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#1
Well, I am new here, and I started by posting straight into "the pit" and the responses I got made me feel like an idiot.

Basically my thread was about my thinking that coldplay songs are too easy. People responded by telling me that good music doesn't mean complex chords. They also said that less is more.

As an intermediate that want to improve my knowledge and improve my technique ... I am very confused at this.

Isn't it a good thing to learn complex structures ?
If less is truly more, then why does music school typically start with classical masterpieces ?

I always thought that improving myself as a musician meant, learning to play things more complex, once I have mastered a certain level of playing.

But in my last thread I had a barrage of people telling me that a beautiful guitar solo does not necessarily have to be complex.

I am confused
Perhaps I am approaching music the wrong way.
#2
Complexity is a pretty useless way to evaluate music. What does it even mean? What makes music simple or complex? It really comes down to how you write and play the music.

The issue whether something sounds complex. A better term to use would be elegance. Often, when something sounds complex, it's because the musical idea is not being articulated clearly; it's inelegant. It's like how a good speaker can explain complex ideas elegantly so they sound simple, but a poor speaker can make preparing toast sound like rocket science.

You learn how to deal with complex music so you can get better at making it sound elegant. Anything can sound "complex" if you don't know how to deal with the nuance.

And believe it or not, the classical masterpieces are often far more complex than they sound. When you look at the scores, they're using very dense harmonies, very long phrases, and moving between very disparate key areas. But when you listen, it all moves together so seamlessly that you can hum the lines by the end of the first listen.
#3
Quote by vincymon
Well, I am new here, and I started by posting straight into "the pit" and the responses I got made me feel like an idiot.

Basically my thread was about my thinking that coldplay songs are too easy. People responded by telling me that good music doesn't mean complex chords. They also said that less is more.


Your thread was filled with butthurt Coldplay fanboys. I guarantee you that if you used the "less is more" argument with any pop album, they would retaliate.

Is Dylan's musically complex, or musically connective? And which is more important?

Yeah, I get it, lyrically complex etc. But you get my point.

Coldplay, to your credit, is neither.
#4
Different things appeal to different people. I agree to a large degree with cdgraves that having a strong command over more complicated tunes will help you express complicated ideas more concisely. IMO, music is at its best striking a balance between musical and lyrical complexity. Metal and Jazz often display (not always) somewhat simple lyrical subject matter with dazzling musical technical displays whereas some of your singer/songwriter types like a Bob Dylan or Warren Zevon will have dense lyrical content coupled with relatively simple music. For my money, I like a balance between the two but from a creative perspective it really depends on what you're trying to communicate.
#5
Quote by stuntman chris
Different things appeal to different people. I agree to a large degree with cdgraves that having a strong command over more complicated tunes will help you express complicated ideas more concisely. IMO, music is at its best striking a balance between musical and lyrical complexity. Metal and Jazz often display (not always) somewhat simple lyrical subject matter with dazzling musical technical displays whereas some of your singer/songwriter types like a Bob Dylan or Warren Zevon will have dense lyrical content coupled with relatively simple music. For my money, I like a balance between the two but from a creative perspective it really depends on what you're trying to communicate.


Hm....like a Bob Marley Classic. Waiting in vein. I love that song. Simple enough chords, a well placed solo and some haunting lyrics.

I think I want to do some Eric Clapton next though. I cannot do all the guitar solos yet. I want to listen to it, for the blues chords arrangements, and probably some of the simpler guitar solos.
#6
Quote by vincymon
Well, I am new here


Join in 2008

Quote by vincymon

I started by posting straight into "the pit"


Pit is full of a lot of idiots. Not saying they all are, but a lot.
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#7
Quote by vincymon
Well, I am new here, and I started by posting straight into "the pit" and the responses I got made me feel like an idiot.

Basically my thread was about my thinking that coldplay songs are too easy. People responded by telling me that good music doesn't mean complex chords. They also said that less is more.

