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 Post subject: Coherence in non-harmonic sounds
PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:41 pm 
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crud

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Hello dear subsekt community,
Lately I've been experimenting with "non-harmonic" sounds, especially with fm synthesis and I realized I had trouble adding elements on top of each other while mainaining a coherent vibe. In other words I struggle to write nice melodies when I get out of the "traditionals" chords and scales, wich is a safe spot I'd like to escape from more often.

Considering the fact these kind of sounds are very often used in techno, I'd like to start a discussion about detuned and "non-harmonic" sounds and how one can make them interact in beautiful ways. Here's an example of this imo


My approach at the moment is to tweak the sound until it works somehow, but I often find myself losing what I was aiming for and end up with something totally different. It is ok but also frustrating when I have a specific sound in mind and I can't make it work with the rest of the track.
I'd be happy to hear your take on this ! do you exclusively use your ears ? Do you have some kind of methodology or tool to guide you ? Are there some musical principles or sonic properties that might help understand these interactions ?

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 Post subject: Re: Coherence in non-harmonic sounds
PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:46 pm 
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Snauth
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Nothing non-harmonic about that Ruskin track at all. Slight wobble in the tuning but the melody is conventionally\traditionally harmonic.
Maybe your trouble is simply in writing less obvious melody?

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 Post subject: Re: Coherence in non-harmonic sounds
PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 2:04 pm 
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Less obvious melodies is what I'm aiming at indeed. I thought that more complex synthesis and using less obviously harmonic sounds to start with would be a good idea but the trouble is having more than one sound at the same time and not get messy.

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 Post subject: Re: Coherence in non-harmonic sounds
PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 2:11 pm 
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Snauth
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You just have to work intuitively. Sometimes a nice clean melody within a load of dissonance is a perfect juxtaposition.
The issues come where sounds overlap and how they overlap.
So it's as much a mix issue as an issue of melody Vs dissonance.

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 Post subject: Re: Coherence in non-harmonic sounds
PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:11 pm 
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BAD

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victer wrote:
Hello dear subsekt community,
Lately I've been experimenting with "non-harmonic" sounds, especially with fm synthesis and I realized I had trouble adding elements on top of each other while mainaining a coherent vibe. In other words I struggle to write nice melodies when I get out of the "traditionals" chords and scales, wich is a safe spot I'd like to escape from more often.

Considering the fact these kind of sounds are very often used in techno, I'd like to start a discussion about detuned and "non-harmonic" sounds and how one can make them interact in beautiful ways. Here's an example of this imo


My approach at the moment is to tweak the sound until it works somehow, but I often find myself losing what I was aiming for and end up with something totally different. It is ok but also frustrating when I have a specific sound in mind and I can't make it work with the rest of the track.
I'd be happy to hear your take on this ! do you exclusively use your ears ? Do you have some kind of methodology or tool to guide you ? Are there some musical principles or sonic properties that might help understand these interactions ?


To echo what Lost to the Void wrote, that track IS traditional harmony, straight up diatonic F minor. I have the track somewhere but I've not heard it for a while.

Anyway, I think you're confusing melody vs harmony and using the words interchangeably. Music obviously does consist of melody & harmony but that track is way more about harmony than melody. It's easier if you think of melody as a single melodic line and harmony as various voices.

I think what you're saying is that you find it unappealing when making a melodic line, presumably this is because you are using a single instrument and a single sound - which will inevitably end up sounding like a synth solo or something and then you are trying to add something else to it and it ends a little messy?

Easier if you reverse your whole process and create subtle harmony first and then, if you wish to add melody, you'll just hear it coming through the harmony but often there's no need as the harmony can imply melody without the need for cumbersome leads or solos.

So in regard to that track, taking the part where the beat drops out, that's harmony. It's literally chords and they're easy to recognise if you use them a lot.

So when the beat drops out, things are a little clearer, you have an F minor7/add2 chord ie: F, G, Ab, C, Eb ( which produces a tell-tale sound due to dense cluster of tones from the close proximity of the first 3 voices). It's like a minor 9th chord but instead of playing the 9th ( the 'G' ) in the next octave, you play it in the first octave - which confusingly means its a 2nd... :( :arrow: ( Used a lot by DnB guys that one )

After that there's that next little passage where the voicings change a bit and that 2nd is in the next octave, something like F, Ab, Eb, G as you can hear the semitone drop between the Ab and the G. There's some single notes pushing through here and there which would be called melodic notes, like a higher Eb and a Bb I think but all in all, it's a subtle chord progression with some melodic phrasing, particularly the E flat.

