Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Myths and Fallacies, Part 2

Here's another in our ongoing series of misguided beliefs which can sabotage the budding songwriter.

Fallacy #2: The more notes in a song, the better it is.

I like to call this the "prog-rock" or "virtuoso" myth. There are tons of technically proficient musicians who can make their fret boards or drum sets literally burst into flames with crazy, animated, frenetic playing. There are also tons of songwriters who feel that they must write to accomodate said musicians by packing tons of notes, crazy chord changes, and tricky time signatures into every song.

Usually these writers/musicians send aspiring, would-be writers/musicians into fits of glee. And 99 out of 100 times I could care less. Someone once said that the notes you choose not to play are just as important as the notes you choose to play, and this is 100 percent true. Crazy soloing and long elaborate scores may have their place, but too many people look up to these writers and performers simply because they are doing something they can't. It is not enough to write thousands of notes: the secret is to select the most effective notes that communicate the feel you want. Otherwise, you're just talking and talking, and you're not really saying anything.

So unless you're writing for King Crimson, keep it lean and mean.

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