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Old 04-29-2014, 07:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
D-D-D-D-D-DROP THE BASS!
 
GuitarBizarre's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,633
Default How to tell the difference between crap shredding, and songwriting.

So I know a lot of people **** on shredders and technical players for playing without any feeling or songrwiting taking a back seat, but check this song out. Its a cover of Marco Sfogli. He plays a sick technical lead style with a whole bunch of tricks thrown in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=delMUM-kcAs

Listen to how he sets up contrast and development in the song. He's doing a ****ton of things to manage and pull/move the listener to where he wants them to be.

Here's a breakdown of moments in his songwriting that create and maintain contrast and motion to keep the listener interested.

00:00 - 00:14 - Synth lead, no backing. Full band hasn't arrived yet.


00:14 - 00:42 - Full band enters. Lead guitar part plays over a straight progression, phrasing helps to create contrast, but ultimately he's playing a lead line over the same backing for 3 repeats


00:42 - 00:51 - He begins to back off on the lead phrasing and adopt a more laid back, slightly outside feel, in preparation for the next section, contextualising it and bringing the difference in the backing to the forefront.


00:51: 01:11 - Backing track changes. Rythm guitars become more pronounced and the lead playing feeds into a more conventional chorus structure - the lines here are the hook of the song and are composed not to do anything fancy technically, but to ensure the listener has a point of reference from which Marco can then make them compare these lines to his more technical playing later in the song.


01:11 - 01:20 - Bringing back more technicality and reintroducing the initial backing, which he then subverts by entering the next section


01:20 - 01:29 - Sliding arpeggio idea starts appearing, and breaks from the thus far established pattern of phrasing and moves up the neck as a form of motive idea, rather than a lead line. This part is based less on the relationship between the scale's tones and steps, and more on the shifting effect of this broken arpeggio. Presto, lead contrast over a static backing track!


01:29 - 01:48 - Honestly, this is just more lead playing, but he DOES start to make greater use of pick attack and still retains some of the sliding feel introduced in the previous section. I'm sure harmonically and in relation to the chords what he's doing is very complex, but I'm not sure if that was a "composed" decision or just based on feel. Either way, well done.


01:48 - 02:07 - Return of the chorus. Again, backing track contrast and a reiteration of contextualising, but simpler, lead lines (With some interest thrown in this time)


02:07 - 2:18 HUGE arpeggio/legato section, played on the neck pickup to be as fluid as possible and, again, create a sense of motion - this time though the increased tempo and the closer structure of the notes means the motion is more intense and heightened in importance.


02:18 - 02:24 - Brief reprise of the chorus idea in order to bring the listener back down to ground - This is important! It prevents the listener from being bored by the next section, and creates a real surprise when it comes in and is completely different to the previous bars.


02:24 - 02:41 - MASSIVE arpeggiated solo section, again, the fluidity of technique and tone is the centerpiece here, but listen to the backing - It's become a powerchord vamp at a faster pace than at any previous point, and the articulation is very staccato - this really sets off the fluid lead line without overshadowing it - it drives home just how smooth this guy's playing really is.


02:41 - 02:54 - Return to normal lead ideas to end the solo, but with a wide range of articulation tricks to break up the ideas.


02:54 - 03:08 - Harmonized lead part breaks up the solo, leading into a new repeated phrasing that, again, meshes with the big synth hits in the backing to really hit hard on the downbeats.


03:08 - 03:18 - ridiculous but constrast-light tremolo picking section while the synth hits continue, keeping up intensity while providing the listener a brief respite from following all these chord changes and lead articulations


03:18 - 03:26 - Massive lead breakdown into screaming wholetone bend, to prepare for...


03:26 - 03:42 - The sick keyboard solo! Note that the guitar hasn't switched from it's lead tone, but has become reinforcement for the backing part to PREVENT THE SONG'S INTENSITY FROM FADING, while not overshadowing the new lead.


03:42 - 03:50 - Again, a lead line with little actually going on but a huge amount of contextual relevance - This gives the listener something to hold onto before the next section of ridiculously technical playing, preventing listener oversaturation and retaining musicality instead of just shredding endlessly. This is well composed, non-improvised lead writing.


03:50 - 04:00 - More lead playing, but the backing track towards the end of this section breaks down and moves to a thinner timbre, softening listener fatigue during the next section. Note how much of this guy's songwriting is dedicated to making sure the listener isn't just being hit in the face with a constant barrage of what he thinks is cool to play! He's making a real effort not to kill his audience and turn them off.


04:00 - 04:19- Chord playing over the thinner backing track, releasing the tracks tension completely before returning to...


04:19 - 05:36 - That main chorus idea again! Now the listener can come back to the track and get into this section without it blending into everything else. This is repeated with interest thrown in for a decent chunk of time before heading into a final, less intense but still very well phrased solo.


05:36 - 06:12 - This solo is just a solo, there's not much to say about it other than he makes sure to keep the variety going in terms of lead styles - note how hard he has to work to do this while the backing track isn't changing. He's really having to go through the whole range of articulations and phrasings to stop the listener getting bored, and really, it still comes off as having less energy than the previous sections where the backing track meshed with the lead more. That's not bad, keeping that intensity to this point would just make the song an exercise in wankery and excess, but it's an important thing to note about lead writing.


