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Does Melody Even Matter??

Akarin

digitalcomposing.com
Oh, so it's a pissing contest now? My great contribution to the "community" this week was to raise awareness regarding false musical complacence and lack of creative rigor. You should check it out. What are your grand samaritan merits as of late, while we're at it? And why are you arguing, anyway? Too many people only around for the fun of trolling lately.

I'm not fully awake yet, so you'll have to excuse the lack of filter in my words but here it goes. I was having a conversation with a composer in another group, on another forum the other day. He shown me a theory trick that I didn't know of and then pointed me to a video he made. I thought it was great and definitely applicable to what I was doing. I told him that he should share it on VI C and the answer went something like that:

"What? To get slammed by these elitist jerks? The Slash-lookalike and the other bunch? I'd rather start a new thread on reverb on Gearslutz."

See, people constantly bashing others in here is the reason many don't have the strength to participate. Even if they have something sensible to say.
 

Erick - BVA

Music is more than just color and rhythm
Hey Guys,
I wanted to open up this discussion on melody. Does it even matter?
Check out my thoughts on it here and would love to hear what you think!
I think what you're talking about almost exclusively applies to scoring for film or video. With concert music you cannot write generic music and simply say "who's to say if this is good or not?"
It needs to hold an audience and be engaging or compelling, in essence stand on its own.
However, I think there still needs to be a qualitative approach to the melody when writing scoring music. There is worst, worse, mediocre, better, best, etc. I would rather write some unique and interesting that can also work as a background than simply say it doesn't matter.
While I don't really like a lot of Scheonberg's music, I tend to agree with him that melody is paramount.
I am not saying that melodies can't be simple.
Of course context does matter. But I think melody is the most communicative aspect of music, so when you ARE writing a melody (and not just doing a generic background) it is essential. And if you're scoring for a film, then the various melodies may develop throughout the film - recapitulate in different ways, morph into something new, contrast with something else, etc.
 

mikeh-375

old school
See, people constantly bashing others in here is the reason many don't have the strength to participate. Even if they have something sensible to say.

Well I'll take the lack of response to my last post to you as in the affirmative and consider myself being bashed. The quote above ironically says it all. I for one wont be cowed or embarrassed by prejudice against a lifetimes knowledge, study and hard work.
yeah you're right Greg. (I'll get to your video soon)
 

Erick - BVA

Music is more than just color and rhythm
I think a good case study on how simple melodies can be profound and develop throughout a piece is Sibelius' 7th symphony.
 

Erick - BVA

Music is more than just color and rhythm
Depends on what you are trying to create. I think melody matters absolutely, and can truly help create a sense of progression in a story where it sometimes is sorely needed.

However, I think that this video touches upon another concept that honestly, I do not understand at all, and I see it pop up all the time:

The ability of some composers to write a cue completely in a vacuum.

So, how does that relate to your question?

The thing I see in many modern composers, and for me the reason why many cues sound so generic and lifeless, is because they are devoid of context. I cannot for the life of me understand how someone can sit down behind their computer and say 'well today I am going to write something sad and epic'.

Why I don't understand it, is that I cannot just force myself to write something like that. It needs more. It needs a reason to exist. Whether that is an emotion, or a grander idea, there needs to be context for a cue, for me at least, to exist. What am I trying to tell people, what is the story? Without a story, it's just a bunch of noise. And there is a lot of noise out there.

You play a simple string of notes and ask yourself; is this good?

Without context, I wouldn't know. Because I don't know what it's trying to say to me.

If I want to tell a story, I need a melody. A strong one, one that can be bend, twisted, manipulated. I need to be able to play with it's accompanying harmony, need to be able to transpose, modulate and turn it around. Because doing so is actually telling the story. In the simplest terms: for me, in order to tell a story, I need to be able to switch a melody from triumphant to sad, to happy, to mysterious at the drop of a hat. But without context whatsoever, I am creating a melody in a vacuum. It doesn't tell me anything. It's nothing more than a bunch of good sounding notes stringed together. Sure it's loud. And I feel... well... something. But that's it.

That is why melody matters. Because for me, it tells a story that I want to tell through the way I can manipulate it.
But you can say something with melody, without context. You can create the landscape, story, or context with the melody itself. I think that's why it matters what genre or purpose there is. If it's for film, then it will depend on if it's under talking, or if it's supposed to be a dramatic musical moment, or whatsoever. For concert music, it almost needs to create its own context.
 

Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
I was having a conversation with a composer in another group, on another forum the other day. He shown me a theory trick that I didn't know of and then pointed me to a video he made. I thought it was great and definitely applicable to what I was doing. I told him that he should share it on VI C and the answer went something like that:

"What? To get slammed by these elitist jerks? The Slash-lookalike and the other bunch? I'd rather start a new thread on reverb on Gearslutz."

That sucks of course. I do understand how sometimes people can get turned off by the shenanigans (see also: Spitfire threads/Christian Henson). But still, there's nuance. It should always be OK to disagree with a particular opinion or approach, even if it's coming from a more or less "succesful" person. I think in this particular thread, I've seen some legitimate objections (Nick did ask for people's opinions after all) - along with some business observations, which, by the way, didn't necessarily come from "bums" who never did anything notable either.

That's not automatically bashing - although there's definitely some of that happening on this forum as well and I'm sure it turns people off.
 

Erick - BVA

Music is more than just color and rhythm
That sucks of course. I do understand how sometimes people can get turned off by the shenanigans (see also: Spitfire threads/Christian Henson). But still, there's nuance. It should always be OK to disagree with a particular opinion or approach, even if it's coming from a more or less "succesful" person. I think in this particular thread, I've seen some legitimate objections (Nick did ask for people's opinions after all) - along with some business observations, which, by the way, didn't necessarily come from "bums" who never did anything notable either.

That's not automatically bashing - although there's definitely some of that happening on this forum as well and I'm sure it turns people off.
I never understand why people are so afraid of criticism. If you're confident in what you're doing, and you're doing your best, then opinions should only help you. We can sift through the opinions (and even bashing) and apply it if we choose, or ignore it. As you said, he asked for opinions.
 

ka00

Senior Member
Well I'll take the lack of response to my last post to you as in the affirmative and consider myself being bashed. The quote above ironically says it all. I for one wont be cowed or embarrassed by prejudice against a lifetimes knowledge, study and hard work.
yeah you're right Greg. (I'll get to your video soon)

Scroll to the bottom of this thread and click “show ignored posts” or whatever it’s called. Then this will all make more sense.
 

ka00

Senior Member
cheers @ka00 , but I haven't blocked anyone. Actually can't see the ignored posts button anyway!!

Oh okay. I thought you couldn’t see that Akarin was replying to Jimmy HF and not you. I didn’t want this to turn into an episode of Three’s Company. I always got nervous watching all the misunderstandings spiral out of control on that show.
 

mikeh-375

old school
Don't know the show but get you. This started with a remark at the bottom of page 3 by Akarin. I'm not bothered by it. Thanks anyway....
 

SimonCharlesHanna

Senior Member
I'm not fully awake yet, so you'll have to excuse the lack of filter in my words but here it goes. I was having a conversation with a composer in another group, on another forum the other day. He shown me a theory trick that I didn't know of and then pointed me to a video he made. I thought it was great and definitely applicable to what I was doing. I told him that he should share it on VI C and the answer went something like that:

"What? To get slammed by these elitist jerks? The Slash-lookalike and the other bunch? I'd rather start a new thread on reverb on Gearslutz."

See, people constantly bashing others in here is the reason many don't have the strength to participate. Even if they have something sensible to say.
sweet...we're infamous around the world.

I like that.
 
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