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Corporate music - How to compose music with no soul.
Last post Wed, Jan 15 2020 by Errikos, 17 replies.
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Posted on Tue, Jan 07 2020 22:50
by Errikos
Joined on Tue, Jun 12 2007, Posts 1029

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIxY_Y9TGWI

Next logical step, do one about Hollywood formulaic film-music, focusing on patterns, composing with layers, and all the vein-tearing sameness in an Adorno-dystopian music factory.

Keep those ostinati thrumming and arpeggiators generating! Whole score in a weekend! Just spend a month on mic positions and surround mix as those parameters are more important than the music... Throw as many armies of brass and taikos as you will into that mix, you will never fill the vacuum of unoriginality.

You know we're f*cked when there are people on the Internet advising you to make your own samples in order to sound "original" - meaning you sound like every other (s)ep(t)ic clone otherwise...

If you can't notate/MIDI it yourself, it's NOT your music!

In these modern days to be vulgar, illiterate, common and vicious, seems to give a man a marvelous infinity of rights that his honest fathers never dreamed of. - Oscar Wilde
Posted on Wed, Jan 08 2020 16:40
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5428

That is so funny but disturbing also.  The nothing music in particular.  Silence is inifinitely superior to the music.  

Posted on Thu, Jan 09 2020 05:36
by agitato
Joined on Mon, Jun 22 2015, Posts 354

As always, I am totally with you on this.

If I can offer any help towards your depression and exasperation at the current state of music, perhaps this will be a refreshing breath of air?....

The "Siren sounds waltz" by the 14 year child prodigy Alma Deuscher (actual music starts around 2:50, unless you want to listen to her intro): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0xMpLXQNvM&list=PLVn-hJ6Izu5NFfAsBx0KiST2mF0AcC3Ue&index=20&t=0s

I think this is pretty remarkable music for a person of that age, or maybe of any age, if we include all the crap music out there. She gives me so much hope for the future.

Anand 

Anand Kumar
Posted on Fri, Jan 10 2020 13:21
by Errikos
Joined on Tue, Jun 12 2007, Posts 1029

I have heard works by this girl before. Pretty remarkable what she can do at her age. I am not certain that she has no help and that she is not the beneficiary of a great publicity campaign, I haven't looked into the matter really.

At any rate, she is Beethoven compared to the sequencer-Borgs (Star Trek fan).

If you can't notate/MIDI it yourself, it's NOT your music!

In these modern days to be vulgar, illiterate, common and vicious, seems to give a man a marvelous infinity of rights that his honest fathers never dreamed of. - Oscar Wilde
Posted on Fri, Jan 10 2020 13:24
by Paul McGraw
Joined on Mon, Feb 29 2016, Georgia, USA, Posts 418

Very true Errikos. Our ancestors knew that the cheap, the shoddy, the bad, drive out what is good and wholesome. That is why they had things like voluntary censorship in Hollywood. That is why there was a society-wide effort to preserve and encourage great music, great art, and great literature. Now, young people are taught to hate western civilization and everything it stood for. I could rant on about this for days on end. But in the case of music, how can anyone expect anything other than stuff called music that reflects the values (or lack of values) of the modern world?

Posted on Fri, Jan 10 2020 17:54
by agitato
Joined on Mon, Jun 22 2015, Posts 354

Originally Posted by: Paul McGraw Go to Quoted Post

Now, young people are taught to hate western civilization and everything it stood for. I could rant on about this for days on end. But in the case of music, how can anyone expect anything other than stuff called music that reflects the values (or lack of values) of the modern world?

Sorry to say, I think there is a contradiction in your statements. Isn't the so called 'modern world' attributed largely  to  'western civilization'...planes, trains, automobiles, capitalism...and the corporate music Errikos referred to? Let alone that it was a pure coincidence of history that all this happend in the so called 'western world'? 

Yet you say that young people are taught to hate this 'western civilization' whereas I would think it is quite the opposite. Or perhaps you are referring to something else by 'western civilization'.

Anand

Anand Kumar
Posted on Fri, Jan 10 2020 18:06
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 57

I fear it's pandemic right across the fine arts, Errikos. Over the past 100 or so years in particular, P.R. - i.e. what used to be called propaganda - has become virtually ubiquitous and omnipotent such that now it has seduced, suborned and saddled far too many people in western societies with the appalling belief that individuality - indeed one might say the soul itself - is something from outside, not within. 

