Semi-Serious Question: Is It My Music or Bram’s?

The other day, AUM finally clicked for me and I started to understand the value of a “non-DAW” in my workflow.

However, now I’ve got a half dozen or so tracks that I really enjoy listening to, but for which I provided relatively little actual input. I set up the sounds, sure, but my only melodic contributions were picking the key and assigning Rozeta’s Mutate probabilities.

For the record, I’m not planning on touting these tracks around or using them to boost my reputation as an “artistic genius.” The fact is, I just like the way they sound. I might send some to my friend for background use in his podcast and I might create a separate album on my Bandcamp page, but I don’t stand to make a dime.

Nonetheless, it’s a strange feeling. At what point do I stop being a musician and become a supervisor? For those of you with more experience working on generated music, how do you handle this?

Also, many thanks to Bram Bos for EVERYTHING.

«13

Comments

  • @jrjulius said:
    The other day, AUM finally clicked for me and I started to understand the value of a “non-DAW” in my workflow.

    However, now I’ve got a half dozen or so tracks that I really enjoy listening to, but for which I provided relatively little actual input. I set up the sounds, sure, but my only melodic contributions were picking the key and assigning Rozeta’s Mutate probabilities.

    For the record, I’m not planning on touting these tracks around or using them to boost my reputation as an “artistic genius.” The fact is, I just like the way they sound. I might send some to my friend for background use in his podcast and I might create a separate album on my Bandcamp page, but I don’t stand to make a dime.

    Nonetheless, it’s a strange feeling. At what point do I stop being a musician and become a supervisor? For those of you with more experience working on generated music, how do you handle this?

    Also, many thanks to Bram Bos for EVERYTHING.

    Don’t sweat it. You are acting like a boss, approving or rejecting what your workers present to you. You ultimately decide what gets used, what gets rejected. Bosses regularly take credit for the whole endeavor, and are never questioned.
    Directors get credit for making the movie, but probably didn’t come up with the initial creative decisions or solution to creative problems. They were presented the best ones by their hired experts, and made the final call.
    I mean heck, Steve Jobs gets credit for all of the Apple tech and breakthroughs and whatnot, but I doubt he actually did the grunt work, or even thought of the stuff on his own.

  • Yeah, but, how much of you have you put into the music? (serious question).

    If the answer is very little, then ultimately the music has very little to say, to you or anyone else.

    Maybe I'm just superstitious, but I really believe art has to have something of the intangible to make it, well, art. Otherwise it's just wallpaper.

  • It’s not yours or brams going by your description. It’s a product of algorithms. You knocked down a couple of dominos, hundreds fell where they fell, and you liked the result. But this is a whole can of worms that can go on and on and blah blah blah. I’d say if you have to ask the question, then maybe there’s not that much you in there.

  • Many years ago when I was a street photographer at lunchtimes and teaching at college during the other times, I posed a question to my students.

    If I go out to Trafalgar Square (as I often did) and hand a person my camera (as tourists often do) and then instead of posing for the person to shoot my picture, I pointed at a scene over there and asked them to take the photo while I stood beside them, am I the photographer?

  • I didn’t make those tracks either, so I’m inclined to say they’re yours :D

  • edited March 2

    John Cage at some point used cracks on the wall as a “random generator”. Does the wall get the writing credits?

  • @richardyot said:
    Yeah, but, how much of you have you put into the music? (serious question).

    If the answer is very little, then ultimately the music has very little to say, to you or anyone else.

    Maybe I'm just superstitious, but I really believe art has to have something of the intangible to make it, well, art. Otherwise it's just wallpaper.

    I think so too, but sometimes the artist is just channeling energy from another dimension, and the channeling process imprints the artist on the new, physically manifested form the original energy has taken on as an artistic creation.
    In synth terms, creative potential is like a all-encompassing white noise, and the artist is just a filter. Not always, but frequently in cases of “divine inspiration,” this is the case.

  • edited March 2

    Does it make you happy?

    Then that is your answer.

    Don't overcomplicate things.

    Rational views that break down nonrational or fruitless views further break down human meaning or experience. That is the word. Human experience.

    It is yours. Who cares what we say?

    Be careful not to “disenchant” life, leading to valueless set of experiences and routines.

    Sorry to preach.

  • Many acid classics were built on the random pattern thing in that little hardware box.

    Fugue Machine is way better at generating melodies than me. I'm totally fine with that..

  • You just need to regard yourself as a music producer as opposed to a ‘musician’. Without you- the music that you produce would never have happened.

  • edited March 2

    All your bass are belong to me !!

