I've been playing keyboard for eight years now. As much as I adore music I can't find the real answer to who am doing it for? Who am I writing music for? I'm very much interested in art rock and genres like Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes, Asia, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel. The problem is none of this music is anyhow popular in Russia and particularly in the city I live in. I was trying to form a band to play my music that I compose but nobody is interested in playing these genres. People always tell me that this music has died out and I won't find listeners. They also tell me that such music is too complex and not modern and trendy and that I better play trendy music. I compose a lot, I love it more than playing in fact and I mostly compose my music without using an instrument as I can create and sustain an arrangement and melody and rhythm in my head. I cannot understand who I am writing music for? If I'm doing it for myself then why need I write it? I can play it my head whenever i desire. The big problem is that I don't have any wish to only write and produce music. I want to play my music live. I think many here have asked themselves the same question.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Tim, Richard, Matthew Read Dec 4 '16 at 18:37

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    I'm not sure anyone is qualified to answer that question besides you. But, to get you thinking, there are many ways you can share your music online. Perhaps you should explore that avenue? – endorph Dec 3 '16 at 8:31
  • @Endorph I know of these ways and different web sites. The music quality is not that good to do it, i don't have a proffesional studio. – SovereignSun Dec 3 '16 at 15:37
  • Why do you think need a professional studio? e.g. are you wanting to mic up live players? – topo morto Dec 3 '16 at 16:09
  • @topomorto Yeh, I look forward only to live playing and no samples. If it's a drum track the drums must be played live. If it's a guitar sequence it should be played live with a loop pedal. If it's an effect, it's better ti create it live and record rather than use a sample. At least that's how I see it! – SovereignSun Dec 3 '16 at 16:29
  • So you wouldn't be interested in, say, using a set of MIDI drum pads? Recording music on a computer doesn't necessitate using samples (apart from the multi-samples used in any sample-based instrument you might be using) – topo morto Dec 3 '16 at 17:09

The last major work J.S. Bach completed was the Mass in B minor. Half a year later he underwent eye surgery from which he did not recover.

It is a mass in old Catholic rite. It was, of course, unperformable in protestant churches. It was no longer performable in Catholic churches either. Its orchestration requirements were unsuitable for private performances. Performing sacred works in entirely secular circumstances on a large scale was unthinkable.

Who did he write that mass for?

After he died, few copies of the score were made and passed around. He had been dead for longer than he had been alive when the work was actually first performed in full, in a changed society under changed circumstances not corresponding to the world he lived in.

Whoever he wrote it for, we have it now, and it is a class of its own. It was a gift to a different world, sacred or secular, one that he felt it worth making an offering to. He was in a personal situation where he could afford not giving a shit that it was unsuitable for the world he was living in at the time.

That may not be your answer, but at least it shows that the music ultimately does not depend on an immediate audience.

  • But he didn't get the pleasure from seeing that people love his music and enjoy it? – SovereignSun Dec 3 '16 at 15:44
  • @SovereignSun If you do music for the pleasure of seeing it played and enjoyed, you do it wrong, some people would say... – yo' Dec 3 '16 at 21:05
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    @yo' And, yet, people who do all kinds of things say that the most fulfilling thing they know is when somebody else finds their work useful, enjoyable, helpful or whatever. If music isn't for at least somebody's pleasure, what on earth is it for? – David Richerby Dec 3 '16 at 22:50
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    @David For my selfish personal pleasure! :D – yo' Dec 3 '16 at 23:44

I think the only person who can answer that question is you. Who do you want to write music for?

If you want to write music for the masses and be really famous nowadays, I think it's fair to say that it'll be really hard to do it with that kind of music. I wouldn't say it's impossible; there's this group on facebook, called Prog Snob where there are a lot of people ( ~ 21.000) who only talk about prog music. So, you can see that that genre isn't dead, but it's not mainstream either.

Keep trying to find people to form a band and play your songs. If you cannot, try recording the stuff you have with what instruments you can and adding virtual ones for the instruments you cannot play. This way you can upload your music on various sites (like Youtube and Soundcloud, but Facebook and Instagram as well) and you can promote your music via those. This way, it might be easier to find people that are interested in your kind of music, because there are people that still listen to prog (like myself).

If I'm doing it for myself then why need I write it?

Because you cannot live without it! When someone really has a passion about something, he really cannot live without doing it. Be that composing, painting, writing or anything you can think of, people need to do that, because it's a part of who they really are. I can feel where this is coming from. You want to share your music with people but it's really hard because it's not a genre that a lot of people are interested in. But I'm sure you'll find people that are.

But unless your goal is to be really famous like a pop star, you can start writing music for yourself and then try to promote it to others. I believe this is the honest way to write music and not the other way around.