As an intermediate that want to improve my knowledge and improve my technique ... I am very confused at this.

Isn't it a good thing to learn complex structures ?
If less is truly more, then why does music school typically start with classical masterpieces ?

I always thought that improving myself as a musician meant, learning to play things more complex, once I have mastered a certain level of playing.

But in my last thread I had a barrage of people telling me that a beautiful guitar solo does not necessarily have to be complex.

I am confused
Perhaps I am approaching music the wrong way.

It's about having the tools to do something. Learning more complex songs will help your technique. Better accuracy and higher speed means you can play something that's faster and more difficult.

A beautiful guitar solo does not have to be complex. A complex guitar solo does not have to be bad.

If you can play a complex guitar solo that is also beautiful, I'd say your constant progression has paid off.
#8
if you dislike coldplay, it shouldn't be because their songs are "too easy." if anything, it should be that they are bland.

songs can be musically sparse, but still interesting at the same time. i try to imagine there's a spectrum - one end is where you find the simple/boring/inoffensive, and the other end is where you find the complex/adventurous/possibly crappy sounding. there's a lot of territory in between.
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#10
Coldplay are one of the biggest bands in the world. Can you think of why that may be TS?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#11
Simplicity aint bad, neither is complex stuff.

Of course you should aim at practicing your technique, theoretical knowledge etc to be as good as you possibly can be. "Less is more" is just a reminder that once you are working on advanced things, not everything you play has to be advanced (In my opinion).

For example, nowdays i am mostly working on jazz tunes, fusion tunes and progressive rock and metal stuff. That's not very simplistic stuff. But i am also playing in local musicals that are being set up in my town, and i am not going to add a lick based on those influences when i am playing "Everythings Alright" from Jesus Christ Superstar. Then i might just outline the chords to get a fuller sound. Get it?

Just because you can play more advanced stuff or want to play more advanced stuff doesn't mean you should neglect stuff that's simpler. Advanced music =/= Better music, and neither is simple music = good music.

I think it has much to do with this. Practice to be as good as you can be, but whenever you are playing a song (be it pop, rock, metal, classical, whatever) try to add stuff that fits. You might be able to fit a long advanced run into a pop song, but playing just 3 notes can be just as good (if not better) for the song.

Cheers
Sickz
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

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Last edited by Sickz at Jul 26, 2013,
#12
Rock is simple, classical is complex. That's pretty much how it is. But neither of the genres are better. Some time ago I thought Dream Theater was the best band on earth. But now I have started appreciating more simple music. Actually some DT songs just sound too "forced". Too many signature changes, too many parts. I don't really enjoy it. They have some great songs but some of the songs are just too complex. If you can make simple work, it sounds good. It takes skill to make simple music interesting. Though same applies to complex music. Sometimes too complex music doesn't have any hooks. It's just riff after riff, melody after melody. Music needs something to get the grip of. I mean, classical is complex but many classical songs have those "hooks". Melodies that stand out and start ringing in your head.

Music taste is all about opinions but IMO people should appreciate all music. Not like all music but appreciate it.

What kind of music do you listen to, TS?

Oh, and about guitar solos. Think a guitar solo as a melody. You want it to be catchy so that people remember it. It shouldn't be pointless technical wanking, it should be about pleasing your ears. And many times shredding at 300 bpm doesn't really sound that pleasing to your ears, does it? Making a guitar solo sound good is more about good phrasing.
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#13
1. Coldplay are awful.
2. Complexity =/= good musicality. If you want evidence of this listen to shitty artists like Brain Drill. Intricate music need to be technical: for example, La Monte Young. Musical technique allows many different pathways of creativity but if you restrict yourself to a single concept or style you restrict your creativity, and thus, bands like that reduce themselves to a homogenuous mess of self indulgence.
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#16
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
Less is more is what pretentious people that like simple music say to pretentious people that like complex music.



its was the best of be or not to be with wisedome
#17
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
Less is more is what pretentious people that like simple music say to pretentious people that like complex music.


