Forum Home Forum Home > Progressive Music Lounges > Prog Music Lounge
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - How do you gauge complexity?
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

How do you gauge complexity?

 Post Reply Post Reply Page  12>
Author
Message
condor View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: May 24 2005
Location: Norwich
Status: Offline
Points: 746
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote condor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: How do you gauge complexity?
    Posted: August 17 2017 at 11:26
What songs have you realised, "actually, that's quite complex"?
Back to Top
Larkstongue41 View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: July 07 2015
Location: Eastern Canada
Status: Offline
Points: 670
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Larkstongue41 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 17 2017 at 12:06
"Larks' tongues. Wrens' livers. Chaffinch brains. Jaguars' earlobes. Wolf nipple chips. Get 'em while they're hot. They're lovely. Dromedary pretzels, only half a denar."
Back to Top
Barbu View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: October 09 2005
Location: Collusion Ave
Status: Offline
Points: 21724
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Barbu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 17 2017 at 12:14
I don't.
and those with no homes to go to, please dig yourself holes
Back to Top
Mascodagama View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: December 30 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Status: Offline
Points: 2586
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mascodagama Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 17 2017 at 13:38
I start by counting the time signature, and every time it changes I take a vodka shot. If I pass out before the song ends I mark it as 'complex' on my spreadsheet when I wake up.

Edited by Mascodagama - August 17 2017 at 13:39
Back to Top
Argo2112 View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: June 20 2017
Location: New Jersey
Status: Offline
Points: 151
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Argo2112 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 17 2017 at 13:57
There is a lot of music you can view as complex in the prog world.
 I think the challenge is to craft something that is complex but still musical
with out it feeling like just noise. I always thought Yes did a great job inter weaving
complex parts together but still keeping everything melodic & cohesive.

Back to Top
micky View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Honorary Collaborator

Joined: October 02 2005
Location: .
Status: Offline
Points: 40782
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote micky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 17 2017 at 13:58
Originally posted by Barbu Barbu wrote:

I don't.
I find your lack of Bassoon disturbing.....
Back to Top
Man With Hat View Drop Down
Collaborator
Collaborator
Avatar
Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

Joined: March 12 2005
Location: Neurotica
Status: Offline
Points: 109054
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Man With Hat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 17 2017 at 17:19
By listening. 
Dig me...But don't...Bury me
I'm running still, I shall until, one day, I hope that I'll arrive
Warning: Listening to jazz excessively can cause a laxative effect.
Back to Top
ForestFriend View Drop Down
Forum Groupie
Forum Groupie
Avatar

Joined: February 23 2017
Location: Canada
Status: Offline
Points: 41
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ForestFriend Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 17 2017 at 18:22
It's a complex process, but generally:

How many different things are going on at any one time.
How much syncopation there is.
How odd the time signatures are and how many times it changes, and how many tempo changes.
Harmonic language - is it all within one key, or are there unusual modulations/chord changes?
The length and amount of repetition.

Of course, the really important thing is whether or not the complexity helps make a compelling piece of music that I want to listen to again or not.
Back to Top
Atavachron View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Honorary Collaborator

Joined: September 30 2006
Location: Pearland
Status: Offline
Points: 56252
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Atavachron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 17 2017 at 18:27
Good question.   There's complex and there's complex; Kayo Dot is not Planet X who are not Dimitri Loukianenko who is not Sleepytime Gorilla Museum.   I guess rhythmic and structural complexity ~ intricate and unusual time signatures in intricate and unusual combinations ~ is what I listen for to identify complexity.

"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."   -- John F. Kennedy
Back to Top
AFlowerKingCrimson View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: October 02 2016
Location: US
Status: Offline
Points: 959
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AFlowerKingCrimson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 17 2017 at 19:07
A lot of the early stuff by Gentle Giant. Apparently there are bands a bit more complex than them though.
Back to Top
HackettFan View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: June 20 2012
Location: Oklahoma
Status: Offline
Points: 5091
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 17 2017 at 21:15
If there's a lot going on simultaneously, that's one factor, especially if they differ in pitch or timing and duration. Another factor is whether duration of notes or duration of silence in between notes are unequal. One could count along with music and work out if there are any time signature changes, but, while I play guitar, I seldom do this and I doubt many people actually do this either if they're not attempting to play it themselves. However time signature complexity often relates once again to irregular metricality. As a guitar player, I am very well attuned to what is difficult or adventurous on guitar just by listening. I have no idea what is difficult for many other instruments.

I might also add that chords can be very simple or more complex. Most musicians can tell if 7th, 9th, 11th, or 13th chords are at least being used to some extent, even if it might take some time to thoroughly nail the whole progression down. Basic major/minor chords are rather easily recognized. Of course an easy cue that even a non-musician can use is whether distortion is being used; complex chords turn to mush with distortion. One also might be able to hear chord substitutions. Simple chords can be replaced by more complex chords or even by other simple chords in subsequent iterations of a progression without altering the overall contour of that progression. Simple chords could be used, but form more complex chords depending on what the base player is doing. I am not very good at detecting that admittedly (too much playing by myself in my bedroom). If one has an ear for dominant chords, diminished chords or 13th chords, these often co-occur with tritone substitutions, key changes, scalar changes, or modulations. Especially so, if it sounds Jazzy. Tritone substitutions allow previously bum or dissonant notes to come in and sound strangely good. A knowledgable musician may be sensitive to the insertion of dissonance, but if it's done right, a non-musician would normally be none the wiser.


