Old 07-04-2020, 02:28 PM   #1
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Default Why is modern sound so appealing ?

(I hope this is the right area of the forum to post this, I've looked extensively and found this to be the best):

I realize some people DON'T feel this way, but I'm asking myself why the modern sound is so appealing to the human ear rather generally - I'm talking here about modern guitar tones, all synths, electronic drums from the 80s onward, even modified vocals... there's something about a polished pad synth, a hard artificial snare, overproduced tight hi-gain guitars... pretty much all modern music, mainstream and sometimes underground, is produced that way. With some exceptions of course.

It's like the human mind, perhaps in a majority, prefers an artificial sound to a natural sound. People go to great lengths to cut out unwanted frequencies, compress virtually every instrument, often heavily, and like to use electronic/digital instruments. Why is modern sound so appealing to the human ear/mind ?
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Old 07-04-2020, 02:45 PM   #2
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I like Jimi
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Old 07-04-2020, 02:57 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Dork Lard View Post
(I hope this is the right area of the forum to post this, I've looked extensively and found this to be the best):

I realize some people DON'T feel this way, but I'm asking myself why the modern sound is so appealing to the human ear rather generally - I'm talking here about modern guitar tones, all synths, electronic drums from the 80s onward, even modified vocals... there's something about a polished pad synth, a hard artificial snare, overproduced tight hi-gain guitars... pretty much all modern music, mainstream and sometimes underground, is produced that way. With some exceptions of course.

It's like the human mind, perhaps in a majority, prefers an artificial sound to a natural sound. People go to great lengths to cut out unwanted frequencies, compress virtually every instrument, often heavily, and like to use electronic/digital instruments. Why is modern sound so appealing to the human ear/mind ?
I suggest reading david byrne's book How Music Works.
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Old 07-04-2020, 03:10 PM   #4
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Personally I prefer acoustic sounds, but entertaining the question:

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It's like the human mind, perhaps in a majority, prefers an artificial sound to a natural sound.
There is the evolutionary biology explanation of music that, in part, suggests that what we are excited by aurally are those sounds which don't happen normally. What we call "noise" (the sough of the wind, the crashing of waves, the sound of a pile of debris falling on the ground, footsteps, breathing, etc.) is very sophisticated stuff, sonically speaking, but it's also mundane, so our brains get attuned to the "special" sounds we hear in speech, music, animal calls, etc. Human music is predominantly made of those sounds which 1) don't happen naturally (whether due to timbral structure, temporal patterns, harmonic relationships, or phase relationships... i.e. consonant tones, rhythmic repetition, melodies, special FX...), and/or 2) are challenging to make (at least traditionally, one can look at acoustic music production and singing as demonstrations of reproductive fitness).

Such sounds are likely to be coming from something or someone that is making those sounds with intention, as opposed to the background noise of life.

From this perspective it seems pretty "natural" that we would be attracted to "artificial" sounds. :-)
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Old 07-04-2020, 11:55 PM   #5
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It's what you're used to. Anything outside of that might feel too exotic. And you need to be adventurous to seek things that are exotic! Are you?
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Old 07-05-2020, 02:08 AM   #6
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Every new generation likes what they grew up on.

I have slowly but surely stopped liking current music since the 1970s & only recently have found a few modern acts whose stuff I do like. But it is mot=stly due to the qusality of their songs and arrangements rather than the actual sounds.
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Old 07-05-2020, 04:50 AM   #7
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I'm with Clepsy an Ivan!

The original aim of hifi was to reproduce as close to the original sound as possible in the acoustic environment. Not easy if at all possible and, apart from making all the equipment better, we start to add and take away 'artifacts' to help that aim...then to add artificial effects (wide definition!) to make it more accurate/listenable/sellable or whatever.

We have now been in the position in some genres of music of adding to that even further to supposedly 'enhance' even more to make it more startling, shiny, bright bassy unbalanced unrealistic.
I suggest you could just be addicted to that?
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Old 07-05-2020, 06:12 AM   #8
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Thx for your replies. Very interesting to read each one.

