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When will the basic rock band format have run its course?
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besson3c
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Apr 19, 2012, 01:19 AM
 
I'm getting a little tired of the basic two electric guitars, electric bass, drums, lead singer type group, variations on this instrumentation, and going to public places where a radio or some playlist is playing with song after song more or less adhering to this formula and each song sounding similar.

Don't get me wrong, there is a beauty to formulas like this, many jazz groups have adhered to instrumentation formulas, a hell of a lot has been accomplished in these formats. I'm not suggesting that any of this should be abandoned, but I'm wondering if I'm the only one that occasionally gets tired of this format as well, finding it a little overdone?

I really like hearing the sousaphone as bass like they feature in the Roots band, this adds an interesting new texture. I like the Hammond B3, Rhodes, and what they can add. I tend not to like electronic sounds that sound overly inorganic, but I've heard a lot that I like too.

Even changing a couple of components here and there can provide a whole new spin on the sound, why don't bands do this more often? There are 20398239048 instruments out there, do you ever find yourself craving something other than electric guitars and drums?
     
Salty
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Apr 19, 2012, 01:56 AM
 
Try Ska
     
Ω
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Apr 19, 2012, 01:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
do you ever find yourself craving something other than electric guitars and drums?
Cow bell?
"angels bleed from the tainted touch of my caress"
     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 19, 2012, 02:07 AM
 
The definition of "formulaic" is formulaic. Some thing work only because of the way they are. That's not going to change.

Although the age of big rock bands just being big rock bands is pretty much over. Hardly anything out there without at least the occasional playback.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Apr 19, 2012, 02:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
The definition of "formulaic" is formulaic. Some thing work only because of the way they are. That's not going to change.
What about a musician like Sting? He's played with all sorts of different formats, and many of them have worked.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 19, 2012, 03:51 AM
 
What about a musician like Sonny Rollins?

What's the point of mentioning people who never followed the standard rock format and make a point not to?

There's actually very few "big" bands that don't keep a keyboard player or playback system around. Even in the 80s, there was the guy with the DX7 sitting offstage doing the keyboard parts.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Apr 19, 2012, 05:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
What about a musician like Sonny Rollins?

What's the point of mentioning people who never followed the standard rock format and make a point not to?

There's actually very few "big" bands that don't keep a keyboard player or playback system around. Even in the 80s, there was the guy with the DX7 sitting offstage doing the keyboard parts.

True, I guess Sting was a bad example. Maybe I should have asked why aren't more people like Sting, but then the answer would be because there aren't, and this isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Let me come at this from a different direction then. Scratch the question about why musicians don't play with their sound more often. There are a number of reasons for this, it was a dumb question. Do you find that you personally get bored with listening to song after song after song after song abiding by the same instrumentation formulas, or am I just weird this way?
     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 19, 2012, 05:49 AM
 
Yep.

After several hours of Jimmy Smith, I get bored. Often sooner.

After several hours of piano jazz trio, I get bored. Often sooner.

After several hours of minimal techno, I get bored. Often sooner.

After several hours of AC/DC, I get bored. Often sooner.

Some people don't, though.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Apr 19, 2012, 06:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Yep.

After several hours of Jimmy Smith, I get bored. Often sooner.

After several hours of piano jazz trio, I get bored. Often sooner.

After several hours of minimal techno, I get bored. Often sooner.

After several hours of AC/DC, I get bored. Often sooner.

Some people don't, though.

It's amazing that they don't. The musical world has been cranking out your basic rock band type boilerplate sort of stuff for decades.

Rock isn't the only music that sticks to this sort of tradition, but people seem to keep coming back for more, as if their appetites are insatiable. I realize that your average person can dip into multiple genres, but there is still demand for new versions of the same formula.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Apr 19, 2012, 02:40 PM
 
How much have the standard orchestra line-ups changed in the last few centuries?
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
The Final Dakar
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Apr 19, 2012, 02:42 PM
 
This feels like a thread designed to bait Doofy out of hiding.
     
andi*pandi
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Apr 19, 2012, 02:52 PM
 
Rock and Roll will never die.

