Author Topic: 4 part writing/species counterpoint in electronic music  (Read 7176 times)

Ozone

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4 part writing/species counterpoint in electronic music
« on: January 14, 2016, 05:23:49 am »
For all you out there big on theory:

I've just learned (on a basic level) 1st species counterpoint and 4 part harmonization (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) in my college theory 1 class and I was wondering how important these skills are to electronic music composition. Also, I am interested in the variation of application of these skills. If anyone out there knows a thing or two about this, please reply!! looking to get creative.

Arktopolis

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Re: 4 part writing/species counterpoint in electronic music
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2016, 06:09:00 am »
When writing a chord progression for a pad and bass, for me it does help to think in terms of three/four voices. I think a key take-home message would be to keep the line "tight": i.e. prefer to use small interval jumps in the individual voices if possible, and don't let the voices stray too far from the original location (for example, you usually don't want all the voices to end up an octave higher in the end of the tune, compared to the beginning).

I wouldn't stress about parallel fifths too much, though, there's a reason fifths are called powerchords  8) On the other hand, I do try to avoid parallel octaves, unless it's bass or melody, because those will sound stronger and might distract the listener from the main melody.

So next time you start a project, try to begin by opening a piano roll for a pad/piano/similar instrument, and laying the chords there keeping in mind the rules you've learned. When you're done with it, copy or move the bass line to its own track, and go from there.

Lydian

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Re: 4 part writing/species counterpoint in electronic music
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2016, 08:35:44 am »
I wouldn't say that counterpoint is anywhere near as important in electronic music as it is say baroque music or orchestral music. It's still very useful to know however because in the case that I want to have two melodies I understand how to write one so that it doesn't conflict with the other. As far as part writing goes the main time I'll incorporate it is when I'm using strings in my music. Occasionally I might want to arrange one section of the song in strings and then transition it back into electronic elements. The voice leading that you learn from part writing really helps when it comes to smoothing out your chord progressions. Whenever I write my chord progressions I try to write them them with part writing rules in mind. Contrary motion between the bass and soprano with as little motion as possible within the inner voices (alto & tenor). I don't ALWAYS stick to it though. I break the rules just as often as I incorporate them so in the end it's a neat tool to incorporate when you get stuck.

Bottomline is they aren't necessary for writing electronic music but incorporating them in the correct spots will make your music just that much more unique. I remember for example the first time I heard zedds "shave it up" I immediately stopped what I was doing because it so unique for me to hear counterpoint in electronic music.

0:25 & 2:27 are examples of what you can do in electronic music with the knowledge you learn from part writing & counterpoint. https://www.youtube.com/embed/G5l3xhEGxqw
« Last Edit: January 14, 2016, 08:40:30 am by Lydian »
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FarleyCZ

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Re: 4 part writing/species counterpoint in electronic music
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2016, 11:04:16 pm »
Yeeey, I'm learning something new! :) I did hear about and used voice leading. Also kinda thought that melodies that fit together harmonically sound the coolest. ...but didn't know there's a name for it and a huge chapter of theory behind it. Thank you! :)
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Lighght

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Re: 4 part writing/species counterpoint in electronic music
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2016, 11:20:24 pm »
I think a big part of creating music that is in someway 'you' is having a wide palette to draw from when creating music and knowing when and where to draw from that palette wether that be familiarity with things that apply directly: certain structures, rhythms, melodic and harmonic methods,  synthesis techniques and extending into things that apply more abstractly: philosophies, inspirations etc.

Knowing something new such as counterpoint can only help. Try using it out maybe when writing a chord sequence dictating the harmonic structure of the song. Try it out in different ways and maybe you get a result you like.

cryophonik

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Re: 4 part writing/species counterpoint in electronic music
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2016, 12:16:34 am »
I don't think I hear these concepts being applied very often in dance music, at least not in the traditional sense, with the exception of piano parts.  But, I think counterpoint can be very effectively applied to bass/lead synth relationships, and 4-part harmony can come in handy for pads and, maybe to a lesser extent, plucks.  Both concepts are useful for vocals, of course.
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Ozone

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Re: 4 part writing/species counterpoint in electronic music
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2016, 06:43:24 am »
@Arktopolis @Lydian Interesting perspectives, thanks!

Eskai

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Re: 4 part writing/species counterpoint in electronic music
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2016, 07:38:03 am »
Gotta say I've often wondered this too. I like to 'think' in 4 parts or so when writing, and to keep movements in a way that make sense melodically - but don't stick to rigid counterpoint or correct voice leading rules.

Sadly as time passes, I find myself forgetting many of these rules anyway  :'(

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Re: 4 part writing/species counterpoint in electronic music
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2016, 06:18:39 am »
I would say if you respect 4 part counterpoint you gonna end up with baroque or classical era sounding music simply because its the time the rules were created and rigidly applied.
So if you are not writing a fugue,string quartet,symphony in that style,to follow these rules all the times is useless.
But to learn them is like adding a weapon to your harmonic arsenal.You can use them when ever you want after that without limiting yourself to them,breaking them when ever it suits you.