  • semi-serious track (snippet) or rather the idea of something...

    this is derived from the (edited) midi notes of Blondie's Heart of Glass o:)
    there is no resemblence left whatsoever - btw sax and voice are from the M3000.

  • I use lots of generated sequences in my music. I’ve never heard anyone doing something that similar. Yeah I play live sounds over generated sequences. I even mess about with the generated sequences, which changes them. I do believe however that the whole of the result is mine.

    Think also about the sound you use. A sequence of notes is a sequence of notes playing a sound only, when the sound doesn’t quite fit. Get the sound just right, get the fx just right, get the mix just right, get the whole just right and that sequence becomes much more.

    As you’re not trying to reproduce it live or trying to become the next big thing, as others have said - chill, enjoy the experience and don’t over complicate it all ;)

  • As artists, I feel like we all get so wrapped up in HOW we make music that we can't see anything else.

    Why does it matter HOW the music is made? There are only two things you should worry about:

    1) Do I like the end result?
    2) Did I have fun making it?

    The rest is incidental. YOU are the one making choices, even if they are administrative in nature. You're still determining what stays, what goes, and crafting the tune. Your music is like a piece of marble was to Michelangelo. He famously said that he only "removed what was extra to reveal the figure within". Maybe that's what you're doing with Bram's apps - carving and shaping them to reveal the music contained within. If this is a case, then this is absolutely YOUR music, not Bram's.

    Hope this helps with some perspective.

  • @jrjulius said:

    Man, I thought you meant Johannes Brahms and I clicked like a maniac :smile:
    Bram is fantastic, no doubt there, but the life and love of Brahms is so totally fascinating.
    The young Johannes coming to the Schumann household, becomes in love with the older Clara (the best pianist in Europe besides Liszt) and Robert Schumanns suicide attempt in the Rhine, the madness, death, unfulfilled love... his struggle with symphony nr 1 (everyone awaited the 10th Beethoven & they got it) his walks and discussions with Mahler at the Toblach Sea, cancer, last concert... atheism, death... legacy. He was a beautiful human being.
    So I just froze. Someone here interested in that LoL
    Carry on guys.

  • @jrjulius

    Wow, I often feel the same way - somewhat uneasy over ideas of authorship (or lack thereof to be precise) when messing with Bram's or any other generative apps. Sometimes I just feel like a curator of sounds and noises. But I think the uneasiness is sort of healthy (and a healthy part of any art-making), as it causes me to push things maybe a bit further than I might otherwise. Just my two cents.

  • I > @richardyot said:

    Yeah, but, how much of you have you put into the music? (serious question).

    If the answer is very little, then ultimately the music has very little to say, to you or anyone else.

    Maybe I'm just superstitious, but I really believe art has to have something of the intangible to make it, well, art. Otherwise it's just wallpaper.

    Maybe someone who enjoys looking at or making wallpaper would think otherwise about your last sentence. I think you're trying to use a synonym for "not art" or maybe "nothing"(but it clearly is something if it's' imaginable and discussed between autonomous individuals, be it a visual,audial,etc experience). Whether it's art or not is a local issue, not global. I mean that literally and abstractly. This seems to me to be a problem of group/community definition/understanding of a word rather than some inherent principle. Does it really matter if it has that intangible something in order to be enjoyable or would it simply be enjoyable non music? I'm ok with making "non-music" if I like it.

    Also, does a 90's rap producer making beats for Jay-z with a 4 bar soul sample and a few breaks count as an original piece or a remix? Should it be a concern that all 99% of rock has predictable and codified chord progressions that are almost a century old? How about field recordings with minimal synth adornment?

    What is at hand will be used. Autechre has been using pseudo-random melodies since the early 2000's. BlueGreenSpiral mentioned the random pattern setting on the 303, but I've actually heard anecdotes about early Phuture or Aramando tracks being based on twiddling knobs over a demo pattern!

  • edited March 2

    To add:

    Take it one step further. I can make similar drum grooves and stuff to the Gary Numan album I’m listening to at this moment. I however can’t put it all together to make the cohesive whole that he can - that’s where he has the talent that takes it further. I’m happy with what I do, but I know I will never be at that level.

    When you stop enjoying what you are doing, either change how you’re doing it or do something else instead :) At many levels of what I call making music, the enjoyment of the doing is in itself the result!

  • edited March 2

    @u0421793 said:
    Many years ago when I was a street photographer at lunchtimes and teaching at college during the other times, I posed a question to my students.

    If I go out to Trafalgar Square (as I often did) and hand a person my camera (as tourists often do) and then instead of posing for the person to shoot my picture, I pointed at a scene over there and asked them to take the photo while I stood beside them, am I the photographer?

