why do most GB songs stay on one chord?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by losackmd, Feb 13, 2004.

  1. losackmd macrumors member

    Jan 18, 2004
    I have listened to a few forums claiming to be solely for GB
    compositions. e.g
    i compositions.com
    mac band .com

    2 questions:

    1- how do we know these digital files we are hearing are from GB alone.

    and not from other instruments/software? please enlighten me.

    2- most of what i hear are just loops/midi instruments that stay on one chord the whole piece & never modulate to any other chord or use any other
    pattern. Users are stuck on the main first chord whether it be minor or major
    the whole way through.

    for example why not play a C , F G song or a blues 1,4,5 or a c am dm g7 pattern
    all im hearing is C and C and more of C.

    is it because most are absolute beginners knowing not at all how to play an instrument. Because if it is its very evident and quite scary.

    I guess what im asking is: can you easily play the full spectrum of chords
    from C to C#min to F#m7 to Bminor incorporating the loops ofcourse with the midi'd instruments on Garage Band or......

    are the loops unable to modulate from lets say a C chord to an A minor to an F to an Fminor to a B7th etc etc...
    is this possible because if its not it certainly is also scary.

    please do enlighten me cos im scared

  2. neut macrumors 68000


    Nov 27, 2001
    here (for now)
    Re: why do most GB songs stay on one chord?

    sound like you want a pro app; unless those scare you too. ;)

    if you know how to read music and use the Mac OS, then you're ready for more than what GB offers.

    question: lack of chord changes... scary? does mediocre talent give you the "heebie-geebies"?

  3. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030


    Sep 18, 2003
    London, UK
    If you are intending to do real music, you can easily do that with GarageBand. You use MIDI keyboards and real instruments (e.g. guitars plugged in via line in) to produce your music. Then you are not limited at all. The loops are designed so that anyone can have a go for fun. I've made the odd loop-based song for fun (see sig) but I also like making "proper music" by recording my own parts.

    GarageBand is not limiting.
  4. Engagebot macrumors regular

    Dec 10, 2003
    LSU - Baton Rouge
    any time you use 1 loop for a song its gonna sound crappy, regardless of what key its in. if you want to modulate to a different key during the song, you have to play it yourself. or split the loop and change the second part to a different key. havent tried that, but i assume you can do that...

    i dont play piano (i teach guitar), but i'm assuming your seeing alot of the key of C because its the easiest key to learn to play piano in.
  5. powermac99 macrumors member


    Jul 28, 2003
    Well, on iCompositions, there's a section for other compositions as well so it wouldn't make any sense to put somthing in GB compositions when there's another place for it. Besides, we're constantly listening to the compositions and moving them to where they should be.

    Of coarse, there are over 600 garageband compositions and there aren't many other compositions so odds are, it was made in GB. I suggest that you look in the most popular section at the bottom of iC's main Auditorium page. Those are really good.
  6. Sabon macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Because we are still very new to this.

    Hi losackmd,

    I'm 43 now. I was first chair in trombone from day 1 from 5th grade to 8th grade. I was also 1st chair bass section (of all bass instruments) in 7th and 8th grade. I may not have been really good (the others just sucked more than I sucked ... or something like that. LOL). I hated the band teacher so I dropped out of band after 8th grade. He was alway harassing me to practice but never told me what to practice or what to work on. With no "constructive" instruction I just got fed up. Why scream at me to practice if I'm first chair bass section and then tell me what to work on.

    Over the next six years I borrowed other instruments including a clarinet, saxaphone, trumpet, and guitar. I also plinked around on a friend's mom's piano. I didn't spend much more time then just learning how to play very simple tunes on them.

    Now some 20 years later GarageBand comes out and I remember wanting to learn how to play piano and guitar. So I buy iLife, a 61 key keyboard, pull out a VERY dusty cheap guitar and am trying to learn how to play and have some fun.

    People like me don't know how to use garageband yet. Others are just good enough at playing (but not garageband) to record something with maybe just a keyboard. Then they try to add loops to it and find it confusing. So they stick with one chord.

    As we learn more we will figure out how and more importantly WHEN to change cords on the different loops (tracks) that we add. It doesn't sound the way we want it yet. Give us time. We will either give up or maybe even start to learn how to do this right.

    If you or anyone else wants to post lessons on how and WHEN and WHY and so forth. Please feel free to help us in any way that you can. We would like that very much. Make sure to use easy examples at first.

    Thanks in advance.
  7. amin macrumors 6502a


    Aug 17, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Re: why do most GB songs stay on one chord?

    We don't, but what reason would someone have to lie?
    In some cases it's because of that, and in others it's because they just really like that chord :p .
    It's easy to play any chords you want.
    Be afraid. Be very afraid.
  8. WinterMute Moderator emeritus


    Jan 19, 2003
    London, England
    Garage band is one of those apps that lets complete musical novices throw a tune together very quickly, the fact it is on no musical complexity at all isn't the point, it's the fun that counts...

    Luckily Apple have given it more power and flexibility than that, as others have noted in this thread, it is easy to use GB as a standard MIDI sequencer and create complex compositions.

    Music technology generically is largely responsible for the dumbing down of music, now that you can create a piece with no understanding and no talent and make it sound superficially as good as "chart" music, everyone is doing it. The quality of general composition drops through the floor, hence the original question.

