#1
Lets take two bands I like. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and TOOL. BRMC are well known for their fast paced and straight forward bear bones garage rock sound, on the other hand TOOL are well known for their complex melodies, changing tempos and time signatures and ETC.

Is there an effective way to combine the two?

Now these two examples are completely subjective, I may not be aware of many acts of music that may do the same.

Is there something I am missing?
Purple string dampener scrunchy.
#3
Rings of Saturn.

30 seconds of weedling, 30 seconds of half note duuunn, duuunn, duuunn; repeat.
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#4
Can you write what you consider simple musical ideas?

Can you write what you consider complex musical ideas?

It is, as you said, pretty subjective so it's hard to answer the question clearly.

Often when you analyse a more complex piece of music what you find is multiple layers of really simple ideas.
Si
#5
Also all bluegrass is I-IV-I-V I-IV-I-V-I with an occasional IV-I-II-V or I-V-I I-IV-I-V-I in G or A in with a basic 2 step rhythm. It doesn't get much simpler than that. But then you're playing crazy 8 note lead parts at well over 300bpm that are as technically complex and rhythmically syncopated as you can imagine.
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#6
Quote by theogonia777
Also all bluegrass is I-IV-I-V I-IV-I-V-I with an occasional IV-I-II-V or I-V-I I-IV-I-V-I in G or A in with a basic 2 step rhythm. It doesn't get much simpler than that. But then you're playing crazy 8 note lead parts at well over 300bpm that are as technically complex and rhythmically syncopated as you can imagine.


Like on a mandolin or a banjo? Yeah, shit's crazy.

Quote by 20Tigers
Can you write what you consider simple musical ideas?

Can you write what you consider complex musical ideas?

It is, as you said, pretty subjective so it's hard to answer the question clearly.

Often when you analyse a more complex piece of music what you find is multiple layers of really simple ideas.


I can write simple songs. What I fear is what I try to pass as complex is just an over complicated piece of really simple and basic music. I fear I am incapable of proper deep and complex music like the artists I admire and what I compose ends up sounding tedious, obnoxious and needlessly complicated.

Now I am aware that what I asked is a subjective question with no direct answer but what I was aiming for was, for example: BRMC's fast paced and straight forward drive combined with TOOL's relatively esoteric riffs. I think that one example I can give is this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZKPpeuHvJk


I dont want to attention ***** or anything but to be fair here is a piece I recorded last week. Do you think it fits what I tried to describe?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SiITFq4-28
Purple string dampener scrunchy.
Last edited by Guitar0player at Jun 1, 2015,
#7
I'm just going to brainstorm here.

Simple chord progression, complex rhythm.

Simple melody, complex development of that melody over time

Simple melody, complex time signature changes

Simple chords and melody, complex song structure

Simple (slow) tempo, complex modulations and mode changes


Basically, most things aren't going to be simple and complex simultaneously. You have to figure out what elements of each you want to include. I wrote an idea recently with a repeating melody where the key changed from Am to Em to G as the idea progressed. But the melody never changed. Simple melody, complex harmony. etcetcetcetc
Originally posted by primusfan
When you crank up the gain to 10 and switch to the lead channel, it actually sounds like you are unjustifiably bombing an innocent foreign land.


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#8
Quote by ibanezguitars44
I'm just going to brainstorm here.

Simple chord progression, complex rhythm.

Simple melody, complex development of that melody over time

Simple melody, complex time signature changes

Simple chords and melody, complex song structure

Simple (slow) tempo, complex modulations and mode changes


Basically, most things aren't going to be simple and complex simultaneously. You have to figure out what elements of each you want to include. I wrote an idea recently with a repeating melody where the key changed from Am to Em to G as the idea progressed. But the melody never changed. Simple melody, complex harmony. etcetcetcetc


And basically you layered other melodies and instruments over it?
Purple string dampener scrunchy.
#9
Interesting idea. I tried to do an at least semi-thorough check to see if this was already offered, but here's my perspective: there's simplicity/complexity in terms of theory, and simplicity/complexity in terms of practice. To elaborate, you could play G-C-D... or even taking it a step further G-D, which would be theoretical (i.e., music theory) simplicity. Yet, it could be complex in practice in that it is entirely sweep picked, highly syncopated, or using any other technique that you consider complex. Simple in theory, complex in practice.