I think I'm going to sig this
#18
I disagree that classic music is necessarily terribly complex. It seems more complex to our ears because we're no longer conversant in its structures and forms - but that's not really the important discussion here. "Music school" only starts with classical masterpieces if you're studying classical music.

The thing about rock and pop music, however, is that it's about creating an emotional experience. What the audience cares about is that emotional experience, NOT the underlying structures of the music.

The underlying structures of the music should support that emotional experience. If the emotional experience is as simple as Coldplay's "Home" you would be undercutting it with a complex harmonic structure. Whereas a song like the Beatles' "Long and Winding Road" gets a lot of it's emotional force from the complexity of the harmony and it's strange relationship to the melody.

As far as guitar solos, there's a fairly typical stage of development that a lot of guitarists reach, and a sizable chunk never get out of, where they think that if something is difficult or fun to play, that it must be interesting to listen to. But the truth is that the audience doesn't care, for the most part, how hard something is to play. (They're often, in fact, wrong about what's difficult to play!).

The audience cares about the emotional experience.

Your improvement as a guitarist will correspond to your ability to communicate a wider range of emotional experiences. Some of those will require more skill, some less - but the skill is not the point. The emotional experience of the audience is the point!
#19
Being a good player, a good musician and a good song writer are all separate things. Arguably a great musician should be all... If you find a song is boring to play because it's too easy, learn something else.

Although, being able to play those songs might get you a gig- it really depends what your aims are.
#20
Quote by vincymon
Well, I am new here, and I started by posting straight into "the pit" and the responses I got made me feel like an idiot.

The Pit is a cesspool of trolls. It's fun sometimes, but it's not called "The Pit" for no reason.

Isn't it a good thing to learn complex structures ?

Yes, provided you have the skill, technique, & prior knowledge to properly master them.

If less is truly more, then why does music school typically start with classical masterpieces ?

Iirc, musical lessons/schooling typically starts off less complex and gets more complex. That said, some of the more well known classical songs aren't terribly complex. Look at pieces like the "Bridal Chorus" by Wagner (usually that's the theme song they tend to play on TV/Movie weddings and gets called "Here Comes the Bride" or "Wedding March" by some).

I always thought that improving myself as a musician meant, learning to play things more complex, once I have mastered a certain level of playing.

To a certain extent. But that's not everything there is to music.

But in my last thread I had a barrage of people telling me that a beautiful guitar solo does not necessarily have to be complex.

I am confused
Perhaps I am approaching music the wrong way.

There is no wrong way to approach music. If you find more fulfillment in complexity, then it's right for you. If other find more fulfillment in "less is more", it's right for them.


I personally don't like or agree with the "less is more" philosophy. I feel like a lot of people use it as an excuse to write music that isn't very emotional or compelling. That said, if someone writes simplistic music that is emotional and compelling, then I can't fault that person.

Quote by jazz_rock_feel
Less is more is what pretentious people that like simple music say to pretentious people that like complex music.

Heh, that's a good way to put it.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Jul 26, 2013,
#22
Quote by vincymon
Well, I am new here, and I started by posting straight into "the pit" and the responses I got made me feel like an idiot.


First mistake =\

Basically my thread was about my thinking that coldplay songs are too easy. People responded by telling me that good music doesn't mean complex chords. They also said that less is more.


Coldplay songs are easy to play on guitar. You are thinking like a guitarist. The responses mean those people are thinking like a listener.

They're right, good music doesn't mean it's complex and good music doesn't mean it's simple either. Simple music is easier to listen to, complex music takes training to listen to.

As an intermediate that want to improve my knowledge and improve my technique ... I am very confused at this.


Why are you confused? As a guitar player you should be striving to master your instrument. When making music you don't need the complexity, it's a tool.

