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The most musically talented musician of all time

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16 minutes ago, DJpullchord said:

Can anyone show me a great prince song and explain why it is so good? 

That's not what its about, people don't have to justify their personal choice. I'm not a big fan of Prince but to suggest he was not a great musician?  He wrote, recorded, produced, played all the instruments and sang on lots of million selling albums and huge tours. Whats to disrespect, regardless of your musical taste?

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3 hours ago, mikel said:

Truth be told I am a little in awe. :heart:

Easy tiger ...

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6 hours ago, DJpullchord said:

Just wonder what people hear in him? 

It's very late - during a terrible, sleepless night - but I'll try from my personal perspective. To me it's about how the music has a certain flowing, waving character with perfect placement of rhythmic and chordal elements. I think I hear how Prince really hears the musical driving forces in his head before writing them down, and feels them with great sensitivity and sense of balance.

With many other hit artists, I think I hear how they struggle with the material and are not really able to convey more than a rough idea (nice and great as that may be, and my iPod is filled with them), and many artists lend their often called "unique sound" from their severe limitations.

Not so with Prince. He reminds me of Mozart and partially of Green Gartside (Scritti Politti).

This post should've been much longer and with analytical depth, but I have to give up now. Hope it helps somewhat.

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I/We are thinking about western music, but what about the ragas of indian music and people like Ravi Shankar? what they play and improvise is just unbelievable. 

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6 hours ago, BassTractor said:

It's very late - during a terrible, sleepless night - but I'll try from my personal perspective. To me it's about how the music has a certain flowing, waving character with perfect placement of rhythmic and chordal elements. I think I hear how Prince really hears the musical driving forces in his head before writing them down, and feels them with great sensitivity and sense of balance.

With many other hit artists, I think I hear how they struggle with the material and are not really able to convey more than a rough idea (nice and great as that may be, and my iPod is filled with them), and many artists lend their often called "unique sound" from their severe limitations.

Not so with Prince. He reminds me of Mozart and partially of Green Gartside (Scritti Politti).

This post should've been much longer and with analytical depth, but I have to give up now. Hope it helps somewhat.

Thank you!

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7 hours ago, BassTractor said:

It's very late - during a terrible, sleepless night - but I'll try from my personal perspective. To me it's about how the music has a certain flowing, waving character with perfect placement of rhythmic and chordal elements. I think I hear how Prince really hears the musical driving forces in his head before writing them down, and feels them with great sensitivity and sense of balance.

With many other hit artists, I think I hear how they struggle with the material and are not really able to convey more than a rough idea (nice and great as that may be, and my iPod is filled with them), and many artists lend their often called "unique sound" from their severe limitations.

Not so with Prince. He reminds me of Mozart and partially of Green Gartside (Scritti Politti).

This post should've been much longer and with analytical depth, but I have to give up now. Hope it helps somewhat.

Well, possibly, but its all subjective. If the elements are "Perfect" would that not mean they were simply what was expected in that given situation, and merely following musical convention?

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I'm in the "I don't get this type of question" camp.

Music is a personally subjective thing. One persons brilliant will be another persons awful.

And this question doesn't work if it's inviting a ranking system. I mean - who is going to be brave and answer the question:

"Who is the least talented musician of all time?"

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1 hour ago, Bridgehouse said:

I'm in the "I don't get this type of question" camp.

Music is a personally subjective thing. One persons brilliant will be another persons awful.

And this question doesn't work if it's inviting a ranking system. I mean - who is going to be brave and answer the question:

"Who is the least talented musician of all time?"

Thats easy. Its me. Obviously. Brave or what?

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5 hours ago, mikel said:

Well, possibly, but its all subjective. If the elements are "Perfect" would that not mean they were simply what was expected in that given situation, and merely following musical convention?

The problem with that notion, I personally think, is that while it's true, it's not the whole truth. Yes, different people have different sensitivities to different things in music (that, I think is your "it's all subjective" bit), but also: some people's ears perform on a higher level than others'. Taste comes in to it, as does getting used to (for example I used to hate hard rock music 45-50 years ago before I heard Deep Purple, but now love death metal too). Most people also have a shared sense for most of the musical forces that are at play, and that's why we for example mostly see regular songs ending in V-I. One could of course go on and on about this, but I assume you get the gist.

