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A blog by National Inspirational Musician/Songwriter/Music Producer: Derek DeGrate

It would be an insult to the word; “Music” to label most of the “Music” of today; “Music”. It is however in SOME form; Art...but NOT “music” (at least not SOLEY music.)

First of all; lets look at the word; “MUSIC”. Music is a combination of rhythm, melody, and harmony; it takes ALL THREE of those ingredients; because without a melody you can not have harmony, and without a rhythm; you would just have a melody... so it takes the FULL BODY of music to be; MUSIC.

Many “Artists” today (mainly the younger ones) are hooked on a “sound fad” and have NO clue what a REAL bass guitar is, or what a Drum set is, or what a REAL guitar is, or what a REAL piano is; since the overly saturated sound of computer SYNTHETIC “sounds” are used in today’s so called “music”.

Let’s use this as an example: The “bass” sound that many of the younger new style “hip hop” artists are using; is a synthetic computerized sound (which they feel; gives the music a “bottom” type of sound; (a bass guitar or a bass instrument substitute.) So that the track can have “something else” besides a rhythm. In the older days; there was a drum machine by the Roland brand; called the Roland 808. The Roland 808 was used in many earlier hip hop and R&B music compositions/productions; however the Roland 808 had a MELODIC sound/ring (a melody) unlike the distorted “bass” sound used in today’s “hip hop” music. (why they want to call it “hip hop”...I don’t know.) In this part of my article; I will focus on another thing; and that is playing melodic CHORDS; (while using a keyboard or piano). The usage of “single finger” (keyboard/piano) melodies is not a problem; however since it is overly saturated in today’s music; it BECAME a problem. The problem is; many of today’s so called “music producer beginners” are NOT READY to play keyboards/piano on a music track; the outcome is a music track that has NO CHORD arrangements (which is ok for a few of the tracks on your “album”...but it is NOT ok to use “single finger” keyboard/piano melodies on ALL of your music tracks (whether they are factory loops or samples or not.)

Music icons of the 60’s 70’s 80’s, 90’s (and even the EARLY 2000’s recorded and released songs that had timeless appeal. There is a reason why restaurants, retail stores/malls, hotels, office buildings, and radio stations are still playing Whitney Houston’s songs...and songs that are more than 35 years old...and the reason is; it is MUSIC (complete with melody, harmony, REAL musical instruments, background vocals (with background vocal harmony parts) and a lead SINGER; Which make them TIMELESS songs (because the word SONG; is related to the word; SING) in other words; a person SINGS SONGS (they don’t “SPEAK” songs...) Think about it...do you think the average “hits” that “artists” are compiling today will be in regular radio rotation 5 years from now??? The answer is; No.

I remember a few months ago; I stopped at a convenience store to get gas; there was a young man with his car windows down; so that people could hear the stuff he was playing on his music device. I purposely stayed at the gas station for a while; just to hear what the next music track would sound like (from that particular album he was playing). So; I thought to myself; “I guarantee the next track will sound EXACTLY like the first track I heard.... and sure enough; the second track from the album was almost IDENTICAL to the first track I heard; same rhythm, same “autotune” voice effect, same lyrics (just in another order) and same story.

I am a musician (I started playing bass guitar when I was 9 years old, I started playing drums when I was 5 years old, I started playing piano/keyboards when I was 8 years old and I have been writing songs and singing since the age of 5. I have seen through the years how music (made with REAL musical instruments) touch people’s hearts and relates to all kinds of situations (with old and young people).

I like ALL KINDS of music; even hip hop/rap (I can not say I “like” the NEW form of hip hop/rap; because it has NO innovation... all of the young kids are pattering their “music” pieces after the track that they heard from another artist. These kids even go as far as using a similar NAME as another artist (“lil this”, “lil that”, “young this” “young that”, “baby this”, “baby that”......) why do they all want to be “young”?? LOL.....

There is a reason why there will never be a “rap”/“hip hop” American Idol type of show (referring to the new “rap” of today)...and the reason is; what would contestant number 2 do?? and what would contestant number 3 do?? The truth is; they would ALL do the SAME thing with their voices; and most of them would use the “computer generated” (or “autotune”) effect on their voices, and all of them would deliver the SAME storyline and the same lyrics (just in a different order), and all of them would have the same rhythm and tempo in the accompaniment track. So; it would be IMPOSSIBLE for the judges or the public to choose a winner.

There are only 5 curse words (profane words); there are no more than that....and you can not create your own “curse word”; so if you believe that 85% of your “musical piece” should contain profanity.... then the other young “new rap” artist is thinking the same thing...which makes both of those “musical pieces” almost musically and lyrically identical......

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