Music Poduction and Kantian Ethics (lol)

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Chizmata
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Post 11 Jan 2016

so, i've ran into this phenomenon i've tried to explain to myself.

when i see YouTube videos of people producing and talking about it, i've noticed the kinda superficial way they talk about certain elements. like "i have this loop and gonna add a shaker to the offbeat to achieve effect X", drag it in and done. Or " let me add this drumloop to support Y", etc.. I dont really follow this attitude of using any sound just to support something else. if i make a shaker, i pay attention to the shaker, not the stuff surrounding it. of course i still have an idea what it should do and how it relates to the rest, but it is still not just an addition to a broader picture of sound to me, but has it's own identity.

i think this matter cannot simply be described by saying "i think people dont shape their shakers enough". So a paralell from philosopher Immanuel Kant came to my mind. In his ethics, he says "never treat a human being as a means to an end only, but always as an end in itself". and i guess thats how i like to treat my shakers :), as an end in themselves, even though they do relate to the rest and may act supportive, but their supportivenss is just a side product of their own identity and not their actual identity. i think many other people dont make music like that, and i dont like that :D. What do you think?

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normen
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Post 11 Jan 2016

No, I think how the instruments work together is of paramount importance, thats why arranging is considered a separate step in music production. Focusing on the sound (and notation) of one instrument completely isolated is pretty much nonsense imo.

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Chizmata
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Post 11 Jan 2016

normen wrote:No, I think how the instruments work together is of paramount importance, thats why arranging is considered a separate step in music production. Focusing on the sound (and notation) of one instrument completely isolated is pretty much nonsense imo.
Isolation is the wrong word. the element shall sound good in relation to the others but also be its own thing which could be without them or in a different context.

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normen
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Post 11 Jan 2016

Chizmata wrote:Isolation is the wrong word. the element shall sound good in relation to the others but also be its own thing which could be without them or in a different context.
Yeah, no ^^ For me music really starts in the "together" and what you say should always be subordinate to that imo. One note bass lines, instruments in an orchestra that are indistinguishable because they only fill some frequencies for others, strange melody lines that only make sense in the full harmonies of a chorus, Slash and Izzy playing guitar lines that together sound like one guitar, Keith Richards and Ron Wood together sounding like they can actually play guitar, I could go on and on. I get what you say and sure some music depends on one part taking the lead, sure they should sound at least proper when isolated but the together is where its at.

But hey, I'm sure lots of great music has been made according to your paradigm and who am I to say how people should create their music.:)

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Chizmata
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Post 11 Jan 2016

normen wrote:
Chizmata wrote:Isolation is the wrong word. the element shall sound good in relation to the others but also be its own thing which could be without them or in a different context.
Yeah, no ^^ For me music really starts in the "together" and what you say should always be subordinate to that imo. One note bass lines, instruments in an orchestra that are indistinguishable because they only fill some frequencies for others, strange melody lines that only make sense in the full harmonies of a chorus, Slash and Izzy playing guitar lines that together sound like one guitar, Keith Richards and Ron Wood together sounding like they can actually play guitar, I could go on and on. I get what you say and sure some music depends on one part taking the lead, sure they should sound at least proper when isolated but the together is where its at.

But hey, I'm sure lots of great music has been made according to your paradigm and who am I to say how people should create their music.:)
haha well i obviously made this thread to discuss. of course you might think "hey, when you never hear a sound except as support, why flesh out ist standalone identity?" - and you would be right. but then its also a matter of approach. i like a "reduce to the max" approach, in which single elements can act supportive in the chorus but also be explored as strong standalones in other parts. Or they can even act as rhythmic/tonal foundation for a new instrument, a foundation that relates Chorus A to Chorus B even though they dont play together. you can especially benefit from strong single elements if you use a subtractive method to structure your song, so that reduced sound combinations dont sound lackey.