Taking the opposing view, one could write in a jazz style. Although I'm almost totally appreciably unfamiliar with the genre, I do know that some of it can be pretty complex theory-wise... a lot of chord names that are far longer than I've seen outside the genre. Might not be the best example, but you could take a Dm7(b5) chord and play only a couple of notes, very slowly, per measure. Again, I'm not a jazz guy, so someone else can fill in the gaps, if they would like.

Also, the guitarist can't- and shouldn't- do everything. Another instrumentalist could contrast your simplicity/complexity with their simplicity/complexity.

Hope this helps!
Last edited by Jake P at Jun 2, 2015,
#10
Quote by Guitar0player
Like on a mandolin or a banjo? Yeah, shit's crazy.


Like this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOOPkAhk6kE

The guitar is basically playing 1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4 kind of boom-chick two step rhythm. Bass is doing alternating notes (mainly root and 5th) on beats 1 and 3. Dobro is doing the percussive chop on beats 2 and 4 the way a mandolin normally would. The chord progression is still fairly simply (though obviously a bit more complex than I-IV-I-V).

But then... the banjo, from a technically point, is super complex. Tempo is around 340-350ish quarter beats per minute or around 170-175ish half beats, depending on how you want to count it. Which is fast. The fiddle solos aren't the most complex, but still pretty technical because of the sheer speed of it. And some of the other fiddle and dobro fills are pretty tricky as well. And then guitar solo pretty much used everything you could throw in a bluegrass guitar solo.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#11
Quote by Guitar0player
TOOL are well known for their complex melodies, changing tempos and time signatures and ETC.
You're kidding, right? Tool can't write a decent melody to save their f*cking lives!

Anyway, let's be clear here. What is complex? What is simple? You use these terms, give references to bands...but none of that really means much. You need to define it better.


Spitballing though...if we look at classic music (a genre which has tended to have a fair amount of complexity over time), a lot of it is that individual instruments play a rather simple part. But the individual simple parts as a whole can become more complex. Point is, look at the idea of "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" and apply that to music.
#12
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
You're kidding, right? Tool can't write a decent melody to save their f*cking lives!

Anyway, let's be clear here. What is complex? What is simple? You use these terms, give references to bands...but none of that really means much. You need to define it better.


Spitballing though...if we look at classic music (a genre which has tended to have a fair amount of complexity over time), a lot of it is that individual instruments play a rather simple part. But the individual simple parts as a whole can become more complex. Point is, look at the idea of "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" and apply that to music.


I will politely disagree about Tool, because each has their own taste.

Well, it was a vague subject to begin with and words arent my strength, I was hoping you guys would get what I mean.

To be fair, a lot of the classical music I've heard the melodies...to me anyway dont seem so simple, but you are right, The layering of the various instruments is what gives classical music its complex sound.
Purple string dampener scrunchy.
#13
Quote by Guitar0player

To be fair, a lot of the classical music I've heard the melodies...to me anyway dont seem so simple, but you are right, The layering of the various instruments is what gives classical music its complex sound.

There's much more to it than that. But in my opinion complexity should not be an objective in itself.

It is difficult to answer your question "Is there an effective way to combine the two?"

The short answer is "absolutely." But achieving that is really a philosophical experience that you have to acquire for yourself.

In order to really get to the heard of this question, you have to think like a designer, not a "musician." With that in mind, you should look towards many different art mediums and not just music, for there is a lot of insights that can be extracted from visual art and even commercial designs.

I think you should consider the idea of "elegant simplicity" which can require a lot of complex and painstaking efforts to truly achieve. Trying to create something complex on the surface is often a fool's errand because it's not really impressive, and it only serves to impress a very very limited audience that yields little return or catharsis.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#14
Quote by Xiaoxi
There's much more to it than that. But in my opinion complexity should not be an objective in itself.

It is difficult to answer your question "Is there an effective way to combine the two?"

The short answer is "absolutely." But achieving that is really a philosophical experience that you have to acquire for yourself.

In order to really get to the heard of this question, you have to think like a designer, not a "musician." With that in mind, you should look towards many different art mediums and not just music, for there is a lot of insights that can be extracted from visual art and even commercial designs.

