#1
So yeah, since stuff like Guitar Pro and others are out, one can easily compose a piece they couldn't even dream of playing correctly at the moment. I frequently get ideas for composition, but I'm not yet technically very proficient on the guitar. Listening to heavy metal though, my ideas are frequently somewhat shredder-oriented, but I couldn't actually play them. So, compose the stuff and return to it, or just shrug it off and compose some stuff you could actually play if you picked your guitar up right now?
What do you guys think, and why?
#2
I compose the music i want to hear, if i can play it or not is not relevant to me at that moment.

I think as long as you should write the stuff you want. If you can play it already, great! Otherwise you'll have to work at it for a while, and that's going to make you a better player aswell.

I do not however agree with people who are just sitting and writing down patterns and moving them around in guitarpro, imo there should be some thought behind music you write and not just "patterns in a minor" stuck together, for example. But that's just how i see it.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#3
I don't actually compose my own music, nor am I that advanced in knowing music theory and such, but the way I see it, if you can't pull it off in a live environment, you shouldn't put it on a record. It sounds cheesy, but I personally think it makes sense.
#4
You can always make some other guy play it. For example if you are in a band and can't sing, but come up with a good vocal melody, why wouldn't you write it? You can write music for other people too. And you can also write songs for the future. If you come up with good ideas, write them down. One day you'll be able to play them.

Or if you have a band, make somebody else play the hard parts.

Lots of composers can't play all instruments. But still they write songs for the whole orchestra, not just for violins.

There are songwriters whose job is to write hit songs for pop artists. The songwriters may not be able to sing the songs so that they sound good but so what? They write the songs for the pop singers.

You don't need to be the one who's playing your ideas. I can come up with cool drum grooves that I make our drummer play. Or a cool guitar melody that our guitarist plays (I play the bass in our band). Just write music. It doesn't matter who plays the music, as long as it sounds 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 Dec 12, 2013,
#5
Quote by Lifesign
the way I see it, if you can't pull it off in a live environment, you shouldn't put it on a record. It sounds cheesy, but I personally think it makes sense.


It makes no sense, it's a totally arbitrary restriction.
.
#6
Fine points and good thoughts right here. I do generally aim compositions towards a band situation; trying to form/ get into one and all, it's only sensible to me . There's still time to learn the hard bits... I'd definitely not put stuff on a public record if I can't play my part, though... It's not like I think Dragonforce were smart for speeding their recordings up and being incapable of playing it live .

I generally TRY to play what I hear in my head, even though it usually comes out slower, and AFTER I do it on a guitar, I'll only have guitar pro play it for me at the imagined speed and see if that's it. I don't just dump jack random stuff into a computer program and hope to come with a melody, I leave that kind of stuff to David Guetta.
Last edited by Navi_96 at Dec 12, 2013,
#7
having composed things i can't play is currently my biggest (only?) motivation for getting better at guitar-playing technique.
Quote by archerygenious
Jesus Christ since when is the Pit a ****ing courtroom...

Like melodic, black, death, symphonic, and/or avant-garde metal? Want to collaborate? Message me!
#8
Writing guitar parts you can't play yet and practicing the absolute shit out of them is a great way to become a better player.
#9
I read a Guitar World article about two months back about prog guitarists. Now, I'm not a prog fan but all three musicians interviewed did it just that way. They would compose stuff they couldn't play yet and then work there way up to it. I can't for the life of me remember if any of them performed live--I throw away my magazine every month. They swore it made them better technically.

To be honest, I used to do that with Sibelius--the basic music notation program. I still have the program but I don't do it any more. I'm a little bit biased as a, "purist." What I mean is I would have a tough time considering someone a musician who can't sing or play any instrument but could compose based on a music program. That's my bias though and I'm not saying it's a correct bias. So, I would still only do that if I wanted to improve my technique like the prog guys...in fact, I have nothing better to do tonight...I think I'll whip out that old Sibelius and do it now but play it on the guitar to improve technically...I have a whole lot to learn.
#11
Yes, why not.
I can't play most of my own stuff either. And it's annoying as HELL.
I actually haven't written a song in a while because I got so frustrated last time when I couldn't play it (and it's probably years until I can). I don't think technical ability should hold you back as a composer, you can always get there in time or have someone more skilled play it.
It can be a nice challenge though to compose a really easy/slow piece that still sounds great.
#12
Yes, writing things outside of your skill level is a good thing. It requires you to get better in order to play it. I end up accidentally doing it all the time. Which would you rather do: dumb down an idea to bring to your skill level, or bring your skill level up to that of a good piece?
#13
you don't learn how to play an instrument, you learn how to get the music out of you with the instrument. in other words, yay. the music is inside you always. if you can't play it yet on the instrument you are choosing, that doesn't mean you shouldn't let that music out. if you have a means of doing it, then do it. personally, by the time i actually were to sit down, open the program and start to transcribe it, i'd probably lose what i was thinking. so no, i don't personally do it. i keep it in my head or record what i can.
#14
People like Jason Becker can still write music even if they can't play it themselves. As long as somebody can play it, it's okay.
#15
I personally avoid making music I can't play. With half a year of piano playing practice I don't really make very advanced piano music yet

I could of course just program it on a DAW piano roll with mouse and keyboard, but I don't really like doing that if I can't play the part.
#19
When I compose stuff in Guitar Pro, I will keep in mind what the limitations of my technique are, but I will allow myself to write parts that are a little more difficult than what I can currently play if I feel like it suits the song. The bottom line when it comes to composing is you write what sounds good in your head.
#20
Quote by Lifesign
I don't actually compose my own music, nor am I that advanced in knowing music theory and such, but the way I see it, if you can't pull it off in a live environment, you shouldn't put it on a record. It sounds cheesy, but I personally think it makes sense.

