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Is Psytrance a musically complex genre?


BeauJ
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So is it a musically complex genre? I'm asking from a musical theory point of view to any musicians/producers out there who have a musical background and who would be able to shed light on the subject.

 

To me it seems complex but really insanely simple at the same time. A bassline and then leads is essentially what it is for most of the tracks plus certain bridges/breaks. It doesn't have choruses and it is not really tonal in some styles?

 

Anyway, I really don't have any idea. Feel free to post tracks of examples of what you understand to be complex or simple for your explanations if you so wish. Also maybe you might think a subgenre like hi tech is actually really dumb or good for whatever reason (for example then explain please). Anyway, I find nearly all genres of psy sound great just got to find the gems.

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Also are the darker styles just examples of pareidolia being abused. I love great dark psytrance/hi tech but was wondering ya'll opinions. Cheers

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most of it is pretty simple from a "traditional standpoint". especially darkpsy with its lack of melodic content. also progressive because of its minimalism (a nice groove, some percussion maybe one or two melodies and that's it).

not having a chorus actually makes psy more complex imho. if you just alternate between chorus and verse you'll end up with something simpler than a 7min piece that steadily progresses into new territory.

 

i think you'll find the most complex psy in goa trance. filteria has plenty of interesting melodies, harmonies and progressions. likewise for pleiadians/etnica, bpc or khetzal. artha and hallucinogen also make some complex tracks with polyrhytms, ...

 

if you decide to include fx into the picture it would of course look different. but i don't see how we could have a meaningful metric to rank track this way. does the artist applying lots of effects to a screeching sound make the track more complex, just because the screeching sound is marginally different afterwards? do unexpected breaks and jumbled up parts make a track more complex or is it just randomness? if you count randomness as complexity, wouldn't pure white noise be the most complex "music" there is? i don't think it's possible to come to any conclusion if we go down that avenue.

 

also, i don't think there's necessarily a correlation between complex music and good music. lots of my favourite tracks (and lots of psytrance classics) are actually pretty simple. take genetic - transmission or electric universe - one love (or most electric universe actually); they just have a beat and few melodies, but are old favourites of many because it's just really good music.

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Yeah I just want to stress how I know nothing about musical theory really at all. Cool answer, I think conceptually psytrance is complex in that you have the baseline and leads and percussion linking and rolling over each other and changing appropriately as to give a sense of groove and psychedelic flow which seems to soundtrack psychedelic experiences well. But yeah I guess lots of great music is very simple like the beatles is almost like the wiggles but for adults abd it is great stuff.

 

Good point about the randomness and complexity association. When you put it like that, I would be inclined to agree that unexpected added kicks and breaks are not necessarily making a track more complex but maybe adding subtleties that change and shift formulas in the sub genres of psy and have their own effects on syncopating the track.

 

Goa is a hit and miss genre for me. I'm a young psy lover so I haven't really experienced goa at an outdoor party properly. Some tracks do seem quite a lot more "musical" than the Rugga dugga bass line of psy.

 

Anyway thanks for your input.

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Compared to jazz, I don't find the rhythms particularly complex. I suspect there are at least two reasons for this: (1) the genre's heritage as dance music and (2) the difficulty of programming precise, continuous, complex rhythmic transitions.

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I know 0 musical theory, yet im doing Goa since 2008... and my opinion that it is very much complex. Goa mostly have complex melodies and it is layered, so normaly you have 4-5 different melodic layers which should flow and dance together and it's not easy to make that.

 

Forest is example very much complex too, but more technicaly... millions of modulations.

 

Any substyle can be complex or not, depending on producer taste and wish, or where/what makes more money and whats easier. As much as complex Goa it can be, it can be simple. Same for prog, fullon, dark etc...


Take techno for example... which is mostly minimal and not melodic... will take me 5-6 hours (tried and been very much bored) to make track complete with all mixing. In goa trance i spend 5-6 hours just for first approach to make kick/bass... it takes me 2-3 months for a track, sometimes even half year just because i like 'clean' sound.

