The Death of Melody: video analysis inside

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by tribalfusion, Sep 8, 2019.

  1. lp144

    lp144 Supporting Member

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    A film soundtrack in most scenes is atmospheric, providing the mood to the melody of the dialogue. Music melody in film works well where there is action, a dramatic pause or no one is talking.
     
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  2. tribalfusion

    tribalfusion Member

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    This has nothing to do with preferences (Burt Bacharach is not a particular favorite) so a significant chunk of what you are writing is superfluous. Moreover, to compare people like Bacharach, Jobim and McCartney, 3 of the most popular writers of melodies of their era to comparatively minor modern figures like Yvette Young or Regina Spektor misses the mark entirely.

    As I have written repeatedly, this isn't about whether or not there exist subgenres with emphasis on different musical elements (there are) but rather about the growing and quite central trend as represented by HUGELY significant mainstream modern figures in pop (and other areas) toward melodic simplification and a tremendous decrease in intervallic variety.

    As for his use of the word melody, it's just fine. Yours on the other hand is not just idiosyncratic, it's incoherent.
     
  3. panther_king

    panther_king Supporting Member

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    As mentioned - he kind of kills the video in the first 50 seconds by building the entire premise off of a flawed logic; angling 'Melody encompasses all 4 components of music' and then building the argument 'since melody is all components of music, and this 'music' has no melody, it's not music'.

    Except the premise is wrong - melody is melody. Essentially everything after that point is built on an opinion at best, or at worst a knowing lie. I mean, that's fine an all - it's an opinion piece on a youtube channel. Looking at it for what it is structurally, this is how bad faith influencers effect culture and politics.
     
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  4. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    Just for clarity's sake...The quote to which you are referring is a response to a quote of mine in which I asked "if popularity doesn't equal greatness" then what does? to which the poster didn't answer he just posted "so popularity = greatness. Got it" which is not what I said. It's a question...if a lot of people like something to the point that it becomes popular is that not greatness?...and if not what IS greatness?
    Yep, I can certainly hear that now...thanks for posting!
     
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  5. tribalfusion

    tribalfusion Member

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    Since some of you seem averse to watching the video and listening carefully, perhaps a printed article which goes into more depth will be to your liking on this topic.

    Again, I hope some of the more dedicated naysayers will take the time to read the entire piece since the topic clearly has struck such a chord within them (pun very much intended):

    https://www.keyboardmag.com/kb-blog/1219

    "When listening to current mainstream music however, it becomes very clear that the place of melody as one of music’s basic building blocks, is being reduced substantially, making space for other elements, such as texture and rhythm. The musical sentences are becoming shorter, more simplistic, and sometimes of incomplete grammatical structure; much like the sentences in cell-phone text-messages, or people’s posts on Twitter

    Many of us composers, songwriters and arrangers have come to think of what we do in terms of melody, harmony and rhythm. We tend to think of sonic-texture as the finishing stage, we may call it production, but typically we don’t think of it as the core element, or the essence.

    Also, many of us think of what we do as a form of art; a pure personal expression.

    The reality of the music industry today, as well as music history however, tells a very different story. With this article I am making an observation about a shifting paradigm in music and the shift of balance between its building blocks, and how it seems to reflect and correlate to the social and linguistic changes in society in the US and around the world..."
     
  6. panther_king

    panther_king Supporting Member

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    Ah yes, the article that starts with a disclaimer by the editor of the magazine essentially saying 'We don't necessarily agree with what he's saying; it's his opinion. Maybe you find it thought provoking'.

    Because, you know, it's an opinion. Not a fact. No amount of cherry picking stats or examples can change it. Take the time to consider if you could write a piece called 'Melody is alive and well', and how you would fill it with examples of melody in modern music, or inversely make a piece called 'Melody is already dead - it has been for 100 years' and then go back and just load up a video with 3 note melodies from tin pan alley.

    The presentation of an opinion doesn't make it any more valid. It just means you put more work into showing it to everybody. And if you did that specifically to 'change peoples minds' or 'enlighten people who have no idea' - I might go so far as to say it's wrong to do so.
     
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  7. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    This reminds me of something that happened back in my early years in bands...back in the day when the band I was in then moved to a local larger town that had nightclubs...i.e. places where we could gig...the local scene was just changing from big bands or orchestras or swing bands to what guys in those bands called "combos"...in fact several bands had the name combo in their name. The old guys in those big bands hated the advent of combos because they saw the writing on the wall and they knew that their time was soon to be over...and it was! This songwriter is lamenting the fact that his time as a songwriter of melodies as he sees them is drawing to an end and he probably can't or won't make the change to update what he does...
     
