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Old 03-11-2012, 03:28 PM   #71 (permalink)
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Here's my beef with that angle. Let's say you're realm is the visual arts. You've dedicated years of your life to learn to paint. Then some kid shows up, snaps a digital photo of a scene you've been working on, spends a few hours in Photoshop running filters over the image and then VOILA! their end result looks like a painting. Is that person an actual artist or just an image manipulator?

That's the thing that seems to be lacking for me. A lot of people arguing that angle seem to put musical instruments on the same level as the computer - it's just a tool the musician uses. Which, on one level is completely true and accurate. On another it's complete wrong. There is no other purpose for a piano, guitar, drums, etc to exist other than to make music. That's why they were invented. The computer, not so much.

I guess that's really my main beef with computer / non computer musicians. If you've never actually learned a musical instrument I can't bring myself to call you an actual musician. The computer is NOT a musical instrument.
As a person who actually is a professional in the field of visual arts, I have a couple of issues with the comparison you're making here. The first, as has already been pointed out, is that photography is a well established and respected medium of visual art. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who has studied art academically who doesn't consider photography to be art. Secondly, there is no Photoshop filter in existence that can replicate all the nuances of an actual painting. The only way someone can accomplish that is by being a talented visual artist who is highly skilled in Photoshop. It's a tool. Used poorly by many and beautifully by some. Just like a pen, just like a guitar. The irony of this kind of argument is that, in its defensive attempt to highlight how much skill and practice goes into playing a traditional instrument well, it completely misrepresents how much skill and practice goes into doing these things well electronically.

To reframe your question: My realm is visual arts. I went to school for it, have dedicated many years of my life to learning my craft, and have been doing it professionally full-time for almost a decade and a half. Are you really saying someone who paints for a hobby on the weekends is more of an artist than someone like me, simply because I generally use a computer to produce the stuff I do?
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:22 PM   #72 (permalink)
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Well, if you've read what I've typed above, I hope that you can at least entertain the slightest possibility that music creation software is, logically, an instrument in the intuitive sense of the word. Maybe even in a denotative sense. And if you have any idea of the actual skill that's involved with music creation on a computer, then you definitely know it can't be compared to arbitrarily taking a photo, and that some merit should be given to the musicianship of a person with the ability to create what people consider good music.

I do think it is in many cases very dumbed down instrument. Their is no standard for the instrument which makes it a hard thing to categorize. A flute, drumset, harp, etc all are nearly universal from instrument to instrument so when you hear something being played you know that person did all the heavy lifting. When software is being used you dont know anything about what kind of help the dj had.

I mean you and I could make the same piece of music. I could have used software that did all the things necessary to create it automatically and taken samples and such from everywhere and just edited them. You on the other hand did everything yourself. Seems tough to judge who has talent and who doesnt.
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Old 03-11-2012, 10:59 PM   #73 (permalink)
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I do think it is in many cases very dumbed down instrument. Their is no standard for the instrument which makes it a hard thing to categorize. A flute, drumset, harp, etc all are nearly universal from instrument to instrument so when you hear something being played you know that person did all the heavy lifting. When software is being used you dont know anything about what kind of help the dj had.

I mean you and I could make the same piece of music. I could have used software that did all the things necessary to create it automatically and taken samples and such from everywhere and just edited them. You on the other hand did everything yourself. Seems tough to judge who has talent and who doesnt.
Seems to me the issue would lie with the person that's just pilfering samples. That shouldn't imply that the tool being used to do it is inherently a tool used by talentless hacks, and thus, is not an instrument capable of being utilized by talented musicians.

And, in many cases, it's not so "dumbed down" as you think. Here's something you may identify with... SessionDrummer in Sonar. You might look at it and say, "well, this could be used by talentless hacks that don't know how to play drums, in order to make a drum beat they could never play". Well, as a drummer, I'll tell you now that it is A LOT harder to program a full drum beat with sounds and nuances so that it sounds real (and good), than it is to just play one on a kit. The only reason I even do it is because I can't set up my drum kit in my apartment. Otherwise, I'd just record a real drum beat because it'd be a lot easier.

But I do know that it takes a level of musical ability and insight to even arrive at something approaching decent when you're emulating the real thing on software, and even if you're just making music on a computer in general. Regardless of whether you believe the person did it themselves or not is one thing, but I guarantee you that whoever did it was a musician, and the software they did it on was their instrument, and if it's so "dumbed down", I challenge you to become a virtuoso at it if you want to prove your point.
I think, in general, most of the people that don't credit the hard work and talent involved in computer music creation are usually the people who understand the least of what actually goes into doing it well.
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Old 03-11-2012, 11:43 PM   #74 (permalink)
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Seems to me the issue would lie with the person that's just pilfering samples. That shouldn't imply that the tool being used to do it is inherently a tool used by talentless hacks, and thus, is not an instrument capable of being utilized by talented musicians.

