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Thread: Music Theory

  1. #1
    Member improbus's Avatar
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    Music Theory

    What are your "rules" for the music you like?
    Here are some of mine:

    1) It must be original, not just a copycat band with a sound that I've heard in a hundred different places.
    2) I will not listen to a band that you need to be under the influence of some foreign substance to understand or enjoy (Phish, The Doors)
    3) Ignore music critics: They almost always love a bands first album and then their second album either sounds "too much like the first" or "not enough like the first".
    4) "Hit the note and move on" I don't care for jam bands (see rule #2)
    5) I could care less about "selling out" If I were in band and someone said, "I will give you $40,000 to play your song on a commercial." I would sign my name on the line as fast as humanly possible.
    6) Any song with the "sparkles/shooting star" sound at the beginning is out.
    7) Any song that abuses to slide guitar is out.
    8) Any singer that overdoes the "twang" is out. It is a simple ploy that anyone can use to hide vocal weaknesses.
    9) Any song with a preset dance that comes with it (especially when the dance instructions are in the song)
    10) Any Paul McCartney song written and performed without John Lennon.
    Variatio delectat - Cicero

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  3. #2
    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: Music Theory

    You have covered most of my thoughts, so I'm not sure I can add much. But I will elaborate on your first point and agree that good songs are original. I cannot stand to hear a song that trots out the same tired lyrics (or sound) that have been beaten to death. A few years ago, Brooks and Dunn, who I'm none too fond of anyway, had a HUGE hit with a song that consisted of these lyrics:

    I'm still hurtin' from the last time
    You walked on this heart of mine
    I can't find much to believe in
    You let me down so many times
    Heaven knows how I love you
    But I'm tired of holding on
    You better kiss me
    'Cause your gonna miss me when I'm gone

    Not much chance we're gonna make it
    If I'm the only one who's trying
    You know I'm running out of reasons
    And we're running out of time
    Someday, girl, you're gonna wake up
    And wonder what went wrong
    You better kiss me
    'Cause your gonna miss me when I'm gone

    You're good at going through the motions
    All I hear are alibis
    Not I get this empty feeling
    When I look into your eyes
    I don't see a love light shining
    I don't know what's going on
    You better kiss me
    'Cause your gonna miss me when I'm gone
    Have not countless middle school songwriters penned those same lyrics for their garage bands over the years?

    I appreciate music of all genres (classical, Dixieland, Bluegrass, doo wop, surf, hair metal, modern rock, rap, country...it doesn't matter) as long as the music and the lyrics are original. That doesn't mean that I routinely listen to music from all genres, but I appreciate it.

  4. #3
    High five! nate's Avatar
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    Re: Music Theory

    I thought this was going to be about counterpoint as utilized by the masters...like Gerry Mulligan.

    I don't really have any rules. Music elicits an emotional response. That response is either favorable or unfavorable.
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

  5. #4
    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
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    Re: Music Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by macro View Post
    You have covered most of my thoughts, so I'm not sure I can add much. But I will elaborate on your first point and agree that good songs are original. I cannot stand to hear a song that trots out the same tired lyrics (or sound) that have been beaten to death.
    I generally agree, but there are degrees of original. Let's be honest, if you're trying to write a song about love or relationships, it's pretty much impossible not to trod on hard-packed lyrical ground. (Also known as the "just because I haven't heard it doesn't mean it hasn't been done" rule.) All I ask is that a song not immediately strike me as a ripoff of another one.

    The same rule kind of applies regarding the non-vocals -- I don't require the genre to be re-invented, just don't rip off someone else's melodies or riffs.

    I like rock and country and oldies and many one-off variations thereof. Don't much care for the typical pop of today, or hip-hop or rap, and on the country side there's only so much twang I like. I'm getting into more of what is loosely called "Americana." I also like stuff that has a breezy beach sound to it, which somehow survived my living in a beach town listening to every clown with a guitar singing Jimmy Buffett.