 

 

Trance as whole is complex any way you look :)

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Psytrance is one of the most "freefrom" electronic music genres. Different artists incorporate whatever they can do and want to do into it. Some psytrance may use very complex harmonies and advanced musical theory, like Terrafractyl, some subgenres, like darkpsy or forest psy, dismiss a melody in a traditional sense and rely on atonal structures and timbre changes which are beyond any music theory.

 

 

From the production viewpoint, psytrance is as complex as any other genre if you are aiming for a really well-crafted product and don't use premade content, like loops, samplepacks and "one note makes a track" presets.

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prog psy - simple music but...the technique of sounds make it a bit complex (sharp as a knife)

dark psy - bass/ kick and a lot of osc fx / id say simple if you know what you re doing

goa trance- diff story / multi-layering leads its not as simple as it looks ( i had in arcana more then 7 leads in the same time for ex)

 

years in a row i though goa is the most complex music on this planet / now im not so sure about this

listen for ex the Warp releases during our childhood or even this today:

 

 

or if we spoke about complexity ..lets not forget The prodigy / samples samples and again samples/ man that was hard as hell i bet

the idea is you can have complexity in every genre cuz some artists are very deep into the sound engineering stuff

 

uuu..Orbital

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In my opinion, psytrance is a very open genre. So it can be complex or simple as the composer wishes. By example, there are tracks with phrases of 8 or even 16 bars, this is pretty complicated because it's necessary to solve chords sequences and harmonies, this is possible only with musical theory knowledges or a great ear sense (and obviously practise).


About the structure, i think all musical genres has structures to make music, despite this psytrance is more free because doesn't have the popular structure (intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-chorus-final), psytrance is "more linear" and this means that you probably won't listen the same section twice in a track. So the composer needs to work more on his structure, but this also means gives more power to innovate.


But, on the other hand, there are ways to make psytrance tracks using some "formulas"and maybe that's why sometimes we can think that it is very simple. But obviously, simple doesn't mean bad, make that a simple track sounds cool could be pretty harder than do it with a complex track, it's relative.


Have you ever seen this video? I'm not agree at all, but there are some tricks to quickly make a psytrance track.





PD. I'm not english native speaker, sorry it there are mistakes.

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I don't think it's very complex. Most of it tends to stay in one key for a whole song, and tends not to even move around in that one key much. To me, lots of notes in a melody don't make music complex, that's just scales. The production can be complex with all the layers.

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Yeah Mr or Mrs Veracohr, the production of psytrance is insanely complex and infinite but maybe that is all. One can modulate sounds infinitely to make no section sound the same but maybe from a musical point of view it is not very complex. Interesting.

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I'm not a producer so I'm not sure how complex the creation of it us. I did here from Remy of Principles of Flight who makes both Psy and Techno that it takes him much much longer to compose Psy than Techno. If that's because it's complex or that he's pickier with Psy I don't know.

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I've made a bunch of psytrance tracks (some were released) and also some uplifting trance and breaks. I can say that the genre doesn't matter, I've put roughly equal time and effort into making each of these tracks.

 

But I consider myself an amateur, maybe for a professional producer, who is signed to a label and releases stuff constantly it's all different. If you are producing in a consistent style, you may save presets, effect chains, midi clips and then reuse them in next tracks, which makes the whole thing much faster/easier. Some people apparently can create a psytrance track in few days if not hours.

 

Btw, it's a common misconception that it's easier to make a minimal track (like techno or deep house) than a full-on or goa track overloaded with synths and effects. When you are making smth minimal you must polish the crap of all your sounds because they all are clearly heard, you can't mask anything beneath other stuff. Also these subtle changes, tiny automations which are not clearly heard but act subliminally - all this is very important and not that easy to get it right.

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Well, some days ago I asked Alex Lytvyn aka Uth if he has made more goa tracks because I really really like his on VA/Blacklight Moments. He said that for him it's very difficult to complete a goa track.

