#1
so our manager wants us too get our singer to start playing guitar as well.

and its been pretty okay so far, he is mainly just overdubbing me in the chrous's and stumming under my solos.

iv been writing a fair bit lately, and have been trying to do a lot of two guitar part things.


now all my songs are usually just real cool (1 guitar) riffs and progressions. and they most often sound treat and compliment the vocals perfectly.


now iv been puting in lead bits over my new songs, and its sounds great with just the two guitars, but once the vocals are over the top, it seems too... crowded?

the lead and the vocals dont clash, like they work together, its just i think that the lead being there is making the vocal melodie not as important, which i dont like, cause i work hard of the vocal melodies.

how do bands like protest the hero, avenged sevenfold and similar bands keep their songs sounding decent and "full" with out it sounding "overcrowded" ?

its only two guitars, i know a7x songs that have three or four parts at a time.

thanks heaps.
#2
No offense (I dont even write music for my band ), but I think your counterpoint sucks.

I'm not too sure about a7x, but I know protest the hero sounds sort of crowded to me. Well the "overcrowding" effect can be avoided by using counterpoint.

Long ago, back when musicians were fat, balding and wore dresses, a couple of monks decided they would write a method on how to combine 2 completely individualised voices (parts or melodies in normal peoples speech). These rules still work today and classical composers have been using these rules to combine even more than 4 voices (I've seen 8 voice counterpoint methods, anyone seen more?).

Use counterpoint. It's helpfull to everyone, not just to uptight classical guys who still have their v-plates.
#3
Just because your singer is holding a guitar doesnt meant he has to play it constantly.


Queens of the stone age - Go with the Flow, theres a rythym part overlaid by leads between lines of vocals

Taking back sunday - Miami, the chorus has an extra fill that really gives it character
#4
A few things: first, don't worry about the vocal melody being overshadowed. Most listeners can't really get anything out of a song other than the general drum beat (they'll ignore the fills), the vocal melody, the lyrics, and if you're reeeeealy clever in writing it a good riff. Vocal melody and lyrics are at the forefront in 99% of listener's minds for most bands, so it's not even worth worrying about.

You can seperate different instruments in the mix in several ways. The most obvious is to have each cover different sonic territory, ie-don't let the lead guitar play in the same pitch range that the singer is singing in. A less obvious solution that is more useful in studio than on stage (but can be applied there too) is to really play in stereo. Pan guitars and vocals away from one another in such a way that they seem to be physically seperated. This can make the two sound more competative with each other, but it will at least prevent them from getting in each other's way. Plan C--I'm sure you work hard to write these leads, but don't be afraid to turn the darn things down. Lots of bands make sure the vocals stand way out in front volume wise, and there's no harm in curtailing the lead guitar a bit so that vocals can stand out more.


Another thought ( I haven't heard your work so I can't say for sure) is that your lead lines are just too busy and need to be cleared out a bit. This is generally the cardinal sin of bass players--overplaying so that there's not enough open space in the mix, but plenty of guitar riffs can be written that way as well.

I hope you can pull at least something relevant from all that.
#5
Quote by dullsilver_mike
A few things: first, don't worry about the vocal melody being overshadowed. Most listeners can't really get anything out of a song other than the general drum beat (they'll ignore the fills), the vocal melody, the lyrics, and if you're reeeeealy clever in writing it a good riff. Vocal melody and lyrics are at the forefront in 99% of listener's minds for most bands, so it's not even worth worrying about.


Agree with this apart from the bold, perhaps 99% of mainstream listeners yes but vocal melodies mean close to squat for me as I don't write vocals into my music. Perhaps just me being a nipick though as maybe my lead could be classed as vocal melody?

One thing that hasn't been added is don't forget about dynamics, meaning if the singer is strumming under your solo, he doesn't need to be playing at the same volume you are. I know when i'm playing lead I do make a significant volume change on the rhythm so that you can just hear it. Decide which part is the focus in the different sections of your song and make that part stand out, rather than play everything with the same dynamics, that's all I can add though as I haven't noticed many problems with over crowding in my music (perhaps at times undercrowding)
#6
Quote by demonofthenight


Long ago, back when musicians were fat, balding and wore dresses, a couple of monks decided they would write a method on how to combine 2 completely individualised voices (parts or melodies in normal peoples speech). These rules still work today and classical composers have been using these rules to combine even more than 4 voices (I've seen 8 voice counterpoint methods, anyone seen more?).

