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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Composers
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:31 am 
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The Man wrote:
"Songwriting" is separate from the criteria. We're talking influence from their compositions only, in the same way that the lyrics list only factors in the lyrics from a song.


Um, songwriting is compositions plus writing lyrics. No more, no less. And the Beatles weren't consider the greatest songwriters in rock because of their lyrics, for the most part.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Composers
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:33 am 
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Brett Alan wrote:
If the members of ELP (who didn't really write as a trio that much) are considered one entry, then clearly Lennon/McCartney should be an entry. And, really, if they're not going to be number one, the name of the list should really be changed to something like "Greatest Art-Rock Composers" or something. No one comes close to L&M as rock songwriters, and it wasn't, for the most part, because of lyrics.

(And I get one of those "one new post has been made" messages, and Ariel was saying something very similar at the same time. GMTA. B^)


Well "composer" generally implies something very, very specific, so it would seem a bit redundant to change the name of the list.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Composers
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 4:11 pm 
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I thought composing referred more to actually writing well-formed arrangements with notated parts for different instruments. Songwriting usually doesn't consist of much more than a melody line and an underlying harmonic structure (plus lyrics). Composing is a little more.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Composers
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 4:53 pm 
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pauldrach wrote:
I thought composing referred more to actually writing well-formed arrangements with notated parts for different instruments. Songwriting usually doesn't consist of much more than a melody line and an underlying harmonic structure (plus lyrics). Composing is a little more.


No, all writing of music is composing. Because the word is associated with classical music, we tend to think of it in those terms, but the association is less than clear. Which is why, if that's what we mean, the name ought to reflect that more clearly.

(And, really, does Tom Waits do that so much more than Lennon and McCartney did?)


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Composers
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:11 pm 
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Composition is really just writing the musical parts, Macca and Lennon had some great compositional ability, but nowhere to the degree of Wilson or Zappa. If anything, George Martin was the greatest composer in the Beatles, as he worked as the Arrange and Orchestrator, and helped design and write most of the instrumental parts outside of the Beatles 5 main instruments. Either way, a composer is measured by the 3 subjects that govern composition: Writing, Arranging, and Orchestrating.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Composers
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:13 pm 
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Also, George Martin and Macca/Lennon have all claimed they learned a lot of their mixing and arranging techniques and abilities from spending time in the studio with Brian Wilson while he wrote and mixed pieces.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Composers
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:12 am 
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Classic Rock Junkie wrote:
Composition is really just writing the musical parts, Macca and Lennon had some great compositional ability, but nowhere to the degree of Wilson or Zappa. If anything, George Martin was the greatest composer in the Beatles, as he worked as the Arrange and Orchestrator, and helped design and write most of the instrumental parts outside of the Beatles 5 main instruments. Either way, a composer is measured by the 3 subjects that govern composition: Writing, Arranging, and Orchestrating.


Writing is composing. Arranging and orchestrating are separate things. (People can still arrange or orchestrate Beethoven's symphonies. Doesn't mean that Beethoven didn't compose them.)

I really think you want another word here. To say that George Martin was a greater composer than Lennon or McCartney is ridiculous.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Composers
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:36 am 
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Brett Alan wrote:
Classic Rock Junkie wrote:
Composition is really just writing the musical parts, Macca and Lennon had some great compositional ability, but nowhere to the degree of Wilson or Zappa. If anything, George Martin was the greatest composer in the Beatles, as he worked as the Arrange and Orchestrator, and helped design and write most of the instrumental parts outside of the Beatles 5 main instruments. Either way, a composer is measured by the 3 subjects that govern composition: Writing, Arranging, and Orchestrating.


Writing is composing. Arranging and orchestrating are separate things. (People can still arrange or orchestrate Beethoven's symphonies. Doesn't mean that Beethoven didn't compose them.)

I really think you want another word here. To say that George Martin was a greater composer than Lennon or McCartney is ridiculous.