I think the main thing that i could and do use from counterpoint in electronic music are dissonance and resolution from thorough bass baroque theory.Suspension chords and stuff.

But yeah...species counterpoint is not that helpful,electronic harmony is far more relax and free than harmony from 18th century.

Lydian

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Re: 4 part writing/species counterpoint in electronic music
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2016, 06:29:31 am »
I would say if you respect 4 part counterpoint you gonna end up with baroque or classical era sounding music simply because its the time the rules were created and rigidly applied.
So if you are not writing a fugue,string quartet,symphony in that style,to follow these rules all the times is useless.
But to learn them is like adding a weapon to your harmonic arsenal.You can use them when ever you want after that without limiting yourself to them,breaking them when ever it suits you.

I think the main thing that i could and do use from counterpoint in electronic music are dissonance and resolution from thorough bass baroque theory.Suspension chords and stuff.

But yeah...species counterpoint is not that helpful,electronic harmony is far more relax and free than harmony from 18th century.

This... So much this...

When I first started writing electronic music I had just came off of studying part writing and counterpoint. As a result I wrote electronic music that sounded much more like a baroque string quartet than the dance music that I have grown to know and love. I still have the mp3 lying around here somewhere in my hard drive and it sounds quite hilarious.



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Re: 4 part writing/species counterpoint in electronic music
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2016, 07:02:58 am »
Yeah i did the same when i begin writing electronic,i had to get rid of counterpoint reflexes because they were out of style.In the end its all a question of style!The harmonic and melodic language is different in almost every genre.
You wont write the same wheter you write a fugue a 5 in baroque style,a string quartet in 20th century style,a jazz big band piece,film music,rock music,pop music,electronic music,Etc....Even in electronic music alone the harmonic/melodic styles of the different genre are different.So what you have to do is study the music of the style you want to make not some arbitrary rules from 18th century.

Of what use is 4 part counterpoint to a traditional chinese musician?Absolutely none!
A chinese traditional musician study traditional chinese music because, thats what he want to do.
Its the same for electronic.

Strict Counterpoint is not the universal music law!And thats coming from someone who absolutely LOVES to listen and writes counterpoint music,Bach,Fugues and stuff.

We want to hear the baroque electronic tracks man!now that you told us about them you have to show them to us!!!
« Last Edit: February 28, 2016, 07:10:43 am by fxbip »

Lydian

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Re: 4 part writing/species counterpoint in electronic music
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2016, 07:10:23 am »
Ahahahahaha lemme see if I can find it. It was literally when I FIRST started writing music. :D
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Lydian

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Re: 4 part writing/species counterpoint in electronic music
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2016, 07:28:16 am »
I found the files ahaha! Omg this music is so bad.

Not all of it sounds baroque but specifically 0.00-0.08. It branches into homophony from there. Then at 0:48 again. xD I was listening to a lot of vivaldi at the time and I didn't yet realize that harmonic minor sounds pretty out of place in dance music.

https://clyp.it/uyx1axml

Found these as well although I wouldn't really call it baroque style. They were mainly themes from what looks like as old as june 2013. :P

https://clyp.it/ctyahwj0

https://clyp.it/rpszu5ne
« Last Edit: February 28, 2016, 07:33:37 am by Lydian »
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fxbip

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Re: 4 part writing/species counterpoint in electronic music
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2016, 07:37:13 am »
I found the files ahaha! Omg this music is so bad.

Not all of it sounds baroque but specifically 0.00-0.08. It branches into homophony from there. Then at 0:48 again. xD I was listening to a lot of vivaldi at the time and I didn't yet realize that harmonic minor sounds pretty out of place in dance music.

https://clyp.it/uyx1axml

Found these as well although I wouldn't really call it baroque style. They were mainly themes from what looks like as old as june 2013. :P

https://clyp.it/ctyahwj0

https://clyp.it/rpszu5ne
Haha definitively some baroque vibes going on,especially the third one,some Bach ish harmonies/feels .yeah harmonic minor can sound VERY weird in dance music.But.... this... sounds basically just like AMAZING VIDEO GAME MUSIC!!!
Just work for nintendo man!!!hahaha
:)
« Last Edit: February 28, 2016, 07:39:32 am by fxbip »

Lydian

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Re: 4 part writing/species counterpoint in electronic music
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2016, 07:42:52 am »
Haha definitively some baroque vibes going on, yeah harmonic minor can sound VERY weird in dance music.But.... this... sounds basically just like AMAZING VIDEO GAME MUSIC!!!
Just work for nintendo man!!!hahaha
:)

Sadly I'm past my days of analyzing baroque string quartets. xD It's so funny to listen to the music you made when you were first starting out and look at how far you've come.
A young 14 year old me with a really bad haircut. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eMbftWV75w