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#1
As someone who has done both, it sort of irritates me when people assume that just because they can write some poppy chord songs on guitar and sing along with them that it means they can compose as well. There is a clear distinction. Sometimes I feel like I'm only using the "sunk cost fallacy", but I imagine it would bother someone if I just assumed that since I'm funny it means that I should do stand up.

(Here are some differences)

1. Songwriters are people who write with the intention of performing themselves or having a recording, etc. Muse songs aren't made for people to play at home or for orchestras/bands to perform, regardless of the instrumentation end of things.

2. It's not something that I can cut and dry put out there, but it has to do with how you write the parts that you write. There are lots of classical music compositions involving piano. But as someone who is a classically trained pianist, I can totally tell the difference between classical accompaniment and popular accompaniment. If you are just chording and playing a bass note, you are functioning as a Guitar+Bass. That's most of the time where I'm bothered, because I look at these parts, and they aren't piano parts.

3. Utilization of orchestration and counterpoint techniques, etc. Just because I can physically play guitar doesn't mean I'm a guitar player, so why does the ability to write down notes so often make someone think they are a composer?
#3
Not being an elitist, just picky I think.
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#4
I always make a distinction in what I'm preparing at the time. I mean you write songs and things but you really have to compose anything truly complex and "classical." I mean I composed pieces for theory class but in my band I' writing songs. Although I write with the same style, not choice and overall tonal implications, they are not both the same thing. Songs for a band is still a composition but once you compose for something else, multiple instruments with transposition and such, it feels like they are different.

TBH it is a little elitist and most people simply don't care. It is the same kind of elitism that my professors had when they looked down on my "loud, noisy, metal band." "Just I IV V, that's all that crap is," until I showed them some progressions and rhythms and got a little more respect.
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Last edited by FFFDFEFRFKFFF at Dec 21, 2009,
#5
Quote by GuitarMunky
Yes you are, a song is a composition.


This

While songwriting is composing, there is a big difference between being a "songwriter" and a "composer".
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i just wanted her poon and she wanted me to have her poon.

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#6
there are simple compositions and complex compositions


i think ur just upset about the level of mediocrity in music these days and the level of praise being given to the mediocre


so a bit of an elitist, yea, but nothing to be ashamed of lol


even shitty music is music to somebody

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#7
Because I write songs, I can be a "songwriter", no? That doesn't mean I write them with the intention of performing them

I can compose a song without using rules from counterpoint or without the intention of it being played by an orchestra.

Why does it matter so much? I think that's the big question.

Quote by GuitarMunky
Yes you are, a song is a composition.
+1

As always.
Last edited by metal4all at Dec 21, 2009,
#9
I agree with TS.

In any music program at any college you can often major in songwriting, and you can also major in composition.

That means they are not the same.
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#10
Quote by metal4all


Why does it matter so much? I think that's the big question.

+1

and the only answer I can think of is......"cause I'm an elitist". I mean what other purpose can that point of view serve?

Quote by Doodleface
I agree with TS.

In any music program at any college you can often major in songwriting, and you can also major in composition.

That means they are not the same.


It does NOT mean that. A song is a composed piece of music...a ..........composition.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Dec 21, 2009,
#11
Quote by metal4all
Because I write songs, I can be a "songwriter", no? That doesn't mean I write them with the intention of performing them

I can compose a song without using rules from counterpoint or without the intention of it being played by an orchestra.

Why does it matter so much? I think that's the big question.

+1

As always.


So tell me, when you write songs, what do you do with them?

And I never said things had to be scored for Orchestra.
#12
Quote by Anteaterking
Except there is a clear distinction between art songs, ala Schumann, and popular songs. One is song as in "metrical composition intended for singing" and the other is "music I heard on the radio".
A song is a song and songs are composed.

You're trying to say that one is better than the other. Would that not point out the elitism you're asking about?

Quote by Anteaterking
So tell me, when you write songs, what do you do with them?

And I never said things had to be scored for Orchestra.
I write songs for the purpose of expressing myself and listening to. I don't write them to perform them.