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Personally I prefer acoustic sounds, but entertaining the question:



There is the evolutionary biology explanation of music that, in part, suggests that what we are excited by aurally are those sounds which don't happen normally. What we call "noise" (the sough of the wind, the crashing of waves, the sound of a pile of debris falling on the ground, footsteps, breathing, etc.) is very sophisticated stuff, sonically speaking, but it's also mundane, so our brains get attuned to the "special" sounds we hear in speech, music, animal calls, etc. Human music is predominantly made of those sounds which 1) don't happen naturally (whether due to timbral structure, temporal patterns, harmonic relationships, or phase relationships... i.e. consonant tones, rhythmic repetition, melodies, special FX...), and/or 2) are challenging to make (at least traditionally, one can look at acoustic music production and singing as demonstrations of reproductive fitness).

Such sounds are likely to be coming from something or someone that is making those sounds with intention, as opposed to the background noise of life.

From this perspective it seems pretty "natural" that we would be attracted to "artificial" sounds. :-)
wow. * slow claps, but then sneezes and messes up the moment *

My hats off to you (for I have many...no I don't) clepsydrae that is exactly the sort of answer I was looking for when I wrote this up. Deep, and scientific. It also seems logical and coherent.

Can you expand on the second point a little bit about musical ability demonstrating reproductive fitness, I'm very curious about that.

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I'm with Clepsy an Ivan!

The original aim of hifi was to reproduce as close to the original sound as possible in the acoustic environment. Not easy if at all possible and, apart from making all the equipment better, we start to add and take away 'artifacts' to help that aim...then to add artificial effects (wide definition!) to make it more accurate/listenable/sellable or whatever.

We have now been in the position in some genres of music of adding to that even further to supposedly 'enhance' even more to make it more startling, shiny, bright bassy unbalanced unrealistic.
I suggest you could just be addicted to that?
Ah yes, that's very good too. It may be a form of addiction that grows within the person. As it is inaccessible and breaks whatever plain old routine the day consists of. That's what a drug is, right, it gives you that extra special kick that you don't get out of sober old reality; and it being that synth/modern gtr/drum sounds do not just exist in nature, they offer that same sort of rush essentially, from just being different, intentionally modified therefor not natural.
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Old 07-05-2020, 06:16 AM   #9
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This is modern to me :-)

https://youtu.be/Lw2L_vGUMtE?t=262
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Old 07-05-2020, 06:19 AM   #10
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I suggest reading david byrne's book How Music Works.
Thanks for the tip! I started reading it. It promises to be an outstanding book.
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Old 07-05-2020, 11:23 AM   #11
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Can you expand on the second point a little bit about musical ability demonstrating reproductive fitness, I'm very curious about that.
Sure, though I'm probably not qualified. :-) That David Byrne book maxdembo recommended looks like it might cover these kinds of topics. There's also Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks. (I haven't read either.)

Music plays many different roles in human life: social bonding, communication, playfulness, education, navigation, etc, but many have noted the potential reproductive fitness angle. We can consider a songbird literally demonstrating their reproductive fitness to potential mates by singing ("look at me! I'm so successful with finding food and avoiding predators that I have free time and energy to stand on this branch and do something functionally useless; and listen to how well I sing, which demonstrates how large I am, and how well-formed my body is!). We can ask from a Darwinian perspective what a singer is doing when they sing, and it would seem that in part what they are doing is demonstrating that they are healthy, that their body is strong and capable (as demonstrated by their ability to hold a pitch, be loud, remember things, etc.)

And obviously there is the cliché of a young man joining a band to get attention from the ladies. And consider that young people of "mating age" are the driving force behind a tremendous amount of art and music in the world. And the predominance of love and sex themes in music. Etc etc etc. Correlation isn't causality, of course: there are lots of ways to demonstrate reproductive fitness that arguably aren't "for" demonstrating reproductive fitness (playing sports, having a high-paying job, being a generous person) so maybe music is actually "for" other things; it's also natural to expect energetic young people to drive the arts, and it's natural that love and sex would feature prominently in any art form, given the centrality of those themes. But music is one of the weirder things we do with our time, so it demands a bit more of an explanation. When I play guitar, I'm not just exercising my fingers, so what the hell am I really doing?

