What if Beethoven had Synfire?

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BluePhoenix's picture
BluePhoenix
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What if Beethoven had Synfire?

This is just a random musing. I'd like to posit this question for the Synfire community.

What kind of music would Beethoven make today if he had access to Synfire (and was still alive)? We often point back to the great classical artists from so long ago as being the greatest of all time. But, aren't there even greater musical talents in recent years? You would imagine that given today's technology and access to tools like Synfire, an artist today should have even greater capabilities for creating amazing music. Today's artists also have the influence of classical artists at their disposal. Whereas Beethoven was helping to create an entirely new form of music, with very few prior influences.

Thus, there exists no fair comparison then between today's artists versus Beethoven. To say that a particular artist is better (or worse) than Beethoven isn't a fair comparison. It's more accurate to say that a new artist is different, and just leave it at that. We have the tools today that make it easier to create complicated music, but that makes it no less of an accomplishment. It's just a different path to get there. Like the invention of the hammer has made it much easier for us to build houses, we aren't going to expect a builder to stop using a hammer just because it makes the job easier.

I guess that's the end of my random pondering. What do you think?

tom11's picture
tom11
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I think he would have preferred "Sibelius".

andre's picture
andre
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Beethoven figured out all his music entirely in his head and just needed to write it down. So yes, Sibelius might be something he would have liked. Although, since he was probably lightning fast and intuitive with paper and ink, he'd not have used any software at all.

The purpose of Synfire (well, one of its many purposes) is to find and develop a style and get help with executing it. So, if your are a genius, have found your style already and know how to execute it, you wouldn't need it (unless you want to head for new styles). 

There are 20th century modern composers that would have liked Synfire a lot more than Beethoven, because they were more into experimenting with new forms. Synfire is definitely most powerful at playing out "what if..." scenarios, which works great for composers with a conceptual workflow.

Also, amazing music does not necessarily have to be complex (in the sense of complicated). Actually, finding the most elegant and simple form of an idea almost always sounds best in the end. Because it 1) conveys your idea (which you found to be beautiful), and 2) doesn't distract the listener with complexities that only water down and obscure your idea. This stripping down to the basics is also a task Synfire can help with.

My all time favorite tip to Synfire composers is: Start with very simple elements and build on those, then let harmony and arrangement structure do the rest.

tom11's picture
tom11
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doesn't distract the listener with complexities

Very important point. However, synfire makes it very easy to increase the complexity because you just drag n drop some figures and they will just sound "correct" because of their harmonic realisation. I find myself often making the accompaniment too dense or "complex" with too many "secondary" melody lines.

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andre
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Absolutely. The key to reducing complexity is

  1. Spread it over time: Arrange so complexity is in the narrative (time line), not the texture (pattern)
  2. Start with 3-5 elements only and derive everything else off of that
  3. No more than 2 melody lines
  4. Gaps! Pauses! Let it breathe ...
BluePhoenix's picture
BluePhoenix
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These are some very insightful replies. Thanks! I should probably take a break from finishing full tracks, and explore prototyping some more interesting tunes first.

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