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Vince-Noir-99
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Post 11 Jan 2016

If I understand correctly, what you are referring to is the disk jokey approach to music making [or, if to give what is nowadays called a dj more dignity, a composer of 'sound objects' (see musique concrète) and not a composer of notes]. I suppose in this approach, the modern digital composer's work consists in making a collage of samples that must work well together, and as a way to make their craft more personal and original, they try and avoid including a sound object in their sessions as it is. Therefore they will tweak it somehow (chopping, layering, fx..). I also imagine this makes their work more meaningful and less feeling as a 'cheat', especially if you talk about loops.

As far as I know, amongst producers, there is more prestige in sound manipulation techniques, rather than harmonic progressions or song structure, for example. This seems to be the natural evolution of trends, including the democratisation of music technology, allowing the layman to 'play' with pro software and get something cool out of it, without necessarily much theoretical awareness. (I do not criticise this, just reporting facts)

Regarding your parallel. Again, if I interpreted right, the modern digital composer sees the sound object and its timbre or 'vibe' (loop, one-shot, preset...) as a mean to something else, which in most cases isn't completely planned. A traditional composer sees a musical instrument (a voice) and its part (melody or motif) as the end, and the arrangement/orchestration happens later, around it, and in support of that motif.
...I'm just thinking out loud.. not speaking objectively at all.
It's a vast topic of controversy, but very interesting nevertheless.

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Chizmata
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Post 11 Jan 2016

Vince-Noir-99 wrote: Regarding your parallel. Again, if I interpreted right, the modern digital composer sees the sound object and its timbre or 'vibe' (loop, one-shot, preset...) as a mean to something else, which in most cases isn't completely planned. A traditional composer sees a musical instrument (a voice) and its part (melody or motif) as the end, and the arrangement/orchestration happens later, around it, and in support of that motif.
...I'm just thinking out loud.. not speaking objectively at all.
It's a vast topic of controversy, but very interesting nevertheless.
quite right. i want my shaker to be "that shaker", not "that thing that makes something else sound fatter but sounds shit on its own" in the first place. but thats not only a matter of sound shaping, it includes everything an element can have: sound, tonality, rhythm, progression, whatever you can think of. it is not necessarily an alternative to layering, but should in any case be its foundation. like, if you end your chorus by just removing strong elements, the listener will be baffled what kind of fat beats have been driving it from below all the time. he may notice how percussion elements that were there before, but only in a supportive context, now drive the track in a whole different, but not less amazing way. to me this gives a song musical coherency and actual exploration of its different elements.

in the end, a composition is the together of many "standalone" elements, which happen to work together as well as alone. working alone does not mean they have to be a main element, it can also be a background noise which just sounds really awesome on its own and could actually be explored in a drone track, movie soundtrack or sth.
Last edited by Chizmata on 11 Jan 2016, edited 1 time in total.

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avasopht
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Post 11 Jan 2016

Everything is the whole. If you are presenting a single sound then that single sound is the whole, in which case you focus purely on that whole.

In a track however the sound becomes the part, and as such is best viewed in relation to everything else. Note that when mixing you will tend to find that in the best mixes individual sounds are quite thin, and trying to make them all thick results in a terrible mix.

Of course it's all about how you prefer to conceptualize your creative process to create the end result. Do you feel you're achieving what you seek? Maybe what you prefer suits the style of music you are creating.
---

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Chizmata
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Post 11 Jan 2016

avasopht wrote:Everything is the whole. If you are presenting a single sound then that single sound is the whole, in which case you focus purely on that whole.

In a track however the sound becomes the part, and as such is best viewed in relation to everything else. Note that when mixing you will tend to find that in the best mixes individual sounds are quite thin, and trying to make them all thick results in a terrible mix.

Of course it's all about how you prefer to conceptualize your creative process to create the end result. Do you feel you're achieving what you seek? Maybe what you prefer suits the style of music you are creating.
i think the post i just added above covers that

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CaliforniaBurrito
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Post 11 Jan 2016

47
Last edited by CaliforniaBurrito on 16 Jan 2016, edited 1 time in total.

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philosurfer
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Post 15 Jan 2016

Context is everything. #micDrop

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