  • Unfortunately, even my wife doesn't like this kind of music. I find myself really sad sbout it. People around tell me that i'm too old fashioned and very strange that I like songs that last 20-30 minutes and even longer. – SovereignSun Dec 3 '16 at 15:40
  • I know I cannot force my music upon anyone and if tell the truth, the taste for really good music in Russia is absent. – SovereignSun Dec 3 '16 at 15:42
  • @SovereignSun the fact that people don't know this kind of music is not a problem. You can introduce them to it. But people don't really like long songs. For instance, last week I wrote this song that was about 7 mins long and I asked my brother if he wanted to listen to it and he said '7 mins? that's too long. I'm probably going to get bored of it half way through'. And he's my brother! But I don't get discouraged by these kind of comments. There are types of music that are not for everyone – Shevliaskovic Dec 3 '16 at 16:04
  • I agree but it's still offending. I tried introducing and what i get in return is a quarrel and many bad comments and silly thought rgat i cannot bare. I realise tgat most people might not be wise enough to ubdersrand such music and that's a big problem. Here people mostly listen to very poor quality rap music, russian pop, liw quality hard rock instead of classic bands that are great, and club music that i really hate. All rhis bam-bam that hits the head which later on aches - i cannot understand. – SovereignSun Dec 3 '16 at 16:26
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    @SovereignSun In the same way you can't understand the repetitive bass beats present in club music, these people may not understand 20 minute art-rock with no electronic drum beat! I have spent 65% my life listening and writing music in genres that are unpopular and uncared for. It disappoints me too when those I care about don't care about my music or show the same passion. But ultimately, I realized that I was writing the music for myself and that was enough. – syntonicC Dec 3 '16 at 17:09

Here in the UK, the entertainment market is flooded with 'tribute bands' imitating just the sort of vintage groups you mention!

What instrument do you play? Do you sing? Why not perform your music personally, making backing tracks to cover the missing instruments? There must be SOMEWHERE that will let you stand up and do it. No, it's not ideal. But it will get you performing, and will get your music out there.

It will open the door for your audience if you also include some cover versions of the bands you are channeling.

  • I've heard that UK has trouble with rock music nowadays. It used to be the coutry that rocks! I play keyboard only and i tried guitar and bass too. Yes, I sometimes sing, but i'm really afraid of singing. I hate the idea of having pre recorded instruments, except sample effects that cannot be played live. All my life I was looking at how PF did music and I think they are the greatest. I performed with music that I don't much like because friends asked me. Had to play Deep purple one time, but mostly played some stupid pop music that most people listen to. – SovereignSun Dec 3 '16 at 15:50

Without contradicting the other answers' affirmation to do your thing, I would strongly recommend that you make sure to also play some own music with others, even if it requires diverging from the style you most gravitate towards.

How do you know your compositions actually work out the way you envision? Hopefully not from MIDI renditions by Guitar Pro, because anything I'd call genuine music can only be properly judged when it's actually performed by human beings. Experienced composers, especially extreme geniuses like Bach or Beethoven, of course could rely on their judgment (especially towards the end of their lives), but if you've never had the opportunity to have those ideas of yours performed by a band then I'd suggest that realistically speaking, they're likely just not that good.

And you know what? That's not to worry, because rock music in general isn't really that much about composition! Performance, improvisation, band communication are at least as important. All of the great classic prog bands, including the ones you quoted, spent a lot of time just jamming around, and this kind of spontaneity is really what brought their music to life, and what also made it appeal to larger audiences even when they were using crazier composition techniques and giant long pieces. Furthermore, all of these bands also had a good number of simpler pieces in their repertoire, and even those simple, short songs would showcase their high musical quality.

Hence my recommendation that whatever your ideal musical goals, make sure you have a band with whom you play some kind of music you like – even as a compromise. If your ideas are good enough then you will be able to introduce some of them to the band and hopefully also to some sort of audience, even if it's only in small bits that aren't nearly as epic as you'd like. If nothing else – even such small bits will give yourself valuable feedback that can help to make your main compositions better and in the long run hopefully convincing to other listeners.

Best luck with that...