In the following dramatisation of the first rehearsal of Beethoven's Eroica, some important words are ascribed to Joseph Haydn, who attended the rehearsal. (play pointer set to that moment, 1:17:42, in this link)

https://youtu.be/UtA7m3viB70?t=4661

  "He's done something no other composer has attempted: he's placed himself at the centre of his work. He gives us a glimpse into his soul."

Thus began the romantic period in orchestral music.

Today, when the technical means of producing music have become so widely available, convient and affordable, I'm constantly reminded of Kierkegaard's bleak observation on the spread of printing technology, which he regarded as a somewhat comical invention, for:-

   "Since when, oh God, have there been so many people with something to say?"

One thing surely has become horribly clear to many if not most of us today. The vast armies of people engaged, professionally or not, in producing P.R. for this, that and the other - and I include "corporate music" and all other kitsch music as part of their productions - are far from being those "with something to say".

Posted on Fri, Jan 10 2020 19:36
by Paul McGraw
Joined on Mon, Feb 29 2016, Georgia, USA, Posts 418

Originally Posted by: agitato Go to Quoted Post

Originally Posted by: Paul McGraw Go to Quoted Post

Now, young people are taught to hate western civilization and everything it stood for. I could rant on about this for days on end. But in the case of music, how can anyone expect anything other than stuff called music that reflects the values (or lack of values) of the modern world?

Sorry to say, I think there is a contradiction in your statements. Isn't the so called 'modern world' attributed largely  to  'western civilization'...planes, trains, automobiles, capitalism...and the corporate music Errikos referred to? Let alone that it was a pure coincidence of history that all this happend in the so called 'western world'? 

Yet you say that young people are taught to hate this 'western civilization' whereas I would think it is quite the opposite. Or perhaps you are referring to something else by 'western civilization'.

Anand

You are referring to technology and inventions. Not culture. 

Paul McGraw

Posted on Fri, Jan 10 2020 19:39
by Paul McGraw
Joined on Mon, Feb 29 2016, Georgia, USA, Posts 418

Macker,

Well said, beautifully written and insightful.

Paul McGraw

Posted on Fri, Jan 10 2020 19:48
by agitato
Joined on Mon, Jun 22 2015, Posts 354

Originally Posted by: Paul McGraw Go to Quoted Post

Originally Posted by: agitato Go to Quoted Post

Originally Posted by: Paul McGraw Go to Quoted Post

Now, young people are taught to hate western civilization and everything it stood for. I could rant on about this for days on end. But in the case of music, how can anyone expect anything other than stuff called music that reflects the values (or lack of values) of the modern world?

Sorry to say, I think there is a contradiction in your statements. Isn't the so called 'modern world' attributed largely  to  'western civilization'...planes, trains, automobiles, capitalism...and the corporate music Errikos referred to? Let alone that it was a pure coincidence of history that all this happend in the so called 'western world'? 

Yet you say that young people are taught to hate this 'western civilization' whereas I would think it is quite the opposite. Or perhaps you are referring to something else by 'western civilization'.

Anand

You are referring to technology and inventions. Not culture. 

Paul McGraw

Ok, but eveyone is following 'western culture' these days. So I am still not sure what your point is. I hope it is not "no one is following "western culture" thats why the music is pretty bad" 

Anand Kumar
Posted on Fri, Jan 10 2020 21:04
by JimmyHellfire
Joined on Tue, Dec 24 2013, Posts 333

Originally Posted by: agitato Go to Quoted Post

As always, I am totally with you on this.

If I can offer any help towards your depression and exasperation at the current state of music, perhaps this will be a refreshing breath of air?....

The "Siren sounds waltz" by the 14 year child prodigy Alma Deuscher (actual music starts around 2:50, unless you want to listen to her intro): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0xMpLXQNvM&list=PLVn-hJ6Izu5NFfAsBx0KiST2mF0AcC3Ue&index=20&t=0s

I think this is pretty remarkable music for a person of that age, or maybe of any age, if we include all the crap music out there. She gives me so much hope for the future.

