Jump to content

Musicianship vs. Sound quality


Recommended Posts

Ok, so I've noticed, and have discussed with a good friend of mine, the overwhelming level of technical understanding of music making in this forum. It's f'n impressive! But sometimes it's just too damn much. I'm just curious - is music measured by the quality of sound through which it's recorded or can musicianship be at such a level where fidelity can be ignored? I know this is a loaded, multi-factorial, subjective question, but can you simply listen to a track and absorb it for what it's worth as a piece of music or is the technical mastery the only way a track can be fully appreciated. Inquiring minds want to know!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i think it is because electronic music is very technical, and psy especially is very dependent upon sounding a certain way.

 

you could have a great track written, but without all the technical know-how of mastering, eqing, mixing, the track will not be presented as well as it could be, and not compare to other 'cleaner and fuller' tracks.

 

in a way it's a shame, because you have such a steep learning curve before you ever make a track that is even 'presentable'. but this would be the same in many other genres such as drum and bass, progressive house, etc.

 

some of the more experimental styles don't require such a technical labour of mastering, etc, but even then they will still benefit from at least a bit of post-production.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i prefer musicalitly above sound quality. its like a tristan vs standard fullon album. I'd dance my ass off on a set by tristan which isnt very well produced (last album for example) but it will definitly make me dance. On the other hand i 'd go fetch some beers if it is another well produced but musically boring fullon act.

would be great if both are excellent ;)

And some level of prod quality is necesarry to get released...

 

 

edit: @Drew05

the post production is usually not in the hands of the producer/ musician so he or she cant change a thing about that.

the learning curve now is already alot shorter than it used to be. You only need a pc now to produce music. No more need to understand midi etc. You only need to understand cubase and use the presets of your friends...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, so I've noticed, and have discussed with a good friend of mine, the overwhelming level of technical understanding of music making in this forum. It's f'n impressive! But sometimes it's just too damn much. I'm just curious - is music measured by the quality of sound through which it's recorded or can musicianship be at such a level where fidelity can be ignored? I know this is a loaded, multi-factorial, subjective question, but can you simply listen to a track and absorb it for what it's worth as a piece of music or is the technical mastery the only way a track can be fully appreciated. Inquiring minds want to know!

Damn good question, Symph. And I, too, was just talking about the same thing with a good friend of mine.

 

I personally feel that good art, including good music, is a channeling of the soul made physical. Like meditating or contacting one's intuition, it's a process that involves accessing the unconscious. But that process requires a certain amount of consciousness, because the information needs to be made physical with one's hands and with one's tools. It's a fine balance between accessing the unconscious while maintaining just enough consciousness to record what one finds there. The problem is that as soon as you become conscious of the process, the unconscious shuts down its access. So basically, people who are inhibited will simply not be able to create as deftly or as fundamentally as those who are not as scared of what's in their souls, or scared of what people will think of their souls once they've been brought to light.

 

That being said, I tend to be impressed the most by those artists who have been able, either through character or through practice, been able to really dive deep into their unconscious and bring back some earnest, genuine results. You can hear it in their work, whether it's crisply produced or not. But there's also a point where lack of technical prowess has a diminishing effect on one's material. Similarly, when one's stuff is too polished, I immediately get skeptical, because it's truly rare that we experience a person with both lack of inhibition and technical skill at the same time. We tend to call those people with both in quantity geniuses.

 

I generally prefer stuff that strikes a balance between creativity and technical skill, but I also generally prefer something with soul over something with technique.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

musicianship > creativity >>>>>>>>>> sound quality

 

Nice tunes can be made with crappy sounds (old game consoles, trackers etc.) if you have the creativity to get the most out of the limited means you have. Creativity is very important for electronic music but still musicianship comes first. Maybe every artist should be able to write a simple decent tune with a piano (sound).

IMO

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Musicianship is perhaps the wrong word since we aren't talking about someone's technical skill on an instrument, but I do feel that one the of boggest problems in the trance scene in for a while now is a lack of good compositional skills. There are loads of technically skilled engineers out there now, but most of them have very little to say musically. In a way I can understand it, it is much easier to work on the technical aspects of a mix and such that it is to work on something like "writing better melodies". But in the end I think one's skill at writing music is more important than one's skill in technical aspects of recording it (although obviously the best situation is having both).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Musicianship is perhaps the wrong word since we aren't talking about someone's technical skill on an instrument, but I do feel that one the of boggest problems in the trance scene in for a while now is a lack of good compositional skills. There are loads of technically skilled engineers out there now, but most of them have very little to say musically. In a way I can understand it, it is much easier to work on the technical aspects of a mix and such that it is to work on something like "writing better melodies". But in the end I think one's skill at writing music is more important than one's skill in technical aspects of recording it (although obviously the best situation is having both).

