Music has been a part of the Earth / 3D experience for a VERY long time. It could be said that “Nature” itself was the first “Orchestra”… the first playing of “sounds”, which, in turn, activated various Moods, Memories and Actions within the various Beings scattered around this amazing blue ball. Water droplets creating multi-textured Rhythms… The sonic variety of the Wind moving through the Leaves, Caves and other timbre-inspiring objects… all contribute to the character we’ve all come to know as Nature’s songs.
When “Humans” began creating Music, they mostly picked-up “Acoustic” or “Synthetic” instruments. Think about it… A non-electric guitar is an “Acoustic” instrument. An electronic Synthesizer is a “Synthetic” instrument. Wind moving through the Leaves of a Tree and Water bubbling in a Brook are “Organic” instruments.
As Music evolved, Humans continued to experiment with various Styles of Music and, for “me”, these boil-down to the following groupings (generally speaking):
- Music that’s fun to Sing or Whistle to — “Melodic Music”
- Music which makes your body want to move — “Dance Music”
- Music which is fun to Perform — “Participation Music”
- Music which engages your Logical mind — Baroque, Classical and some Contemporary Music
- Music which was created simply by the idea of “look what “I” can do” — “Clever Music”
- Music which is relaxing, soothing. Music which fills the ambient space around us with the comforting feeling of getting into that calm, restful feeling. — “Ambient Music”
As music-gear-technology evolved, Human Society has been gifted with some very powerful, very flexible Music-creation tools. These days, the simple Piano, Flute, Xylophone, Tuba, etc. can produce any type of sound. In fact, electronic Synthesizers can be Patched (setup) so they not only create “Music” without any Human interaction but that “Music” can also evolve (change) over Time AND it can have all the subtleties as though a “Human” were really “playing” it. However, this “ease of Music-creation at our fingertips”, means ANYONE can create interesting Music. Today, even the family dog can create a musical masterpiece.
…and this is where our world is today… over-saturated with “Music”. Some “good”. Some “not so good”. Some of it is “bad”, but it makes it to the popular Listening Posts (radio, social media, etc.) Some of it is “absolutely great” but no one ever hears it.
In the “old days”, there were “Talent Scouts” — people who would travel the country looking for talented people — Singers, Actors, Musicians, etc. If someone was exceptional, that company would bring them in for an Audition. If they “had what it takes”, they were “usually” Signed to a Movie or Record company. If they “mostly” had what it takes, they may still be Signed but would be given some additional training, where they were lacking.
Today, however, the Music Industry is being crushed by the shear number of “new Songs” they receive every day. According to the information at the link at the bottom of this article, Music-site “Spotify” adds over 20,000 Songs to its Site each day!!! Not “20”. Not” 200″… but TWENTY THOUSAND Songs!!! For a Musician or Song-Writer, this is very depressing. As you can see, even the major Record Producers have a difficult time getting their Artist’s Songs heard by the masses.
So how does the “little guy” compete? How does ANYONE get their Music into the right places, so it will be “heard” and then, maybe, “purchased”? Although I don’t have an answer for this, it’s always a good idea to “follow your Heart” because, if you’re in the Music business for the “money”, you may want to find another career. As you can see, even if you’re the next “Elvis” or “Adele”, today’s society is currently overwhelmed with Music.
FIND YOUR OWN VOICE
Being a Drummer and Synthesist, I do my best to look into new Music-Gear announcements, instrument techniques, etc. I’ve seen a lot of articles and videos on “how to create “that sound” in your favorite Song” or “how to play like your favorite Artist”, etc. At the same time, society tells us that the Musicians and Songs, which “get noticed” or even “go viral” are the ones that “find their own style”. So which is it?… Are we expected to sound like everyone else who came before us or are we supposed to follow our own Path?
When I was growing up, hearing those (now) old Rock Classics, I never thought:
- “When I grow-up, I want to sound just like that.”
No. Instead, I thought:
- “I’m going to have a Number One Song some day.” or
- “I’m going to play in a successful Band some day.” or
- “I’m going to be a Musician who’s so different, and creates such interesting Songs, that everyone will want to buy my Music.”
…but I never imagined that “copying” another Musician or their Songs would be my “goal”… my “pinnacle”. I always wanted to create my owns Songs… to tell the world “my” message. To make a statement.
MAKE YOUR POINT AND MOVE ON
So, if you ever get the opportunity of creating a piece of Music, please GIVE IT A VOICE… make it say something. Time and again, when Sylvia and I are in Public Areas we hear Music which is “sonically” (melodically and harmonically) un-interesting AND the Lyrics will usually repeat… for EVER. In our opinion, if your Guitar Lick or Piano improvisation repeats more than 4 times, you’re not being creative and you’ve lost the very short attention span of your Listeners… AND if your Lyrics repeat more then 4 times in a row, then you’ve lost your message — if your Song ever had one.
- Let’s say you and your friends go to a restaurant you’ve never been to. You place your order and it turns out that the entire experience was WAY over the top. You now have a new “favorite meal” and can’t wait to get back there again. You can’t stop talking about it.
- Let’s say you get a bonus at work and decide to go back to that restaurant for your “favorite meal” every day. By the end of the 10th day, your feeling about that Dish is: “Well, it’s ok.” (It’s no long SO GREAT that you can’t live without it.)
So, repeating an element of a Song is similar. Yes, you’re trying to make a point with your Lyrics or Performance but you don’t have to beat your Listeners over the head with an idea.
There’s a Saying:
- “Less is more”
However, this isn’t telling you to use fewer words that are “different” from each other. It means select each word carefully and allow each to contribute to the overall listening experience — your message. Think of the Notes you select for your Composition and the Words you choose for your Lyrics as the ingredients of a very tasteful meal… too few “interesting Notes” and your Words won’t be supported by the Music. Too many repeated Words will sour the taste of that great Guitar or Piano solo we just heard.
LET THE MUSIC GUIDE YOU
I’m not saying you shouldn’t play “Cover Tunes”. Sometimes it can feel good to Perform a Song which was created by someone else. It can stir some good memories inside you or help you, as a Musician, make a little more money.
So what I’m saying is… listen to the Music. As you’re sculpting your Song, listen carefully to what “IT” wants and needs… and pay attention to your own Feelings and Memories, as your Song comes to life. Allow your Song to guide you. If you want to test this, the next time you create a Song, make two of them. With the first one, listen to the Song and let it influence which Words, Notes, Rhythms and Textures you sprinkle into it… and keep your Logical Mind out of it. With the 2nd Song, let your Logical / Clever Mind loose. When both Songs are finished, play them for your family and friends. Don’t tell them how you created them. You may even tell them “someone else” created them. Just to get their honest reactions.
Here’s the link to the Spotify statistics: