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Jakebert
02-18-2007, 03:33 PM
So, being a music snob, I happen to be friends with a lot of other music snobs. I agree with them on most things, but there's one thing that seems to be the norm among music snobs that really bugs me.

That is the emphasis on technical skill. Don't get me wrong, I respect anyone who has talent as a guitarist. That's not something that's easy to do, and I know that. But one thing I absolutely hate is when technical skill is used in the place of creativity and good songwriting.

That's one of the reasons I dislike a lot of metal, because a lot of bands seem to think that's what's important, and let all of their songs sound the same. And metal fans ignore that because "dude, he can play some really hard stuff".

I think songwriting skills are way more important than technical skills when it comes down to it. Take the Beatles or Bob Dylan. Neither of them are known for intricate guitar work, but they both are widely considered to be influential, brilliant musicians. Why? Because they wrote really good songs. That made up for their simplicity and for the fact that they didn't solo in every single song.

Can technical skill make a song better? Well, yeah. That's one of the reasons I love Sonic Youth, Hendrix, or Mono. But the thing is that with those bands, the emphasis is on how that good guitar/drum/bass playing effects the overall song, not on how hard the part is. There's a balance between good musicianship and good songwriting, not one or the other. Because when it comes down to it, you're listening to the song for the overall product, not the guitar part by itself.

opivy21
02-18-2007, 03:46 PM
I totally agree. I could try to elaborate, but the bottom line is that songwriting is more important than technical ability.

mrconeman
02-18-2007, 03:51 PM
Mostly agreed.
But when people buy an Ywngie Malmsteen album, it is for the guitar part, or a Satriani album, or Vai.
And if thats what someone wants, who am I to say they shouldn't like it, even if it is only "because he plays some really hard stuff". If thats what they want, go for it.

Personally I don't close myself off to either side. I'm a guitarist, naturally I enjoy listening to fantastic players (although not all of them, Malmsteen for one I can't stand, there is almost no musicality to speak of, just speed...imo). But first and foremost I'm a music fan, so I enjoy a great song even if it is two/three chords.

I find the best music is when there is a certain amount of over-lapping. Someone who can combine technical greatness with great song writing.


I totally agree. I could try to elaborate, but the bottom line is that songwriting is more important than technical ability.
Shut the fuck up. I'd love to see you write a song without any technical ability.

Thomas
02-18-2007, 08:06 PM
I agree. Although technical ability can really turn me on to a band, it's the songwriting that really makes or breaks a band. ONe could argue, however, that songwriting in itself is a technical skill. There are many musicians out there that cannot write a good song to save their life, just as there are many drummers who can't play like Bonham or how there are many guitarists who can play like Hendrix. I guess you could say that "technical" ability refers to only their skill on their respective instrument(s), but it all depends on how you see it, I guess.

Another thing: Two of my all-time favorite bands are Rush and The Beatles. Obviously, these two bands are on completely opposite ends of the technical skill spectrum, but The Beatles are still seen as a more influential and legendary band. Just something to provide evidence to your original claim.

mrconeman
02-18-2007, 08:11 PM
ONe could argue, however, that songwriting in itself is a technical skill.

I kind of feel bad for telling that last guy to shut the fuck up, so I thought I'd elaborate, only to find you had said this. That's exactly what I was getting at.
Song writing is still a technique, although it is slightly bending the terminology, the general view is that when one says technique they literally mean the persons ability with their instrument, as in how they actually play.

All About Eve
02-18-2007, 08:15 PM
I would like to point out that Satriani and Vai have a LOT more elements in a lot of their song writing than just guitar.

And I agree. Even though I don't like the Beatles. My friend was telling me that Dave Matthews wasn't nearly as good as a guitarist as some metal guitarist. I don't care if Dave can't play rawkin solos, the stuff he does with acoustic cords, pullofs/hammerons etc is really cool. I'd rather listen to one of his 'solos' anyday.

Thomas
02-18-2007, 08:18 PM
I kind of feel bad for telling that last guy to shut the fuck up, so I thought I'd elaborate, only to find you had said this. That's exactly what I was getting at.
Song writing is still a technique, although it is slightly bending the terminology, the general view is that when one says technique they literally mean the persons ability with their instrument, as in how they actually play.

Yeah, that's why I believe that it depends on the way you look at it.

mrconeman
02-18-2007, 08:18 PM
I would like to point out that Satriani and Vai have a LOT more elements in a lot of their song writing than just guitar.

I'd like to agree. Though everyone does associate them with their guitaring ability, rightfully so too.
These two I can listen to though, they are good writers indeed. I wasn't a fan of them for awhile, but I came round to them.

