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  #1  
Old 03-02-2024, 08:49 AM
Golffishny Golffishny is offline
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Default Where is the melody?

I'm having my coffee while catching up on my computer browsing and the CMT channel is on in the background. I'm noticing that there is little to no melody in most songs these days. This is not only country music and not the first year I've noticed it. Are songwriters these days too lazy to write a melody or not skilled enough. Try singing these songs without an instrument backing you up and it just becomes prose. Music is getting boring.
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Old 03-02-2024, 09:02 AM
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The great thing about recorded music is that it stays with us through the years — and decades. There’s plenty of sublime music still with us in every genre. I’ve been taking an extended tour through Nanci Griffith recently, for example. There’s an artist who could write and deliver a melody.

Some recording artists can’t really sing that well. It makes sense that they would avoid songs with intricate melodies.

James Taylor famously upped his game at writing interesting melodies once he paired up with Carly Simon. Before that, he relied more on his polyphonic guitar playing to carry the melodies within the harmony.
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Old 03-02-2024, 09:18 AM
Brent Hutto Brent Hutto is offline
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Nearly all of my casual listening today is via TIDAL and I guess it has figured out my preferences pretty well. It almost never suggests new (or new-ish) vocal music that lacks melody. There are plenty of singer-songwriters out there nowadays who can sing and who can write a good tune.

I'll take your word for it that the world is also full of tuneless, mass-produced, extruded dreck. Not much of that makes it into my little music-listening bubble, although I hear snatches of it in shops or restaurants (if I don't have my IEM's in listening to my own music!).

P.S. One thing I know, if a certain type of music is ubiquitous it's because there's someone out there willing to listen to it.
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Old 03-02-2024, 10:34 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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"I've got a song that ain't got no melody,
I'm gonna sing it to my friends...
"

- Billy Preston, 1972
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Old 03-02-2024, 11:42 AM
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tinnitus tinnitus is offline
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First off, a semi-guilty admission. I watch shows like Idol and Voice. As a sporadic bar band guy for half a century, and still playing acoustic open mics, it entertains me to watch young hopefuls endeavoring to gain a bit of notoriety, perhaps enough to break into the music industry at least on some level.

(And I think the studio bands on those shows are extremely good, cranking out dozens of new cover songs and a few "originals" every single week. Broad-spectrum pros.)

Which brings me to the topic. I complain frequently about what has become of modern song"writing." Without singling out any particular act or genre, I find so much of what's new to be:
- glib
- soul-less
- repetitive
- mechanical and insipid
- in short, nothing new

Sure, many of our parents complained about the Beatles, Stones, Jimi and Jimmy, but it cannot be said that nothing creative/original was happening there.

I don't find the new "Ball-Cap Country" any better or worse than any other contemporary algorithms on the radio, but I'm pleased to see them finally get beyond a trend from 10-12 years ago that really bugged me. It seemed like every guitar solo started with a brief phrase of melody (fair enough) that quicky devolved into a blazing-fast torrential spasm of minor pentatonic Telecaster notes for 5-8 seconds that had nothing to do with the structure/feel of the song.

It was like someone said, "Put some lead guitar right here." It seemed like the same 2-3 Nashville producers were all using the same 5-6 gunslingers. Solos sounded to me like an on/off switch getting thrown, no arc, no melodic theme, no resolution - a stark contrast to that full verse of single-note lead guitar going to the outro in Cinnamon Girl. That was musical.

Last edited by tinnitus; 03-02-2024 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 03-02-2024, 06:46 PM
therbulus therbulus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golffishny View Post
I'm having my coffee while catching up on my computer browsing and the CMT channel is on in the background. I'm noticing that there is little to no melody in most songs these days. This is not only country music and not the first year I've noticed it. Are songwriters these days too lazy to write a melody or not skilled enough. Try singing these songs without an instrument backing you up and it just becomes prose. Music is getting boring.
"Too lazy...or not skilled enough" might define it. Franz Joseph Hayden can weigh in: "It is the melody which is the charm of music, and it is that which is most difficult to produce. The invention of a fine melody is a work of genius."
You're not the only one to notice the fault in recent years!
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Old 03-02-2024, 07:29 PM
Denandannie Denandannie is offline
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Idol and Voice is not music. It’s screaming. The louder the more the crowd loves you.
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Old 03-03-2024, 07:53 AM
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Mr. Jelly Mr. Jelly is offline
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I pretty much agree with the OP.

There is a producer that has a YouTube channel, and he has one where he connects with some Nashville studio musicians and singer song writers, and they made a track. The skill level of these musicians is over the top. It seems to me they are so perfect and in the musical pocket that there isn't anything of interest to a human. And no melody. No music.
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Old 03-04-2024, 10:18 PM
The Bard Rocks The Bard Rocks is offline
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If one cannot figure out how to whistle or hum it, it's not worth bothering with - there's so much that is.
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Old 03-05-2024, 09:08 AM
Golffishny Golffishny is offline
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If one cannot figure out how to whistle or hum it, it's not worth bothering with - there's so much that is.

This is it in a nutshell. Well put.
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Old 03-05-2024, 09:25 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Current pop music, and country (which is just pop with the occasional pedal steel volume swell and the mention of a pickup truck) has reached a very simple, repetitive melody stage. It's kind of rock bottom, melodically.

I see some glints of hope...Olivia Rodrigo writes some very catchy melodies and she's very popular. So does SZA.

We might be slowly climbing out of the pit of bad melody. Then again, I heard another Morgen Wallen tune yesterday...
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Old 03-05-2024, 02:10 PM
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While I agree that the corporate formulaic approach has indeed been problematic and taken it's toll on creativity
And today one has to sift through especially pop and country to find creativity

But seems to me that in all kinds of music and likely since the dawn of music the melody is often more inferred by the vocals interplay with the harmony structure than an outright melody line ??? And I wonder, is it sometimes as much the listeners inability to focus and discern a subtle melody as the songwriter being lazy ?

For example Jazz often has an unclear or subtle melody
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Old 03-05-2024, 03:35 PM
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i also think there's a general problem of it's all been done already. Hard to find a completely creative new angle for a melody. There are only so many notes and so much range that can be had. i find it's true for any genre I listen to. The music of _____ musical style reuses so many of the same tunes. Still I listen and enjoy.
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Old 03-06-2024, 07:54 AM
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Th other day my daughter asked why I wasn't a EVH fan. Not that I have anything against him. I didn't hear the melody when he played. I could always noodle but keeping the melody for me was, is something I always work at.
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Old 03-06-2024, 08:38 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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I figured out way back in the '60s that many/most people even those that say they like music, only really listen to the beat, to bobabout to.

If there is a REALLY simple repetitive chant type melody, like "We Will Rock You (Queen 1977) the crowd will join in a chant.

Further, I suspect that chord progressions have become simpler over the decades,

Simpler progressions means more simplistic melodies, and as far as I can see/hear in pop music now, then we are lucky to get two chords!
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