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Boundaries

Contemporary electronic music is plagued by near-universal adherence to boundaries and rules: the 4/4 dictum, standard half-dozen effects, groove fascism, dumbed-down melody and harmony, limited sonic palette, and so on. Trembling before rules stifles compositional chance-taking, which causes the dreaded “same old, same old” effect. It’s too rare these days to listen to a new track and think, “I’ve never heard anything like this before.”

That’s because e-musical creators have become too proper and boundary-kowtowing. Don’t fall into the well-behaved composer trap! You and your listeners deserve better. Cultivate, instead, a healthy disrespect for boundaries.

1. Identify your musical boundaries to know thine enemy.

2. Cozy up to your boundaries. Tease them, experiment with the place of great power that exists at the interface between what’s acceptable to you and what’s not.

3. Make forays into the taboo realm that’s just beyond your boundaries. See how it feels, what musical treasures it offers.

4. Dare to go deeper and deeper into this forbidden realm. Remain patient and open-eared; the further you go, the greater the treasures, but the harder they are to find. The ultimate goal is attaining a boundary-less approach to music.

Most boundaries don’t really exist anyway; they’re just conventions, like borders between countries, and limits of style and taste. Far more exciting is to think in terms of constant exploration of new, uncharted, unbounded territory.

Posted on January 2, 2012 at 7:25 am by rachmiel · Permalink

2 Responses

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  1. Written by MarkSA
    on January 8, 2012 at 10:34 pm
    Permalink

    I agree with what you say. Rules can be broken.

  2. Written by DJDan
    on February 3, 2012 at 7:44 am
    Permalink

    rachMiel, I’m totaly agree with your opinion and how to do to explore unknown sounds from other side of well known. 4/4 is basic part of “Western music”. I’m living in Serbia where in folk music are 7/8 and other odd rhythms are in charge . In kitsch music we call it “turbo-folk” is 4/4 with some “eastern”(Turkish, Indian, Iranian) melodies mimicries “folk” because of commercial effects. For me 4/4 is hard to do, partly I’m not trained musician, partly because of cultural differently trained ears.
    “Most boundaries don’t really exist anyway; they’re really just conventions, like borders between countries, and limits of style and taste. Far more exciting is to think in terms of constant exploration of new, uncharted, unbounded territory.” Well said, totaly agree!
    Best,

    DJDan

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