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  1. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    I've played/recorded for a few anal perfectionists, and it only reinforces my belief that perfect is the enemy of outstanding.
    Wouldn't put it quite that way myself, but I hear you.

    It's natural for an artist to want it perfect. Not anal at all, just goin' for it---striving.

    But it's a trap...

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  3. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Wow! Great line, CG! Here's my take: to strive for perfection but realize that a human being is playing . . . not a machine. Otherwise, why do we need musicians at all? However, for the record, based on Joel's previous conversations/dialogues, my impression is that he is striving to do what we all do in some way-- trying to be the best we can be. That IS required to be a good artist. Good playing . . . Marinero
    I mean I really care---not gonna put out some bulls%%t if it's my date. Working for someone else, you play by their rules---that's understood.

    'I just wanna be loved!! Is that so WROOOONG?----Jon Lovitz as Harvey Fierstein...

  4. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    Wouldn't put it quite that way myself, but I hear you.

    It's natural for an artist to want it perfect. Not anal at all, just goin' for it---striving.

    But it's a trap...
    The trap is when someone has perfection as the only option when it's so subjective. I mean when some guys reject everything, even some truly outstanding stuff, and keeps shooting for an unattainable perfection, then perfection is the enemy of great.

    I don't disagree on striving hard for the absolute best, but some guys have problems...guess what? They never actually end up releasing any work, because their standards are unrealistic....."oh, I can't release that, it didn't sound better than Wes".....get some therapy dude, everyone else thought it was perfectly outstanding...

    Each artist to their own vision, I suppose. I like my jazz to have some mistakes, because it shows that people are pushing beyond their limits. Most people don't even notice the mistakes, because jazz can turn mistakes into something great. Classical can't do that.

  5. #29
    I like mistakes too. Always have been suspicious of 'perfect' players---it sounds worked out. I like edge and f'ing up sometimes. That's way more exciting.

    But I still think of the studio as a giant pencil----with a giant eraser---on a solo project, especially, where you won't be strangled for using it...

  6. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    It doesn't sound like you read the OP, it's not about composing per se, it's about editing a recording.
    I did:

    Quote Originally Posted by joelf

    Editing = Composing

    Now that I've gotten your attention!:

    When I made my solo recording (over a long period---Bobby Lenti, my recorder/producer, and I started in '09) we ended up doing a lot of editing. I know the inclination is to say that that's not honest---have the balls to keep the flubs in. There's truth to that, but for this project I came to view it a whole other way. And I don't recommend this way for anything other than a solo project. You'll be called selfish and fussy---and rightfully. (Just hope no guns are involved!).

    What I found: making a recording isn't really that different than composing. You write and rewrite, and sometimes, for the betterment---the smoothness, feeling, character of the piece---you leave your best ideas on the cutting room floor. They belong in another piece, they're in a different harmonic or rhythmic language---any number of reasons. You have to attune your ear to self-editing b/c you want the best---the leanest and most representative---to be the final cut. So the board or computer becomes your eraser and pencil. I feel like the best improvisers have an innate sense of self-editing. They know when a solo should wind down, when repetition has begun to set in. I know there are longer solos now, and sometimes it takes a while to get in a zone. That works (or could work when it's not boring) best live. Disclosure: I'm on the tight side, and not really into playing long solos myself---but that also ties in with what I'm discussing here.

    The other exciting aspect to this is that you listen back and do get ideas. A solo project is the perfect laboratory. It's composing. So you record again. Sometimes you goof, but it's all in the game and part of the learning process.

    I think if I do another solo project the content will be way different, but I will take the exact approach. If possible, do it with a friend in a home studio and edit/compose.

    That's all I got. Let's hear your thoughts...
    It's possible you talk about arranging a guitar part. It's also possible you are searching for a melody in the material you have already recorded; That's kind of backwards compared to the old school process where you don't record until the piece is written.

    Before we move on, let's first reflect on the fact that composition, just like sculpting, architecture, choreography or any classic art is an "iterative process". This means we edit until we're happy. Most of us have learned the hard way that we have to stop editing. "Just finish it!" is the golden rule that keeps professionals from polishing a turd.