Again, music is a complicated subject, but even if an open-mic singer isn't explicitly trying to get laid, this energy may be subtly underlying their music. The bird singing for a mate may not experience that singing as yearning for a mate: maybe it just feels instinctually good to sing and then hey, what do you know, a mate comes along! The bird may sing even after they have passed the mating age, just out of instinct (ask me how I know). We may enjoy music because we're built to enjoy it, for all kinds of reasons, and it seems likely that some of those pertain to reproduction.
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Old 07-05-2020, 12:14 PM   #12
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The David Byrne book is awesome and answers so many questions as to how and why music developed into what we have now.
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Old 07-05-2020, 03:49 PM   #13
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Sure, though I'm probably not qualified. :-) That David Byrne book maxdembo recommended looks like it might cover these kinds of topics. There's also Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks. (I haven't read either.)

Music plays many different roles in human life: social bonding, communication, playfulness, education, navigation, etc, but many have noted the potential reproductive fitness angle. We can consider a songbird literally demonstrating their reproductive fitness to potential mates by singing ("look at me! I'm so successful with finding food and avoiding predators that I have free time and energy to stand on this branch and do something functionally useless; and listen to how well I sing, which demonstrates how large I am, and how well-formed my body is!). We can ask from a Darwinian perspective what a singer is doing when they sing, and it would seem that in part what they are doing is demonstrating that they are healthy, that their body is strong and capable (as demonstrated by their ability to hold a pitch, be loud, remember things, etc.)

And obviously there is the cliché of a young man joining a band to get attention from the ladies. And consider that young people of "mating age" are the driving force behind a tremendous amount of art and music in the world. And the predominance of love and sex themes in music. Etc etc etc. Correlation isn't causality, of course: there are lots of ways to demonstrate reproductive fitness that arguably aren't "for" demonstrating reproductive fitness (playing sports, having a high-paying job, being a generous person) so maybe music is actually "for" other things; it's also natural to expect energetic young people to drive the arts, and it's natural that love and sex would feature prominently in any art form, given the centrality of those themes. But music is one of the weirder things we do with our time, so it demands a bit more of an explanation. When I play guitar, I'm not just exercising my fingers, so what the hell am I really doing?

Again, music is a complicated subject, but even if an open-mic singer isn't explicitly trying to get laid, this energy may be subtly underlying their music. The bird singing for a mate may not experience that singing as yearning for a mate: maybe it just feels instinctually good to sing and then hey, what do you know, a mate comes along! The bird may sing even after they have passed the mating age, just out of instinct (ask me how I know). We may enjoy music because we're built to enjoy it, for all kinds of reasons, and it seems likely that some of those pertain to reproduction.
holy crap man, that definitively answers for me the question as to why women find singers so attractive. I always figured it had something to do with "oh he's so sensitive, he'll be a great lover and dad" but it felt like it was missing a bit of meat, that argument. It's the reproductive fitness thing. Damn... weeee uhm. We really have been saying 'reproductive fitness' a whole lot for a Reaper thread.



.. REPRODUCTIVE FITNESS. OK sorry I'm done, back to the discussion.

I know it sounds nuts, but I never quite exactly correlated music with reproduction although it sounds so obvious when it's spelled out the way you did. I mean besides the obvious groupie girl with band mates aspect you brought up.

I'm thinking now. Maybe there's an even more primitive aspect of this singing seduction. A strong healthy voice is of course likely emanating from a healthy individual fit for sex, but I wonder if there isn't an even more cold scientific reality to it. Perhaps specific frequency hz, say certain lows if sung vigorously from males, could resonate within women (like their brain chemically recognizes: "ooh, these are good quality hertz right there." - click: added do desirable men's list).

Like I was talking to a friend about synths and their inexplicable appeal to the human brain and he thought it had to do with specific frequencies which the synth with its smooth edge emitted the right way so that the individual's mind is nearly paralyzed for a short moment just listening to it. That like, synths were just soothing to a human being, because it emphasized the right frequencies and played them with such a comforting velvet sound (as opposed to the rougher guitar, organic strings sound...etc).
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Old 07-05-2020, 04:19 PM   #14
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I mean besides the obvious groupie girl with band mates aspect you brought up.
...and to be clear, at least in my circles I've seen this dynamic between all kinds of people, not just women towards men. I've certainly been smitten with lady musicians countless times. :-)

Quote:
I wonder if there isn't an even more cold scientific reality to it. Perhaps specific frequency hz, say certain lows if sung vigorously from males, could resonate within women
IIRC there is research about how low men's voices especially light up the brains of heterosexual women, but don't quote me (might be more of a sociological phenomenon than brain-level, and either way, you still have the nature-vs-nurture question.)

