Melody’s Abstract Challenge

New Order’s Bernard Sumner in 1996: Grooves are easy to create in music, because you can mix and match different preformed pieces to get a unique texture. Melody is hard because the abstractness makes originality extremely difficult — most of the original combinations were played out long ago. (html)

In England you can buy copyright-free grooves on CD right off the shelf. One CD is full of drum loops, the next CD has dozens of bass lines, then there are CDs with piano jingles. You can sample whole bars of music made up of these hackneyed collections and put together an authentic sounding dance track. If you’re experienced and your hard drive doesn’t continuously crash, then you can write a track per night. However it’s not simple to write an original melody. In comparison to a melody, a groove is super easy to program. But even today it’s difficult for me to write a melody and a chord progression in a form that hasn’t been done before. Why is that? Because it’s difficult…Above all it means continuously throwing away ideas that you previously believed were exciting.

Source: Melody’s Abstract Challenge

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Gabi Delgado,  seminal electronic music artist of the 1980s, has discussed his music writing process as “rhizomatic”. See Gabi Delgado on the Rhizome

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