That said,
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot
After several hours of Any One Band/Music Type, I get bored. Often sooner.
Some people don't, though.
Albums don't seem to be made for continuous listening anymore. I remember sitting and listening to certain records beginning to end. There was a variety, and sometimes an overarching theme.

Now I shuffle everything and rarely search out one album. Even then, it tends to be an a) musical, b) compilation, c) soundtrack.
     
Thorzdad
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Apr 19, 2012, 03:13 PM
 
You have to remember that the traditional 4-or 3-piece format is already pared-down from what a band looked like in the early days of rock-n-roll.
Back then, you'd also have a piano and at least one sax player. And, before that, you could easily have a compliment of brass, too.

Formulas stick around largely because they work.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Apr 19, 2012, 03:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
How much have the standard orchestra line-ups changed in the last few centuries?

I don't think one can ask that question, because the instrumentation for Beethoven's 5th or Mahler's 1st is never ever going to change, not unless you want to rewrite the entire symphony.

The sorts of music that calls for orchestral accompaniment, that changes all the time, as does the instrumentation. Sometimes it is only strings with a certain ratio of the stringed instruments, sometimes it can be a string section fused with an existing band in an entirely different genre. In movie or video game scoring sometimes those orchestra instruments will even be mixed with synths and all sorts of wacky stuff. Even in purely orchestral concerts the instrumentation will vary from number to number. Granted, these changes end up being relatively subtle, but the point is that the instrumentation is absolutely dependent on the piece.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Apr 19, 2012, 03:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
You have to remember that the traditional 4-or 3-piece format is already pared-down from what a band looked like in the early days of rock-n-roll.
Back then, you'd also have a piano and at least one sax player. And, before that, you could easily have a compliment of brass, too.

Formulas stick around largely because they work.

I'm not questioning the formulas either.

I guess to distill my question down to its essence it would be why is there a continued demand for new music that recycles the same formulas for this long? Rock and roll will never die, but will there be a certain point where the number of people recording new rock and roll will dwindle, and consequently the demand for it dwindles as well? After all, the greatest musical demand in general seems to be with new material. The classics sell relatively well and probably always will (and there will be people wanting these artists who have moved on years ago to perform their same hits over and over again), but I'm concerned with the present and future here.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Apr 19, 2012, 03:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
This feels like a thread designed to bait Doofy out of hiding.

If I could design such threads, don't you think I would have designed one for Abe?
     
lpkmckenna
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Apr 19, 2012, 03:30 PM
 
The power trio is still my favourite format. Every time I hear a two-guitar rock song, I imagine how it could be arraigned for only one guitar.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Apr 19, 2012, 03:37 PM
 
What about the drum kit? The modern drum kit, I believe, was pretty much invented by a guy in Louis Armstrong's band (can't remember his name). Will there be a day when the standard kick drum + snare + hihat + rides/crash + tom toms is no longer the standard?

*insert Will Ferrell cowbell jokes here*
     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 19, 2012, 04:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
What about the drum kit? The modern drum kit, I believe, was pretty much invented by a guy in Louis Armstrong's band (can't remember his name). Will there be a day when the standard kick drum + snare + hihat + rides/crash + tom toms is no longer the standard?

*insert Will Ferrell cowbell jokes here*
Functionally, probably not.

Of course, an actual "snare drum" hasn't been standard for over a decade or two, now. And multiple high-hats or whatever are the norm (but that falls under "percussion" in a traditional acoustic set-up).

But functionally, the basic setup is still similar, just with each part replaced by electronic derivatives.

Then again, what has really changed in the rhythm section of drum-accompanied music over the past two thousand years, apart from the sounds used?
     
besson3c  (op)
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Apr 19, 2012, 04:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Then again, what has really changed in the rhythm section of drum-accompanied music over the past two thousand years, apart from the sounds used?
A hell of a lot.

- the concept of bands with tight grooves with little creative rope for spontaneous interaction and reacting to what each person is playing
- the concept of bands with a lot of creative rope that listen intently to each other and react on-the-fly (this is not just a jazz thing)
- among bands with this creative rope in particular there is a seemingly infinite number of variables to account for within a given style: harmonic evolution, evolution of rhythmic devices, evolution of presence/space. This exists too in the compositions in bands without this sort of creative rope and the way performances are set, although in a different way
- an evolution of turnaround harmonic progressions, some odd meter time changes thrown in too
- an obvious evolution of the grooves that rhythm sections play
- an evolution of comping techniques and patterns
- an evolution in rubato vocal accompaniment techniques in a variety of styles

I'm sure I could go on...
     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 19, 2012, 05:11 PM
 
"Rhythm section", bess.