No, I don't. I've been taking music composition classes for quite a while, I know the definition of a composer quite well, it's not as cut and dry as it seems. The verb to compose in reference to music just means to write instrumental melodies/vocals, and rhythm parts. The three musical parts of a piece of music are melody, rhythm, and harmony. To actually completely finish a musical piece involves not just writing all those parts, but putting them together, as my previous definition describes. The songwriter writes the 'idea' of each part, i.e. the singular melodic/harmonic parts. Then, the arranger takes the compositions overarching idea and transcribes/arranges it to the correct instrument parts, breaking up the melody, rhythm, and harmony to the proper instruments and re-writing the initial composition to apply to each part. Then the orchestrator overlays them and puts all the parts together into the overarching piece, and throws on the dynamic touches, like crescendo's, tempo changes, forte/piano, etc. A composer, as a musician, is all three. Bach and Beethoven did all three on there own as well. While learning about the music industry, the songwriter is actual the person who just writes the overarching melody/rhythm/harmony ideas, one basic set of measures on basic sheets of paper, there are tons of songwriters in the music industry, definitely in pop, who churn out these melodies to arrangers, who then set up the piece for the artist to play, who gets what parts, what's sung, etc. This tends to be the manager of the artist in most cases, if not, the manager takes the position of orchestrator. All music goes through these composition stages, however there's a reason that we don't consider every manager/songwriter in the pop industry a 'composer' on their own, we would define composer as the collective group, which is fine if we did Beatles + Martin. Martin was much more of the composer in the group than anyone else, as he not only took up two of the positions of the composer, but put more into them than any singular Beatle did for most of it. Lennon/Macca is the greatest songwriting duo, they wrote basic melodies and ideas together in their hotel room, on trips, etc. They would then take it and show it to Martin and the rest of the band, who would then assign the parts and have Martin re-write and arrange them accordingly, then mix them and overlay for the album production. This is strict music terminology here, it's not complicated, there are actual definitions of a composer and steps of music composition. The best way to make an objective criteria would be to follow this. Also, a common misconception, an orchestrator does not lead an orchestra or apply the music to the orchestra, that would be a conductor. Orchestra means a size able amount of instruments played in conjunction with each other for a single piece. Orchestrate has two meanings, direct from the dictionary:

1. Arrange or score (music) for orchestral performance.
2. Arrange or direct the elements of (a situation) to produce a desired effect, esp. surreptitiously.

We are looking at the second as a function of the composer. I literally just went over this with a friend for his master's dissertation in concert piano.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Composers
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:43 am 
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Saying that, without Martin Beatles would fall out of top 5, arguably further down. With Martin, I'd say top 5 is a guarantee. Martin by himself could arguably be top 10, but I wouldn't separate him from the Beatles. People fail to realize how unbelievably important Martin was to the Beatles song production.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Composers
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:16 am 
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For the first time in my life I agree with CRJ.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Composers
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:53 am 
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You've really never agreed with me on anything before? Huh...I thought there was somethings we were on the same page with


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Composers
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:06 pm 
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Maybe you're right, though I don't remember anything in particular, and I do remember a few things where we were not quite on the same wavelength. Also disagreeing with me is not necessarily a bad thing, so I wouldn't bother too much about it. Let's just happily agree now.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Composers
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:46 pm 
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Classic Rock Junkie wrote:
We are looking at the second as a function of the composer. I literally just went over this with a friend for his master's dissertation in concert piano.


Well, dictionaries define composing as writing the music. Credits use "composed by" plus "lyrics by" as equal to "written by".

Whatever definition they may teach in a music theory class, the purpose of the list is going to be unclear. You see the songwriters list, the lyricists list, and the composers list, and it appears that they should all be about the aspects of songwriting.

And even if we are going to count arranging and orchestrating as part of composing, in the overall world of rock, they are a very small part of it. Lennon and McCartney's melodies had more of an impact on rock music than all the orchestrations of everyone on the list put together.


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Composers
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:08 pm 
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Yes, that's why they are so important in the songwriting thread, the melodies themselves are one small aspect of composing an entire piece. Riff making goes into the guitarists list, yet Macca is not going to be top 10 because he wrote some of the most influential riffs ever (day tripper).


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 Post subject: Re: Greatest Rock Composers
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:06 pm 
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Honestly, Brett, I'm not understanding your point here. We're trying to make a list which includes the COMPOSITIONAL aspect of the songwriting only. NO lyrics involved. Rock songs generally consist of a combination of lyrics and music. We already have a lyrical list. Now we want to make a music list.


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