However, there is no such thing as THE expected in that given situation, as in that there's one option only. As an example I've often written a certain type of church music that for music psychology reasons ended in a IV-I instead as it puts the expected listener in a different state of mind. A pro knows what tools to use to generate certain responses, whilst many composers do not. Example at the bottom.

When Prince or other composers create a song, they're essentially working with music psychology - out of what we know about (Western) man's response to certain musical information. Somebody like Prince (in my personal, not generally valid, view), when he wants to invoke certain responses from certain audiences (maybe his own fanatic fans or maybe the generic radio listener), is better than some other composers at choosing melodies, rhythms and harmonic developments so that his musical language is at its most effective in reaching those goals.

"Expected in that given situation" does exist, I agree, but is more about that V-I ending and similar harmonic development powers, and about melodic and rhythmic expectancies too, and less about whether one wants to write certain songs and which tools to choose for those songs to be effective at reaching the goal. The people who wrote about "I'm a Barbie Girl" were IMO very effective in that particular endeavour, and I love the song, but I also strongly suspect that they would hardly be able to write a Prince song. People like Zappa OTOH would improvisingly create a new song live without too much insecurity and miscommunication. One would use that which is common music knowledge as a tool to fill out the idea that one of the players (say Zappa himself) started with, but the resulting song would most probably lack finesse or an overall coherence of every element within. I think a lot of jazz might be within the processes I try to describe here. 

 

Here's an example of music that I think might be "perfect" as to following all the "rules" (though I can't bear listening to it long enough to even check and I also seriously doubt that they're able at all), but it also shows that this band lacks everything in the departments of control, finesse or even a deeper awareness of what the "rules" are - beyond the most rudimentary. Listen at your own risk:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKFDHbP7R50

 

 

Edited by BassTractor
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1 hour ago, BassTractor said:

Here's an example of music that I think might be "perfect" as to following all the "rules" (though I can't bear listening to it long enough to even check and I also seriously doubt that they're able at all), but it also shows that this band lacks everything in the departments of control, finesse or even a deeper awareness of what the "rules" are - beyond the most rudimentary. Listen at your own risk:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKFDHbP7R50

I wish I'd thought of that bass line.

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1 hour ago, BassTractor said:

A pro knows what tools to use to generate certain responses, whilst many composers do not. Example at the bottom.

Is that not simply playing or composing by numbers? Like tin pan alley. Some people can get their message across by ignoring the "Rules" and playing or composing by what sounds right to them. If not music would never have moved on over the centuries. 

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1 hour ago, mikel said:

Is that not simply playing or composing by numbers? Like tin pan alley. Some people can get their message across by ignoring the "Rules" and playing or composing by what sounds right to them. If not music would never have moved on over the centuries. 

I suspect you and I might be more on the same line than I initially thought. When I wrote the sentence you quoted, I was not trying to refer to composing by numbers, but to the ability to know in advance how the target audience would respond to (new or old) ways of doing things. Playing what you like yourself, and what you feel is expressing the message effectively, then is one good method amongst several.

BTW. to me there is no qualitative difference between someone feeling that say the IV-I is a good idea and someone who was taught in college why IV-I could be a good idea. The first person supposedly has the same good ears as the second person, but the second person probably in addition has been told why this is. The first person presumably found the chords on his guitar and saw it was good, where the second person maybe would say beforehand: "I'm gonna opt for the IV-I in this song". The first person remembers it too, and says the same thing the next time.

An important factor, to me, in discussing these things is what one understands the term "the rules" to mean, and I willingly use quotation marks consistently for that term when used in certain meanings. To me, "rules" are not commands about how to write music, and are very far from commands about composing by numbers, but are gathered wisdom about what musical elements have what effect on which listener". As an old and maybe still used example: nobody ever commands you to use a tritone interval in the fourth bar but not in the seventh ;) . but the "rules" do state that our world's shared musical experience tells us that this interval has a certain tension in it that to certain listeners, and in certain musical styles, demands to be resolved - or might be experienced as daunting or ugly in certain circumstances. After that, the composer decides freely to use it or not, and in case how.