Is it? I personally find the technical aspects of a mix very mysterious, despite having read books and websites about the general rules. I think this statement might be subjective.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry to ruin your fun, but IMO sound quality is more important than musicianship. BUT it cannot exist without it.

 

It really sucks to hear good tracks ruined by crappy production. And I'm also talking about 90% of whatever made before of 2002. Including most goa that I really love. If I could have the same tracks with proper sound production I would be the happiest man on earth. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

they are both equally important.

 

AS a musician, or artist, you'll always have to urge to complete every aspect of your work. Even the most skillfull componist will have the feeling his skills are not yet fully developed if his soundquality lacks. And a technician also feels something is missing without good composition.

 

It is healthy to admit you have much to learn, and try to follow artistic consensus, in every way, also in the aspects you're not really talented in. Do what people have been doing for years and years... before trying to break consensus and bending the rules or inventing something new. Cause skillfull artists bend the rules, "not-so-skillfull" artists break them and leave nothing interesting.

Succes is not a privilidge for the talented, but the dedicated.

 

 

It really sucks to hear good tracks ruined by crappy production. And I'm also talking about 90% of whatever made before of 2002. Including most goa that I really love. If I could have the same tracks with proper sound production I would be the happiest man on earth.

+1

 

Your statement has been proven by Asia2001 - amnesia. he cleaned up his tracks, if you compare it to his older CD's we can only say you are absolutely right! I think this CD is close to perfection btw. while is older CD's are mediocre goatrance with crappy soundquality, nothing special...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is it? I personally find the technical aspects of a mix very mysterious, despite having read books and websites about the general rules. I think this statement might be subjective.

I agree they are mysterious. But if you think about it, there are a million threads here and at Isratrance, etc about making music and the majority of them are all about the technical side of making music. If you go to your local music shop or what not, most of the books and dvds you find will also be about the technical side of production. My point that its easier to work on that side of making music mostly stems from the fact that it is SO much easier to get information and find solid things you need to work on regarding production (not that it is easy to master them at all) than it is to find info regarding song writing skills (which is probably why most threads in that area don't get much beyond "what scales should I use?").

 

Looking at my first post my views probably came out a bit strange. I think production skills and compositional skills are both extremely important. However in TODAY's trance scene we have tons of technically solid creators with very little to say musically, so now a days I think that music writing skills are more important since things are greating out of balance towards production.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Crappy music that has bad sound quality sucks. Great music that has bad sound quality makes you ignore the sound quality. Look at the Velvet Underground's first couple albums. Terrible sound, phenomenal music.

 

Although with electronic music, I think maybe poor sound quality is a bigger factor. Not quite sure why.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First of all, I dont know shit about sound production.

 

That being said, For me, in electronic music, the sound quality is part of the music. I remember when Atmos Headcleaner came out, i was just blown away by the sonic consistenncy of those bassline he used, they were omnipresent, yet you could hardly hear them. Maybe its because I dont ave any idea of production, but I am mystified by great production quality, and bad quality just turns me off.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree they are mysterious. But if you think about it, there are a million threads here and at Isratrance, etc about making music and the majority of them are all about the technical side of making music. If you go to your local music shop or what not, most of the books and dvds you find will also be about the technical side of production. My point that its easier to work on that side of making music mostly stems from the fact that it is SO much easier to get information and find solid things you need to work on regarding production (not that it is easy to master them at all) than it is to find info regarding song writing skills (which is probably why most threads in that area don't get much beyond "what scales should I use?").

 

Looking at my first post my views probably came out a bit strange. I think production skills and compositional skills are both extremely important. However in TODAY's trance scene we have tons of technically solid creators with very little to say musically, so now a days I think that music writing skills are more important since things are greating out of balance towards production.