And, in many cases, it's not so "dumbed down" as you think. Here's something you may identify with... SessionDrummer in Sonar. You might look at it and say, "well, this could be used by talentless hacks that don't know how to play drums, in order to make a drum beat they could never play". Well, as a drummer, I'll tell you now that it is A LOT harder to program a full drum beat with sounds and nuances so that it sounds real (and good), than it is to just play one on a kit. The only reason I even do it is because I can't set up my drum kit in my apartment. Otherwise, I'd just record a real drum beat because it'd be a lot easier.

But I do know that it takes a level of musical ability and insight to even arrive at something approaching decent when you're emulating the real thing on software, and even if you're just making music on a computer in general. Regardless of whether you believe the person did it themselves or not is one thing, but I guarantee you that whoever did it was a musician, and the software they did it on was their instrument, and if it's so "dumbed down", I challenge you to become a virtuoso at it if you want to prove your point.
I think, in general, most of the people that don't credit the hard work and talent involved in computer music creation are usually the people who understand the least of what actually goes into doing it well.
I think you misunderstood me. I by no means am saying it is all dumbed down. If it was I wouldnt be asking you for help using things like session drummer. My point is however that I have seen some programs friends use they are basically hitting a button that matches pitch/tempo and just sticking songs together. Adding effects in without having any knowledge of a keyboard or anything.

And do not think for a second I am diminishing the kind of stuff I have heard you make for the competition thread and such. I couldn't do that in a million years, and I realize the amount of effort and know how it takes to do so.

Personally I like this kind of thing so that I can record a dummy drum track when putting together a song. That was the guitar and bass parts can be accurate and at a later time I can record a live drum kit over the electronic drums. I nkow alot of people doing home studio work do this. The problom is getting the drum timing to be remotely like I would actually play it.
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Old 03-11-2012, 11:59 PM   #75 (permalink)
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I think you misunderstood me. I by no means am saying it is all dumbed down. If it was I wouldnt be asking you for help using things like session drummer. My point is however that I have seen some programs friends use they are basically hitting a button that matches pitch/tempo and just sticking songs together. Adding effects in without having any knowledge of a keyboard or anything.

And do not think for a second I am diminishing the kind of stuff I have heard you make for the competition thread and such. I couldn't do that in a million years, and I realize the amount of effort and know how it takes to do so.

Personally I like this kind of thing so that I can record a dummy drum track when putting together a song. That was the guitar and bass parts can be accurate and at a later time I can record a live drum kit over the electronic drums. I nkow alot of people doing home studio work do this. The problom is getting the drum timing to be remotely like I would actually play it.
Sorry if I misunderstood, and I wasn't being hostile anyway.
I know you weren't taking any stabs at me, and I wasn't really referring to my own work, but it's hard for me to not seem that way, I guess, because I do have a lot of experience on both sides of the aisle when it comes to traditional musicianship and computer-based musicianship.

That's why I tend to have a fairly adamant perspective about it. But I agree and think the distinction should be made between people who have a musical background and actually use the tools, whatever they may be, to good effect... and people who simply open a new Audacity project, throw a few loops in, add some reverb and call it a day.
It's not hard, though, to know those kind of people when you hear their music. I certainly don't have a problem recognizing when a computer-based composition is done by a musician, versus a clueless guy with good samples. The song itself will tell you everything you need to know, and I'm not even talking about the technical side of things as far as mixing and mastering, which would be more of a specialty, and not necessarily a musician trait.
But the quality of a composition is apparent when it's done by a talented musician. It's that simple.

By the way, the program your friends use that you were talking about, that sounds like a virtual DJ program, which is something completely different from music composition. I could be wrong, but that's what it sounds like.
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:03 AM   #76 (permalink)
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OH! by the way, RezZ, you might want to look into getting one of those midi drum pads that you can trigger SessionDrummer with, so you can actually tap out the beat, which would make it a lot easier than plotting points in a midi editor. Would sound more real too. I'm probably going to FINALLY buy one myself. After like 13 years of doing it the retarded hard way. lol
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:18 AM   #77 (permalink)
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Well, if you've read what I've typed above, I hope that you can at least entertain the slightest possibility that music creation software is, logically, an instrument in the intuitive sense of the word. Maybe even in a denotative sense. And if you have any idea of the actual skill that's involved with music creation on a computer, then you definitely know it can't be compared to arbitrarily taking a photo, and that some merit should be given to the musicianship of a person with the ability to create what people consider good music.

Agreed, and I don't think we as a group are that far off so much as I'm not expressing myself smoothly in my initial comments. Though my comments seem to generate a fair amount of feedback hehehe

You even reiterate the main thing I'm getting at in another post when you mention the difference between someone who knows what they're doing and some chump just slapping samples and default effects on a track. I recall the Chemical Brothers defending themselves on tv in regards to knowing how and when to twiddle knobs effectively and they expressed the same thing. There's a HUGE difference between an actual musician who's learned their instrument and how to exploit it to its fullest potential and some geek with a pirated version of cubase and canned beats.

The computer makes it easy for anyone to make music, it's still very hard to make good music.