Quote:
he thought it had to do with specific frequencies
The subject of neurological entrainment is also an interesting one... also don't quote me on this, but I seem to recall research showing that music sync'ed with a subject's heart rate could then be adjusted in tempo and the heart rate would move a little with it...

Incidentally, you might enjoy a series of videos I made about psychoacoustics. [EDIT: audio illusions and psychoacoustics...]

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Old 07-06-2020, 09:55 AM   #15
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Don't mind me, I just dropped in to say "reproductive fitness."

Reproductive fitness.

Carry on.
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Old 07-06-2020, 10:47 AM   #16
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If the songs suck, the sound will not make it better. Quantized drums and modified vocals are awful imo.
Imagine Bob Dylon using a "Cher" effect or Mick Jagger. 40 % of the music I listen to is older than 120 years and was recorded 30 years and more ago. Most music after 1990 is not for me. Whenever I have to listen to music from the radio of a car, I kindly ask to turn it off.
In the 1980ies the sound was super clean, as well, but different and the main difference: the songs were better.
Creativity dies, when one has too many options.
Who told you that most people like artificial sounds? It can be nice for a change, eg Prince speeded up his voice sometimes to have a kind of mickey mouse effect, the songs were by Camille his second ego. I would not like that normally, but the music was so super funky, that it was awesome. If you thread is adressed to teens, you might be right, though
But you must be 21 to use Reaper!

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Old 07-06-2020, 01:01 PM   #17
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"But you must be 21 to use Reaper! "
Ouch!
I didn't know there were age limitations!


What is the upper limit?
There are some on here who might have to stop using and posting, including me!


Oh dear, you'll all be saying "good!" now,.........
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Old 07-06-2020, 02:38 PM   #18
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Don't mind me, I just dropped in to say "reproductive fitness."

Reproductive fitness.

Carry on.
ENOUGH !!!!1!! Now you made it weird. We were just at the threshold before this, but now the thread is officially awkward.

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If you thread is adressed to teens, you might be right, though
But you must be 21 to use Reaper!
My thread is for anyone who finds the topic interesting, whether they're below 21 or giraffes, so long as they can post a bit of text and contribute !

Interestingly, about generational differences, I'd bet some composers from the classical era might've loved synth sounds. That perfection in tone, and the sheer creative possibilities... I bet that would've interested a few legendary composers from times when men wore wigs and high heels.

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Well, I'll say that: I'm glad I was sober watching this. Don't ever show your videos to anyone on substances ! Trippy stuff. No but seriously, very well made, super clear both visually and audio. I watched the first, and particularly liked the ending about the "missing fundamental", especially the part about how a bass line without the fundamental might not be audible on a cellphone, but would be with the f-l added.

The psychoacoustic stuff really makes you think about how producers could "manipulate" the audience into liking their stuff, from a purely physical/chemical pov rather than by pure song-writing quality. When I see a full list of auditory illusions...
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Old 07-06-2020, 02:43 PM   #19
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I didn't know there were age limitations!

What is the upper limit?
There is none. I'm still using Reaper despite having died several years ago at the age of 97, and I know for a fact that ivansc is even older than me.

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I bet that would've interested a few legendary composers from times when men wore wigs and high heels.
I do. What are you saying?

Also, reproductive fitness.
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Old 07-06-2020, 04:06 PM   #20
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There is none. I'm still using Reaper despite having died several years ago at the age of 97, and I know for a fact that ivansc is even older than me.

I do. What are you saying?

Also, reproductive fitness.
About your dressing style well I mean what can I say to each their own I mean, freewill personhood yada yada all that, yes...