    My snap answer to that is no. The other person is the photographer, you are the director. But let me think more on this, maybe it is more of a conundrum than I am realizing.

  • @u0421793 said:
    Many years ago when I was a street photographer at lunchtimes and teaching at college during the other times, I posed a question to my students.

    If I go out to Trafalgar Square (as I often did) and hand a person my camera (as tourists often do) and then instead of posing for the person to shoot my picture, I pointed at a scene over there and asked them to take the photo while I stood beside them, am I the photographer?

    Yes, you are.

  • I am really liking everyone’s answers so far. B)

  • @jrjulius said:
    The other day, AUM finally clicked for me and I started to understand the value of a “non-DAW” in my workflow.

    However, now I’ve got a half dozen or so tracks that I really enjoy listening to, but for which I provided relatively little actual input. I set up the sounds, sure, but my only melodic contributions were picking the key and assigning Rozeta’s Mutate probabilities.

    For the record, I’m not planning on touting these tracks around or using them to boost my reputation as an “artistic genius.” The fact is, I just like the way they sound. I might send some to my friend for background use in his podcast and I might create a separate album on my Bandcamp page, but I don’t stand to make a dime.

    Nonetheless, it’s a strange feeling. At what point do I stop being a musician and become a supervisor? For those of you with more experience working on generated music, how do you handle this?

    Also, many thanks to Bram Bos for EVERYTHING.

    It's yours. Art is knowing what to leave out.

  • @CracklePot said:

    @u0421793 said:
    Many years ago when I was a street photographer at lunchtimes and teaching at college during the other times, I posed a question to my students.

    If I go out to Trafalgar Square (as I often did) and hand a person my camera (as tourists often do) and then instead of posing for the person to shoot my picture, I pointed at a scene over there and asked them to take the photo while I stood beside them, am I the photographer?

    My snap answer to that is no. The other person is the photographer, you are the director. But let me think more on this, maybe it is more of a conundrum than I am realizing.

    It's neither exactly on an absolute level - even what we think of as being me or mine is actually made up parts without end that connect without distinct separation. So there are no artists or directors - where does one stop and the other precisely end?. But on an everyday level of common assumptions (this is me, this is mine, that is yours, etc.), it's certainly subject to debate.

  • Yes, it is your music, but your role was that of a producer, not composer or musician.

    There was a Brian Eno album released in the form of a generative music app, I remember in an interview, him saying that he would think it would be great if someone recorded their app and sold the music as their own.

  • Remember also how many of us use drum machines to make our beats - that’s hardly us getting sticks out and keeping a beat lol. While we can discuss it all day long our own music is often a mystical as a certain cat in a box :p

  • @Fruitbat1919 said:
    To add:

    Take it one step further. I can make similar drum grooves and stuff to the Gary Numan album I’m listening to at this moment. I however can’t put it all together to make the cohesive whole that he can - that’s where he has the talent that takes it further. I’m happy with what I do, but I know I will never be at that level.

    When you stop enjoying what you are doing, either change how you’re doing it or do something else instead :) At many levels of what I call making music, the enjoyment of the doing is in itself the result!

    Well that's because he's Gary, baby. I can't believe he was only 20/21 while making Replicas.

  • @magnusxe said:

    @Fruitbat1919 said:
    To add:

    Take it one step further. I can make similar drum grooves and stuff to the Gary Numan album I’m listening to at this moment. I however can’t put it all together to make the cohesive whole that he can - that’s where he has the talent that takes it further. I’m happy with what I do, but I know I will never be at that level.

    When you stop enjoying what you are doing, either change how you’re doing it or do something else instead :) At many levels of what I call making music, the enjoyment of the doing is in itself the result!

    Well that's because he's Gary, baby. I can't believe he was only 20/21 while making Replicas.

    Yep he sure is. Seems he has quite a fan base on this forum :)

  • maybe its a bit like playing or watching football :) people like to do both.
    but working out and playing your own progression is the most gratifying
    to me its all about self gratification- whatever floats yr boat.
    doesn't take too long to get the muscle memory for playing the keys tho

  • To the OP:

    I sense some uncomfort with the line you’ve drawn. After all we all need to find that comfortable place with what the tech does and what we play. I can’t play some lines I put in my music however much I practice. DAWs gave us the ability to nudge that midi note many many years ago - I’m quite happy using it ;)

  • I wonder if Jackson Pollock ever stopped to wonder exactly what the hell he was up to?

Sign In or Register to comment.