Is orchestration not writing something for an orchestra?
Last edited by metal4all at Dec 21, 2009,
#13
youre especially elitist when you use concepts you dont understand like the "sunk cost fallacy".

and yes, when someone plays guitar,
it makes them a guitar player,
whether that distinction is good or bad is not implied in the label "guitar player".


youre obviously more worried about the distinction of being considered good or not, so i'd conclude you are elitist.
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#14
It depends on the material I believe.
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#15
Quote by Anteaterking
Just because I can physically play guitar doesn't mean I'm a guitar player, so why does the ability to write down notes so often make someone think they are a composer?

What? Of course being able to play the guitar makes you a guitar player. You might not be that role in a band, but you're a guitarist, among whatever else you are.

I agree that there's a difference between composers and songwriters, but I don't agree with how you differentiate between the two. To me, a composer is someone who writes music, whether it's for himself or others. A lyricist (third term) is someone who writes lyrics for music. A songwriter does both.

Also, what you think has no bearing on whether or not you're elitist; it's all about how you act. If you're the greatest musician in the world and you know it, you're not necessarily an elitist. If you're the greatest musician in the world and consider yourself better than other people because of that (regardless of whether or not you actually are), then you're an elitist.
Last edited by iforgot120 at Dec 21, 2009,
#16
To me the definition is purely semantic. I wouldn't call a Beethoven symphony a song so i consider him a composer not a songwriter. I wouldn't call a Green Day song a composition, so i don't class them as composers. I don't necessarily imply with that that one is better than another, they just enter different spheres of my brain.

Distinctions are as important as you personally make them. For some people, painting and music are all "art" for me, they are different things and i class them differently. For me physics, chemistry, biology are all "science" for some people they're distinct and separable fields. How you class things in your mind defines how you view the world.

If other people call you elitist then they are classifying you in the same way as you are classifying composers and songwriters, so are in no position to make any comments/judgements. If you think you are an elitist then to yourself you are. It is just as arbitrary a definition as anything else.
#17
I think it has to do with intent ... but not the kind of which you speak. Songwriters want to make a good tune, maybe something catchy, maybe something to provoke emotion. The quality of the song is determined by how well it sticks in your head, tells a story, creates emotion, whatever. These people would also be called moviemakers.

Music composition is done by the same people that makes films. They seek to make something that is good in and of itself. Whether it actually tells a story or evokes something is secondary to the quality of the finished piece. The intent is basically to be artsy-fartsy. They call it 'exploring the medium.'

CSNY, Lou Reed, Tom Waits, Black Sabbath, and most every other band you know are songwriters. Mel Gibson and Ron Howard are moviemakers.

Genesis, Dream Theatre, Tchikofvsy (I know I misspelled that), Brian Eno, and Charles Mingus are composers. Fritz Lang and Kubrick are filmmakers.

Led Zeppelin (depending on the era), Wagner, Muse, Talking Heads, Alfred Hitchcock, and Sergio Leone are a bit of both.

They are both good. One is not better than the other. Really, being somewhere in between is best.

Not to put too fine of a point on it or anything.
#18
Quote by metal4all
A song is a song and songs are composed.

You're trying to say that one is better than the other. Would that not point out the elitism you're asking about?

I write songs for the purpose of expressing myself and listening to. I don't write them to perform them.

Is orchestration not writing something for an orchestra?


Not that one is better than the other, but that their purposes are different. Just like how their is a difference between writing poetry, writing a novel, and writing a textbook.

Orchestration is a general term for how to do things like taking a condensed piano score and putting it in various instruments, etc. Usually for orchestra, but not necessarily. You can "orchestrate" for a sax quartet too, for example.

Quote by krisvsworld
youre especially elitist when you use concepts you dont understand like the "sunk cost fallacy".

and yes, when someone plays guitar,
it makes them a guitar player,
whether that distinction is good or bad is not implied in the label "guitar player".


youre obviously more worried about the distinction of being considered good or not, so i'd conclude you are elitist.


I'm using the sunk cost fallacy correctly. If I was only distinguishing the two because I put a lot of time into learning theory, orchestration, etc. and didn't want to feel like someone who put in less time was on an equally valid playing field, how is that not the SC fallacy?

And you're bringing up the intrinsic difference between dictionary definitions of words and what they truly mean. I don't not consider myself a guitar player because of some negative stigma, but because I play it for fun in privacy, lacking most of the technical abilities, and mostly because no matter how good I am at it, I'm just playing the guitar as a combination of how I play violin and piano.
#19
Quote by doive
To me the definition is purely semantic. I wouldn't call a Beethoven symphony a song so i consider him a composer not a songwriter. I wouldn't call a Green Day song a composition, so i don't class them as composers. I don't necessarily imply with that that one is better than another, they just enter different spheres of my brain.