Anand 

I must disagree here, purely because I think that a well off, incubator-bred wunderkind most certainly isn't what the real world out there needs. These people exist in their own little outside spheres, less affected by how the faceless, soulless mechanisms of corporate culture and algorithm driven reasoning are transfiguring every facet of the everyday world.

Posted on Fri, Jan 10 2020 21:12
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5428

Macker that quote from Haydn is fascinating.  Also the Kierkegaard is so appropriate right now.  The statement of your own also struck me  - "the appalling belief that individuality - indeed one might say the soul itself - is something from outside, not within"  - that is almost exactly what is being advised for "creativity" by the so-called experts:  it is a group process, not a deeply personal one.  The "lone genius" is frowned upon.  (Though those are all of the most inspiring artists, thinkers or composers throughout history at least to me.) But today everyone must do what they do in full exhibitionistic view of the world or they don't exist. Everything is a selfie and yet if you look at what selfies and Facebook are, they are 99% bad photography and uninteresting stories.   This grates on me even though I make some attempts at dealing with it...   

Posted on Fri, Jan 10 2020 22:44
by Paul McGraw
Joined on Mon, Feb 29 2016, Georgia, USA, Posts 418

agitato,

The culture of Western Civilization has been steadily eroding since the 1960's. Very little of it remains today. I am not sure of the best terminology to use today, post-modernism, perhaps. One of the core beliefs of Western Civilization in the past was that not all art, or music or architecture or poetry or cultures were equal. Some art or music or architecture was of a higher caliber and deserved to be cultivated, treasured and preserved.  In contrast, postmodernists believe everything is just a matter of opinion. A Beethoven Symphony is of no greater value than a I-IV-V pop tune, or better yet 4:33. To postmodernists all cultures are of equal value, except of course the old Western Civilization which is despised and should be destroyed.

I am getting really depressed writing this. 

Paul McGraw

Posted on Fri, Jan 10 2020 23:13
by Errikos
Joined on Tue, Jun 12 2007, Posts 1029

I am happily surprised that the video I posted has elicited some discussion of this sort in this forum which, as a veteran member, I thought had long run its course, save for the discussions on technical matters..

Thank you all for contributing such valuable thoughts.

Paul: Young people today are learning to hate western civilization while not giving up one iota of the materialistic benefits of that civilization, instead they exclude themselves from everything lofty that civilization could offer them...  This happens purposely and from above of course, but I cannot discuss this further without veering into actual politics, which should be left out of this forum. So I'll let Schoenberg do the talking for me:

"One should never forget that what one learns in school about history is the truth only insofar as it does not interfere with the political, philosophical, moral, or other beliefs of those in whose interest the facts are told, coloured, or arranged."

Macker: Thanks for the Kierkegaard quote, I was not aware of it; how apt and topical in an age of Facebook and Instagram!..  I would like to add to your point regarding 'individuality' something from a book that I dearly recommend to all here - Music and the Mind by Anthony Storr. Yung is quoted in the chapter titled 'A Justification of Existence':

"Personality is the supreme realization of the innate idiosyncrasy of a living being. It is an act of high courage flung in the face of life, the absolute affirmation of all that constitutes the individual, the most successful adaptation to the universal conditions of existence coupled with the greatest possible freedom of self determination."

Also, I have found that when two people disagree in most important things, what they actually happen to agree upon is often of great consequence. I am anti Post-Modernist and what Paul wrote above I subscribe to, hence here is some MIchel Foucault in Perspectives of Musical Aesthetics (edited by John Rand):

"I have the impression that many of the elements that are supposed to provide access to music actually impoverish our relationship with it. There is a quantitative mechanism working here. A certain rarity of relation to music could preserve an ability to choose what one hears, and thus a flexibility in listening. But the more frequent this relation is (radio, records, cassettes [Ed. Internet!]), the more familiarities it creates; habits crystallize; the most frequent becomes the most acceptable, and soon the only thing perceivable. It produces a 'tracing', as neurologists say.

(...) And what the public finds itself actually listening to, because it's offered up, reinforces a certain taste..." 

Maybe algorithm-driven taste, to paraphrase Jimmy.

