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Thread: Mixing musical influences together?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2004

    Mixing musical influences together?

    I know this is a pretty fundamental music question that has no right or wrong answer, but I'd like to see how people here approaches it.

    I've been a classical piano player since I was 5 (i'm 20 now), so I've pretty much had Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, and Mozart engraved into my brain and fingers. I was never very passionate about writing music until a few months ago. I went out and bought a USB/MIDI keyboard and got Reason, and so far I've written several small 1-2 minute long pieces.

    Here's the tricky part: my favorite bands are Pink Floyd, Radiohead, and Underworld, and I listen to a lot of jazz and electronic music. It's been kind of hard, coming from playing classical pieces for most of my life to trying to create something that is more rock/jazz/electronic oriented. Most of the pieces I've come up with so far are very classical - derivatives of some Mozart/Chopin I've been listening to recently, although I have written some pieces that are somewhat African influenced.

    Can anybody give me pointers on what to do or how to achieve what I want to do? I have thought of buying rock and jazz sheet music, but the ones I have aren't really that perfect, and don't really capture the song.

    I'm really thinking more along the terms of trying to blend all my favorite bands' music together - the dreamy Pink Floyd, emotions of Radiohead, intensity of Underworld, etc...

  2. #2
    I, Galactus oRg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    The way I'd go about it is basically learn some of the songs that each band has and learn their styles. Learn some Pink Floyd and Radiohead. You can't incorporate something into your music unless you know it, right? Well, just learn some of their music and try to incorporate it that way. Deriving from other kinds of music is how you get a feel of the style of music.
    v2sw3CUhw6ln3pr6OFck3ma9u6Lw3Xm6l6Ui2Ne5t5TSFDAb8T DOen7g6RZATHCMHPa21s6MSr53Dp3hackerkey

  3. #3
    I like music.
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Pink Floyd uses a lot of minor stuff, along with synth and sound effects, so it might be hard to put that down on paper...not the minor stuff I mean...
    Hard luck and trouble...

  4. #4
    Registered User
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    May 2004
    Well, I understand that I need to learn their music, and I have been. Let's say I know a few Radiohead songs and some Chopin.

    How should I approach putting what I like about each of them together in a song?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by NewSc2
    How should I approach putting what I like about each of them together in a song?
    I don't know what good of an advice this might be to you as this is quite a subjective matter, but I'd try to think about it as little as possible.

  6. #6
    Sweetest of the bees sugarbee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Sweet Home Nova Scotia!
    Here's just a thought.. if you are good on piano, and if you can play by ear, why not try taking a slower or midtempo song from one of your favorite bands and playing it on the piano?Your own interpretation of it that it. Sometimes a different instrumental arrangement really changes a song. That way you can hear some of their styles applied in a different way. Tori Amos has done a lot of this sort of thing, like playing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Angie" and some others on piano in her playing style. While some people really hated it, one thing she does well is gives a different interpretation and sometimes it's very effective. An exercise like this might help to blend some styles in your mind and then you can start to work it into your writing. Just an idea.

  7. #7
    Metronome of Doom Axe-aholic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    You mean you don't know?!?
    I find for myself that in order to write something that actually sounds decent I have to have some sort of idea what it's going to sound like. It's hard for me to convey that directly on an instrument, so I use my voice instead. I record myself singing what I want the thing to sound like and after I few takes I transcribe it to my guitar.

    So you might try thinking hard about what you want your Radiohead-Chopin-Floyd piece to sound like and take a few cracks at it with your voice using a tape recorder.

    The Metronome Calleth

  8. #8
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Colorado Springs CO
    I'm not trying to write anything, I'm only trying to find something I can hang on to that I really like--as far as style goes. So...I really empathize with you and...uh..feel your pain. Sugarbee has a cool idea...
    Quote Originally Posted by sugarbee
    Sometimes a different instrumental arrangement really changes a song. That way you can hear some of their styles applied in a different way.
    I like this simple approach a lot. I guess it's why I've been trying to apply conga to non-Latin rhythms and non-Latin sounds. It hasn't worked, but it will.

    I also like the idea of 'don't think about it'. When folks are credited with blending styles to create something new, I have a feeling they didn't engineer it that way--their brains just did it. I dunno. I am not a smart guy.
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

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