Edited by HackettFan - August 17 2017 at 22:00
A curse upon the heads of those who seek their fortunes in a lie. The truth is always waiting when there's nothing left to try. - Colin Henson, Jade Warrior (Now)
Back to Top
Manuel View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: March 09 2007
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 2076
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Manuel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 18 2017 at 08:15
Originally posted by Mascodagama Mascodagama wrote:

I start by counting the time signature, and every time it changes I take a vodka shot. If I pass out before the song ends I mark it as 'complex' on my spreadsheet when I wake up.
I should try your method, it seems quite "Complex" and effective, lol. 
To me, complexity lies in the interweaving of melodies, together with orchestration and instrumentation, add a few far out arrangements and you have a complex, worth listening piece of music.
Back to Top
moshkito View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: January 04 2007
Location: Grok City
Status: Offline
Points: 7139
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 18 2017 at 08:35
Hi,

You know ... something strange ... sometimes the simplest thing is the most complex ... and then the most complex thing is by far the simplest thing ... I'm not sure that "defining" music or any art for that matter in terms of complexity is the right thing to do ... it takes away the ability to simply enjoy one sound, or one note ... the feeling of which could be so extensive as to make it complex and actually mean more than it really is ... 
... none of the hits, none of the time ... now you know what the inner art is all about!
www.pedrosena.com
Back to Top
HackettFan View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: June 20 2012
Location: Oklahoma
Status: Offline
Points: 5091
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 18 2017 at 08:53
Originally posted by moshkito moshkito wrote:

Hi,

You know ... something strange ... sometimes the simplest thing is the most complex ... and then the most complex thing is by far the simplest thing ... I'm not sure that "defining" music or any art for that matter in terms of complexity is the right thing to do ... it takes away the ability to simply enjoy one sound, or one note ... the feeling of which could be so extensive as to make it complex and actually mean more than it really is ... 
I dispute that talking about a particular property of music implies that one is using that to define music. Aside from that, I do agree with you.

I noticed by the way that most of us looked at the title of the thread and ignored the OP, which asked for actual examples of music we hear as being complex.


A curse upon the heads of those who seek their fortunes in a lie. The truth is always waiting when there's nothing left to try. - Colin Henson, Jade Warrior (Now)
Back to Top
andreol263 View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: November 28 2014
Location: Terra de Cabral
Status: Offline
Points: 749
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote andreol263 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 18 2017 at 09:08
Well, for me it's simple.
If i don't understand what's going on, nothing clicked in me, and the sound doesn't make sense, so it's pretty complex music, and that's the type of music that want to listen more, to try to understand it, like a challenge :)
for some examples for this, i listened these albums sooo many times before even understanding ANYTHING, and later it grow on me like the best thing i've ever heard:
Magma - Mekanik Destrukitvw Kommandoh
Art Zoyd - Haxan
Faust - Faust
Satanique Samba Trio - Sangrou
Koenjihyakkei - Viva Koenji!
Back to Top
progaardvark View Drop Down
Prog Reviewer
Prog Reviewer
Avatar

Joined: June 14 2007
Location: Sea of Peas
Status: Offline
Points: 10430
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote progaardvark Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 18 2017 at 10:10
I use my intestines.
Aardvark, aardvark? I smell dryer sheets.
Superluminal Pachyderm
Back to Top
cstack3 View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar
VIP Member

Joined: July 20 2009
Location: Chicago, IL USA
Status: Offline
Points: 3091
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cstack3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 18 2017 at 14:21
My definition of complexity....

I am not a Robot, I'm a FREE MAN!!
Back to Top
hieronymous View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: December 27 2012
Location: Oakland, CA
Status: Offline
Points: 186
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hieronymous Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 18 2017 at 23:00
How about "Isle of Everywhere" by Gong (from "You")? starts in 4/4 (or maybe 8/4 is more accurate), moves up a minor third (I think) every 8 measures, then when it gets to the original pitch, switches to 7/4 and starts the pattern over again - after another cycle it switches to 6/4, and after another cycle rides out on a single-chord vamp in 4. 



I'm going to have to go play along with it again - it's been a while - I play bass so it's a great piece to play along with. I might have to correct my analysis too!

Another good one from the same album is "Magick Mother Invocation" - not sure that I've ever actually "figured out" the time signature, but it fits the invocation, you just have to memorize it! I think that's part of the mystique of Gong - were they a hippie commune doing drugs? If so, how did they play such complex music? Although, Sherman Helmsley tells a story about when he met Daevid Allen thinking he would be a big pothead but he claimed he didn't do drugs...



Edited by hieronymous - August 18 2017 at 23:00
Back to Top
Sean Trane View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator

Prog Folk

Joined: April 29 2004
Status: Offline
Points: 13310
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sean Trane Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 19 2017 at 01:38
Originally posted by condor condor wrote:

What songs have you realised, "actually, that's quite complex"?


Most of the Gentle Giant tracks between ATT and Interview

GG was the first band to sytematically (and somewhat absurdly) complexify their compositions... almost to the point of needlessness, because I believe some of their tracks might've gained from being a little simpler, to gain more accessibility towards the grand public (I know this wasn't their intention, though)

That's what WTF'd me for almost 20 years, before I fionally "got it" and understood their point
Back to Top
Tom Ozric View Drop Down
Prog Reviewer
Prog Reviewer
Avatar

Joined: September 03 2005
Location: Olympus Mons
Status: Offline
Points: 11767
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Ozric Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 19 2017 at 02:18
This is a most difficult question to answer !!
I think, now don't banish me for life, but, for Pop, Kajagoogoo have some complex things going on, especially with bass (Beggs, obviously) and keys.
Also, some of the Tech / Death bands play stuff that generally sounds inhumanly possible.
Magma are complex, Henry Cow are complex.   It's generally in the ears of the listener....
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  12>
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 11.01
Copyright ©2001-2014 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.109 seconds.