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#454190 - 01/28/18 09:16 AM [Off-Topic] Just because I am curious
eddie1261 Offline
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Posts: 4376
This software provides a great opportunity for people to write songs even if they don't play, so I wonder 2 things. Which group do you fit in?

A. I have had zero music education in my life.
B. I do not play an instrument. All my songs are 100% software created.
C. I play an instrument but not all that well.
D. I play at a fairly proficient level.
E. I am a monster player.

And the second question is for only people who are in group A.

If you have had zero music training, how do you know what to enter into the chord sheet page to create your songs?

When I said zero music training, I meant zero. Like if you don't know that there are 12 keys, how do you know what to put in on bar 1?

This question grew from someone asking me about the software. She said "Oh that's cheating. If that's all that takes ANYBODY can write songs."

So I invited her over. Sat her at the computer. Started Real band. Got her to the chord entry page, and said "Go. Write a song if it's that easy."

She: "What do I do here?"
Me; "Enter your chord progression."
She: "What's a chord?"
Me: "What do you mean what's a chord? You said anybody could do this. Even with no music skills."

And that ended the discussion. (And I likely will never see her again. LOL!)

It is hard for people who play or have played, and/or had training either in school or on stage, to understand that we speak in terms that contain implied knowledge. To tell someone "A major chord is 1-3-5." evokes the question "What's a 1? What's a 3? What's a 5?" WE know that it means the steps of a scale, which would then evoke the question "What's a scale?"

So, again, I am just curious. The people I know here who have been around a while, I know your level of experience and education, but some of the newer names or just people with whom I have never interacted, I am curious to know your music education and experience level, if you read, etc....


Edited by eddie1261 (01/28/18 09:22 AM)
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#454209 - 01/28/18 10:43 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Just because I am curious [Re: eddie1261]
raymb1 Offline
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Some years ago I posted that one should a little basic knowledge of music. A few, who are no longer active on the forum, took me to task for that. I agree with you, one should have some basic musical knowledge to use this program. I consider myself a D.
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#454218 - 01/28/18 11:07 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Just because I am curious [Re: eddie1261]
Matt Finley Offline
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I think Ray is right. I don’t remember that discussion but I hope I supported him in it.

People call me an E. I think I’m an E- but the game is to not let anyone see why I think that.
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#454219 - 01/28/18 11:12 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Just because I am curious [Re: Matt Finley]
raymb1 Offline
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My wife thinks I'm an E! LOL
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#454227 - 01/28/18 12:47 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Just because I am curious [Re: eddie1261]
Charlie Fogle Offline
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Posts: 4477
Loc: South Carolina
Well, OK. Wonder where I fit in?

I'm in group A. I have had zero music education in my life. Because I have not taken formal music classes. I signed up for band in elementary school and quit before ever selecting or receiving an instrument to play.

I'm in group C. I play an instrument but not all that well. I hold my own and play strictly by ear or memorization. I have recorded hundreds of recording where I spent hours and sometimes days practicing a specific series of difficult chords in a progression or fingering out a riff or strumming pattern for a song that after the recording and some time passes, I can no longer recall how to play. Once and done, many times.

But I've had times that required I be in group D. I play at a fairly proficient level. For at least one song or series of songs in a gig or recording.
Think - Practice, practice, practice.

Oddly, I also had a similar conversation as Eddie with a lady just this morning. As a member of group A, and with this mornings experience to help me along, I'll answer Eddie's question.

"If you have had zero music training, how do you know what to enter into the chord sheet page to create your songs?

When I said zero music training, I meant zero. Like if you don't know that there are 12 keys, how do you know what to put in on bar 1?"


Many times I applied the mechanics of music without the benefit of any theory. For example, I learned the names and chord shapes on a guitar, but not the individual notes that comprised the chords. I memorized chord progressions and chord shapes watching "Midnight Special", "American Bandstand", "Austin City Limits" and similar TV shows as well as watching live bands.

Yet I had my first song copyright in 1959. Have had a dozen or so songs copyrighted and commercially released since then. Recently sold a song that was recorded 44 years ago to be used in a documentary.