Isn't it a good thing to learn complex structures ?
If less is truly more, then why does music school typically start with classical masterpieces ?


Yes, it is a good thing to learn complex structures, absolutely. It is another tool in your tool belt.
They don't, they start with simpler classical masterpieces and then work their way up to the extremely intricate and complex pieces.

I always thought that improving myself as a musician meant, learning to play things more complex, once I have mastered a certain level of playing.


That's correct but you are thinking like a guitar player. When I think like a listener I don't care if a song is complex or if it's simple. I care about whether I like listening to the song.

But in my last thread I had a barrage of people telling me that a beautiful guitar solo does not necessarily have to be complex.


It does not, a guitar solo could only be 5 notes long and be considered absolutely stunning, and beautiful. A guitar solo could be 28 measures long and also be considered absolutely stunning, and beautiful.

I am confused
Perhaps I am approaching music the wrong way.


Hopefully this clears it up for you.
Perhaps you are. If you think that music has to be complex to be beautiful then yes. It's perspective though, and what you got was a listeners perspective. Listeners who like easy to listen to music.
#23
Quote by Hudson12
First mistake =\


Coldplay songs are easy to play on guitar. You are thinking like a guitarist. The responses mean those people are thinking like a listener.

They're right, good music doesn't mean it's complex and good music doesn't mean it's simple either. Simple music is easier to listen to, complex music takes training to listen to.


Why are you confused? As a guitar player you should be striving to master your instrument. When making music you don't need the complexity, it's a tool.


Yes, it is a good thing to learn complex structures, absolutely. It is another tool in your tool belt.
They don't, they start with simpler classical masterpieces and then work their way up to the extremely intricate and complex pieces.


That's correct but you are thinking like a guitar player. When I think like a listener I don't care if a song is complex or if it's simple. I care about whether I like listening to the song.


It does not, a guitar solo could only be 5 notes long and be considered absolutely stunning, and beautiful. A guitar solo could be 28 measures long and also be considered absolutely stunning, and beautiful.


Hopefully this clears it up for you.
Perhaps you are. If you think that music has to be complex to be beautiful then yes. It's perspective though, and what you got was a listeners perspective. Listeners who like easy to listen to music.


I do like Coldplay actually.
But as I have moved from beginner to be more intermediate, the coldplay songs are posing less of a challenge to me and for this reason I am finding them simple. I do like listening to their songs, I just no longer enjoy playing them because it feels like a very monotonous exercise.

Thanks for the responses people.
#24
Quote by vincymon
I do like Coldplay actually.
But as I have moved from beginner to be more intermediate, the coldplay songs are posing less of a challenge to me and for this reason I am finding them simple. I do like listening to their songs, I just no longer enjoy playing them because it feels like a very monotonous exercise.

Thanks for the responses people.



You're welcome.

Start learning more complex songs then, as a guitarist that's what you have to do.
#25
Quote by vincymon
I do like Coldplay actually.
But as I have moved from beginner to be more intermediate, the coldplay songs are posing less of a challenge to me and for this reason I am finding them simple. I do like listening to their songs, I just no longer enjoy playing them because it feels like a very monotonous exercise.

Thanks for the responses people.

Yeah, then don't play them - at least in your bedroom. It's a different thing to play simple songs with your band and playing them in your bedroom. In your bedroom you of course want to play songs that are fun to play. But with your band you want to play songs that sound good and you enjoy. With a band any song that works is fun to play. But yeah, if you only play in your bedroom, I agree with you. Simple songs are boring to play alone and there's no point playing stuff that you can play 100% accurately and don't even enjoy playing it. So yeah, start playing other songs.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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#26
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Yeah, then don't play them - at least in your bedroom. It's a different thing to play simple songs with your band and playing them in your bedroom. In your bedroom you of course want to play songs that are fun to play. But with your band you want to play songs that sound good and you enjoy. With a band any song that works is fun to play. But yeah, if you only play in your bedroom, I agree with you. Simple songs are boring to play alone and there's no point playing stuff that you can play 100% accurately and don't even enjoy playing it. So yeah, start playing other songs.


