Instrumentalist "House painters" vs. Songwriter "Artist painters"

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Instrumentalist "House painters" vs. Songwriter "Artist painters"

Post by waveheavy » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:42 am

I'm a little unsettled over something Michael said in his Taxi TV program covering Dean's book Demystifying The Cue. This is not a complaint. It's just an attempt to correct some wrong notions about the art of composing. Others can consider this just my opinion if they want, just as others have their own. Take it or leave it.

In the intro of the program Michael is getting ready to introduce Dean Krippaehne's book Demystifying The Cue. Dean is an instrumental composer, not a singer/songwriter. Michael described how writing instrumental music is somewhat easier than writing a song with lyrics, unless it's something like a full orchestra with a lot of instruments, etc. I can agree it's different, but not any less difficult.

He then presented an analogy that likens instrumentalists as "house painters" and songwriters who provide lyrics as "artists" (like painting on a canvas). I don't agree with that analogy at all. Bach's hymns, which use heavy counterpoint, were instrumentals worked out on the keyboard first, before they were performed as Chorale music. Jazz instrumental musicians are well versed in music theory and beyond because the style is so demanding, so that still makes them "house painters"?

I think it's just a bad idea to make such comparisons between instrumentalists and singer/songwriters because all of them equally are artists in their own right, but not all of them are musicians, which usually includes the idea of having studied music theory at some point and having a discipline in at least one musical instrument.

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Re: Instrumentalist "House painters" vs. Songwriter "Artist painters"

Post by admin » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:37 am

Hi Dave,

Sorry I didn't communicate my point better. My comparison wasn't intended to put one above the other. It was intended to show that both types of "painters" use the same tools, so you can create an income using your "brushes" to "paint TV cues by day, and use your other "brushes" to "paint" music that is where your musical heart is at night. Houses and portraits, if you will.

BTW, in the context of what I was speaking about (TV cues), composers often times make relatively simple cues for reality shows or docu-series, for example. That is not to say that composers like Bach (or any other composers) aren't sophisticated in their compositions or knowledge of music or music theory. I also know many TV cue composers who are extremely talented, hard-working, and very well versed and qualified in music theory and competency.

Watch this TAXI TV episode I did with Steve Barden, and you'll see a great example of a relatively simple cue being done by a composer who is very well schooled/educated, and very capable of composing much more sophisticated pieces (orchestral trailer music, for example), and he often DOES. It simply exemplifies that he is able to use the same tools (brushes) to do (paint) BOTH things.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jEsZ129HsM

I hope this clarifies,
Michael

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Re: Instrumentalist "House painters" vs. Songwriter "Artist painters"

Post by waveheavy » Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:14 am

Michael,

I don't think you intentionally... meant to downplay one over the other. I've seen the video with Steve, so I know what you meant with simple instrumental cues. I felt that your painter comparison comes more from your experience as a producer/engineer dealing more with songwriters than from the viewpoint of a musician.

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Re: Instrumentalist "House painters" vs. Songwriter "Artist painters"

Post by mojobone » Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:55 am

ML wasn't comparing people; he was comparing jobs. Maybe comparing fine art and commercial art is a more apt comparison, but when you break it down, production music is more like interior/exterior painting, cuz you'll likely be using fewer colors and broader strokes. Usually, there's a time budget when you're painting houses; often fine art doesn't have a deadline, it's done when the artist says it's done, not when the client says; another parallel. Another analogy could be building a custom neo-victorian vs a prefab doublewide...

:lol: :lol: :lol:

The point is, you can paint houses for enough cash to fund your art. Once you're making money, you can deduct the costs of the tools, and it gets a little easier to build that paint/brush arsenal.
Last edited by mojobone on Tue Mar 28, 2017 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Instrumentalist "House painters" vs. Songwriter "Artist painters"

Post by admin » Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:42 pm

Good interpretation Mojo!

thx,
ML

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Re: Instrumentalist "House painters" vs. Songwriter "Artist painters"

Post by Pvgeldrop » Wed Apr 05, 2017 12:10 am

Looking forward to catching up on these episodes now that I've got a holiday coming up. ;-)
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Re: Instrumentalist "House painters" vs. Songwriter "Artist painters"

Post by Len911 » Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:43 am

Michael described how writing instrumental music is somewhat easier than writing a song with lyrics
Technically it is, because if it is the same piece of music, the melody also has lyrics, and they must make sense.
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Re: Instrumentalist "House painters" vs. Songwriter "Artist painters"

Post by mojobone » Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:03 pm

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Re: Instrumentalist "House painters" vs. Songwriter "Artist painters"

Post by Len911 » Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:22 pm

:lol: :lol: Exception: Preteen panty throwers!
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Re: Instrumentalist "House painters" vs. Songwriter "Artist painters"

Post by hummingbird » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:00 pm

An instrumental has to tell a story by use of textures, sounds, pitches, hits, melody and counterpoint. It expresses an emotion without a word. My maestro used to say, 'it's so simple, it's hard'. It takes skill and knowledge to write and produce instrumentals. Of course it might be more demanding to do say, trailer music or film score, than it is to do a 3 minute downtempo tension cue.

In my mind, songwriting and instrumental writing are just two ways that musicians and composers express themselves. One is not less colourful or less complicated than the other. That being said, writing effective lyrics for commercial use is definitely a skill.

So I guess I agree and don't agree and perhaps my brain is addled cause it's 10pm and 85 degrees :P But I'd prefer to think of instrumental composers and songwriters as being two different kinds of aural artists... like, one uses oil on canvas and the other uses acrylics on specially treated wood. Each has their place, each has their audience.
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