I lol'd. Nice summary.

TS, If you want to add extra guitars, why not try harmonizing them? In 3rds etc. Theres a lesson on UG on harmonizing. Sounds nice.
#7
I've noticed this about a lot of bands lately, even the ones with just two guitars. They try to fit in all this crap to make it sound more "full," but what it really is doing is just covering up their lack of cohesion (that made it sound less full in the first place) and jumbling everything up more. I've always been strongly against it. TS you've got a lot of great advice in this thread, but if I were in that position, I would make sure that those cool riffs stay up front and keep complementing the vocals. Maybe you could get your third guitarist some pedals and make them play mostly just background effects.
We're only strays.
#8
Quote by Helpy Helperton
Agree with this apart from the bold, perhaps 99% of mainstream listeners yes but vocal melodies mean close to squat for me as I don't write vocals into my music. Perhaps just me being a nipick though as maybe my lead could be classed as vocal melody?

One thing that hasn't been added is don't forget about dynamics, meaning if the singer is strumming under your solo, he doesn't need to be playing at the same volume you are. I know when i'm playing lead I do make a significant volume change on the rhythm so that you can just hear it. Decide which part is the focus in the different sections of your song and make that part stand out, rather than play everything with the same dynamics, that's all I can add though as I haven't noticed many problems with over crowding in my music (perhaps at times undercrowding)


Your second paragraph is completely correct. However, I take issue with the first one. Unfortunately, it is true that vocals are damn near the only thing that matters to you average layperson. They do not, I repeat, DO NOT, give a flying crap about the clever intro riff that you threw on the song. They do not care about the superlative bass part that your bassist came up with. It is something that we have to accept as musicians - that 99% of the listening public cares about almost nothing other than vocals. Yes, we don't hear the songs that same way, but it is the simple truth. It took me a long time to learn this, but no matter how cool that guitar part on the verse is, if it's stepping on the vocal, TAKE IT OUT. Or turn it down considerably. There's a lot of ego swallowing to do here, but if you love you band, you will do it.
#9
Quote by Philbigtime
Unfortunately, it is true that vocals are damn near the only thing that matters to you average layperson. They do not, I repeat, DO NOT, give a flying crap about the clever intro riff that you threw on the song. They do not care about the superlative bass part that your bassist came up with. It is something that we have to accept as musicians - that 99% of the listening public cares about almost nothing other than vocals. Yes, we don't hear the songs that same way, but it is the simple truth. It took me a long time to learn this, but no matter how cool that guitar part on the verse is, if it's stepping on the vocal, TAKE IT OUT. Or turn it down considerably. There's a lot of ego swallowing to do here, but if you love you band, you will do it.


If there was a UG award for speaking the truth, you would win.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#12
Yes it does depend on the genre. I think the assumption, since we're talking about the 'average layperson' is that we are talking about the various genres within popular music. For progressive music, Jazz, and classical, it would be different.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#13
Quote by Chasepw133
Eh, I think it depends on the genre a bit, but mostly true.


Hardly, overcrowding is what it is, whether your playing Reggae or Death Metal! Obviously a reggae track seems far easier to fill with inanities that add to the texture, but in principle a song is always going to lose a sense of its harmonic and 'musical' movement if seasoned with unnecessary spices that might make it more repugnant than aromatic.

Ha, nothing like a synasthesic analogy for an irrelevant topic.


OKay, just imagine the Zephyr song (RHCP) with fully stereod, chorused, delay ridden tremolo picked root notes soaring above the rest of the song. Yeh, might sound breathless and almost quaint as a guitar part, but the very reason that kind of part isn't in the song is because its not needed. Sparsity of flavor in a song is as much a blessing in digesting song as it is a soup.

Hell, even The Mars Volta don't add parts in for the sake of it; as much as my friend tries to convince me otherwise.
Once We Were Anarchists
#14
Quote by Danny7
Hardly, overcrowding is what it is, whether your playing Reggae or Death Metal! Obviously a reggae track seems far easier to fill with inanities that add to the texture, but in principle a song is always going to lose a sense of its harmonic and 'musical' movement if seasoned with unnecessary spices that might make it more repugnant than aromatic.

Ha, nothing like a synasthesic analogy for an irrelevant topic.