so the bottom line is: in the bedroom, do whatever feels good!

right?
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#27
It would seem that you want to push yourself a bit more as a guitarist, and that simpler stuff isn't exciting you - in that case, go ahead and find some new music that you like and that does make you love playing guitar, but just don't forget about the average listener who still enjoys the simpler stuff.
Quote by vIsIbleNoIsE
so the bottom line is: in the bedroom, do whatever feels good!

right?

If only the Church saw it that way
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
#28
As others have said, music is all subjective, to some people, more is more and less is less, me, personally, I'd rather listen to a Dragonforce solo than a Guns N Roses solo, purely because I really love the sound of a guitar being played at ungodly speeds. Now, a lot of people don't share that point of view, that's fine, you mentioned you like Coldplay and their music is simple, yet effective, but I would say, don't let the phrase 'less is more' become an excuse for being a poor guitarist. I say that less can only be more if you choose to play less. If you play simple music because that's the only music you can possibly play, that's when you start going down a slippery slope that wastes a lot of time.
#30
the only true music is black metal you fucking pussy
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#31
Quote by AlanHB
Coldplay are one of the biggest bands in the world. Can you think of why that may be TS?



Publicity from the whole Joe Satriani thing.
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#32
Quote by amonamarthmetal
Publicity from the whole Joe Satriani thing.


Yeah man because Satriani had more fans than Coldplay. And they all moved to Coldplay.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#35
What they mean by "less is more" is just "don't add complexity for the sake of being complex."
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^


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#36
Quote by AlanHB
Yeah man because Satriani had more fans than Coldplay. And they all moved to Coldplay.

Because MSM didn't have an effect is what I meant.

It's okay though.
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#37
Quote by amonamarthmetal
Because MSM didn't have an effect is what I meant.

Not as much as you think...I mean, it wasn't like Coldplay wasn't already selling hundreds of thousands of records and continued to do so after the lawsuit. Oh, wait...
#38
Quote by amonamarthmetal
Because MSM didn't have an effect is what I meant.

It's okay though.


The case recieved attention because Coldplay was involved, not Satriani. 6 years previous to this Coldplay released A Rush of Blood to the Head, which rocketed them to the top of the charts and they stayed there. The band has some definite staying power.

I think Coldplay are first known for their great melodies. It can get a bit samey though. However they also have a reputation for an incredibly good live show, promoted more as experiences than a musical concert.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#39
Quote by rockingamer2
What they mean by "less is more" is just "don't add complexity for the sake of being complex."

This. Don't take it too literally. It's a rule that is always good to remember when you write a song or a solo. For example this is what Metallica did in The Black Album. Their previous album was full of songs that had ten riffs and all that. But they got fed up with it and started thinking if the song needs more than three different parts. If you want to write a memorable song, it needs to have some repetition. Otherwise it will be hard to listen to.

But I don't think we are talking about writing music in this thread. We are talking about practicing songs on guitar and they are two different things. You want to be good at playing the guitar and that needs some more advanced songs. So in this case more is more. You always want to learn more and more difficult songs because that way you'll learn new techniques and stuff.

Making simple stuff sound good is also another thing. A bad guitarist can't make the riff of Smoke on the Water sound good. You need to be good at guitar to be able to make simple things sound good.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Jul 27, 2013,
#40
All that was needed here was: "Stop playing Coldplay".

Seriously though, the point about "less is more" is totally dependant on the style of music that you want to play/write. And even then, it will only becomes relevant once you know what "more" is.

When you're creating, what you create can be as simple or complex as you want. But when you're learning, the best and most natural way to progress is by gradually adding complexity, whether it's a new technical or musical concept.

Stop playing Coldplay.
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