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> When Is Too Much 'too Much' ?
Ben Higgins
post Aug 3 2014, 09:07 AM
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When is too much 'Too Much' ?


Let's talk about composing. How do you make decisions about 'how much is enough' and not 'over doing it' ?

How many times does that riff need to repeat ? How many bars does that sweep picking need to go on for ? How many times have we heard that same combination of notes now ? There are many more decisions that we make, perhaps unconsciously, when writing something. It could be a solo or a whole song. Whatever we're creating we have to exercise our own taste and restraint.

From my perspective, there's 2 ways in which we could approach the subject of keeping a good balance and not over doing certain things.

1. Make the change before it ever gets to the point of being 'too much'. This could be encapsulated by the classic phrase "Leave people wanting more."

2. You may prefer to walk the line a little more and let things just get a bit more tense by allowing things to go on for a bit longer and then change. In other words, you overdo it just a little bit to make a statement but not enough to ruin the song. This is hard to judge.


There's another perspective on this subject though and it's summed up by this phrase. "If something's worth doing, then it's worth overdoing."

What do you feel about that last statement ? Does it have some truth in it ? Can you think of any examples where that 'overdoing it' excess has been a positive feature of the music ?

What about the other 2 approaches ? Do you identify with one of those ?


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bleez
post Aug 3 2014, 11:50 AM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Aug 3 2014, 09:07 AM) *
There's another perspective on this subject though and it's summed up by this phrase. "If something's worth doing, then it's worth overdoing."


This reminds me of a quote which a journalist said about the stoner band sleep and their song Jerusalem - 'Sometimes the riff is just so Fn good, that you just wanna hear it over and over again.......... Sometimes for 52 minutes' cool.gif

I guess it depends on the type of thing you're going for. Even back when I was in a band and was involved in writing the songs I would tend to go for the more is more approach but its not always easy to keep it interesting. Im not a fan of the 'Dont bore us, get to the chorus' approach but it probably is more popular to do that.

Shine on you crazy diamond with its 9-ish minutes intro is a great example. Not every band can get away with intros that long.
Sleep's Jerusalem at 52 minutes is probably an acquired taste


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VilleFIN
post Aug 3 2014, 12:51 PM
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End of discussion

http://youtu.be/oojzmjJ3ugE?t=50s


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Ben Higgins
post Aug 3 2014, 01:49 PM
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QUOTE (bleez @ Aug 3 2014, 11:50 AM) *
Im not a fan of the 'Dont bore us, get to the chorus' approach but it probably is more popular to do that.


What a great phrase, I've never heard that !!

I agree. I always think that about pop music. I swear it's their goal to get to a chorus as fast as humanly possible.



QUOTE (WeePee @ Aug 3 2014, 12:51 PM) *


Well Dave certainly knows a thing or two about song writing so it's always worth bearing in mind what he has to say. smile.gif

But for this discussion's sake, let's think less about what works for commercial success and more about what we think is 'enough' or 'too much'. I'm interested in what YOU guys think. Lay it on ! cool.gif

QUOTE (bleez @ Aug 3 2014, 11:50 AM) *
This reminds me of a quote which a journalist said about the stoner band sleep and their song Jerusalem - 'Sometimes the riff is just so Fn good, that you just wanna hear it over and over again.......... Sometimes for 52 minutes' cool.gif


I can get that, for sure. I often view creating music as presenting a movie. A certain amount of repetitions of a particular riff is like a camera shot panning over a wide panorama. You need however much you need if it for the vibe to sink it. No more, no less.


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Socky42
post Aug 3 2014, 03:38 PM
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I feel like if you have to ask, it's already too much.


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Todd Simpson
post Aug 3 2014, 06:37 PM
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Some great points! "get to the chorus" is sort of like the movie phrase "cut to the chase" in other words, GET TO THE GOOD PART!! smile.gif

It's true that verses can hang on too long, especially in instrumental music. Your audience will tolerate anything except boredom smile.gif So don't bore them!



QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Aug 3 2014, 04:07 AM) *
When is too much 'Too Much' ?


Let's talk about composing. How do you make decisions about 'how much is enough' and not 'over doing it' ?

How many times does that riff need to repeat ? How many bars does that sweep picking need to go on for ? How many times have we heard that same combination of notes now ? There are many more decisions that we make, perhaps unconsciously, when writing something. It could be a solo or a whole song. Whatever we're creating we have to exercise our own taste and restraint.

From my perspective, there's 2 ways in which we could approach the subject of keeping a good balance and not over doing certain things.

1. Make the change before it ever gets to the point of being 'too much'. This could be encapsulated by the classic phrase "Leave people wanting more."

2. You may prefer to walk the line a little more and let things just get a bit more tense by allowing things to go on for a bit longer and then change. In other words, you overdo it just a little bit to make a statement but not enough to ruin the song. This is hard to judge.


There's another perspective on this subject though and it's summed up by this phrase. "If something's worth doing, then it's worth overdoing."

What do you feel about that last statement ? Does it have some truth in it ? Can you think of any examples where that 'overdoing it' excess has been a positive feature of the music ?