I totally agree. Still, melody is sometimes easier than production for some, despite all the literature available on the latter. Also, there's no real standard to production either, right?, making it by itself a sort of applied artform, and therefore fuzzy in the specifics. That's been my learning experience, anyway. So many different philosophies, perhaps depending on which area of the world one lives in, on things like compression, EQ, etc.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Follow the flow, the technical side of production will come naturally. Remember: use inspirational energies whenever possible, and when your bored and not in the spot of finding anything new and original, use ur time on the tecnicalities. Even tough inspiration is the essense and sooul of the stuff ur producing, the technicalities is how the sounds are pronounced :D

 

 

English doesnt sound like it when it is pronounced with a french accent :D

 

 

Peace & love

 

Magnus

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the sound quality of the mix isn't the only technical aspect of the music

I think making sounds and composing the music can very technical as well

I really don't mind if a great piece of music doesn't have a superbly mixed high fidelity sound quality

sometimes a bit more low-fi sound has its own charm

I still enjoy electronic golden oldies as much as anything today, sometimes I like their (warm, organic, fragile) sound even better

sound quality is really inferior to the actual quality and creativity put in composing the music IMO

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I couldn't personally give a shit about sound quality. To me thats what artist hide behind in this scene who really have no musical ability and shouldn't even be making music in the first place.

Velvet Underground or shit, virtually any rock music is a good contrast.

I've never heard someone recommend me a band or review a rock album with "well this music sucks, the songs are terrible, it all sounds exactly the same as a million other bands but WOW the production is so good it makes up for that".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I totally agree. Still, melody is sometimes easier than production for some, despite all the literature available on the latter.

Melody maybe, but song writing is much more than that. Firstly, there are many ways that you can play (interpret) said melody. Also rythmic elements can be equally or even more important. (This to me is psytrance's biggest problem. The beat is like listening to a train going by. And not some funky party train either, but a very uptight train delivering office stationery.) I would say the most difficult part is coming up with a cohesive song where the different elements fit together. You can pretty easily come up with a nice riff, a beat or a cool FX, but making those elements work together to build a solid track that holds the listeners interest is hard.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Melody maybe, but song writing is much more than that. Firstly, there are many ways that you can play (interpret) said melody. Also rythmic elements can be equally or even more important. (This to me is psytrance's biggest problem. The beat is like listening to a train going by. And not some funky party train either, but a very uptight train delivering office stationery.) I would say the most difficult part is coming up with a cohesive song where the different elements fit together. You can pretty easily come up with a nice riff, a beat or a cool FX, but making those elements work together to build a solid track that holds the listeners interest is hard.

Long time, Kiph. Good to see ya. :D

 

Good points. Of course all of those compositional elements are difficult for most people, but I bet they're easy for some. Even to build a slow train that delivers phat, phunky and phree ice cream sandwiches. Which still makes the point subjective. But maybe this strays from the original point.

 

The thing that I find both fascinating and boring about today's psytrance is the completely psychotic progressions where, for example, a sample is taken and totally obliterated, made into some mind-warping and eventually logical transition. Everybody's doing it, but I don't know how they do it. There seems to be a lot of skill in fucking sound up to make it mind-zapping, and I can't tell whether this is individual talent, talent that is shared among people, or just some helpful VSTs that someone made.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello to you too Otto.

 

Back to the discussion:

 

On the whole I think psytrance songs are quite linear and tend to lack any sense of drama (unless you would call the song steadily building toward the predicatable climax at the end with a few ill timed breaks sprinkled along the way for good measure as drama ). People also seem to have the idea that a psytrance song must be 8-10 minutes long. There seems to be a prejudice against short songs, but to me this just leads to watered down tracks as producers try to stretch their ideas to reach "full" length. Of course this is compensated by top-notch sound quality, but to me it doesn't nearly make up for it. Far too often it sounds like the producer's priorities have been on the engineering side. Now, I might be impressed by a producer's technical skills, but that doesn't really make me want to listen to the track more, but for a good track I might overlook some sound quality problems and keep coming back to it. So to return to the original question: Musicianship all the way. That's where the feeling is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree they are mysterious. But if you think about it, there are a million threads here and at Isratrance, etc about making music and the majority of them are all about the technical side of making music.

That's because there's lots to be said about engineering. It's a technical process which anyone can learn, so it's easy and practical to talk alot about it. There's not a lot to say about the creative side of music--you either have it or you don't. You can't really learn creativity.

 

The thing that I find both fascinating and boring about today's psytrance is the completely psychotic progressions where, for example, a sample is taken and totally obliterated, made into some mind-warping and eventually logical transition. Everybody's doing it, but I don't know how they do it. There seems to be a lot of skill in fucking sound up to make it mind-zapping, and I can't tell whether this is individual talent, talent that is shared among people, or just some helpful VSTs that someone made.

I think I know what you're talking about, and I've always wondered how they did that too. Probably some popular plugin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...