I think you should consider the idea of "elegant simplicity" which can require a lot of complex and painstaking efforts to truly achieve. Trying to create something complex on the surface is often a fool's errand because it's not really impressive, and it only serves to impress a very very limited audience that yields little return or catharsis.


So basically, stop trying to sound simple or not and let the creativity flow through you.
Purple string dampener scrunchy.
#15
Quote by Guitar0player
To be fair, a lot of the classical music I've heard the melodies...to me anyway dont seem so simple, but you are right, The layering of the various instruments is what gives classical music its complex sound.
The melodies wouldn't sound as good without layering. You need everything for it all to sound good.
#16
Quote by Guitar0player
So basically, stop trying to sound simple or not and let the creativity flow through you.

I suppose that is one aspect. Stop trying to "be" complex or simple.

...modes and scales are still useless.


Quote by PhoenixGRM
Hey guys could you spare a minute to Vote for my band. Go to the site Search our band Listana with CTRL+F for quick and vote Thank you .
Quote by sam b
Voted for Patron Çıldırdı.

Thanks
Quote by PhoenixGRM
But our Band is Listana
#17
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
You're kidding, right? Tool can't write a decent melody to save their f*cking lives!
This serves no purpose other than to express disagreement with the thread starter's taste (purely subjective), and it does so in a rather inflammatory way.

Credit to Guitar0player for not biting at the bait.
-------------------------------------


Quote by Xiaoxi
you should look towards many different art mediums and not just music, for there is a lot of insights that can be extracted from visual art and even commercial designs.

I think you should consider the idea of "elegant simplicity" which can require a lot of complex and painstaking efforts to truly achieve. Trying to create something complex on the surface is often a fool's errand because it's not really impressive, and it only serves to impress a very very limited audience that yields little return or catharsis.
This is great advice.
Si
#18
Quote by Xiaoxi
I suppose that is one aspect. Stop trying to "be" complex or simple.


Sorry for leaving out the rest of what you said, I understand the idea of taking inspiration from other forms and mediums of art, which I do, cartoons and video games mostly
Purple string dampener scrunchy.
#19
Quote by 20Tigers
This serves no purpose other than to express disagreement with the thread starter's taste (purely subjective), and it does so in a rather inflammatory way.

Credit to Guitar0player for not biting at the bait.

And what purpose did your comment serve, other than to try and give me a "bad Sam"?
#20
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
And what purpose did your comment serve, other than to try and give me a "bad Sam"?


Complimenting me on my gentleman like behavior.
Purple string dampener scrunchy.
#21
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
And what purpose did your comment serve, other than to try and give me a "bad Sam"?


He's hoping that you'll be nicer next time.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#22
Quote by theogonia777
He's hoping that you'll be nicer next time.

He'll have to keep hoping. It probably won't happen.
#24
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
And what purpose did your comment serve, other than to try and give me a "bad Sam"?
All of the above (with the exception that I will have to keep hoping.)

Just to be super clear. Band flaming (and any flaming for that matter) will result in action from a moderator. This is just a friendly warning but things will escalate should it become a regular thing.
Si
#25
I think one consideration is "why" you are seeking to make things more simple or complex.

If you are making it simple or complex, it'll come off as forced and generally people won't like it, even if they don't know why.

Alternatively if you are doing it because you think it sounds good, that it's the part the song needs, it will work.

If you can't tell the difference, no matter, people will tell you.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#26
Quote by AlanHB
I think one consideration is "why" you are seeking to make things more simple or complex.

If you are making it simple or complex, it'll come off as forced and generally people won't like it, even if they don't know why.

Alternatively if you are doing it because you think it sounds good, that it's the part the song needs, it will work.

If you can't tell the difference, no matter, people will tell you.


Well, the problem is really that I cant tell one from another. But I can sorta tell when a piece I write sounds forced, as if it wasnt naturally floating out of my mind but I squeezed it out of there like poop.

I guess that in the end I shouldnt force myself into one thing or another and just go with what naturally comes to me.
Purple string dampener scrunchy.
#27
Quote by 20Tigers
All of the above (with the exception that I will have to keep hoping.)

Just to be super clear. Band flaming (and any flaming for that matter) will result in action from a moderator. This is just a friendly warning but things will escalate should it become a regular thing.