But Fex, look man, I'll be upfront with you. If you say ... that ... one more time, I'm going to start a petition that forces you to change your username to reprod.. well, you know what. And not to brag, ok, but I'm not to be messed with - I once confronted a wiener distributor at a party because he avoided me each time so I stood up defiantly, and told him firmly but politely I wanted one, took one right off that platter and stared right in his eyes, for a good full, like, 2 seconds.
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Old 07-06-2020, 04:40 PM   #21
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I wish to take a moment to consider my response.
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Old 07-06-2020, 04:43 PM   #22
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Reproductive fitness.
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Old 07-06-2020, 05:48 PM   #23
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You guys are weird, in a strange way. :-)
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Old 07-06-2020, 10:45 PM   #24
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There is none. I'm still using Reaper despite having died several years ago at the age of 97, and I know for a fact that ivansc is even older than me.


Also, reproductive fitness.
I resemble that remark!

And FWIW I lost a lot of my reproductive fitness through the radiation treatment I had a couple of years back... Working on it, though.
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Old 07-07-2020, 03:21 AM   #25
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Keep it up Ivan.
Ooooops, the work that is!

There's hope for me yet if Fex posts from the other side.......
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Old 07-07-2020, 07:20 AM   #26
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Interestingly, about generational differences, I'd bet some composers from the classical era might've loved synth sounds. That perfection in tone, and the sheer creative possibilities...
Perfection in tone is in the ear of the beholder, not an absolute for everybody. Those people spent years honing their composing skills for specific instruments with their tonal range and expression and wrote things down as they went. So vivid was their imagination, that they wrote the parts with maybe just couple of instruments at hand and arranged that for the ensembles or even the whole orchestra. All that without even hearing what your end product will be before it was actually performed the first time.

What good would've a massive catalog of "perfect" synth sounds done for them when writing their arrangements? I'd say none.*) These products of devils work could've as well been smashed to bits after the first ungodly sounds they would've uttered. Not that anybody would've understood how to even use them in the first place, just wasting years and decades of already learned skills to try tweaking filter cutoff for emptying halls and no patrons ready to pay for your living.

I don't think you can succesfully project some current things into past, unless you take into consideration everything in those times. Once you do that, you could well realize it's exactly the chain of events throughout the history which has brought us into this point at time. And tomorrow your perfection will be different again...

---
*) Putting aside the practical aspects of what they were dealing with in those days, I wouldn't say it's impossible at least some of them liking or indeed loving our current synth sounds. Most probably would've had to work through the initial shock of totally alien soundscapes, like many people have done in much more recent years. But still, they could've been even ecstatic in the end.

Last edited by xpander; 07-08-2020 at 03:37 PM. Reason: more imagination into the limited answer
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Old 07-07-2020, 07:39 AM   #27
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I've just been re-visiting some old favourite albums (that is collections of recorded music for our younger readers) by Poco, a band I listened to a lot long ago. The production ranges from very good to blisteringly so but what gets you is the vocal and instrumental excellence, attributes that are less noticeable today IMHO. A great deal just sounds warmer and more musical to me too and I guess that's the analogue processing as opposed to today's digital methodology. Not knocking the digital world, I couldn't record here without it but dammit those old records do sound good and I see fewer artists who really can sing and play nowadays. However I'm not the target market of today's producers (thank goodness) so no big deal. Just glad I lived, played and was a part of the golden age of rock through the 60's. Old farts unite.
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Old 07-07-2020, 08:18 AM   #28
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Keep it up Ivan.
Ooooops, the work that is!

There's hope for me yet if Fex posts from the other side.......



This additional content circumvents the 5 word minimum post length.
Move along, nothing to see here...
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Old 07-07-2020, 10:22 AM   #29
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I've just been re-visiting some old favourite albums (that is collections of recorded music for our younger readers) by Poco, a band I listened to a lot long ago.
Poco's Legend, one of my all time favorites. No way I can drive 55 when the title song plays.

Just an old man's perspective, but I agree with what's been said about generations preferring the music they grew up with. I know I'm in that category.

To me there is an audio component to it, all due respect to all the great work that has been done to digitize music, but I always felt that analog had greater depth and feeling than digital.