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As a person who actually is a professional in the field of visual arts, I have a couple of issues with the comparison you're making here. The first, as has already been pointed out, is that photography is a well established and respected medium of visual art. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who has studied art academically who doesn't consider photography to be art. Secondly, there is no Photoshop filter in existence that can replicate all the nuances of an actual painting.
I think my visual example was misconstrued here. I never meant to imply photography wasn't a valid or respected medium. I'm a huge fan of complex photos specifically like the Dali image posted on the previous page (and call Pink Floyd's Ummagumma cover as the best album art ever for the same reason).

My point with photoshop is the trivialization of the artistic process for the masses. You guys all say it yourselves, there's a huge difference and distinction between someone with a creative mind and an artist's eye using those tools to meet their artistic ends as opposed to some shmuck just running the red-eye remover plugin and cranking up the lens flare filter.
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:09 AM   #78 (permalink)
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Agreed, and I don't think we as a group are that far off so much as I'm not expressing myself smoothly in my initial comments. Though my comments seem to generate a fair amount of feedback hehehe

You even reiterate the main thing I'm getting at in another post when you mention the difference between someone who knows what they're doing and some chump just slapping samples and default effects on a track. I recall the Chemical Brothers defending themselves on tv in regards to knowing how and when to twiddle knobs effectively and they expressed the same thing. There's a HUGE difference between an actual musician who's learned their instrument and how to exploit it to its fullest potential and some geek with a pirated version of cubase and canned beats.

The computer makes it easy for anyone to make music, it's still very hard to make good music.



I think my visual example was misconstrued here. I never meant to imply photography wasn't a valid or respected medium. I'm a huge fan of complex photos specifically like the Dali image posted on the previous page (and call Pink Floyd's Ummagumma cover as the best album art ever for the same reason).

My point with photoshop is the trivialization of the artistic process for the masses. You guys all say it yourselves, there's a huge difference and distinction between someone with a creative mind and an artist's eye using those tools to meet their artistic ends as opposed to some shmuck just running the red-eye remover plugin and cranking up the lens flare filter.
Actually, I would argue there isn't.

Its an artistic process being performed with an artistic tool. The difficulty of that process shouldn't be a factor in defining what it IS, only in defining (According to entirely subjective and personal value systems), what it is WORTH.

In other words, trivial or not, it is what it is. A 4 chord song is trivial compared to a Mozart Symphony, but they're both music and they're both artistic. What they aren't is OF EQUIVALENT WORTH. And even THAT is a subjective statement, there are plenty of people who would disagree with it, saying they're the same worth because they enjoy both. There are probably MORE people who would say the opposite, that the Mozart is worth less because its less approachable.

But they're both still the same thing, to varying degrees.
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:48 PM   #79 (permalink)
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I do think it is in many cases very dumbed down instrument. Their is no standard for the instrument which makes it a hard thing to categorize. A flute, drumset, harp, etc all are nearly universal from instrument to instrument so when you hear something being played you know that person did all the heavy lifting. When software is being used you dont know anything about what kind of help the dj had.

I mean you and I could make the same piece of music. I could have used software that did all the things necessary to create it automatically and taken samples and such from everywhere and just edited them. You on the other hand did everything yourself. Seems tough to judge who has talent and who doesnt.
This is a really interesting thought. I'd say that merit lies in the creative process that drives artists to create great works. If, let's say, it really did take someone with a computer 1/12th the effort, time, and dedication to create from nothing Beethoven's "Symphony No. 5" as it did the 19th century composer, my question would still be is it any less moving? Any less beautiful? And would you even care if you weren't told that the two used different processes to achieve their goal?

This is actually really pertinent in my own musical leanings; J Dilla crafted some of the most amazing songs in usually less than 30 minutes because his innovative and groundbreaking musical intelligence, which stemmed from his innate artistic ability to tangentially approach rhythm and harmony. To me, Dilla is definitely on par with any of history's greatest composers in terms of merit, be it technical proficiency or creative impetus. Regardless of how he made it, he still did make beauteous art that is unquestionably worthy of adulation.
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:00 PM   #80 (permalink)
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This is a really interesting thought. I'd say that merit lies in the creative process that drives artists to create great works. If, let's say, it really did take someone with a computer 1/12th the effort, time, and dedication to create from nothing Beethoven's "Symphony No. 5" as it did the 19th century composer, my question would still be is it any less moving? Any less beautiful? And would you even care if you weren't told that the two used different processes to achieve their goal?

This is actually really pertinent in my own musical leanings; J Dilla crafted some of the most amazing songs in usually less than 30 minutes because his innovative and groundbreaking musical intelligence, which stemmed from his innate artistic ability to tangentially approach rhythm and harmony. To me, Dilla is definitely on par with any of history's greatest composers in terms of merit, be it technical proficiency or creative impetus. Regardless of how he made it, he still did make beauteous art that is unquestionably worthy of adulation.
Yes, and an excellent example to use.

I'll add that that creating electronic music very often is not easy, very often it's tedious as fuck Kicking back with a six string is a lot more relaxing and taxing on the brain cells to meI think it's fair to say that in making any kind of music, electronic, or otherwise, if you don't have any artistic vision, you're not focused, and you're not at least slightly musically inclined it's going to show pretty blatantly in the music that you create.
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