Guthrie Govan sequenced all the drum parts on "Erotic Cakes" because he can't play the drums. Should he not have done that? Is he a bad musician because of it?
#21
Quote by Lifesign
I don't actually compose my own music, nor am I that advanced in knowing music theory and such, but the way I see it, if you can't pull it off in a live environment, you shouldn't put it on a record. It sounds cheesy, but I personally think it makes sense.

I don't play violin, but I have a recording plugin that allows me to write MIDI parts for violin and record them as such. Should I never record those parts, because I -- as a composer -- can't play violin? If everyone followed your advice, Beethoven and Mozart would have never composed their pieces. Do you think Beethoven could play every single instrument in his symphonies? I doubt it. But he could compose for all of them.

To take a more guitar oriented approach...if I write a riff that I have trouble playing, which makes me a better player: learning how to play it flawlessly or throwing it out because I can't play it very well at the time of writing? Obviously the former. So, I ask you, why exactly would I shy away from composing complex stuff because my fingers need to catch up with my brain?
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Dec 15, 2013,
#22
Quote by Navi_96
I'd definitely not put stuff on a public record if I can't play my part, though... It's not like I think Dragonforce were smart for speeding their recordings up and being incapable of playing it live .


However, Dragonforce are perfectly capable of playing everything live, partially due to the fact that something they couldn't play was on record. I remember hearing Herman talk about the matter, and he said that after the Inhuman Rampage tour (where they gained their bad reputation), they went through most of their songs (most notably Fury Of The Storm) and worked hard at them until they could play it, and nowadays they're one of the best live bands about.

I do truly believe that you should write and even record what you can't play. At the end of the day, you're making a product, and if a convention of the genre you play is technical playing, then you've got to play technically. I, personally, burst out laughing when I hear an unsigned Power or Prog band that randomly burst into a melodic solo after speeding through a song at 180bpm, because it just sounds like their guitarist can't play, it sounds weird, like if someone went Yngwie Malmsteen on an Eric Clapton song, or if someone belted the top B in Nessun Dorma, it's just not done. It also gives you a solid reason to become better. I've been in a situation where it's been one month before studio, and I still can't play a lot of the CD, so I went mental on guitar practicing and emerged from the studio a much better guitarist than I was before.

Also, everyone who wishes to be a composer should be completely off-instrument so that composing things they can't play is possible.
#23
I know they pulled together what had to be pulled together, it was more a comment on a part on the past (Ok, I wasn't clear on that, I admit).

It's been interesting to read all the opinions you guys and gals gave, I definitely didn't expect such a reaction in number, so thanks everybody!
#24
Beethoven couldn't play all of the instruments he wrote for. Didn't stop him.
Join the 7 String Legion!

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.

Messiaen is Magical


Official Approval
This message has been approved by:

Mister A.J.
Head of the Department of Redundancy Department
Mister A.J.
#26
What about writing while playing slowly, working out the details mentally and getting faster? Better than relying on software, or unnecessary extra effort?
#27
Quote by innovine
What about writing while playing slowly, working out the details mentally and getting faster? Better than relying on software, or unnecessary extra effort?

You should only worry about relying on software if your goal is to play your instrument better. If that's not your goal, then rely on software as much as possible. If it makes the expression of your idea easier, then do it.
#28
you've missed my point, I think. I was wondering if holding the melody and rhythm in your head and manipulating it there strengthens your memory and ability, which is ultimately quicker and better than relying on software to do the same task.. I don't know, but I'd hate to be in the middle of a jam and someone shouts out a few chords and I'd say "oh wait while I load up Guitar Pro to work out my riffs for that"
#29
Quote by TheHydra
Guthrie Govan sequenced all the drum parts on "Erotic Cakes" because he can't play the drums. Should he not have done that? Is he a bad musician because of it?


Those drums were sequenced? Really? Wow. Did not know that. I figured Guthrie had written them but I figured he transcribed them and hired a session player.
#30
Quote by innovine
you've missed my point, I think. I was wondering if holding the melody and rhythm in your head and manipulating it there strengthens your memory and ability, which is ultimately quicker and better than relying on software to do the same task.. I don't know, but I'd hate to be in the middle of a jam and someone shouts out a few chords and I'd say "oh wait while I load up Guitar Pro to work out my riffs for that"


Lol who even fiddles with Guitar Pro mid-jam session? Knowing how the tune would go and putting it in Guitar Pro (while home alone or sth) to keep it in some tangible shape is, I think, quite useful.