Talking specifically about drums, as per your example above.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Apr 19, 2012, 05:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
"Rhythm section", bess.

Talking specifically about drums, as per your example above.
Then why didn't you just say "drums in a rhythm section" rather than "rhythm section"?

The points I have listed that apply to rhythm work here as an answer to this question as well.
     
turtle777
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Apr 19, 2012, 06:35 PM
 
I predict the death for 2534, plus / minus eleventy billion years. Give or take.

-t
     
Patrick
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Apr 19, 2012, 08:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by Ω View Post
Cow bell?
I opened this thread as the radio was playing "Rope" by the Foo Fighters. I swear, just a second after reading this post, their drummer hit the cow bell.

I think the instrumentation may change gradually in the near future, but musicians in the rock or pop genre will always need a bass sound. It seems to be a defining characteristic of the sound - or at least what's been popularized by the recording industry. Aside from bass guitars, I've heard synthesizers, organs, upright bass (bowed or plucked, acoustic or electric), and probably a few others in recorded music I've heard on the radio or TV.
     
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Apr 19, 2012, 08:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by Patrick View Post
I opened this thread as the radio was playing "Rope" by the Foo Fighters.
I love that album. Was just listening to it yesterday.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Apr 19, 2012, 08:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by Patrick View Post
I opened this thread as the radio was playing "Rope" by the Foo Fighters. I swear, just a second after reading this post, their drummer hit the cow bell.

I think the instrumentation may change gradually in the near future, but musicians in the rock or pop genre will always need a bass sound. It seems to be a defining characteristic of the sound - or at least what's been popularized by the recording industry. Aside from bass guitars, I've heard synthesizers, organs, upright bass (bowed or plucked, acoustic or electric), and probably a few others in recorded music I've heard on the radio or TV.

Sousaphone, ala the Roots.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Apr 19, 2012, 09:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
I love that album. Was just listening to it yesterday.
I love the Foo Fighters but I'm disappointed that they've been supporting an HIV denialist wingnut with charity gig(s).

I think the theremin is underused in popular music.
( Last edited by Waragainstsleep; Apr 21, 2012 at 07:55 AM. )
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
finboy
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Apr 19, 2012, 09:20 PM
 
I used to think that about the basic blues format/sound, but I've seen all kinds of change ups to make it interesting.

The basic rock band will never die as long as there are weddings, frat parties, and bars with fake stages. Add a sax, a few keyboards now and then, and a harmonica and you've got a freakin' orchestra. I've seen that lineup do amazing things over the years.
     
ghporter
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Apr 20, 2012, 06:49 AM
 
The "basic rock band format" is something that I think is essential, even elementary, to the formation of a musical group. It wasn't invented, it just happened, pretty much when a bunch of people got together and started making music with electric guitars and drums. The guitar is quintessentially accessible, and if you have even the tiniest level of talent you can do something listenable with a guitar. Drums are harder, but not much so. Which leads to a few young people getting together with instruments they enjoy and doing something with them. The "bass, lead guitar, drums and singer" format is not fixed, just very common, and it's due to the accessibility of the instruments and the drive to share making music.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 20, 2012, 06:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by finboy View Post
The basic rock band will never die as long as there are weddings, frat parties, and bars with fake stages. Add a sax, a few keyboards now and then, and a harmonica and you've got a freakin' orchestra. I've seen that lineup do amazing things over the years.
I'm sorry, but...harmonica?
     
lpkmckenna
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Apr 20, 2012, 07:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
I love the Foo Fighters but I'm disappointed that they've been supporting an HIV denialist wingnut with carity gig(s).
I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that they wised up long ago and abandoned that nonsense.
     
BadKosh
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Apr 20, 2012, 01:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I'm sorry, but...harmonica?
Blues Harp?
     