    Bottom line, I listen to music that makes me feel better. If I don't like the sound or if the lyrics are too much of a downer, I'll pass.
    Not all who wander are lost

  6. #5
    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Music Theory

    1) Most, if not all, of the music must be produced by the actual band members playing actual musical instruments. Samples are allowed, but only as supplements to the actual playing of the music (Soul Coughing is the primary example).

    2) Someone in the band must play a guitar. Not just a bass, but an actual guitar.

    3) The lyrics must contain clever, interesting, and stimulating thoughts and ideas. Songs about going to Da Club or getting one's groove on are not allowed, except ironically.

    4) I must be able to sing the song while I'm driving in my car. Or at least, I must be able to WANT to sing the song.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

  7. #6
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Music Theory

    I have to be able to understand the words. Whether its the mumbling of Bob Dylan, the screaming of Metallica, slang drenched rap, or just the lazy diction of Springsteen, if I can't understand what's being sung, I'm not going to be interested. I know that the pronunciation is part of the feel of the song, but if I'm spending all my energy deciphering the words, I'm not thinking about the music itself or the meaning of the words being said.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

  8. #7
    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: Music Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by IslandRed View Post
    I generally agree, but there are degrees of original. Let's be honest, if you're trying to write a song about love or relationships, it's pretty much impossible not to trod on hard-packed lyrical ground.
    But, there is a difference between something like "I love that girl with all my heart" and these lyrics, from three different songs:

    • "She laughs at my dreams but I dream about her laughter."
    • "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."
    • "I took your stuff and put it in the basement, when I found out what the smile on your face meant."

    All four songs are about relationships, but the latter three find a new, creative way to say it.

    TRIVIA: What groups recorded the songs whose lyrics are referenced in the bulleted list above? (No Google searches! )

  9. #8
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Music Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by macro View Post
    But, there is a difference between something like "I love that girl with all my heart" and these lyrics, from three different songs:

    • "She laughs at my dreams but I dream about her laughter."
    • "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."
    • "I took your stuff and put it in the basement, when I found out what the smile on your face meant."

    All four songs are about relationships, but the latter three find a new, creative way to say it.

    TRIVIA: What groups recorded the songs whose lyrics are referenced in the bulleted list above? (No Google searches! )
    #2 is from Closing Time by Semisonic
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

  10. #9
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Music Theory

    If it's got a good beat and you can dance to it.

    Pay attention to the open sky

  11. #10
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Music Theory

    My Music Theory:

    Make my ears happy. Its really that simple for me.

  12. #11
    Start the Reactor! *BaseClogger*'s Avatar
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    Re: Music Theory

    Does it have guitar? Bass? Percussion? Does it sound good to me? OK, then I like it. I don't really care if I can understand the lyrics because I just listen to the music. The lyrics supplement the music IMO...
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

  13. #12
    Not Laughing
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    Re: Music Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    #2 is from Closing Time by Semisonic
    #3 is from Third Eye Blind...Losing a Whole Year
    Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.
    ~Oscar Wilde

  14. #13
    Member 919191's Avatar
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    Re: Music Theory

    Basically it has to be fun to listen to, and I prefer live recordings to studio recordings. I'm happy with just one guy/gal playing a guitar and singing, like the guy in the pic to the left.
    I've been to dinner at Jimmy Buffet's house, and I've eaten it at a homeless shelter. And there's great joy and harrowing terror to be found in both places.
    -Todd Snider

  15. #14
    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
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    Re: Music Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by macro View Post
    "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."
    I guess it goes back to what we're considering "original." That line isn't stolen from anyone else, so in that sense, it's original; the thought behind it isn't original at all, so in that sense it's on that well-trod ground I talked about. But it certainly gets my thumbs-up as a good lyric, it's nifty and it doesn't sound like it was ripped off from some other song.
    Last edited by IslandRed; 07-28-2008 at 06:38 PM. Reason: Typo
    Not all who wander are lost

  16. #15
    Member improbus's Avatar
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    Re: Music Theory

    When I say that I am interested in something original, I am referring much more to the music itself than the lyrics. Lyrics are very rarely truly original, because the themes of music are somewhat universal.
    Variatio delectat - Cicero


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