    The one-chord phenomena is a function of technology negating ignorance, put GB in the hands of a skilled pianist and it'll sing and dance, unfortunately it is still subject to GIGO (garbage in, garbage out)

    There is still no substitute for real musical talent and training.
  9. Sabon macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    WinterMute - Please explain the Beatles then and most other bands.

    WinterMute - MOST bands have never had ANY formal training in any way. What they have done is spend tons of hours figuring it out themselves with their friends. Those that are determined and have any possibility of even a little talent persevere and with a little bit of luck thrown in can get a record contact.

    Take the Beatles for instance. They never had any formal training at all. Once again they are, like 80% (if not 99%) plus band that did it on their own without formal training. In fact. It is rare for any member of a rock band to have any formal training. Most can't read music. Most can only play by ear or by watching others as they play. Kind of like lip reading.
  10. Zenith macrumors 6502


    May 18, 2001
    Go to iCompositions and do a search for "Darkness". That's a song I created to show the power of GB's software instruments and effects. It's far from C major as well... F minor, with a break that shortly modulates to several other keys.

    Hope you like it!
  11. ChrisH3677 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 6, 2003
    Victoria, Australia
    One chord songs... "Born in in the USA" E throughout (and one of the biggest songs of the 80's!). It's the only single chord song i know of but am open to hearing of others.

    It's exactly what you said: GIGO. Bruce had the talent to make the one-chord song work.

    And training ain't worth a pinch if you don't have talent. I mean - look at my stuff - it will never rise above my level which is mediocre. I just don't have musical talent. I have had lessons of all sorts (guitar, piano, singing, keyboard and drums) and it doesn't help. It just refines and polishes my stuff at the level i'm at. GB has allowed me to make the best music i've ever made - but when i stand back, it's still at that same level. So, I'll only ever be a hobbyist, making bad Karaoke (like THAT U2 cover that the whole world seems to have heard about!!). (But I'm having fun and meeting some great people - and getting all the fame i can eat!!!!)

    It's not an easy concept to grasp so I'll try an analogy - imagine if the best i can draw is stick figures.

    Then I decide to get training. Now my stick figures have hair, and the girl's have a little flower on their dresses. But they're still stick figures.

    Then Apple releases iDraw. I get on it and still can only draw stick figures - but the best ones i've ever done - the lines are straighter, the circles rounder etc - but they're still stick figures.

    And so it is with music. It's nigh on impossible to rise above your talent. (Bear in mind tho, that a lot of people have latent talent - i.e. they didn't know just how good they were at something til they tried.)
  12. WinterMute Moderator emeritus


    Jan 19, 2003
    London, England
    Re: WinterMute - Please explain the Beatles then and most other bands.

    I wasn't talking about formal training, I was talking about talent.:D
  13. 512ke macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2003
    One Chord Wonders

    Yeah, it can be boring to hear monotonous music.
    However, there is plenty of great music (from traditional to electronica) that stays on one chord.

    I disagree with the catagorization of the Garaband sites. When I listen what I hear is an amazing range of music, from the very basic to some highly polished pieces. There is boring stuff and there is great stuff. Some of the great stuff has chord changes. Some does not.

    It's the democratization of music making. People who didn't do this before are using their computers to make music and share it with thousands of other people around the world. They're amateurs (like me) who do it for love of music (amor, amoris). That doesn't scare me.

    I think it's freaking inspiring, personally. And if you don't like a tune...tune out and try and next one. There _is_ worthwhile music imho.
  14. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020


    Jul 6, 2003
    Los Angeles
    I haven't listened to anybody else's GB songs, but I have a theory I'm surprised nobody has mentioned. C is the default in Garage Band. To get anything other than C you have to tell the software to do it. It's easy enough but you know how people are about changing presets. If you find a lot of songs in C you probably also find them in 4/4 at 120BPM. Defaults for the program.
  15. howard macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2002
    Re: WinterMute - Please explain the Beatles then and most other bands.

    thats kinda a twist on the truth, while the beatles may have never had a specific teacher devoted to training them musically, they were not musical idiots, what the learned they learned from eachother and from friends. they new there chords. they new scales, they learned it around town. which in the end isn't much different from formal training, only difference is you pay and its more concentrated.

    thats how most rock musicians learn. but they do know music very much. if there knowlegdge came from an informal source well its not really any different.
  16. Sabon macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    It seems like we agree then.

    Too bad that the internet can't be the same way. But there is just nothing like sitting a crossed from each other watching what the other is doing, doing it too, and building on that.
    Yes each of them worked very hard. But they were also very lucky to know each other from school. At least know "of" each other.
  17. Jodeo macrumors regular


    Sep 12, 2003
    Middle Tennessee
    Tranposing Loops

    GarageBand will let you shift the pitch of loops up or down. This allows for basic key changes and modulations in a song.

    Theoretically someone could create two separate versions of a song, with the 2nd having a different temp and key altogether. Export both to iTunes, and then bring the mp3s back into GB and append one to the other. Yes, a po-boys way of doing things, but it might could be done.
  18. stevietheb macrumors 6502a


    Jan 15, 2004
    "Tomorrow Never Knows" by the Beatles (on Revolver) is in once chord. As Paul put it: "Here was John, strumming on C rather earnestly."

    How does one "change chords," aside from using the 'transpose' feature?
  19. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030


    Sep 18, 2003
    London, UK
    Record your own loops using a midi keyboard. You'll find that you "grow out" of the loops pretty quickly. Drum loops are very useful though.

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