All About Eve
02-18-2007, 08:19 PM
They're completely different too, once you get into it. It's hard to explain, but just the way they write their songs and put the emphasis on different stuff outlines their originality.

mrconeman
02-18-2007, 08:20 PM
I do find myself preferring Satch over Vai, theres a definite difference in styles.

Jakebert
02-18-2007, 08:47 PM
I would jump back in the thread, but you guys really said basically everything I already wanted to.

What I ment with the "technical skill" people are those who have only that and no songwriting. Obviously with people like Satriani and Vai that's not a problem because the parts they write are based on structure and not just how fast they can play a complicated part.

opivy21
02-18-2007, 09:07 PM
I kind of feel bad for telling that last guy to shut the fuck up, so I thought I'd elaborate, only to find you had said this. That's exactly what I was getting at.
Song writing is still a technique, although it is slightly bending the terminology, the general view is that when one says technique they literally mean the persons ability with their instrument, as in how they actually play.
I never considered songwriting a technique. When I said technique, I meant how well the person plays their instrument. One band I've been listening to the last few months have awesome songs, but they couldn't play guitar to save their lives, and I still enjoy it. That's all I meant. If songwriting is considered a technique, than obviously I think it's an important skill to have (the most important), but I never thought of it that way.

Jebus
02-18-2007, 11:50 PM
I always thought the people that hated any type of technical ability in music where the music snobs. I guess perspective matters when you're on the other side.


I'd like to agree. Though everyone does associate them with their guitaring ability, rightfully so too.
I wasn't a fan of them for awhile, but I came round to them.
Welcome to the light brother!

The thing about Vai and Satriani's music is that it lacks the type of structure and interplay you get in normal bands. That's also the thing that most don't understand or accept. They're call solo artist for a reason, although not in the way most people think. They're not solo artists because all they do is solo. I'd say that about 20 percent if Vai's music consists of actual soloing. They're solo artists because what they lack in things like vocals, they make up for by replacing it by carefully written guitar parts whether it be intricate melodies, rhythms, or whatever. Just because those things happen to be difficult to play doesn't automatically make it part of one huge solo. Vai's songs aren't just huge wank solos like most people think. His music is definitely structured just like any other regular band's music with rhythms, a chorus, and so on.


That's one of the reasons I dislike a lot of metal, because a lot of bands seem to think that's what's important, and let all of their songs sound the same. And metal fans ignore that because "dude, he can play some really hard stuff".
I hate to sound like a douche, but in certain types of metal, I'd say skill is extremely important. I'm even going to be as bold as to say that being able to write difficult solos partially makes you a good writer. What I like about metal is the energy and absolutely madness that goes into it. I'm sorry, but you just can't do that do that playing all slowly and all that emotional crap. They're just some things that you just can't express without being technically proficient. If you're in a guitarist in a metal band, your ass better be able to play fast or just fuck off. Of course, I don't think playing all fast is the only thing that matters. I also don't think what I just said should apply in every genre.

JohnnyNemesis
02-18-2007, 11:57 PM
I find that I never have anything to add to these threads from Jakebert because I agree so strongly and so thoroughly, but I often want to give props anyway. So yeah, props, here they are: take 'em.

Llamas
02-19-2007, 09:43 AM
I also would like to add that a really powerful slow/soft song is often much harder to pull off than a really fast technical song, because in a slow and soft song, any mistake is so blisteringly obvious that you really need to nail every single note, tambre, and element. With fast shit, you can hide SO many mistakes. And like everyone else, I agree with Jakebert.

H1T_That
02-19-2007, 10:28 AM
Mostly agreed.
But when people buy an Ywngie Malmsteen album, it is for the guitar part, or a Satriani album, or Vai.
And if thats what someone wants, who am I to say they shouldn't like it, even if it is only "because he plays some really hard stuff". If thats what they want, go for it.

Personally I don't close myself off to either side. I'm a guitarist, naturally I enjoy listening to fantastic players (although not all of them, Malmsteen for one I can't stand, there is almost no musicality to speak of, just speed...imo). But first and foremost I'm a music fan, so I enjoy a great song even if it is two/three chords.

I find the best music is when there is a certain amount of over-lapping. Someone who can combine technical greatness with great song writing.




100% agreed.

Forza
02-21-2007, 02:46 AM
It kinda depends on what kinda musicperson you are. I, for one, listen music for the music and not for the lyrics. It's cool that a song has good lyrics, but I remember the song more for its technical accomplishment than for some catchy or deep rhyme. It's a bit of a 4:3 ratio technical skills:lyrics for me.

Jakebert
02-21-2007, 04:45 AM
Songwriting doesn't mean lyrics. It means melody, harmony, or atmosphere of the song.