    Some of my all time favorite recordings are those made by Steely Dan in the 70s and early 80s. The recording sessions are notoriously famous for being extremely long (and expensive). Larry Carlton (session guitar player) claims that they went into the studio without having completed the writing and that he actually wrote some of the stuff while bringing structure to the table. (But he is not officially credited for writing any of those tunes as far as I know). Pink Floyd, Queen, 10cc and many, many other acts of the 70s produced world hits in a similar fashion. Maybe it all started with the Beatles in the 60s, where producer George Martin played a very important part in the success. Nobody works like this anymore. However, and this is important, every Beatles song got harmony, melody and structure. Even though some of it happened in the studio during the sessions, the guys knew how to write songs also outside the studio.
    Before any of those acts emerged, there was Miles Davis and his process of bringing a bunch of players together in the studio, then "Band writing" became all the hype for a while, when the guys locked themselves in a house on the countryside and didn't come out until the job was done.

    Now, the process of composing and the tools involved is a highly individual choice. There is more than one way to arrive at the destination. In modern pop song writing it's very common to use a hand held recorder (a smart phone for example) and record ideas, in the car, at the bus stop, when walking in the park or whenever the inspiration may come. When I was a kid, I used to record embryos and later use them as music building blocks to build a complete song. I think this is a very common approach today, using loops in a DAW.

    My thoughts (you asked for it); If you want to develop composition skills. Try not to use the DAW at all. Not until you have a solid structure, harmonies and melody. Skip the drum machine. (If everything falls apart without a drum beat the artistic musical value is low).

  7. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr quick
    ^Although, I did work in a sausage factory - now I know what goes into a good sausage and what to look for...!
    Since you mentioned it...what should I look for when buying sausage?

  8. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbler
    Since you mentioned it...what should I look for when buying sausage?
    Ha!

    BEHAVE YOURSELF!!?

  9. #33

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    i agree.

    my fave recordings are always 100% live--like taking a photo that's developed and printed at the drugstore....what you hear is what was played....a clear, accurate document of something real, not an artifice or a constructed simulation of reality.

    that said, when doing multirack demos of tunes/songs editing is key....edit EVERYTHING, if necessary...see if parts sound better when EQ'd differently than originally done...if a tune uses, say, five instruments, but still lacks sparkle, listen to it as a trio or quartet...or a duet or even a solo piece.

    all that said, my fave 'DIY multitracked home demos' tend to be those which resemble a group recorded live....i.e. each part that i played was a first take...those also tend to be the ones which require minimal or no EQ, as well as tending to 'mix themselves.'

  10. #34

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    i dont think there is any thing wrong with editing (if you can and want to do it) think of a painter (my wife) large landscapes modern oil, once started you can ( not me) can go back paint over i believe most painters, apart from Jason Pollock who throws one bucket of paint and thats it.

    Its funny how in many cases its a call a decision think back to how times we all have played a song or solo and the first time it just has tat vibe the fire as it were, and normally there is a little mistake. Well sometimes we go on and on, maybe perfecting but losing that magic.

    So back to Joel's question i think whatever you are comfortable with, i dont view as cheating at all. many of C. Parkers recording have flaws, it does not make them any less brilliant Bud Powells piano was forever out of tune, those things he could not fix,

    Hendrix would be forever fixing out of tune guitar solos, Jimi was great.

  11. #35

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    Well, if you're a writer you can edit anytime. If you're a painter you can scrape it off and do it again. But there seems to be this thing that a muso is supposed to do it perfect first time and anything else is 'cheating'.

    I say nonsense. In a public performance there's no choice but in a studio, where your performance is going down for posterity, I say cheat away and make it right. Why put out something sub-standard? Make it the best you can.

    Of course, if you can be brilliant first time, every time, than bravo. Good for you!

  12. #36

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    I suppose if you're a sculptor you're a bit stuffed. Damn, there goes my third 6' x 6' slab of marble!

  13. #37

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    When I recorded lute in studioard with some technical fault to more neutral but clean technically.
    this kind of vids have particualr goal - mostly general marketing the player or the instrument (luthier - as it was in my case). And unfortunately the demand of the general audience is not that subtle to hear the details but they will notice wrong shoes, wrong face, and some mistakes...


    But there is another point... Glenn Guld when he went to the studio work completely used to make final track from many takes - he even cut out separate phrases ... no need to say he did not make obvious mistakes technically...
    But he really treated the recording as part of the instrument... why not?

    I think there are two general approaches to recording
    1) conventional - when the player treats it as an imitation of live performance, so he know it is a compromise and just plays more or less as if he is playing in teh concert or for himself and the editing is mostly to increase that quality of live presence
    Old school players had 'gig mentality' (it is played and gone)

    2) those who consider the editing as part of the performance/ Thta also works but I think that then the editing should be really artistic - and subject to the same goals as the performer had

  14. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    I suppose if you're a sculptor you're a bit stuffed. Damn, there goes my third 6' x 6' slab of marble!
    yeah eventually you reach the point where you accidentally chip the arms off and you think bollocks, I can’t be arsed to start all over again.

