Author Topic: Musical instruments in popular music  (Read 7933 times)

Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #50 on: 29 February, 2024, 12:41:41 pm »
I've just read Trevor Horn's book "Adventures in Modern Recording: From ABC to ZTT". I knew a fair amount of stuff in it, but it is quite an eye opening read on how records are put together and the role of the producer in the late 70s and 80s.

He said that one of his big regrets was not having any of the Frankie people playing on Relax - which was their song, not written by him - and goes on to talk about them basically learning how to play his version so they could do gigs.

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Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #51 on: 29 February, 2024, 01:03:59 pm »
And of course you have folk-metal stalwarts the Hu who include the morin khuur and tovshuur.

Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #52 on: 29 February, 2024, 02:47:39 pm »
Big Pig break the standard mould by using big drums to make rock music.

5 out of 7 band members playing drums or percussion

https://youtu.be/vllIofWpnk4
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Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #53 on: 29 February, 2024, 07:43:16 pm »
Nightwish feature the Uilleann pipes

Anna von Hausswolff had a whole album of solo organ music - All Thoughts Fly

I was lucky enough to see Faust perform - one piece involved tuning a couple of pieces of scaffolding pole with an angle grinder and then using them as percussion.

But I am not sure the last two qualify as 'popular' music??
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Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #54 on: 29 February, 2024, 07:48:45 pm »
Bonn Scott plays bagpipes on "A Long Way to the Top if You Want to Rock and Roll"

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Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #55 on: 29 February, 2024, 11:24:29 pm »
Einstürzende Neubauten used power tools and big bits of metal. Not exactly easy listening.
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Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #56 on: 01 March, 2024, 12:57:37 am »
I had Minstrel in the Gallery playing when I was making dinner tonight  :-*

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Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #57 on: 02 March, 2024, 11:02:06 pm »

Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #58 on: 02 March, 2024, 11:38:57 pm »
The iconic "cowbell" on Concrete and Clay".  Just about the best intro in Pop music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVmeqwsbAL8

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Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #59 on: 02 March, 2024, 11:46:28 pm »
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Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #60 on: 03 March, 2024, 09:29:19 am »
The iconic "cowbell" on Concrete and Clay".  Just about the best intro in Pop music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVmeqwsbAL8

Can't have too much cowbell
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Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #61 on: 03 March, 2024, 11:08:55 am »
How have we missed this - on a cycling forum:
https://youtu.be/xt0V0_1MS0Q?si=PenGig9YPwRrtHwZ
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Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #62 on: 03 March, 2024, 03:49:26 pm »
Florian Fricke of Popol Vuh got rid of his synths after only two albums, so the answer is clearly “1972” :P
That actually sounds very reasonable. We probably were In Love With The Future for only half a century or so, from the dawn of commercial aviation, popular motoring, electrification, radio and telephony, as celebrated by the Futurist movement, through nuclear fission to the jetliner, space exploration, television and plastic wonderstuffs, as seen in Liechtenstein et al.

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Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #63 on: 03 March, 2024, 08:35:02 pm »

Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #64 on: 04 March, 2024, 11:00:53 am »
The iconic "cowbell" on Concrete and Clay".  Just about the best intro in Pop music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVmeqwsbAL8
Randy Edelman's version of that is firmly in the camp of 'great songs where the original just ain't as good as the cover'.  See also, Russ Ballard's version of Since You Been Gone, Argent's version of God Gave Rock 'n' Roll To You...

Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #65 on: 04 March, 2024, 11:09:37 am »
Is there a better use of recorder in popular song than Warren Zevon's Veracruz?  Macca's recorder-playing on The Fool on the Hill is dreadful.

For harpsichord, I'm torn between Walk Away Renée and Lady Jane.

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Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #66 on: 04 March, 2024, 12:33:13 pm »
Florian Fricke of Popol Vuh got rid of his synths after only two albums, so the answer is clearly “1972” :P
That actually sounds very reasonable. We probably were In Love With The Future for only half a century or so, from the dawn of commercial aviation, popular motoring, electrification, radio and telephony, as celebrated by the Futurist movement, through nuclear fission to the jetliner, space exploration, television and plastic wonderstuffs, as seen in Liechtenstein et al.

We now return you to the present day.

At some point people started trying to use synthesisers to sound like Real Instruments, which - while undeniably useful - always struck me as missing the point somewhat.  There's a lot of perfectly good music from the 80s with that jarringly naff Casio keyboard sound lurking somewhere in the mix.

By the 90s, they'd worked out how to make synths that Lobachevsky the sound of actual instruments, and normality was restored.  By which point Pissing Around With Synthesisers for their own sake was practically retrofuturism.  Or at least prog.