Well, a Beethoven symphony is not a song, because it isn't written for voice, but I know what you mean .
#20
Quote by Anteaterking
Not that one is better than the other, but that their purposes are different. Just like how their is a difference between writing poetry, writing a novel, and writing a textbook.

Orchestration is a general term for how to do things like taking a condensed piano score and putting it in various instruments, etc. Usually for orchestra, but not necessarily. You can "orchestrate" for a sax quartet too, for example.
In the end, I think they're meant to be listened to and appreciated.

Since you know your terms so well, I'll just assume that you're right about composing and songwriting. Hopefully that makes you feel better.
#21
Quote by jean_genie
I think it has to do with intent ... but not the kind of which you speak. Songwriters want to make a good tune, maybe something catchy, maybe something to provoke emotion. The quality of the song is determined by how well it sticks in your head, tells a story, creates emotion, whatever. These people would also be called moviemakers.

Music composition is done by the same people that makes films. They seek to make something that is good in and of itself. Whether it actually tells a story or evokes something is secondary to the quality of the finished piece. The intent is basically to be artsy-fartsy. They call it 'exploring the medium.'

CSNY, Lou Reed, Tom Waits, Black Sabbath, and most every other band you know are songwriters. Mel Gibson and Ron Howard are moviemakers.

Genesis, Dream Theatre, Tchikofvsy (I know I misspelled that), Brian Eno, and Charles Mingus are composers. Fritz Lang and Kubrick are filmmakers.

Led Zeppelin (depending on the era), Wagner, Muse, Talking Heads, Alfred Hitchcock, and Sergio Leone are a bit of both.

They are both good. One is not better than the other. Really, being somewhere in between is best.

Not to put too fine of a point on it or anything.


See, I would say depending on the tone, that this is more "elitist" than what I said.
#22
Quote by Anteaterking
See, I would say depending on the tone, that this is more "elitist" than what I said.


does that make your point of view less "elitist"?
shred is gaudy music
#23
Quote by Anteaterking
See, I would say depending on the tone, that this is more "elitist" than what I said.

Not at all. I think as a rule, 'composers' tend to be much more dry and boring to listen to than songwriters. As impressive as Yngwie Malmsteen's chops are, he bores me. I think it's safe to say that, if you chose use my definition, he's definitely a composer.

I also made it very clear that the best thing is to be a bit of both.

That's like calling me a Socialist after I suggest that we listen to both sides and take a little from both ideas. You don't watch a lot of Bill O'Reilly, do you?
#24
EDIT: This was directed at Guitarmunkey's post before I read jean's second

Perhaps. Did any of my reasons state anything to do with "widestream appeal" in mine? It seems like it's trying to say that in his distinction, songwriters are sellouts and composers are too wrapped up in their own music to care how it sounds. Kind of. I'm exaggerating how he said it.
#25
Quote by Anteaterking
EDIT: This was directed at Guitarmunkey's post before I read jean's second

Perhaps. Did any of my reasons state anything to do with "widestream appeal" in mine? It seems like it's trying to say that in his distinction, songwriters are sellouts and composers are too wrapped up in their own music to care how it sounds. Kind of. I'm exaggerating how he said it.


I would say that no, it doesn't at all change the status of your point of view at all.


To go back to your original post..

Quote by Anteaterking

As someone who has done both, it sort of irritates me when people assume that just because they can write some poppy chord songs on guitar and sing along with them that it means they can compose as well


why be irritated at that? I mean if you wrote a good pop song, don't you think that the ability/skill used for that could also be applied towards composing a different style of music?
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Dec 21, 2009,
#26
Hmm..
I think this is songwriting:
You make a song with Parts A,B,A,C,B
A=Verse
B=Chorus
C=Guitar solo
Verse= Cm, Dm, Cm, Dm [repeating] and same vocal melody with diffrent lyrics
Chorus=F#m, Gm, Am [repeating and lyrics]
Guitar solo is non overdubbed or harmonized. It's 100% improvised.

