gonna happen anyway :laugh:) while all those producers deem that old-school symphonic notion outdated hiring those so sought after low synth pattern composers to score their next huge budget Captain SuperAwesome-Meh movie. :roflmao: (Nothing like being catharsistically melodramatic.)
Hope I understood correctly what you wanted to say. :laugh:

I'm a huge John Williams fanboy, and miss his and these kind of themes in current movies. The only hero movie with acceptable music is maybe Shazam, in my opinion. The others are all trash.

Why is this? Is this kind of music not asked for? Of course, directors have their influence on the music, and maybe it's a trend to go the synthy and epic way. But there is no melody you can hum or whistle, or remember. I don't like it at all.

For John Williams' music you have to know about music theory and, definitely, about orchestration, too. And if modern composers don't have a clue about these two, we will only hear the soundtracks which are composed nowadays. For me, there is no question, it's essential to know about these two, like in every other job you have to learn the tools. I want more John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith etc. in the future. *dreaming*
 

robgb

I was young once
The others are all trash.
In your opinion, of course. Some might prefer it. While I love a lot of Williams's work, I've never particularly cared for his Star Wars stuff. Too over the top, derivative, and melodramatic for my taste. Worked fine for the film, but on its own? For me, not so much. I much prefer, say, Schindler's List. I think it's important to accept that fact that film music has changed drastically over the years and new fads will become old fads and, really, not much of it is trash as long as it served the movie.
 

Pixelpoet1985

Active Member
In your opinion, of course. Some might prefer it. While I love a lot of Williams's work, I've never particularly cared for his Star Wars stuff. Too over the top, derivative, and melodramatic for my taste. Worked fine for the film, but on its own? For me, not so much. I much prefer, say, Schindler's List.
Yes, of course, in my opinion. I can't imagine a Star Wars movie without his scores. John Powell did a great job on Solo, in my opinion. And the Star Wars Battlefront II soundtrack is also very well done. This gives me some hope (if this is the right word). It's all about taste, too, as you said.

I think it's important to accept that fact that film music has changed drastically over the years and new fads will become old fads and, really, not much of it is trash as long as it served the movie.
I agree, maybe the music served well, but it could served way better. Who knows... I simply want to hear more of John Williams-y music in movies.
 

Consona

Senior Member
I don't think you should be bringing Goldsmith and Horner into this. That raises the bar far too much for the mortals still trying to muddle our way through this. Let us consider those guys aberrations, a wobble in the Matrix, an accident that this universe should not have allowed to happen. They only make me feel worse about myself. In fact, those two (and I guess Williams) inspire me to want to make music more than anything else, yet they also single-handedly kill my inspiration, because everything I try to write, I try to compare with them (not consciously, it just happens). And then I stop writing because I know it ain't going to be as skilful as them.
Well, I haven't released any new composition in like 3 years. That's exactly the time I've started to take composing seriously, started to watch Verta's classes, etc.
Every time I do something, I inevitably compare it to those guys and I realize it's crap. But that doesn't prevent me from trying to get better. I want to be able to compose like those men, or at least be somewhere close to that level.
Maybe that goal is way too high to reach there, but... like... what's the point otherwise... making crappy compositions, knowing they are crappy and be ok with that? Maybe someone could be ok with that, but me, I can't.

Out of all this, one big question comes forward for me. Imagine that you have 30 minutes (one hour tops) per day to "do" music. You don't have any formal musical training. You don't play an instrument, but you really do want to learn the theory. Where do you begin? What do you focus on?

Assume that you also can't pay for a teacher because your kids eat so much food that all the money goes on that.
I've realized one thing. It takes time. And there's no shortcut. I needed to watch like 20 Verta's masterclasses before it all started to make some sense to me. You slowly absorb all that stuff and you just need some time to grasp and process it. A year, two, just to make some basic sense out of that.
Add to that Mike actually doesn't teach music theory and it starts to feel kinda funny, but he made me understand what I need to study and what not.

