#1
Ok, so I'm not much of a theory guy (not much of a technique guy either but whatever ). I want to write very amateurish songs, and as a band decided that indie would be the best style (basic sounding riffs, and some happy, almost random lyrics - at least that's what I think about when I say indie).

Like I said, I don't know much about theory, so I wanted to take a shortcut and ask about it here.

1. Are there any specific pointers you can give me about the key of the song? Some that would sound better than others, maybe? And would a minor key make it sadder sounding (something I'm not aiming for)?

2. Which scale (or mode) should I use? I know pentatonic, but from what little I tried it doesn't suit what I had in my mind.

I think I had some more questions but I guess I forgot

Thanks a lot, just for reading. Thanks even more if you answer..
#3
Quote by Bube
I'm not much of a theory guy
Mistake.

Learn that stuff and then use it to figure out what your favorite bands are doing.


For future reference, "Indie" has nothing to do with a style of music, but rather the fact that the band is independent of major record labels.
#4
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Mistake.

Learn that stuff and then use it to figure out what your favorite bands are doing.


For future reference, "Indie" has nothing to do with a style of music, but rather the fact that the band is independent of major record labels.


i agree with you. except that you must be behind the times because 'Indie" has now become a distinct style of music.
#5
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Mistake.

Learn that stuff and then use it to figure out what your favorite bands are doing.


For future reference, "Indie" has nothing to do with a style of music, but rather the fact that the band is independent of major record labels.

Nice. Shot down in the 2nd post I guess I never knew what indie was

Anyway, I'm actually pretty busy, especially with school, and whatever I learned took enough time. Which is why I said that I'm not much of a theory guy. To be honest, I'm fascinated by music theory. But time is a big problem for me - that's why I was looking for shortcuts.

I would, of course, want to learn tons of stuff and do it on my own.
#6
Major Scale to solo and write riffs, avoid minor keys and minor modes if you don't want to sound sad. Indie music tends to have a lot of clean guitar, not just distorted.
#7
yes, Indie originally referred to bands on Independant record labels.... but is now a style of music.

thats the case in the UK anyway, i have had this conversation before and was told Indie is known as "brit rock" in the states. Obviously it is not called that here!
#8
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Mistake.

Learn that stuff and then use it to figure out what your favorite bands are doing.


For future reference, "Indie" has nothing to do with a style of music, but rather the fact that the band is independent of major record labels.

Meh, there is colloquial definition of indie (can't really think of anything else to call it) that has somewhat of a general standard that people like or dislike.

Perhaps in the past it was simply a status for a band, but the indie scene/movement has exploded and created its own distinct sound, IMO.
Last edited by Archaon at May 4, 2008,
#9
Quote by That-Funny-Guy
except that you must be behind the times because 'Indie" has now become a distinct style of music.
It's very plausible that I'm behind the times. I didn't go out last night because I didn't know how to start my car since it one of those fancy new contraptions without a crank on the front.

Bube: Fair enough. However, if you take away the time you spend on this thread and replace it with reading the theory link in my sig and analyzing songs, you'll probably learn a lot more.


Not to be condescending, at least not to people, but is Indie music the emo-style crap my friends listen to after guys stop calling them? (Remember, I'm an arrogant metal player).
#10
Quote by Bube
Nice. Shot down in the 2nd post I guess I never knew what indie was

Anyway, I'm actually pretty busy, especially with school, and whatever I learned took enough time. Which is why I said that I'm not much of a theory guy. To be honest, I'm fascinated by music theory. But time is a big problem for me - that's why I was looking for shortcuts.

I would, of course, want to learn tons of stuff and do it on my own.

Time is never really a valid excuse. There are 24 hours in a day, and you're ALWAYS going to have at least some time to spare. Every minute you put into learning how to write will be well worth it, bro.
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Not to be condescending, at least not to people, but is Indie music the emo-style crap my friends listen to after guys stop calling them? (Remember, I'm an arrogant metal player).

Yeah, pretty much.

"Indie" has ruined the local shows for me. I have a friend who frequently hosts shows for local bands and such, and they just don't do it for me anymore. There's too many trendy highschool kids/scene fags that ruin the experience. Though I did love watching my friends' hardcore punk band take the show and get **** going.