 

I find his track unique and I feel that he had the inspiration to create it. Of course, those who make a lot of goa inevitably start using similar sounds and sometimes might finish off tracks quite fast, not necessarily waiting for the "inspiration" to come. I remember having read somewhere on this site that Filteria finished one of his tracks for Sky Input in 3 hours or so.

In order to create minimal or house, of course you need the skills, but I guess inspiration is not necessary, as tracks are not really unique, they don't have their own track identity.

 

So, I'd say that it's more difficult to make a track with identity, that sticks out of the mass. And I guess deep house or minimal by their nature don't leave much space for this. Anyway, I'm not very knowledgeable about these genres, so I might be wrong after all, that's just my conception.

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it surely makes a big difference if we talk about the complexity of the production and the musical aspect. I´m producing a little bit and im quite familiar with classical music and also play violine myself.

Technically spoken i think it is quite complex to produce a good psytrance (or tehno/house..) minimal track.But i wouldnt say its musically complex especially compared to other genres as classical music or jazz for example

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I think you guys are confusing complexity with layering.

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I think you guys are confusing complexity with layering.

Maybe.

 

Also cool subtext beneath your post, I assume its referring to the trance dance experience. Flippin sweet!!

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  • 4 weeks later...

So is it a musically complex genre? I'm asking from a musical theory point of view to any musicians/producers out there who have a musical background and who would be able to shed light on the subject.

 

To me it seems complex but really insanely simple at the same time. A bassline and then leads is essentially what it is for most of the tracks plus certain bridges/breaks. It doesn't have choruses and it is not really tonal in some styles?

 

Anyway, I really don't have any idea. Feel free to post tracks of examples of what you understand to be complex or simple for your explanations if you so wish. Also maybe you might think a subgenre like hi tech is actually really dumb or good for whatever reason (for example then explain please). Anyway, I find nearly all genres of psy sound great just got to find the gems.

 

musically ? yes it can be if done right. but there's lots of shit aswel. bothways if you get me..

comes n goes karma karma karma cameleon culture club :lol:

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In order to create minimal or house, of course you need the skills, but I guess inspiration is not necessary, as tracks are not really unique, they don't have their own track identity.

 

Sorry, but that's a gross oversimplification and generalisation of things. You obviously don't listen to those genres actively, because my family also think all goa/psy sounds the same, i.e. are not unique / don't have identity.

 

---

 

As for the topic, goa/psy is like any other form of electronic music - it can be complex musically, but it rarely extends beyond few layered chord progressions, arpeggios and looped melodies. Mind, I have nothing against it because it is *trance* music after all, so it's supposed to be repetitive to some extent. Therefore IMO most of the musicality in goa/psy happens in the way the layers are introduced, morphed and how they progress; in key-changes, breaks and intros / outros. I'm personally a fan of one-off events in music, e.g. a cinematic samples or off-beat sequences introduced somewhere in the track, that completely change the mood or atmosphere, sometime even sound "wrong" the first time but they introduce this kind of "live", unpredictable element into typically electronic and soulless music - good recent example would be Nervasystem's "Interpretation". And sure, it's not a symphony or some intricate, monumental piece but within confines of *trance* it's something I really appreciate I find musically "attractive".

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Btw, it's a common misconception that it's easier to make a minimal track (like techno or deep house) than a full-on or goa track overloaded with synths and effects. When you are making smth minimal you must polish the crap of all your sounds because they all are clearly heard, you can't mask anything beneath other stuff. Also these subtle changes, tiny automations which are not clearly heard but act subliminally - all this is very important and not that easy to get it right.

Yeah, I don't know how many times I've had to explain this to people. The best artists have brilliant production and add lots of tiny modulations that keep up the tension. Not easy to do at all.

 

I think that there is a grain of truth to the idea that house is easier... mostly because the core sounds have tons of patches in VSTis and there are loads of tutorials for writing it. On the other hand, it's really hard to manipulate digital synths to make authentic old-school goa sounds, so that's a big barrier right from the start.

 

Modulating cutoff and effects all over the track takes a lot of time, it's another kind of complexity. Sometimes I listen to Forest psy and am blown away by the amount of little tweaks I can hear.

