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Old 10-02-2010, 05:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Importance of Technical Skill

How much do you care about musicians' instrumental skills? Do you think virtuosity makes for good music, or that it hurts songwriting?

(this topic might need to be articulated better)
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Old 10-02-2010, 05:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Much akin to minimalism, if done with the intent of creating some powerful, it very well might be a good thing.

Jazz, for example, can feature insanely proficient musicians. John Coltrane is near John Petrucci in terms of 'Hey why not just solo right here right now?'. But Coltrane's playing is a spiritual experience; the way he plays saxophone is very pronounced and upfront, and he completely steals the show for every note he plays. Even in his most "Why is he soloing for no reason?" moments, he manages to provide you with some sort of intrigue.
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Old 10-02-2010, 05:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Genres that require extreme skill; like good math rock, usually have a blend of catchy songwriting and complexity. Though, some metal I've heard gives up good songwriting for "LOL BR00TAL SOLOZ" just to be louder and faster than thou. Al you need is a good balance, and a great band can come out of it.
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Old 10-02-2010, 06:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I imagine it this way:

Technical songwriting is not necessarily vital. However, when used right, it can make songs significantly more interesting. Creativity is what makes good songs, that and flavor.

If this were painting, creativity and flavor are the color and intensity of the paints.

However, Technical Skill is the canvas. The more skill you, and the musicians around you, have the more you can conceivably do in order to make a broader more powerful picture. Doesn't mean your picture will be pretty, though.

Sometimes technical bands can be the most boring thing if they just repeat mundane formulas in order to keep "focus", and/or accessibility(From what I've heard, Dreamtheater, imo. No offense.). On the other side of the coin, some of the less technically skilled bands are able to experiment and find solutions of creating sound(I honestly think the Beatles are a prime example of this. Not that they weren't skilled but not really virtuosos yet revolutionary when it came to studio production.).

Then again the absolute best bands for me are the ones that have amazing technical skill but also utilize it to paint vast colorful landscapes(my favorite band, Magma).

As for it hurting songwriting... I don't really like the modern concept of songwriting. Just feels like a thinly veiled term for high accessibility which feels often like a thinly veiled term for mass appeal. Which, as somebody who sees music as an art form not a commodity, means absolutely nothing to me.
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Old 10-02-2010, 06:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayvan Cowboy View Post
Genres that require extreme skill; like good math rock, usually have a blend of catchy songwriting and complexity. Though, some metal I've heard gives up good songwriting for "LOL BR00TAL SOLOZ" just to be louder and faster than thou. Al you need is a good balance, and a great band can come out of it.
You should checkout Voivod and change your mind
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Old 10-02-2010, 06:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackhammer View Post
You should checkout Voivod and change your mind
I didn't say all metal

but yeah, what album should I start out with? I want to further my my metal knowledge.
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Old 10-02-2010, 07:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayvan Cowboy View Post
I didn't say all metal

but yeah, what album should I start out with? I want to further my my metal knowledge.
Obviously Voivod and start early with the Dimension Hatross album:

This is 1987 and no one knew how to take this approach from this band but there is so much going on:

You will either love this or hate it. I Think they are frigging awesome myself:


Who said that Metal was predictable?
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Old 10-02-2010, 08:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Nope! As long as I feel a response from the music, then I'm fine.
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Old 10-02-2010, 09:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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To me, the songwriting aspect is far more important than the technical aspect. To quote a phrase, "The most important part of music is what isn't in the notes." Don't get me wrong, I love hearing talented musicians just as well, too, but if their songwriting doesn't do much for me, then I'm not going to be a fan of the band.

My best example for this is probably Rush, and oh dear God, I am jumping into the fireplace talking about Rush, I'm sure. Can I respect their instrumental virtuosity? Sure. But they just don't seem to flesh the actual meat of their songs out enough for me, instead preferring to cover up the lack of song with flashy instrumental pyrotechnics, so on the whole, I'm not a Rush fan, though I do enjoy some of their material from time to time. Rush fans, please do not tear my face off
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Old 10-02-2010, 10:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonny Redshirt View Post
To me, the songwriting aspect is far more important than the technical aspect. To quote a phrase, "The most important part of music is what isn't in the notes." Don't get me wrong, I love hearing talented musicians just as well, too, but if their songwriting doesn't do much for me, then I'm not going to be a fan of the band.

My best example for this is probably Rush, and oh dear God, I am jumping into the fireplace talking about Rush, I'm sure. Can I respect their instrumental virtuosity? Sure. But they just don't seem to flesh the actual meat of their songs out enough for me, instead preferring to cover up the lack of song with flashy instrumental pyrotechnics, so on the whole, I'm not a Rush fan, though I do enjoy some of their material from time to time. Rush fans, please do not tear my face off
You are so right. Rush's songs just aren't good.

I think some people known for how technically talented they are, can't write good songs. The most skilled singers usually make bad music. Celine Dion comes to mind. The most technically skilled guitarists often make bad music too. Here's a band Michael Angelo Batio (considered one of the best shredders ever) was in called Nitro:



LOL
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Last edited by fritter; 10-02-2010 at 10:16 PM.
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