What about the other 2 approaches ? Do you identify with one of those ?


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Ben Higgins
post Aug 3 2014, 07:29 PM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Aug 3 2014, 06:37 PM) *
is sort of like the movie phrase "cut to the chase"


You know, T-Man ? It's not until you said that I realised what that phrase really means / where it came from. I always knew what it meant but not why it meant it. smile.gif


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Britishampfan
post Aug 4 2014, 12:59 AM
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If you can tie it all together in an epic jam of riffs, none of them boring, then there is no too much.

Not many can do that without putting everyone to sleep.

Hell I have put myself to sleep before. Yep crashed out with my guitar writing in the studio. zzzzzzzzzzzz



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waynedcoville
post Aug 4 2014, 01:31 AM
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QUOTE (bleez @ Aug 3 2014, 10:50 AM) *
This reminds me of a quote which a journalist said about the stoner band sleep and their song Jerusalem - 'Sometimes the riff is just so Fn good, that you just wanna hear it over and over again.......... Sometimes for 52 minutes' cool.gif

I guess it depends on the type of thing you're going for. Even back when I was in a band and was involved in writing the songs I would tend to go for the more is more approach but its not always easy to keep it interesting. Im not a fan of the 'Dont bore us, get to the chorus' approach but it probably is more popular to do that.

Shine on you crazy diamond with its 9-ish minutes intro is a great example. Not every band can get away with intros that long.
Sleep's Jerusalem at 52 minutes is probably an acquired taste


...great band.
this is a great topic for debate. it really depends on the style of music that denotes whether or not its enough of a riff. as in the case for sleep, or just about any stoner/doom band. its not boring if that's the brand of music you like. personally, i can't bear to listen to never-ending solos or non-melodic noodling. its all subjective.

This post has been edited by waynedcoville: Aug 4 2014, 01:34 AM


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HungryForHeaven
post Aug 4 2014, 08:26 AM
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I think it is also a matter of the situation in which the composition is meant to be played.

For instance, back in the days when people actually listened to albums as albums, a long intro building up a mood or "setting the standards" for the album would work great as the opening track but could have been more difficult to get away with in the middle of the album. For instance, the intro to Hunter Becomes Hunter is one minute sharp - was it a coincidence that it ended up as the opening track? I guess it's all about balance, whether we consider an album or a specific song.

It also depends on who is doing it.

It obviously depends on genre (you can't have a two minute breakdown in a pop song) but also within a genre you may need to have attained a certain level of fame before you could get away with overdoing. If you're a famous thrash metal band and release an album which someone has compressed the living hell out of, your fans will still love you, while a new band might not be abel to afford such an experiment if they want to succeed. Ok, that has nothing to do with composition, but still.

So, when is too much "Too Much"?

You're asking about our personal opinions, so I'll just say compose what YOU want to listen to. If that second phrase in the solo is too predictable once you heard the first, tweak it a bit. If those harmonized violin/accordion lines stand out a bit too much from the overall stoner vibe, skip them.

H
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Ben Higgins
post Aug 4 2014, 09:01 AM
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QUOTE (Britishampfan @ Aug 4 2014, 12:59 AM) *
Hell I have put myself to sleep before. Yep crashed out with my guitar writing in the studio. zzzzzzzzzzzz


laugh.gif

Maybe it wasn't your guitar playing.. just not enough coffee ???

QUOTE (waynedcoville @ Aug 4 2014, 01:31 AM) *
personally, i can't bear to listen to never-ending solos or non-melodic noodling. its all subjective.


I agree. I try not to be guilty of either of those things but hell, in some people's opinions I might be ! biggrin.gif

QUOTE (HungryForHeaven @ Aug 4 2014, 08:26 AM) *
a long intro building up a mood or "setting the standards" for the album would work great as the opening track but could have been more difficult to get away with in the middle of the album. For instance, the intro to Hunter Becomes Hunter is one minute sharp


Yeah, it is definitely a long time without any vocals to come in but I thought 'Why not ?'. I'm used to album openers setting the scene.

I remember listening to Where Eagles Dare for the first time and thinking "Is this an instrumental ?" smile.gif

QUOTE (HungryForHeaven @ Aug 4 2014, 08:26 AM) *
If those harmonized violin/accordion lines stand out a bit too much


Dammit, I want the accordion to be dominating the mix !! mad.gif

tongue.gif


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HungryForHeaven
post Aug 4 2014, 09:30 AM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Aug 4 2014, 08:01 AM) *
Yeah, it is definitely a long time without any vocals to come in but I thought 'Why not ?'. I'm used to album openers setting the scene.

I remember listening to Where Eagles Dare for the first time and thinking "Is this an instrumental ?" smile.gif

Yeah, Where Eagles Dare is a brilliant example of where you get away with a lengthy intro. As is Hunter Becomes Hunted (which is a GREAT piece, long intro or not).

QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Aug 4 2014, 08:01 AM) *
Dammit, I want the accordion to be dominating the mix !! mad.gif

tongue.gif

laugh.gif
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