But that's enough about me and my limitations. To answer how someone without even the basic knowledge I have can use BIAB. I believe I can show anyone how to create their first song in BIAB in less than 15 minutes. What is required is a nominal knowledge of how to operate a computer. If one can do a file search, open and close a file and basic navigation skills. They can create music with BIAB. Here's what I tell people who ask.

Decide on a song title and do an internet search for a midi file of that song. Download that midi file and remember where it downloads to.

Open BIAB, tell them the hot key to open a midi file (F7) - From the open file window, navigate to the midi file you downloaded and select that file to import and open.

The BIAB Chord sheet will populate with the chords of the song, usually in the original key the song was recorded in and at or near the original tempo.

Show how to open the style picker and set search parameters for time signature, feel and tempo. Show how to alternately search for the downloaded midi file song by the BIAB song title search feature.

Show how to audition styles, select a style and generate a song.

Show how to mute the midi channel and if they are still with me at this point, show how to use the Sequencer to edit the midi tracks.


With that knowledge, they have enough skill to repeat and create a playlist in BIAB of every song they know and can find a midi file of.
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#454241 - 01/28/18 01:29 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Just because I am curious [Re: eddie1261]
MarioD Offline
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Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 11189
Loc: Hamlin NY
I think that I am in the D level, at least with the guitar and bass. I am in the C level with it comes to the wind controller and the keyboard.

I read music and have some music theory as does JonD. He is also in the D level when playing with others but he is in the E level when all alone at the keyboard. He was all alone for many years until we got together. When JonD and I get together we challenge each other with music theory as it applies to chords and chord progressions. They always come first in our compositions.

BobH is a fantastic finger picking guitarist who knows some chords but is at the A level when it comes to reading and music theory. Sometimes he just fingers chords that sound good in his songs and I have to figure out what they actually are, guitar wise that is.

You don't have to know how to read music or have any music theory to play well but it is a must when you have to figure out what you have played. YMMV
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#454244 - 01/28/18 01:46 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Just because I am curious [Re: MarioD]
Ryszard Offline
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Eddie,

To answer your question, my skill level lies between D and E. I have had intermediate theory training, played bass and guitar for 50 years, and sung for longer than I remember. I read fluently for bass and voice, but am otherwise semiliterate; I can’t transcribe or write sheet music, although I consider myself a composer.

But you raise a most interesting point. Several times I have brought up a program called Master Writer, a songwriting aid. It doesn’t do what BIAB does; there is nothing automated about it. It is simply a set of tools (text processor, rhyming dictionary, rudimentary sequencer, Creative Commons links, spelling check, etc.).

Nevertheless, each time I have mentioned it, someone here has said, and I quote: “THAT’S CHEATING!” Would anyone care to explain or defend that?

Having attempted to hijack your thread, I will return to your topic and say that the likelihood of an untrained user creating listenable music with Band in a Box is somewhere in the neighborhood of a billion monkeys with a billion typewriters eventually turning out the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Richard
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#454246 - 01/28/18 02:05 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Just because I am curious [Re: eddie1261]
sslechta Offline
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Registered: 12/27/13
Posts: 1240
Loc: St. Louis, MO. USA
I consider myself a C player on guitar, bass, and keys. I think I'm fairly proficient in my knowledge of music theory and education (lots of college courses taken). I've just never had the time or dedication to spend a lot of time practicing my instruments. Regrets? Yes, a few... I've just always found other distractions than keeping at one instrument.
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#454252 - 01/28/18 02:36 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Just because I am curious [Re: eddie1261]
rharv Offline
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Registered: 05/30/00
Posts: 18914
Loc: Marysville, Mi. USA
I fit into 'F' <grin>
By my standards I'm not *great* on any of the instruments I play (so not D or E). But I understand theory well, which is what allows me the ability to play different instruments well enough to get the idea down.

Sure a beginner with no theory knowledge could 'walk into one' (a possibly local sports term meaning to get lucky .. kinda like 'even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while').
You could theoretically know nothing and still create something cool.