OKay, just imagine the Zephyr song (RHCP) with fully stereod, chorused, delay ridden tremolo picked root notes soaring above the rest of the song. Yeh, might sound breathless and almost quaint as a guitar part, but the very reason that kind of part isn't in the song is because its not needed. Sparsity of flavor in a song is as much a blessing in digesting song as it is a soup.

Hell, even The Mars Volta don't add parts in for the sake of it; as much as my friend tries to convince me otherwise.


I'm not sure exactly what you thought I was referencing but it was to vocals being the main focus of 99% of listeners.
#15
Quote by axemanchris
If there was a UG award for speaking the truth, you would win.

CT


Thank you sir, that's why I do what I do.
#16
Quote by Danny7
Hardly, overcrowding is what it is, whether your playing Reggae or Death Metal! Obviously a reggae track seems far easier to fill with inanities that add to the texture, but in principle a song is always going to lose a sense of its harmonic and 'musical' movement if seasoned with unnecessary spices that might make it more repugnant than aromatic.
I disagree. You will never find an overcrowded song if the composer's good at counterpoint (these days, that means no-one). Look at some of rachmaninoffs or bach or stavinskys work, they sometimes have 8 independent melodys playing at once.
One of the goals of counterpoint was to avoid sounding crowded.
Quote by dullsilver_mike
A few things: first, don't worry about the vocal melody being overshadowed. Most listeners can't really get anything out of a song other than the general drum beat (they'll ignore the fills), the vocal melody, the lyrics, and if you're reeeeealy clever in writing it a good riff. Vocal melody and lyrics are at the forefront in 99% of listener's minds for most bands, so it's not even worth worrying about.
I also disagree. Good lyrics has emotive words (more than your ordinary adjectives and nouns) and metaphors and heaps of other lyrical devices. Pop music doesnt. The people I know that like pop music says it tells a "story," but the only story I can find is a story about how slutty the singer or how idiotic someone is.

It's not even melody they're interested in. Pop rap (as opposed to the earlier rap which was at least lyrical) doesnt even have a melody behind it, neither does some pop rnb (why is it RnB? theres a generic rhthym and no blues). And when pop music does have a vocal melody, its usually obnoxious or just badly written (before I get flamed, I actually like the occasional pop star's music, anyone remember the spice girls?).

So what do idiots like in music? Image.
If the singer is cool (or good looking), the listeners will feel cool by association. They dont care about music, they only care about status. Their friends listen to X pop music, so maybe they'll be cool if they listen to it too.

To be a successfull pop star you dont need good music. Hell, you dont even need music, you just need the backing of the media and the right image.

Honestly, dont conform to pop music. Dont try to impress anyone with your music. Dont even aim to write in a genre (lul d00d, i only ply br00tal deth me+@l lulz). You dont have an audience and even if you did, why should you write for them? Write for yourself. Write without any social constraints and only write what you feel, think and know sounds best.
#17
Quote by demonofthenight
I disagree. You will never find an overcrowded song if the composer's good at counterpoint (these days, that means no-one). Look at some of rachmaninoffs or bach or stavinskys work, they sometimes have 8 independent melodys playing at once.

One of the goals of counterpoint was to avoid sounding crowded.I also disagree. Good lyrics has emotive words (more than your ordinary adjectives and nouns) and metaphors and heaps of other lyrical devices. Pop music doesnt. The people I know that like pop music says it tells a "story," but the only story I can find is a story about how slutty the singer or how idiotic someone is.

It's not even melody they're interested in. Pop rap (as opposed to the earlier rap which was at least lyrical) doesnt even have a melody behind it, neither does some pop rnb (why is it RnB? theres a generic rhthym and no blues). And when pop music does have a vocal melody, its usually obnoxious or just badly written (before I get flamed, I actually like the occasional pop star's music, anyone remember the spice girls?).

So what do idiots like in music? Image.
If the singer is cool (or good looking), the listeners will feel cool by association. They dont care about music, they only care about status. Their friends listen to X pop music, so maybe they'll be cool if they listen to it too.

To be a successfull pop star you dont need good music. Hell, you dont even need music, you just need the backing of the media and the right image.

Honestly, dont conform to pop music. Dont try to impress anyone with your music. Dont even aim to write in a genre (lul d00d, i only ply br00tal deth me+@l lulz). You dont have an audience and even if you did, why should you write for them? Write for yourself. Write without any social constraints and only write what you feel, think and know sounds best.