    Editing = Composing-33ef1e91-fecd-4c51-823d-b8a5509a3989-jpg

  15. #39

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    "my fave recordings are always 100% live--like taking a photo that's developed and printed at the drugstore....what you hear is what was played....a clear, accurate document of something real, not an artifice or a constructed simulation of reality." Janepaints

    Hi, Jane,
    The magic of the recording studio has always seemed disingenuous to me. Live is real. Studio manipulation makes some very medicore players sound much better. I once went to a Liona Boyd(Classical guitar) concert in Chicago in the 90's. I liked her sound on recordings and wanted to hear her live. I was greatly disappointed since, live, she had a very weak, thin sound . . . little, if any, rubato, and her performance was quite pedestrian. What was real? The recording or the performance? Needless to say, there wouldn't be a second time. Good playing . . . Marinero

  16. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by JCat
    I did:



    It's possible you talk about arranging a guitar part. It's also possible you are searching for a melody in the material you have already recorded; That's kind of backwards compared to the old school process where you don't record until the piece is written.

    Before we move on, let's first reflect on the fact that composition, just like sculpting, architecture, choreography or any classic art is an "iterative process". This means we edit until we're happy. Most of us have learned the hard way that we have to stop editing. "Just finish it!" is the golden rule that keeps professionals from polishing a turd.

    Some of my all time favorite recordings are those made by Steely Dan in the 70s and early 80s. The recording sessions are notoriously famous for being extremely long (and expensive). Larry Carlton (session guitar player) claims that they went into the studio without having completed the writing and that he actually wrote some of the stuff while bringing structure to the table. (But he is not officially credited for writing any of those tunes as far as I know). Pink Floyd, Queen, 10cc and many, many other acts of the 70s produced world hits in a similar fashion. Maybe it all started with the Beatles in the 60s, where producer George Martin played a very important part in the success. Nobody works like this anymore. However, and this is important, every Beatles song got harmony, melody and structure. Even though some of it happened in the studio during the sessions, the guys knew how to write songs also outside the studio.
    Before any of those acts emerged, there was Miles Davis and his process of bringing a bunch of players together in the studio, then "Band writing" became all the hype for a while, when the guys locked themselves in a house on the countryside and didn't come out until the job was done.

    Now, the process of composing and the tools involved is a highly individual choice. There is more than one way to arrive at the destination. In modern pop song writing it's very common to use a hand held recorder (a smart phone for example) and record ideas, in the car, at the bus stop, when walking in the park or whenever the inspiration may come. When I was a kid, I used to record embryos and later use them as music building blocks to build a complete song. I think this is a very common approach today, using loops in a DAW.

    My thoughts (you asked for it); If you want to develop composition skills. Try not to use the DAW at all. Not until you have a solid structure, harmonies and melody. Skip the drum machine. (If everything falls apart without a drum beat the artistic musical value is low).
    All cool, but I wasn't talking about composing as such, but using composing as a metaphor for the interplay between the artist's (and, in my case, the producer/recorder's) active imagination and hearing playbacks. On my recording most was done off the top, in-studio---arranged or no. I had to fix some things, like when I realized I'd left out the verse to Baby, Won't You Please Come Home. Other things were cutting out what wasn't needed, like a little noodling at the ending of My Babe. It's editing, using the studio tools as you would an eraser or pencil. And it's composing in the same way that writing first, 2nd, etc. drafts is.

    And I did go out of my way to point out that this was a solo recording, recorded by a friend charging a very cheap rate, and the ground rules are way different when more musicians are involved. That's where all that stopping and adding or re-doing for your input would be selfish. Doing it for the total product is on the leader, and you quietly accede for the good of the project.

    *And, for the record, I do not use, or even have a DAW. I compose with a pencil---and like it just fine, thank you.

    Thank you all. Continue if you wish. I'm out...
    Last edited by joelf; 04-21-2020 at 04:17 PM.

  17. #41

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    Graham -


  18. #42

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    Well, Wes did god knows how many takes on some of his tunes and they only released some of them - you know, take 2, take 7, etc etc. Fussy bugger :-)

  19. #43

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    a prime exponent of editing was Frank Z. a master, taking stuff from live solos and pasting in on new material, genius like that, he himself was not a recording engineer per se, just highly creative, he did do a lot of stuff straight no overdubs editing, but he treated each thing as a work of art.

