ThoughtStorms Wiki

Context : MusicalStuff

See also : OnOriginalityAndIndividualityInMusic

Quora Answer : Why as a musical artist, could it beneficial to do music that angers music purists?

Apr 4, 2019

You'd have to figure out what "beneficial" means in terms of music.

Also, what you mean by "purist".

But yes, good music has been made which has certainly angered traditionalists.

This is a masterpiece :

But it was sure controversial at the time.

So you shouldn't be scared of angering traditionalists if you want to make good music.

OTOH, I don't know if just angering traditionalists is, itself, a sufficient strategy for making good music. Just breaking rules isn't vouchsafed to lead you anywhere interesting. And maximizing entropy by breaking all rules seems it will get you to somewhere where "everything sounds the same"

More importantly I wonder what "purist" means. A personally who is "purist" could be someone so dedicated to music that they love all of it. Including the wild experimental rule-breaking stuff.

So I'd suggest that you don't worry about "purists". Real music fans will recognise quality in any genre.

And don't worry about traditionalists. If they're upset with you, no problem. But don't go out of your way to antagonise them either. That won't necessarily buy you anything either.

Quora Answer : How will rock music influence the next music revolution?

Jun 29, 2020

RockMusic is part of the history of popular music.

Nothing much is going to evolve in future music that doesn't have rock (along with jazz) somewhere in its roots and its DNA.

But beyond that ... the zeitgeist has moved on.

I try to explain popular music in terms of technological eras. Where a new technology created the conditions for new musics. And you can largely understand the logic of a music in terms of its technology.

So ... my analysis of rock is that rock is mainly the result of electrical amplification.

Firstly, electrical amplification boosted the popularity of an instrument which was traditionally versatile but too quiet for most applications : the guitar. Once they could be electrically amplified to fill dancehalls and stadiums with sound, guitars could replace accordions and brass instruments in larger public shows. And guitars are instruments designed to accompany singers. So the focus of popular music shifted from dance (which is what jazz is) to songs.

Secondly, electrical amplification created an enormous new palette of sounds to be explored, from the colouring due to amplifiers and speaker cabinets, to distortion pedals and then other effects.

Rock is basically the music that comes from exploring what can be done with an amplified guitar-led combo. With effects pedals.

Well that territory is now very intensively explored. And we know most of what is possible.

What little exploration of the unknown and innovative play is left in amplified guitars seems to be going on in the furthest fringes of black metal (for extreme sonorities) and death metal (for prog complexities). I mean, you could, in principle, do these innovations elsewhere in rock, but for reasons, it seems to be metal kids who are actually doing them for fun, as part of a living youth culture.

And everything else in rock is basically retro. People in love with the old formula trying to breathe new life into it.

Since the era of amplification we've had an era I call "electronic control", whose technologies included sequencers, drum-machines, computers, samplers etc. And that's given us hip-hop, the whole lineage of EDM, and contemporary pop music.

We're now in an era I'm starting to call "liquid sound". Which is the impressive ability to manipulate digitally recorded sound. The most prominent example of "liquid sound" is "autotune". But you can think of time-stretching / pitch-shifting, sample-chopping tools etc. as the roots. The real idea in "liquid sound" is the way audio becomes something as flexible and easy to manipulate as MIDI data or a musical score; allowing all the transformations we can apply to scores to be applied to sound. We can take a recording of a singer, and change the melody. Or warp the timing of a recording from one rhythm to another.

The age of "electronic control" gave us "mechanical" or "robotic" music. And an ideal of machines. Techno is the great example of this.

In contrast, the age of "liquid sound" gives us an uncanny valley where the human and the machine blend together Everything is about warped, pitch-shifted, fragmented, multiplied and otherwise transformed human voices. Human voices that are impossible. Humans that are impossible, or super-human.

This is where the current "music revolution" is happening. In the exploration of the malleability and liquidity of sound, especially the human voice. I don't think that electrical amplification has much more to offer us in terms of musical consequence. And, perhaps more surprisingly, I don't think that electronic control has much more to offer in terms of musical consequences either. Which is why EDM is probably the end of techno and other electronic dance music being radical or revolutionary.

There is only so much loudness you can have before you go deaf. There is only so much continuous groove you can manage before you collapse from exhaustion.

Instead, the revolution today is autotune. How much we can warp and augment the sound of the human with liquid technologies? What kinds of "new" humans does this seem to give us?

The next technological revolution on the horizon is deep learning and using neural networks for everything in music. Where that will take us musically is still an open question. Possibly it will be even more terrifyingly radical.

But the liquid sound revolution is still in progress.

It's hard to see that rock has anything new to say to us. But to be fair, it had an incredible innings. Electrically amplified guitars already changed music. And those changes are now part of the heritage that popular music can and will draw on forever.

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