  8. tribalfusion

    tribalfusion Member

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    It really seems increasingly like the video has struck a raw nerve in a few people around here who seem incapable of putting aside their own prejudices for a moment and weighing the author's propositions with a clear, considered and open mind.

    Others refuse to watch the video (or read the piece I have posted) yet insist on conducting an elaborate pantomime of an argument mostly with figments of their own imaginations.

    I can't say I find it terribly surprising.
     
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  9. tribalfusion

    tribalfusion Member

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    The author is indeed making an argument but not all arguments are merely opinions of equal analytical value and denuded of fact.

    It's hardly cherry picking to suggest looking at numerous extremely high profile mainstream modern pop writers and compositions and indeed, entire highly significant genres of popular music in vogue at the moment like rap.

    Your comment about Tin Pan Alley is an obvious provocation as anyone with even a smattering of real ear training who has ever given the music attention. It's built on a good deal of melodic variety and invention.

    Irving Berlin and George Gershwin were the megastars of Tin Pan Alley. You don't have to like their music but to make the claim that there's any comparison in terms of melodic and intervallic variety with modern megastar compositional trends in popular music is to invite ridicule.
     
  10. shibby

    shibby Member

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    The reason why there is no good melody in today’s music is because all the good melodies have already been taken by the Beatles
     
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  11. Duffy Pratt

    Duffy Pratt Member

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    Would this be cherry picking:







     
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  12. DRS

    DRS Member

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    The vid in the OP is dead on.
    A lot of people do not even know what a melody is.
    You have to be able to hum the melody so it is recognizable.
    Try humming that Billie Eilish song.
     
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  13. Dale

    Dale Member

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    I have to say, the modern feel is less melodic to me. Not bad, but different. I like a lot of it but the novelty and soundscapes are affectively catchy for me.
     
  14. panther_king

    panther_king Supporting Member

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    My implication is that the authors (of the video and the article) are biased, looking backwards through rose-colored glasses at their preferred music and ignoring current music that defeats their argument. Their crutch is using 'mainstream pop music', as if mainstream pop music has ever been anything other than simple melodies, while kind of belittling or straight up ignoring the fact that the entire process of speech is melodic and multi-tonal by reducing words to the nearest whole root note. When did 'pop' music start? Is everything after that big bang melodic garbage? Is everything before that immediately re-callable melody of infinite intervalic variety? If all it takes is 'intervalic variety', I could write a pop song that just ping-ponged back and forth between large intervals, which meets that criteria. The authors also cling to 'these songs are only 3 note melodies' without offering counts of examples of how many notes make a 'proper' one. Some of the examples in the video seemed to be 5 to me, which isn't all that much more complicated than 3. Then, while simultaneously praising 'We Are The Champions' as a great example of melodic music, he seems to forget that the 'attached preamble' to that song is 'We Will Rock You', which is essentially 2 notes over and over and over for the vast majority.

    This is the same 'Old man shakes fist at cloud' scenario of 'Remember when good stuff (the stuff I like) was good?'. People's brain just latches on to a preference at 14 and never lets go - this is something actually backed by science and research from peer and professional journals. You know, not 'This content does not necessarily match the views held by this magazine and it's staff'.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2019
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  15. gretschplayer

    gretschplayer Member

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    70 years ago someone probably said the exact same thing about rock and roll.
     
  16. gretschplayer

    gretschplayer Member

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    "Video by Dr. J. Evans Pritchard, Ph. D."
     
  17. Duffy Pratt

    Duffy Pratt Member

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    This from a Newsweek review in 1964:

    Visually they are a nightmare, tight, dandified Edwardian-Beatnik suits and great pudding bowls of hair. Musically they are a near disaster, guitars and drums slamming out a merciless beat that does away with secondary rhythms, harmony and melody. Their lyrics (punctuated by nutty shouts of “yeah, yeah, yeah”) are a catastrophe, a preposterous farrago of Valentine-card romantic sentiments….
     
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  18. Help!I'maRock!

    Help!I'maRock! Member

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    Oh this garbage again. TGP gonna TGP.
     
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  19. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    I can hum the hook instrumental part...it's really catchy...does that count?
     
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  20. JohnnyBGoode

    JohnnyBGoode Member

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    One must remember that every richness comes with a cost. Frequent chord changes are really bad for the groove... a melody with a lot of intervalic jumps hurts the ability to tell a story with your lyrics (an intervalic jump in the right place is great, but a rollercoaster of scales going up and down might mess everything)... and trying to combine too many complex ideas makes it too busy for most listeners (maybe not Dream Theater fans?)...

    Hard Rock music (as well as Blues and R&B) was usually about simple melody and chord progressions (or just riffs). If you miss bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath - than the video in the original post DOES NOT explain what is wrong with music nowadays.
     

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