Quote by Guitar0player
Well, the problem is really that I cant tell one from another. But I can sorta tell when a piece I write sounds forced, as if it wasnt naturally floating out of my mind but I squeezed it out of there like poop.

I guess that in the end I shouldnt force myself into one thing or another and just go with what naturally comes to me.

Well, always write towards the song, and you shouldn't have this issue. I have often found that a lot of good songs come from exploring complex issues/emotions.
In other words, "happy" is one thing. But what if you explore more than just "happy"? Can a song about being happy have "sad" parts, in order to contrast and strengthen the main emotion?
#28
Quote by crazysam23_Atax



Well, always write towards the song, and you shouldn't have this issue. I have often found that a lot of good songs come from exploring complex issues/emotions.
In other words, "happy" is one thing. But what if you explore more than just "happy"? Can a song about being happy have "sad" parts, in order to contrast and strengthen the main emotion?


Exactly. That's what I should really aim for, but what if I want to add something here and there. A little 5/4's here a little 3/8's there, and not in a math rock way. Just to add a little spice. Is that a subjective thing too?
Purple string dampener scrunchy.
#29
If you have a good idea in 5/4 or 3/8 or whatever, and feel like it fits the song perfectly, just go ahead and use it. You could try experimenting with different time signatures. But I think the best complex time signature stuff comes naturally. Sometimes you just come up with an idea that happens to be in a complex time signature. So it's not done in the Dream Theater way ("let's play this 4/4 riff but add an 8th to the end of every fourth bar" or something like that).

To make a time signature "flow", it's good to use some kind of a rhythmic idea, so it doesn't sound like 4/4 with an added 8th or something like that. That just gives it a weird sound. For example listen to Take 5 or Mission Impossible. Both of them sound natural, because they follow a "logical" rhythm. You don't even notice they are in 5/4 if you don't pay attention to it. Also, listen to Soundgarden. They use odd time signatures in their songs, and I think the reason why they work is in the rhythm. I doubt they were thinking in time signatures when they wrote the songs - they were thinking in rhythm. And when the rhythm has a good flow, you don't even notice the time signature changes/odd time signatures.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHdU5sHigYQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWGeRgFa-hI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c1PML5kfbg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwDlcx3HWAU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0_zzCLLRvE
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

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Hartke HyDrive 210c
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#30
Quote by MaggaraMarine
If you have a good idea in 5/4 or 3/8 or whatever, and feel like it fits the song perfectly, just go ahead and use it. You could try experimenting with different time signatures. But I think the best complex time signature stuff comes naturally. Sometimes you just come up with an idea that happens to be in a complex time signature. So it's not done in the Dream Theater way ("let's play this 4/4 riff but add an 8th to the end of every fourth bar" or something like that).

To make a time signature "flow", it's good to use some kind of a rhythmic idea, so it doesn't sound like 4/4 with an added 8th or something like that. That just gives it a weird sound. For example listen to Take 5 or Mission Impossible. Both of them sound natural, because they follow a "logical" rhythm. You don't even notice they are in 5/4 if you don't pay attention to it. Also, listen to Soundgarden. They use odd time signatures in their songs, and I think the reason why they work is in the rhythm. I doubt they were thinking in time signatures when they wrote the songs - they were thinking in rhythm. And when the rhythm has a good flow, you don't even notice the time signature changes/odd time signatures.



Yeah, I get that. Also, time signatures were just a minor thing I gave as an example. And I get the whole "4/4 but add an extra eighth" thing, but oddly enough I think sometimes this method works, sometimes....mostly for like interludes or breaks and things like that.

Another good example, I guess would be Pink Floyd's Money? I had no freaking idea it's in....7/4, right?
Purple string dampener scrunchy.
#31
Quote by Guitar0player
Exactly. That's what I should really aim for, but what if I want to add something here and there. A little 5/4's here a little 3/8's there, and not in a math rock way. Just to add a little spice. Is that a subjective thing too?

Question 1 should always be, "Does this fit the song?". If so, then include it. If not, don't.

To directly answer your question, it is subjective, yeah.
#32
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Question 1 should always be, "Does this fit the song?". If so, then include it. If not, don't.

To directly answer your question, it is subjective, yeah.


