view as black text on white background
How does one go about creating music?
Well, needless to say, this section is under construction as well!! But
I'll type something offensive here, briefly, for you to laugh at. (I'm
sure I'll tone this down later, so enjoy it while it's still rude.)
What I fucking hate
There are lots of keyboardists out there, playing lots of nice stuff.
But when it comes to improvising, they mostly suck. * Most of them seem to have a total
disregard for the things and aspects of improvization that I find
important! And because I'm the center of the universe, not to
mention this web page, I take this as a personal affront! So without
much more ado, herewith a list of what I'm sick of! (Note not
of much interest unless you're a rock keyboard player and actually play
keyboard solos. Pretty narrow audience here. Sadly enough.)
Things that should be outlawed
When playing a keyboard lead. In my fucking opinion. Sorry!
- Pitch bending without aiming for a note on the scale.
- Pitch bending without aiming for any note.
- Using the modulation/vibrato control. If you use that
abomination, the mod wheel, you should have a really good
reason. Playing a physically-modelled acoustic patch qualifies in my
book. But if you're playing an electronic-sounding lead sound, and you
reach for that masturbatory joystick, you may ask yourself. (Please! )
How do I lock these pitch changes to the tempo? How do I lock them to a
harmony on another track? The answer is: You don't. The LFO determines
the phase, of course. You may ask yourself: What pitches am I actually
generating here, and are they on the scale? Is a three quarter-tones up
and a three quarter-tones down from the fifth actually on the scale? Of
course they aren't, moron. Not unless you're in North India. Use the
pitch wheel instead. (Steve Hunt doesn't abuse the mod wheel! If this
particular shoe fits you, check him out.)
Whatever happened to ideational content!? What the fuck!? Has the whole
world gone mad!? Some advice: Let your ears do the thinking for you, not
your fingers. If your mind and ears are not clear on what your actually
playing, but your fingers are, chances are you're what is known in
technical parlance as "a wanker". Muscle memory
has its place, of course, in the hands of some lunatic (Yngwie or Shawn
Lane, say) that's actually bothered to practice more than, say, five
lame finger patterns. On keyboards, there's really no mechanical limit
on how fast to press the keys down in sequence. But which keys? Therein
lies the rub. Anyway, the speed issue leads me to:
- weak (or no!) melodic ideas
- weak rhythmic ideas, or
NO rhythmic ideas
- I'm sick of people trying to play 20 notes/second without getting
the joke (the mechanics of the cochlea has the last laugh on
you!) (When I talk about 20 notes/sec I'm talking sequentially or
"horizontally", here, of course) ...it just becomes a blur.
- Horrible lead synth sounds. What's this about spectral content? Do
we need harmonics in the range above 8 kHz? Are a lot of dogs going to
listen to your solos? No idea what I'm talking about? Listen carefully
to some real instruments. (If you've had to mix a record or two, things
become clearer, in both senses!)
- Using a sequencer and passing it off as a real playing. Please! I'm
sick of it! You're not fooling anyone! This joke died in 1985. It was
replaced by this, much funnier, one: "Q: how many keyboard players
does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: None! They have machines that
do that nowadays." As someone who built my first (software based) digital sequencer in 1982, I should know
this: fiddling with your solos is a dead end. You won't be any happier.
And neither will the poor listeners. And you won't be fooling anyone.
Hey, least of all me.
- Playing in the wrong scale. I'm sick of people playing in the wrong
scale!! It's very sad that this is even on here. But I'm sick of it. I'm
not talking about playing outside the scale in some jazz sense, I'm
talking about wanking canned licks in the wrong (modal) scale when it's
obvious the rest of the music is in another (modal) scale and the
"wanker" quite obviosuly is too much of a wanker to actually intend
this, and tone deaf enough to not hear the difference.
- Using a lame Hammond patch. This ought to be outlawed as well. All
"Hammond patches" by definition basically suck eggs. If you never played
a real one for a while you'll have a hard time getting it right.
Actually, I might extend that to: if you never carried a real one
around on a whole tour you'll have a hard time getting it right!!
OK, but REALLY?
Oh, still here? I've gotten so much positive feedback in regards to the
above that I can't bring myself to edit it away now!!
Anyway, if that insane diatribe didn't scare you away, you can look at
a more general discussion about life as a
musician, and at a file with specific advice.
UPDATE: Well, sadly, I did get some negative feedback recently (typing
this Thu Jul 08 18:56:18 1999). Not one, but TWO letters via email
proffering opinions as to the merits of the above information. I know
this is hard to believe, but look here! The names of the perps are x'ed
out to protect the guilty.
I'm not allowed to express an opinion anymore without getting inane
email!? I'm supposed to give up all my hard-fought research (ahem) into
what I like and don't like? I'm supposed to stop ramming my hate-speech
down your throats? I don't think so!! Anyway, if I get any more
ludicrous complaints, and have the time to reply, I'll add them as
Page updated Sep 7, 1999 at 21:08 • Email: email@example.com
All content copyright © Jens Johansson 2023.
No unathorized duplication, copying, mirroring,
archival, or redistribution/retransmission allowed!
Any offensively categorical statements passed off as facts herein should only be construed
as my very opinionated opinions.