But yeah, simple harmony is what you want to get into if you're looking for this kind of thing. It can quickly get complex trying to talk about it but subtle harmony is vastly different than the type of two-handed chord playing when thinking of chords. When you program stuff like this in, you can have greater control over the volume of each voice which can lead to interesting things if say the chords root voice is louder than maybe the 3rd or one of the voices is sustained through to another chord or one of the voices modulates in volume etc etc. There's a lot of that going on which is why the ear might pick that up as melody but if you listen close, the quieter chord voicings start becoming apparent but the ear is picking up the 'implied' melody. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Coherence in non-harmonic sounds
PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:38 am 
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crud

Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:08 pm
Posts: 80
Wow thanks for the detailed response and breakdown of the track ! I think you both nailed the point here, and I surely got confused on the terminology (hence the quotation marks) I should probably research more before posting next time.

Still, I wasn't really looking for advice on how to sound like this track (even though I'm thankful for the great insights) in particular but rather would like to engage in a discussion on how do you cope with dissonant sounds when you want to add another part. Or to phrase it differently : What is required to make two dissonant sounds work together ? Is it just plain luck after many trials ? Or are there charachteristics that you can identify in a sound in order to tweak the next one and make him fit..

I guess somehow it relates to intentionality as well, coherence between dissonant sounds must be easier to acheive if you have a complete plan in mind and stick to it rather than constructing the track step by step and add stuff as it goes, depending on your mood (wich is what i'm doing).

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 Post subject: Re: Coherence in non-harmonic sounds
PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:40 pm 
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Snauth
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The point is that there really wasn't much dissonance in the track you linked.

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 Post subject: Re: Coherence in non-harmonic sounds
PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:19 pm 
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BAD

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victer wrote:
Wow thanks for the detailed response and breakdown of the track ! I think you both nailed the point here, and I surely got confused on the terminology (hence the quotation marks) I should probably research more before posting next time.

Still, I wasn't really looking for advice on how to sound like this track (even though I'm thankful for the great insights) in particular but rather would like to engage in a discussion on how do you cope with dissonant sounds when you want to add another part. Or to phrase it differently : What is required to make two dissonant sounds work together ? Is it just plain luck after many trials ? Or are there charachteristics that you can identify in a sound in order to tweak the next one and make him fit..

I guess somehow it relates to intentionality as well, coherence between dissonant sounds must be easier to acheive if you have a complete plan in mind and stick to it rather than constructing the track step by step and add stuff as it goes, depending on your mood (wich is what i'm doing).


I didn't assume you wanted to sound like the track, but you asked a question which is about harmony/melody and provided a track as a point of reference, so in order to communicate anything related to that, it's just easier to take the track you provided and talk about what's going on at a musical level. It's an awkward subject to talk about without some context, so if I didn't link anything of what I was on about to the Ruskin track you posted, it would make absolutely no sense whatsover and would just be an arbitrary ramble about something hypothetical. You need context in order to discuss such things but the principles of harmony/melody can then be taken out of that context and applied elsewhere.

I'm a bit confused as to what you're meaning by 'how do you cope with dissonant sounds'. What is your definition of dissonance? Maybe that's what is causing my confusion because there's nothing to 'cope with'. Music has both dissonance and consonance, in musical scales you will naturally find both dissonant and consonant intervals occuring naturally and they're generally used to create a feel of tension and release. In C Major/A minor for example, a tritone exists between the F and the B which is dissonant, a perfect 5th occurs between the C & the G, or the A & the E, these are consonant intervals and there are other intervals of both which vary in their strength of dissonance and consonance. Think: Stable & unstable. There's nothing that you need to cope with except finding a musical balance of both in any particular track to get your musical message across.

If your talking about sounds that are completely inharmonic or some random tuning or something outside of equal temperament, that's an entirely different subject


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 Post subject: Re: Coherence in non-harmonic sounds
PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 4:18 pm 
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Snauth
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I think he is not referring to typical in scale dissonance but more complex textural dissonance.
As in what techno is.
But I'm still unclear on what the actual problem is.
Throw the musical rules away, get it to fit together with production technique = techno (or industrial if you go waaaaay out there).

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 Post subject: Re: Coherence in non-harmonic sounds
PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:04 pm 
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crud

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Lost to the Void wrote:
I think he is not referring to typical in scale dissonance but more complex textural dissonance.
As in what techno is.


This exactly ! The question would then be : How do you create a meaningful relationship between these sounds ? I realise this is a "how do you music ?" kind of question and thus there are no objective answer. The idea behind this question is to collect subjective views, broaden my perspective and give me something to think about when I get stuck.