And Bill, about everything being a 'selfie' these days: Music must also be incorporated under the moniker of 'everything', so it must be composed with a lot of 'selfie-pleasure', these days...

If you can't notate/MIDI it yourself, it's NOT your music!

In these modern days to be vulgar, illiterate, common and vicious, seems to give a man a marvelous infinity of rights that his honest fathers never dreamed of. - Oscar Wilde
Posted on Sat, Jan 11 2020 04:42
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 57

Paul, thank you so much. I hope at least you may take heart in that here on this forum is a sturdy bunch of individuals who strongly value and support the musical treasures our cultures have produced in times gone by, and who, moreover, are right now aiming and working towards carrying cultural developments forward. Yet this bunch - from what I've seen - do it without espousing this or that hollow, mechanistic ideology which merely provides cheap methods and shortcuts towards utopia. I want to avoid politics here but I will say this: I regard all ideological doctrines, whether on the left or the right, as harmful to music's development as well as to the other fine arts.

William, thank you, thank you. I agree fully with your comments about today's onslaught of groupthink and the untold harm it has done and is doing not only to music but also to our humanity. Yes we're being goaded ever more insistently and cynically towards an automaton-like existence, never mind that nowadays one is free to adopt this or that variety of prefabricated clone identity. Haydn also spoke of Beethoven's great innovation of "the artist as hero". Well we know what that's morphed into recently in western cultures - an army of fake hero multi-millionaire big-time celebs who've sold their souls to .... ok I'll stop there. To be one of Haydn's true heroes these days would be really quite a thing, and I still firmly believe it's possible.

Errikos, many thanks to you, not least for starting this wonderfully energising thread. By the way, I love what I've learned from Jung and admire that he insisted his writings and teachings are philosophy, not paradigmatic science. Various doctrinal disputes between Jung and Freud are not over yet and bear much relevance to the predicament of the fine arts today. However, I spent all too many years pursuing wisdom from books; an end to that came when I switched over to studying music theory and I abandoned philosophy as too densely strewn with fool's gold. Well I made that bed for myself and that's what I lie in these days.

Posted on Tue, Jan 14 2020 10:06
by jasensmith
Joined on Tue, Jan 15 2008, Arizona, Posts 1529

When I first began my journey into the world of virtual orchestra I had heard that many MIDIstrators created Corporate Music.  I had never heard of Corporate Music before so I wanted to aquaint myself with that style.  I happened across a Youtube video that gave these "rules" that you had to abide by if you wanted to be versed in all things Corporate Music. I tried in vain to find the video and post a link here as I thought it would be a great companion piece to the video Errikos posted but from what I remember:

Rule 1.   Never write in anything other than a major key because coproate music is always happy or introspective.

Rule 2.  Never write a chord progression with more than four chords. And even four is pushing it because you can't have the listener think too much.

Rule 3. Only use "Happy" instruments but not whismical.  So violins (fiddle), flutes, clarinets, whistling, Ukuleles yes, but no harmonicas or zithers.  Also, no overbearing instruments like double bass because it's not fair to the violins that the double bass is so overpowering.  Same thing goes for the bassoon but staccato tubas are cool.  No trumpet either because trumpets are blaring loud mouths that display aggression. And definately no ethnic instruments because that shows cultural dominance over other cultures; a cardinal sin.

So basically Corporate Music is music that is, what I would call, "Woke Culture compliant."  It's ironic since the word "corporate" is an offensive and filthy word in Woke Culture society due to its capitalist pig and bourgeoisie connotations.  Be that as it may, Corporate Music compliments Woke Culture and all of its asininity.     


"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it."
- W.C. Fields
Posted on Wed, Jan 15 2020 01:55
by Errikos
Joined on Tue, Jun 12 2007, Posts 1029

I would add to Jasen's more technical rules a couple of generic ones for that kind of music:

Rule 0: There is no limit to how much and how flagrantly you can insult the consumer's emotional "intelligence".

Rule 0.5: The music should accurately correspond to the vacuous/platitudinous assertions of the script.

If you can't notate/MIDI it yourself, it's NOT your music!

In these modern days to be vulgar, illiterate, common and vicious, seems to give a man a marvelous infinity of rights that his honest fathers never dreamed of. - Oscar Wilde
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