Rules (without quotation marks) do exist though. Say if you want to write a baroque fugue, then you're probably gonna look up what baroque theorists demanded from a fugue. But that I think is outside of what we're discussing here. More could be said about different types of rules, but I'll only mention the analytical patterns one has found in hindsight when analysing music of days yonder. These rules do not tell you what you should do, but what others have done before you.

Enough! :)

Edited by BassTractor
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1 hour ago, stevie said:

I wish I'd thought of that bass line.

I hate you so much right now! Now I'll have to listen to the coddemn song! :D

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This is great! Get to the guts of it.

Some people want flattened thirds and sevenths, others dislike consecutive fifths in their harmonies. And like you mentioned, there’s cadences to deal with.

That’s before dynamics and lyrics are dealt with.

Music has many dimensions, perhaps some are more relevant/judged than others, to different people?

like parts of the tongue?

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10 hours ago, DJpullchord said:

Some people want flattened thirds and sevenths, others dislike consecutive fifths in their harmonies. And like you mentioned, there’s cadences to deal with.

That’s before dynamics and lyrics are dealt with.

Music has many dimensions, perhaps some are more relevant/judged than others, to different people?

like parts of the tongue?

Ha! Parts of the tongue. I liked that, as I feel that it might be a perfect comparison as it says something about the physical sensitivities before you even talk about the psychological sensitivities - what one is used to, what is experienced as relevant etc.

Consecutive fifths were physically a stomach-turning abomination to my ears when I was young. Then I started using them willingly and a lot - but in new music rather than the original baroque environment that had formed my sensitivities. Interestingly (to me at least), when heard in medieval and Renaissance music, they do not turn my stomach so much as invoke a little smile about the naïvité of old music. BTW, I lurv medieval and Renaissance music.

But to this day, a melodic line 4 - 3 - 1 in a Major key, as heard in a lot of popular music, still turns my stomach, and though I wish to be open-minded, I never manage to free myself from the notion that the composer of those three notes should've avoided them with a vengeance (polite wording here :D ). Not to say I delete those songs from my iPod though.

Edited by BassTractor

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31 minutes ago, BassTractor said:

...4 - 3 - 1 in a Major key, as heard in a lot of popular music, still turns my stomach, and though I wish to be open-minded, I never manage to free myself from the notion that the composer of those three notes should've avoided them with a vengeance (polite wording here :D ). Not to say I delete those songs from my iPod though.

But isn't that a bit like saying 'Avoid using green when painting forest scenes'..? o.O

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Its all bollo* really. It has now slipped into music theory and semantics, when we are talking about "Best Musician". Getting back to theory. It matters not, its about emotion or feel if you like. If a piece of music fails to make you, personally, want to either....Dance, Cry, Fight or F**k, then ignore it.

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3 hours ago, Dad3353 said:

But isn't that a bit like saying 'Avoid using green when painting forest scenes'..? o.O

I don't think so. Why would it be?

To me it's more like: if you want to paint the Mona Lisa in Renaissance style, then it might be an idea to not use green for Lisa's skin tone. :)

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On 12/18/2017 at 09:45, Dad3353 said:

But isn't that a bit like saying 'Avoid using green when painting forest scenes'..? o.O

 

On 12/18/2017 at 12:56, BassTractor said:

I don't think so. Why would it be?

To me it's more like: if you want to paint the Mona Lisa in Renaissance style, then it might be an idea to not use green for Lisa's skin tone. :)

May I try and outdo your own extension of your own analogy? I might suggest that it's more like saying, "you had all those shades of green in your paintbox. Why did you paint the entire forest in neon green?"

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On 18/12/2017 at 13:56, BassTractor said:

I don't think so. Why would it be?

To me it's more like: if you want to paint the Mona Lisa in Renaissance style, then it might be an idea to not use green for Lisa's skin tone. :)

 

13 minutes ago, EliasMooseblaster said:

May I try and outdo your own extension of your own analogy? I might suggest that it's more like saying, "you had all those shades of green in your paintbox. Why did you paint the entire forest in neon green?"

Just goes to show what a lousy advocate for the Devil I'd make..! OK, then, I'll desist and agree that bland is bland..! I, too, like to look for (and, even better, find..!) another angle than the tired old tried and tested, easy-peasy chords and harmonies. I do still use 'em, though, when inspiration once again eludes me..! Long live the whole palette of musical shades and colours. :D

Edited by Dad3353

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