That's why I am happy I am in a band...
Purple string dampener scrunchy.
#33
Quote by Guitar0player
Yeah, I get that. Also, time signatures were just a minor thing I gave as an example. And I get the whole "4/4 but add an extra eighth" thing, but oddly enough I think sometimes this method works, sometimes....mostly for like interludes or breaks and things like that.

Another good example, I guess would be Pink Floyd's Money? I had no freaking idea it's in....7/4, right?

Yeah, Money is a good example. Doesn't sound weird at all. And yeah, 7/4.

You could experiment with odd time signatures by finding "logical" rhythms that fit them. You could also analyze other people's songs.

Just use one rhythm and write a song based on that. I wrote a song in 5/4 using that method (the rhythm was the Mission Impossible rhythm reversed). The rhythm was the same throughout the song (though there were a couple of 9/8 and 12/8 measures - which sound pretty natural, at least to me, and the last section was in 6/8). You may want to think rhythm in groups of 3 and 2. That was what my song was all about - it was alternating between groups of 3 and 2 8ths.


Key changes are always cool. Def Leppard does a lot of key changes in their songs. I think their song "Gods of War" is a good example of it. They like jumping straight to the next key, and many times it works pretty well. Modulation is a bit like time signatures - you shouldn't force it.

Actually, I think Def Leppard is a great example of "complex and simple combined". I mean, you could call their music cheesy pop rock, but there's a lot more stuff happening in their songs than in most pop or rock songs. It's pretty "progressive" when it comes to poppy music.

They have really poppy melodies and everything and the songs are definitely not hard to play, but look at their song structures and key changes. And their guitar arrangements are also very nice. (I'm talking about the "Hysteria" album.)
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
#34
For some reason when you mentioned key changes I thought about Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer" when they go up a couple of tones during the last chorus.
Purple string dampener scrunchy.
#35
^The trucker's gear change.

It's everywhere man. Michael Jackson used it all the time. Man in the Mirror is a prime example and he does it right on the word "change". Westlife were also prolific when it comes to this particular type of key change. They even covered Billy Joel's Uptown Girl. The original doesn't have a key change but they covered it a key lower and then changed up to the original key during the last chorus.

Some people hate it because it's "cheap", some people love it because it's so effective.
Si
#36
Quote by 20Tigers
^The trucker's gear change.

It's everywhere man. Michael Jackson used it all the time. Man in the Mirror is a prime example and he does it right on the word "change". Westlife were also prolific when it comes to this particular type of key change. They even covered Billy Joel's Uptown Girl. The original doesn't have a key change but they covered it a key lower and then changed up to the original key during the last chorus.

Some people hate it because it's "cheap", some people love it because it's so effective.


"The trucker's gear change" Goddammit I want a list of trivial musical terms like this one.

I think that's not what Def Leppard was about.

Hey cheap and effective are key terms in the music industry.

Read about the Trucker's Gear Change damn that term fits perfectly, not sure if I will ever use it.

However I do seem to have trouble with modulation a bit, understanding it. Let's say I write a verse in A and then the chorus is written in F, is that modulation? Because from what I understand modulation is a change in tonality.
Purple string dampener scrunchy.
Last edited by Guitar0player at Jun 5, 2015,
#37
^ Yes. Modulation = key change. The most common modulation is between relative keys. For example verse in A minor, chorus in C major or the other way around. That's really common. Modulating a fifth or fourth up is also pretty common (from C major to F major or G major), same with parallel keys (from C major to C minor or the other way around).

And of course modulating the last chorus is very common. A half step or a whole step up is the most common. In "Living on a Prayer" it's a minor third up. Sometimes it ruins the song, sometimes it sounds great. But yeah, it is kind of cheap. But I think the last chorus of "Living on a Prayer" is cool. I mean, the key change from Em to Gm sounds good, and not as generic as a whole step up. Also, there's a 3/4 bar just before the modulation. It's kind of unexpected, and not done in the most generic way, like in songs like "You Raise Me Up" (that has two modulations, or maybe even three, I don't remember - but all the choruses are in different keys - well, you could say that the song truly raises up). The first time I heard the Bon Jovi song, I was like "wow". I didn't really expect that.
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
#38
Yeah I don't think it's something you should write off. I think it can be useful and sometimes it sounds awesome. Living on a Prayer is a good example.

Just don't do it in every song.
Si