I'll also have a look on in scale dissonance, seems like it can be very useful.

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 Post subject: Re: Coherence in non-harmonic sounds
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:49 am 
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Dissonance is dissonance, I don't care what anybody says. It is what is. if 2 sounds are not working nicely, they're are not working, short of using a notch filter and pulling out the dodgy frequency, re-write the sound/chord. Dunno man, I thought this was gonna be something interesting.

Anyway, Voidloss, Purposeful Cruelty is something else man. That's just fucking brilliant. Had a whao moment, very apt pic too. Super track dude.


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 Post subject: Re: Coherence in non-harmonic sounds
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:06 am 
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Snauth
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Sometimes you don't want sounds to work nicely.
Hell I spend a lot of time specifically trying to get sounds to not work nicely.

I deal with full on dissonance and noise a lot, I love it.
How do you make these sounds have a meaningful relationship??
Pffff
It really just becomes intuitive and subjective.
In some cases it is more about texture and finding textures that fit well, or juxtapose, or that have a call and response relationship.
I like to have fragile and delicate sounds within brutal hard sounds.
Or counter a dominant melody or harmony with a thing, nagging resonant dissonance.
It also takes a knowledge (when speaking about techno) of how sounds act at high volume.
Sometimes out of noise and chaos a wonderful beautiful melody can emerge.

We are talking about the essence of experimentation here.
Just dive in.

We are not here to replicate the tired old musical dogma of classicism, fuck shit up, fit it together with EQ.

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 Post subject: Re: Coherence in non-harmonic sounds
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:38 am 
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I don't even know what you're on about


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 Post subject: Re: Coherence in non-harmonic sounds
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:22 am 
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rescued
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victer wrote:
Hello dear subsekt community,
Lately I've been experimenting with "non-harmonic" sounds, especially with fm synthesis and I realized I had trouble adding elements on top of each other while mainaining a coherent vibe. In other words I struggle to write nice melodies when I get out of the "traditionals" chords and scales, wich is a safe spot I'd like to escape from more often.

Considering the fact these kind of sounds are very often used in techno, I'd like to start a discussion about detuned and "non-harmonic" sounds and how one can make them interact in beautiful ways. Here's an example of this imo


My approach at the moment is to tweak the sound until it works somehow, but I often find myself losing what I was aiming for and end up with something totally different. It is ok but also frustrating when I have a specific sound in mind and I can't make it work with the rest of the track.
I'd be happy to hear your take on this ! do you exclusively use your ears ? Do you have some kind of methodology or tool to guide you ? Are there some musical principles or sonic properties that might help understand these interactions ?


I really enjoy that Ruskin Track.
Maybe you should start with creating an awesome Harmony/Chord and then start playing with the notes that sit inside it?
It could be a good start...

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 Post subject: Re: Coherence in non-harmonic sounds
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:11 am 
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Snauth
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Southpaw wrote:
I don't even know what you're on about


I'm talking about techno.
This is a techno forum.
Welcome to Subsekt.

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 Post subject: Re: Coherence in non-harmonic sounds
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:27 am 
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I think I'm somewhat damaged in that I first started playing classical guitar and then - through musicology - I guess I have an above average knowledge about harmony - where I'm getting with this is it's hard for me to just make something outrageous and then fit it together with an eq, because I'm always annoyingly aware of what's going on harmonically.

But I do have some strategies to make melodies, but they all start in harmony (or anti-harmony) I find it easiest to make melodies sound harmonically interesting if you start out with either a very conosonant sounding harmony (i.e. a 5th or a minor chord or something like that). Then either keep the harmony locked or use very little movement (especially to a start) - loop that shit - then start holding down notes and mark them down, when they add something interesting to the harmony (tip: try some minor 9ths, 6ths, 4ths or tritonus - another tip: look up what Schönberg thought was strong harmonies). Let these notes be your pinpoint for your melody. With this I mean that your melody has to reach these points and everything else is just spices. In this way you know that your melody will scratch your ears a bit at least!

The other thing is to just leave tonal work - then I'll just think about if I want the melody to go up or down and not caring about the overall harmony.

Another fun thing is to have a extremely simple melody - maybe just one note. And then try to harmonize it in a way, where the note is very consonant with one chord and very dissonant with another - that makes the character of the melody being in flux. Then you can always expand on your melody from there. Just be careful that you don't end up making trance ;)

But I often find it harder to make something harmonically interesting if I start with the melody and then try to harmonize it from there, but I know a lot of people, who gets really great results from this.