  • I tried really. Some musicians say that the arrangements are too difficult to play, others say that it's not interesting. Some just hate my point of vuew for modern tastes and don't want to cooperate with me. Unfortunately it is really gard to do something when you are so different from most people. – SovereignSun Dec 4 '16 at 10:49
  • Well, I'm quite familiar with these problems. Nowadays I have the fortune of being in a band where we play lots of odd meters etc., so I have quite a lot of opportunity for introducing my ideas – perhaps not dissimilar to the compositions you make. Even there I can't do everything I'd like to do though, in particular we haven't ever made proper use of microtonality yet. Indeed all of our songs are to some degree collaborative compositions, crafted from some initial idea but developed as a sort of common denominator. In other bands I had to tone down my ideas much more. And I'm glad I did! – leftaroundabout Dec 4 '16 at 11:18
  • I could never do any of my ideas in a band. Everyone wanted everything to be less complex, fewer chords, easier chords and not such complex and Gilmourish solos. When I rearranged music we improvised the bandmates never liked them. Most people are also against back vocals that i love so much. I spend much time thinking of how to create good and interesting back vocals, but no one likes back vocals. I can't ubderstand what is happening to music and people's tastes. It seems that the worse and the easier is a song the more interesting and more popular it is. – SovereignSun Dec 4 '16 at 11:47
  • Most of whom i talk to love three-chord MTV music and one beat rap music or death metal where there no music and vocals. What's happening to this world? – SovereignSun Dec 4 '16 at 11:49
  • Oh well. I love some three-chord songs too, though not so much the kind you'd typically find on MTV. There's a lot to value in simplicity and finesse in detail. — About backing vocals... I find it hard to believe that most people, in your area or elsewhere, are in principle against those. More likely they're just not confident about singing themselves, or indeed have heard some attempts and found them cringeworthy. But I reckon if you concentrate on vocal arrangements you have good chances to find people sharing your enthusiasm, though you may need to move from rock to ~folk or something. – leftaroundabout Dec 4 '16 at 12:13

Dude that's an easy one. Every musician plays music first and foremost for themselves. If others like how they play, they can listen. If not, you can either compromise and play some of what they like and some of what you like or you can just tell them to go away. Go to an open mic in a bar or coffee shop or something and see if you can find anyone you can get along with playing wise or listening wise. Put your music on youtube. See if someone out there in the internet likes it. Put other kinds of songs out to entice them in.

If everyone criticizes the length of your songs, write 2 or 3 shorter ones and see if what they say is true. It's a good exercise at least.

If you like, put something on youtube and email me a link stephen.hazel@gmail.com

Now, I'm no expert in nothing, but I can give you my opinion.

But, in the end, it's not my opinion that matters for YOUR music. It's your opinion. And playing music is never a waste. Even if you're the only dude who can stand it :) The pleasure you get from playing IS and SHOULD be the main reason you play.

Being famous ain't for everyone. And the dudes who are probably learn and play a LOT of music that they don't personally care for.

If it helps, I hate EDM just as much as you :) It sounds like somebody who just sat down and knows nothing about chords strung some prerecorded loops together. Cuz, well, that's what they did a lot of the time.

Make the music you love audience be damned. I mean, can you picture yourself not? Didn't think so.

  • I should try, but is GP6 music good enough to be published? I love playing but i would want someone to listen to it. I'm not sure if I ever would want to be famous but i surely want to be mentioned by people. – SovereignSun Dec 3 '16 at 18:03
  • And it's really difficult to write a short song. My shoryest so dar is 5 minutes and i wanna enlengthen it. – SovereignSun Dec 3 '16 at 18:04
  • well, getting mentioned by people means playing music "for them". it may be difficult, but you sayyy this is a pursuit of your's. put some time into taking some time away :) See where it leads you. And again, I ain't no expert or music teacher or whatever. – Stephen Hazel Dec 3 '16 at 18:50
  • It looks like i'm playing just because I can. Or maybe to have my music exist in this world. I cannot see any other reason so far. – SovereignSun Dec 4 '16 at 15:24

From reading your comments it actually seems quite clear who you think you are writing for - you're writing for the band who you want to play your music live.

The thing is, that seems quite ambitious! I know quite a few people who compose music, and I honestly don't think any of them have tried to get a regular band together to play their original compositions. They might get a friend in to play on the occasional track, but I can't think of many people who would want to be in a band playing someone else's originals unless that band really seemed to have a chance of achieving financial or other success.

If you want to get together in an originals band, then (similarly to leftroundabout) I'd suggest trying to find a somewhat like-minded set of musicians who can create something that you can have some input in. You'd have to accept that it wouldn't be an expression of your musical vision, though.

If (as per another comment) you want to have your music 'exist in this world', the way most people do this these days is by recording it. In most cases, a professional studio isn't required - computer-based recording equipment is cheap, and you can be creative in finding recording spaces. It might even be practical to pay someone a little to do a few sessions for you on instruments you don't play, even if (as mentioned before) you couldn't pay a band full-time.

  • Unfortunately i haven't got a band. And yes, i was thinking of paying a session musician to play and record the tracks i need. – SovereignSun Dec 4 '16 at 16:20
  • @SovereignSun I know you don't have a band at the moment! But it seems you are hoping for a band to play your tracks - that's 'the band' i referred to. – topo morto Dec 4 '16 at 16:46

You write music the same way an author writes a book because it satisfies your inner being and putting it all down sets your emotions free in someway. You write music to share the feeling the melody and/or lyrics creates in you with others and of course if you're good at it you can make a career out of so you'll be writing for monetary gains on top of it all. In the end play the music you want to play and see how it goes.

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