But with a little theory knowledge the chances of success get greater.
Knowing 1-4-5 is a huge step by itself, compared to no knowledge.

On the flip side; I could be the best trumpet player ever and never find joy writing a song in BiaB .. being proficient on a given instrument doesn't really translate in this context (to me anyways).

The only education/theory option in the OP was none.
Like Steve, I've had a lot of education (and it was worth it). Just never really 'mastered' any instruments performance wise.


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#454264 - 01/28/18 03:25 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Just because I am curious [Re: Charlie Fogle]
eddie1261 Offline
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Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 4376
Originally Posted By: Charlie Fogle


Decide on a song title and do an internet search for a midi file of that song. Download that midi file and remember where it downloads to.


While that does describe A process, it doesn't describe "writing". It talks about copying. I am talking about when there is no "that song" to find a file of. I am talking about riding in the car with your girl Susie Q that has not yet been written. To sit down and write a song. Fresh. Never been done by anybody. Because, at least in my mind, anything else is not "writing". You can download a text copy of "Moby Dick" and put your name on it but it's still Herman Melville's book. And that doesn't help YOU write.

Even if someone does what you describe, what does that do for them as far as the creative process? It is a good plan for educating. The can listen to that chord play, find the matching note on a piano, and know what an F is, but it doesn't tell them that the relative chords are Bb and C.

I get what you are saying, but it kind of isn't what I was asking (and was asked) about. Remember, this was someone who thinks songwriting is easy. I have seen deer standing in headlights that had a more expressive face than hers when she saw that chord sheet. Somebody who thinks there is a key of M. And of course the subdominant of M, the key of R.

So yeah, I know what you mean, but copying songs is not what I am addressing.
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#454283 - 01/28/18 04:25 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Just because I am curious [Re: eddie1261]
Janice & Bud Offline
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Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 5981
Loc: GA USA
I have no idea where I stand relative to the categories.

I used to be what I would consider reasonably proficient on upright bass Janice and I played and recorded with a friend who was grammy nominated and played on many renown artists’ projects. So he at least tolerated me.

On the other hand we were playing relatively simple chord structures relative to you jazz guys.

I was 23 when I decided to learn to play acoustic rhythm guitar - never had a minute of music education. I know zip theory but for some weird reason I can hear chord changes. But I’m nothing on constructing melodies. I can write a lyric with meter, hand it Janice with a genre suggestion and in short order she has chords and a melody.

So....I guess I’m a C that became a D and now back to C at best. Used to be a bit proficient but stood the upright in a corner 10 years ago and very, very rarely play it. Callouses and desire gone.

Hey couldn’t that lady use the melodist thang with 90s of training?

B
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#454284 - 01/28/18 04:31 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Just because I am curious [Re: eddie1261]
90 dB Offline
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I'm an "A".


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#454289 - 01/28/18 04:51 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Just because I am curious [Re: Janice & Bud]
eddie1261 Offline
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Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 4376
Quote:
But I’m nothing on constructing melodies. I can write a lyric with meter, hand it Janice with a genre suggestion and in short order she has chords and a melody.


Does Janice have formal training?

Formal training is not necessary to be proficient. It IS helpful when everybody in the room is at the same plane so when I say "On that measure right before the chorus, suspend that G chord" and everybody knows what that means. I was involved with startup a few years back and when I told the singer "Those small syllables at the start of that line are pickup lyrics that come before the downbeat", he didn't even know what downbeat meant. That was TORTURE for me. And another band I was involved in was completely ear players so charting things was a huge waste of time when nobody could read music. Again, reading is not necessary but it helps rehearsals go smoother when everybody can read music.

How hard is it to work with a group when "Go to the 4th there" means nothing?


Edited by eddie1261 (01/29/18 08:29 AM)
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#454292 - 01/28/18 05:04 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Just because I am curious [Re: eddie1261]
Charlie Fogle Offline
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Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 4477
Loc: South Carolina
I have a friend who cannot play a note but has written some songs. He writes lyrics and sings and hums the melody he has in mind for the song to musicians and they figure out the chord structure and record a demo of vocals/instruments for him. He pays between $350-$500 per song according to the number of instruments used on the song. He had a stroke several years back and has memory issues so he no longer writes as far as I know. I'm sure he was satisfied with the accuracy of the melody or he wouldn't pay that kind of money for 6-8 songs I'm aware he had recorded.