But to each his own. Music is kind of like sex, it's all good, some is just better than others, and that all comes down to what works for you.
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Old 07-07-2020, 10:29 AM   #30
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Music is kind of like sex, it's all good, some is just better than others, and that all comes down to what works for you.
At my age any sex is better than good, I stopped being so selective when I hit 70........
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Old 07-07-2020, 07:37 PM   #31
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Um. You spelled appalling wrong.
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Old 07-12-2020, 12:06 AM   #32
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Dork Lark, maybe some of the classical musicians would be interested. Well, as for Chopin, he loved nothing but his piano, but a versatile Mozart, I d say yes. It maybe depends on what kind of musician you are. If you are focused on one instrument and you're very good, well, Paco de Lucia was a spanish guitarist, who could perform my stuff with one finger on one string with his nylon, well, Paco and his spanish guitar were one. He also had a daw and e guitars, but that was more curiosity.
Chopin predicted or saw 180 years ago, what would happen with music... That's where we are now, there is too much of it, hence not much value any more.
That is why I was a little surprised about your thread's title. Today's music or sound appealing?
Prince in the 90ies is a good example, he felt kinda lost in 90ies surrounded by so many untalented producers having success. As a super talented artist he did not know which direction to go first and the motivation to compete with in a daw produced music was not big. I think the same would happen when Bach, Beethoven & Co. would be here now!?
But music is a nice opportunity to do something different than just go to work every day.
I like literature more than music and the big difference is, if you are not a good or interesting writer, no one will read your books. As for music today you do not have to be talented or good, either you are weird, or you know the right people and of course social media is the most important thing today. Hyping is the key!
There are always exceptions!

Haha I imagine Chopin playing a cheap masterkeyboard with lots of controller knobs and sliders in front of a screen, Bach looking for a organ preset in Kontakt and being annoyed about high cpu usage and Beethoven with headphones making him deaf even faster, Wagner as new CEO of Valhalla plugins, Brahms wondering what compression is good for and Mozart playing and tracking a complete song in one take having 25 tracks with different VSTi's record armed at the same time haha

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Old 07-12-2020, 10:27 PM   #33
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Um. You spelled appalling wrong.
I have been fighting the urge ever since he first posted this! Thank you for bearing the brunt of the PC brigade`s comments that will surely follow.
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Old 07-13-2020, 09:11 AM   #34
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I have been fighting the urge ever since he first posted this! Thank you for bearing the brunt of the PC brigade`s comments that will surely follow.
I resisted for a couple days, then succumbed to the urge... :-D
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Old 07-13-2020, 10:16 AM   #35
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I have been fighting the urge ever since he first posted this! Thank you for bearing the brunt of the PC brigade`s comments that will surely follow.
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I resisted for a couple days, then succumbed to the urge... :-D
Much of this is just the journey... There are multitudes of musical truths I now understand, that no one could ever convince me of early on, no matter who was telling me. That's why experience, and all the failures that go with gaining it, is so valuable. And to be fair there is a lot of experience I gained, that I'm glad I gained the hard way, because I ended up learning a lot more than by just being told but...

If you are going to go through the trouble of asking experienced engineers questions, denying the answers makes asking at least partially useless, might as well not ask and learn the hard way like the rest of us.
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Old 07-13-2020, 02:12 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Naji View Post
Dork Lark, maybe some of the classical musicians would be interested. Well, as for Chopin, he loved nothing but his piano, but a versatile Mozart, I d say yes. It maybe depends on what kind of musician you are. If you are focused on one instrument and you're very good, well, Paco de Lucia was a spanish guitarist, who could perform my stuff with one finger on one string with his nylon, well, Paco and his spanish guitar were one. He also had a daw and e guitars, but that was more curiosity.
Chopin predicted or saw 180 years ago, what would happen with music... That's where we are now, there is too much of it, hence not much value any more.
That is why I was a little surprised about your thread's title. Today's music or sound appealing?
Prince in the 90ies is a good example, he felt kinda lost in 90ies surrounded by so many untalented producers having success. As a super talented artist he did not know which direction to go first and the motivation to compete with in a daw produced music was not big. I think the same would happen when Bach, Beethoven & Co. would be here now!?
But music is a nice opportunity to do something different than just go to work every day.
I like literature more than music and the big difference is, if you are not a good or interesting writer, no one will read your books. As for music today you do not have to be talented or good, either you are weird, or you know the right people and of course social media is the most important thing today. Hyping is the key!
There are always exceptions!