If spending money is not an option I would... Watch Mike's Unleashed Classes on Youtube. I think Unleashed 3 and 4 are the best. (Bad thing when not having much time is, they are like 12 hours long. :roflmao:) Then I would watch something like Music Matters on topics you are interested in.

Honestly, I would wait for another sale when Verta's classes cost $18 each and I would buy Structure, Theminator, Mod Squad, and Rhythm & Perc. Those are absolute must-haves for anyone interested in composing, IMO.
Then after watching them, I would begin to practise those things, watched some theory videos on YT when needed, then I would watch those Mike's masterclasses again, since that will make some new connections in your brain, realizing things you missed the first time.
Just IMHO.

Hope I understood correctly what you wanted to say. :laugh:

I'm a huge John Williams fanboy, and miss his and these kind of themes in current movies. The only hero movie with acceptable music is maybe Shazam, in my opinion. The others are all trash.

Why is this? Is this kind of music not asked for? Of course, directors have their influence on the music, and maybe it's a trend to go the synthy and epic way. But there is no melody you can hum or whistle, or remember. I don't like it at all.

For John Williams' music you have to know about music theory and, definitely, about orchestration, too. And if modern composers don't have a clue about these two, we will only hear the soundtracks which are composed nowadays. For me, there is no question, it's essential to know about these two, like in every other job you have to learn the tools. I want more John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith etc. in the future. *dreaming*
Musical illiteracy. Seems like directors and producers these days know next to nothing about music. Feels like they just hire someone who was recommended to them and that's that.

And wouldn't say that "the others are all trash", but the quality has definitely dropped a lot.
Shazam was at least a try to make more old-school-ish soundtrack. But you can tell Remote Control is not the right place to learn golden era composing. Don't know how else to put it, sorry. :grin: No offence.
I actually made a breakdown of the main theme in some of the threads here. It was quite a mess. When you listen to real Goldsmith or Williams music, you realize how well are their pieces structured, how well they flow. And we're not even talking about guys like Steiner, Rózsa or Korngold. Jeez, that's some utterly next level sh*t. :grin:

GG, game over, rip in peace. :2thumbs:
 

miket

Senior Member
Everyone should just write what they're inclined to write: what they like, what moves them, regardless of how they think it compares to this or that other thing.

I enjoy Williams and that general style (and its classical antecedents) as much as the next person, but I don't lose sleep over the fact that 90% of the time, I don't want to write anything like that. I took a pretty standard classical route to composition, but the classics were always side by side with lots of other stuff, whether from the world of film music or other genres entirely. I always saw it all as a big open field of possibilities, not peaks and valleys of quality/worth....

Everyone should also strive to be as aware of the intricacies of their chosen craft/art as possible. Sure, there are some who have enough sheer natural ability and vision to get by without it, but you're unlikely to be one of those few, whereas you're highly likely to benefit from learning as much as you can to augment what you already have inside you.
 
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Mason

Active Member
I'm pretty sure all of this existed BEFORE the theory did, but, yes, there is theory built around these concepts and many more. Do you need to actually study them to succeed as a composer? Depends on the individual. Some learn by careful study, others learn by osmosis. Some play chord progressions and have no idea what the names of the chords are, or what specific notes create them, others have the Circle of 5ths, etc. firmly in their minds. There is no single path to successful composing. Like anything, it varies from individual to individual.
I definitely do not think you have to study this formally at a school. I did though, however I learned more from my own studying. An ear for good melodies and harmonies is what’s most important though and that’s not something you can learn at school anyway.
 

miket

Senior Member
Agreed. Learning theory = good. Learning it on your own, without going to a conservatory or studying with a great great great great grandstudent of Beethoven = entirely possible.
 

Robert_G

It really is just an expensive hobby for me
I agree. And critical listening is key. It's also where - in my opinion - the talent lies. In the ability to listen, and discern.
And yet there are tonnes of new composers who post their first few pieces in the members composition forum and never get a reply....:sad:
 
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