So, yeah, I don't even go to local shows anymore because of this whole indie explosion. Maybe the scene here is just lame.

edit:
I suppose this has gone a little off-topic. My bad.
Last edited by Archaon at May 4, 2008,
#12
Oasis may = indie. I'm not talking about emo or anything (I hate it, tbh) - I'm talking original indie, which I've learned comes from independent, the indie from the first half of the '90s, the clean, almost poppy sound. I listen to a wide variety of music, and indie just seems to be the most fun me and my band mates could have.

And yes, time may never be an excuse, that's what I thought 5 years ago. But stuff happens, and time does become an excuse. I sincerely hope that you never find yourself in a situation where it is

Anyway, thanks michal23, for the answer. Would a pentatonic scale be enough (I don't feel that it is, or would be), or do you think I'd need to learn all (or some) of the modes?
#13
you don't need to know any modes to play indie music... although learning can only be beneficial to anything

most of the songs i think you are talking about use relatively straight forward diatonic progressions of the major scale. so, basically anything that moves through the 5th to the 1st chord. maybe a IV - V - I is an example.
#14
"Indie" in it's modern form is less about the music structure and more about the tone, of guitars, of vocals etc, and many incorporate different music arrangements than the simple 4 man band, like adding synth or string sections.

Just listen to some bands you consider "indie" and see what stands out about their sound.
#15
Where I am (US), indie refers to independently produced. Since any style can be independently produced, it is not a valid genre. In my day what is now incorrectly considered "indie" was called "folk". To me Oasis is pop rock.
I think simple is a better descriptive term than amateurish for what you want to do. (Random lyrics? Whattaya gonna sing the phone book?). Knowledge of musical theory does not have to be concious. If your songs sound cohesive and logical, chances are they are "correct" according to music theory (for whatever that's worth to you). Keys make no difference to me other than making a song easier (or harder) to play. That's one of the basics of theory...if it can be played in one key it can be played in another. Minor keys are usually referred to by their relative major(Em = G). Whether or not they sound "sad" depends on the scales and progressions you use within that key. Wanna write a song? Either learn theory or learn trial and error. They are both legitimate ways to write music.
#16
Quote by wildyoda2
Minor keys are usually referred to by their relative major(Em = G).
This appears to be completely wrong, but please explain yourself.
#17
If I know the "indie" you are looking for:

Major keys (learn and understand how to use the major scale).
Barre chords (staccato quite often)

You can't really go wrong with that.

Just listen to the kind of bands your thinking along the lines of too. Learn their songs perhaps, and most importantly understand how they work.
#18
Quote by bangoodcharlote
This appears to be completely wrong, but please explain yourself.

Yeah I mighta fupped duck there a bit. The step pattern of the Em scale is the same as the step pattern of the G maj scale. Same key signature but not the same tonality. Sorry, I'm distracted by the Rangers/Penguins. Thanks for the opportunity to clarify.
#19
Quote by wildyoda2
The step pattern of the Em scale is the same as the step pattern of the G maj scale.
No, that's the difference, or at least one of them. They definately contain the same notes and share a key signature, but they have very different intervals.
#20
Gmaj =
G (one step) A (one step) B (half step) C (one step) D (one step) E (one step) F#(half step) G

Emin =
E (one step) F#(half step) G (one step) A (one step) B (half step) C (one step) D (one step) E

Starting from F# (their shared key signature), the pattern is half, whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole for both scales. They start from different places effecting the tonality.

PS-I guess I'm more of a trial and error kinda guy. I don't think of any of this when writing music.
#21
Indie music is more of what most people term pop, and will eventually become "pop" except with a new name, just like the 90's, just like the 80's, just like the 70's...you get my drift eh? Anyways, Indie music is more happy than emo, although some emo bands do like to mask themselves behind the indie image.

EDIT: ^ Yeah but BGC means the intervallic names between the notes. G to A is a major second. G to B is a major third. G to C is a perfect fourth. G to D is a perfect fifth. G to E is a major sixth, etc. E to F# is a major second, E to G is a minor third though. And it continues on.
Last edited by st.stephen at May 4, 2008,
#22
Quote by wildyoda2
Starting from F# (their shared key signature), the pattern is half, whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole for both scales.
Your thinking is tremendously flawed. Please review the theory link in my signature.