06:12 - 06:30 - He ends the song on a broken arpeggio idea to avoid, presumably, the cliche of ending on a huge bend or powerchord. Nice writing!
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Old 04-30-2014, 02:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuitarBizarre View Post
So I know a lot of people **** on shredders and technical players for playing without any feeling or songrwiting taking a back seat, but check this song out. Its a cover of Marco Sfogli. He plays a sick technical lead style with a whole bunch of tricks thrown in.

(there was a URL here)

Listen to how he sets up contrast and development in the song. He's doing a ****ton of things to manage and pull/move the listener to where he wants them to be.

Here's a breakdown of moments in his songwriting that create and maintain contrast and motion to keep the listener interested.

00:00 - 00:14 - Synth lead, no backing. Full band hasn't arrived yet.


00:14 - 00:42 - Full band enters. Lead guitar part plays over a straight progression, phrasing helps to create contrast, but ultimately he's playing a lead line over the same backing for 3 repeats


00:42 - 00:51 - He begins to back off on the lead phrasing and adopt a more laid back, slightly outside feel, in preparation for the next section, contextualising it and bringing the difference in the backing to the forefront.


00:51: 01:11 - Backing track changes. Rythm guitars become more pronounced and the lead playing feeds into a more conventional chorus structure - the lines here are the hook of the song and are composed not to do anything fancy technically, but to ensure the listener has a point of reference from which Marco can then make them compare these lines to his more technical playing later in the song.


01:11 - 01:20 - Bringing back more technicality and reintroducing the initial backing, which he then subverts by entering the next section


01:20 - 01:29 - Sliding arpeggio idea starts appearing, and breaks from the thus far established pattern of phrasing and moves up the neck as a form of motive idea, rather than a lead line. This part is based less on the relationship between the scale's tones and steps, and more on the shifting effect of this broken arpeggio. Presto, lead contrast over a static backing track!


01:29 - 01:48 - Honestly, this is just more lead playing, but he DOES start to make greater use of pick attack and still retains some of the sliding feel introduced in the previous section. I'm sure harmonically and in relation to the chords what he's doing is very complex, but I'm not sure if that was a "composed" decision or just based on feel. Either way, well done.


01:48 - 02:07 - Return of the chorus. Again, backing track contrast and a reiteration of contextualising, but simpler, lead lines (With some interest thrown in this time)


02:07 - 2:18 HUGE arpeggio/legato section, played on the neck pickup to be as fluid as possible and, again, create a sense of motion - this time though the increased tempo and the closer structure of the notes means the motion is more intense and heightened in importance.


02:18 - 02:24 - Brief reprise of the chorus idea in order to bring the listener back down to ground - This is important! It prevents the listener from being bored by the next section, and creates a real surprise when it comes in and is completely different to the previous bars.


02:24 - 02:41 - MASSIVE arpeggiated solo section, again, the fluidity of technique and tone is the centerpiece here, but listen to the backing - It's become a powerchord vamp at a faster pace than at any previous point, and the articulation is very staccato - this really sets off the fluid lead line without overshadowing it - it drives home just how smooth this guy's playing really is.


02:41 - 02:54 - Return to normal lead ideas to end the solo, but with a wide range of articulation tricks to break up the ideas.


02:54 - 03:08 - Harmonized lead part breaks up the solo, leading into a new repeated phrasing that, again, meshes with the big synth hits in the backing to really hit hard on the downbeats.


03:08 - 03:18 - ridiculous but constrast-light tremolo picking section while the synth hits continue, keeping up intensity while providing the listener a brief respite from following all these chord changes and lead articulations


03:18 - 03:26 - Massive lead breakdown into screaming wholetone bend, to prepare for...


03:26 - 03:42 - The sick keyboard solo! Note that the guitar hasn't switched from it's lead tone, but has become reinforcement for the backing part to PREVENT THE SONG'S INTENSITY FROM FADING, while not overshadowing the new lead.


03:42 - 03:50 - Again, a lead line with little actually going on but a huge amount of contextual relevance - This gives the listener something to hold onto before the next section of ridiculously technical playing, preventing listener oversaturation and retaining musicality instead of just shredding endlessly. This is well composed, non-improvised lead writing.


03:50 - 04:00 - More lead playing, but the backing track towards the end of this section breaks down and moves to a thinner timbre, softening listener fatigue during the next section. Note how much of this guy's songwriting is dedicated to making sure the listener isn't just being hit in the face with a constant barrage of what he thinks is cool to play! He's making a real effort not to kill his audience and turn them off.


04:00 - 04:19- Chord playing over the thinner backing track, releasing the tracks tension completely before returning to...


04:19 - 05:36 - That main chorus idea again! Now the listener can come back to the track and get into this section without it blending into everything else. This is repeated with interest thrown in for a decent chunk of time before heading into a final, less intense but still very well phrased solo.


05:36 - 06:12 - This solo is just a solo, there's not much to say about it other than he makes sure to keep the variety going in terms of lead styles - note how hard he has to work to do this while the backing track isn't changing. He's really having to go through the whole range of articulations and phrasings to stop the listener getting bored, and really, it still comes off as having less energy than the previous sections where the backing track meshed with the lead more. That's not bad, keeping that intensity to this point would just make the song an exercise in wankery and excess, but it's an important thing to note about lead writing.


06:12 - 06:30 - He ends the song on a broken arpeggio idea to avoid, presumably, the cliche of ending on a huge bend or powerchord. Nice writing!
I think you just simply haven't used the DAW correctly. Try switching it to different MIDI inputs.
If that fails, try BUSing it to a different BUS. This will create an auxiliary port.
Hope I helped!
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