  20. #44

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    Heh. I'm about to finish a new thing. And needed to look up the cut %s of fees for composers & arrangers.
    And yeah, composer gets the pot and and arranger(s) get the scraps.
    The funny thing is composing this particular tune and chords took about 20 minutes. Arranging & editing this to make it sound good has taken weeks.
    Not that it's the first time. Seems that the initial composition often tends to take waaaaaay less work than to make it sound good.

  21. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu
    The funny thing is composing this particular tune and chords took about 20 minutes. Arranging & editing this to make it sound good has taken weeks.
    Not that it's the first time. Seems that the initial composition often tends to take waaaaaay less work than to make it sound good.
    Well, if it took 20 min to compose, I say it's unfinished business. Then obviously someone else would have to finish the job.

    ***
    Let's look at the entire project to produce a piece of music.

    Very old school composition

    Objective: A documented score that can be rehearsed and played back by an orchestra

    • Composing, including score writing
    • Orchestrating (assigning instruments to each part/voice)
    • Rehearsing
    • Performing live and/or capture the performance on record

    You know that some of the legendary GASB songs didn't have lyrics from the beginning. The music was in focus. Lyrics and vocals was added at later stage to accommodate Broadway requirements. Vocals is just a substitution for another instrument.

    Contemporary pop music production

    Objective: A recorded sound that can be played back on a media player.
    Target group: Teenagers. (Pop-music is per definition targeting teenagers. If not, it's not pop, maybe jazz or something)

    There is seldom a structured process, but typically looks something like this, often referred to as "production":

    • Singer song writing brain storming and recording of embryos /ideas
    • DAW playground
      • assigning some pattern for Bass and Drums
      • Playing around with MIDI synth plugs

    • Editing including recording of any analog instruments
    • Finalizing lyrics and recording of vocal parts
    • Mixing and Mastering

    The process is agile and highly iterative (not very structured). Work effort/ time required to complete a task varies for each project. Most of the time it's not possible to accurately reproduce the sound when played by an orchestra, so contemporary live performances often depend on prerecorded parts being played back on stage.
    Everybody is looking for a singer/songwriter that can strum a few chords and sing a few words that we can turn into gold using DAW production technology. When streaming music, very few people care about musicians playing real instruments. It's all about the vocalist and then some on bass/drums and overall soundscape.

    Conclusion


    You, people of the Jazz guitar forum, are a few of the last remaining musicians on this planet. Some of you can even play (!) and some of you can read and write music. Please, please, write music that can be played by other musicians. Focus on the music and ensure that other musicians could reproduce the music by playing real instruments. You don't need a DAW for that. But if you use the DAW for convenience, just make sure you leave the editing, mixing and mastering to someone else, so that you can focus on what you do best. You have to ask yourself; -are you playing a music instrument or are you playing the DAW?

    Your recorded improvised guitar solo is just a recorded sound. By editing, it's no longer improvised and you could ensure that nobody (including yourself) will ever be able to reproduce it. Even though a solo could be a nice feature part of a recorded tune and maybe even become legendary in the guitar community (improvised or not), it's not a composition per se. A "written" solo, is seldom written (just rehearsed and internalized). If it was in fact written, it would be possible for other musicians to play it and it would then form a part of the composition (but it wouldn't be improvised).
    If you feel that a solo typically contains too many short notes to be documented in writing, then it's probably not part of the composition other than empty space for a musician to improvise.

  22. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu
    .
    The funny thing is composing this particular tune and chords took about 20 minutes. .

    this can happen, but rarely does, it always takes a bit longer. people including myself tend to underestimate in terms of just minutes. i think what yoiu may mean is that the bulk or nucleus happened real fast.

    what has alwat interested me is Da Brubecks In your own sweet way took approx 30 mins to write. . fairly complex tune, lyrics by Iola Brubeck's wife came later also good.

    I have a lot Ton of compositions they all take considerably longer than 20 mins, Hours Days week. Bit yes arranging and edit always way longer.

  23. #47

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    I completely disagree with "You, people of the Jazz guitar forum, are a few of the last remaining musicians on this planet."

    Using a synth plugin can be easy but also could get insanely detailed work also. Picking & matching the sounds, making them work together also.
    There are plenty of people who take this very seriously. Although they might not play so skillfully, they are legit musicians, just more focused on other aspects of it.

    Having said that, the amount of crap is crazy huge thanks to today's simplicity of "music making".



  24. #48

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    I have to decide how much time I want to dedicate to playing synth plugs. Time I alternatively could use playing real instruments.

    Too many people today play the DAW, but can't play real instruments. That's the sad state of music production today. More time and money is invested in music technology rather than music talent.

    I sympathize with your sentiment
    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu

    the amount of crap is crazy huge thanks to today's simplicity of "music making".