What would compell you to start on F#? That would be F# Locrian, which you definately don't mean.
#23
arent indie bands just bands that arent popular enough yet to be on a mainstream label.... so their on a low budget "indie" label. Then they make it big, and become a mainstream act ?

thats how I always saw it. The styles always kind of varied, but had a low budget sound.

As has been mentioned, I would just learn some songs by the particular band, and learn what they did. Simple as that. Its the same way you would go about trying to sound like any particular genre.
Last edited by GuitarMunky at May 4, 2008,
#24
Quote by GuitarMunky
arent indie bands just bands that arent popular enough yet to be on a mainstream label.... so their on a low budget "indie" label. Then they make it big, and become a mainstream act ?
That's what I thought, but evidently, it describes a sound exhibited by many of those bands.
#25
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Your thinking is tremendously flawed. Please review the theory link in my signature.

What would compell you to start on F#? That would be F# Locrian, which you definately don't mean.

How so? Having a theory link in your sig apparently passes as knowledge, but your inability to express yourself says otherwise.
#26
The step pattern begins at F# because that is their shared key signature. What MODE it would be would depend on whether you are using Gmaj or Emin.
#27
I did a decent post on this ages ago... maybe i'll tray and find it....

But tbh indie doesn't have a specific kinda scale, it's more a way of playing them. I've heard bands using major, minor, harmonic minor, blues/penatatonic, all the normal one.

What I would recommend is learning some theory, and then learning songs by the bands you like, and kinda "analyzing" their music in theory terms, to see how they do it.
#28
Quote by wildyoda2
How so? Having a theory link in your sig apparently passes as knowledge, but your inability to express yourself says otherwise.

I think it's safe to assume bgc knows what she's talking about but would rather give you a helpful link then engage in another discussion that's probably been done enough times before.

Actually, I'm sure that's how it is for most.
#29
Quote by That-Funny-Guy
i agree with you. except that you must be behind the times because 'Indie" has now become a distinct style of music.


nonsense. although indie is a stylistic thing in some regards, it'd be massively erroneous to say that there are certain techniques to writing indie, because even within the stylistic limits of the term there are massive differences. eg, okkervil river, les savy fav, foals and a silver mt zion could all be described as indie. in terms of their songs however, they're massively, massively different.
my name is matt. you can call me that if you like.
#30
Quote by wildyoda2
The step pattern begins at F# because that is their shared key signature. What MODE it would be would depend on whether you are using Gmaj or Emin.
If you start on F#, you're playing F# Locrian.

The thing that separates G major and E minor is the difference in intervals. Trying to make them have the same intervals destroys the difference.

You are missing a vital component of knowledge.
#31
Quote by wildyoda2
The step pattern begins at F# because that is their shared key signature. What MODE it would be would depend on whether you are using Gmaj or Emin.

Not at all. If you start on the F# in either key, you're using Locrian. It's the seventh mode of the major scale and the second mode of the natural minor scale, so that argument makes no sense.
#32
Quote by :-D
Not at all. If you start on the F# in either key, you're using Locrian. It's the seventh mode of the major scale and the second mode of the natural minor scale, so that argument makes no sense.

Only the similar step pattern begins at F#, not the scale. How quickly this has become hell! The original point is that Gmaj and Emin contain the same notes!
#33
major - w w h w w w h
cmaj - c d e f g a b

minor - w h w w h w w
amin - a b c d e f g

yes the notes are 100% identical, the USE of the degrees in the scale are different. the, say, IV chord in each is completely different. if you want to think of them in terms of modes, ionian, dorian, phrygian.. etc.. then yes the 'pattern' is the same but the modes start at different points on the scale and, again, vary greatly in usage.
#34
Quote by wildyoda2
Only the similar step pattern begins at F#, not the scale. How quickly this has become hell! The original point is that Gmaj and Emin contain the same notes!

Yes, but that doesn't mean they're the same thing, though you attempted to strip each scale of its unique intervals in saying:
Quote by wildyoda2
Starting from F# (their shared key signature), the pattern is half, whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole for both scales. They start from different places effecting the tonality.

You don't want to make them the same thing, otherwise we wouldn't bother with relative majors and minors.
#35
Quote by :-D
Yes, but that doesn't mean they're the same thing, though you attempted to strip each scale of its unique intervals in saying:

You don't want to make them the same thing, otherwise we wouldn't bother with relative majors and minors.

That wasn't my intent...but it was apparently what I succeeded at.