Unless it's vocoders, which are now compulsory.   >:(

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Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #67 on: 04 March, 2024, 01:01:00 pm »
There was a lot of good music in the 80s, in very 80s style, using synths to sound just like synths. Yazoo, Human League, probably the best examples.
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Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #68 on: 04 March, 2024, 01:04:01 pm »
Florian Fricke of Popol Vuh got rid of his synths after only two albums, so the answer is clearly “1972” :P
That actually sounds very reasonable. We probably were In Love With The Future for only half a century or so, from the dawn of commercial aviation, popular motoring, electrification, radio and telephony, as celebrated by the Futurist movement, through nuclear fission to the jetliner, space exploration, television and plastic wonderstuffs, as seen in Liechtenstein et al.

We now return you to the present day.

At some point people started trying to use synthesisers to sound like Real Instruments, which - while undeniably useful - always struck me as missing the point somewhat.  There's a lot of perfectly good music from the 80s with that jarringly naff Casio keyboard sound lurking somewhere in the mix.

By the 90s, they'd worked out how to make synths that Lobachevsky the sound of actual instruments, and normality was restored.  By which point Pissing Around With Synthesisers for their own sake was practically retrofuturism.  Or at least prog.

Unless it's vocoders, which are now compulsory.   >:(

The Fairlight CMI, which was a digital synth with a sampler, goes back as far as 1979.  ;)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairlight_CMI#Sampling
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Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #69 on: 04 March, 2024, 01:06:44 pm »
Unless it's vocoders, which are now compulsory.   >:(

That’s Auto-Tune, that is.  Cher started it, something for which she shall be damned for all eternity, and it’s become so omnipresent that even Tuarag guitar hero Mdou Moctar – dubbed “the African Jimi Hendrix” – used it throughout his debut album.  Fortunately he’s since come to his senses.

Ex-Gong and Hawkwind keyboard wiz Tim Blake's “New Jerusalem” album dates from 1978 and has synths on it that sound very much like a 12-string acoustic guitar.
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Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #70 on: 04 March, 2024, 02:34:28 pm »
That’s Auto-Tune, that is.  Cher started it, something for which she shall be damned for all eternity

That’s not entirely fair. The use of Auto-Tune on Believe is for effect, not to mask an inability to hit the right notes.

And it is a great pop song.

It’s unfortunate that it has become ubiquitous and is used for the wrong reasons but that doesn’t make it an inherently bad thing any more than the use of any other kind of synthesiser.
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Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #71 on: 05 March, 2024, 12:46:38 am »
There was a lot of good music in the 80s, in very 80s style, using synths to sound just like synths. Yazoo, Human League, probably the best examples.

Oh, absolutely.  No problem with that.

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Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #72 on: 05 March, 2024, 12:52:40 am »
That’s Auto-Tune, that is.  Cher started it, something for which she shall be damned for all eternity

That’s not entirely fair. The use of Auto-Tune on Believe is for effect, not to mask an inability to hit the right notes.

And it is a great pop song.

It’s unfortunate that it has become ubiquitous and is used for the wrong reasons but that doesn’t make it an inherently bad thing any more than the use of any other kind of synthesiser.

Yes, Believe was novel and therefore fine.  The problem was that  a) that track was over-played within an inch of its life, thereby wearing the novelty thin, and then  b) the vocoder effect or it's evil sibling auto-tune became a feature of seemingly every other popular record made since, thereby making me even more grumpy about it.
 
Still, on the plus side, the Mega-Global Fruit Corporation have at least ended the loudness war.  Give it another decade or two for the vocoder fad to pass and it might be worth listening to the radio again.  If I had a radio.

Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #73 on: 05 March, 2024, 01:00:46 am »
The iconic "cowbell" on Concrete and Clay".  Just about the best intro in Pop music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVmeqwsbAL8
Randy Edelman's version of that is firmly in the camp of 'great songs where the original just ain't as good as the cover'.  See also, Russ Ballard's version of Since You Been Gone, Argent's version of God Gave Rock 'n' Roll To You...

Legs, tell me you are joking!  Or do you think Randy Edelman's was the original?  There is no comparison, it was written by two of Unit 4 + 2 and Randy's version is, frankly, wet!  This is just my opinion, of course - but once again, almost the whole world agrees with me - even Randy's mother!

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Re: Musical instruments in popular music
« Reply #74 on: 05 March, 2024, 08:30:16 am »
I'd never heard of Randy Edelman, so I dutifully wandered off to YouTube.
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