 

Ultimately these genres of music are all about where you want to focus the complexity. Forest psy focusses on those hundreds of micro-sound effects, techno focusses on building one really tense, well-produced loop, goa focusses on the structure and melody. Each of these things can take a long time to do, a;though they take much less time once you are used to each particular production style.

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Yeah, I don't know how many times I've had to explain this to people. The best artists have brilliant production and add lots of tiny modulations that keep up the tension. Not easy to do at all.

 

I think that there is a grain of truth to the idea that house is easier... mostly because the core sounds have tons of patches in VSTis and there are loads of tutorials for writing it. On the other hand, it's really hard to manipulate digital synths to make authentic old-school goa sounds, so that's a big barrier right from the start.

 

Modulating cutoff and effects all over the track takes a lot of time, it's another kind of complexity. Sometimes I listen to Forest psy and am blown away by the amount of little tweaks I can hear.

 

Ultimately these genres of music are all about where you want to focus the complexity. Forest psy focusses on those hundreds of micro-sound effects, techno focusses on building one really tense, well-produced loop, goa focusses on the structure and melody. Each of these things can take a long time to do, a;though they take much less time once you are used to each particular production style.

 

well it is easy in a way you know.. i learnt it the hard way with real live hardware. the wayi work is first i write and after all song is composed then i do a final live recording of all modulations ... its awesome imo and i feel the energy and create something unique . but most important is that the elements communicate with each other thats very very important. thats all i can say . and of course you need good headphones studio material in order to have goood sounds and not having a kind of 'russian salad' where all is a fucking mess and clashing shit or elements are too spread all over da place u cant fuckin get anything u know? i like to keep a good tight mix punchy , something memorable i love specially so you can say oh that melody is brilliant and its from this and or that track whatever etc u feel me? also dislike lots of brickwall shit like tim shults mastering i think its over compressed . i love dynamic in a song , let it breathe you know , let it flow... i think its important in a 'trance' song that it can flow not just from one bar to another slamming you completely in da face ... but sure man each one to his own. i completely have different art thats all i can say im being honest just.

something like that but thats me i got my way of feeling da shit. this is my view other artists have their own ways and thats cool but i can only speak for myself . c u guys later :)

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Sorry, but that's a gross oversimplification and generalisation of things. You obviously don't listen to those genres actively, because my family also think all goa/psy sounds the same, i.e. are not unique / don't have identity.

Yes, I do not listen to those genres actively and yes, goa can be very simple. Also, I didn't comment on the complexity of goa and house, but more on some tracks that can be really memorable.

 

But I insist that some (or very few, if you prefer) goa tracks can be the result of inspiration and/or are unique/easily recognisable. As I said, I don't listen to minimal or house actively, but it seems to me that you need skills & practice to produce good music of these genres, but that's all. I haven't noticed much novelty or unique melodies that will give identity to a track and make it stand out of the crowd.

 

If you tell me you know more unique/memorable/easily recognisable tracks in house/minimal than goa trance maybe I should start listening to those genres. I doubt though.

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Kitrinos, on 01 Jul 2016 - 6:08 PM, said:snapback.png

In order to create minimal or house, of course you need the skills, but I guess inspiration is not necessary, as tracks are not really unique, they don't have their own track identity.

 

welll i dont know anything about house production and im not really into it , but i know acid house and i think its mostly rhythical / groove focused its not a bad thing .

inspiration i cant speak or say anything about that like i said i dont wannna be in that sort of music but myself as artist i think we all need inspiration and if tracks arent unique then fuck... how many copycats are around even in our scene ? think about it... most commercial music rips off stuff off the underground and i know shit that got commercialized/pop poop that was stolen from a simple guy with an old pc and a tracker and completely sampled his shit... ripoffs u see?

maybe one day if i find that video ill post it here , altho i think its spoken in polish because guy that done it is polish but dont think it should be relevant to this conversation as i pretty much summed it up.

peace out mate

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