I think composing is making riffs, many parts into song, awesome solos, well thinked bass and drum lines, also thinked vocals.
#27
to my its composing if u sit down with just a piece of paper to write without anything to actually play it on
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#28
^ you guys should type in "composition" in google or something.
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#29
While the two terms may have particular definitions I think one must realize that they have (to most people) become one and the same and even interchangeable in meaning. To most people song is now just a general term for piece of music so regardless of the textbook definition this topic does indeed seem elitist.

You can compose a song.
Songwriters write songs.
Songwriters compose songs
Composers compose songs.
Songwriters write compositions.
Composers compose compositions.
and so on and so forth

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#30
Quote by GuitarMunky
I would say that no, it doesn't at all change the status of your point of view at all.


To go back to your original post..


why be irritated at that? I mean if you wrote a good pop song, don't you think that the ability/skill used for that could also be applied towards composing a different style of music?


Would you be irritated if someone who played French Horn thought that they could just switch over to your instrument easily with the same relative success? It sort of trivializing something you put lots of work into.
#31
Quote by Anteaterking
EDIT: This was directed at Guitarmunkey's post before I read jean's second

Perhaps. Did any of my reasons state anything to do with "widestream appeal" in mine? It seems like it's trying to say that in his distinction, songwriters are sellouts and composers are too wrapped up in their own music to care how it sounds. Kind of. I'm exaggerating how he said it.

You're using the reductio ad absurdum form of argument. For a guy that seems to know his argument styles, you should know that his one makes you look like a complete twonk.

Unless I'm totally wrong. Really, I know very little about logic, arguments, and discourse. I was too busy looking up funny insults in the Urban Dictionary to put together a valid argument, so you're probably right.

But I will give you a ten dollars* if you can point out where I called people sellouts. I used artists in all examples that are generally considered to be good. Actually, I like almost everybody I named. Sabbath, Lou Reed, and Tom Waits are about as far from being sellouts as you could be. Mel Gibson is the antithesis of being a sellout ... I actually wish he would sell out, so he'd start trying to make people happy and stop being such a douche about his opinions. I really want to like the guy again.

It sounds like you're putting your words into my mouth. Just because I'm the first person to partially agree with you doesn't mean you can start assuming things about my opinions. This is why you are being a twonk. And why you worked your way back to having no supporters.

(* Ten dollars only valid if I feel like going to the post office at the time.)
#32
This is a common problem in musical definitions. It comes down to what the words mean to everyday people and musicians, and what they should mean. I don't mean should mean in that I think they should mean this based on what I think of the world, I say should mean so that each world has a concreat definition and doesn't confusingly overlap with other worlds.

Ex. Lots of people assume that Major means happy, where really major should mean the the specific scale named so because the interval between the root and third is a "major" (bigger) interval when compared with the minor scale.

It's not something you can fix, so don't try. You can be clear what you mean when you speak with other musicians so they know exactly what your talking about when you say composer or songwriter.
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#33
Quote by jean_genie
You're using the reductio ad absurdum form of argument. For a guy that seems to know his argument styles, you should know that his one makes you look like a complete twonk.

Unless I'm totally wrong. Really, I know very little about logic, arguments, and discourse. I was too busy looking up funny insults in the Urban Dictionary to put together a valid argument, so you're probably right.

But I will give you a ten dollars* if you can point out where I called people sellouts. I used artists in all examples that are generally considered to be good. Actually, I like almost everybody I named. Sabbath, Lou Reed, and Tom Waits are about as far from being sellouts as you could be. Mel Gibson is the antithesis of being a sellout ... I actually wish he would sell out, so he'd start trying to make people happy and stop being such a douche about his opinions. I really want to like the guy again.

It sounds like you're putting your words into my mouth. Just because I'm the first person to partially agree with you doesn't mean you can start assuming things about my opinions. This is why you are being a twonk. And why you worked your way back to having no supporters.

(* Ten dollars only valid if I feel like going to the post office at the time.)


You said that songwriters cared about being catchy and that their success depends on how remember able the song is. (You also talked about emotions and telling stories, but those aren't related to the sell out thing) Typically, trying to be catchy is something that is viewed as selling out, since you are only focusing on the audience and what will stick with them.

But I mean, that's a whole separate argument about what constitutes selling out and stuff. I'm just going off the general thoughts on the issue.
#34
Quote by Anteaterking
Would you be irritated if someone who played French Horn thought that they could just switch over to your instrument easily with the same relative success? It sort of trivializing something you put lots of work into.