I agree with you that he could not write a song on his own using BIAB. But prior to his stroke I think he could do as I described above and he could d/l a chord chart that sounded 'like and in the style of' the song existing in his head, D/L that song and write his lyrics over the chord structure of the similar song I would think. I think that would constitute writing a song.

EDIT: I also see no reason a novice cannot open a BIAB demo file and write original lyrics over the demo instrumental.


Edited by Charlie Fogle (01/29/18 06:47 AM)
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#454316 - 01/28/18 08:35 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Just because I am curious [Re: eddie1261]
JoanneCooper Offline
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Registered: 05/12/12
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Eddie. Someone with absolutely no knowledge or music training (an A) can very easily write a song using BIAB. Just open a session and pull up the melodist feature and get it to generate some chords for you, (use the default key of C) and Bob’s your auntie. Just sing along to the chords that BIAB generated.

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#454323 - 01/28/18 10:56 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Just because I am curious [Re: eddie1261]
Belladonna Offline
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Registered: 09/09/17
Posts: 250
Loc: Virginia
I'm probably in the C category, although I've been dabbling in music for a long time. Never could give it my full attention as family and other commitments took their time. I play piano and guitar, although probably not well, and I can read music and know a fair amount about theory. Not real great with technology, so that is also a challenge.

As far as cheating, someone wrote a book called good artists borrow and great artists steal. Really meaning that you get ideas from others and you make it your own.

As a visual artist, you can get a photo and have a projector project it onto your paper from which you can trace and then complete a painting or a graphite or charcoal shading. Have you cheated? You didn't really do it from scratch. You used a camera for the photo or you borrowed a photo from someone else. Maybe you changed the composition a little or maybe not. Yet, you had to know what colors to use, how to mix and apply the paint, have some expertise and fine motor skills to get something that looks professional.

There's also a professional artist who makes big money and he just comes up with the ideas. He has a staff of artists that actually do the paintings or drawings, but he signs them and copyrights them under his name. He considers his staff just tradesmen as he is the creative idea person.

So, those of us who use BIAB are we just tradesmen or are we the creative idea artists and musicians? What sets us apart from any other technician?


Edited by Belladonna (01/28/18 10:59 PM)

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#454342 - 01/29/18 05:21 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Just because I am curious [Re: eddie1261]
Notes Norton Offline
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Loc: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.A.
F on sax and wind synth (although I'm reluctant to use the term "monster" because I'm always striving improve and I know where I need to go).

E on vocals, guitar, bass, and flute, I could gig with these for pop/rock/country music, but not for a jazz gig.

D on keys and drums. I can double on these but not an entire gig. Keys? Mostly a weak left piano hand but I can hold chords or work synth joystick/wheels. Drums? I'm good but lack of stamina due to not playing them every day.

I currently make my own backing tracks and regularly play sax, wind synth, guitar, flute and vocals on the gig.

But I also find that the more I learn about music, even after decades of doing it for a living, I find that there is more to learn. When I learn something, I find two more things that are calling me.

Insights and incites by Notes.
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#454377 - 01/29/18 07:57 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Just because I am curious [Re: eddie1261]
jford Online   content
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Loc: Pensacola, Florida
Quote:

A. I have had zero music education in my life.
B. I do not play an instrument. All my songs are 100% software created.
C. I play an instrument but not all that well.
D. I play at a fairly proficient level.
E. I am a monster player.


I am a C+ on piano (although some would call me a D); I'm a C on guitar; I used to be a D on trumpet, but lack of playing over the years does not make for a very good embouchure.

I am not good a writing melodies or lyrics, but I'm pretty good with writing fill-in parts and melodic solos to enhance the melody line.