BadKosh
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Apr 20, 2012, 01:15 PM
 
Look into Electronica with a LOT of different types of music. Try SOMA -FMs' internet selections.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Apr 20, 2012, 01:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
The "basic rock band format" is something that I think is essential, even elementary, to the formation of a musical group. It wasn't invented, it just happened, pretty much when a bunch of people got together and started making music with electric guitars and drums.

This kind of thing is a myth, really. New music doesn't just materialize one day out of thin air, it comes out of many other things. I think I understand what you are saying though, as a society we like to lionize a single "inventor" when there almost always isn't a single one that operated in a vacuum, but to say that something "just happened" isn't correct either. Early American rock came out of the blues/jazz. I'm not trying to infer that you'd disagree with this, just picking apart your language, probably annoyingly so
     
besson3c  (op)
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Apr 20, 2012, 01:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by finboy View Post
I used to think that about the basic blues format/sound, but I've seen all kinds of change ups to make it interesting.

The basic rock band will never die as long as there are weddings, frat parties, and bars with fake stages. Add a sax, a few keyboards now and then, and a harmonica and you've got a freakin' orchestra. I've seen that lineup do amazing things over the years.

Nobody is denying the power of the format.

Let me ask another question... Will there be other formats that have the success of this one, or in 1000 years will there be a strong demand for new music with this same basic sound?
     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 20, 2012, 01:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by BadKosh View Post
Blues Harp?
Broke the basic rock format and pigeon-holed into the Blues mold.
     
andi*pandi
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Apr 20, 2012, 02:11 PM
 
In the future rock and roll will be played by bands one on planet, beamed to another planet for the audience who will sit 6 miles from the arena. It will be so loud that is the safest distance to listen. At the end of the show the band will crash a super cool spaceship into the sun. That will be the new percussion, smashing things into the sun for explosive effect.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 20, 2012, 02:15 PM
 
No, that's what they did in the 70s.

Apropos, did you know that Douglas Adams was a good friend of David Gilmour of the Pink Floyd? The band description was not a coincidence.
     
andi*pandi
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Apr 20, 2012, 02:33 PM
 
I did not know this.
     
Tiresias
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Apr 22, 2012, 03:15 AM
 
I find it almost comical to blame the instruments for uninspiring music.

Similarly, there are good and mediocre string quartets. No one attributes this fact to a set up of two violins, a viola and a cello.

(Though just here, a viola joke is pretty much inevitable. Fire away).

Or, alternatively, an exhilarating or a dull game of chess. The initial conditions are identical but there are virtually infinite possible outcomes.
     
besson3c  (op)
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Apr 22, 2012, 03:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by Tiresias View Post
I find it almost comical to blame the instruments for uninspiring music.

Similarly, there are good and mediocre string quartets. No one attributes this fact to a set up of two violins, a viola and a cello.

(Though just here, a viola joke is pretty much inevitable. Fire away).

Or, alternatively, an exhilarating or a dull game of chess. The initial conditions are identical but there are virtually infinite possible outcomes.

I'm not blaming the instruments, but the overall results derived from what this instrumentation seems to be inspired by most frequently.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Apr 22, 2012, 07:28 AM
 
There is nothing else for it. You'll have to create your own "Besson Xtet" and release some music so good that everyone for the next century copies your format.

I suggest the following 'Besson Quintet':

Trumpet
Bongos
Theremin
Nose Flute
Double Bass
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
ghporter
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Apr 22, 2012, 07:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
This kind of thing is a myth, really. New music doesn't just materialize one day out of thin air, it comes out of many other things. I think I understand what you are saying though, as a society we like to lionize a single "inventor" when there almost always isn't a single one that operated in a vacuum, but to say that something "just happened" isn't correct either. Early American rock came out of the blues/jazz. I'm not trying to infer that you'd disagree with this, just picking apart your language, probably annoyingly so
There will always be people who get together to make music. When enough people get together in enough small groups, they WILL (collectively) produce "new" music. The failure rate of bands is enormous, but people still get together and make music in new bands, so there is always a new combination of people, instruments and ideas coming up and that is where new music from "the basic rock band format" comes from.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
finboy
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Apr 22, 2012, 10:46 AM
 
Originally Posted by BadKosh View Post
Blues Harp?
Yeah, that's what I meant.
     
   
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