Haha I imagine Chopin playing a cheap masterkeyboard with lots of controller knobs and sliders in front of a screen, Bach looking for a organ preset in Kontakt and being annoyed about high cpu usage and Beethoven with headphones making him deaf even faster, Wagner as new CEO of Valhalla plugins, Brahms wondering what compression is good for and Mozart playing and tracking a complete song in one take having 25 tracks with different VSTi's record armed at the same time haha
I was really targeting things like synths or any processed artificial-sounding instrument vs traditional organic instruments and music. MOST people prefer music that has comp and post processing applied to it, than none.

Hah yeah I see what you mean with your last paragraph.

Many musicians bring up the notion that technology influences them, that the music of a time is so dependent on the available technology of their time. And it's very true. If you take the last famous musicians, each decade at a time and move back all the way back to the 60s, lots of them got famous through a certain technological novelty of some sort. Rather than musical genius in and of itself, as it was the case in classical times (everyone had the same technology available: harpsichords, strings, organs, singers and what not). Jimmy Hendrix and his overdriven guitars, Pink Floyd and their psychedelic soundscapes, Depeche Mode and the whole 80s synth scene... or a band like Linkin Park in 1999-2000. And it's never been truer today, arguably. Technology directly influences the musical scene of a time, and if this weren't true most famous bands would just be string quartets but the very tools musicians have used throughout the decades, have evolved consistently.
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Old 07-14-2020, 04:41 AM   #37
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Where, exactly, do you get the idea that "MOST..." people like a certain approach to production?

Did you go out, and take a poll or something?
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Old 07-14-2020, 04:49 AM   #38
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As for "Certain Famous Musicians Got Famous Through A Certain Technological Novelty Of Some Sort..."?

Does not compute.

If Hendrix/Floyd/Depeche Mode all had lousy songs? You might have something like a possibility.

As it stands, the idea that it was the technology and not the songs is on really shaky footing.
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Old 07-14-2020, 04:58 AM   #39
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And don't forget that the majority of music is marketed to sheep who don't even know they're listening to music
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Old 07-14-2020, 10:04 AM   #40
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Where, exactly, do you get the idea that "MOST..." people like a certain approach to production?
D.L. said that most like compression and post processing of some kind... and I mean, that's pretty hard to argue against in terms of what listeners want. As evidence, find a popular recording with no processing done, just straight mics to finished recording. Compression and EQ are the bread and butter of mixing. I don't need to do a poll to determine if people like to eat bread.

Admittedly, "what people like" is a subtle thing to determine: do they like it because it is done, or is it done because they like it? But I think anyone with mixing experience will agree that some post processing is generally something that people appreciate with their audio. All D.L. is saying is that it's clear that technology is adding something to the "pure"/traditional experience of audio.

(Setting aside the important point that an unprocessed raw audio recording is in some ways less authentic than one with some light processing, since mics don't hear how we hear, psychoacoustics are thrown off, etc etc.)

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Originally Posted by numberthirty View Post
As for "Certain Famous Musicians Got Famous Through A Certain Technological Novelty Of Some Sort..."?

Does not compute.

If Hendrix/Floyd/Depeche Mode all had lousy songs? You might have something like a possibility.
Well, let's not be absolutist -- the idea that technology is an integral part of contemporary music making must be one of the most well supported theses out there... D.L. didn't say Hendrix would be a nobody without his pedals. He was just making the point that the tech aspect can't/shouldn't be ignored (and presumably this is dovetailing with his earlier musings on the subject of why we are drawn to techy sounds.) I disagree with D.L. about the "pre-tech" period -- classical musicians through history were subject to the same dynamic, except that the technology was new kinds of strings, new instrument construction methods, new instruments, new music theory, etc. See e.g. Bach and his well-tempered clavier. Instead of everyone having the same strings, organs, etc, it was more the case that everyone had a different instrument because every local maker made it differently, and they sometimes kept their methods a secret. AFAICT music has always been a combination of your genius, your work ethic, your genetics, and the technology you have available to you. Not to mention your privilege and your luck. So I don't think much has changed recently in that overall sense, but I do agree with D.L. that the tech component of that equation has grown considerably in the last 50ish years, and it's increasingly hard to ignore it, and it does seem like it isn't simply due to the economic incentives pressuring record labels to employ it: it seems like it does press some kind of evolutionary nerve in the human organism.
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