I don't play by ear, but I can sight read at the piano (as long as it's not too difficult, and even then, I can sometimes simplify it on the fly to accommodate my level of playing, and I can play a passable accompaniment off a chord chart (and sing along at the same time). I know my style of playing, while not very technically proficient, has touched people (which is what music should do), because they have told me so when they didn't need to tell me so.

I greatly admire those who are "monsters", but that doesn't shy me away from playing what I can. I just try to learn from them. If they don't want me playing along, I'm sure they'll tell me - not a problem. When I had my praise band at church, we had several folks who would occasionally sit in with varying degrees of ability. I just told them to play what they know. I wouldn't do that if it were a paying gig, but church family loves you regardless (or at least they should) and doing that helped build the confidence of several budding musicians who would have put their instrument away forever otherwise.

And thank goodness for BIAB to cover all the things I can't do or even fathom coming up with. Such a wonderful tool to create music.
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#454390 - 01/29/18 08:33 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Just because I am curious [Re: eddie1261]
Guitarhacker Offline
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D: I play at a fairly proficient level. I wouldn't be afraid to walk on stage with the big name players and singers in country music, on guitar, and hold my own. I made a living at this for a part of my life doing just that. I also have a fairly wide understanding of music theory.... you know... the book learning part.

Yep... Ive seen players who don't know what a key signature is or what chords are the basis of a given key.....

Regarding writing a song, Yep... I've heard the same or similar comments regarding BB/RB.... but if you have the best tools in the world and don't understand them or the theory and practical use, you can forget using them in an effective way.

Kinda like putting a home recording enthusiast into a multi-million dollar state of the art studio and turning him loose to record. The result will sound like he did it in his bedroom. By the same token, take a pro recording engineer and give him a laptop in a bedroom and he'll turn out something that will blow your mind.
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#454398 - 01/29/18 08:49 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Just because I am curious [Re: Guitarhacker]
eddie1261 Offline
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Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 4376
But the other side of the coin Herb is when you DO play with schooled players who know their theory!! I played in a Motown band for 3 years that was nothing BUT formally trained musicians and that made it just a joy to go to work. One particular night it was 1:50 and we had no more desire to play another song, so I started playing some nonsense on the keyboard and the guitar player kicked in with it, then the bass player, etc. Just by holding up fingers, we came up with a progression. They knew that 2 or 6 meant it would be a minor, and by the second pass through they had the basic progression. Then the guitarist started substituting more elaborate chords, adding suspensions and things like rather than a straight Dm playing a Dm7 add 9, stuff like that. The 3rd time through the sax player took a solo. And on the 4th time I ad libbed some lyrics, put in some other solos.... We filled the last 10 minutes with that non-song, and the next week (we were a Sunday night house band) people ASKED for "that new song you closed with last week".

And we couldn't do it because even then I had no memory! LOL!!

Point being, I couldn't have done that with people who can only play "what's on the reeeecorrrrrd".... As I typed this in I thought about it and it has been over 2 years since I went out to see a copy band. No interest at all in people playing music that is on CDs I own. I buy CDs of the original bands when I see them play. There is one really good room within 5 minutes from my house that solicits original music bands and requests that 75% of their set be original. What I personally find particularly annoying is when people turn out CDs of their originals and then refuse to play them live. Isn't the idea of a songwriter playing live to give the crowd a sample of what they will get of they spend $12 and buy a CD?

And there we end up back at the "levels of listening" topic so I'll stop.


Edited by eddie1261 (01/29/18 11:12 AM)
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Write a Song with Xtra Styles PAK 5 for a Chance to WIN!

You could WIN $150 PG Bucks when you enter our Xtra Styles PAK 5 Song Contest!

All you need to do is add Xtra Styles PAK 5 to your Band-in-a-Box® 2018 library (on sale for just $29 until August 31st!), write a song using one if the 160+ professionally mixed styles included, and submit it to our Xtra Styles Contest! Songs submissions are accepted until September 30th - with the 4 winners being announced in early October!

Click here for complete contest rules and information.

Learn more about Xtra Styles PAKs: Windows | Mac

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