Hey guys and girls (or old guys pretending to be) :P this is an opinion thread. First of all i wasn't exactly sure where to put this so if i got the wrong forum please redirect me and i will happily move it . On topic...

My question to you is on songwriting: when one writes a riff it can range anywhere from being something simplistic like lets say (for the sake of this arguement but not limited to these examples) Day Tripper by the Beatles to The Dark Eternal Night by Dream Theater...from simple basic chords (Ala Acca Dacca-AC/DC) to using a bunch of crazy less common chords (Rush?)....or you get what i mean anyway. So my question is this...Is there anything wrong with writing more simplistic riffs? I'm not saying that crazy technical ones aren't awesome but it has been my experience working with musicians that we are all out there looking to push the envelope in our writing--or you have the other side of the fence, who are in it just to make money and write simpler stuff that will sell (you know who you are). I know alot of this is down to personal preference-however i ask you to keep an open mind and discuss which you prefer and why...Also if you have experience with both styles and the overall reception of your pieces please share that too....Remember Kiddies play nice
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Last edited by The_Mariner at Jul 23, 2010,
it's whatever you like in your very own song. there's no "better" when it comes to songwriting, in my opinion. sometimes, a simplistic riff might be the best fit whereas on other occasions, a very technical one might be the better choice.

it really comes down to the songwriter.
i tend to prefer more technical stuff (rx bandits) although not necessarry technical in terms of music theory (the mars volta), but i like simpler stuff too (ryan adams? beatles? well they can get complex too but they're my best examples right now). it just has to make me think, i love to think and its all i do, so if it makes me think about how complex the instrumentation is, thats good, but also sometimes ill like to think about how creative simple songs can be. they always have to be creative, they always have to be composed like art, not just music, it has to be like a painting, something where u can tell by listening to it that the artist isnt just a sell-out, and something that isnt silly (i find all rap and a lot of heavy metal and pretty much all scene music to be just a joke), thats what it takes for me to like music.
Simple riffs suck, everything has to be at least 16th notes in a crazy time signature to be deemed worthy by the music gods.

In all seriousness, it doesn't matter if your riff is simple or not.

Who's more popular? the Beatles or Dream Theater? simple riffs are easier to listen to for the average music listener. That doesn't make one better than the other though.
the music i write is typically simple; however, i like more complex harmonies. in my opinion, the changes in old tin pan alley/early jazz standards are the essence of pop music. something can be incredibly catchy without having to be I-IV-V.

however, lately i've been experimenting with odd time signatures. i really got inspired by rob crow (of pinback)'s first group, heavy vegetable, and his ability to write rhythmically-complex music without sacrificing catchy pop sensibilities.

Good music is good music, whether incredibly simplistic or insanely technically complex.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
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I don't really prefer either. If the riff works, it works, regardless of the technical demands of playing it.
I'm with most of the other replies. It depends on context and subjectiveness. I do find that a lot of people associate a technical complex piece of music with being better than a simplistic piece; because if it's simple it has to be boring...right?

I try my hardest to write for the song. I hope I can make the right decisions and be simple or technical (within my ability) when the songs calls for it.
The simpler the better, at least for me.
you dont need more technical parts to make it sound better.

but the thing to rember is if

If it sound good its good
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Is there anything wrong with writing more simplistic riffs?


Quote by The_Mariner
or you have the other side of the fence, who are in it just to make money and write simpler stuff that will sell

Writing simpler stuff and writing music that will sell are two completely different things. You give off the aura that simple makes money and complex makes guitarists wet themselves, which is just not the case.

Simple can be extremely powerful, and complex can be boring, or vice versa. You don't choose how to write a song/section based on how much money you want to make, you write it based on what you think sounds good.
Songwriting is difficult thing. If you are knowing music than you can easily writing good song. Some song are writing with basic chords. For ex. AC/SC. Yes, Day Tripper by the Beatles to The Dark Eternal Night by Dream Theater...from simple basic chords. It is depend on songwriter they want to write song with simple chord or hard chord. He is using a bunch of crazy less common chords. If you want to learn more for song writing you can search for it on Internet in search engine.
Agreed with most the above.
For me it boils down to this: it's harder for me to create something simple and catchy.

You hear lots of people saying "oh a pop song? Anyone can write that crap". Well, not really. Try to sit down and write one. it's hard as hell. But for me to sit down and write out a blues / jazz / contemporary tune full of sweet chords and tons of embellishments is easy.

I guess it comes down to who are you writing for? Are you writing to get radioplay / average listeners to be intrigued. Or do you want to write something badass and crazy? I have yet to find a band that has accomplished both repeatedly.
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