Oh yeah last thing - try one of the funny scales! wholetone scale always sound cool

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 Post subject: Re: Coherence in non-harmonic sounds
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:59 pm 
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Lost to the Void wrote:
Southpaw wrote:
I don't even know what you're on about


I'm talking about techno.
This is a techno forum.
Welcome to Subsekt.


Why is everyone so jumpy around here :lol: I'd just complemented a random track of yours and I was actually commenting on this but hadn't realised you posted above me, take it easy man, it's only a discussion:

Quote:
How do you create a meaningful relationship between these sounds ? I realise this is a "how do you music ?" kind of question and thus there are no objective answer. The idea behind this question is to collect subjective views, broaden my perspective and give me something to think about when I get stuck.


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 Post subject: Re: Coherence in non-harmonic sounds
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:05 pm 
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Amøbe wrote:
I think I'm somewhat damaged in that I first started playing classical guitar and then - through musicology - I guess I have an above average knowledge about harmony - where I'm getting with this is it's hard for me to just make something outrageous and then fit it together with an eq, because I'm always annoyingly aware of what's going on harmonically.

But I do have some strategies to make melodies, but they all start in harmony (or anti-harmony) I find it easiest to make melodies sound harmonically interesting if you start out with either a very conosonant sounding harmony (i.e. a 5th or a minor chord or something like that). Then either keep the harmony locked or use very little movement (especially to a start) - loop that shit - then start holding down notes and mark them down, when they add something interesting to the harmony (tip: try some minor 9ths, 6ths, 4ths or tritonus - another tip: look up what Schönberg thought was strong harmonies). Let these notes be your pinpoint for your melody. With this I mean that your melody has to reach these points and everything else is just spices. In this way you know that your melody will scratch your ears a bit at least!

The other thing is to just leave tonal work - then I'll just think about if I want the melody to go up or down and not caring about the overall harmony.

Another fun thing is to have a extremely simple melody - maybe just one note. And then try to harmonize it in a way, where the note is very consonant with one chord and very dissonant with another - that makes the character of the melody being in flux. Then you can always expand on your melody from there. Just be careful that you don't end up making trance ;)

But I often find it harder to make something harmonically interesting if I start with the melody and then try to harmonize it from there, but I know a lot of people, who gets really great results from this.

Oh yeah last thing - try one of the funny scales! wholetone scale always sound cool


Whole tone is cool, very sci-fi but I think that's quite a common theme regarding melody and it was what I was trying to get across to the original question when I mentioned reversing his process but it went a bit bizarre after that to the point where I wasn't sure what was actually being discussed.

But I think when you start out with a single melodic line, the natural tendency is to make it interesting and busy because that's all that exists at that moment, yet sometimes a melodic line over an interesting harmonic grounding could well be just 2 sparse notes but you just wouldn't start out with that. Harmony implies melody, it doesn't do it the other way around too well unless you already know where you're gonna go with the music or are writing pop or a song or whatever. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Coherence in non-harmonic sounds
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:06 pm 
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Snauth
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Southpaw wrote:
Lost to the Void wrote:
Southpaw wrote:
I don't even know what you're on about


I'm talking about techno.
This is a techno forum.
Welcome to Subsekt.


Why is everyone so jumpy around here :lol: I'd just complemented a random track of yours and I was actually commenting on this but hadn't realised you posted above me, take it easy man, it's only a discussion:

Quote:
How do you create a meaningful relationship between these sounds ? I realise this is a "how do you music ?" kind of question and thus there are no objective answer. The idea behind this question is to collect subjective views, broaden my perspective and give me something to think about when I get stuck.


Jumpy?
Just pissing about actually.

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 Post subject: Re: Coherence in non-harmonic sounds
PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 12:45 pm 
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Petty
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Southpaw wrote:
Amøbe wrote:


Whole tone is cool, very sci-fi but I think that's quite a common theme regarding melody and it was what I was trying to get across to the original question when I mentioned reversing his process but it went a bit bizarre after that to the point where I wasn't sure what was actually being discussed.

But I think when you start out with a single melodic line, the natural tendency is to make it interesting and busy because that's all that exists at that moment, yet sometimes a melodic line over an interesting harmonic grounding could well be just 2 sparse notes but you just wouldn't start out with that. Harmony implies melody, it doesn't do it the other way around too well unless you already know where you're gonna go with the music or are writing pop or a song or whatever. :)


I just want to say I completely disagree with all of this :D (but it doesn't mean you're wrong, but it's actually the other way around in my workflow. I find a busy melody is sounding extremely annoying on its own, and if I'm trying to make it fit into a harmonic progress I will often add more movement) Also I just think i don't understand, when you say that harmony implies melody?

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