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Monday, November 19, 2012

From Beethoven to Gotye: great melody + SIMPLE arrangement = great listening experience!

Gotye & Kimbra

Music and writing have a lot in common. This is what I tell my writing students: writing will be full of life if it has Clarity, Brevity, Simplicity, and ZIP!

I love music. For me, the same rules apply - especially the SIMPLICITY part. If you've got a great melody, don't bury it in mush. I hate overproduced music.

If an already-good melody is produced with simplicity, the result is something I never get tired of listening to. There are so many examples....

"Somebody that I used to know" by Gotye - I don't know anyone who isn't grabbed by this song. Every time it comes on the radio, my grandson (age seven) says, "I love this song!" I do too. And I love the very creative video.

Steve Riley "Bon Reve" - a beautiful Cajun tune.

"What I am" by Edie Brickell and The New Bohemians - Back in the 80s, I played a cassette tape of this song over and over, and never tired of it. My daughter recently posted this old video of Edie Brickell and it's fascinating for me. I never knew what Edie looked like. Such lovely simplicity - the song and the woman.

"Sweet Dreams"(are made of this)" by The Eurythmics - This is a truly, truly silly video. But still I never tire of this song, even though it is overplayed and re-done ad nauseum by other singers. One summer in the 80s, my family rented a lake cottage and the only radio station we could get played this song about fifteen times a day. Every time, we all sang along. I never heard a complaint.

Go back to the 40s. Simplicity rule applies. Take "Big Noise from Winnetka" - My dad told me about seeing the song performed with only a drum and bass played by fingers plucking grand piano strings. I'd like to see that.

You can go back centuries and find music's beauty in simplicity. In simplicity is power. Examples:

The second movement of Beethoven's Seventh symphony

The second movement of Brahms's Fourth

For me, melody rules, and simple arrangements let the melody come through. I can't get enough. Music is full of life.


  1. This is stunning I didn't know about all this until I saw this blog entry of yours over here. And there is also one thing which I would like to ask you. Do you happen to know how to protect your reflections from being used without your awareness about it?

    1. Hello, Sir Martins Blog. Thanks for your comments! Stunning! That is quite a word. What did you find stunning? I hope it was new music that you found through my blog. I love music so much!!

      I have no idea how to protect one's reflections from being used without awareness or permission. Weird things have been happening in my blog, like links being inserted without my doing. What are your thoughts on this?