No, it would not. What they think is their own business.... and often their own problem.
The thing is, some of those people could switch instruments relatively easily.

btw, I don't see that as "trivializing my work". If they can do it..... I'm happy for them.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Dec 21, 2009,
#35
the sunk cost fallacy isnt a distinction between how much time you put into something, its the fallacy one makes when making an investment into something of little value to them, a hopeless investment with the mentality, "i might as well now..."

a better example of the sunk cost fallacy would be someone buys a guitar, and because of that they decide to compose or song write or continue to write because otherwise its a wasted INVESTMENT. its a fairly economical term.

i understand your concerns about the classification of songwriters and composers. i'm just saying your argument is weak.


and to be honest, it doesnt matter why youre a guitar player to me, youre just a guitar player.

and what exactly is the intrinsic difference between dictionary definitions of words and what they truly mean?


i have a sneaking suspicion you write to make yourself sound smarter than you are...
thin lizzy
#36
Quote by Anteaterking
You said that songwriters cared about being catchy and that their success depends on how remember able the song is. (You also talked about emotions and telling stories, but those aren't related to the sell out thing) Typically, trying to be catchy is something that is viewed as selling out, since you are only focusing on the audience and what will stick with them.

But I mean, that's a whole separate argument about what constitutes selling out and stuff. I'm just going off the general thoughts on the issue.

Please refute my entire argument or none at all, thanks. Don't just argue the parts you like and call it done. I think they call that a straw man argument, but I really don't remember. I might just be thinking of a Brer Rabbit story that my uneducated inbred parents told me before I went to sleep on the dirt floor of our tar paper shack.
#37
IMO a composer is someone who writes in styles like baroque/classical etc. Also people who write for Film, or Tv.

A songwriter is someone who does that - writes songs.

You don't compose American idiot by greenday, but you do compose something like a piano concerto or the score for Star Wars.

Quote by GuitarMunky



It does mean that. A song is a written piece of music...a ..........song.


Fixed.
Last edited by griffRG7321 at Dec 21, 2009,
#38
Quote by Anteaterking
Would you be irritated if someone who played French Horn thought that they could just switch over to your instrument easily with the same relative success? It sort of trivializing something you put lots of work into.

I'm dropping the moron act now. I put a lot of work into trying to become a good painter. I suck. Largely because I'm partially colourblind. I teach kids that are, very often, better than me, with MUCH less practice. You know what they call that? Jealousy.

Sound familiar?

But do I use insist on calling them 'students' instead of 'artists'? Do I tell my students "Nice snapshot" when they take a photograph that I wish I had taken?

No. Because I'm not a twonk about it. Instead, I focus on the abilities I do have. And when somebody draws better in charcoal than I do (my best of any artistic medium), I lock myself in my apartment and draw like crazy until I feel good about myself again.

I suggest you do the same. It's really the only option you have that doesn't make you look like an elitist prick.

Quote by krisvsworld
i have a sneaking suspicion you write to make yourself sound smarter than you are...

Methinks you may be right.
#39
Quote by jean_genie
Please refute my entire argument or none at all, thanks. Don't just argue the parts you like and call it done. I think they call that a straw man argument, but I really don't remember. I might just be thinking of a Brer Rabbit story that my uneducated inbred parents told me before I went to sleep on the dirt floor of our tar paper shack.


No, that's the only part relevant to the elitist sellout part of the story. If you want me to refute the fact that there are plenty of compositions where the story and emotions are more important than the "overall piece", I can go ahead and give that to you. But it has nothing to do with me thinking you were implying they were sellouts. It's not a strawman in this case. I wasn't saying that I was refuting all of what you said. I was refuting one aspect of it.

And krisvsworld, that's how someone explained the fallacy to me once, so I was just using that argument.

I'm talking about the difference between the definition of writer and what being a writer means. A writer is "one who writes". If I described you as a writer to someone, they would assume you did more than list groceries once a month.

And I'm not trying to come off as smart. Other people just seem to be running with that idea.
#40
Quote by Anteaterking
Well, a Beethoven symphony is not a song, because it isn't written for voice, but I know what you mean .


Ok, perhaps bad example, i still wouldn't call Faure's requiem a song. That is written for voice.

I suppose my definition of a song comes close to whether i think i oculd sing it acceptably or not, something like "O little town of bethlehem" is to me a song not a composition, despite the fact it's not exactly "popular music"
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