That was my point; with the occasional inflectional vocal melody aside, most pop music is built around one nuclear idea, sectionally. I was trying to imply true musical density comes from innovative ideas not simply overdubbing unnecessarily.
Once We Were Anarchists
#19
Demonofthenight--I never claimed the lyrics were worth a damn, but I think including them along with basic drum beat and vocal melody (which make people dance and listen to them even when they don't care about lyrics) is safe. Have you ever heard a love song? They make up 50% of the stuff on the radio, 99 out of a100 times they have terrible lyrics, but people do still listen to those lyrics and pay attention to them. Hell check facebook, an instant messenger, or any other online thing that has a user status line--at any given time a quarter of your friends will have some crappy song lyric in that space because they do listen to the words often enough that I can count it as on par with drums and vocal melody.

I didn't say listeners pay attention to all of these things each time, I said these are the three things they tend to pay attention to. One or the other or the other might be listened to in different contexts.

I do agree with you about image, but I don't get the little sermon about pop audiences being stupid, and how artists should not care what audiences think. Music is for the people. If no one is listening, you're not making music.
#20
Quote by Philbigtime
dude, you like the Spice Girls?
Viva forever, I'll be waiting Everlasting, like the sun Live forever, For the moment Ever searching for the one

Come on, lyrically thats awesome, not your usual girls talking about their bootys or rich black guys talking about how life sucks. Great symbology. The fills are sweet (listen to the flamenco guitar in that song). The chord progression is sort of dull (listen to the string section). The vocal melodies arent bad.

Quote by dullsilver_mike
I do agree with you about image, but I don't get the little sermon about pop audiences being stupid, and how artists should not care what audiences think. Music is for the people. If no one is listening, you're not making music.
Thats just the thing, its ALL about image. The second someone with the right image starts making good music (rare), they become massive. Take the spice girls or the beatles or even britney spears (whoever writes her music is a damn genious), they became massive. But, mostly, pop stars will get number ones on the basis of their image.

Pop music fans are stupid. EDIT: I did say pop music fans are only teenage girls, I think even I disagree with that... But still, pop music fans generally listen to pop-music out of social conformity, lazyness or willingness to controlled by the media.

Music is completely egotistical. Ever seen the stereotype that rock guys are up themselves and classical composers are pretentious? Well its true. Anyone who's ever been infront of a largish crowd and felt that narcissistic high afterwords would agree with me.
The last record any of these guys released wasnt made for their fans, and if it was they would have "sold out" (couldnt think of a better term sorry) so as to make more fans. My theory is they're releasing records not for money or power, but for that feeling that they're sooo much better than us.
Last edited by demonofthenight at Oct 30, 2008,
#21
Quote by demon
But still, pop music fans generally listen to pop-music out of social conformity, lazyness or willingness to controlled by the media.
I listen to pop music because I can relate to it (like most music) the music sounds good and there is some interesting/creative aspect to most songs. I pretty much only listen to it on the radio though, so I have no idea what these people look like
My name is Andy
Quote by MudMartin
Only looking at music as math and theory, is like only looking at the love of your life as flesh and bone.

Swinging to the rhythm of the New World Order,
Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums
#22
Quote by Philbigtime
Your second paragraph is completely correct. However, I take issue with the first one. Unfortunately, it is true that vocals are damn near the only thing that matters to you average layperson. They do not, I repeat, DO NOT, give a flying crap about the clever intro riff that you threw on the song. They do not care about the superlative bass part that your bassist came up with. It is something that we have to accept as musicians - that 99% of the listening public cares about almost nothing other than vocals. Yes, we don't hear the songs that same way, but it is the simple truth. It took me a long time to learn this, but no matter how cool that guitar part on the verse is, if it's stepping on the vocal, TAKE IT OUT. Or turn it down considerably. There's a lot of ego swallowing to do here, but if you love you band, you will do it.


Well i don't see why your disagreeing with me, I said exactly what you are implying I didn't!. I said 99% of mainstream listeners do focus mostly on vocal melodies in a song. My point was though that 1% of mainstream listeners and perhaps 50% of musicians will care more about other parts of the song rather than vocals. Just my opinion, vocals are not everything in fact I believe they take something away from a lot of music, meanwhile add to others. Not everyone makes a band who have 1 bass player 2 guitarists a singer and a drummer, satch, Vai, Petrucci solo albums where is the vocal melody? You misunderstodd my point, again I agree 99% of average listeners care only for vocals (99% average listener doesn't constitute 99% of all listeners)