Psychology of unconventional songwriting

Daniel Sobota

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Nov 11, 2019
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I saw a Reddit post earlier that inspired me to think about songwriting and how adapted we are to traditional verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge sort of songwriting, while it's harder to get into music with more unconventional songwriting and music with lesser vocal hooks.

This obviously deals a lot with melody and harmony (things I know very little about in theory), but how come something dissonant-sounding is so repulsive at first? Do you think if we were to be adapted to unconventional songwriting, lesser vocal hooks/traditional pop elements first, that sort of dissonant music wouldn't sound so dissonant then?

I think it's because we are exposed to traditional pop songwriting since practically birth, is what makes us not understand more unconventional music. Take for instance opera. People actually practice how to listen to opera. There isn't really anybody who loved opera the first time they heard it, because it goes against the usual pop type songs. Same is with more weird jazz-fusion stuff, prog rock, death/black metal, certain classical music etc.

So what I'm trying to say is, I'd say there is no actual dissonant music (I know there is an explanation of dissonance, but whatever haha). It's just that this type of dissonant and unconventional music is alien to us for a long part of our lives until we discover it.
 

Ids Schiere

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Yes there is dissonant music, if you solo in the wrong key it's just wrong. It has nothing to do with what you're used to. Of you know what you're doing you won't get to the point of people thinking it's dissonant. Diminished, half diminished or augmented sixth chords are really dissonant chords but if you know how and where to use them nobody is gonna bothered by them. If you than continue to solo over it in the wrong key it will just be plain wrong. It's like ground rule number one, you play in key. What you do within that key is op to you but you have to be within the key.